Friday, April 17, 2009

Poem: AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. MR. GEORGE WHITEFIELD. (Part Three)

How blest the messenger whom Jesus owns,
How swift with the commissioned word he runs!
The sacred fire shut up within his breast
Breaks out again, the weary cannot rest,
Cannot consent his feeble flesh to spare,
But rushes on, Jehovah’s harbinger:
His one delightful work, and steadfast aim
To pluck poor souls as brands out of the flame,
To scatter the good seed on every side, 200
To spread the knowledge of the crucified,
From a small spark a mighty fire to raise,
And fill the continent with Jesus’ praise.
What recompense for all his endless toil?
The Master pays him with a constant smile,
With peace, and power, and comforts from above,
Grace upon grace, and floods of rapt’rous love.
When often spent and spiritless he lies,
Jesus beholds him with propitious eyes,
And looks him back his strength, and bids arise, 210
Sends him again to run the lengthened race,
Prospers his work, and shines on all his ways.
The man of God, whom God delights t’ approve
In his great labours of parental love,
Love of the little ones—for these he cares,
The lambs, the orphans, in his bosom bears;
Knowing in whom he trusts, provides a place,
And spreads a table in the wilderness,
A father of the fatherless, supplies
Their daily wants—with manna from the skies, 220
In answer to his prayer so strangely given,
His fervent prayer of faith that opens heaven.
What mighty works the prayer of faith can do!
The good of souls, and Jesus in his view,
He sees the basis sure, which cannot fail,
Laid by the true divine Zerubbabel;
The rising house built up by swift degrees,
The crowning-stone brought forth with shouts he sees:
The Lord hath finished what his hands begun,
Ascribe the gracious work to grace alone. 230
The house is built; and shall not God provide?
Plentiful help pours in on every side,
From hearts inclined the hungry lambs to feed
By him, who satisfies the poor with bread;
Whose blessing makes the earth her riches yield,
The wilderness become a fruitful field,
Bids golden harvests round his house arise,
And turns a waste into a paradise.
With heart enlarged, with confidence increased,
In all his purposes and labours bless’d, 240
The steward wise, and faithful to his trust,
Gives God the praise, and sinks into the dust,
And cries, o’erwhelmed his Master’s smile to see,
“O when shall I begin to live for thee!”
More grace is on the humble man bestowed,
More work on him that loves to work for God;
By whose supreme decree, and kind command
He now returns, to bless his native land,
(Nor dreads the threat’nings of the wat’ry deep,3
Or all its storms, with Jesus in the ship) 250
To see how the belov’d disciples fare,
Fruits of his toil, and children of his prayer,
A second gospel-benefit t’ impart,
And comfort, and confirm the faithful heart.
So the first missioners in Jesus’ name,
Went forth, the world’s Redeemer to proclaim,
The crucified, supreme, eternal God,
The general peace and pardon in his blood;
From clime to clime the restless heralds run,
To make their Saviour through the nations known, 260
Planted in every place, to serve their Lord,
A living church, and watered by the word,
While heaven was pleased their ministry to bless,
And God bestowed the thousand-fold increase.