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SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

And when these things begin to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth night. St. Luke xxi. 28.

Not till the freezing blast is still,

Till freely leaps the sparkling rill,

And gales sweep soft from summer skies,

As o’er a sleeping infant’s eyes

A mother’s kiss; ere calls like these,

No sunny gleam awakes the trees,

Nor dare the tender flowerets show

Their bosoms to th’ uncertain glow.

Why then, in sad and wintry time,

Her heavens all dark with doubt and crime,

Why lifts the Church her drooping head,

As though her evil hour were fled?

Is she less wise than leaves of spring,

Or birds that cower with folded wing?

What sees she in this lowering sky

To tempt her meditative eye?

She has a charm, a word of fire,

A pledge of love that cannot tire;

By tempests, earthquakes, and by wars,

By rushing waves and falling stars,

By every sign her Lord foretold,

She sees the world is waxing old,66The world hath lost its youth, and the times begin to wax old. 2 Esdras xiv. 10.

And through that last and direst storm

Descries by faith her Saviour’s form.

Not surer does each tender gem,

Set in the fig-tree’s polish’d stem,

Foreshow the summer season bland,

Than these dread signs Thy mighty hand:

But, oh, frail hearts, and spirits dark!

The season’s flight unwarn’d we mark,

But miss the Judge behind the door,77See St. James v. 9.

For all the light of sacred lore:

Yet is He there; beneath our eaves

Each sound His wakeful ear receives:

Hush, idle words, and thoughts of ill,

Your Lord is listening: peace, be still.88Iba fabulantur, ut qui sciant Dominum audire, Tertull. Apolog. p. 36 edit. Higalz.

Christ watches by a Christian’s hearth,

Be silent, “vain deluding mirth,.”

Till in thine alter’d voice be known

Somewhat of Resignation’s tone.

But chiefly ye should lift your gaze

Above the world’s uncertain haze,

And look with calm unwavering eye

On the bright fields beyond the sky,

Ye, who your Lord’s commission bear

His way of mercy to prepare:

Angels He calls ye: be your strife

To lead on earth an Angel’s life.

Think not of rest; though dreams be sweet,

Start up, and ply your heavenward feet.

Is not God’s oath upon your head,

Ne’er to sink back on slothful bed,

Never again your loans untie,

Nor let your torches waste and die,

Till, when the shadows thickest fall,

Ye hear your Master’s midnight call?


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