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EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER
I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face : like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel xx. 35, 36.
In the waste howling wilderness
The Church is wandering still",
When close to Sion's hill.
Back to the world we faithless turn'd,
And far along the wild,
a Revelations xii. 14.
With labour lost and sorrow earn’d,
Our steps have been beguild.
Yet full before us, all the while,
The shadowing pillar stays, The living waters brightly smile,
Th' eternal turrets blaze.
Yet Heaven is raining angels' bread
To be our daily food, And fresh, as when it first was shed,
Springs forth the Saviour's blood.
From every region, race, and speech,
Believing myriads throng,
Thy grace is spread along.
Till sweetest nature, brightest art,
Their votive incense bring, And every voice and every heart
Own Thee their God and King.
All own; but few, alas ! will love;
Too like the recreant band
That with thy patient Spirit strove
Upon the Red-sea strand.
O Father of long-suffering grace,
Thou who hast sworn to stay Pleading with sinners face to face
Through all their devious way,
How shall we speak to Thee, O LORD,
Or how in silence lie ?
and we die.
Thy guardian fire, thy guiding cloud,
Still let them gild our wall, Nor be our foes and thine allow'd
To see us faint and fall.
Too oft, within this camp of thine,
Rebellious murmurs rise ;
So awful to her eyes.
Fain would our lawless hearts escape,
And with the heathen be,
To worship every monstrous shape
In fancied darkness freeb.
Vain thought, that shall not be at all !
Refuse we or obey,
We cannot be as they.
We cannot hope the heathen's doom,
To whom God's Son is given,
Who have the key of Heaven.
Weak tremblers on the edge of woe,
Yet shrinking from true bliss,
And let our prayer be this :
“ LORD, wave again thy chastening rod,
“ Till every idol throne
“ Reign in our hearts alone.
b Ezekiel xx. 32. That which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
“ Bring all our wandering fancies home,
“ For Thou hast every spell, 66 And ’mid the heathen where they roam,
“ Thou knowest, Lord, too well.
66 Thou know'st our service sad and hard,
66 Thou know'st us fond and frail ;6 Win us to be belov'd and spar'd
66 When all the world shall fail.
“ So when at last our weary days
“ Are well-nigh wasted here, “ And we can trace thy wondrous ways
“ In distance calm and clear,
“ When in thy love and Israel's sin
66 We read our story true, “ We may not, all too late, begin
- To wish our hopes were new :
Long lov’d, long tried, long spar'd as they,
“ Unlike in this alone, “ That, by thy grace, our hearts shall stay
66 For evermore thine own."