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Which the King of kings
As a curtain flings
O'er the dreadfulness of eternal things—
A tapestried tent
To shade us meant
From the bare everlasting firmament;
Where the blaze of the skies
Comes soft to our eyes Through a veil of mystical imageries.
But could I see
As in truth they be,
The glories of Heaven that encompass me,
I should lightly hold
The tissued fold
Of that marvellous curtain of blue and gold.
Soon the whole
Like a parched scroll
Shall before my amazed sight uproll,
And without a screen
At one burst be seen
The Presence wherein I have ever been.
O! who shall bear
The blinding glare
Of the Majesty that shall meet us there?
What eye may gaze
On the unveil'd blaze Of the light-girdled throne of the Ancient of days?
Christ us aid!
Himself be our shade,
That in that dread day we be not dismay'd.
THE THIRD DAY OF CREATION
Thou spakest, and the waters roll'd
Back from the earth away, They fled, by Thy strong voice controll'd,
Till Thou didst bid them stay: Then did that rushing, mighty ocean, Like a tame creature cease its motion, Nor dared to pass where'er Thy hand Had fix'd its bound of slender sand.
And freshly risen from out the deep
The land lay tranquil now
Like a new-christen'd child asleep
With the dew upon its brow:
As when in after time the earth
Rose from her second watery birth,
In pure baptismal garments drest,
And calmly waiting to be blest.
Again Thou spakest, Lord of power,
And straight the land was seen
All clad with tree, and herb, and flower,
A robe of lustrous green:
Like souls, wherein the hidden strength
Of their new birth is waked at length,
When, robed in holiness, they tell
What might did in those waters dwell.
Lord, o'er the waters of my soul
The word of peace be said;
Its thoughts and passions bid Thou roll
Each in its channell'd bed;
Till that in peaceful order flowing,
They time their glad obedient going
To Thy commands, whose voice to-day
Bade the tumultuous floods obey.
For, restless as the moaning sea,
The wild and wayward will
From side to side is wearily
Changing and tossing still;
But sway'd by Thee, 'tis like the river
That down its green banks flows for ever,
And calm, and constant tells to all
The blessedness of such sweet thrall.
Then in my heart, Spirit of might,
Awake the life within
And bid a spring-tide, calm and bright,
Of holiness begin:
So let it lie with Heaven's grace
Full shining on its quiet face,
Like the young earth in peace profound,
Amid the assuaged waters round.
THE SEVENTH DA Y OF CREATION
Sabbath of the saints of old,
Day of mysteries manifold;
By the great Creator blest,
Type of His eternal rest:
I with thoughts of thee would seek
To sanctify the closing week.
Resting from His work, the Lord
Spake to-day the hallowing word;
And, His wondrous labours done,
Now the everlasting Son
Gave to heaven and earth the sign
Of a wonder more divine.
Resting from His work to-day,
In the tomb the Saviour lay,
His sacred form from head to feet
Swathed in the winding sheet,
Lying in the rock alone,
Hid beneath the sealed stone.
All the seventh day long I ween
Mournful watch'd the Magdalene,
Rising early, resting late,
By the sepulchre to wait,
In the holy garden glade
Where her buried Lord was laid.
So with Thee till life shall end
I would solemn vigil spend;
Let me hew Thee, Lord, a shrine
In this rocky heart of mine,
Where in pure embalmed cell
None but Thou may'st ever dwell.
Myrrh and spices I will bring,
My poor affection's offering,
Close the door from sight and sound
Of the busy world around,
And in patient watch remain
Till my Lord appear again.
Then, the new creation done,
Shall be Thy endless rest begun;
Jesu, keep me safe from sin,
That I with them may enter in,
And danger past, and toil at end,
To Thy resting place ascend.
SLEEPING ON THE WATERS
While snows, even from the mild south-west,
Come blinding o'er all day,
What kindlier home, what safer nest
For flower or fragrant spray,
Than underneath some cottage roof,
Where fires are bright within,
And fretting cares scowl far aloof,
And doors are closed on sin?
The scarlet tufts so cheerily
Look out upon the snow,
But gayer smiles the maiden eye
Whose garden care they know.
The buds that in that nook are born,
Through the dark howling day
Old winter's spite they laugh to scorn :—
Who is so safe as they?