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Christian Poems

Christian Poem Themes

Table of Contents

  1. The Christian by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  2. A Gentle Man by William Henry Venable
  3. The Carpenter's Shop by Amos Russel Wells
  4. Life Sculpture by George Washington Doane
  5. Life's Knitting-Work by Harriet Selden Baker
  6. "Abide In Me, And I In You." by Amos Russel Wells
  7. Our Savior's Call by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  8. The Castle of Christian Endeavor by Amos Russel Wells
  9. The Sermon of St. Francis by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  10. Given in Marriage unto Thee by Amos Russel Wells
  11. In the Wilderness by poet
  12. It Is I: Be Not Afraid by Amos Russel Wells
  13. Nearer by Amos Russel Wells
  14. A Troubled Day by Amos Russel Wells
  15. Sundown by John Charles McNeill
  16. Begin a Year To-Day! by Amos Russel Wells
  17. Just a Nail by Amos Russel Wells
  18. The Graces by Kate Louise Wheeler
  19. By Their Fruits by William Henry Venable
  20. Good Seed by Dudley Hughes Davis
  21. If I Were A Sunbeam by Alice Cary
  22. The Two Pits by Amos Russel Wells
  23. Worry by Amos Russel Wells
  24. Wages by Amos Russel Wells
  25. "The Stars at Set of Sun" by Anonymous
  26. Turning Back by Amos Russel Wells
  27. A Hymn of Turning by Amos Russel Wells
  28. The Book of Martyrs by Emily Dickinson
  29. "Dead Unto Sin" by Amos Russel Wells
  30. Too Busy by Amos Russel Wells
  31. My Promise by Amos Russel Wells
  32. The Thorn in the Flesh by Amos Russel Wells
  33. Good, Better, Best by Amos Russel Wells
  34. What is a Revival? by Amos Russel Wells
  35. "The Lord is a Shield" by Amos Russell Wells
  1. The Living Temple by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  2. The Nightingale and the Glow-worm by William Cowper
  3. Roots by Amos Russel Wells
  4. Upon A Snail by John Bunyan
  5. Praise for God by Amos Russel Wells
  6. The Story of Two Speeches by Amos Russel Wells
  7. Clothed Upon by Amos Russel Wells
  8. The Pulley by George Herbert
  9. Man by Henry Vaughan
  10. Holy Thursday by William Blake
  11. Mount Olivet by Hannah Flagg Gould
  12. To A ****** by Hannah Flagg Gould
  13. The Release by Hannah Flagg Gould
  14. The Voice by Hannah Flagg Gould
  15. Echo by Hannah Flagg Gould
  16. Hymn of the Reapers by Hannah Flagg Gould
  17. The Great Refiner by Hannah Flagg Gould
  18. See That Ye Refuse Not Him That Speaketh by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  19. His Coming by Amos Russel Wells
  20. My Burden by Amos Russel Wells
  21. Asphalt: A Parable by Amos Russel Wells
  22. A New Year by Amos Russel Wells
  23. There came a Day at Summer's full (XIII. RENUNCIATION.) by Emily Dickinson
  24. Through the strait pass of suffering (XII. THE MARTYRS.) by Emily Dickinson
  25. Death And Life by Amos Russel Wells
  26. Vanity of Life by poet
  27. Unawares by Emma A. Lent
  28. New Songs by Amos Russel Wells
  29. The Pilgrim by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  30. Home Heroism by Amos Russel Wells
  31. How Can I Keep From Giving? by Robert Franklin Skillings
  32. The Bargain by Henry Van Dyke
  33. Insomnia by Amos Russel Wells
  34. False Signals by Amos Russel Wells
  35. Love Your Enemies by Helen M. Johnson
  36. "We See Through a Glass Darkly" by Helen M. Johnson

  1. The Christian

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    The christian hath a noble soul,
    A soul that's pure and even;—
    A principle, which crowns the whole,
    For know, his hope is heaven.

    Afflictions here, may be his lot,
    Through life's uneven way;
    But storms of sorrow damp him not—
    The promise is his stay.

    A christian, has a noble mind,
    'Though in the humblest cot;
    Though poor and maim'd though halt and blind
    Angels surround the spot.

    His garb may be a mean attire,—
    His food the coarsest fare;
    Yet God, his all, his chief desire,
    Descends to bless him there.

  2. A Gentle Man

    by William Henry Venable

    I knew a gentle Man;—
    Alas! his soul has flown;
    Now that his tender heart is still,
    Pale anguish haunts my own.
    His eye, in pity's tear,
    Would often saintly swim;
    He did to others as he would
    That they should do to him.

    He suffered many things,—
    Renounced, forgave, forbore;
    And sorrow's crown of thorny stings,
    Like Christ, he meekly wore;
    At rural toils he strove;
    In beauty, joy he sought;
    His solace was in children's words
    And wise men's pondered thought.

    He was both meek and brave,
    Not haughty, and yet proud;
    He daily died his soul to save,
    And ne'er to Mammon bowed.
    E'en as a little child
    He entered Heaven's Gate;
    I caught his parting smile, which said,
    "Be reconciled, and wait."

  3. The Carpenter's Shop

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I am a tool in the Carpenter's hand,
    And obedience only is mine.
    Never a whit may I understand
    The Carpenter's vast design.

    Mine to stay if He bids me stay,
    And go if He bids me go;
    Mine to plod in the same dull way
    Steadily to and fro.

    Mine to present a handle firm,
    And an edge that is sharp and true;
    Mine to achieve in my destined term,
    Just what He would have me do.

    The Nazareth shop in the centuries dead
    Has sunk from the sight of men.
    O joy if my life by the Carpenter led,
    May restore that shop again!

  4. Life Sculpture

    by George Washington Doane

    Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
    With his marble block before him,
    And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
    As an angel-dream passed o’er him.

    He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
    With many a sharp incision;
    With heaven’s own flight the sculpture shone,—
    He’d caught that angel-vision.

    Children of life are we, as we stand
    With our lives uncarved before us,
    Waiting the hour when, at God’s command,
    Our life-dream shall pass o’er us.

    If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
    With many a sharp incision,
    Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,—
    Our lives, that angel-vision.

    Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

    – Isaiah 64:8
    The Bible, NIV
  5. Life's Knitting-Work

    by Harriet Selden Baker

    My knitting-work I laid aside
    When the week was done;
    But I took it up again
    With Monday's rising sun.

    Stitch by stitch, hour by hour,
    Through the live-long day,
    Do I go the many rounds
    Of life's busy way.

    But I find that I oft drop
    Stitches, here and there,
    From my tired hands that are
    Burdened so with care.

    But each stitch I patiently
    Through the meshes draw:
    Till my work is once again
    Whole, without a flaw!

    O that when my life shall close,
    And all its acts laid bare,
    It might all be found complete—
    Perfect everywhere,—

    A well-rounded life that should
    Receive our Lord's bequest:
    "Well done, Faithful, enter in
    To my promised rest!"

  6. "Abide In Me, And I In You."

    by Amos Russel Wells

    My heart lies open to Thy sun
    As roses to the day;
    Thy flooding graces overrun
    Along the shining way.
    I yield my weary life to Thee
    With passive lowliness,
    As empty channels to the sea
    Where eager surges press.
    As waiting wires are strangely filled
    By swift electric force;
    As wintry, barren fields are thrilled
    From life's triumphant source;
    As air, and light, and heat rush in
    Where doors are open wide,
    O Saviour, to my soul of sin
    Come, enter, and abide!
    And now with strengthening mercy fed,
    O Thou creative Christ!
    Not all Thy meat nor all Thy bread
    Has happily sufficed.
    Transported by Thy graciousness,
    That Thou wilt dwell in me,
    My wakened powers boldly press
    Henceforth to dwell in Thee!
    For Thou art more than I can know
    Within my narrow bound
    And I to Thy far heights would go,
    Thy deepest depths would sound
    With kindling eye and fervent heart
    I leave my little home
    In all Thy deeds to have a part,
    On all Thy ways to roam.
    Out on the largeness of Thy mind
    My daring thoughts expand;
    In Thy wide reaches unconfined
    I compass sea and land,
    I do not faint, I do not fear,
    On tireless wings I glide,
    And height is home, and far is near,
    When I with Thee abide!

  7. Our Savior's Call

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    We are call'd, when fatigued, to the banquet prepar'd,
    And to cast all our care on the Lord;
    We are call'd by His cross, and His passion declar'd,
    To taste the rich joys of his word.

    When sickness, or danger, or grief, brings us low,
    And friends are all falling around,
    O, then to His word for relief we may go,
    Sweet balm for the heaviest wound.

    'Tis there the rich promise of durable grace,
    Stands seal'd with His own precious blood;
    Words of pardon and peace, we thither may trace,
    And feast on the spiritual food.

    We come, blessed Lord, we rejoice at thy call,
    We are weary with sin's heavy load;
    O, be our protector, our fortress, our wall,
    Conduct us safe home to our God.

    Thy shadow is peace, thy spirit is good,
    Thy judgments more precious than gold;
    We are bought with the price of thine own precious blood,
    By this let our names be enroll'd.

  8. The Castle of Christian Endeavor

    by Anonymous

    The castle is built with a lordly design,
    It is massive and stately and tall;
    Its towers and battlements glitter and shine,
    And fair is its compassing wall.

    Firm-founded it rests on the ultimate rock,—
    The church and the life of the Lord;
    No tempest may shake it, no thunderbolt shock,
    Uncouquered by cannon or sword.

    Its turrets leap high with the purpose of prayer,
    Its banner is jubilant ever;
    Its casements are wide to the sweet, common air—
    Our Castle of Christian Endeavor,

    The pledge is a drawbridge we sturdily pass,
    Portcullised with firmness and truth;
    Ah, gay are the ballads of laddie and lass,
    But dearer the darings of youth!

    And all the great castle with work is alive,
    With labor unselfishly kind;
    How easy the task as together we strive,
    One Master, one aim, and one mind!

    Oh, radiant promise! oh, heartening sight!
    Oh, hope to be nullified never!
    For Christ is the hope, and the joy, and the light
    Of our Castle of Christian Endeavor.

  9. The Sermon of St. Francis

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Up soared the lark into the air,
    A shaft of song, a wingéd prayer,
    As if a soul released from pain
    Were flying back to heaven again.

    St. Francis heard: it was to him
    An emblem of the Seraphim;
    The upward motion of the fire,
    The light, the heat, the heart's desire.

    Around Assisi's convent gate
    The birds, God's poor who cannot wait,
    From moor and mere and darksome wood
    Come flocking for their dole of food.

    "O brother birds," St. Francis said,
    "Ye come to me and ask for bread,
    But not with bread alone to-day
    Shall ye be fed and sent away.

    "Ye shall be fed, ye happy birds,
    With manna of celestial words;
    Not mine, though mine they seem to be,
    Not mine, though they be spoken through me.

    "Oh, doubly are ye bound to praise
    The great Creator in your lays;
    He giveth you your plumes of down,
    Your crimson hoods, your cloaks of brown.

    "He giveth you your wings to fly
    And breathe a purer air on high,
    And careth for you everywhere,
    Who for yourselves so little care!"

    With flutter of swift wings and songs
    Together rose the feathered throngs,
    And singing scattered far apart;
    Deep peace was in St. Francis' heart.

    He knew not if the brotherhood
    His homily had understood;
    He only knew that to one ear
    The meaning of his words was clear.

  10. Given in marriage unto thee

    by Emily Dickinson

    Given in marriage unto thee,
    Oh, thou celestial host!
    Bride of the Father and the Son,
    Bride of the Holy Ghost!

    Other betrothal shall dissolve,
    Wedlock of will decay;
    Only the keeper of this seal
    Conquers mortality.

  11. In the Wilderness

    by Amos Russel Wells

    When temptations throng and press
    Through a lonely wilderness,
    In my doubt and deadly fear,
    Jesus, Saviour, be Thou near;
    Thou hast all temptation known,
    All temptations overthrown.

    When the sky is brass o'erhead,
    And I fear for daily bread,
    With the fulness of thy peace
    Bid my fainting folly cease;
    Though the wilderness is bare
    Thou wilt spread a table there.

    When ambitions bid me stray
    From the straight and narrow way,
    Thou, the Lord of all the earth,
    Teach me what is better worth.
    Show the gain of loving loss
    And the glory of the cross.

    When the very work I do
    Brings a subtle danger too.
    And I fain would speed alone
    In a pathway of my own,
    Then, O self-denying Son,
    Not my will, but Thine, be done!

  12. "It Is I: Be Not Afraid."

    by Amos Russel Wells

    How shall I know Thee, Master, when the night
    Falls black about the way,
    When earth is void, and heaven has no light,
    And wild winds hunt their prey?

    How shall I know 'tis Thee, or fiends of hell
    In forms that image Thee?
    They throng with mockeries, and can I tell
    When Thou art come to me?

    Yes, by the proof of peace! Oh, Saviour dear,
    However sore dismayed,
    When once Thy least low whispering I hear,
    I shall not be afraid!

    19So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 

    – John 6:19-20
    KJV
  13. Nearer

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Closer is the Lord's protection
    Than a near investing wall;
    Closer than a moat around me;
    Closer than a tower tall;
    Closer than a suit of armor,
    Or my hands and feet can be;
    For against my own assailing
    His protection keepeth me!

  14. A Troubled Day

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Thus built I my day,—with a beam at the base,
    Some windows turned sidewise, a chimney, a door,
    A cellar half finished, a roof out of place.
    And all the foundation heaped up on the floor!

    I wished it to rise in an orderly way,
    In symmetry fashioned, in beauty designed;
    And this is the product, this wilderness day,
    This riot and jumble of work and of mind!

    I thought of itself it would grow as it should,
    Part springing from part as a blossom unrolls,
    The stone and the brick and the neat-jointed wood,
    No jar or confusion, no cracks and no holes.

    O Architect, Master of days and of me.
    Thou Builder of homes where all ravishments dwell,
    No more will I venture to build without Thee!
    Plan Thou my to-morrow, and all will be well.

  15. Sundown

    by John Charles McNeill

    Hills wrapped in gray, standing along the west;
    Clouds, dimly lighted, gathering slowly;
    The star of peace at watch above the crest—
    Oh, holy, holy, holy!

    We know, O Lord, so little what is best;
    Wingless, we move so lowly;
    But in thy calm all-knowledge let us rest—
    Oh, holy, holy, holy!

    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

    – Matthew 11:28
    KJV
  16. Begin a Year To-Day!

    by Amos Russel Wells

    On New Year's day you started in
    With heart of grace absolved from sin,
    With forward look, with purpose true,
    And all the world was fair to you.

    But soon the devil found a crack
    And pierced your armor, front or back;
    And soon, your conduct past excuse,
    You sadly cried, "Oh, what's the use?"

    Brother! the wheelings of the sun
    In endless hopeful circles run;
    They sweep serenely through the air,
    And you may start from anywhere.

    For common use we count the year
    From one sole point in its career;
    But you, adopt a lordly tone,
    And fix a year that's all your own!

    Adopt this very day and hour
    As genesis of hope and power.
    Forget the failures left behind,
    And on the future fix your mind.

    Break with the follies of the past!
    Master your weaknesses at last!
    Stiffen your muscles! Watch and pray!
    Stoutly begin a year to-day!

  17. Just a Nail

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Once a captain, homeward bound,
    In a startled moment found
    He was running on to land,
    And the shoals were close at hand:
    Sudden sight and sudden shout,
    And the ship was turned about.

    Steering by the compass, he
    Thought himself far out at sea;
    But the astonished captain learned
    That the needle had been turned
    By a nail some carpenter
    Heedless drove, and left it there.

    So with many a gallant ship
    On our life-long ocean trip;
    Ah, what fatal wreck has been
    Where a single tiny sin
    With its steady, sure control
    Turned the compass of the soul!

  18. The Graces

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    Faith, the angel of my prayer,
    Hope, to lighten every care,
    Love, to lift life's heavy yoke,
    These the graces I invoke;
    But the greatest of the three
    Is the last-sweet charity.

  19. By Their Fruits

    by William Henry Venable

    Above the clash of counter creeds
    These gospel accents swell:
    Whoever doeth righteous deeds
    Hath read his Bible well.

    Like fragrant blooms of lavish spring
    Are adoration's vows;
    The tree that pleases God will bring
    Fair fruitage on its boughs.

  20. Rest in Him

  21. Good Seed

    by Dudley Hughes Davis

    Good seed sown on the earth
    Shall ever bloom in heaven;
    And while eternity rolls on
    Grow more beautiful and lovely,
    Variegating its tints
    With the golden skies
    Of the heavenly world,
    While the everlasting fountain,
    Which flows from the throne of God,
    Shall lift its golden spray
    In heavenly clouds,
    To fall like dew-drops
    On the never withering bloom
    Which shall live forever and ever.

  22. Salt and Light

  23. If I Were A Sunbeam

    by Alice Cary

    "If I were a sunbeam,
    I know what I'd do;
    I would seek white lilies,
    Roaming woodlands through.
    I would steal among them,
    Softest light I'd shed,
    Until every lily
    Raised its drooping head.

    "If I were a sunbeam,
    I know where I'd go;
    Into lowly hovels,
    Dark with want and woe:
    Till sad hearts looked upward,
    I would shine and shine;
    Then they'd think of heaven,
    Their sweet home and mine."

    Are you not a sunbeam,
    Child, whose life is glad
    With an inner brightness
    Sunshine never had?
    Oh, as God has blessed you,
    Scatter light divine!
    For there is no sunbeam
    But must die or shine.


    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    – Matthew 5:16
    The Bible, KJV
  24. All for the Glory of God

  25. The Two Pits

    by Anonymous

    A toiler bent a patient back
    Above a yawning pit
    And time, and strength and love, and wealth,
    He shovelled into it.
    And still, though many years he toiled,
    And bitterly he cursed,
    The pit remained a hollow hole,
    As empty as at first.

    A second workman bent his back
    Above a second pit,
    And time, and strength, and love, and wealth,
    He shovelled into it.
    And lo! before the sun was set,
    The pit was brimming o'er
    With ruddy gold and jewels rare,
    A vast, exhaustless store!

    Oh! toiler in the fleld of life,
    "Tis not the work you do,
    But where you do it, and for what,
    Means bane or bliss for you.
    Alike into a yawning pit,
    May go your strength, your pelf
    But one pit is the church of God
    The other is—your SELF.

  26. Worry

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Worry—a petty madness, weak and crude;
    A treason to the universal love;
    A passion for the nethermost; a rude,
    Sullen defiance of the God above!

    A torturing woe that is not worth a name;
    A bitter grief that never wins a tear;
    A misery that hides behind a shame;
    A blasphemy that calls itself a fear!

    A passion more intense than all but hate;
    A sin uncensured in our clumsy creeds;
    A dread disease forlorn and desolate
    That sorely some benign physician needs.

    How shall we conquer thee, thou empty shape?
    With what austerest weapon on thee full
    And pierce thy filmy folds of horrid crape,
    And find thy life, that hast no heart at all?

    Father of Love and Light, to Thee we turn!
    Beset by powers of gloom, we turn to Thee!
    With souls that faint, with souls that weakly yearn,
    With souls that drag their chains and would be free!

    Yea, Father, we are like a frightened child
    Waked in the night and groping for a hand;
    So lay Thy touch upon our terrors wild,
    And, in all darkness, we shall understand.

    6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

    – 1 Peter 5:6-7
    The Bible, ESV
  27. Wages

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The Great Employer pays not by the day,
    Or by the piece, but only by the will,—
    The loving purpose longing to fulfll,
    The glad response that hastens to obey;
    And when the Great Employer comes to pay,
    He bids the worker take all that he will,
    The heavenly gold of joy, and larger skill,
    And sweet content, and songs upon the way.

    When will the stupid cruelties of man
    Learn God's high art of wages? pay desire?
    Pay faithfuiness that does the best it can?
    Pay eager loyalties that never tire?
    Adopt the one superbly prudent plan,
    And throw their brutal bargainings in the fire?

  28. "The Stars at Set of Sun"

    by Anonymous

    When the stars at set of sun
    Watch you from on high
    When the morning has begun
    Think the Lord is nigh.

    All you do and all you say,
    He can see and hear:
    When you work and when you play,
    Think the Lord is near.

    All your joys and griefs He knows
    Counts each falling tear.
    When to Him you tell your woes,
    Know the Lord is near.

  29. Turning Back

    by Amos Russel Wells

    When the blossom from the sun
    Turns its head away,
    Not for it do sunbeams run
    Through the shining day.

    When the blossom turns again
    To the sun's bright face,
    The forgiving sunlight then
    Pours its golden grace.

    When the round earth turns aside
    Into winter's cold,
    How the merry blossoms hide,
    How the world grows old!

    When the earth again in spring
    To the sun returns,
    How all heaven's pardoning
    Leaps and laughs and yearns!

    So when hearts of human kind
    Turn from God away,
    Gloom and misery they find
    Darkening the day.

    But if they will turn again
    And their God adore,
    As in nature, so in men,
    All is well once more.

  30. A Hymn of Turning

    by Amos Russell Wells

    God of law, whose mighty form
    Rears the mountain, sways the storm,
    Bowed beneath Thy just decree,
    Whither shall I turn from Thee?

    I will turn, O Crucified,
    To the refuge of Thy side.
    From my sins that bleed and burn,
    To Thy bleeding cross I turn.

    I have tested human skill,
    Human love and human will,
    All devices of the brain,
    Reason, honor—all are vain.

    From my self with all its woes,
    Shameful prey of shameful foes,
    Lo. I turn—how eagerly!—
    Christ, my better self, to Thee.

    Field and forest, sea and air,—
    All the earth is very fair.
    Keen ambition's crafty art
    Binds the world upon my heart.

    But in Thee, O Christ! I find
    All ennoblings of the mind;
    Fount of all for which I yearn,
    Christ, O Christ, to Thee I turn.

  31. The Book of Martyrs

    by Emily Dickinson

    Read, sweet, how others strove,
    Till we are stouter;
    What they renounced,
    Till we are less afraid;
    How many times they bore
    The faithful witness,
    Till we are helped,
    As if a kingdom cared!

    Read then of faith
    That shone above the fagot;
    Clear strains of hymn
    The river could not drown;
    Brave names of men
    And celestial women,
    Passed out of record
    Into renown!

    O for a heart to grow in grace,
    To live for Christ alone;
    To muse on heaven, that resting place,
    To know as we are known.

    – Eliza Wolcott
    The Time Is Short
  32. "Dead Unto Sin"

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I have buried me out of the land of sin,
    I have straightened my limbs in its last sad light.
    I have dug me a grave its desert within,
    I have lowered my being out of its sight.

    I have said the last prayers above the tomb
    Prayers of penitence, prayers of peace;
    And out of the land of sin I have come,
    Bathed in the joy of a full release.

    It was not I that was left behind,
    It is not my past that is huried there;
    I am a soul of another kind,
    And it is another name I bear.

    I am the man who is standing here,
    Glad and alert for an opening way;
    I am the soul with its record clear,
    I am the man who was born to-day.

    Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

    – Romans 6:11
    KJV
  33. General/Life - General poems about living the Christian Life
  34. Our Seven Wonders

    by Amos Russel Wells

    John Mason, tinker of watches,
    Became a soldier one day,
    And carried his instruments with him,
    As he sturdily marched away.

    "For surely," he chuckled in secret,
    "My tools will be useful still,
    And bring me in many a shilling,
    When the army discovers my skill."

    It happened the way he expected,
    And soon he had all he could do
    Repairing the renegade watches
    Of privates and officers too.

    He forgot that he was a soldier,
    And when ordered against the foe,
    He said, "I've a dozen watches
    To mend, sir, and how can I go?"

    Ah, thus we also are busy
    With tasks that we greedily take,
    And not for the good of the army,
    And not for the Kingdom's sake.

    And then when the foe is attacking,
    And our Captain seeks soldiers to send
    We answer: "It's out of the question!
    I've a dozen watches to mend!"

  35. My Promise

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Since I have promised, I am more than one;
    My promise is a portion of my soul,
    A loved or hated yet authentic son;
    And I without his wholeness am not whole.

    If I deny him, I deny my own;
    If I neglect him, I myself am wronged;
    When I walk forth, no more am I alone,
    And his is all that once to me belonged.

    In his dishonor, what is my disgrace!
    And in his glory, how am I renowned!
    Ah, when the King shall bow and kiss his face,
    May I with him be honored, kissed, and crowned!

  36. The Thorn in the Flesh

    by Amos Russel Wells

    A fragment of the Saviour's crown of thorns
    I carry, buried deep within my brain;
    At noons and nights and dull, foreboding morns
    It beats, the heart of pain.

    And ever, in my agonies of prayer.
    Gazing on Calvary I chide my soul;
    "Be still! the merest fragment thou dost bear,
    And He endured the whole!"

    As creatures crude, ungraced with any thought,
    Lost in the ocean's least considered swirl,
    Around some festering grain of sand have wrought
    That miracle, a pearl.

    So I will press my life-blood's patient flow
    Against my thorn, and seal the layers down
    Till all its surfaces with splendor glow,
    A ruby, for a crown!

  37. Good, Better, Best

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Lord of workers, endless wise,
    It would be a wondrous prize
    If our work so firmly stood
    Thou couldst praise and call it good.

    Lord of workers, whose design
    Finer grows and yet more fine,
    All our work with purpose fill,
    Help us make it better still.

    Lord of workers, pointing far
    To ideal's perfect star,
    Leave us no ignoble rest,
    Lift our better up to best.

    Lord of workers, joined with Thee
    In endeavor's ecstasy,
    Let Thy words that cheer and bless
    Be our goal and our success.

  38. What is a Revival?

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Revival? When the atmosphere
    Grows tense, like air around a bier?
    When deacons pray in awful tones,
    And not a hymn but ends with groans?
    When children go to church in fright?
    When meetings last through half the night?
    When wild sensations overlap,
    And no one knows what next may hap?
    Revival? No! Such signs as these
    Have vanished with dead centuries.

    But this is a revival now:
    When Christian hearts in longing bow;
    When Christian voices boldly dare
    The frank appeal, the fervent prayer;
    When Christian hands are quick to greet
    The first non-Christian man they meet;
    When songs in earnest pleading rise,
    And hope is shining in our eyes;
    When thoughtful spirits look within
    And cleanse their hearts from secret sin;
    When love is eager to relieve
    The souls that tremble, doubt, or grieve;
    When homes, with happiness aglow,
    Are like a bit of heaven below
    When business men deal honestly
    And lives are lived in purity;
    'Tis then, O Christ of God! 'tis then
    Thy Spirit moves the souls of men;
    'Tis then revivals come, and bless
    The sin-sick world with righteousness.

    For not in angry thunder-blast
    Or crashing wave that bends the mast,
    Or earthquake shock that rends the ground
    Are nature's mightiest forces found;
    But where the sunshine pours its grace,
    And rain makes glad some thirsty place,
    And little seeds all silently
    Expand to grass and flower and tree.

  39. "The Lord is a Shield"

    by Amos Russell Wells

    Is God the Lord to be your shield?
    Then keep Him aye before you,
    And follow Him to any field,
    His banner ever o'er you.

    No shield is He to those who fall
    Fainthearted far behind Him;
    But hold Him firmly over all,
    And to their bosom bind Him.

    Nor shield is He to those who tread
    Presumptuously before Him,
    By proud and idle fancy led
    All heedless to ignore Him.

    But follow where He leads the way
    And bind Him closely to you;
    And God will be your shield for aye,
    Nor mightiest foe undo you.

  40. The Living Temple

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Not in the world of light alone,
    Where God has built his blazing throne,
    Nor yet alone in earth below,
    With belted seas that come and go,
    And endless isles of sunlit green,
    Is all thy Maker's glory seen:
    Look in upon thy wondrous frame,—
    Eternal wisdom still the same!

    The smooth, soft air with pulse-like waves
    Flows murmuring through its hidden caves,
    Whose streams of brightening purple rush,
    Fired with a new and livelier blush,
    While all their burden of decay
    The ebbing current steals away,
    And red with Nature's flame they start
    From the warm fountains of the heart.

    No rest that throbbing slave may ask,
    Forever quivering o'er his task,
    While far and wide a crimson jet
    Leaps forth to fill the woven net
    Which in unnumbered crossing tides
    The flood of burning life divides,
    Then, kindling each decaying part,
    Creeps back to find the throbbing heart.

    But warmed with that unchanging flame
    Behold the outward moving frame,
    Its living marbles jointed strong
    With glistening band and silvery thong,
    And linked to reason's guiding reins
    By myriad rings in trembling chains,
    Each graven with the threaded zone
    Which claims it as the master's own.

    See how yon beam of seeming white
    Is braided out of seven-hued light,
    Yet in those lucid globes no ray
    By any chance shall break astray.
    Hark how the rolling surge of sound,
    Arches and spirals circling round,
    Wakes the hushed spirit through thine ear
    With music it is heaven to hear.

    Then mark the cloven sphere that holds
    All thought in its mysterious folds;
    That feels sensation's faintest thrill,
    And flashes forth the sovereign will;
    Think on the stormy world that dwells
    Locked in its dim and clustering cells!
    The lightning gleams of power it sheds
    Along its hollow glassy threads!

    O Father! grant thy love divine
    To make these mystic temples thine!
    When wasting age and wearying strife
    Have sapped the leaning walls of life,
    When darkness gathers over all,
    And the last tottering pillars fall,
    Take the poor dust thy mercy warms,
    And mould it into heavenly forms!

  41. The Nightingale and the Glow-worm

    by William Cowper.

    A Nightingale, that all day long
    Had cheer'd the village with his song,
    Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
    Nor yet when eventide was ended,
    Began to feel, as well he might,
    The keen demands of appetite;
    When, looking eagerly around,
    He spied far off, upon the ground,
    A something shining in the dark,
    And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
    So stooping down from hawthorn top,
    He thought to put him in his crop.
    The worm, aware of his intent,
    Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent —

    Did you admire my lamp, quoth he,
    As much as I your minstrelsy,
    You would abhor to do me wrong,
    As much as I to spoil your song;
    For 'twas the self-same pow'r divine
    Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
    That you with music, I with light,
    Might beautify and cheer the night.
    The songster heard his short oration,
    And, warbling out his approbation,
    Releas'd him, as my story tells,
    And found a supper somewhere else.

    Hence jarring sectaries may learn
    Their real int'rest to discern;
    That brother should not war with brother,
    And worry and devour each other;
    But sing and shine by sweet consent,
    Till life's poor transient night is spent,
    Respecting in each other's case
    The gifts of nature and of grace.

    Those Christians best deserve the name
    Who studiously make peace their aim;
    Peace, both the duty and the prize
    Of him that creeps and him that flies.

  42. Roots

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Brother of toil! what nobler theme
    Could Homer, Dante, Milton dream
    Than just this homely commonplace
    That weaves the substance of our days?

    Aloft the stately headed pines
    May lift their proud serrated lines
    Far to the face of heaven, and mock
    The lightning's flash, the tempest's shock.

    Unless, deep grubbing in the ground,
    The toughly crawling roots were found;
    Unless those miners in the dark
    Dug food for fibre, leaf, and bark;
    Unless those tendrils all unknown
    Kept a good grip on soil and stone—
    Where would the pompous branches be
    That silly poets solely see?

    Ours be the grubbing in the dirt,
    The strain that wears, the tasks that hurt.
    Ours be the part of pallid roots,
    While others pose as purple fruits.

    Last shall be first, in God's great plan,
    O humble working artisan!
    In heaven the happy roots behold
    Treasured in soil of shining gold;
    After the stress and the strain of their strife,
    Set in the bank of the River of Life!

  43. Upon A Snail

    by John Bunyan

    She goes but softly, but she goeth sure,
    She stumbles not, as stronger creatures do.
    Her journey's shorter, so she may endure
    Better than they which do much farther go.
    She makes no noise, but stilly seizeth on
    The flower or herb appointed for her food,
    The which she quietly doth feed upon
    While others range and glare, but find no good.
    And though she doth but very softly go,
    However, 'tis not fast nor slow, but sure;
    And certainly they that do travel so,
    The prize they do aim at they do procure.

    Comparison.

    Although they seem not much to stir, less go,
    For Christ that hunger, or from wrath that flee,
    Yet what they seek for quickly they come to,
    Though it doth seem the farthest off to be.
    One act of faith doth bring them to that flower
    They so long for, that they may eat and live,
    Which, to attain, is not in others power,
    Though for it a king's ransom they would give.
    Then let none faint, nor be at all dismayed
    That life by Christ do seek, they shall not fail
    To have it; let them nothing be afraid;
    The herb and flower are eaten by the snail.

  44. Praise for God

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I thank Thee for the stars that shine
    Supreme among the heavenly host;
    But Thou dost lead the golden line,
    And for Thyself I thank Thee most.

    I thank Thee for the loveliness
    That decks the wood the field the coast;
    But Thou of all that Thou dost bless,
    Art fairest and I praise Thee most.

    I thank Thee for majestic mind,
    The thought that seers and sages boast;
    But Thou dost lead Thy creatures blind,
    And for Thyself I thank Thee most.

    I praise Thee for man's mastery,
    Each gain another starting post;
    But all he finds in finding Thee,
    And for Thyself I praise Thee most.

  45. The Story of Two Speeches

    by Anonymous

    An eloquent word—for the Master,
    Yet half for the speaker, too;
    For he sought as his gain the praises of men
    And not the good he might do.

    So the angels sadly left it,
    And for all of its lofty sound,
    Men tossed it awhile to and fro with a smile,
    And then let it fall to the ground,

    A stammering word for the Master,—
    Blundering, timid, and slow;
    But the best he could do, for his purpose was true,
    But his heart was a-thumping so.

    Yet the angels seized it and bore it
    On pinions happy and strong,
    And made it a sword in the war of the Lord,
    The struggle of right against wrong.

    For the battle is not to the giant,
    The race is not to the fleet,
    And an armor of might for the bitterest fight
    Is found at the Saviour's feet.

    And thrones in the highest heaven,
    And the laud of the seraphim.
    Are for weak ones that dare follow Christ anywhere,
    Yea, venture to fall—for Him.

  46. Clothed Upon

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Within and over and around
    This dancing swirl of human sound
    Are tones that we can never hear
    With our dull range of mortal ear.

    Amid, encircling, and above
    The sights we loathe, the scenes we love,
    Sunbeams of dearest beauty die
    In darkness on our sluggish eye.

    Into that sound was rapt the Word
    The common people gladly heard;
    Into that light, from mortal view
    The Light of all the world withdrew.

    Some day will crash, on land and sea,
    The parting clouds of mystery;
    Some day a mighty light be lit,
    Disclosure of the Infinite.

    Then, flashing on new ears and eyes,
    The sights and sounds of paradise
    Will come, exalting in their train
    The Man of Nazareth again.

    For that great day we fashion here
    The heart and hand, the eye and ear.
    Within these clay-bound bodies grow
    The bodies heaven or hell shall know.

    May I my lasting casement find
    Not halt or crippled, deaf or blind,
    But meet for all that heaven is,
    A perfect cup for perfect bliss!

    Within these hands, outstretched to aid,
    Be hands of power and beauty made;
    Within these feet that Christ's ways go,
    May feet swift-winged for heaven grow;

    Be ears, with loving listening warmed,
    To angel-hearing ears transformed,
    While looks of human sympathy
    Form eyes for all eternity.

  47. The Pulley

    by George Herbert

    When God at first made Man,
    Having a glass of blessings standing by—
    Let us (said He) pour on him all we can;
    Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
    Contract into a span.

    So strength first made a way,
    Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honor, pleasure:
    When almost all was out, God made a stay,
    Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
    Rest in the bottom lay.

    For if I should (said He)
    Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
    He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
    And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
    So both should losers be.

    Yet let him keep the rest,
    But keep them with repining restlessness;
    Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
    If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
    May toss him to My breast.

  48. Man

    by Henry Vaughan

    Weighing the steadfastness and state
    Of some mean things which here below reside,
    Where birds, like watchful clocks, the noiseless date
    And intercourse of times divide.
    Where bees at night get home and hive, and flowers,
    Early as well as late,
    Rise with the sun, and set in the same bowers;

    I would, said I, my God would give
    The staidness of these things to man! for these
    To His divine appointments ever cleave,
    And no new business breaks their peace;
    The birds nor sow nor reap, yet sup and dine,
    The flowers without clothes live,
    Yet Solomon was never dressed so fine.

    Man hath still either toys, or care;
    He hath no root, nor to one place is tied,
    But ever restless and irregular
    About this earth doth run and ride;
    He knows he hath a home, but scarce knows where;
    He says it is so far,
    That he hath quite forgot how to go there.

    He knocks at all doors, strays and roams;
    Nay, hath not so much wit as some stones have,
    Which in the darkest nights point to their homes
    By some hid sense their Maker gave;
    Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest
    And passage through these looms
    God ordered motion, but ordained no rest.

  49. Holy Thursday

    by William Blake

    'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
    Came children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green;
    Gray-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
    Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

    Oh what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
    Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
    The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
    Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

    Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
    Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
    Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
    Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

    Children, Time is a fleeting day,
    The brighter its scenes, the sooner away!
    Look to the mansion, and seek the crown
    That shall not decay when the sun goes down!

    – Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Young Artist
  50. Mount Olivet

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Thou sacred mount, on whose pale forehead now
    A desert quiet reigneth, ere the soul
    Goes up to sit in meditation there,
    She shall put off this world, with all its cares
    And fading glory, to commune alone
    With God, and with herself, on themes divine!
    Thought, on swift wing, darts o'er the dubious waves
    Where things promiscuous, by three thousand years,
    Are swept together in one shadowy deep,
    And rests on Olivet!

    She here beholds,
    Fleeing from refuge from a wicked son,
    And with a wounded spirit bowed to earth,
    The minstrel king, in bitter anguish come,
    Showering the mountain with a father's tears
    For his rebellious child!

    But richer drops,
    From purer eyes, and by a mightier One,
    For thousands sunk in sin, have since been shed,
    Where David mourned the guilt of Absalom!
    The King of kings stood here; and looking down,
    Wept o'er Jerusalem! Here, too, he led,
    From the last supper, when the hymn was sung,
    His few grieved followers out, in that drear night,

    When, in the garden, on the mountain's slope,
    His agony wrung forth the crimson drops!
    While these sad pictures, hung upon thy sides,
    Thou consecrated height, dissolve the heart
    In pious sorrow; yet thy brow is crowned
    With a bright, glorious scene!

    Now, O my soul,
    On the blest summit light a holy flame!
    From the last foot-print of the Prince of peace,
    The Conqueror of death, let incense rise,
    And enter heaven with thine ascending Lord!
    Shake off the chains and all the dust of earth!
    Go up and breathe in the sweet atmosphere
    His presence purified, as he arose!
    Come! from the Mount of Olives pluck thy branch,
    And bear it, like a dove, to yon bright ark
    Of rest and safety!

  51. To A ******

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Thy parents, boy, are on the deep,
    The wide and pathless sea;
    But He, who wafts their sail, will keep
    A father's eye on thee.

    For He hath seen what they have done;
    And He hath heard their prayer,—
    He knows they've left their darling son
    Beneath His guardian care.

    The tenderness thy mother felt,
    When to her breast she drew
    Her child, and at His altar knelt,
    His love will still outdo.

    And He will guard thy parents too,
    Upon a foreign shore;
    For His the eye, at single view,
    To look creation o'er.

    He'll let thy little image cling
    To all their thoughts by day;
    And nightly, like a cherub thing,
    About their slumbers play.

    In many a bright and blissful dream
    They'll kiss thy rosy cheek;
    Thy laughing, sparkling eye will beam—
    Thy prattling tongue will speak.

    Thy tender arms, so warm and fair,
    Around their necks will twine;
    They'll feel thy silken, sunny hair,
    That ruby lip of thine.

    While oft they dwell on scenes behind
    Of dear domestic joy,
    The loveliest object brought to mind
    Will be their smiling boy.

  52. The Release

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and the keepers before the door kept the prison."

    Behold, amid the prison's gloom profound,
    While Herod's guards the massive doors are keeping,
    By soldiers watched, in iron fetters bound,
    The man of God, serene and sweetly sleeping.

    And thus the loved disciple of the Lord
    Can sink to rest, defying pain and sorrow,
    While persecution points the glittering sword
    To mark him as her victim ere the morrow.

    For, what is there in death for him to fear,
    Though he no more may see earth's morning breaking?
    He feels 't is but salvation drawing near;
    That Heaven's bright dawn shall follow his awaking!

    But who is this, that suddenly appears,
    With light effulgent round the prison beaming?
    The captive feels his touch—awakes, and hears
    A voice, whose sound hath more than earthly seeming!

    "Rise! gird thyself and bind thy sandals on,
    And follow me without the yielding portals!
    Thy chains are broken and the power is gone,
    That armed awhile these blind and erring mortals!"

    It was thine angel, O! thou Holy One,
    That hovered o'er thy servant, in his slumber!
    His labors in thy cause were not yet done—
    His days of service had not gained their number.

    Like him, the man whose trust is fixed on thee
    May ever rest, mid threatening foes and danger.
    But where, O Lord, can hope or safety be,
    For him, who treads life's path, to thee a stranger?

  53. The Voice

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    The voice—its melody touched the ear,
    As a sound we should look toward heaven, to hear;
    As the soft, rich light of the western sky,
    Where the sun went down, will meet the eye.
    And it made me think of a world afar,
    Above the sun, and the evening star—
    Of the odors of flowers that freight the air
    With the notes of the bright ones warbling there.

    Methinks, when the world looks void and dark—
    When the waves of trouble ingulf my bark—
    When the sky above me is black with wrath,
    And the lightning is all that illumes my path;
    While I set my feet but with doubt and dread;
    When the friend that I loved is false or dead;
    In fear, in sorrow, in pain or care,
    I would hear that voice poured out in prayer.

    When the storm is past, and the heavens look bright,
    While the clouds that I feared are dissolved in light—
    When I smoothly glide o'er a peaceful sea,
    With a breeze all fragrance and purity;
    When the friend that I chose is the true one still,
    Who adds to good, and who takes from ill;
    In every joy that may gild my days,
    I would hear that voice sent up in praise.

    It was tuned for a rare and holy gift;
    To pour in prayer, and in praise to lift;
    And through the ear, as it took control,
    And wrought its charm o'er the spell-bound soul,
    It came in a sound so sweet and deep,
    It could soothe the heart, though the eye must weep.
    But it was not made for the thoughtless mirth
    Whose light is a blaze from the chaff of earth!

  54. Echo

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "Father! father! come with me
    Down among the rocks!
    Softly! for I long to see
    Who it is that mocks.
    When I laugh, or sing, or call,
    Some one there repeats it all."

    "Ah! my child, thou dost not know
    All that 's dear and true,
    In this world of noise and show,
    Has its semblance too.
    E'en a sound with joy in it
    Will draw forth its counterfeit.

    "Mid the dissonance of earth
    We so oft must hear,
    Sweet the voice of infant mirth
    Falls upon the ear.
    Mingled innocence and joy!
    Blessed harmony, my boy.

    "And, in heartless mockery,
    Echo now has caught
    Tones of gladness sent from thee;
    While herself is nought
    But the shadow of a sound,
    Thrown from rocks and hills around.

    "Be thou cautioned from to-day;
    For thou yet must meet,
    Here and there on life's rude way,
    Many a fair deceit.
    No illusion seek to trace
    To her seeming dwelling place.

    "Here, while snares and pit-falls lie
    Round on every part,
    One is calling from on high,
    "Son, give me thy heart!"
    He will ne'er deceive nor mock,
    Fly to Him, the LIVING ROCK!"

  55. Hymn of the Reapers

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Our Father, to fields that are white,
    Rejoicing, the sickle we bear,
    In praises our voices unite
    To thee, who hast made them thy care.

    The seed, that was dropped in the soil,
    We left, with a holy belief
    In One, who, beholding the toil,
    Would crown it at length with the sheaf.

    And ever our faith shall be firm
    In thee, who hast nourished the root;
    Whose finger has led up the germ,
    And finished the blade and the fruit!

    The heads, that are heavy with grain,
    Are bowing and asking to fall;
    Thy hand is on mountain and plain,
    Thou Maker and Giver of all!

    Thy blessings shine bright from the hills,
    The valleys thy goodness repeat;
    And, Lord, 't is thy bounty that fills
    The arms of the reaper with wheat!

    Oh! when with the sickle in hand,
    The angel thy mandate receives,
    To come to the field with his band
    To bind up, and bear off thy sheaves, —

    May we be as free from the blight,
    As ripe to be taken away,
    As full in the ear, to thy sight,
    As that which we gather to-day!

    Our Father, the heart and the voice
    Flow out our fresh off'rings to yield.
    The Reapers! the Reapers rejoice,
    And send up their song from the field!

  56. The Great Refiner

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

    'T is sweet to feel that he, who tries
    The silver, takes his seat
    Beside the fire that purifies;
    Lest too intense a heat,
    Raised to consume the base alloy,
    The precious metal too destroy.

    'T is good to think how well he knows
    The silver's power to bear
    The ordeal to which it goes;
    And that, with skill and care,
    He'll take it from the fire, when fit
    For his own hand to polish it.

    'T is blessedness to know that he
    The piece he has begun
    Will not forsake, till he can see,
    To prove the work well done,
    An image, by its brightness shown,
    The perfect likeness of his own.

    But ah! how much of earthly mould,
    Dark relics of the mine,
    Lost from the ore must he behold,
    How long must he refine,
    Ere in the silver he can trace
    The first faint semblance to his face.

    Thou great Refiner! sit thou by
    Thy promise to fulfil,
    Moved by thy hand, beneath thine eye,
    And melted at thy will,
    O, may thy work for ever shine,
    Reflecting beauty pure as thine!

  57. See That Ye Refuse Not Him That Speaketh

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    Can any refuse, when Jesus is near,
    With light, love, and victory, crown'd;
    O, who would not listen to music, more dear
    Than the song of the angels around.

    He stands all night long, still knocking for you,—
    Rise up, and his visit prolong;
    His robe, and his locks, are all dropping with dew—
    Then open the door with this song.

    We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee Lord,—
    All the earth doth rejoice in her King;
    While seraphs and angels obey the blest word,
    O teach us the song which they sing.

    The glorious band of apostles, praise thee,—
    The army of martyrs all share;—
    The fellowship of the good prophets agree,
    While the church doth rejoice in thy care.

    Now we sing to the Lamb, who taketh away
    The sins of our poor fallen race;
    We bless the good Spirit, who teaches to pray
    For constant outpourings of grace.

  58. His Coming

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Were a king to come to my lowly home,
    Or a prince or a duke or an earl,
    What a cleansing would furbish the whole of the house,
    Till it shone as pure as a pearl!

    How the best that I had, on the floor and the bed,
    On table and mantel and wall,
    Would gladly be lavished and eagerly spread,
    And I be ashamed of it all!

    Yet the Monarch of monarchs, the Only Supreme,
    The Lord whom the heavens obey,
    The Splendor that passes the height of a dream,
    Will visit my household to-day;

    And the shutters are closed, and the cobwebs are thick,
    And a hinge is off of the door,
    And I, in a garment of wretchedness clad,
    Am down in the dirt on the floor!

  59. My Burden

    by Amos Russel Wells

    God laid upon my back a grievous load,
    A heavy cross to bear along the road.

    I staggered on, and lo! one weary day,
    An angry lion sprang across my way.

    I prayed to God, and swift at His command
    The cross became a weapon in my hand.

    It slew my raging enemy, and then
    Became a cross upon my back again.

    I faltered many a league, until at length,
    Groaning, I fell, and had no further strength.

    "O God," I cried, "I am so weak and lame!"
    Then straight my cross a winged staff became.

    It swept me on till I regained the loss,
    Then leaped upon my back, again a cross.

    I reached a desert. O'er the burning track
    I persevered, the cross upon my back.

    No shade was there, and in the cruel sun
    I sank at last, and thought my days were done.

    But lo! the Lord works many a blest surprise—
    The cross became a tree before my eyes!

    I slept; I woke, to feel the strength of ten.
    I found the cross upon my back again.

    And thus through all my days, from that to this,
    The cross, my burden has become my bliss

    Nor ever shall I lay the burden down,
    For God some day will make the cross a crown!

  60. Asphalt: A Parable

    by Amos Russel Wells

    A Christian substance this,
    Whose sacrificial bliss
    Is firmly to outspread
    A path for men to tread
    Whose joy it is to know
    The way the many go,
    And make the footing there
    Enduring, smooth, and fair.

    Doubtless the asphalt feels
    Those myriad grinding heels,
    The pounding horses' feet,
    The traffic of the street,
    The picks of fickle men
    That tear it up again,—

    The cruel frosts that crack
    Its winter-stiffened back,
    The furnace of the sun
    When winter's days are done;
    Yet hears a cheerful heart
    For that inferior part,
    And heals the winter's woe
    With summer's tarry flow!

    Right is your rede to us,
    Brother bituminous!
    Where human sharks contend
    Each for a glutton's end,
    Where men ignoble fight
    Each for his petty right,
    Where men like leeches live
    Only to get, not give,—

  61. A New Year

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I want a new year. New things are not patched.
    So would I start my year all finely whole,
    No gaps of dull omissions meanly closed
    With poorly fitting fragments of dispatch,
    No mendings of ignoble after-thought,
    But all one piece of steady warp and woof,
    A year entire, as all my years should be.

    I want a new year. New things are not worn.
    Not thin in places, ragged here and there,
    And loose bits hanging down; no year all frayed,
    With fears and worries bare before its time;
    But firm and confident, a brave new year.

    I want a new year. Do not new things shine?
    Do they not shimmer in the dancing light?
    Are they not smooth and gracious to the touch?
    Is it not joy to take them from the box?
    And shake them out in tumbling, happy folds,
    And hold them up for all men to admire?
    So, with a burst of joy, my glad new year.

    I want a new year. Ah, but new things cost!
    Well, I will pay the price of this new year:
    The price of patience, and the price of time;
    The price of prayers ascending to the God
    Who was before all years began to be,
    And will be through the new years as the old;
    The price of partings from the lower aims,
    Of stanch adhesion to the rugged best;
    The price of life!

    I cannot pay the price.
    Pay Thou for me, O Christ, my brother Christ!
    Be Thou my Patience, and be Thou my Prayer;
    Be Thou my Strength of hard, laborious will.
    From out Thine endless ages with my God
    Bring newness to this little year of mine.
    So shall it be Thy year and not my own,
    Yet doubly mine, as I shall dwell with Thee;
    Yes, doubly mine, as through it I shall pass
    To Thine eternity forever new.

  62. Renunciation

    by Emily Dickinson

    There came a day at summer's full
    Entirely for me;
    I thought that such were for the saints,
    Where revelations be.

    The sun, as common, went abroad,
    The flowers, accustomed, blew,
    As if no soul the solstice passed
    That maketh all things new.

    The time was scarce profaned by speech;
    The symbol of a word
    Was needless, as at sacrament
    The wardrobe of our Lord.

    Each was to each the sealed church,
    Permitted to commune this time,
    Lest we too awkward show
    At supper of the Lamb.

    The hours slid fast, as hours will,
    Clutched tight by greedy hands;
    So faces on two decks look back,
    Bound to opposing lands.

    And so, when all the time had failed,
    Without external sound,
    Each bound the other's crucifix,
    We gave no other bond.

    Sufficient troth that we shall rise —
    Deposed, at length, the grave —
    To that new marriage, justified
    Through Calvaries of Love!

  63. The Martyrs

    by Emily Dickinson

    Through the straight pass of suffering
    The martyrs even trod,
    Their feet upon temptation,
    Their faces upon God.

    A stately, shriven company;
    Convulsion playing round,
    Harmless as streaks of meteor
    Upon a planet's bound.

    Their faith the everlasting troth;
    Their expectation fair;
    The needle to the north degree
    Wades so, through polar air.

  64. Death And Life

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Still the heart and stay the breath—
    There's a deeper death than death!
    This is death, when living soul
    Yields to deadly sin's control;
    When, beneath the devil's arts,
    Love, the light of life, departs;
    When the body, moving still,
    Bears about a lifeless will,
    And the spirit, formed to rise
    Ever-growing in the skies,
    Is a dead and empty seed:
    This, ah, this is death indeed!

    Rich the years, with fruitage rife—
    There's a higher life than life!
    This is life, when spirits press
    Into every nobleness;
    When on failure and defeat
    Power sets his lordly seat;
    When, although the body fail,
    Spirit energies prevail,
    And the world beholds a man
    After the Creator's plan,
    Soul from all its bondage freed;
    This, ah, this is life indeed!

    Hear the resurrection cry:
    Dying, yet you shall not die!
    Christ is He that conquereth
    All this deeper death than death;
    Christ, from out of mortal strife,
    Won this higher life than life—
    Wins it through eternity,
    Just for you and just for me.

  65. Vanity of Life

    Johann Gottfried von Herder. Note.—Compare with the translation of the same as given in the ordinary version of the Bible. Job xiv.

    Man, born of woman,
    Is of a few days,
    And full of trouble;
    He cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down;
    He fleeth also as a shadow,
    And continueth not.

    Upon such dost thou open thine eye,
    And bring me unto judgment with thee?
    Among the impure is there none pure?
    Not one.

    Are his days so determined?
    Hast thou numbered his months,
    And set fast his bounds for him
    Which he can never pass?
    Turn then from him that he may rest,
    And enjoy, as an hireling, his day.

    The tree hath hope, if it be cut down,
    It becometh green again,
    And new shoots are put forth.
    If even the root is old in the earth,
    And its stock die in the ground,
    From vapor of water it will bud,
    And bring forth boughs as a young plant.

    But man dieth, and his power is gone;
    He is taken away, and where is he?

    Till the waters waste from the sea,
    Till the river faileth and is dry land,
    Man lieth low, and riseth not again.
    Till the heavens are old, he shall not awake,
    Nor be aroused from his sleep.

    Oh, that thou wouldest conceal me
    In the realm of departed souls!
    Hide me in secret, till thy wrath be past;
    Appoint me then a new term,
    And remember me again.
    But alas! if a man die
    Shall he live again?

    So long, then, as my toil endureth,
    Will I wait till a change come to me.
    Thou wilt call me, and I shall answer;
    Thou wilt pity the work of thy hands.
    Though now thou numberest my steps,
    Thou shalt then not watch for my sin.
    My transgression will be sealed in a bag,
    Thou wilt bind up and remove my iniquity.

    Yet alas! the mountain falleth and is swallowed up,
    The rock is removed out of its place,
    The waters hollow out the stones,
    The floods overflow the dust of the earth,
    And thus, thou destroyest the hope of man.

    Thou contendest with him, till he faileth,
    Thou changest his countenance, and sendeth him away.
    Though his sons become great and happy,
    Yet he knoweth it not;
    If they come to shame and dishonor,
    He perceiveth it not.

  66. Unawares

    by Emma A. Lent

    They said, "The Master is coming
    To honor the town to-day,
    And none can tell at what house or home
    The Master will choose to stay."
    And I thought while my heart beat wildly,
    What if He should come to mine,
    How would I strive to entertain
    And honor the Guest Divine!

    And straight I turned to toiling
    To make my house more neat;
    I swept, and polished, and garnished.
    And decked it with blossoms sweet.
    I was troubled for fear the Master
    Might come ere my work was done,
    And I hasted and worked the faster,
    And watched the hurrying sun.

    But right in the midst of my duties
    A woman came to my door;
    She had come to tell me her sorrows
    And my comfort and aid to implore,
    And I said, "I cannot listen
    Nor help you any, to-day;
    I have greater things to attend to."
    And the pleader turned away.

    But soon there came another—
    A cripple, thin, pale and gray—
    And said, "Oh, let me stop and rest
    A while in your house, I pray!
    I have traveled far since morning,
    I am hungry, and faint, and weak;
    My heart is full of misery,
    And comfort and help I seek."

    And I cried, "I am grieved and sorry,
    But I cannot help you to-day.
    I look for a great and noble Guest,"
    And the cripple went away;
    And the day wore onward swiftly—
    And my task was nearly done,
    And a prayer was ever in my heart
    That the Master to me might come.

    And I thought I would spring to meet Him,
    And serve him with utmost care,
    When a little child stood by me
    With a face so sweet and fair—
    Sweet, but with marks of teardrops—
    And his clothes were tattered and old;
    A finger was bruised and bleeding,
    And his little bare feet were cold.

    And I said, "I'm sorry for you—
    You are sorely in need of care;
    But I cannot stop to give it,
    You must hasten otherwhere."
    And at the words, a shadow
    Swept o'er his blue-veined brow,—
    "Someone will feed and clothe you, dear,
    But I am too busy now."

    At last the day was ended,
    And my toil was over and done;
    My house was swept and garnished—
    And I watched in the dark—alone.
    Watched—but no footfall sounded,
    No one paused at my gate;
    No one entered my cottage door;
    I could only pray—and wait.

    I waited till night had deepened,
    And the Master had not come.
    "He has entered some other door," I said,
    "And gladdened some other home!"
    My labor had been for nothing,
    And I bowed my head and I wept,
    My heart was sore with longing—
    Yet—in spite of it all—I slept.

    Then the Master stood before me,
    And his face was grave and fair;
    "Three times to-day I came to your door,
    And craved your pity and care;
    Three times you sent me onward,
    Unhelped and uncomforted;
    And the blessing you might have had was lost,
    And your chance to serve has fled."

    "O Lord, dear Lord, forgive me!
    How could I know it was Thee?"
    My very soul was shamed and bowed
    In the depths of humility.
    And He said, "The sin is pardoned,
    But the blessing is lost to thee;
    For comforting not the least of Mine
    You have failed to comfort Me."

    "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

    – Matthew 25:40
    The Bible, NIV
  67. New Songs

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Sing unto the Lord a new song.— Isa. 42:10
    And they sung a new song.— Rev 5:9

    How weary must Jehovah be
    Of our unchanging minstrelsy,
    The dull, repeated monotone
    That falters upward to the Throne!

    How must Jehovah, though the spheres
    Make heavenly music for His ears
    Amid their soulless rhythm long
    To hear a new, a human, song!

    Our filmy fashions flit and fly
    Like drifting clouds across the sky;
    Dress, manners, language, customs, range
    Through endless, fascinating change.

    But still in routine, heartless ways,
    The Giver of all life we praise.
    And while His varying seasons roll
    We offer Him a stolid soul.

    Bestir thee, grateful human heart,
    And learn thanksgiving's happy art!
    Cease the unmeaning, careless song
    Thy slothful lips have used so long!

    For each new gift of heaven, strive
    Some novel praises to contrive,
    Some paean of the life or tongue
    As prompt, as personal, as young!

    With no stale words of yesterday
    Thy formal obligations pay,
    But let thy hallelujahs rise
    New-fledged to greet the morning skies!

    Be all thy life, in word and deed,
    A vital hymn, a present creed,
    Until, amid the angel throng,
    You sing for aye the new New Song!

  68. The Pilgrim

    by Lydia Howard Sigourney. "I am not far from home therefore I need not make much provision for the way."

    I hear the rising tempest moan,
    My failing limbs have weary grown;
    The flowers are shut, the streams are dried,
    The arid sands spread drear and wide,
    The night dews fall, the winds are high,
    How far from home, O Lord, am I?

    I would not come with hoards of gold,
    With glittering gems or cumbrous mould,
    Nor dim my eyes with gather'd dust
    Of empty fame or earthly trust,
    But hourly ask, as lone I roam,
    How far from home? how far from home?

    Not far! not far! the way is dark,
    Fair hope hath quench'd her glow-worm spark;
    The trees are dead beneath whose shade
    My youth reclined, my childhood play'd;
    Red lightning streaks the troubled sky,
    How far from home, my God, am I?

    Oh, find me in that home a place
    Beneath the footstool of thy grace;
    Though sometimes mid the husks I fed,
    And turn'd me from the children's bread,
    Still bid thine angel-harps resound,
    The dead doth live, the lost is found.

    Reach forth thy hand with pitying care,
    And guide me through the latest snare;
    Methinks, even now, in bursting beams
    The radiance from thy casement streams;
    No more I shed the pilgrim tear;
    I hear thy voice; my home is near.

  69. Home Heroism

    O ye who long for brilliant deeds
    Tied down to washing dishes,
    Scorn not the lowly household needs,—
    They are the Master's fishes.

    - Amos R. Wells
    Home Heroism
    by Amos Russel Wells. See John 21:1-8.

    That barren night in Galilee
    It found a fruitful morning,
    For Jesus stood beside the sea
    And drew the fishes swarming

    "The Lord!"—and Peter leaped to swim.
    (How very like him this is!)
    The others labored after him,
    Pulling the net with fishes.

    And both were fine and hoth were true,
    And both rejoiced the Master,—
    That frugal, plodding, faithful crew,
    The one that hurried faster.

    O ye who long for brilliant deeds
    Tied down to washing dishes,
    Scorn not the lowly household needs,—
    They are the Master's fishes.

    Act well your part, there all the honor lies.

    – Alexander Pope
    Happiness
  70. How Can I Keep From Giving?

    by Robert Franklin Skillings

    Over against the treasury
    Emmanuel was sitting;
    The rich cast in of their great wealth
    What seemed to them befitting.
    A widow came and gave two mites,
    Which then was all her living;
    She did the most of all the host—
    How can I keep from giving?

    How blest the man who knows Thy word,
    "Give and it shall be given;"
    His all he brings unto the Lord,
    His treasure! is in heaven.
    Help me, dear Lord, that I may give
    Thus even all my living;
    Since of Thy bounty I receive,
    How can I keep from giving?

    I have received a precious gift,
    No mortal tongue can speak it;
    The like is ready now for all
    Who diligently seek it.
    I can but sing the praise of Him
    From whom I am receiving;
    And as He gives Himself to me,
    How can I keep from giving?

    To love the Lord with all the heart,
    And as myself my neighbor,
    I mean to strive with all my might,
    And to this end will labor.
    And may I never faithless prove,
    But always be believing;
    For while I think of Thy great love,
    How can I keep from giving?

  71. The Bargain

    by Henry Van Dyke

    What shall I give for thee,
    Thou Pearl of greatest price?
    For all the treasures I possess
    Would not suffice.

    I give my store of gold;
    It is but earthly dross:
    But thou shalt make me rich, beyond
    All fear of loss.

    Mine honours I resign;
    They are but small at best:
    Thou like a royal star shalt shine
    Upon my breast.

    My worldly joys I give,
    The flowers with which I played;
    Thy beauty, far more heavenly fair,
    Shall never fade.

    Dear Lord, is that enough?
    Nay, not a thousandth part.
    Well, then, I have but one thing more:
    Take Thou my heart.

  72. Insomnia

    by Amos Russel Wells

    My soul is shipwrecked in the night
    Upon a black and vacant shore;
    A flood of murky air before,
    Of surging air to left and right.

    The waves roll in, the waves roll in,
    And each a sombre spectre bears,
    The writhing forms of many cares,
    The coiling forms of many a sin;

    Neglected tasks that frown austere,
    Glimpses of old friends angry, gleams
    Of dead delights and drifting dreams
    And gibbering ghosts of empty fear

    Out on the flood, the faces pale
    Of drowning hopes, so fair, so fair;
    Or, tossing here and floating there,
    The tattered rags of fortune's sail;

    And, wrenched from out that midnight grave,
    The white corpse of a passion sweet,
    Rolled by the darkness to my feet,
    And then snatched back into the wave.

    My eyes are straining through the deep,
    This surging night that has no end;
    Make haste, O pitying Christ, and send
    Thy blessed rescue bark of sleep!

    * * *

    The ship came not but, in its stead
    Its Master stood upon the shore;
    And lo! the waves were black no more;
    And lo! a gleam from overhead.

    He touched my hot and throbbing eyes,
    The Master, with His loving hand,
    And softly on that midnight strand
    There grew the light of paradise.

    Those hateful forms of sin and care
    Flung at me by that ghostly sea,—
    I know not if they ceased to be,—
    I saw them not, for Christ was there.

    Still sleepless stretched the night away,
    But joyfully, for Christ and I
    Together read the opening sky,
    And watched the dawning of the day.

  73. False Signals

    by Amos Russel Wells

    In the days of piracy
    What a cursed knave was he
    Who, to draw his victim near,
    Clothed his ship with garb of fear,—
    Sails in tattered wretchedness,
    Flying signals of distress.
    Then, as unsuspecting ruth
    Lured a ship to that untruth
    Sabre stroke and musket shot
    Were the thanks the saviors got.

    Thus, O God of eager love,
    Would my prayers Thy pity move;
    This my signal of distress:
    "Save me, Lord from guiltiness!"
    Thus, my secret heart within
    Cleaving still to deadly sin,
    So do I, a cursed knave,
    Stab the God who comes to save.

  74. Love Your Enemies

    by Helen M. Johnson

    Arrows dipped in poison flew
    From the fatal bow;
    And they pierced my bosom through,
    And they laid me low.

    Every nerve to anguish strung,
    In distress I cried:
    And the waste around me rung,
    But no voice replied.

    "Cruel was the hand," I said,
    "That could draw the bow:
    Curses rest upon the head
    Of my heartless foe!"

    Turning straightway at the sound,
    In the tangled wood,
    Pale, and bearing many a wound,
    There a stranger stood.

    Mournfully on me he gazed,
    Not a word he said:
    But one hand the stranger raised,
    And I saw it bled.

    Blood was flowing from his side
    And his thorn-pierced brow;
    "Who has wounded thee?" I cried,
    And he answered, "Thou!"

    Then I knew the Stranger well,
    And with sobs and tears
    Prostrate at his feet I fell,
    But he soothed my fears.

    "Thou hast wounded me, but live,—
    And my blessing take:
    Henceforth wilt thou not forgive
    Freely for my sake?"

    Resting in his fond embrace,
    Eased of every woe,—
    Then I said, with smiling face,
    "Jesus, bless my foe!"

  75. "We See Through a Glass Darkly"

    by Helen M. Johnson

    We weep when from the darkened sky
    The thunderbolts are driven,
    And wheresoe'er we turn our eye
    Our earthly hopes are riven;
    But could we look beyond the storm
    That threatens all before us,
    We might observe a heavenly form
    Guiding the tempest o'er us.

    The eye that sees the sparrow's fall,
    That never sleeps nor slumbers,
    Beholds our griefs however small,
    And every sigh he numbers.
    The angels fly at his command,
    With love their bosoms Swelling,
    They lead us gently by the hand,—
    They hover round our dwelling.

    And when the fading things of earth
    Our hearts too fondly cherish,
    Forgetful of their mortal birth,
    How suddenly they perish!
    But 'tis in mercy and in love
    Our Father thus chastises,
    To fix our thoughts on things above;
    He strikes, yet sympathizes.

    We know not, and we may not know
    Till dawn the endless ages,
    Why round his children here below
    The howling tempest rages;
    But this we know, that life nor death
    Our souls from him can sever!
    We'll praise him with our latest breath—
    We'll sing his praise forever!

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