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

Last Touches, Last Steps, Last Words

Elizabeth Charles (1828–1896)

LUKE XXIV. 39, 40.

OH, torn and nailéd hands,

Yet by no nails held fast;

Only by force of dear, Divine commands,

And love, on to the last!

Oh, healing Hands and strong,

By love and pain held fast!

Ere to this torture yielded up so long,

What was it they did last?

They took the festal cup,

Gave it to drink to all,

And with the wine of God they filled it up—

Drops from Thy heart that fall.

They took the Paschal bread,

But common bread before;

And one High Feast for all the ages spread,

Which faileth never more.

They washed the way-worn feet,

(Master in ministry!)

Washed off the common dust of path and street

From feet which followed Thee!

They healed the wounded foe,

(One touch, as in the past,)

Healing the foe, though friends had struck the blow;

’Twas this those Hands did last.

Oh, blessed feet, to tread

No more for us Earth’s round!

What were the latest willing steps they sped

Ere pierced thus, and bound?

Three times they went one way

In dark Gethsemane;

Thou badest Thy beloved watch and pray,—

Watch but one hour with Thee!

Three journeys, all in vain,

To see what watch they keep;

Craving one touch of sympathetic pain,

And finding all asleep!

Oh, lips now parched and white

In death, what said they last?

Ere on them, through the tumult of that night,

Majestic silence passed.

For the disciples’ sake,

What was the last they said?

‘Let not your heart be troubled,’ (Thine must break!)

‘Nor let it be afraid.’

Shepherd! in mortal pain,

Still caring for the sheep!

We know no word nor touch of Thine were vain,

All in our depths sink deep.

E’er since that dread night’s strain

Some fail not watch to keep;

Oh, come and see, and try us once again,

And find us not asleep!