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The Two Paths.

Via Dolorosa and Via Giojosa.

[Suggested by a Picture.]

My Master, they have wronged Thee and Thy love!

They only told me I should find the path

A Via Dolorosa all the way!

Even Thy sweetest singers only sang

Of pressing onward through the same sharp thorns,

With bleeding footsteps, through the chill dark mist,

Following and struggling till they reach the light,

The rest, the sunshine of the far beyond.


The anthems of the pilgrimage were set

In most pathetic minors, exquisite,

Yet breathing sadness more than any praise;

Thy minstrels let the fitful breezes make

Æolian moans on their entrusted harps,

Until the listeners thought that this was all

The music Thou hadst given. And so the steps

That halted where the two ways met and crossed,

The broad and narrow, turned aside in fear,

Thinking the radiance of their youth must pass

In sombre shadows if they followed Thee;

Hearing afar such echoes of one strain,

The cross, the tribulation, and the toil,

The conflict, and the clinging in the dark.

What wonder that the dancing feet are stayed

From entering the only path of peace!

Master, forgive them! Tune their harps anew,

And put a new song in their mouths for Thee,

And make Thy chosen people joyful in Thy love.

Lord Jesus, Thou hast trodden once for all

The Via Dolorosa,—and for us!

No artist power or minstrel gift may tell

The cost to Thee of each unfaltering step,

When love that passeth knowledge led Thee on,

Faithful and true to God, and true to us.

And now, belovèd Lord, Thou callest us

To follow Thee, and we will take Thy word

About the path which Thou hast marked for us.

Narrow indeed it is! Who does not choose

The narrow track upon the mountain side,

With ever-widening view, and freshening air,


And honeyed heather, rather than the road,

With smoothest breadth of dust and loss of view,

Soiled blossoms not worth gathering, and the noise

Of wheels instead of silence of the hills,

Or music of the waterfalls? Oh, why

Should they misrepresent Thy words, and make

‘Narrow’ synonymous with ‘very hard’?

For Thou, Divinest Wisdom, Thou hast said

Thy ways are ways of pleasantness, and all

Thy paths are peace; and that the path of him

Who wears Thy perfect robe of righteousness

Is as the light that shineth more and more

Unto the perfect day. And Thou hast given

An olden promise, rarely quoted now,88Job xxvi. 15.

Because it is too bright for our weak faith:

‘If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend

Days in prosperity, and they shall spend

Their years in pleasures.’ All because Thy days

Were full of sorrow, and Thy lonely years

Were passed in grief’s acquaintance—all for us!

Master, I set my seal that Thou art true,

Of Thy good promise not one thing hath failed!

And I would send a ringing challenge forth,

To all who know Thy name, to tell it out,

Thy faithfulness to every written word,

Thy loving-kindness crowning all the days,—

To say and sing with me: ‘The Lord is good,

His mercy is for ever, and His truth

Is written on each page of all my life!’

Yes! there is tribulation, but Thy power


Can blend it with rejoicing. There are thorns,

But they have kept us in the narrow way,

The King’s Highway of holiness and peace.

And there is chastening, but the Father’s love

Flows through it; and would any trusting heart

Forego the chastening and forego the love?

And every step leads on to ‘more and more,’

From strength to strength Thy pilgrims pass and sing

The praise of Him who leads them on and on,

From glory unto glory, even here!

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