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THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. St. Matthew viii. 10.

I mark’d a rainbow in the north,

What time the wild autumnal sun

From his dark veil at noon look’d forth,

As glorying in his course half done,

Flinging soft radiance far and wide

Over the dusky heaven and bleak hill-side.

It was a gleam to Memory dear,

And as I walk and muse apart,

When all seems faithless round and drear,

I would revive it in my heart,

And watch how light can find its way

To regions farthest from the fount of day.

Light flashes in the gloomiest sky,

And Music in the dullest plain,

For there the lark is soaring high

Over her flat and leafless reign,

And chanting in so blithe a tone,

It shames the weary heart to feel itself alone.

Brighter than rainbow in the north,

More cheery than the matin lark,

Is the soft gleam of Christian worth,

Which on some holy house we mark;

Dear to the pastor’s aching heart

To think, where’er he looks, such gleam may have a part;

May dwell, unseen by all but Heaven,

Like diamond blazing in the mine;

For ever, where such grace is given,

It fears in open day to shine,2222   Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof. St. Luke vii. 6.
   “From the first time that the impressions of religion settled deeply in his mind, he used great caution to conceal it; not only in obedience to the rule given by our Saviour, of fasting, prayer, and giving alm in secret, but from a particular distrust he had of himself; for he said, he was afraid that he should at some time or other do some enormous thing, which, if he were looked on as a very religious man, might cast a reproach on the profession of it, and give great disadvantage to impious men to blaspheme the name of God.”

   Burnet’s Life of Hale, in Wordsworth’s Eccl. Biog. vi. 73.

Lest the deep stain it owns within

Break out, and Faith be sham’d by the believer’s sin.

In silence and afar they wait,

To find a prayer their Lord may hear:

Voice of the poor and desolate,

You best may bring it to His ear;

Your grateful intercessions rise

With more than royal pomp, and pierce the skies.

Happy the soul whose precious cause

You in the Sovereign Presence plead —

“This is the lover of Thy laws,2323He loveth our nation. St. Luke vii. 5.

The friend of Thine in fear and need,” —

For to the poor Thy mercy lends

That solemn style, “Thy nation and Thy friends.”

He too is blest whose outward eye

The graceful lines of art may trace,

While his free spirit, soaring high,

Discerns the glorious from the base;

Till out of dust his magic raise2424He hath built us a synagogue. St. Luke vii. 5.

A home for prayer and love, and full harmonious praise,

Where far away and high above,

In maze on maze the tranced sight

Strays, mindful of that heavenly love

Which knows no end in depth or height,

While the strong breath of Music seems

To waft us ever on, soaring in blissful dreams.

What though in poor and humble guise

Thou here didst sojourn, cottage-born?

Yet from Thy glory in the skies

Our earthly gold Thou dost not scorn.

For Love delights to bring her best,

And where Love is, that offering evermore is blest.

Love on the Saviour’s dying head

Her spikenard drops unblam’d may pour,

May mount His cross, and wrap Him dead

In spices from the golden shore;2525St. John xii. 7; xix. 30,

Risen, may embalm His sacred name

With all a Painter’s art, and all a Minstrel’s flame.

Worthless and lost our offerings seem,

Drops in the ocean of His praise;

But Mercy with her genial beam

Is ripening them to pearly blaze,

To sparkle in His crown above,

Who welcomes here a child’s as there an angel’s love.


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