The Christian's Hope.

By James Boyd.

OUR hope is not that vain and fruitless thing,
Found oft, like a fell weed, implanted in
The hearts of men, who, though they may have heard
Of heavenly mercy and the love of God,
Which in the Spirit's power, throughout the world
Is piped in tidings glad, seem never once
The deep and solemn mingling bass, the dread
Accompaniment of that sweet music, to
Have entertained; those notes which thrilling speak
Of man's vile inconsistencies with light
So graciously bestowed, of lawlessness,
Of wrath revealed upon the part of God,
By which all sin shall meet its just reward.
To this they seem to have been deaf, not once
On their imagination hath it dawned;
Or if it hath, the cloak of unbelief
They have with promptitude of terror thrown
Upon that vital spark of heavenly flame,
As one with fearful haste would seek to quench
In his own peaceful dwelling the first gleam
Of hungry fire, that threatens to devour
His home and leave him houseless in the world.
So these: the claims of God they have despised,
And hence, the thought of retribution just,
They dare not contemplate. Their souls deceived,
They flatter with the thought, that like themselves
The holy God is, and that He will think
No more of sin than they do; and that when
They come to die and leave the world behind,
That world where riot ran their rebel will
In avenues of lust, they shall by some
Process of cleansing, undefined and vague,
Be fitted for the Paradise of God,
And in the coming great and dreadful day
Of reckoning pass muster, and arrive
Within the region of immortal bliss.

But shall we call this thing most substantless,
Most baseless, most delusive, hope? Not hope.
It is a sham, a mockery, a lie,
A counterfeit of hell, an artifice
Of the fell fiend, delusive, devilish;
Found rooted only in the human soul
That has not been illuminated by
The light of God, but which until this hour
Has dull and languid lain beneath the gloom
Of utter darkness and deep rayless night.
The refuge of the hypocrite it is,
Begotten by blind unbelief, and based
Upon the false assumption, that in man
Exists of goodness a foundation firm,
On which a superstructure may be built,
To stand for ever in the light of God;
Not to be overthrown by bolts of wrath,
When God shall rise to shake the earth and heaven,
And give to each the merit of his work.

Vain hope were this, and like a castle tall,
Based upon sand, fair to the eye, and in
The clouds of heaven hiding its proud towers,
But all foundationless; for when the rains
Of winter pile their whelming floods against
Its walls, and raving winds with violence
Around its turrets roar, and giant strength
Against its huge bulk hurl, it tottering falls,
A ruin terrible to look upon.

Nor have we as our hope a thing of earth,
Which perishes when grasped, as fades a dream
Which fills the hand of want, but lightly leaves
It once again in naked poverty,
When consciousness returning breaks the spell.
We hope for nothing here, no vain desire
For wealth or worldly fame consumes the soul;
No lust for place, or power, or praise, or pride,
Has root within our hearts, like sapless shrub
Planted in barren waste, whose fibres dry
Feel not the scent of water, and whose branch
Is shrivelled by the blight of tropic sun,
Bare, blasted, leafless, licked by the hot blast
That o'er the arid desert roves and raves.
No, not from earth our expectation is;
Within the veil it blooms beneath the eye
Of God, a tree of life, and nourished in
The garden of our glad blood-ransomed souls
By the sweet living, ever flowing brook
Of His firm, steadfast, and eternal truth;
And fragrant in the sunshine of His love
It fills the heart with everlasting joy.
Nor can it wither till He come, for whom
We wait with patience; then our hope shall give
Place to possession.

Where is there a man
Who set his heart on aught beneath the sun,
And had his expectations realised?
Has not grim disappointment dogged the steps
Of all who sought for satisfaction here?
Were all the world freely on one bestowed,
Were the whole universe his own by right,
What were it all while wanders death abroad?
What worth were all the sight-bewildering ringed
And belted planets with their circling moons,
And all the countless storm-swept suns of fire,
While death is fitting to his ruthless bow
An arrow for the piercing of the heart?
What has poor erring man away from God?
What has he that the cattle of the field
Have not? A conscience surely, this he bears
About within his bosom, armed with sting
Sharper than scorpion's, to lacerate
And tear the soul with fear of coming wrath,
And drive from heart and brain longed-for repose.
But who would envy this pre-eminence?
Better the eye had never seen the light —
Better that one had perished from the womb —
Good were it had that mortal not been born,
Than have no hope beyond the present world,
Or be shut up to that which springs to life
Within his godless and benighted heart.

But he who hath in true repentance turned
His steps to God, who welcomes all who come,
And hath unstinted grace and mercy found;
No longer trusting to the springs of earth
To satisfy the craving of his soul,
But in the risen living Christ hath found
The well-spring deep of everlasting life,
He shall not need to mourn the utter wreck
Of prospects blasted by the unfriendly force
Of adverse circumstances, nor have cause
To clasp with trembling hands an anguished brow
Because he looked for good, and evil came.
But he shall be like fruitful tree that grows
Beside the living waters, which doth send
Its roots deep down through moist and fallow ground,
And spreading till they dip into the cool
Refreshing flood, have dread of drought no more.
Such is our trust in Him, who in His love,
Eternal as Himself, gave up His Son
To die our death, to suffer in our stead,
That we might live through Him, that He might bring
Us home with gladness to the heart of God.

And He will bring us there, as sure as God
Is love, as sure as Jesus lives, as sure
As from above the Spirit has come down,
The witness to the triumph of the Christ.
The Father's counsels, the eternal love
That chose us in the Son ere time began,
Predestinating us to be conformed
To that Son's image, must triumphant be.
His purposes eternal shall not fade,
As fade the visions of the night, but firm
As His high throne remain untill fulfilled,
And we are found with Christ in light supreme;
In bodies fashioned like His own; and there
His fellows; He the Centre and the Chief,
Admired, adored by all, we sharing all
His glory and the Father's boundless love,
In joy unspeakable. God hath laid help
Upon One adequate to give effect
To every counsel of His mind divine.
Not one deep purpose of the heart of God,
Not one conception of Triunity
Shall perish; for no less a Personage
Than the Creator of the worlds has stooped
To serve the Godhead and to bring to pass
The purposes of love.

My thoughts go back
Into the past eternity, when dwelt
Alone the Godhead; that is, if alone
Can be applied to Him who is Himself
The Source and Author of all things, and by
Whose power the universe and creatures all
Sprang into being, and are still upheld.
Can we conceive the Godhead as alone
Without these things, the works of His own hands,
Or not alone possessing them? What could
They add to their Creator's bliss? No more
Than vessels fashioned by the potter's hand
Could add to his. But could He be alone
Whose name is love? Could love itself exist
Without an object, or be satisfied
Possessing not the company of that
Around which ceaselessly eternal thoughts
Revolve as worlds around the centre sun?
The Father and the Son were there in love,
The Spirit too in bliss beyond all thought.
Sufficient for Himself the Triune God
Had need of no addition to complete
The deep felicity in which He dwelt.
Yet was He not without His thoughts profound.
An Object great the mind divine engrossed,
Ere yet the fabric of the universe
Reared its huge pile, created by His word.

But what was there in which God could delight,
Before in power and wisdom He began
To ope the bosom of far-reaching space,
And by the might of His eternal word,
Fill it with sparkling worlds, outnumbering
The sand upon the ocean's spacious shore?
In what blest object did the Infinite
Find His deep joy? O let Himself disclose,
As with the fingers of unfathomed grace
He draws aside the curtain that had veiled
That shrine of living light, in which He dwelt
Before the clamour of created things,
At the first peal of the great bell of time,
Broke in upon that sweet and holy calm;
Before the noise of wheeling globes, and rush
Of the vast starry host, bowled into space
By the strong hand of the Omnipotent,
Whose voice was heard above the roaring sound
Of new-created tempests drawing breath,
And floods downrushing into ocean beds,
By the upheaval of the mountains huge;
And earth in pristine freshness brightly sped
At His command upon its orbit vast,
Traced by the finger of the Architect,
When all the morning stars together sang,
And all the sons of God did shout for joy.

Let us draw near, and with the foot unshod,
Follow where He invites us; let us stand
With holy boldness in the sheltering cleft
Of our strong Rock, and by the eye of faith
This scene of heavenly splendour contemplate,
Before the morning stars, or sons of God,
Or heavenly thing or earthly had been formed;
And there the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Co-equal, co-eternal, increate!
Three Persons, one supreme, eternal God,
Dwelling in light no eye can penetrate,
Yet unto faith made known; for God would have
His own know everything that can be known.
But something else is there to which my soul
Would fain give utterance, if I could find
Words to express what by His holy light
My faith descries. The mind divine is there,
His will, His purposes, His counsels, plans,
Like Him eternal, worthy such a mind,
Writ in His Book. But what deep searchless theme
Can thus engage the thoughts of Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit? What profound, sublime,
All-glorious subject, can be vast enough
The thoughts of the eternal to engage?
What could it be but that He should declare
In that vast universe formed by His hand
His endless love! Let angels stand amazed,
Those mighty ministers, those flames of fire,
Which like the rapid lightnings come and go
Accomplishing His grand behests. Not these
The objects of His counsels, though they do
Excel in strength, 'tis man is His delight.
And now that opened is the Book, we may
Its sacred pages scan with wondering eyes,
And hearts transported with ecstatic joy;
While worshipping in truth within the veil,
And our enlightened minds feeding their strength
Upon the secrets of the Deity.
In all the light of everlasting love,
The Father's love declared in Christ the Son,
In Him effulgent, brighter far than all
The suns of all the systems of the worlds
Together flaming, voices rise and swell
In worship grateful to the ear of God,
And converse ravishing, impossible
Into the speech of mortals to translate.
What objects fill the vision! Myriads
Of angels shimmering like northern lights,
Far as the eye can reach upon the rim
Of that vast empyrean field of bliss!
Yet not these claim the homage of the soul,
But One who stands the Centre of a throng,
Among ten thousand Chief, anointed with
The oil of joy above His fellows, crowned
With glory and with honour, the Firstborn
Among His brethren, the last Adam with
His Eve His heavenly Bride. 'Tis things like these
Arrest the eye, conspicuously marked
Within the Roll which holds the depths of God.
Here is inscribed, and by the Father's hand,
The names of all His sons, ere yet one stone
Of the great theatre was laid, wherein
His light would shine, and where in wondrous ways
His purposes to pass would all be brought;
Yea, ere the six-winged Seraph's voice was heard
Before the throne, ascribing holiness
To Him who sat thereon; ere Cherub flamed
In fiery splendour on the battlements
And turrets of the citadel of God:
And here within the volume by the Son
Is traced in characters of living light:
"Behold I come to do Thy will O God."

Those grand conceptions of the mind divine,
Eternal as the mind that brought them forth,
Guided the all-wise mighty Architect,
The Son, who undertook to perfect all,
When rising up He called the universe
Into existence; out of nothing built
Those wondrous worlds, where wheel within his wheel
Glides noiselessly, fulfilling the command
Of Him who made them, and wherein must be
Enacted the great drama writ by God,
And filled the sphere with beings perfect all,
Terrestrial, celestial, angel, man;
This earth the platform, though with other worlds
Compared, a speck of dust appears, no more,
But large enough for God to bring to light,
And show before all eyes, the contest hot
Between the evil and the good, and have
His power, and righteousness, and love displayed
Yea all that could be seen, or learned, or known,
Of Him who dwells within encircling light
That cannot be approached, whom never man
Hath seen, or able is to see; yet would He show
Himself to men, that they might gaze upon
The revelation of Himself in Christ;
And that His creatures might no longer look
For happiness or rest in anything
But in Himself; that their heart's confidence
And satisfaction and felicity
Might have their fountain in His holy love.

And this was planned before was formed the world,
With man upon it, who, though richly blest
With every good thing, to the tempter lent
A ready ear, and quickly turned aside
To follow in the serpent's crooked way,
Who first had set himself to rival God,
But fell, and in his fall dragged down the race,
Subject to sin and death and Satan's thrall.

What since that moment has been brought to light
Upon the platform of this ruined world,
Witness of man's condition under sin,
Revolt, corruption, hatred, violence,
The creature reaching the most loathsome depths
Of moral degradation in the night
Of man's transgression, took not by surprise
Him who is infinite in wisdom, nor
In the least hindered the accomplishment
Of the eternal purposes of love.

Outcast from God must man now bend his back,
And force with toil and sweat the unwilling earth
To yield him sustenance, while over him
Grim death, the heavy penalty of sin,
Hangs black with judgment. Yet must he be tried
By various methods, that may come to light
The greatness of his ruin, and how just
The sentence was that put a period to
His life on earth. But when well proved and tried
And tested for the long and tedious space
Of forty centuries, forth came the Son
Of woman born, in manhood's lowly guise,
Himself the Object and Accomplisher
Of the immutable divine decrees,
And the Revealer in this joyless world
Of the invisible and unknown God.

With Godhead glory veiled in human flesh
We see Him in this world of sin and death,
Man among men, born of a virgin, found
In infant weakness, drawing sustenance
Out of His mother's breasts, yet all the hope
Of that meek lowly heart centred in God.
And here my soul would pause in wonderment
And holy contemplation, while the great,
In haughty pride, go heedless on their ways,
Nor stay to give a look within that stall,
Where, laid among the oxen, I behold
The lowly Babe, the poorest of earth's poor,
Whose name was erst by angel lips pronounced
"Jesus." It is Jehovah come in grace
To rescue His poor people from their sins.
To that dear heavenly Stranger would I press
Nearer and closer, that mine eyes might dwell
In admiration great upon that scene
Of the Redeemer's birth, Incarnate God!
The One through whom all creatures and all worlds
Being received, and now for the first time
Beheld by angels, who from radiant spheres
Hasting to contemplate with wonderment
The One who gave them being now revealed,
Awoke the midnight echos with their songs,
And flooded Bethlehem's plains with heavenly light.

Blest lowly Babe, my faith discerns in Thee
God come in grace to win the truant heart
Of erring man, who had the knowledge lost
Of his Creator, and whose conscience had
Driven him far from Thee, the source of good,
Deep into darkness, there the helpless prey
Of hosts infernal, foes of man and God.
No one so poor, but Thou wast poorer still;
No one so low, but Thou wast yet more low;
No one so outcast, no one so despised
As Thou, by self-important man condemned,
And rudely hustled by the heedless throng
Into the stable where the oxen fed.

Such was Thy birth, such the reception man
Accorded Thee, Thou Maker of the worlds,
In Thine own world a stranger and unknown.
And as Thy birth such was Thy lonely life,
In which the might of God was manifest,
Put forth in mercy on behalf of man.
Yet was the precious seed of goodness sown
On barren soil within the human heart
From which, in answer to Thy ceaseless toil,
There sprang but baneful briars and wild thorns,
Till closed Thy life amid the taunts of those
Who gathered nothing from Thy ways but love.

But O Thou Lover of the sons of men,
Depths deeper than the hate of human hearts
Must by Thy feet be trodden. By reproach
Thy tender heart was broken; Thou didst feel,
E'en to the centre of Thine inmost soul,
The scorn and the rejection that were Thine
From those whom Thou didst stoop so low to serve.
But this was all as nothing, when compared
With that which Thou didst suffer when made sin.
And sin in all its hideousness was there
Abhorrent unto God, and must be judged;
Not in the sinner, else the guilty race
Had hopelessly been lost, nor would one soul
Have been recovered from the pit of woe.
Thou righteous, spotless, holy Lamb of God,
Must to the altar go, and bear the weight
Of all our thousand sins, amid the waves
And billows of almighty wrath, and noise
Of all the waterspouts of heaven; when deep
Cried loud to deep, and inky waters reached
E'en to Thy soul, and whelmed Thy blessed head,
Till from Thy heart which from the ages past
Had dwelt in love divine was wrung the cry, —
"Eli, Eli, Lama, Sabachthani."

But "It is finished" is the Victor's shout.
The horror of abandonment is past,
The chalice full of wrath is to the dregs
Drunk, and the darkness and distress are gone,
And He, who bore the judgment due to sin,
Returns into the sunshine and the joy
Of peaceful sweet communion with His God,
And meekly bowing low His thorn-crowned head,
Gives up the Ghost.

O death unparalleled!
Never was death like this, surpassing thought
The Son of God laid low! The Prince of life
A corpse upon a gibbet! The LORD'S death!
Never had death a Prisoner such as this!
Never had entered his forlorn domain
One so illustrious fallen in the field!
Nature attires herself in drapery
Of inky hue; mantled in woe, the sun
Steals out of sight, and midnight lays herself
Face downwards on the guilty land, and draws
A cloak of gloom about the bloody tree;
The temple's veil by Godhead power is rent
From top to bottom; and the earth convulsed
Heaves her broad bosom in the throes of grief,
And reels as though the weight of such a deed
Was insupportable; the granite rocks,
Softer than human hearts, are rent; and graves,
That long had shut their mouths on precious dust,
Gape like the serpent's jaw beneath the tread
Of iron hoof, and let the captives free.
Thus everything bears witness to the worth
And excellency of the Victim, who
By man rejected, scorned, betrayed, by God
Forsaken, gave Himself in sacrifice;
Beginning with the rending of the veil,
Declaring thus the glory of the work,
Which on the side of God had now removed
The dreadful distance sin had made between
Man and his righteous Maker, and disclosed
To faith's adoring eye the heart of God;
And ending with spectators horror-struck,
Who, hastening homeward, smote their wretched breasts,
As beating at the evil that had wrought
This fearful tragedy.

And so it was,
That in that wicked, worthless centre, foul
As Stygian's gloomy, vitiated flood;
That favourite habitat of spirits fell;
That reservoir, replete with everything
That could be grouped beneath the term unclean;
That cesspool of hypocrisy, deceit,
Malice, and murder, hatred, and revenge;
That council-chamber of rebellion: there
Lay all the evil that beneath the sun
Had mischief wrought, and now had brought about
The horrors with which dark Golgotha reeked;
And grimed with guiltiness that city proud,
Ordained to be the grand metropolis
Of all the earth, but now the gathering point
To which the denizens of darkness pressed;
That then, and there, in one engagement might
Be settled, never to be raised again,
The long-vexed controversy between good
And evil, not until that day resolved.

Then was the heart of the most nether hell
Moved to its inmost, deepest depths; and rose,
Seeing the opportunity had come
To make a last, bold stand, and everything
Venture in one terrific hand to hand
Struggle against the government of heaven.
To this end marshalled were the forces fell;
Battalions hurried forth, and panoplied
For battle with the Maker of the worlds;
Infernal regiments, invisible
To mortals' sight, swarmed round about the walls,
And filled the broad ways and the narrow lanes
Of fair Jerusalem, and held the towers,
The bulwarks, bastions, gates, and battlements,
And bartisans, of the illustrious
And famous Zion, David's royal seat.
The high priest's palace, where the elders sat,
With all the hierarchy of the Tribes,
Engaged in coarse mock-trial of the Son
Of the eternal Father, on that night
Was packed with demons; every one a match
In cunning and in prowess for the world.

And God was there; come forth to punish sin;
Vengeance to take upon the principle
Which had such havoc in creation wrought,
And which had brought the being He had made
In His own image and His likeness down
Under sin's bondage and the might of death.
But sin to punish, not in him who sinned,
But in the righteous One, who gave Himself,
That in the presence of the universe
A public demonstration might be made
Of how obnoxious to Him it was;
And that in Him, who took in lowly grace
The place of the sin-bearer, it might be
Judged and condemned, and out from its control
A way might be revealed for weary souls —
For this the Saviour suffered such a death.

But that He should
By death be holden was impossible.
His death had testified the righteousness
Of God, and His intolerance of sin;
Erased from His fair name the foulest blot
Cast on it by the enemy of souls;
That dark insinuation made to man,
That God, while making much pretence of good,
In jealousy had kept from him the tree
Worth all the others, the forbidden fruit.
That death laid also bare man's foolish heart,
Stamped with the lie of his deceiver fell
That his Creator bounteous was austere.

But righteousness and love are here evinced
By precious blood; and power omnipotent
By the spoilation of death's doleful keep.
Thus death, as sin's dread penalty, is gone
For us who put our confidence in Him;
And now we view it, not with judgment black,
But radiant with the great love of God.
God is upon our side, and God is love,
Proven beyond dispute in Jesu's blood:
That blood which, sprinkled on the mercy seat,
May not be valued by our finite need
However great (surely without it we,
Yea the whole race that sprang from Adam's loins,
Had perished in the fathomless abyss,
Under the righteous judgment of our God,
As all the warlike host of Egypt sank
Beneath the Red Sea's billows), but by Him
Whom it has glorified, and by the worth
And dignity and greatness of His person,
Who stooped to man's condition, that He might
Put sin away, and meet the claims of God.

But blessed be His holy name, those claims,
However great, however infinite,
Find a full answer in the perfect One,
Who when forsaken did not God forsake;
But in the hour when the Almighty's voice
Awoke the sword of judgment, which was driven
Into His soul up to the hilt, was heard
His cry ascribing righteousness to Him
Who struck the blow omnipotent; and from
The cursed tree removed and taken down,
He lay within death's desolate domain,
With those five gaping wounds which testified
Of His obedience perfect, spite of shame,
Also of man's rebellion against God,
And God's unfathomable love to man.

But in His resurrection death's stronghold
Is stripped of bolt and bar, and he who held
That power to terrify, is overthrown.
I stand beside that empty sepulchre,
Whose dreadful mouth gapes like the mangled maw
Of Samson's lion, powerless and torn,
And from the carcase of the monster fill
My soul with sweetest store of deep delights,
Which in the power of resurrection life,
Through death's destruction doth accrue to me.

Words fail to tell with what ecstatic joy
Mine ears drink in those heavenly truths, disclosed
To her who lingering at the vacant tomb,
Bathed in great floods of blinding sorrow, heard
From His own lips the place which now belonged
In love divine to those poor feeble few,
Who terrified and scattered, mourned as dead
The hope of Israel and their Shepherd good.
He breathed on them His deathless risen life:
His Father theirs, His God their God, and they
His brethren. All that they had done and were,
As children of the first and fallen head,
Gone in the judgment of His cross, and now
His place the pattern of their place before
The Father's face in righteousness and love.

Unfathomable grace! Once I had thought
That to be sheltered from the gathering storm
Of overhanging wrath were bliss indeed,
Nor wished for more; but to behold myself
Linked up in life with Him beyond the grave,
One of the many sons, called, chosen, given
To Him to bring them to the Father's house,
The rest of God, that endless home of love
And glory, to the place designed for them
Before the world's foundation: this rich grace
As far transcends my most profound desires,
As sunlight the pale glimmering of the moon.

He loved us! He would have us for Himself,
In His eternal home, before His face
Holy and blameless, sons with His own Son,
And like Him. It was His eternal thought,
The purpose of His heart whose name is love,
And who has every right to please Himself,
And work His sovereign will. Who dare dispute
The claim of the eternal God to work
For the sole satisfaction of His heart?
What daring worm of earth shall lift its head
Out of the slime of its corruption foul,
And challenge the benign Creator's right
To do whatever in His sight seems good?

If evil entered His creation, He
Could neither be its author, nor allow
Its presence there for ever. Everything
We know not, cannot know, else were we gods,
Not men; but this admits of no dispute,
That sin, the working of the creature's will,
High treason is against the One, to whom
Obedience most absolute is due.
It had its first beginning in that proud
Rebellious cherub who would rival God.
But having entered His creation, sin
Must serve His purposes. God cannot be
Defeated by the creature, but will make
Him serve, for this He made him, and for this
He has his being; and be he maintained
In pristine perfectness, or reprobate,
He still must serve; his evil hate or love
Inclining him to paths rebellious,
Or in right ways, the mighty hand of God
Describes the narrow circle limiting
All His activities. Good He will bring
Out of all evil, and the foe destroy.

Out of the dust God formed in Paradise,
In His own image and His likeness, man.
At this the fiend of hell, in savage hate,
Struck that fell blow, which under death brought down
Adam and all his race. It was a blow
Aimed not at man but God, yet could He wait,
If need be, for four thousand years, while death
Held sway, and satan triumphed, till the time
Should come for manifesting Him who could
Crush in the dust of degradation dire
The fell fiend in the stronghold of his might.

The Cross! That was His way! If He was pleased
That His own Son in flesh and blood should bear
Sin's judgment; and if that eternal Son
Was pleased in Godhead counsel to take up
That glorious work, what crawling worm of earth,
Standing upon his pedestal of pride,
Dare censure Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
Perish such thoughts before they come to birth!
Let potsherds strive with potsherds of the earth!

He formed the universe. Why? But to serve
His purposes. He chose us as His sons.
Why? For the satisfaction of His love.
He might have cast us down the steep of hell,
Far from His presence: we deserved to die
A death so violent. Instead of this,
He gave us to His Son, that He might bring
Us out from under sin and death and power
Of satan, from the mists of blackest night,
To light, eternal life, and liberty,
And glory and unfathomable love.

O infinite compassion! More than this —
For rescue pity would have satisfied —
Love everlasting! Love unspeakable!
Immortal! Changeless! Quenchless! Fathomless!
The Father's love who gave His only Son;
The Son's great love expressed in death for us;
The Spirit's love, who sheds that love abroad
Within our hearts e'en in this world of woe,
So that we taste upon our heavenward way
The fruit of that blest land we journey to.

We shall be like the Son! Shall see His face,
And hear His voice. That voice that charmed the ears
Of Peter, John, and James, of multitudes,
Of vassals of the foe, forced to confess,
No man had ever spoken like this Man.
Heard it the dead with joy; it fell like dew
Out of the midst of heaven upon the soul
With sorrow scorched; it quickened into life
Hopes blasted by the power of inbred sin,
And spread upon the broken heart of man,
The healing balm of God's immortal love.
We wait to catch its accents sweet, to hear
Its earliest music tones; that mustering shout
Thrilling and clear, which shall His sleeping saints
From dust of death awake to life, and bring
Them up in glory incorruptible;
And we who scattered are throughout the earth,
Awaiting Him, shall rise our Lord to meet;
That all the longing of His heart and ours
May be in love for ever satisfied.

We shall behold our Saviour as He is.
Not as He was when Man of sorrows here;
Not as He shall be in a coming day,
When as the King of kings in glory bright
His presence bursts upon the astonished world:
His brow, once wreathed with thorns, with many crowns
Adorned, His feet like burning brass to tread
The winepress of the fierceness of the wrath
Of the Almighty God. Kindreds of earth
Shall lift their wailing voices in despair
And vainly seek a covert; princes great,
With mighty men of war in armour clad,
Shall lick the dust. In that great day
Our souls shall thrill with joy, for we shall see
The King ride prosperously, the One who now
Is outcast. Then the Most High God
Shall lift His voice like thunder, and declare
In favour of His righteous Son, "Thy throne,
O God, for ever is." Our place shall be
Then at His side; for from the moment when
Our eyes first rest upon His glorious face,
Unto the ages of the ages, we
Shall never part companionship with Him.

But our great hope is, not to see our Lord
In red apparel, though it be the blood
Of foes that stains His raiment, nor with rod
Of iron lifted up in wrath to smite
The nations of the earth, but to behold
Him in His home of love and light and joy;
That place prepared for His beloved bride,
That pearl most costly, which to make His own
He everything gave up, e'en life itself.
What joy to us to see our Lord survey
With great delight the object of His heart,
And hear her chaste and virgin lips confess, —
"He loved me and gave Himself for me."

O joy surpassing thought to be alone
With Him at home, to see Him as He is;
Before the throng of mustering hosts, and crash
Of falling thrones and kingdoms laid in dust;
When evil shall be met by power divine,
And burning wrath shall sit awhile enthroned
So strangely on the Saviour's blessed brow;
To have a little while of converse sweet
Amid the quietude of heaven's own calm;
To worship at His feet; to tell Him all
The love He has begotten in our hearts
By that one vast expression of His own;
To praise Him, hear Him praised; to see His face
Once spat on, once of beauty all bereft
For wilful man, lit with effulgence bright;
In spotless white to walk by His blest side,
And, in the presence of His jndgment throne,
Behold Him, in the wisdom of His love,
Our whole career on earth investigate,
And from the rubbish-heap sever the vile
From what is of more value far than gold,
And praise what has been but the fruit of grace,
His grace which wrought in us; the grace that saved,
And kept, and keeps, and still will keep, and fetch
Us safely home, as sure as shines the sun;
Where we shall in His glorious presence breathe
The atmosphere of everlasting love,
And at His feet our diadems of gold
Cast down, and own the magnitude and wealth
The length, and breadth, and height, and depth of all,
Our blessing infinite, we owe to Him,
And to that mighty sacrifice of love,
Seen in His journey from His heavenly throne
Down to the cross and its attendant woes,
There to bear all our guilty blame, and meet
The infinite requirements of that throne,
And bring us up, and set us in the blaze
Of the eternal glory, spotless all:
Sons in the Father's house, to share with Him
All the affections of the Father's heart.

O keep us, Jesus Lord, until that day,
Walking with girded loins, apart from all
That savours of this world that Thee refused,
Until Thou come with shout and trump, and we
Behold Thee as Thou art and like Thee be.