Congratulations. (E.C.)

Over thy head twice forty years have passed,
No more for ever to return—’tis well;
The mercy matchless, that from first to last
Has followed thee, another day must tell.
Thou shalt remember all the weary way,
Bewildering wilderness and burning sand,
Thro’ which thy God hath kept thee night and day
Hidden within the hollow of His hand.
Look back upon that day when called by grace
To leave this world, and at thy Lord’s behest
To wade thro’ tribulation to the place
Within the Father’s house an honoured guest;
And what appearance does the retrospect
Present to thee? Dare we our ways defend?
How little can the clearest eye detect
Of faithful witness borne to such a Friend?
A day of dire temptation on our part,
As on the part of all who tread this waste,
But yet a day when love that fills His heart
May on our souls in living lines be traced.
From sting of scorpion and from serpent bite,
From godless Amalek’s devouring sword,
From pestilence that walketh thro’ the night,
From countless woes within the darkness stored—
Thro’ these He led in His unfathomed grace,
Nor overdrave thee when was rough the road,
Nor kept thee in suspense about the place
Fixed in His sovereignty as thine abode.
Met has thy hunger been by bread of God
White at thy tent door in the morning grey;
The flinty rock struck by the Prophet’s rod
Poured forth refreshing tides thy thirst to stay.
And all was well! And all shall still be well!
For faith shall soon have given place to sight,
And for eternal ages we shall tell
His praises in the realms of living light.
The Father’s love, the Son’s, the Spirit’s power,
Be with thee till the day, the shadows flee,
And we behold His face—yea, till that hour
Goodness and mercy, great shall follow thee.