Alone and Bound.
The Christian army stands alone,
A little scattered band;
In earth’s fair palaces unknown,
Uncounted in the land.
Alone, with sweet and stealing sin
Dogging each step they tread;
Uneven roads, no sight within;
And darknesss overhead!
The world’s bright lamps too often cheat,
And lead those steps astray;
The world’s sweet songs are far too sweet;
The world wields awful sway!
Alone, and trapped in flowery bonds
Of earth’s sweet love and peace, —
Most potent of enchanter’s wands! —
But still they find release.
Alone in Marah’s waves they sink —
Extremity of woe! —
And yet they float and reach the brink,
And kiss the cross, and go.
Alone, each single warrior deems
He battles with a world;
Yet sure and certain victory seems
To wait his flag unfurled.
Alone! but sure a mighty Hand
Wields so the hidden sword,
That dauntless and unchecked they stand,
And conquer by a word!
A mighty and resistless Voice
Speaks earnestly and low
To every heart, “Ye are my choice;
Ye must arise and go!
“Through purifying trial-fires,
And past the Tempter’s offered gift,
In sloughs of doubt, and malice-mires,
My sealed and well-watched ones must drift.
“Through sin and sorrow, onward, up,
My chosen race must tread,
Must drink the dregs of Marah’s cup,
To scoffers bare the head.
“Must meekly walk, amid the press,
With stedfastness of face;
And boldly must Me Lord confess —
No weapon but My grace.
“But, day and night, My large right hand
Shall be your shield of fire,
And, spread before earth’s raging band,
Shall wither all its ire.
“And I have chained you with the long
Link of eternal love,
And, if it hold you strait and strong,
Ye cannot, therefore, rove.
“Let not your hearts, for pleasure’s sake,
Be downward drawn again:
This chain of Mine can never break,
But only tug and pain.
“Press onward, on the road it draws,
So shall ye loose its strain,
And, yearning on to keep My laws,
Ye shall My bliss attain.”
Oh, who would ever dare to chafe,
Or cast that chain away,
Which, if it binds us, keeps us safe,
And will not let us stray.
If we have done so, let us try,
Repenting to atone;
And we shall find, in better needs,
God’s people not alone.
Our golden shackles firmly hold,
But Jesus grasps them too;
Whose own life-blood for us was sold,
Now lives to keep us true.
And lonely feeling may not cling
Where His dear work is done;
No! heart and lips and life shall sing
God’s people not alone!
Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, , pages 117-120
Marah = [the reference to “Marah” is unclear in this context] [unknown]
strait = (archaic) closely fitting, confined in area, constricted, tight
[Editor: Corrected “keeps up safe” to “keeps us safe”.]