The Christian Pastor, bowed to earth
With thankless toil, and vile esteemed,
Still travailing in second birth
Of souls that will not be redeemed:
Yet stedfast set to do his part,
And fearing most his own vain heart; —
These know: on these look long and well,
Cleansing thy sight by prayer and faith,
And thou shalt know what secret spell
Preserves them in their living death:
Through sevenfold flames thine eye shall see
The Saviour walking with His faithful Three.
Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth. Micah vi. 2.
Where is Thy favoured haunt, eternal Voice,
The region of Thy choice,
Where, undisturbed by sin and earth, the soul
Owns Thy entire control? —
’Tis on the mountain’s summit dark and high,
When storms are hurrying by:
’Tis ’mid the strong foundations of the earth,
Where torrents have their birth.
No sounds of worldly toil ascending there,
Mar the full burst of prayer;
Lone Nature feels that she may freely breathe,
And round us and beneath
Are heard her sacred tones: the fitful sweep
Of winds across the steep
Through withered bents—romantic note and clear,
Meet for a hermit’s ear, —
The wheeling kite’s wild solitary cry,
And, scarcely heard so high,
The dashing waters when the air is still
From many a torrent rill
That winds unseen beneath the shaggy fell,
Tracked by the blue mist well:
Such sounds as make deep silence in the heart
For Thought to do her part.
’Tis then we hear the voice of god within,
Pleading with care and sin:
“Child of My love! how have I wearied thee?
Why wilt thou err from Me?
Have I not brought thee from the house of slaves,
Parted the drowning waves,
And set My saints before thee in the way,
Lest thou shouldst faint or stray?
“What! was the promise made to thee alone?
Art thou the excepted one?
An heir of glory without grief or pain?
O vision false and vain!
There lies thy cross; beneath it meekly bow;
It fits thy stature now:
Who scornful pass it with averted eye,
’Twill crush them by-and-by.
“Raise thy repining eyes, and take true measure
Of thine eternal treasure;
The Father of thy Lord can grudge thee nought,
The world for thee was bought;
And as this landscape broad—earth, sea, and sky, —
All centres in thine eye,
So all God does, if rightly understood,
Shall work thy final good.”
The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk ii. 3.