FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
When they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts. St. Matthew viii. 34.
They know the
Who, wakened by the rushing midnight shower,
Watch for the fitful breeze
To howl and chafe amid the bending trees,
Watch for the still white gleam
To bathe the landscape in a fiery stream,
Touching the tremulous eye with sense of light
Too rapid and too pure for all but angel sight.
They know the
Who, when the whirlwinds rock the topmost grove,
Stand in the shade, and hear
The tumult with a deep exulting fear,
How, in their fiercest sway,
Curbed by some power unseen, they die away,
Like a bold steed that owns his rider’s arm,
Proud to be checked and soothed by that o’er-mastering chains.
But there are
That heave the struggling heart with wilder din,
And there is power and love
The maniac’s rushing frenzy to reprove,
And when he takes his seat,
Clothed and in calmness, at his Savour’s feet,
Is not the power as strange, the love as blest,
As when He said, “Be still,” and ocean sank to rest?
Woe to the wayward
That gladlier turns to eye the shuddering start
Of Passion in her might,
Than marks the silent growth of grace and light; —
Pleased in the cheerless tomb
To linger, while the morning rays illume
Green lake, and cedar tuft, and spicy glade,
Shaking their dewy tresses now the storm is laid.
The storm is laid—and
In His meek power He climbs the mountain’s brow,
Who bade the waves go sleep,
And lashed the vexed fiends to their yawning deep.
How on a rock they stand,
Who watch His eye, and hold His guiding hand!
Not half so fixed, amid her vassal hills,
Rises the holy pile that Kedron’s valley fills.
And wilt thou
Thy howling waste, thy charnel-house and chain,
And with the demons be,
Rather than clasp thine own Deliverer’s knee?
Sure ’tis no Heaven-bred awe
That bids thee from His healing touch withdraw;
The world and He are struggling in thine heart,
And in thy reckless mood thou bidd’st thy Lord depart.
He, merciful and
As erst, beholding, loves His wayward child;
When souls of highest birth
Waste their impassioned might on dreams of earth,
He opens Nature’s book,
And on His glorious Gospel bids them look,
Till, by such chords as rule the choirs above,
Their lawless cries are tuned to hymns of perfect love.