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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Psalms and Hymns for the Church (1883). II. “Hail, holy rest!”

William Josiah Irons (1812–1883)

HAIL, holy rest! calm herald of that day

When all the toils of time shall pass away;

First gift of God, as life on earth began,

We welcome thee, O Sabbath made for man!

Lord of the Sabbath, lift our hearts to Thee,

That in Thy light we now may all things see;

By Thee created, loved, redeemed, and blest,

In Thee alone is everlasting rest.

Now on the way to our eternal home,

To thee, true Sabbath of our souls, we come;

In all our path, though countless mercies shine,

The glory and the brightness, Lord, are Thine.

If in the cool of day we find Thee near,

Thy voice awakes no dark foreboding fear;

We hear Thy step in every rustling breeze,

Thy shadow glances from the waving trees.

Our land enjoys her Sabbaths, Lord, and still

Thy “peace on earth” breathes soft from vale to hill

Yet lives the hope, wherever man hath trod,

“A rest remaineth for the sons of God!”

Rest, rest for laden souls whose prayers arise,

And in Thy name find access to the skies;

Rest in absolving love, while we confess,

Since Thou canst cleanse from all unrighteousness.

And most before Thine altar as we bow,

And in Thy presence feel Thy mercy now;

The Father, Son, and Spirit we adore,

And find “this is our rest for evermore.”