Yet monarchs walked as pilgrims still
In their own land, earth’s pride and grace:
And seers would mourn on Sion’s hill
Their Lord’s averted face.
Vainly they tried the deeps to sound
E’en of their own prophetic thought,
When of Christ crucified and crowned
His Spirit in them taught:
But He their aching gaze repressed,
Which sought behind the veil to see,
For not without us fully blest
Or perfect might they be.
The rays of the Almighty’s face
No sinner’s eye might then receive;
Only the meekest man found grace
To see His skirts and live.
But we as in a glass espy
The glory of His countenance,
Not in a whirlwind hurrying by
The too presumptuous glance,
But with mild radiance every hour,
From our dear Saviour’s face benign
Bent on us with transforming power,
Till we, too, faintly shine.
Sprinkled with His atoning blood
Safely before our God we stand,
As on the rock the Prophet stood,
Beneath His shadowing hand. —
Blessed eyes, which see the things we see!
And yet this tree of life hath proved
To many a soul a poison tree,
Beheld, and not beloved.
So like an angel’s is our bliss
(Oh! thought to comfort and appal)
It needs must bring, if used amiss,
An angel’s hopeless fall.
And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. St. Luke xvii. 17, 18.
Ten cleansed, and only one remain!
Who would have thought our nature’s stain
Was dyed so foul, so deep in grain?
E’en He who reads the heart —
Knows what He gave and what we lost,
Sin’s forfeit, and redemption’s cost, —
By a short pang of wonder crossed
Seems at the sight to start:
Yet ’twas not wonder, but His love
Our wavering spirits would reprove,
That heavenward seem so free to move
When earth can yield no more
Then from afar on God we cry,
But should the mist of woe roll by,
Not showers across an April sky
Drift, when the storm is o’er,
Faster than those false drops and few
Fleet from the heart, a worthless dew.
What sadder scene can angels view
Than self-deceiving tears,
Poured idly over some dark page
Of earlier life, though pride or rage,
The record of to-day engage,
A woe for future years?
Spirits, that round the sick man’s bed
Watched, noting down each prayer he made,
Were your unerring roll displayed,
His pride of health to abase;
Or, when, soft showers in season fall
Answering a famished nation’s call,
Should unseen fingers on the wall
Our vows forgotten trace: