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The Silence of Faith

Representative Text

1 I cannot master time and space,
Nor bid impetuous ages stay;
I cannot alter noon and night,
Nor turn the shadows into day.
I may not span unmeasured skies,
Nor grasp the Pleiads in my hand;
The far and near, the great and small
I see, but cannot understand.
I helpless sit, hemmed in by power
And will superior to my own,
Encompassed round by laws unseen,
Controlled by all, controlling none;
Yet I can lean on Him who guides
The sky, and sea, and faithful tides.

2 I cannot bid the tomb disgorge
The trophies of the tyrant’s power;
I cannot charm the spoiler’s hate,
Nor flush again one pallid flower.
A mortal ’mid the mortal here,
I mourn the silent, sad decay
Of all that makes this world so fair,
But cannot bid one radiance stay.
Fain would I loose the chain of ill
That fetters this sad, tortured earth,
Yet I can but its wrongs and woes
Commit to Him who gave it birth.
And to the Living One I fly
For health and immortality.

3 The current of one human will
Is far too strong for me to stem;
The rushing flood of a thousand wills,
How can I hope to baffle them?
I cannot alter right and wrong,
Nor change the false into the true;
I cannot judge the Judge of all,
His thoughts, His ways, His words review.
He speaks! I hear! O voice supreme,
Beyond all voices sweet, sublime!
He the eternal, wise and true,
And I bemisted child of time.
To Him in foolishness I come,
Before Him reverent and dumb.

4 I see the years like billows break
Upon the passive strand of time,
And as they break, sweep off in turn
Man’s works of every age and clime.
Who, what am I amid the wreck
Of all this beauty, love, and power,
O’er which I weep, but whose decay
I cannot hinder for an hour?
The true is never obsolete,
The never old is never stale;
I guard the gold of ancient mines,
And gather gems, though few and pale;
I call them fair—as fair as when
They dropped from God’s bright Heav’n for men.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #9192

Author: Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar was born at Edinburgh, in 1808. His education was obtained at the High School, and the University of his native city. He was ordained to the ministry, in 1837, and since then has been pastor at Kelso. In 1843, he joined the Free Church of Scotland. His reputation as a religious writer was first gained on the publication of the "Kelso Tracts," of which he was the author. He has also written many other prose works, some of which have had a very large circulation. Nor is he less favorably known as a religious poet and hymn-writer. The three series of "Hymns of Faith and Hope," have passed through several editions. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: I cannot master time and space
Title: The Silence of Faith
Author: Horatius Bonar (1879, alt.)
Source: Hymns of the Nativity, and Other Pieces (London: James Nisbet, 1879)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



SAGINA, by Thomas Campbell... is almost universally associated with "And Can It Be." Little is known of Campbell other than his publication The Bouquet (1825), in which each of twenty-three tunes has a horticultural name. SAGINA borrows its name from a genus of the pink family of herbs, which includ…

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The Cyber Hymnal #9192
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The Cyber Hymnal #9192

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