Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  It Is the Lord!

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

It Is the Lord!

Charles Edward Mudie (1818–1890)

MORN breaketh;—O’er the Sea of Galilee

The light is still uncertain. On the shore

There standeth One who looketh patiently

Towards a group of fishers bending o’er

Their empty net. They drop that net once more

Into the sea. Spending the night in toil,

They have caught nothing … they who heretofore

Never cast net in vain. With patient moil

They spread their net once more, and yet they take no spoil.

They do not heed the Stranger on the coast

Watching their fruitless labour.—Ah, how nigh

The Lord may be to those who love Him most,

And they not know Him! Sorrow dims the eye,

And dulls the ear, and clouds each faculty

Of holy observation; even though

His well-known voice is heard, it passeth by

Unrecognised. A solitary “No”

Is all their sad response. O dull of heart and slow!

O doubly dull and slow of heart! He spake

A promise to be with them when they met

Again, beside the Galilean Lake,

Or anywhere; and now they are beset

With doubt and care and grief! Their eyes are wet

With faithless tears! They do not know the Lord;—

But still at His command they drop their net

Once more into the deep, when lo! ’tis stored

With a great shoal of fish at His prevailing word.

O mighty Word! No sooner is it spoken,

Than the deep sea its silver treasure brings;

And marvel more,—each mesh is still unbroken,

Through all the net, down to its slenderest strings!

Each eager fisher marvels while he clings

To his huge living burthen, “Who is He

Who speaks one word, and lo! these wondrous things

Are wrought; our empty net is filled, and we

Long-wearied watchers, win this treasure from the sea?”

Of Power Divine, of Love most manifest,

Can earth or heaven one clearer sign afford?

So shall he see Him first who loves Him best;

And John be first to cry, “It is the Lord!”

John sees with love’s keen eyes; his sweet reward

Is to see clearly. Peter’s is to feel

Joy in quick action;—so, without a word,

He leaps into the waters.—Ere the keel

Touches the shore, he at the Master’s feet doth kneel.

Love sees, Zeal hastens; but with love as true

And zeal as fervent, all with joy behold

Their gracious Saviour, and will hasten too

To kiss His feet;—and yet not lose their hold

Of all that their great net doth now enfold

Of Christ-given treasure. Not till on the shore

Their freight is landed and its number told,

Will they leave working.—They will praise Him more

When they have made true record of that wondrous store!

So loving eyes may see the Saviour’s face

Sooner than others, Blessed are those eyes!

And zealous feet run quick to His embrace,

O blessed feet to win so rich a prize!—

But while we these commend, they too are wise

Who ply the labouring oar, or hold the net,

Or count their converts with a glad surprise;

For all were needed, and are needed yet,

And all from His dear lips sweet commendation get.

O Church to-day! If, in that morn’s grey light,

Those dim-eyed fishers recognised the Lord,

What shall we say, who, with still clearer sight,

Behold His glory,—as with conquering word

He brings, not fish but nations, to be stored

Within His mighty net? What can we say

But “Lord, ’tis Thou!” Be evermore adored

Whether we look, or run, or work, or play,

“It is the Lord!—Command us Saviour, every way!”