England's Antiphon

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Come, O thou traveller unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see!

My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with thee!

With thee all night I mean to stay, And wrestle till the break of day!

need not tell thee who I am,
My misery or sin declare;

Thyself hast called me by my name:

Look on my hands, and read it there!

But who, I ask thee, who art thou? Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

In vain thou struggles! to get free:

I never will unloose my hold.

Art thou the man that died for me?

The secret of thy love unfold.

Wrestling, I will not let thee go
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

* * * * *

What though my sinking flesh complain,

And murmur to contend so long!

rise superior to my pain:
When I am weak, then I am strong;

And when my all of strength shall fail, I shall with the God-man prevail.

My strength is gone; my nature dies;

I sink beneath thy weighty hand:

Faint to revive, and fall to rise;

I fall, and yet by faith I stand--

I stand, and will not let thee go
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,

But confident in self-despair;

Speak to my heart, in blessings speak;

Be conquered by my instant[161] prayer.

Speak, or thou never hence shalt move, And tell me if thy name is Love.

'Tis Love! 'tis Love! Thou diedst for me!

I hear thy whisper in my heart!

The morning breaks; the shadows flee:

Pure universal Love thou art!

To me, to all, thy bowels move:
Thy nature and thy name is Love!

My prayer hath power with God; the grace

Unspeakable I now receive;

Through faith I see thee face to face--

I see thee face to face, and live:

In vain I have not wept and strove; Thy nature and thy name is Love.

know thee, Saviour--who thou art-- Jesus, the feeble sinner's friend!

Nor wilt thou with the night depart,

But stay and love me to the end!

Thy mercies never shall remove:
Thy nature and thy name is Love!

* * * * *

Contented now, upon my thigh

I halt till life's short journey end;

All helplessness, all weakness, I

On thee alone for strength depend;

Nor have I power from thee to move: Thy nature and thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey;

Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o'ercome;

leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home;

Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and thy name is Love.

It seems to me that the art with which his very difficult end in the management of the allegory is reached, is admirable. I have omitted three stanzas.

I cannot give much from William Cowper. His poems--graceful always, and often devout even when playful--have few amongst them that are expressly religious, while the best of his hymns are known to every reader of such. Born in 1731, he was greatly influenced by the narrow theology that prevailed in his circle; and most of his hymns are marred by the exclusiveness which belonged to the system and not to the man. There is little of it in the following:--

Far from the world, O Lord, I flee,

From strife and tumult far;

From scenes where Satan wages still

His most successful war.

The calm retreat, the silent shade,

With prayer and praise agree,

And seem by thy sweet bounty made

For those who follow thee.

There if thy spirit touch the soul,

And grace her mean abode,

Oh with what peace, and joy, and love,

She communes with her God!

There, like the nightingale, she pours

Her solitary lays,

Nor asks a witness of her song,

Nor thirsts for human praise.

Author and guardian of my life,

Sweet source of light divine,

And--all harmonious names in one--

My Saviour, thou art mine!

What thanks I owe thee, and what love--

A boundless, endless store--

Shall echo through the realms above

When time shall be no more.

Sad as was Cowper's history, with the vapours of a low insanity, if not always filling his garden, yet ever brooding on the hill-tops of his horizon, he was, through his faith in God, however darkened by the introversions of a neat, poverty-stricken theology, yet able to lead his life to the end. It is delightful to discover that, when science, which is the anatomy of nature, had poisoned the theology of the country, in creating a demand for clean-cut theory in infinite affairs, the loveliness and truth of the countenance of living nature could calm the mind which this theology had irritated to the very borders of madness, and give a peace and hope which the man was altogether right in attributing to the Spirit of God. How many have been thus comforted, who knew not, like Wordsworth, the immediate channel of their comfort; or even, with Cowper, recognized its source! God gives while men sleep.

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