"Oh, that I loved the Father
With depth of conscious love,

"Oh, that I loved the Father
With depth of conscious love,
As steadfast, bright, and burning,
As seraphim above!
But how can I be deeming
Myself a loving child,
When here, and there, and everywhere,
My thoughts are wandering wild?

"It is my chief desire
To know Him more and more,
To follow Him more fully
Than I have done before:
My eyes are dim with longing
To see the Lord above;
But oh! I fear from year to year,
I do not truly love.

"For when I try to follow
The mazes of my soul,
I find no settled fire of love
Illumining the whole;
'T is all uncertain twilight,
No clear and vivid glow:
Would I could bring to God my King
The perfect love I owe!"

The gift is great and holy,
"T will not be sought in vain;
But look up for a moment
From present doubt and pain,
And calmly tell me how you love
The dearest ones below?
"This love," say you, "is deep and true!"
But tell me how you know?

How do you love your father?
"Oh, in a thousand ways!
I think there's no one like him,
So worthy of my praise.
I tell him all my troubles,
And ask him what to do;
I know that he will give to me
His counsel kind and true.

"Then every little service
Of hand, or pen, or voice,
Becomes, if he has asked it,
The service of my choice.
And from my own desires
"T is not so hard to part,
If once I know I follow so
His wiser will and heart.

"I know the flush of pleasure
That o'er my spirit came,
When far from home with strangers,
They caught my father's name;
And for his sake the greeting
Was mutual and sweet,
For if they knew my father too,
How glad we were to meet!

"And when I heard them praising
His music and his skill,
His words of holy teaching,
Life-preaching, holier still,
How eagerly I listened
To every word that fell;
"T was joy to hear that name so dear,
Both known and loved so well.

"Once I was ill and suffering
Upon a foreign shore,
And longed to see my father,
As I never longed before.
He came: his arm around me;
I leant upon his breast,
I did not long to feel more strong,
So sweet that childlike rest.

"The thought of home is pleasant,
Yet I should hardly care
To leave my present fair abode,
Unless I knew him there.
All other love and pleasure
Can never crown the place,
A home to me it cannot be
Without my father's face."

This is no fancy drawing,
But every line is true,
And you have traced as strong a love
As ever daughter knew.
But though its fond expression
Is rather lived than told,
You do not say from day to day,
"I fear my love is cold!"

You do not think about it;
"T is never in your thought–
"I wonder if I love him
As deeply as I ought?
I know his approbation
Outweighs all other meed,
That his employ is always joy,
But do I love indeed?"

Now let your own words teach you
The higher, holier claim
Of Him, who condescends to bear
A Father's gracious name.
No mystic inspiration,
No throbbings forced and wild
He asks, but just the loving trust
Of a glad and grateful child.

The rare and precious moments
Of realizing thrill
Are but love's blissful blossom,
To brighten, not to fill
The storehouse and the garner
With ripe and pleasant fruit;
And not alone by these is shown
The true and holy root.

What if your own dear father
Were summoned to his rest!
One lives, by whom that bitterest grief
Could well be soothed and blessed.
Like balm upon your sharpest woe
His still small voice would fall;
His touch would heal, you could not feel
That you had lost your all.

But what if he, the Lord of life,
Could ever pass away?
What if His name were blotted out,
And you could know to-day
There was no heavenly Father,
No Saviour dear and true,
No throne of grace, no resting-place,
No living God for you!

We need not dwell in horror
On what can never be,
Such endless desolation,
Such undreamt misery.
Our reason could not bear it,
And all the love of earth,
In fullest bliss, compared with this,
Were nothing, nothing worth.

Then bring your poor affection,
And try it by this test;
The hidden depth is fathomed,
You see you love him best!
"T is but a feeble echo
Of his great love to you,
Yet in His ear each note is dear,
Its harmony is true.

It is an uncut jewel,
All earth-incrusted now,
But He will make it glorious,
And set it on His brow:
"T is but a tiny glimmer,
Lit from the light above,
But it shall blaze through endless days,
A star of perfect love.

~ Frances Ridley Havergal