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(1819–1860) T


A hand that is not ours upstays our steps,
A voice that is not ours commands the waves;
Commands the waves, and whispers in our ear,
O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?
At any rate,
That there are beings above us, I believe,
And when we lift up holy hands of prayer
I will not say they will not give us aid.1

O may we for assurance sake,
Some arbitrary judgment take,
And wilfully pronounce it clear,
For this or that 'tis we are here?

Or is it right, and will it do,
To pace the sad confusion through,
And say :-It doth not yet appear,
What we shall be, what we are here?
Ah yet, when all is thought and said,
The heart still overrules the head ;
Still what we hope we must believe,
And what is given us receive;
Must still believe, for still we hope
That in a world of larger scope,
What here is faithfully begun
Will be completed, not undone.

1 From “ O Thou of Little Faith."

My child, we still must think, when we
That ampler life together see,
Some true result will yet appear
Of what we are, together, here.

O life descending into death,

Our waking eyes behold,
Parent and friend thy lapse attend,

Companions young and old.
Strong purposes our minds possess, ,

Our hearts affections fill,
We toil and earn, we seek and learn,

And thou descendest still.

O end to which our currents tend,

Inevitable sea,
To which we flow, what do we know,

What shall we guess of thee ?

A roar we hear upon thy shore,

As we our course fulfil ;
Scarce we divine a sun will shine

And be above us still.2

Come home, come home! and where is home for me,
Whose ship is driving o'er the trackless sea ?
To the frail bark here plunging on its way,
To the wild waters, shall I turn and say
To the plunging bark, or to the salt sea foam,

You are my home

1 From “Through a Glass Darkly."

2 From "The Stream of Life.

Come home, come home! and where a home hath he
Whose ship is driving o'er the driving sea ?
Through clouds that mutter, and o'er waves that roar,
Say, shall we find, or shall we not, a shore
That is, as is not ship or ocean foam,

Indeed our home ? 1

Say not, the struggle nought availeth,

The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars ;

It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,

But westward, look, the land is bright.


(1819–1875) FTER all, the problem of life is not a difficult one,

, for it solves itself so very soon at best-by death. Do what is right the best way you can, and wait to the

1 Written in 1852.

end to know. Only we priests confuse it with our formulæ, and bind heavy burdens. How many have I bound in my time, God forgive me ! But for that, too, I shall receive my punishment, which is to me the most comforting of thoughts.... Yes

'Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant,
Oh life, not death for which we pant,
More life, and fuller, that I want.

You are right—that longing to get rid of walls and roofs and all the chrysalis case of humanity is the earnest of a higher, richer state of existence. That instinct which the very child has to get rid of clothes, and cuddle to flesh-what is it but the longing for fuller union with those it loves ? But see again (I always take the bright side),—If, in spite of wars and fevers, and accidents, and the strokes of chance, this world be as rich and fair and green as we have found it, what must the coming world be like? comfort ourselves as St. Paul did (in infinitely worse times), that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.

Let us

As to “What is the Good ? " I

I suppose the only answer is, “God Himself is the Good.” But of Him we can form no intellectual conception; and it is this, in addition to a thousand things, which makes me feel the absolute certainty of a resurrection, and a hope that this, our present life, instead of being an ultimate one,

which is to decide our fate for ever, is merely some sort of chrysalis state, in which man's faculties are so

1 From letter to his wife, July 16, 1855.

narrow and cramped, his chances (I speak of the millions, not the units) of knowing the good so few, that he may have chances hereafter, perhaps continually fresh ones to all eternity.

What does God require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him ?-is nearly all I know; sin, åpapriá, is literally, as it signifies, the missing of a mark, the falling short of an ideal, and not the transgression of an arbitrary decree; and that each miss brings a penalty, or rather is itself the penalty (for I do not believe in arbitrary rewards and punishments), is to me the best of news, and gives me hope for myself, and every human being, past, present, and future, for it makes me look on them all as children under a paternal education, who are being taught to become aware of and use their own powers in God's house, the universe, and for God's work in it; and in proportion as they learn to do that, they attain salvation, ournpía, literally health and wholeness of spirit, “soul,” which is, like health of body, its own reward—one great part of that reward being not to know that they have a soul-as health of body makes one unconscious of one's body.

One of the kind wishes expressed for me is a long life. Let anything be asked for me except that.

Let us live hard, work hard, go a good pace, get to our journey's end as soon as possible—then let the posthorse get his shoulder out of the collar. . . . I have lived long enough to feel, like the old post-horse, very thankful as the end draws near. Long life is the last thing that I desire. It may be that, as one grows

1 From letter written in 1856.

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