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MONDAY BEFORE EASTER

Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not. Isaiah lxiii. 16.

Father to me thou art and mother dear,

And brother too, kind husband of my heart —

So speaks Andromache5050Illiad, vi. 429. in boding fear,

Ere from her last embrace her hero part —

So evermore, by Faith’s undying glow,

We own the Crucified in weal or woe.

Strange to our ears the church-bells of our home,

This fragrance of our old paternal fields

May be forgotten; and the time may come

When the babe’s kiss no sense of pleasure yields

E’en to the doting mother: but Thine own

Thou never canst forget, nor leave alone.

There are who sigh that no fond heart is theirs,

None loves them best — O vain and selfish sigh!

Out of the bosom of His love He spares —

The Father spares the Son, for thee to die:

For thee He died — for thee He lives again:

O’er thee He watches in His boundless reign.

Thou art as much His care, as if beside

Nor man nor angel liv’d in Heaven or earth:

Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide

To light up worlds, or wake an insect’s mirth:

They shine and shine with unexhausted store —

Thou art thy Saviour’s darling — seek no more.

On thee and thine, thy warfare and thine end,

E’en in His hour of agony He thought,

When, ere the final pang His soul should rend,

The ransom’d spirits one by one were brought

To His mind’s eye — two silent nights and days5151In Passion week, from Tuesday evening to Thursday evening; during which time Scripture seems to be nearly silent concernng our Saviour’s proceedings.

In calmness for His far-seen hour He stays.

Ye vaulted cells, where martyr’d seers of old

Far in the rocky walls of Sion sleep,

Green terraces and arched fountains cold,

Where lies the cypress shade so still and deep,

Dear sacred haunts of glory and of woe,

Help us, one hour, to trace His musings high and low:

One heart-ennobling hour! It may not be:

Th’ unearthly thoughts have pass’d from earth away,

And fast as evening sunbeams from the sea

Thy footsteps all in Sion’s deep decay

Were blotted from the holy ground: yet dear

Is every stone of hers; for Thou want surely here.

There is a spot within this sacred dale

That felt Thee kneeling — touch’d Thy prostrate brow:

One Angel knows it. O might prayer avail

To win that knowledge! sure each holy vow

Less quickly from the unstable soul would fade,

Offer’d where Christ in agony was laid.

Might tear of ours once mingle with the blood

That from His aching brow by moonlight fell,

Over the mournful joy our thoughts would brood,

Till they had fram’d within a guardian spell

To chase repining fancies, as they rise,

Like birds of evil wing, to mar our sacrifice.

So dreams the heart self-flattering, fondly dreams; —

Else wherefore, when the bitter waves o’erflow,

Miss we the light, Gethsemane, that streams

From thy dear name, where in His page of woe

It shines, a pale kind star in winter’s sky?

Who vainly reads it there, in vain had seen Him die.


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