Sabbath Peace.

How sweet are thy returns ! how dear1
The boons of promise thine to give,2
O day of heavenly foretaste here,3
To all that breathe and live !4
Bright Sabbath ! when of yore5
Ere sin might yet defile,6
Or dim the World that wore7
Its first and radiant smile.8
Thy peace stole on our earth9
Midst harmonies of love,10
To lead, in a more blissful birth,11
To deeper peace above !12
The pilgrim-traveller in Thee may find,13
Journeying between two worlds, a resting-place,14
As pressing forward, leaving things behind,15
He goes from grace to grace.16
Thou art the spirit’s calm,—17
A sacred well of peace ;18
Wherein to lave our hearts in balm,19
And bid their throbbings cease.20
Thou art the week’s soft dew !21
On our exhausted powers,22
Falling, their freshness to renew,23
In kindly showers.24
Let not the heart be dry, an arid spot,25
Like the young ruler’s fleece, when soft around26
Heaven’s balmy tear-drops fell, yet touched it not27
Though all refreshed the ground !28
Thou art our week’s kind sleep !29
Soft stealing o’er our strife,30
In soothing guardianship to keep31
The fever pulse of life.32
Thou art our week’s glad star !33
Oh !  purest of the seven,34
Amid our darkness shining from afar35
With guiding ray to heaven.36
Our souls are dark, alas !  our lamps are dim,37
Their radiance quenched ’mid daily caye and toil,38
Until Thou bringëst a calm hour to trim39
The spirit-light with oil.40
Thou art a halcyon on the troubled sea41
Of Time, whereon the wild wave foams and swells42
An angel-voice speaks of eternity43
In those calm Sabbath bells !44
And with that matin-music on the track45
That after years have dimmed, with kindling joy46
The well-remembered summons hath brought back.47
The spirit of the boy !48
Thou art our Christian feast !49
Thou art the poor man’s day !50
From his six days of burdened toil, releas’d,51
He flings his cares away.52
He walks upon God’s earth with thoughtful mien,53
In decent garb attends the house of prayer,54
With children clinging round,—his face serene55
Is freshened by heaven’s air !56
His wife looks comely in his eyes, as when57
She took on her the well-kept marriage vow ;58
Times were that he was nothing among men,59
He feels his Being now.60
His spirit claims in social bonds its part,61
A kindred place in no mean Brother-hood ;62
He looks abroad, and owns within his heart,63
That all is very good.64
Oh !  rankling cares of Earth,65
Your bonds are loos’d for a brief space ; farewell !66
Farewell !  oh yet more vain, more weary, mirth,—67
The Heart holds festival !68
And gladness hovers o’er the thoughts of men69
This blessed day, remembering him who cave70
The hour of triumph,—bringing victory then,71
Uprising from the grave.72
Thus shall our earthly Sabbaths, rich in love,73
Be as a linkëd chain let down from high74
To draw us to that lasting one above,75
A blest Eternity !76