“Increase our faith”—The disciple

“Increase our faith”—The disciple

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

A cord there is which heaven doth use to bind
Two lives in one;—with such considerate care
In fixing each to each, that thus they grow,
The two, one higher being: the strength of each
So strengthen’d is; the beauty, beautified;
While the thin places in each character,
Pieced and sustain’d by strong parts in the other,
Do safely so endure the wear of life.
Nor doth this hold for closest bond alone,
But for the casual commerce of an hour
’Twixt thee and any other by the way.

Of three bright differing strands this cord is spun:
Two, from a heavenly wheel, are straight run out;
While from his substance man the third doth fetch,
Just as some spider draws wherewith to make
Her web from her own body: yet is this
A heavenly product like the other twain,
But diff’ring from them, in that from the first
’Twas lodgèd in man’s bosom;—or less or more,
According to the will that draws upon’t.

This ’tis his part to take and wind with those
In triune strength invincible. Should he fail,
Or draw with niggard or uncertain hand,
The other two, still running out to seek
Full measure of this third wherewith to twine,
Knotted and tangled grow, and fret the lives
With many a let and hindrance they had else
Bound in fair symmetry and entire strength:
Knowledge and love and faith,—of these is spun
That threefold cord not to be broken soon.

No bidding of the will may summon love,
And not of duly noted acts and words
Comes the perception of another’s being:
As little of ourselves are these, as moods
Of gloom and gladness born of changes wrought
In the quick face of nature.

Too much we think

To rule ourselves, the while our Author holds
Our spirits all responsive ’neath His touch,
And plays upon them with His winds and light
And subtle influences in the air,
And mystic sympathies with men and things,—
All in our eyes too light for passing thought—
Which yet do mould us into that we are.
But though our bliss or woe come not of us,
Receptive power is lodged in every breast;
All may reject or take, and this it is
That rules the differing pitch of human lives:
Think’st thou thy puny faith shall God exceed?
Or, niggard, canst believe enough in man?
Open thy being wide—it shall be filled;
Suspicious guard all inlets,—sadly prove
The aching famine of an unfed heart!
According to thy faith, the friend thou know’st,
According to thy faith, shall prove thy God!