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FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by the reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Romans viii. 19-22.

It was not then a poet’s dream,

An idle vaunt of song,

Such as beneath the moon’s soft gleam

On vacant fancies throng;

Which bids us see in heaven and earth,

In all fair things around,

Strong yearnings for a blest new birth

With sinless glories crown’d;

Which bids us hear, at each sweet pause

From care and want and toil,

When dewy eve her curtain draws

Over the day’s turmoil,

In the low chant of wakeful birds,

In the deep weltering flood,

In whispering leaves, these solemn words —

“God made us all for good.”

All true, all faultless, all in tune

Creation’s wondrous choir,

Open’d in mystic unison

To last till time expire.

And still it lasts; by day and night,

With one consenting voice,

All hymn Thy glory, Lord, aright,

All worship and rejoice.

Man only mars the sweet accord

O’erpowering with “harsh din”

The music of Thy works and word,

Ill matched with grief and sin.

Sin is with man at morning break,

And through the livelong day

Deafens the ear that fain would wake

To Nature’s simple lay.

But when eve’s silent footfall steals

Along the eastern sky,

And one by one to earth reveals

Those purer fires on high,

When one by one each human sound

Dies on the awful ear,

Then Nature’s voice no more is drown’d,

She speaks, and we must hear.

Then pours she on the Christian heart

That warning still and deep,

At which high spirits of old would start

E’en from their Pagan sleep.

Just guessing, through their murky blind

Few, faint, and baffling sight,

Streaks of a brighter heaven behind,

A cloudless depth of light.

Such thoughts, the wreck of Paradise,

Through many a dreary age,

Upbore whate’er of good and wise

Yet liv’d in bard or sage:

They mark’d what agonizing throes

Shook the great mother’s womb:

But Reason’s spells might not disclose

The gracious birth to come:

Nor could th’ enchantress Hope forecast

God’s secret love and power;

The travail pangs of Earth must last

Till her appointed hour.

The hour that saw from opening heaven

Redeeming glory stream,

Beyond the summer hues of even,

Beyond the mid-day beam.

Thenceforth, to eyes of high desire,

The meanest thing below,

As with a seraph’s robe of fire

Invested, burn and glow:

The rod of Heaven has touched them all,

The word from Heaven is spoken:

“Rise, shine, and sing, thou captive thrall;

Are not thy fetters broken?

“The God Who hallow’d thee and blest,

Pronouncing thee all good —

Hath He not all thy wrongs redrest,

And all thy bliss renew’d?

“Why mourn’st thou still as one bereft,

Now that th’ eternal Son

His blessed home in Heaven hath left

To make thee all His own?”

Thou mourn’st because sin lingers still

In Christ’s new heaven and earth;

Because our rebel works and will

Stain our immortal birth:

Because, as Love and Prayer grow cold,

The Saviour hides His face,

And worldlings blot the temple’s gold

With uses vile and base.

Hence all thy groans and travail pains,

Hence, till thy God return,

In Wisdom’s ear thy blithest strains,

Oh Nature, seem to mourn.

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