If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? — St. John iii. 12
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide,
Now on Thy mercy’s ocean wide
Far out of sight we seem to glide.
Help us, each hour, with steadier eye
To search the deepening mystery,
The wonders of Thy sea and sky.
The blessèd Angels look and long
To praise Thee with a worthier song,
And yet our silence does Thee wrong.—
Along the Church’s central space
The sacred weeks, with unfelt pace,
Hath borne us on from grace to grace.
As travellers on some woodland height,
When wintry suns are gleaming bright,
Lose in arched glades their tangled sight;—
By glimpses such as dreamers love
Through her grey veil the leafless grove
Shows where the distant shadows rove;—
Such trembling joy the soul o’er-awes
As nearer to Thy shrine she draws:—
And now before the choir we pause.
The door is closed—but soft and deep
Around the awful arches sweep,
Such airs as soothe a hermit’s sleep.
From each carved nook and fretted bend
Cornice and gallery seem to send
Tones that with seraphs hymns might blend.
Three solemn parts together twine
In harmony’s mysterious line;
Three solemn aisles approach the shrine:
Yet all are One—together all,
In thoughts that awe but not appal,
Teach the adoring heart to fall.
Within these walls each fluttering guest
Is gently lured to one safe nest—
Without, ’tis moaning and unrest.
The busy world a thousand ways
Is hurrying by, nor ever stays
To catch a note of Thy dear praise.
Why tarries not her chariot wheel,
That o’er her with no vain appeal
One gust of heavenly song might steal?
Alas! for her Thy opening flowers
Unheeded breathe to summer showers,
Unheard the music of Thy bowers.
What echoes from the sacred dome
The selfish spirit may o’ercome
That will not hear of love or home!
The heart that scorned a father’s care,
How can it rise in filial prayer?
How an all-seeing Guardian bear?
Or how shall envious brethren own
A Brother on the eternal throne,
Their Father’s joy, their hops alone?
How shall Thy Spirit’s gracious wile
The sullen brow of gloom beguile,
That frowns on sweet Affection’s smile?
Eternal One, Almighty Trine!
(Since Thou art ours, and we are Thine,)
By all Thy love did once resign,
By all the grace Thy heavens still hide,
We pray Thee, keep us at Thy side,
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide!