The Gathering Round The Oak Tree.

A poem by Eliza Paul Kirkbride Gurney

Why should "the little remnant mourn?"
Though closed the house of prayer,
An aged oak its shelter gave;
And surely He was there,
Who dwells in house not built with hands,
Eternal in the skies;
Incense nor costly altar craves,
Nor lamb for sacrifice;
But who the purest offering still
Finds in a willing mind,
And oft "through paths they know not of,"
In safety leads the blind.
Yes, He was there! The faithful band,
"O'ershadowed by His love,"
Saw in each bough that gently waved
A peace-branch from above.
Jesus was in the awful pause;
The prayer He prompted too;
And softly sighed, "Father, forgive,
They know not what they do."

While thus they crucify afresh
The Lamb of Calvary,
O Lord! be merciful to them,
Though they are false to Thee.
And many a voiceless prayer was borne
Up to the throne of God,
That none might question Heaven's decree,
But bless the chastening rod;
That though our pathway thorny be,
We fearless might pursue
The track our fathers marked with blood,
Unmurmuring marked it too.
How freely may the little band
Accept the chalice given,
Till by the Saviour called to swell
The symphonies of Heaven;
And when their weary pilgrimage,
Their day on earth is done,
God hath a coronal for those
Who trusted in the Son.

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