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SAINT PETER'S DAY.
COLLECT. O Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; make, we beseech thee, all pastors diligently to preach thy holy word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
LORD! when thy PETER, weak in faith,
By terror too severely tried,
And thee forsook, and thee denied ;
When thrice his ear the challenge heard,
And thrice his tongue renounced thy name,
More loud and more impassioned came;
One look from thee his fault reproved,
And made his slumbering conscience start;
Spoke daggers to his bleeding heart;
And sent him forth a prey to grief,
Unheeded all his former fears,
From bitter and repentant tears.
Lord! when by human frailty led,
We pass thy gracious warning by,
And thee forsake, and thee deny;
Grant us to feel the keen rebuke,
By conscience, faithful guardian, sent,
When on thy frail Apostle bent.
That pitying look! O may it melt
Our hearts in penitential showers !
And O, be his forgiveness ours !
“When Herod would have brought him out, the same night Peter was sleep
ing.” Acts xii. 6.
Thou thrice denied, yet thrice beloved,
Watch by thine own forgiven friend;
Let his soul love thee to the end.
The prayer is heard, -else why so deep
His slumber on the eve of death ?
He loves and is beloved again,
Can his soul choose but be at rest ? Sorrow hath fled away, and Pain
Dares not invade the guarded nest.
He dearly loves and not alone:
For his winged thoughts are soaring high Where never yet frail heart was known
To breathe in vain affection's sigh.
He loves and weeps, — but more than tears
Have sealed thy welcome and his love, – One look lives in him, and endears
Crosses and wrongs where'er he rove:
That gracious chiding look, thy call
To wiň him to himself and thee, Sweetening the sorrow of his fall,
Which else were rued too bitterly.
Even through the veil of sleep it shines,
of that kindly glance;The Angel watching by divines
And spares awhile his blissful trance.
Or haply to his native lake
His vision wafts him back, to talk With Jesus, ere his flight he take,
As in that solemn evening walk,
When to the bosom of his friend,
The Shepherd, he whose name is Good, Did his dear lambs and sheep comm
nmend, Both bought and nourished with his blood :
Then laid on him the inverted tree,
Which, firm embraced with heart and arm, Might cast o'er hope and memory,
O'er life and death, its awful charm.
With brightening heart he bears it on,
passport through the eternal gates, To his sweet home, so nearly won,
He seems, as by the door he waits,
The unexpressive notes to hear
Of angel song and angel motion, Rising and falling on the ear
Like waves in Joy's unbounded ocean.
His dream is changed, — the Tyrant's voice
Calls to that last of glorious deeds, – But as he rises to rejoice,
Not Herod but an Angel leads.
He dreams he sees a lamp flash bright,
Glancing around his prison room, But ’t is a gleam of heavenly light
That fills up all the ample gloom.
The flame that in a few short years
Deep through the chambers of the dead Shall pierce, and dry the fount of tears,
Is waving o'er his dungeon-bed.
Touched he upstarts,
- his chains unbind, Through darksome vault, up massy stair, His dizzy, doubting footsteps wind
To freedom and cool moonlight air.