Page images
PDF
EPUB

But pity will the vilest seek,

If punished guilt will not repine :-
I heard a heavenly teacher speak,

And felt the sun of mercy shine :
I hailed the light! the birth divine !

And then was sealed among the few ;
Those angry fiends beheld the sign,

And from me in an instant flew.

Come, hear how thus the charmers cry

To wandering sheep, the strays of sin; While some the wicket-gate pass by,

And some will knock and enter in : Full joyful 'tis a soul to win,

For he that winneth souls is wise ; Now hark! the holy strains begin,

And thus the sainted preacher cries :

“Pilgrim, burthened with thy sin,

Come the way to Zion's gate; There, till mercy let thee in,

Knock, and weep, and watch, and wait. Knock !-He knows the sinner's cry:

Weep!--He loves the mourner's tears : Watch !—for saving grace is nigh :

Wait-till heavenly light appears.

“ Hark! it is the Bridegroom's voice;

Welcome, pilgrim, to thy rest; Now within the gate rejoice,

Safe, and sealed, and bought, and blest ! Safe—from all the lures of vice,

Sealed—by signs the chosen know, Bought-by love, and life the price,

Blest—the mighty debt to owe.

“Holy pilgrim! what for thee,

In a world like this, remain ?

From thy guarded breast shall flee

Fear, and shame, and doubt, and pain.
Fear—the hope of heaven shall fly,

Shame—from glory's view retire,
Doubt-in certain rapture die,

Pain-in endless bliss expire."

LESSON CXXIX.

Sabbath Morning.-JAMES GRAHAME.

How still the morning of the hallowed day! Mute is the voice of rural labor, hushed The ploughboy's whistle, and the milk-maid's song. The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers, That yester-morn bloomed, waving in the breeze. Sounds the most faint attract the ear-the hum Of early bee, the trickling of the dew, The distant bleating midway up the hill. Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud. To him who wanders o'er the upland leas, The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale; And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark Warbles his heaven-tuned song ; the lulling brook Murmurs more gently down the deep-worn glen; While, from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke O’ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals, The voice of psalms—the simple song of praise.

With dove-like wings, Peace o'er yon village broods; The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din Hath ceased ; all, all around is quietness. Less fearful on this day, the limping hare Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man, Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free,

Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large ;
And, as his stiff, unwieldy bulk he rolls,
His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning ray.

But chiefly man the day of rest enjoys.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day.
On other days the man of toil is doomed
To eat his joyless bread, lonely; the ground
Both seat and board ; screened from the winter's cold
And summer's heat by neighboring hedge or tree ;-
But on this day, embosomed in his home,
He shares the frugal meal with those he loves ;
With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy
Of giving thanks to God—not thanks of form,
A word and a grimace, but reverently,
With covered face, and upward earnest eye.

Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day. The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe The morning air, pure from the city's smoke; While, wandering slowly up the river side, He meditates on Him, whose power he marks In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough, As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom Around its roots; and, while he thus surveys, With elevated joy, each rural charm, He hopes, yet fears presumption in the hope, That heaven may be one Sabbath without end.

LESSON CXXX.

Anticipation of the Millennium.-CowPER.

THE
groans

of nature in this nether world,
Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end.
Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung,
Whose fire was kindled at the prophet's lamp,

The time of rest, the promised Sabbath comes.
Six thousand years of sorrow have well-nigh
Fulfilled their tardy and disastrous course
Over a sinful world ; and what remains
Of this tempestuous state of human things
Is merely as the working of the sea
Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest :
For He, whose car the winds are, and the clouds
The dust that waits upon his sultry march,
When sin hath moved him, and his wrath is hot,
Shall visit earth in mercy; shall descend
Propitious in his chariot paved with love;
And what his storms have blasted and defaced
For man's revolt, shall with a smile repair.

Sweet is the harp of prophecy; too sweet
Not to be wronged by a mere mortal touch:
Nor can the wonders it records be

sung To meaner music, and not suffer loss. But when a poet, or when one like me, Happy to rove among poetic flowers, Though poor in skill to rear them, lights, at last, On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair, Such is the impulse and the spur he feels To give it praise proportioned to its worth, That not t attempt it, arduous as he deems The labor, were a task more arduous still.

O scenes surpassing fable, and yet trueScenes of accomplished bliss ! which who can see, Though but in distant prospect, and not feel His soul refreshed with foretaste of the joy? Rivers of gladness water all the earth, And clothe all climes with beauty; the reproach Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field Laughs with abundance; and the land, once lean, Or fertile only in its own disgrace, Exults to see its thistly curse repealed. The various seasons woven into one,

And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence,
For there is none to covet-all are full.

The lion, and the libbard, and the bear,
Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now; the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
Stretched forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man, and all mankind
One Lord, one Father. Error has no place:
That creeping pestilence is driven away;
The breath of heaven has chased it. In the heart
No passion touches a discordant string,
But all is harmony and love. Disease
Is not; the pure and uncontaminate blooa
Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age.
One song employs all nations; and all cry,
“Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us !"

The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks Shout to each other, and the mountain-tops, From distant mountains, catch the flying joy ; Till, nation after nation taught the strain, Earth rolls the rapturous Hosanna round. Behold the measure of the promise filled! See Salem built, the labor of a God ! Bright as a sun the sacred city shines; All kingdoms and all princes of the earth Flock to that light; the glory of all lands Flows into her ; unbounded is her joy, And endless her increase. Thy rams are there, Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there: The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,

« PreviousContinue »