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The Old Log Church

by Lizzie F. Baldy

In the primitive days that have long past away,
When the sun shone as brightly as sun shines to-day,
Here the old church was built, and the settlement small
Held the stanch frontier heart, that would answer the call
To the volunteer ranks, when the foeman was near.
Leaping into their saddles as swift as the deer,
Pursuing the red warrior o'er plateau and dale,
Until night threw around them her dark star-gemmed vail,
Like a benison of peace bringing rest everywhere,
While the worshippers knelt in their quaint church of prayer.

Old Time holds his scepter, and beneath his stern sway
A city looms up in her stately array;
New churches have taken the place of the old,
New worshipers worship within the new fold,
Whose spires point to heaven; here the rich and the gay
Kneel low at their altars: do they all kneel to pray
With the reverence for God marking all of their moods,
As when the old church stood mid nature's solitudes;
When the faith of the people had hallowed the sod,
And they raised this rude temple to worship their God?

No fine garb of fashion, no carpeted aisles;
No cloak of vast riches, from which guilt oft smiles;
No soft cushioned pews in which sinners may rest,
Unheeding the future in the present's bequest;
No grand organ music, no fashionable choir,
But they sang the old tunes with a heartfelt desire.
The swift flowing river rolling down to the sea
Oft caught up the refrain in her wild minstrelsy;
And the wide answering paean went up on high,
Till the echo hath flown like birds to the sky.
The church is still there and the river flows on,
But the people who built it. Oh! where have they gone?

Many bridges hang over the river's dark wave,
Progress laughs at the failures she hides in the grave;
Her bidding the iron horse obeys with a bound,
His track like a girdle spans the continent round;
The lightning of heaven flashing o'er the wire,
Brings the news of a people as a single desire.
And here Commerce, twin sister, asserts her bold sway,
While success crowns her efforts with laurels each day,
But the little log church stands deserted, alone,
Like some ancient relic whose daytime hath flown.

Oh! church as you stand in your loneliness now,
Hath the dark hand of death pressed each worshiper's brow?
Did the sunlight of peace shine with joy on each face,
As they knelt round thy altar to ask for His grace?
Our God sends his blessing in hamlet and hall,
He sees not their riches, but heeds each low call;
The church may be humble, or stately and grand,
The last to be built, or the first in the land.
The old log church may crumble to dust bye-and-bye,
But God keeps the record of each up on high.

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