Slike stranica

"Servant, once faithful, champion bold, my witness "Amidst the faithless and the fearing! why,

Why, art thou here? Did I into thine hand "Commit my elemental stores, to yield, "Or to withhold; feed thee (all foodless else) "From my own wilderness-provided table; "Give to thy prayer life's mighty issues; send "From my celestial seat approving fire "To own thy offering; make thee executor "Of my just wrath upon blaspheming priests ;"And deem'dst thou I could not thy life protect

"From vengeful princes' wrath; place by thy side

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My angel-guards; or station round thy steps

(To men invisible) my flaming chariots,

"Toppose their powerless hosts? Why art thou here?"

"Twas thus, expostulation, mild reproof,

Tender and gentle urged his pitying God:
Nor this sufficed; but when infirmity
Of spirit woke again; when bitterness
Of heart o'erflowed; when to his grieved lips
Arose again self-justifying pleas,

Desponding plaints; e'en then, no stern rebuke
Nor harsh reproach was heard; but, in their stead,
(Ye saints, ye angels, hear the wondrous tale!)
As the fond parent soothes his froward child,
And bears the mood infirm; reasons and pleads;
Subdues by love, and wins with patience; so-
(And how much more! for, here, what semblance holds,

Drawn from earth's ties ?) the Heavenly Father so,
Not strict to mark, not forward to condemn,
With pity viewed his servant's faltering faith;
Showed how he knew his feeble frame-the dust
His origin, his fragile dwelling clay;

His days as fleeting as the morning grass,
Cut down at even. Encouragements were given,
And words sustaining; till despondency
And fear, gave way to hope, to peace, and joy.

Thus, for a moment veiled the face Divine,
With everlasting love it beamed again.
First, as the careful husbandman unyokes,
At welcome close of day, the labouring steer
For well-earned rest and food; as grateful sovereigns
Dismiss the veteran, worn and hewn in fields
Of gory strife-war's fiery trappings loosed-
To the asylum, calm, sequestered; there

To spend in peace life's closing hours; 'twas thus
His gentle God and gracious Ruler gave
Aid to his servant, sweet companionship;

Young hands, and warmer blood; one, by his side

To ripen, after fitting interval,

For his own office, prophet, champion bold;
Leader of Israel's rites, guide of the young,
Pattern of holy faith. After were chosen
Anointed instruments, to slake with blood.
Heaven's wrath long-suffering, chastisements deferred,
Upon the recreant rulers, princes, priests.

And last-and best of all-more glad the news,
Than water to the fevered frame! his God
Revealed to his desponding spirit, that, yet,
Thousands-to His Omniscience only known-
Held sacred feälty to Heaven, and bowed,
Though secretly, their faithful knees to Him!

Nor stayed, perchance, Celestial favour here(Who ever served a bounteous God in vain? Who unrequited bore his easy yoke?)

Perchance were then sweet premonitions given, Which rang in gladness through the faithful band, Of that high guerdon, that transcendent grace, That bright exemption from man's general doom; That lot distinctive, fate exceptional,

Prepared for their great Head; to illustrate

His heaven-ward passage; flood with glory's beams Earth's closing hours; and waft him to the skies!

Oh matchless condescension! pity, love Unspeakable! This, this, shall fire the hymns Of the blest throng, and touch their golden harps Through Heaven's eternal year! I, too, have found His love, His pity, His long-suffering grace, And sparing mercy boundless. I would lay My grateful tribute on His altar; and bring (Might He accept the offering!) this rude lay, These humble strains, to swell th' immortal song!


ONCE more the guilt-stained monarch was to dare Jehovah's long-warned wrath: then was laid bare His vengeful arm; and, ere the promised rest Was reached-that goal, to which was now addressed The prophet's weary spirit-to him was given To launch the dreadful bolt of the long-suffering Heaven.

Adjacent to the fair and large domain

Of Israel's King, arose the dwelling plain
Of Naboth's race; whose patrimonial land
Unbroken had descended, since His hand,
Who marks His people's boundaries, gave its place
То every member of the chosen race.

Chief, of this fair and fruitful heritage,

An ample vineyard did his love engage:

There, where the blushing clusters thickly spread,
And slender tendrils twined above the head,
Oft had his joyous feet in childhood played,

And youth's more thoughtful footsteps fondly strayed ;
There, oft, in joy and sorrow he had trod,

Pondered his ways, and communed with his God:

And when his manhood ties domestic bound,
And, like the vines, his branches gathered round,
There, to his sons their fathers' deeds he told,
Taught holy precepts of the men of old,
And bade transmit the gentle heritage
To children's children to the latest age.

The greedy king the land's attractions saw, And eager sought within his grasp to draw: Nought, in his thought, were fair ancestral names, Time-honoured rights, or patrimonial claims;

But, with some lingering equity, nor choked
Wholly by crimes which men and Heaven provoked,
He offered, or with gold the worth to pay,
Or other lands compensating convey.

Vain the proposal; neither gold, nor change For other land throughout the kingdom's range, Could Naboth tempt from his domain to part, Twined round his own, and his beloved one's heart; But, with fit reverence, as one who knew What to his king, as to himself, was due, He Heaven's allotment as his plea assigned; And the king's proffer modestly declined.

Lord of a stately realm, with every good
By worldly spirits coveted and woo'd,
Yet passion's slave; all powerless to control
The meanest wish that seized an abject soul;

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