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“ The loving eye that watches thine
“ Close as the air that wraps thee round“Why in thy sorrow should it pine,
“ Since never of thy sin it found ? 66 And wherefore should the heathen see 9
" What chains of darkness thee enslave, And mocking say, Lo, this is he 66 Who own'd a God that could not save ?"
Thus oft the mourner's wayward heart
Tempts him to hide his grief and die, Too feeble for Confession's smart,
Too proud to bear a pitying eye ; How sweet, in that dark hour, to fall
On bosoms waiting to receive Our sighs, and gently whisper all !
They love us—will not God forgive ?
Else let us keep our fast within,
Till Heaven and we are quite alone, Then let the grief, the shame, the sin,
Before the mercy-seat be thrown.
1 Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Joel ii. 17.
Between the porch and altar weep,
Unworthy of the holiest place, Yet hoping near the shrine to keep
One lowly cell in sight of grace.
Nor fear lest sympathy should fail
Hast thou not seen, in night-hours drear, When racking thoughts the heart assail,
The glimmering stars by turns appear, And from th' eternal home above
With silent news of mercy steal? So Angels pause on tasks of love,
To look where sorrowing sinners kneel.
Or if no Angel pass that way,
He who in secret sees, perchance May bid his own heart-warming ray
Toward thee stream with kindlier glance, As when upon His drooping head
His Father's light was pour'd from Heaven, What time, unshelter'd and unfed',
Far in the wild His steps were driven.
St. Matt. iv. 1.
High thoughts were with Him in that hour,
Untold, unspeakable on earthAnd who can stay the soaring power
Of spirits wean'd from worldly mirth, While far beyond the sound of praise
With upward eye they float serene, And learn to bear their Saviour's blaze
When Judgment shall undraw the screen ?
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT.
Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither : therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. Genesis xix. 22.
“ANGEL of wrath! why linger in mid air,
6 While the devoted city's cry “ Louder and louder swells? and canst thou
spare, Thy full-charg'd vial standing by ?” Thus, with stern voice, unsparing Justice pleads :
He hears her not-with soften'd gaze
Guided by her, along the mountain road,
Far through the twilight of the morn, With hurrying footsteps from th' accurs'd abode
He sees the holy household borne: Angels, or more, on either hand are nigh,
To speed them o'er the tempting plain, Lingering in heart, and with frail sidelong eye Seeking how near they may unharm'd remain.
“ Ah wherefore gleam those upland slopes so fair ?
“ And why, through every woodland arch, “ Swells yon bright vale, as Eden rich and rare,
6 Where Jordan winds his stately march ; - If all must be forsaken, ruin'd all,
“ If God have planted but to burn ?Surely not yet th' avenging shower will fall, Though to my home for one last look I turn.”
Thus while they waver, surely long ago
They had provoked the withering blast, But that the merciful Avengers know
Their frailty well, and hold them fast. “ Haste, for thy life escape, nor look behind”—
Ever in thrilling sounds like these
They check the wandering eye, severely kind,
And when, o'erwearied with the steep ascent,
We for a nearer refuge crave,
One hour of home before the grave,
His hand withdraws the penal fire,
Thus, by the merits of one righteous man,
The Church, our Zoar, shall abide, Till she abuse, so sore, her lengthen'd span,
Even Mercy's self her face must hide. Then, onward yet a step, thou hard-won soul;
Though in the Church thou know thy place, The mountain farther lies—there seek thy goal, There breathe at large, o’erpast thy dangerous race.
Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure; Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure ;