THE FIRST PASTORATE
“No, no,” I said: “I cannot be
A pastor: I would still be free
To come and go.”
“No, no,” they said; “Come here and stay,
And cast the labour chains away,
And serve us so.”
So here I am, the centre bit
Of a community, who sit
To live and learn;
And many know as much as I,
And some are sharp and some are shy
Yet here they turn.
My deacons, more than once or twice
Have given me sublime advice,
And I am swayed;
Oh for that gracious confidence,
Which holds its own, and can dispense
With outside aid.
My leisure, which I seemed to need,
When with these hands I toiled for bread,
Is now a care;
I do not always feel inclined
For quiet thought; nor can I find;
My sermons there.
How could I ever hope to be
A father to this family
And feed them all?
Lord, to Thy pity, I appeal;
I came not hither at my will;
But at Thy call.
Teach me to pray as well as preach,
Put what I need within my reach,
Language and thought;
Pour joy’s sweet oil upon my head,
And let me see the unction spread
Among the taught.
Give me some seal, some soul to bless;
That this bewildering wilderness,
A rose may bear;
And let it on my heart by found,
And help me all the desert round,
To keep it there.
Oh I am willing if Thou wilt;
Thy blood for my poor soul was spilt,
And Thou art mine;
So gladly this strange way I wend,
To be a ministering friend
To Thee in Thine.
M. A. Chaplin.