I was sitting alone in the twilight,
With spirit troubled and vexed,
With thoughts that were morbid and gloomy,
And faith that was sadly perplexed.
Some homely work I was doing
For the child of my love and care;
Some stitches half-wearily setting
In the endless need of repair.
But my thoughts were about "the building,"
The work some day to be tried;
And that only the gold and the silver,
And the precious stones should abide;
And, remembering my own poor efforts,
The wretched work I had done,
And, even when trying most truly,
The meagre success I had won;
"It is nothing but wood, hay, and stubble,"
I said; "it will all be burned
This useless fruit of the talents
One day to be returned;
"And I have so longed to serve Him,
And sometimes I know I have tried;
But I'm sure, when He sees such a building,
He will never let it abide."
Just then, as I turned the garment
That no rent should be left behind,
My eye caught an odd little bungle
Of mending and patchwork combined.
My heart grew suddenly tender,
And something blinded my eyes,
With one of those sweet intuitions
That sometimes makes us so wise.
Dear child, she wanted to help me;
I knew 'twas the best she could do;
But oh, what a botch she had made it
The grey mis-matching the blue!
And yetcan you understand it?
With a tender smile and a tear,
And a half-compassionate yearning,
I felt her grown more dear.
Then a sweet voice broke the silence,
And the dear Lord said to me
"Art thou tenderer for the little child
Than I am tender for thee."
Then straightway I knew His meaning,
So full of compassion and love;
And my faith came back to its Refuge,
Like the glad returning dove.
For I thought when the Master Builder
Comes down His temple to view,
To see what rents must be mended,
And what must be builded anew;
Perhaps, as He looks o'er the building,
He will bring my work to the light,
And, seeing the marring and bungling,
And how far it all is from right,
He will feel as I felt for my darling,
And will say as I said for her
"Dear child, she wanted to help me,
And love for me was the spur;
"And, for the real love that was in it,
The work shall seem perfect as mine;
And because it was willing service,
I will crown it with plaudit divine."
And there, in the deepening twilight,
I seemed to be clasping a Hand,
And to feel a great love constraining me,
Stronger than any command.
Then I knew, by the thrill of sweetness,
'Twas the hand of the Blessed One,
Which would tenderly guide and hold me,
Till all the labour is done.
So my thoughts are never more gloomy,
My faith no longer is dim:
But my heart is strong and restful,
And mine eyes are unto Him.
(Published under the title, "The Voice in the Twilight," by Holness,
14, Paternoster Row, 6d. per hundred,post free.