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ST. MATTHIAS’ DAY

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. Acts i. 21, 22.

Who is God’s chosen priest?

He, who on Christ stands waiting day and night,

Who trac’d His holy steps, nor ever ceas’d,

From Jordan banks to Bethphage height:

Who hath learn’d lowliness

From his Lord’s cradle, patience from His Cross;

Whom poor men’s eyes and hearts consent to bless;

To whom, for Christ, the world is loss;

Who both in agony

Hath seen Him and in glory; and in both

Own’d Him divine, and yielded, nothing loth,

Body and soul, to live and die,

In witness of his Lord,

In humble following of his Saviour dear:

This is the man to wield th’ unearthly sword,

Warring unharm’d with sin and fear.

But who can o’er suffice —

What mortal — for this more than angels’ task,

Winning or losing souls, Thy life-blood’s price?

The gift were too divine to ask.

But Thou hast made it sure

By Thy dear promise to thy Church and Bride,

That Thou, on earth, wouldst aye with her endure,

Till earth to Heaven be purified.

Thou art her only spouse,

Whose arm supports her, on Whose faithful breast

Her persecuted head she meekly bows,

Sure pledge of her eternal rest.

Thou, her unerring guide,

Stayest her fainting steps along the wild;

Thy merit is on the bowers of lust and pride,

That she may pass them undefil’d.

Who then, uncall’d by Thee,

Dare touch Thy spouse, Thy very self below?

Or who dare count him summoned worthily,

Except Thine hand and seal he show?

Where can Thy seal be found,

But on thou chosen seed, from age to age

By thine anointed heralds duly crown’d,

As kings and priests Thy war to wage?

Then fearless walk we forth,

Yet full of trembling, Messengers of God:

Our warrant sure, but doubting of our worth,

By our own shame alike and glory aw’d.

Dread Searcher of the hearts,

Thou who didst seal by Thy descending Dove

Thy servant’s choice, O help us in our parts,

Else helpless found, to learn and teach Thy love.

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