“Hearken, good and faithful servant,
true disciple, loyal friend!
Thou hast followed me and found me; I will keep thee to the end.
“Well I know thy toil and trouble;
often weary, fainting, worn,
I have lived the life of labour, heavy burdens I have borne.
“Never in a prince’s palace
have I slept on golden bed,
Never in a hermit’s cavern have I eaten unearned bread.
“Born within a lowly stable, where
the cattle round me stood,
Trained a carpenter in Nazareth, I have toiled, and found it good.
“They who tread the path of labour
follow where my feet have trod;
They who work without complaining do the holy will of God.
“Where the many toil together, there
am I among my own;
Where the tired workman sleepeth, there am I with him alone.
“I, the peace that passeth knowledge,
dwell amid the daily strife;
I, the bread of heaven, am broken in the sacrament of life.
“Every task, however simple,
sets the soul that does it free;
Every deed of love and mercy, done to man, is done to me.
“Thou hast learned the open
secret; thou hast come to me for rest;
With thy burden, in thy labour, thou art Felix, doubly blest.
“Nevermore thou needest seek
me; I am with thee everywhere;
Raise the stone, and thou shall find me; cleave the wood, and
I am there.”
The legend of Felix is ended, the toiling of Felix is done;
The Master has paid him his wages, the goal of his journey is won;
He rests, but he never is idle; a thousand years pass like a day,
In the glad surprise of that Paradise where work is sweeter than play.
Yet often the King of that country comes
out from His tireless host,
And walks in this world of the weary as if He loved it the most;
For here in the dusty confusion, with eyes that are heavy and dim,
He meets again the labouring men who are looking and longing for Him.
He cancels the curse of Eden, and brings them a blessing instead:
Blessed are they that labour, for Jesus partakes of their bread.
He puts His hand to their burdens, He enters their homes at night:
Who does his best shall have as a guest the Master of life and light.
And courage will come with His presence,
and patience return at His
And manifold sins be forgiven to those who love Him much;
The cries of envy and anger will change to the songs of cheer,
The toiling age will forget its rage when the Prince of Peace draws near.
This is the gospel of labour, ring it, ye bells of the kirk!
The Lord of Love came down from above, to live with the men who work.
This is the rose that He planted, here in the thorn-curst soil:
Heaven is blest with perfect rest, but the blessing of Earth is toil.