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High thoughts were with Him in that hour,
Untold, unspeakable on earthAnd who can stay the soaring power
Of spirits wean’d from worldly mirth, While far beyond the sound of praise
With upward eye they float serene, And learn to bear their Saviour's blaze
When Judgment shall undraw the screen ?
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT.
Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither : therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. Genesis xix. 22.
“ANGEL of wrath! why linger in mid air,
66 While the devoted city's cry “ Louder and louder swells? and canst thou spare,
“ Thy full-charg'd vial standing by ?”
He hears her not-with soften'd gaze
Guided by her, along the mountain road,
Far through the twilight of the morn, With hurrying footsteps from th' accurs'd abode
He sees the holy household borne: Angels, or more, on either hand are nigh,
To speed them o'er the tempting plain, Lingering in heart, and with frail sidelong eye Seeking how near they may unharm'd remain.
“ Ah wherefore gleam those upland slopes so fair ?
“ And why, through every woodland arch, “ Swells yon bright vale, as Eden rich and rare,
“ Where Jordan winds his stately march ; “ If all must be forsaken, ruin'd all,
“ If God have planted but to burn ?Surely not yet th' avenging shower will fall, Though to my home for one last look I turn."
Thus while they waver, surely long ago
They had provoked the withering blast, But that the merciful Avengers know
Their frailty well, and hold them fast. “ Haste, for thy life escape, nor look behind"
Ever in thrilling sounds like these
They check the wandering eye, severely kind,
And when, o'erwearied with the steep ascent,
We for a nearer refuge crave,
One hour of home before the grave,
His hand withdraws the penal fire,
till our hearts are wean’d entire.
Thus, by the merits of one righteous man,
The Church, our Zoar, shall abide, Till she abuse, so sore, her lengthen'd span,
Even Mercy's self her face must hide. Then, onward yet a step, thou hard-won soul;
Though in the Church thou know thy place, The mountain farther lies--there seek thy goal, There breathe at large, o'erpast thy dangerous race.
Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure; Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure ;
Yet in the world even these abide, and we
Above the world our calling boast : Once gain the mountain top, and thou art free: Till then, who rest, presume; who turn to look, are
SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT.
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. Gen. xxvii. 34. (Compare Hebrews xii. 17. He found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.) s
“ AND is there in God's world so drear a place
“ Where the loud bitter cry is rais’d in vain ? “ Where tears of penance come too late for grace,
“ As on th’ uprooted flower the genial rain ?"
* The author earnestly hopes, that nothing in these stanzas will be understood to express any opinion as to the general efficacy of what is called “ a death-bed repentance.” Such questions are best left in the merciful obscurity with which Scripture has enveloped them. Esau's probation, as far as his birthright was concerned, was quite over when he uttered the cry in the text. His despondency therefore is not parallel to any thing on this side the grave. i Compare Bp. Butler's Analogy, p. 54-64. ed. 1736.
'Tis even so : the sovereign Lord of souls
Stores in the dungeon of his boundless realm Each bolt, that o'er the sinner vainly rolls,
With gather'd wrath the reprobate to whelm.
Will the storm hear the sailor's piteous cry',
Taught to mistrust, too late, the tempting wave, When all around he sees but sea and sky,
A God in anger, a self-chosen grave?
Or will the thorns, that strew intemperance' bed,
Turn with a wish to down? will late remorse Recall the shaft the murderer's hand has sped,
Or from the guiltless bosom turn its course ?
Then may th' unbodied soul in safety fleet
Through the dark curtains of the world above, Fresh from the stain of crime; nor fear to meet
The God, whom here she would not learn to love:
Then is there hope for such as die unblest,
That angel wings may waft them to the shore, Nor need th' unready virgin strike her breast, Nor wait desponding round the bridegroom's door.