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

By Psalms and Hymns for the Church (1883). VIII. “‘He loved his own unto the end’”

William Josiah Irons (1812–1883)

“HE loved His own unto the end,”

And asked their love;

He said, “I call you each My friend,

And not My servant; and I send

One from above,

Who shall reveal such grace and truth to you

As in My sojourn here ye never knew.”

“But why depart?” they cry, “why will

To leave us here?

Thou sayest that Thou dost love us still:

Can it be love if thus Thou fill

Our cup of fear?

O Master, Master, should’st Thou now depart

All sorrow needs must overwhelm our heart.

Yet it is love: He said, “I go;

For could I stay,

Your earth-bound thoughts would never know

Love’s fullest mysteries, which flow

From Me alway;

My human heart might linger with you yet,

But now affections must on heaven be set.

“You could not know Me more, unless

My Spirit came

And taught the ways of righteousness,

How sin and judgment to confess,

How learn to blame

All clinging to inferior things of earth,

Blind to the glory of your heavenly birth.

“My peace I leave with you, but not

As this world gives;

My Spirit comes to you, yet what

He teaches shows no earthly lot:

He ever lives,

The world must learn. I hear the Father’s call

Away from earth!—Awhile I leave you all.

“Arise! let us go hence.” He rose,

And, as He spake,

Calmly He moved, as one who knows

The coming onset of his foes.

The night winds shake

With distant sounds, as through the olive grove

“Let us depart” is echoed from above.