Ministering to Christ.

A stranger sat beside the bed1
Of weariness and pain,2
Speaking in loveful tones of Him3
In whom to die is gain4
Pouring the balm of sympathy5
Into an aching brain.6
Thence, through dark, massive prison-walls,7
To the lone culprit’s cell,8
Of Him who rent the captives’ chains9
She enter’d in to tell10
Of Him whose love is free as air,11
Who “ doeth all things well,”12
The hungry often sought for bread,13
For ne’er from want’s sad tale14
She turn’d ; but, knowing mortal pangs15
Would oft again assail,16
She loved the hungry soul to feed17
With bread that doth not fail.18
The thirsty she with drink supplied,19
With clothes the shivering poor,20
And never homeless stranger sought21
In vain her sheltering door :22
And all were told of better gifts23
Through Christ to sinners sure.24
Another, sick-beds, prison-walls,25
Each type of human woe,26
Pass’d daily by unheedingly,27
Nor knew nor cared to know28
The bliss of causing mourning hearts29
With joy to overflow.30
The same sun shone above them both,31
The same all-fostering care,32
Like precepts and like promises33
Each heart was ask’d to share ;34
And not unlike the crosses, too,35
That each was made to bear.36
But ever, as one walk’d the earth,37
With tenor calm and even,38
With heart and eye on Jesus bent,39
There fell a voice from heaven40
A still small voice ”— which sweetly said,41
Thou unto Me hast given.42
I was an hunger’d, and you fed ;43
Was thirsty, you supplied44
With drink ; was as a stranger here,45
You oped your portals wide ;46
Sick, naked, and in prison, you47
To cheer and comfort hied !48
For, inasmuch as you have e’er49
Been ready to befriend50
The sick and poor beloved of Me,51
Their every want to tend,52
And share their sufferings obscure,53
I own you as—My Friend !54
And ever, as the other went55
Upon her lonely way,56
There fell, of more than mortal grief,57
A voice, which seem’d to say,58
I needed you to cheer and bless—59
You coldly turn’d away !”60
Perchance nor one nor other heard61
Those accents from the skies,62
And low in dust each lifeless form63
Now in the churchyard lies ;64
But each, to hear that voice divine,65
Must soon to judgment rise.66
Oh, then to have our lot with hers67
Whose record, writ in love,68
Christ shall proclaim—whose works of faith69
Shall shine like stars, to prove,70
Beyond a doubt, her heart was fix’d71
Unwaveringly above !72