Brother belov’d, your verses now received,
Saying you’ve penned your eight and eightieth page.
Perhaps in youth you never had believed
To spend so many days on pilgrimage.
Vailed is the future in His mercy great,
And we upon His pleasure watch and wait.
Not yet so old as Anna of the line
Of Aser, who kept vigil day and night
Hard by the house of God, the sacred shrine,
Waiting the advent of the living light,
Light the neglected nations to reveal,
And all the woes of Israel to heal.
Seven years a wife, a widow of four score,
At three and twenty very likely wed.
What sorrows must have cast their shadows o’er
The history of that devoted head!
What joys! What thrills of favour all divine!
What bliss of love that better is than wine!
With fastings and with prayers her service true
Rose odourous to God. In widowhood
She realised the ills of life, but knew
And proved that God was merciful and good.
And with the sacred vision of a Seer
She to the people points the Saviour near.
How good it is to be in early days
Picked out from all earth’s multitude of men,
And to be taught to walk in righteous ways,
As of the holy city citizen!
And sure that by no power in earth or heaven
Can we from our inheritance be driven.
And Oh, how infinitely good to be
Allowed a sinner to the Christ to lead,
And tell of mercy and forgiveness free
To every soul who has a sense of need.
And then when we our earthly course have run,
What joy ’twill be to hear His sweet, “Well done!”
With much love,
Yours in Christ