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PASS UNDER THE ROD
You said to your heart on life’s golden morning:
“How bright is the sky and how happy the hours!”
The rich blood of youth through your pulses was throbbing,
The path at your feet was all radiant with flowers;
And life’s golden chalice that brimmed with joy’s wine,
Sparkled bright in the sunshine most temptingly sweet;
You raised it to quaff with delight from its depths,
But it fell! and its fragments lay strewn at your feet.
Its red wine was spilled and it stained all the flowers,
Like blood drops that ooze from a bosom of snow;
And the sun that so brightly had shone o’er thy pathway
Seemed suddenly robbed of its brightness and glow.
And night’s gloomy shades seemed to gather about thee,
And through the deep shadows, the dark form of Pain
Loomed up, and his gaunt fingers clutched at thy heart-strings
And laid their cold grasp on thy shivering brain.
Ah, then did despair like the billows of ocean
Sweep over thy soul, oh, poor heart, sore distressed?
Did you cry out in anguish with tears and with sobbing,
With quivering hands o’er thy bleeding heart pressed?
Ah, yes, and the days dragged so weary along
Till they grew into months and at last into years,—
Till you learned to look up to the Father above,
And at last see the rainbow of hope through your tears.
And you learned that the truest and best of life’s lessons
Are gained through the travail and pain of the soul;
That the rarest of graces bestowed on God’s children
Oft grow where life’s billows tumultuously roll.
And you saw that the stars in the blue vault of Heaven
Shine only when night’s sable curtains enfold;
You learned that the fierce furnace heat of affliction
Is needful to sever from dross the heart’s gold.
‘Twas a wonderful lesson borne into thy spirit,—
This grand truth to know, though a fruit of thy pain;
It taught thee to soar where before thou hadst grovelled,
And the heart that had broken learned a heavenly strain.
O, thrice blessed sorrow that drives us to Jesus,
To find in His love a continuous peace—
A joy, that abides though all earthly hopes wither,
And brings from the nights of despair full release.
O, Heavenly Shepherd, how wise are Thy dealings—
Thy thoughts—far beyond human wisdom to know;
Thy rod and thy staff sure will guide and sustain us,
Held close in Thy love while we tarry below.
So we patiently wait while we bide in the shadows,
Our eyes looking up through the gloom of the night,
‘Till the shadows shall lift, and the dawn of the morning
Of Heaven’s full glory shall burst on our sight.
A. G. James.
— September 15, 1901 —
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