“They were exceeding sorry”

“They were exceeding sorry”

The Boy with a Deaf and Dumb Spirit. Passion foretold.

(The Gospel History, Section 73)

And they went forth from thence, and passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it. For while they abode in Galilee, while all were marvelling at all the things which he did, he taught his disciples and said unto them, Let these words sink into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered up into the hands of men, and they shall kill him: and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. But they understood not this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it: and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. And they were exceeding sorry.

“They were exceeding sorry”

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

They left that region desolate, and came
By devious ways and sweet through Galilee;
A green and golden sea stirred by the breeze
Was all that prairie-plain of ripening corn;
Peace was abroad in all the yellowing fields;
Velvet anemones and the lily tribe
Left no place bare for treading; pigeons wheeled;
Great seas of corn and barley, fields of flowers,
The humming of innumerable bees,
High in the heavens, a lark—pure song, no more—
These be the things make Galilee a dream
That a man remembers while his right hand keeps
Its skill. The villages lay, dull red, blue,
With flowers and women on their garden-roofs;
The village elders,—grouped about some door,
Clad each in long red robe, blue-edged, and wrapped
With sheltering folds round head,—discussed at large
All that had come and gone that day, news brought
By hot-foot messengers these fifty miles:—
Sweet Galilee, belovéd of the Lord!

Not now would He make known His presence there,
But enters village where men knew Him not:
While all men marvelled at the tales they heard
Of words He spake and wonders He had done,
None guessing He was there in their very midst—
While thus men talked and dreamed,—Christ laid a task,
A heavy labour on His tenderness:
Who hath not had, sad messenger of grief,
A letter, urging—“It gently break to them,”—
The well-beloved, of husband, father, sick
Unto death, nor like to mend? Who hath not shrunk
From grievous part of breaking loving hearts
With news of anguish? Did the Christ feel less,
Did He love less, or less was He aware
Of the orphan’d loneliness for them He should leave?
So while the people talked and dreamed of a King,
And royal pageantry was in the air
For all the excited folk of Galilee,
A sorrowful company kept themselves from men:
The Lord taught His disciples; said to them,—
“I have a thing to say of grievous weight;
Give heed, My friends, let sink into your ears,
Nor be distract by the hopes of the multitude:
We journey to Jerusalem, and ye think
The hour is come when th’ King shall be proclaimed:—
I tell you, nay; to the hands of wicked men
The Son of man shall be delivered up;
And they shall kill Him; there is no reprieve:
Hope not ’gainst hope that Jehovah, sure, will work
A great deliverance—triumph o’er His foes:
Deliverance shall come,—but, after death:
Three days shall the Son of man lie, being dead,
And after three days He shall rise again.”

The men were exceeding sorry; that was all;
The Master’s sorrow overwhelmed their hearts,
And they sat amazed with grief; but not a word
Of all that Christ had taught with heavy pains
Did these men understand; their minds were veil’d;
Sorrow of Death and joy of th’ Resurrection
Alike were hid from them; nor dared one say
To their Lord, “What meanest Thou by these dread words?”
Who hath not hid him from the physician’s doom
That all he loves, his dearer life, condemns?

St. Matthew xvii. 22, 23.
St. Mark ix. 30-32.
St. Luke ix. 44, 45.