“Heaven to that gaze shall open wide,
And brightest angels to and fro
On messages of love shall glide
’Twixt God above and Christ below.”
So still the guileless man is blest,
To him all crooked paths are straight,
Him on his way to endless rest
Fresh, ever-growing strengths await.
God’s witnesses, a glorious host,
Compass him daily like a cloud;
Martyrs and seers, the saved and lost,
Mercies and judgments cry aloud.
Yet shall to him the still small voice,
That first into his bosom found
A way, and fixed his wavering choice,
Nearest and dearest ever sound.
And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him. St. Luke v. 27, 28.
Ye hermits blest, ye holy maids,
The nearest Heaven on earth,
Who talk with God in shadowy glades,
Free from rude care and mirth;
To whom some viewless teacher brings
The secret lore of rural things,
The moral of each fleeting cloud and gale,
The whispers from above, that haunt the twilight vale:
Say, when in pity ye have gazed
On the wreathed smoke afar,
That o’er some town, like mist upraised,
Hung hiding sun and star,
Then as ye turned your weary eye
To the green earth and open sky,
Were ye not fain to doubt how Faith could dwell
Amid that dreary glare, in this world’s citadel?
But Love’s a flower that
will not die
For lack of leafy screen,
And Christian Hope can cheer the eye
That ne’er saw vernal green;
Then be ye sure that Love can bless
E’en in this crowded loneliness,
Where ever-moving myriads seem to say,
Go—thou art naught to us, nor we to thee—away!
There are in this loud stunning
Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide
Of th’ everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.
How sweet to them, in such brief
As thronging cares afford,
In thought to wander, fancy-blest,
To where their gracious Lord,
In vain, to win proud Pharisees,
Spake, and was heard by fell disease —
But not in vain, beside yon breezy lake,
Bade the meek Publican his gainful seat forsake:
At once he rose, and left his
His treasure and his heart
Transferred, where he shall safe behold
Earth and her idols part;
While he beside his endless store
Shall sit, and floods unceasing pour
Of Christ’s true riches o’er all time and space,
First angel of His Church, first steward of His Grace.
Nor can ye not delight to think
Where He vouchsafed to eat,
How the Most Holy did not shrink
From touch of sinner’s meat;
What worldly hearts and hearts impure
Went with Him through the rich man’s door,
That we might learn of Him lost souls to love,
And view His least and worst with hope to meet above.