Strength of the still secluded thought,
That fears, yet longs its joy to show, —
The hope, the awe, in mercy taught
To make me strong, to keep me low;
Now shall my girded heart rejoice,
In praise poured out, in love expressed;
Now will I bless Thee, with a voice
That shall not break this sacred rest.
Once, moved by every mortal pain,
By every pleasure quickly past,
I feared to speak in joyful strain
Of hidden life that might not last.
Now, from a well that will not fail,
In Thee my deep rejoicing springs —
Now from Thy rest within the veil,
My spirit looks on passing things.
Once, with Thy tired ones homeward bent,
In hope that rose their fears above,
My leaping heart could be content
To greet them with a silent love;
I too had walked with weary feet,
And heard the exulting shout too near —
I too had felt the toil and heat,
The wind and storm I did not fear.
Perhaps the Heavenward look in store,
The speechless prayer for strength or rest,
Might help those needy spirits more
Than hope set forth, or joy expressed.
But I was changed, I knew not how,
By the same love that chose their ways, —
I might be just as weary now,
And yet rejoice to hear Thy praise.
Now would I cheer the faint in heart
With sound of joy they too shall see;
Now would I put the fear apart,
That bids me hide Thy strength in me.
What though the mortal flesh be frail,
The willing spirit prone to sink —
There is a stream in Baca's vale,
Whereof Thy feeblest child may drink.
Some, in their sorrow, may not know
How near their feet those waters glide —
How peaceful fruits for healing grow,
And flowers for beauty by their side.
They may not see, with weeping eyes
Upon the dreary desert bent,
How glorious straight before them, lies
The Eden of their soul's content.
But, O my Savior, I can see
For them, what once for me was seen;
I know, whate'er their sufferings be,
The tender mercy which they mean.
I do not watch, with anxious care,
To see the end of their distress —
Thou knowest what the heart must bear,
The human heart which Thou wilt bless.
And in their daily deepening need
Of heavenly love, for strength or rest,
They are already blest indeed —
Yea, and much more they shall be blest.
Wrapt in the spirit of Thy praise,
As from Gerizim's height, I see
Blessing poured out on all the ways,
That prove Thy children's need of Thee.
O wondrous love, so strong to smite —
So meek the opposing will to tame!
It was Thy hand put forth in might,
That led me through the flood, the flame.
When, needing strength to bear Thy rod,
By the smooth stream I found repose,
It was Thy grace, All–seeing God,
Thy love that smote me, ere I rose.
How could I look for lengthened rest,
With Thy deep sufferings scarcely known,
Or lay forever on Thy breast,
The perfect heart which Thou wilt own?
The heart, that guilty of Thy woes,
Looks only upon Thee to mourm,
And feels the cross Thy love bestows,
A burden easy to be borne.
And yet that pause was not in vain —
It was a blessing meet to give
Strength, for the labor and the pain,
Whereby alone my soul might live.
How gently thence Thy mighty hand
My lingering spirit onward bare!
How precious, in a barren land,
The footprints of Thy people were!
There many hearts that knew Thy ways
The safety of my soul could see —
And there I heard the song of praise,
That Faith poured out to Heaven for me.
O, more than all the ease I sought,
That song the desert path could bless
And dearer in my deepest thought,
The love that met me in distress.
Now that Thy mercies on my head
The oil of joy for mourning pour, —
Not as I will my steps be led,
But as Thou wilt for evermore.
Henceforth, whate'er my heart's desire,
Fulfil in me Thy own design,
I need the fountain and the fire —
And both, O King of Saints, are thine.
Now that my sense of rest in Thee,
Rules over every rising fear,
Pain, pleasure, all I feel and see,
Thy counsels to my soul endear.
Now can my girded heart rejoice,
In praise poured out, in love expressed —
Now may I bless Thee, with a voice
That shall not break this sacred rest.
Hymns and Meditations, 1873