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Emblem, when life's day is closing
Of the deep repose of home;
Storms the joy of calm redoubling
In the mansions of the blest;
Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.
“AND SO HE BRINGETH THEM TO THE HAVEN WHERE
Yes, billow after billow — see they come
Faster and rougher, as her little boat
Nears evermore the haven. Oftentimes
It seems to sink and fall adown the wave,
As if borne backward by the struggling tide :
Yet mounting billow after billow, wave
On wave o'er-riding, tempest-tost and shatter'd,
Still, still it nears the haven evermore.
“ Poor mariner, art thou not sadly weary?” Dear brother, rest is sweeter after toil. “ Grows not thine eye confused and dim with sight Of nothing but the wintry waters ?" True, But then my pole-star, constant and serene, Above the changing waters changes not. “ But what if clouds, as often, veil the sky ?” Oh, then, an unseen hand hath ever ta’en The rudder from my feeble hands the while And I cling to it.
“ Answer me once more, Mariner, what think’st thou when the waters bear Thy frail boat backward from the long’d-for harbor ?” Oh, brother, though innumerable waves Still seem to rise betwixt me and
home Still billow after billow, wave on wave — I know that they are number'd: not one less Should bear me homeward if I had my will ; For One who knows what tempests are to weather, O’er whom there broke the wildest billows once, He bids these waters swell. In His good time The last rough wave shall bear me on its bosom Into the haven of eternal peace.
No billows after — they are number'd, brother.
“ Oh, gentle mariner, steer on, steer on:
My tears shall flow for thee, but they are tears
In which faith strives with grief, and overcomes.”
It was a strange and fearful night that same:
We had been talking of the troublous days
That seem'd to lie before us, and the clouds
Of gloom and tempest that were brooding round
The militant church of God: wherein we thought
Not one there gather'd would pass on unscathed.
And yet all hearts beat high, and glistening eyes
Burnt brightly as with coming triumph: -none
Hung back, none trembled, none were sore afraid.
He, whom unknown we knew, unseen we loved,
Was Pilot of our vessel, and He held
At beck the whirlwinds and the storms and clouds;
And He seem'd with us, saying, - “ Fear ye not,
Lo! I am with you alway: in the world
Ye shall have tribulation ; let your hearts
Be of good cheer, O ye of little faith,
For I, your Lord, have overcome the world.”
So in to one another's eyes we look’d,
And found there sorrow and dismay? nay, found
Such high enthusiast hopes as burn, like stars
’Mid drifting clouds, the brighter at near view
Of sufferings to be suffer'd and for Him,
Of high deeds to be ventured and for Him,
Of peril clasping our affection closer.
Amid that company were two who long
Had held bright standards in the warrior host
Of God - brave hearts - and as we heard them tell
Of conflicts deepening ever on the skirts
Of Christendom's blood-sprinkled battle-field,
The fire and light of love spontaneous rush'd
From heart to heart, and lit their altar-flame.
The evening wore away: and one by one
At length we parted lingering and loath,
For golden are such hours and brief and few :
But drawn, as I divine, by kindred thoughts,