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Outward Ministerings
by [?]


EACH owns some secret law;–the flowers that flourish
Bloom in their season, in their season die;
Dews flow beneath, their feeble strength to nourish,
The wind, Earth’s angels, life’s sweet breath supply.

As in the wondrous world of faultless Nature,
So in the moral universe of man,
Given for the spirit’s every form and feature,
Are powers fulfilling its immortal plan.

Whether its aim be fixed on seeking Pleasure,
Whilst draining deep her falsely-sparkling bowl,
Or in the light of Love be sought the treasure
Whose worth may satisfy the craving soul;

Whether it court the applause of listening nations,
And toil, with earnest energy, for fame,
Or seek with nobler hopes those elevations,
Whence from its God with spotless robes it came:

All help to lead it on; to Truth or Error,
Darkness or Light, as its own pathway lies;
Here, seeming seraphs, hidden shapes of terror,
There, darksome shadows, angels in disguise.

Behold yon miser bend, with palsied fingers,
O’er the rich gold around him glittering piled,
How, with a father’s care, he tireless lingers
By life’s all-precious hope, his darling–child.

Fond wretch! his aim to narrow life is bounded,
Yet, true to Nature, all for him hath proved;
The glorious gifts that once his path surrounded,
Have served to strengthen feelings basely loved!

By glittering lights, behold yon splendid palace,
See squalid youth and beauty enter there,
Eager to drown within the brimming chalice,
All pangs of grief–all thoughts of woe or care.

Alas! for them, that such a sad fruition
Should burst from seeds bright with the hues of Time;
These specious splendours fail not in their mission,
But spur their spirits on the road to crime!

In yonder room, behold a beauteous maiden,
Who bright the standard of her hope unrolls;
But, oh! that smiling bark, with evil laden,
Leads on to fatal depths, or treacherous shoals!

Gaze on the gambler, pale with care and sorrow,
And mark the dismal shades he long hath trod,
Who lives to witness each returning morrow,
Sin-burdened, roll before an outraged God!

Seest thou the light from yonder casement streaming?
Seest thou the shadow on the window cast?
There, lost in thought and poesy’s wild dreaming,
Waits one to hear Fame’s loud but fickle blast.

This is his life’s great aim; but what beyond it?
Of Truth’s bright treasure though he love to tell,
In barren mines of lore he hath not found it,
Bowing beneath his idol’s deadly spell.

But gaze on One, who seeks in all around him,
Lessons of good to cheer him on his way,
As every golden year through life hath found him
Nearer the realms of Heaven’s eternal day.

With him events of earth are sweet evangels,
All meaner things but step-stones hurled beneath;
Whilst nobler lead to Eden-realms of angels,
With shining robes, and crown, and amaranth wreath.

Oh! fellow-pilgrims through this desert dreary,
In all the scenes of life God’s mercy trace,
Then though with grief cast down, with watching weary,
Strong shall ye stand in His sufficient grace!

Thus sweet, melodious tones and forms of beauty,
All glorious sights and sounds may ever prove
Angels to lure us on the path of duty,
Echoes of symphonies that float above!