Oh! for the happy days gone by,
When love ran smooth and free;
Days when my spirit so enjoyed
More than earth’s liberty!
Oh! for the times when on my heart
Long prayer had never palled,
Times when the ready thought of God
Would come when it was called!
Then when I knelt to meditate,
Sweet thoughts came o’er my soul,
Countless and bright and beautiful,
Beyond my own control.
Oh! who hath locked those fountains up?
Those visions who hath staid?
What sudden act hath thus transformed
My sunshine into shade?
This freezing heart, O Lord ! this will.
Dry as the desert sand —
Good thoughts that will not come, bad thoughts
That come without command —
A faith that seems not faith — a hope
That cares not for its aim —
A love that none the hotter grows
At Jesus’ blessed name —
The weariness of prayer — the mist
O’er conscience overspread —
The chill repugnance to frequent
The feast of angels’ bread :
If this drear change be Thine, O Lord !
If it be Thy sweet will,
Spare not, but to the very brim
The bitter chalice fill;
But if it hath been sin of mine,
Oh! show that sin to me —
Not to get back the sweetness lost,
But to make peace with Thee.
One thing alone, dear Lord, I dread —
To have a secret spot
That separates my soul from Thee,
And yet to know it not.
Oh! when the tide of graces set
So full upon my heart,
I know, dear Lord, how faithlessly
I did my little part;
I know how well my heart hath earned
A chastisement like this,
In trifling many a grace away
In self-complacent bliss.
But if this weariness hath come
A present from on high.
Teach me to find the hidden wealth
That in its depths may lie;
So in this darkness I can learn
To tremble and adore,
To sound my own vile nothingness.
And thus to love Thee more; —
To love Thee, and yet not to think
That I can love so much;
To have Thee with me, Lord ! all day,
Yet not to feel Thy touch.
If I have served Thee, Lord! for hire,
Hire which Thy beauty showed.
Ah! I can serve Thee now for naught.
And only as my God.
Oh! blessed be this darkness, then,
This deep in which I lie ;
And blessed be all things that teach
God’s dread supremacy!
~Unknown. Taken from The Changed Cross