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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

Christ opening the Eyes of the Blind

John Keble (1792–1866)

‘And looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.’—MARK VII. 34.

THE SON of God in doing good

Was fain to look to Heaven and sigh:

And shall the heirs of sinful blood

Seek joy unmix’d in charity?

God will not let Love’s work impart

Full solace, lest it steal the heart:

Be thou content in tears to sow,

Blessing, like Jesus, in thy woe.

He looked to Heaven, and sadly sigh’d—

What saw my gracious Saviour there,

With fear and anguish to divide

The joy of Heaven-accepted prayer?

So o’er the bed where Lazarus slept

He to His Father groan’d and wept:

What saw He mournful in that grave,

Knowing Himself so strong to save?

Overwhelming thoughts of pain and grief

Over His sinking spirit sweep:—

“What boots it gathering one lost leaf

“Out of yon sere and wither’d heap,

“Where souls and bodies, hopes and joys,

“All that earth owns or sin destroys,

“Under the spurning hoof are cast,

“Or tossing in th’ autumnal blast?”

The deaf may hear the Saviour’s voice,

The fetter’d tongue its chain may break;

But the deaf heart, the dumb by choice,

The laggard soul, that will not wake,

The guilt that scorns to be forgiven;—

These baffle e’en the spells of Heaven:

In thought of these, His brows benign

Not even in healing cloudless shine.

No eye but His might ever bear

To gaze all down that drear abyss,

Because none ever saw so clear

The shore beyond of endless bliss:

The giddy waves so restless hurl’d,

The vex’d pulse of this feverish world,

He views and counts with steady sight,

Used to behold the Infinite.

But that in such communion high

He hath a fount of strength within,

Sure His meek heart would break and die,

O’erburthen’d by His brethren’s sin;

Weak eyes on darkness dare not gaze,

It dazzles like the noon-day blaze;

But He who sees God’s face may brook

On the true face of Sin to look.

What then shall wretched sinners do,

When in their last, their hopeless day,

Sin, as it is, shall meet their view,

God turn His face for aye away?

Lord, by Thy sad and earnest eye,

When Thou didst look to Heaven and sigh;

Thy voice, that with a word could chase

The dumb, deaf spirit from his place;

As Thou hast touch’d our ears, and taught

Our tongues to speak Thy praises plain,

Quell Thou each thankless, godless thought

That would make fast our bonds again.

From worldly strife, from mirth unblest,

Drowning Thy music in the breast,

From foul reproach, from thrilling fears,

Preserve, good Lord, Thy servants’ ears.

From idle words, that restless throng,

And haunt our hearts when we would pray,

From pride’s false chime, and jarring wrong,

Seal Thou my lips, and guard the way:

For Thou hast sworn, that every ear,

Willing or loth, Thy trump shall hear,

And every tongue unchained be

To own no hope, no God, but Thee.