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THE BOY WITH THE FIVE LOAVES.
“If thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little."
What time the Saviour spread His feast
For thousands on the mountain's side,
One of the last and least
The abundant store supplied.
Haply, the wonders to behold,
A boy ’mid other boys he came,
A lamb of Jesus' fold,
Though now unknown by name.
Or for his sweet obedient ways
The Apostles brought him near, to share
Their Lord's laborious days,
His frugal basket bear.
Or might it be his duteous heart,
That led him sacrifice to bring
For his own simple part,
To the world's hidden King ?
Well may I guess how glow'd his cheek, How he look'd down, half pride, half fear : Far off he saw one speak
Of him in Jesus' ear.
“There is a lad-five loaves hath he, And fishes twain :—but what are they, Where hungry thousands be ?”—
Nay, Christ will find a way.
In order, on the fresh green hill,
The mighty Shepherd ranks His Sheep
By tens and fifties, still
As clouds when breezes sleep.
Oh who can tell the trembling joy,
Who paint the grave endearing look,
When from that favoured boy
The wondrous pledge He took ?
Keep thou, dear child, thine early word ; Bring Him thy best ; who knows but He For His eternal board
May take some gift of thee ?
Thou prayest without the veil as yet ;
But kneel in faith : an arm benign
Such prayer will duly set
Within the holiest shrine.
And Prayer has might to spread and grow. Thy childish darts, right-aim'd on high, May catch Heaven's fire, and glow
Far in the eternal sky:
Even as He made that stripling's store
Type of the Feast by Him decreed,
Where Angels might adore,
And souls for ever feed.
THE MOURNERS FOLLOWING THE CROSS.
“ Weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children.”
THERE is no grief that ever wasted man,
But finds its hour here in Thine awful week :
And since all Mother's love from Thee began,
Sure none, like Thee, of Mother's woe can speak.
Thine ear prophetic, Lord, while angels wreak
The vengeance on Thine heritage defild,
While temples crash, and towers in ashes reek,
And with each gust some kingdom strews the wild, Loses no lowly moan, no sigh of sobbing child.
Even so might seamen's wives at midnight drear
Lie listening to the blast, and tell aright
The tale of all the waves, that far and near
Break on the reef, yet miss no wailing slight
Of nestling babe, for wonder or delight
Uttering faint cries in sleep.—restless care !
Oh all foreseeing pity !-be our flight
In winter, soothing spells will He prepare,
And for His lambs allay the bleak heart-killing air.
Or if the holy Day the few brief hours
Of flight abridge, for nursing-mother frail,
For tender babe, Thou send'st Thine unseen powers
To help or hide hide in the lowly vale,
Help o'er the weary mountain.-Ne'er may fail
The prayer of helpless Faith ;—but she must pray,
Her forceful knocking must Heaven's door assail :
For so of old He taught : “Pray that your way
Be not in winter wild, nor on the Sabbath Day.”
The season He bids choose, who in strong hand
Winter and summer holds, and day and night,
Binding His sovereign will in Love's soft band ;-
As parents teach their little ones to write
With gentle-guiding finger, and delight
The wish and prayer to mould, then grant the boon :-
Such is Thy silent grace, framing aright
Our lowly orisons in time and tune
To Litanies on high, controlling sun and moon.
And as the heart maternal evermore
Must rise in prayer, so the maternal feet
Must feel their dim way on the lonely shore,
Ere o'er the path the unpitying surges beat.