Lines Suggested By The Presence Of The English Friends, J. And H. C. Backhouse, In America 1831.

A poem by Eliza Paul Kirkbride Gurney

... "They that turn many to righteousness,
shall shine as the stars forever and ever." ...


They have left their homes and kindred, they are in the strangers' land,
The voice of God revealed his will; His will was their command.
They crossed the pathless main, nor feared the sadly treacherous wave,
For is not He in whom they trust omnipotent to save?

But did no dark forebodings come? Was all at peace within?
Did prompt obedience' sure reward e'en with the toil begin?
Ah no! for nature's fond appeal would in that hour be heard;
Maternity's deep spring of love within the heart was stirred.
Perhaps some little cherub form, that it was joy to see,
Would climb no more, with sunny smile, its happy parent's knee;
Perhaps some gentle household voice, that sighed "farewell" with pain,
Might never welcome their return to that loved home again;
Then came the thought of glistening eyes, which long had done with tears,
Eyes that had kept an anxious watch o'er childhood's reckless years;
While mem'ry dwelt upon that last and earnest gaze of love,
Which shows the heart withholds its seal from what the lips approve.
They feared those silvery locks, that told 'twas almost "close of day,"
Would to the grave go down, and they, their children, far away!
A moment nature shrank the thought was too, too full of pain
But ah! their Master's strength was made in weakness perfect then;
The voice that lulls the billowy deep soon bade the storm be still,
Bade them rejoice that they were called to do his perfect will;
To execute with fearless trust the holy high command,
"Go, and glad gospel tidings spread, over a distant land,
And beams of heavenly peace around your guarded path shall play,
Peace that the world can never give, nor ever take away."
But has the fearful sacrifice at last been made in vain?
And shall no trace within our hearts, no deathless trace remain?
Bright record, that with us awhile their dwelling place has been,
Preparing temples for their Lord's high service to begin.
Oh yes, I trust, a fount of light and life they have unsealed
To many a thirsting, fainting soul, a Saviour's love revealed;
Have taught "that in his service there is perfect freedom" still,
That 'tis the highest bliss of Heaven to do his sovereign will,
And if a humble suppliant may bow before Thy throne,
My Father! and a blessing ask on hearts to her unknown,
Oh! grant for them "the lines may fall in pleasant places" here,
"Beside still waters" bid them rest, and feel that Thou art near.
Thou hast Thyself declared, that great their recompense shall be,
Who have "forsaken all" to love and follow only Thee;
And they have left the "near and dear," the parent, child, and friend;
Then in Thy holy name may all these sweet affections blend!
And should the world desert them, Lord, oh, be the world to them,
The song of their rejoicing here, in Heaven the crowning gem;
Thy sacred guidance grant, I pray, o'er life's tempestuous sea,
Awhile a gentle course, and then, a sheltering port in Thee.

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