The Ministry of Intercession
There is no holy service
But hath its secret bliss:
Yet, of all blessed ministries,
Is one so dear as this?
The ministry that cannot be
A wondering seraph's dower,
Enduing mortal weakness
With more than angel-power;
The ministry of purest love
Uncrossed by any fear,
That bids us meet At the Master's feet
And keeps us very near.

God's ministers are many,
For this His gracious will,
Remembrancers that day and night
This holy office fill.
While some are hushed in slumber,
Some to fresh service wake,
And thus the saintly number
No change or chance can break.
And thus the sacred courses
Are evermore fulfilled,
The tide of grace By time or place
Is never stayed or stilled.

Oh, if our ears were opened
To hear as angels do
The Intercession-chorus
Arising full and true,
We should hear it soft up-welling
In morning's pearly light;
Through evening's shadows swelling
In grandly gathering might;
The sultry silence filling
Of noontide's thunderous glow,
And the solemn starlight thrilling
With ever-deepening flow.

We should hear it through the rushing
Of the city's restless roar,
And trace its gentle gushing
O'er ocean's crystal floor:
We should hear it far up-floating
Beneath the Orient moon,
And catch the golden noting
From the busy Western noon;
And pine-robed heights would echo
As the mystic chant up-floats,
And the sunny plain Resound again
With the myriad-mingling notes.

Who are the blessed ministers
Of this world-gathering band?
All who have learnt one language,
Through each far-parted land;
All who have learnt the story
Of Jesu's love and grace,
And are longing for His glory
To shine in every face.
All who have known the Father
In Jesus Christ our Lord,
And know the might And love the light
Of the Spirit in the Word.

Yet there are some who see not
Their calling high and grand,
Who seldom pass the portals,
And never boldly stand
Before the golden altar
On the crimson-stained floor,
Who wait afar and falter,
And dare not hope for more.
Will ye not join the blessed ranks
In their beautiful array?
Let intercession blend with thanks
As ye minister to-day!

There are little ones among them
Child-ministers of prayer,
White robes of intercession
Those tiny servants wear.
First for the near and dear ones
Is that fair ministry,
Then for the poor black children,
So far beyond the sea.
The busy hands are folded,
As the little heart uplifts
In simple love, To God above,
Its prayer for all good gifts.

There are hands too often weary
With the business of the day,
With God-entrusted duties,
Who are toiling while they pray.
They bear the golden vials,
And the golden harps of praise
Through all the daily trials,
Through all the dusty ways,
These hands, so tired, so faithful,
With odours sweet are filled,
And in the ministry of prayer
Are wonderfully skilled.

There are ministers unlettered,
Not of Earth's great and wise,
Yet mighty and unfettered
Their eagle-prayers arise.
Free of the heavenly storehouse!
For they hold the master-key
That opens all the fulness
Of God's great treasury.
They bring the needs of others,
And all things are their own,
For their one grand claim Is Jesu's name
Before their Father's throne.

There are noble Christian workers,
The men of faith and power,
The overcoming wrestlers
Of many a midnight hour;
Prevailing princes with their God,
Who will not be denied,
Who bring down showers of blessing
To swell the rising tide.
The Prince of Darkness quaileth
At their triumphant way,
Their fervent prayer availeth
To sap his subtle sway.

But in this temple service
Are sealed and set apart
Arch-priests of intercession,
Of undivided heart.
The fulness of anointing
On these is doubly shed,
The consecration of their God
Is on each low-bowed head.
They bear the golden vials
With white and trembling hand;
In quiet room Or wakeful gloom
These ministers must stand, --

To the Intercession-Priesthood
Mysteriously ordained,
When the strange dark gift of suffering
This added gift hath gained.
For the holy hands uplifted
In suffering's longest hour
Are truly Spirit-gifted
With intercession-power.
The Lord of Blessing fills them
With His uncounted gold,
An unseen store, Still more and more,
Those trembling hands shall hold.

Not always with rejoicing
This ministry is wrought,
For many a sigh is mingled
With the sweet odours brought.
Yet every tear bedewing
The faith-fed altar fire
May be its bright renewing
To purer flame, and higher.
But when the oil of gladness
God graciously outpours,
The heavenward blaze, With blended praise,
More mightily upsoars.

So the incense-cloud ascendeth
As through calm, crystal air,
A pillar reaching unto heaven
Of wreathed faith and prayer.
For evermore the Angel
Of Intercession stands
In His Divine High Priesthood
With fragrance-filled hands,
To wave the golden censer
Before His Father's throne,
With Spirit-fire intenser,
And incense all His own.

And evermore the Father
Sends radiantly down
All-marvellous responses,
His ministers to crown;
The incense-cloud returning
As golden blessing-showers,
We in each drop discerning
Some feeble prayer of ours,
Transmuted into wealth unpriced,
By Him who giveth thus
The glory all to Jesus Christ,
The gladness all to us!


September 1877.

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