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What is it that amid some earthly home,

Where all have equal nurture, and the care

Of loving hearts forbids all harm to come

Within the limits of its sacred lair,

Makes difference in those who dwell therein;--

Some unrefined by grace, while others brightness win?

All seem alike within the sacred bound,

And freely blend throughout the livelong day;

But ever and anon some traits are found

In one or other, which define the way

Of closer walk with GOD well sought and found,

While others linger more on lower earthly ground.

As 'mid the thickness of some leafy wood,

The sunbeams find a passage here and there,

And light some spot which erst in shadow stood,

Making each leaflet look more bright and fair,

While other patches, that lie round it, miss

The ray of radiant Light that fills itself with bliss,--

So is it in the tangled wood of life:

Some souls there are that keep the open way,

Free from the boughs of earthly hindrance, rife

For every advent of the Heavenly ray;--

Ready to catch it as in love it comes

To seek the loving souls that are its willing homes.


And as it shines it points them out to view

As diverse from the rest, then flits away,

And leaves them each their duties to pursue,

Like other men, in common light of day;--

Lest they should think themselves so much GOD's choice

That they have only need to linger and rejoice.

--Force not thy upward growth, but first of all

Deepen thy roots, then may'st thou well sustain

The rays of sunlight that upon thee fall,

And, without withering, all thy strength retain.

Plants that have little else but leaf and flower,

However bright their hue, live but their little hour.

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