The Revelation.

This is the mystery
Of this wonderful history,
And the way to find it out.”
He was wont to creep and stumble, with a slow, uncertain pace,1
And a supplicating doubt o’er all his hard unbending face ;2
And our mirth would make him scornful, and our pity made him wince,3
When the fitful moody dream was on, perverting the good sense.4
He was sharp too with his. reasons, and his deep, inveterate sneer5
Mocked the highest and divinest without reverence or fear ;6
And our pious saws and customs, he would laugh at them, and call7
The old lace that did embroider the hypocrisy of all.8
For the world seemed out of joint to him, and rotten to the core,9
With Gods and creeds once credited, but credible no more ;10
And duties high, heroic; that once were bravely done ;11
But for action, we had babbling only now beneath the sun.12
And there was nothing sacred in the universe to him13
No lights of awe and wonder—no temple fitly dim ;14
Ever scornfully he reasoned, ever battled with his lot,15
And he rent, not understanding, the fine sanctities of thought.16
But the blind old man is altered to a cheerful hopefulness,17
And now serenest thought and joy are mantling in his face ;18
At one with his own spirit, at one with all his kind,19
At one with God’s great universe—he sees though he is blind.20
And it’s all that sweet child’s doing ; see them at the lattice there,21
How his fingers steal amid the long brown clusters of her hair ;22
And she looks up with her thoughtful eyes of lustrous loving blue,23
And tells him of the rosebuds that are peeping into view.24
They say he found her one night, humming o’er a quiet tune,25
As he walked in mournful sadness beneath the tranquil moon,26
Yet sporting in his sorrow, mourning with a scornful mirth,27
Like a blind old Samson grappling with the pillars of the earth.28
And she came upon him gently, as an angel from the Lord,29
And she led him with a loving hand, and with a pious word ;30
And she fringed the dark clouds of his soul with lights of heaven’s own grace,31
And she breathed into his life a breath of tranquil hopefulness.32
And he’s no more sharp with reasons ; thought sits calmly on his brow,33
And the dew upon his thoughts is not changed to hoar-frost now ;34
And he plays such rare sweet music with a natural pathos low ;35
There is no sorrow in it, yet ’twill make your tears to flow.36
For he’s full of all bird-singing, and the cheery ring of bells,37
The rain that drizzles on the leaves, the dripping sound of wells,38
And the bearded barley’s rustling, and the sound of winds and brooks,39
That in the quiet midnight floats about the woodland nooks,40
And the old ocean-murmurs, and all the hum of bees,41
And varied modulations of the many-sounding trees.42
These tune his heart to melodies, that lighten all its load ;43
Yet their gladness hath a sadness, though it speak to him of God.44
And he knows all shapes of flowers : the heath, the fox-glove with its bells,45
The palmy fern’s green elegance, fanned in soft woodland smells ;46
The milkwort on the mossy turf his nice-touch fingers trace,47
And the eye-bright, though he sees it not, he finds it in its place.48
And it’s all that sweet child’s doing : as they saunter by the brook,”49
If they be not singing by the way, she reads the blessed book ;50
Reads the story of the sorrow of the man that loved us all,51
Till the eyes that cannot see her let the tears in gladness fall.52
O, a blessed work is thine, fair child ; and even so we find,53
When we, bedridden with sick thoughts, are wandering in our mind54
From the simple truth of nature, how blissful is the calm,55
When Faith holds up the aching head, and presses with her palm.56
That’s the key-note of existence ; the right tone is caught at length ;57
Cometh Faith upon the soul, and we go on in love and strength ;58
We go on, with surest footstep, by the dizziest brinks of thought,59
And in its deep abysses see the God whom we had sought.60
We were sometime dark and dreary ; we were sometime wroth and proud ;61
Warring with our fate defiant ; scornful of the vacant crowd ;62
Thoughtful of the seeming discords, and the impotence of will ;63
And questioning the Universe for meanings hard and ill.64
Cometh Faith upon the spirit, and the spirit is serene,65
Seeing beauty in the duty, and God where these are seen,—66
God in every path of duty, beaming gracious from above,67
And clothing every sorrow with the garment of His love.68
And the dark cloud is uplifted, and the mists of doubt grow thin,69
Leaving drops of dew behind them, as the light comes breaking in ;70
And the surges of the passion into quiet slumbers fall,71
And the discords do but hint a grander harmony through all.72
For around the man of sorrows all the sorrows of our lot73
Find their law and light in Him, whose life is our divinest thought ;74
And the Infinite, the Dreaded, draws nigh to thee and me75
In that sacrament of sorrow—we are blind and yet we see,76
For if the way of man here is a way of grief and loss,77
Even so the way of Godhead was upon the bitter cross,—78
Upon the bitter cross, and along a tearful story,79
Till the wreath of thorns became the crown of heaven’s imperial glory.80
So the sorrow and the sacrifice, whereat we do repine,81
Are hut symbols of the kinship ’twixt the human and divine82
But the law of highest being and of highest honour given ;83
For the wreath of cruel thorns is now the empire crown of heaven.84
Rest thee on that faith divine, and all the history of man85
Round its thread will crystallize in order of a glorious plan ;86
For the grief is still divinest, and our strains of deepest gladness87
Show their kindred by their trembling ever on the verge of sadness,88
Rest thee on that holy faith, and all the misty mountain tops,89
Where thy thoughts were cold and cloudy, shall beam forth with radiant hopes90
And the harmony of all things, never uttered into ears,91
Shall be felt in deep heart-heavings, like the music of the spheres,92
’Tis the shallow stream that babbles—‘tis in shallows of the sea93
Where its ineffectual labours for a mighty utterance be ;94
All the spoken truth is ripple,—surge upon the shore of Death ;95
There is but a silent swell amid the depths of love and faith.96
But be still, and hear the Godhead how His solemn footsteps fall97
In the story of the sorrow of the Man who loved us all ;98
Be still, and let Him lead thee along the brink of awe,99
Where the mystery of sorrow solves the mystery of Law.100
And the mournfulness and scornfulness will haply melt away,101
They were frost-work on your windows, and they dimm’d the light of day ;102
And you took their phantom pictures for the scenery of earth,103
And never saw in truth the world that made your mournful mirth.104
Only let the Heaven-child, Jesus, lead thee meekly on the path105
Through thy sorrows, strewn with blossoms, like a kindly after-math,106
And for reasons sharp and bitter quiet thoughts will rise in thee,107
As when light, instead of lightning, gleams upon the earth and sea.108
And the world will murmur sweetly many songs into thine ear,109
From the harvest and the vintage, as their gladness crowns the year ;110
From the laughter of the children, glancing lightsome as life’s foam ;111
From the sabbath of the weary, and the sanctities of home ;112
Yea, the sickness and the sorrows, and the mourner’s bitter grief,113
Will have strains of holy meaning, notes of infinite relief,114
Whispering of the love and wisdom that are in a Father’s rod ;115
And their sadness will have gladness speaking thus to thee of God.116
And if He give thee waters of sorrow to thy fate,117
He will give them songs to murmur, though but half articulate,118
Like the brooks that murmur pensive, and you know not what they say,119
But the grass and flowers are brightest where they sing along their way.120
Thus in thoughtful contemplation of the full-orbed life divine,121
Shall the fragmentary reason find the Law that doth combine122
All the seeming antinomies of the infinite decree123
That has linked the highest being with the highest misery.124
Ye that dwell among your reasons, what is that ye call a God125
But the lengthening shadow of yourselves that falls upon your road ?126
The shadow of a Self supreme, that orders all our fate,127
Sitting bland in His complaisance ’mid the ruins desolate !128
O your subtle logic-bridges, spanning over the abyss129
From the finite with its sadness to the Infinite of bliss !130
You would find out God by logic, lying far from us, serene,131
In a weighty proposition, with a hundred links between !132
And you send your thoughts on every side in search of Him forsooth !133
Speeding over the broad Universe to find the only truth134
That lies at your hand for ever. Get thee eye-salve, man, and pray :135
God is walking in the garden, and it is the noon of day.136
Roll up these grave-clothes, lay them in a corner of the tomb ;137
He is risen from dead arguments ; what seck ye in their gloom ?138
Leave the linen robes and spices—foolish hearts are thine and mine139
How could love and faith be called upon to bury the divine ?140
O not thus the way of Faith, not thus the way of holy Love,141
Where the Christ of human story and the Christ of heaven above142
Blends the duty and the beauty—blends the human and divine,143
By the crown of His many sorrows ever glorifying thine.144
Tell me no more of your reasons ; do not call me to embark145
On a voyage to the tropics with an iceberg for an ark,146
Swaying grandly o’er the billows, shining brightly in the sun,147
But to melt away beneath me ere the voyage be half done.148
I heed not of your logic ; I am well convinced of God :149
’Tis the purpose He is working, and the path that He has trod150
Through the mystery of misery—the labyrinth of sin,151
That clouds the world around, and overcasts the soul within :152
Tis the story of the ages, like the witches’ midnight revel,153
Wild, grotesque, and very tragic—worship surely of the devil ;154
’Tis the struggle of the human, with its impotence and ill,155
Reeling blindly through the dark, and working out a mightier will.156
And you’ve not discovered God—and I care not though you did ;157
That is not the ancient secret from the generations hid ;158
’Tis the purpose, and the moral, and the harmony of life,159
That we ravel in unravelling till exhausted with the strife.160
And my heart was all despairing, and my soul was dark and dreary,161
And the night was coming fast on me—a lonesome night and eerie162
As bit by bit the wreck went down, and all I clung to most,163
Turned to straws and drifting bubbles, and was in the darkness lost,164
And my heart grew more despairing, and my soul more dark and dreary,165
Till I saw the Godhead bending, faint and meek, and very weary ;166
Not in blessedness supernal, sitting easy on a throne,167
Dealing sorrows unto others, with no sorrow of his own.168
And I read in His great sorrows the significance of mine,—169
Even the Law of highest Being, proving kin with the divine,170
Love travailing in pain with a birth of nobleness,171
And dying into Life with sure development of bliss.172
Then the discords lost their terror, and the harmonies began173
To be heard in sweetest snatches, where a peaceful spirit ran174
Through strangest variations of the universal pain,175
With the still recurring cadence of the Cross for its refrain176
Snatches of the concord, never fully uttered unto man,177
Yet discovering in their pathos, the dim outline of the plan,178
Whereby the pain and sorrow, and the evil might be wrought179
Into the rarest beauty, and highest unisons of thought.180
Heed not, then, the many reasons—the cross lights and the broken,181
That are glimmering all around thee with half-meanings but half-spoken ;182
Turn thee to the man of sorrows—Ecce Homo !— look on God ;183
He will ease thee of thy sorrows, opening blossoms in the rod.184
All the creeds are but an effort feebly to interpret Him,185
Like the sunlight—through a prison that breaks into a chamber dim ;186
Hie thee forth into the daylight ; wherefore darken thus thy room,187
And then moan that there is only light enough to show the gloom ?188
Ecce Homo ! all ye nations, tribes, and peoples of the earth ;189
Leave the priests their poor devices, and the scribes their barren dearth ;190
Here is flesh and blood and feeling—thou shalt eat of Him and live,191
And walk with Him in glory whom the Heavens did once receive.192
And your path shall be a path of light, your tears a morning shower,193
All the germs of nature opening, fragrant, underneath the power194
Of the quiet light that claspeth all the world in its embrace,195
And makes it beam and prattle up into the Father’s face.196