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Three Friends Of God by Frances Bevan


To Thee, Lord, my heart unfoldeth,

As the rose to the golden sun --

To Thee, Lord, mine arms are clinging,

The eternal joy begun.

For ever through endless ages,

Thy cross and Thy sorrow shall be

The glory, the song, and the sweetness,

That make heaven heaven to me.

Let one in his innocence glory,

Another in works he has done --

Thy blood is my claim and my title,

Beside it, O Lord, I have none.

The Scorned, the Despised, the Rejected,

Thou hast come to this heart of mine;

In Thy robes of eternal glory,

Thou welcomest me to Thine. -- Henry Suso

|AND when the servant considered all that the Lord had thus shown him of the hidden wonders of His grace, he spake to the Lord and said, O Lord, the sorrows and the troubles through which Thou hast brought me, are to the eyes of man, as sharp thorns that pierce through flesh and bone. Therefore, O blessed Lord, let these sharp thorns brings forth sweet fruit of blessed teaching, that we weary men may learn to suffer more patiently, and to praise Thee all the more because Thou givest us to suffer.'

|And the Lord heard his prayer, and he was taken as it were out of himself, and he learnt how he who suffers, should turn his sorrows into praise to the Beloved who suffered first.|


O Lord, in my songs I have praised Thee,

For all that was sweet and was fair;

And now a new song would I sing Thee,

A song that is wondrous and rare.

A song of the heart that is broken,

A song of the sighs and the tears,

The sickness, the want, and the sadness

Of the days of our pilgrimage years.

A song of the widows and orphans,

Of the weary and hungry and sad,

High praise of the will Thou hast broken,

The will of the young and the glad.

A song of the outcasts and martyrs,

A song of the scorned and despised,

The lonely, dishonoured, forsaken,

Who knew the rejection of Christ.

Loud sings the great choir of sorrow

The song of the gladness untold,

To Him, on the throne of His glory,

Who wept in the ages of old.

To Thee, O my Father, I offer,

The psalms of Thy children who weep,

The songs of the sowers aweary,

The joy of the blessed who reap --

Oh sweet to the members the witness,

They are with the Head ever one;

With Him who trod first in the pathway,

That leads from the cross to the throne.

Thy glory, Lord Jesus, is ours,

And ours Thy rejection and shame --

The knights of the King in His beauty,

Our banner Thy glorious Name.

Weak, weary, our footsteps may falter,

Our praises imperfect may be,

But Thou singest praise in the glory;

The eyes of our God are on Thee.

O Rock that wast smitten for sinners,

Whence floweth the river of God,

The deeper our guilt and our sorrow,

The deeper our praise for Thy blood.

The sorer the thirst of the desert,

The sweeter the waters must be;

The fuller our chorus of praises

That here we have suffered with Thee.

|And the servant sat still, yet a good while, until all these things were to him in the inmost innermost of his soul a solemn reality; then did he stand up joyfully, and he praised God for His grace.

|It also came to pass one joyous Easter day, that the servant felt glad at heart, and he sat according to his custom in his little resting place, which was a small chapel under the staircase of the convent. And he asked God to show him what enjoyment those should have in this present time, who had suffered many things for His sake.

|And God answered him in his heart, and said, All those who suffer according to the will of God, may well rejoice, for their patience has a great reward, even this -- though they are pitiable in the eyes of many, yet many shall rejoice eternally, on account of the praise and honour which shall be brought to God through them. They have died with Me, and with Me they shall arise. I will give them the desire of their heart, for My desires are theirs. I will give them the peace of God, that no angel, nor devil, nor man can take away from them. I will give them to know the sweetness of the kisses of My mouth, and of My close and tender love, and thus shall they know in their hearts that they are one with Me for ever and for ever, and they shall not need to ask Me for My love, for during this little while there shall not be one single moment in which my love shall be withholden from them. But it beginneth now, and continueth for ever, though here in their mortal bodies they could not bear to know how full and deep is that love of Mine.'

|Then was the servant glad at these blessed tidings, and he sprang up, and it was as if his heart sang within him for joy, and he exclaimed aloud, so that the chapel re-echoed with his gladness, and he said:

|He who has suffered, let him go forth and complain! God knoweth that as for me, it is as if I had never had a sorrow all my days on earth below! I do not know what sorrow is. I know well what are joy and blessedness! For all the desires of my heart are given to me, and what need I more!'

|And then did he speak to the Lord and say: O eternal Wisdom, teach me more of this hidden mystery, in so far as it can be spoken in human speech, for many are blind and know not this truth, which Thou hast made known to me!'

|Then was it taught further to him in his inmost heart, and thus did the Lord make it yet more clear to him, saying Mark those men (alas! there are but few), who live as it were no longer, but whose life is hidden in God, so that of themselves they make no account. Thus can they delight themselves fully and freely in all that which God is doing, apart from the thought of themselves, and to them therefore it is true that heaven and earth are theirs, and all things are theirs, and fulfil their will, because the will of God is their will. And their cup overfloweth with joy even here below, because in all things they have a joy and delight that is steadfast and full.

|For in God there is no sorrow, and no suffering but peace and joy alone. But there is notwithstanding this hindrance to their perfect joy, that sin is yet in them, and to grieve and sorrow for sin must needs be, where the heart is right with God. Therefore, when they sin, for a while their joy departs. But whilst they walk with God, all is peace. For in Him sorrow is not sorrow, and pain is not pain, but all is peace and rest, all that God willeth, to them is sweet and pleasant. This is not to be understood to mean, that they no longer need to pray, for God delighteth in the prayers of His own.

|Nor is it only that to them the will of God is sweet. It is more than this. For to them He gives the fair sunshine of His comfort; and the blessed joy of heaven, even here below. So that they live already as it were in heaven, and thus it is that here upon the earth they have the oil of joy for mourning, and when they depart hence, they enter into life everlasting.'|

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