The Eye of God [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

The Eye of God.

“Angels watch us from Heaven; lost spirits watch us from torment; Christian friends watch us on earth; — but what are all these to the everlasting scrutiny of the great calm eye of God?”

Eternal Watcher! Holy, Mightiest,
All-Loving, and All-Patient Lord our God!
Thine eye from morn to dawning morn again
Doth search us thoroughly. ’Tis true, we say,
Owning the solemn watch we cannot change,
If we had erred in none but human sight,
Would not th’ accusing blush have burned our brows?

Would not our word have, faltering, died away
Before a loving, scrutinising eye?
Yes: — how deal we then with Him, the living God?
Hide we our trembling forms in ruthful fear?
Raise we a timid, deprecating glance?
With every moment of our wasted lives
Stained with a sinner’s careless guilt, we smile
Up to the sorrow-clouded Heaven above,
And calmly gaze upon the beauteous earth,
Which we have cursed with our great weight of crime.
Woe! woe! and that clear, searching eye
Watcheth us still, stedfast, eternally.

But yet; — why burst the ready, bounding joy
Over my soul as fell those awe-toned words,
“The ever-watchful eye of God”?
Not terror? — no; but a quick, throbbing gladness
Came with those stern and solemn sounds: — ’twas this:
He, who thus watches, does far more— far more.
He reads the thoughts, but He will give them first;
He prompts the deeds His eyes shall, later, scan,
And, issuing thus from Him, they must be good,
Even in His pure sight. But are they? No.
Who gives unasked — presses the gift refused?
He does, this God, often, but not for aye.
If we nor ask nor take the unasked gift,
Or, taking, stamp it with or sin or shame,
Woe to us when at Death we lie
Drowned in the light of that All-Searching Eye!
Where is our Refuge? Have we none? Ah , yes!
Clinging for ever to His Saviour-Child,
His eyes will reach us, but they will not see
Our guilt, hid in the sinless breast of Christ.
Haste! Haste! His arms are open wide!
For this, this only, God the Saviour died!

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 72-73

Editor’s notes:
aye = always, forever

ruthful = full of sorrow, pity, compassion; rueful, woeful

stedfast = archaic spelling of “steadfast”

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