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SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY

So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Genesis iii. 24; compare chap. vi.

Foe of mankind! too bold thy race:

Thou runn’st at such a reckless pace,

Thine own dire work thou surely wilt confound:

’Twas but one little drop of sin

We saw this morning enter in,

And lo! at eventide the world is drown’d.

See here the fruit of wandering eyes,

Of worldly longings to be wise,

Of Passion dwelling on forbidden sweets:

Ye lawless glances, freely rove;

Ruin below and wrath above

Are all that now the wildering fancy meets.

Lord, when in some deep garden glade,

Of Thee and of myself afraid.

From thoughts like these among the bowers I hide,

Nearest and loudest then of all

I seem to hear the Judge’s call: —

“Where art thou, fallen man? come forth, and be thou tried.”

Trembling before Thee as I stand,

Where’er I gaze on either hand

The sentence is gone forth, the ground is curs’d:

Yet mingled with the penal shower

Some drops of balm in every bower

Steal down like April dews, that softest fall and first.

If filial and maternal love3535In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.

Memorial of our guilt must prove,

If sinful babes in sorrow must be born,

Yet, to assuage her sharpest throes,

The faithful mother surely knows,

This was the way Thou cam’st to save the world forlorn.

If blessed wedlock may not bless3636Thy desie shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Without some tinge of bitterness

To dash her cup of joy, since Eden lost,

Chaining to earth with strong desire

Hearts that would highest else aspire,

And o’er the tenderer sex usurping ever most;

Yet by the light of Christian lore

’Tis blind Idolatry no more,

But a sweet help and pattern of true love,

Showing how best the soul may cling

To her immortal Spouse and King,

How He should rule, and she with full desire approve.

If niggard Earth her treasures hide,3737Cursed is the ground for thy sake.

To all but labouring hands denied,

Lavish of thorns and worthless weeds alone,

The doom is half in mercy given,

To train us in our way to Heaven,

And show our lagging souls how glory must be won.

If on the sinner’s outward frame3838I was afraid, because I was naked.

God hath impressed His mark of blame,

And e’en our bodies shrink at touch of light,

Yet mercy hath not left us bare:

The very weeds we daily wear3939The Lord God made coats of skins, and clothed them.

Are to Faith’s eye a pledge of God’s forgiving might.

And oh! if yet one arrow more,4040Thou shalt surely die.

The sharpest of th’ Almighty’s store,

Tremble upon the string — a sinner’s death —

Art Thou not by to soothe and save,

To lay us gently in the grave,

To close the weary eye and hush the parting breath?

Therefore in sight of man bereft

The happy garden still was left;

The fiery sword that guarded, show’d it too;

Turning all ways, the world to teach,

That though as yet beyond our reach,

Still in its place the tree of life and glory grew.


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