He who in the sandy desert looks for springs to quench his thirst Finds his fountains are but slime-pits such as Siddim's vale accursed; He who hopes to still the longing of the heart within his breast Must not search within a scene where naught is at one moment's rest.
Lift your eyes above the heavens to a sphere as pure as fair; There, no spot of earth's defilement, never fleck of sin-stain there. Linger not to gaze on Angels, Principalities, nor Powers; Brighter visions yet shall greet you, higher dignities are ours.
All night's golden constellations dimly shine as day draws on, And the moon must veil her beauties at the rising of the sun. Let the grove be wrapt in silence as the nightingale outflings Her unrivaled minstrelsy, th' eclipse of every bird that sings.
Michael, Israel's Prince, is glorious, clad in panoply of war; *"Who is as the God of Israel" is his challenge near and far; But a higher still than Michael soon shall meet your raptured gaze, And ye shall forget his glories in your Captain's brighter rays.
* "Michael" means "Who is as God."
List a moment to the music of the mighty Gabriel's voice, With its message strange and tender, making Mary's heart rejoice. Then on-speed, for sweeter music soon expectant faith shall greet: His who chained another Mary willing captive at His feet.
But, let mem'ry first glance backward to the scenes "beneath the sun," How the fairest earthly landscape echoed soon some dying groan. There the old-creation's story, shared between the dismal Three: Sin and Suffering and Sorrow summed that Babel's history.
Now the contrast -- vain ye listen for one jarring note to fall; For each dweller in that scene's in perfect harmony with all. Joy has here expelled all sadness, perfect peace displaced all fears -- All around that central Throne makes the true "music of the spheres."
Now upsoar ye on faith's pinion, leave all creature things behind, And approach yon throne of glory. Love in Light ye there shall find; For with thrill of joy behold One -- woman-born -- upon that Throne, And, with deepest self-abasement, in His beauties read your own.
Joyful scan the glories sparkling from His gracious Head to Feet;, Never one that does not touch some tender chord of memory sweet; And e'en heaven's music lacks till blood-bought ones their voices raise High o'er feebler angel choirs; for richer grace wakes nobler praise.
Vain the quest amongst the thronging of the heavenly angel band For one trace of human kinship, for one touch of human hand; 'Mongst those spirits bright, ethereal, "man" would stand a man alone; Higher must he seek for kinship -- thought amazing -- on God's Throne!
Does it not attract your nature, is it not a rest to see One e'en there at glory's summit, yet with human form like thee? Form assumed when love compelled Him to take up your hopeless case, Form He never will relinquish; ever shall it voice His grace.
Wondrous grace! thus making heaven but our Father's house prepared; Since, by One who tells God's love, in wounded human form 'tis shared. See, His Head is crowned with glory! yet a glory not distinct From an hour of deepest suffering, and a crown of thorns succinct.
Draw still closer, with the rev'rence born of love and holy fear; Look into those tender eyes which have been dimmed with human tear -- Tears in which ye see a glory hidden from th' Angelic powers; Ours alone the state that caused them, their beauty then alone is ours.
Look once more upon that Head: finds memory no attraction there In the time when, homeless-wandering, night-dews filled that very hair? Brightest glories sparkle round it -- crowned with honor now; and yet, Once it found its only pillow on storm-tossed Gennesaret!
See that Hand! it once grasped Peter's as he sank beneath the wave, -- Snatched the widow's son at Nain from the portal of the grave, -- Touched with healing grace the leper, gave the light to him born dark. Deeper love to you is spoken in that nail-print -- precious mark!
Let your tender gaze now rest on those dear Feet that erstwhile trod All the weary, painful journey leading Him from God to God; Took Him in His gentle grace wherever need and suffering thronged, Or one lonely soul was found who for the living water longed.
Those the very Feet once bathed with a pardoned sinner's tears, And anointed, too, with spikenard speaking Mary's love and fears; Took Him weary on His journey under Sychar's noontide heat, Till the thirsty quenched His thirsting, and the hungry gave Him meat.
Blessed Feet! 'tis only sinners see the depth of beauty there; Angels never have bowed o'er them with a penitential tear. Angels may regard the nail-print, with a holy, reverent calm; Ye who read the love it tells of, must break forth with thankful psalm.
Draw yet nearer, look more fondly; yea, e'en nestle and abide In that covert from the storm-blast, in the haven of His Side. That deep wound speaks man's great hatred, but His love surpassing great: There were focused, at one spear-point, all God's love and all man's hate!
Rest, ye saints! your search is ended; ye have reached the source of peace. By the side of Jesus risen, earth's dull cares and sorrows cease. Here are Elim's wells and palm-trees, grateful shade and waters cool, Whilst in Christ's deep love there's healing far beyond Bethesda's pool.
Closer, closer, cluster round Him, till the kindling of that Love Melt your hearts to like compassions whilst amid like scenes ye move. Only thus abiding in Him can ye fruitfulness expect, Or, 'mid old-creation sorrows, new-creation love reflect.
Ever closer gather round Him, till "the glory of that Light" Dims the old creation glitter, proves earth's glare to be but -- night! Gaze upon Him till His beauties wing your feet as on ye run, Faith soon bursting into sight, in God's clear day "Above the Sun."
F. C. J.