In a desert place

In a desert place

Jesus withdraws. Passover at hand.

(The Gospel History, Section 61)

And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And he took them, and they withdrew in the boat to a desert place apart; to a city called Bethsaida, on the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And the people saw them going, and many knew them and they ran there together on foot from all the cities, and outwent them; because they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick. And he came forth and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and he welcomed them, and began to teach them many things, and spake to them of the kingdom of God, and them that had need of healing he healed.

In a desert place

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV, Book I, Poem I)

Come ye apart to a desert place and rest,”
Saith Christ to His Chosen Twelve, returned to Him
From wanderings, healings, teachings, manifold.
But, see, the people will not be outdone,
Nor let their Lord, theirs also, out of sight!
They watched Him enter the boat with those, His friends;
Tumultuous, eager, followed they on foot
Round the head of the lake, heedless of noon-day heat;
Crowds gathered to them from the cities round,
And, lo, that desert place the Lord had sought—
Spot lovely and remembered, was’t, perhaps,
For many a prayerful vigil, solitary,—
The crowd, iconoclast, had broke the spell,
Shattered that image of sweet solitude
Which refreshed the Master’s thought! See, multitudes
Are there before Him, waiting for His words.

Men of sweet nature, sure, might feel annoy
At such rude trespass on hour set apart
For rest and converse with their chosen friends:
They of sweet nature, aye, but not the Christ:
Tender, He welcomed all those scattered sheep
Having no shepherd; diligently taught
Through the long day things that concerned their peace—
Things of the Kingdom which was for each of them:
They heard with greedy ear: all learned that day,
That, whoso comes to Christ comes always well;
Never intrudes on secret communings,
Hears words for other ears, presumes on hours
Devoted to great matters; all’s for him,
Poor wretch who has no claim!

St. Matthew xiv. 13.
St. Mark vi. 31-34.
St. Luke ix. 10, 11.
St. John vi. 1, 2.

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