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ST. BARNABAS.

The sea of consolation, a Levite. Acts iv. 36.

The world’s a room of sickness, where each heart

Knows its own anguish and unrest;

The truest wisdom there, and noblest art,

Is his, who skills of comfort best;

Whom by the softest step and gentlest tone

Enfeebled spirits own,

And love to raise the languid eye,

When, like an angel’s wing, they feel him fleeting by: —

Feel only — for in silence gently gliding

Fain would he shun both ear and sight,

’Twixt Prayer and watchful Love his heart dividing,

A nursing-father day and night.

Such were the tender arms, where cradled lay,

In her sweet natal day,

The Church of Jesus; such the love

He to His chosen taught for His dear widow’d Dove.

Warm’d underneath the Comforter’s safe wing

They spread th’ endearing warmth around:

Mourners, speed here your broken hearts to bring,

Here healing dews and balms abound:

Here are soft hands that cannot bless in vain,

By trial taught your pain:

Here loving hearts, that daily know

The heavenly consolations they on you bestow.

Sweet thoughts are theirs, that breathe serenest calms,

Of holy offerings timely paid,108108Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostle’s feet. Acts iv. 37.

Of fire from heaven to bless their votive alms

And passions on God’s altar laid.

The world to them is clos’d, and now they shine

With rays of love divine,

Through darkest nooks of this dull earth

Pouring, in showery times, their glow of “quiet mirth.”

New hearts before their Saviour’s feet to lay,

This is their first, their dearest joy:

Their next from heart to heart to clear the way109109Barnabas took him, and brought him (Saul) to the Apostles. Acts ix. 27.

For mutual love without alloy:

Never so blest as when in Jesus’ roll

They write some hero-soul,

More pleas’d upon his brightening road

To wait, than if their own with all his radiance glow’d.

O happy spirits, mark’d by God and man

Their messages of love to bear,110110Acts xi. 22: xiii. 2.

What though long since in Heaven your brows began,

The genial amarant wreath to wear,

And in th’ eternal leisure of calm love

Ye banquet there above;

Yet in your sympathetic heart

We and our earthly griefs may ask and hope a part.

Comfort’s true sons! amid the thoughts of down

That strew your pillow of repose,

Sure ’tis one joy to muse, how ye unknown

By sweet remembrance soothe our woes;

And how the spark ye lit, of heavenly cheer,

Lives in our embers here,

Where’er the cross is borne with smiles,

Or lighten’d secretly by Love’s endearing wiles:

Where’er one Levite in the temple keeps

The watch-fire of his midnight prayer,

Or issuing thence, the eyes of mourners steeps

In heavenly balm, fresh gather’d there;

Thus saints, that seem to die in earth’s rude strife,

Only win double life:

They have but left our weary ways

To live in memory here, in Heaven by love and praise.


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