Rest (The Disciple)

Rest (The Disciple)

(The Saviour of the World, Vol VI Book II Poem XVI)

A rest remaineth: is then rest so good?
The hope of weariness, a promise sweet
To labouring souls, but wherefore rest in heaven?

Deeper than any thought of man,
Sweeter than any dream of man,
Fuller than any hope of man,

To conceive which hath not entered

Into any heart of man:

As the sunny air to the life of a bird,
As a fair sea to the way of a ship,
As brooding sleep to the life of a babe,
So the infinite, unutterable rest of God
To those blest souls that are upborne thereon.

The rest we plan,

Wherein to lay us down when labours end,
Is other in its kind: in feelings, thoughts,
In burdens left behind, and chief of all,
In the dear Face of God, we place our rest.

But rest, the pure element

That God hath made as He hath made the air,
Encompassing, conditionless and free,
That each blest life, unconscious, lives within,

This enters not our thought.

Once in a life, perhaps (nor then to all)—
When in extremest strait a hopeless soul
Lies down beneath its burden,—heaven’s gate opes
And that soul for one supernal moment
Is taken in and steeped and bathed in rest.

Thus was it once:

A feeble body, and a brain o’er-fraught
With many thoughts and cares; a desolate heart,
Brooding o’er empty places in the earth
Not to be filled again. Life was too much:
The fainting body and more languid soul
Made plaint, for voice too feeble, Lord, how long?

And then it came:

The revelation of the infinite,

Eternal rest of God.

It came: but how to tell of it!—
As well give features and a form
To sunshine hallow’d ’neath the charm

That quiets summer Sabbaths.

It came; but not with words, too worn the heart
For any sound of words, tho’ words of Life:
With the sweet comprehending of a touch
That knew and pitied and was strong to help,
E’en so came quieting from the hand of God;

And the heart lay still
And ceaséd from itself;

Nor purpose, prayer, nor penitence was there,
Nor praise nor love found place, but a great rest;

A rest that steeped that soul and bore it up
And circled it and shadow’d; only rest;

Not knowing, having, being, aught:

Yet life nor love had ever after brought

So full a draught.

And as that soul lay still,

For hours perhaps or moments—lo, there came
A writing on the wall of its hid room;
The words appeared,—“As one is comforted,

Whom comforteth his mother!” So for aye,

That soul doth wot of one good thing prepared

Of God for them that love Him.

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