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THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

And He turned Him onto His disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. St. Luke x. 23, 24.

On Sinai’s top, in prayer and trance,

Full forty nights and forty days

The Prophet watch’d for one dear glance

Of thee and of Thy ways:

Fasting he watch’d and all alone,

Wrapt in a still, dark, solid cloud,

The curtain of the Holy One

Drawn round him like a shroud:

So, separate from the world, his breast

Might duly take and strongly keep

The print of Heaven, to be express’d

Ere long on Sion’s steep.8383See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. Hebrews viii. 5.

There one by one his spirit saw

Of things divine the shadows bright,

The pageant of God’s perfect law;

Yet felt not full delight.

Through gold and gems, a dazzling maze,

From veil to veil the vision led,

And ended, where unearthly rays

From o’er the ark were shed.

Yet not that gorgeous place, nor aught

Of human or angelic frame,

Could half appease his craving thought;

The void was still the same.

“Show me Thy glory, gracious Lord!

’Tis Thee,” he cries, “not Thine, I seek.”8484Exodus xxxiii. 18.

Na, start not at so bold a word

From man, frail worm and weak:

The spark of his first deathless fire

Yet buoys him up, and high above

The holiest creature, dares aspire

To the Creator’s love.

The eye in smiles may wander round,

Caught by earth’s shadows as they fleet;

But for the soul no help is found,

Save Him who made it, meet.

Spite of yourselves, ye witness this,8585Pensées de Pascal, part 1, art. viii.

Who blindly self or sense adore;

Else wherefore leaving your own bliss

Still restless ask ye more?

This witness bore the saints of old

When highest rapt and favour’d most,

Still seeking precious things untold,

Not in fruition lost.

Canaan was theirs; and in it all

The proudest hope of kings dare claim:

Sion was theirs; and at their call

Fire from Jehovah came.

Yet monarchs walk’d as pilgrims still

In their own land, earth’s pride and grace:

And seers would mourn on Sion’s hill

Their Lord’s averted face.

Vainly they tried the deeps to sound

E’en of their own prophetic thought,

When of Christ crucified and crown’d

His Spirit in them taught:

But He their aching gaze repress’d,

Which sought behind the veil to see,

For not without us fully bles’d8686That they without us should not be made perfect. Hebrews xi. 40.

Or perfect might they be.

The rays of the Almighty’s face

No sinner’s eye might then receive;

Only the meekest man found grace8787Exodus xxxiii. 20-23.

To see His skirts and live.

But we as in a glass espy

The glory of His countenance,

Not in a whirlwind hurrying by

The too presumptuous glance,

But with mild radiance every hour,

From our dear Saviour’s face benign

Bent on us with transforming power,

Till we, too, faintly shine.

Sprinkled with His atoning blood

Safely before our God we stand,

As on the rock the Prophet stood,

Beneath His shadowing hand. —

Bless’d eyes, which see the things we see!

And yet this tree of life hath prov’d

To many a soul a poison tree,

Beheld, and not belov’d.

So like an angel’s is our bliss

(Oh! thought to comfort and appal)

It needs must bring, if us’d amiss,

An angel’s hopeless fall.


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