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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    A. T. Jones

    (Read by Elder A. T. Jones, at the Closing Meeting of the Conference.)

    [The following anonymous poem was found, about eight years ago, in a magazine published in Philadelphia. Its beauty of language, fervor of feeling, and exalted religious sentiment, claim for it a wider circulation than it has yet attained.]GCB April 1895, page 489.7

    I’M growing very old. This weary head
    That hath so often leaned on Jesus’ breast
    In days long past that seem almost a dream,
    Is bent and hoary with its weight of years.
    These limbs that followed him - my Master - oft
    From Galilee to Judah; yea, that stood
    Beneath the cross, and trembled with his groans,
    Refuse to bear me even through the streets
    To preach unto my children. E’en my lips
    Refuse to form the words my heart sends forth.
    My ears are dull, they scarcely hear the sobs
    Of my dear children gathered round my couch;
    God lays his hand upon me, — yea, his hand
    And not his rod, — the gentle hand that I
    Felt, those three years, so often pressed in mine
    In friendship such as passeth woman’s love.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.8

    I’m old, — so old I cannot recollect
    The faces of my friends, and I forget
    The words and deeds that make up daily life;
    But that dear face and every word He spoke
    Grow more distinct as others fade away,
    So that I live with him and holy dead
    More than with the living.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.9

    Some seventy years ago
    I was a fisher by the sacred sea.
    It was at sunset. How the tranquil tide
    Bathed dreamily the pebbles! How the light
    Crept up the distant hills, and in its wake
    Soft, purple shadows wrapped the dewy fields!
    And then He came and called me. Then I gazed,
    For the first time, on that sweet face. Those eyes,
    From out of which, as from a window, shone
    Divinity looked on my inmost soul
    And lighted it forever. Then his words
    Broke on the silence of my heart, and made
    The whole world musical. Incarnate Love
    Took hold of me, and claimed me for its own.
    I followed in the twilight, holding fast
    His mantle.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.10

    O, what holy walks we had,
    Through harvest fields and desolate, dreary wastes!
    And oftentimes he leaned upon my arm,
    Wearied and wayworn. I was young and strong,
    And so upbore him. Lord, now I am weak,
    And old, and feeble! Let me rest on thee!
    So, put thine arm around me. Closer still!
    How strong thou art! The twilight draws apace.
    Come, let us leave these noisy streets, and take
    The path to Bethany; for Mary’s smile
    Awaits us at the gate, and Martha’s hands
    Have long prepared the cheerful evening meal.
    Come James, the Master waits; and Peter, see,
    Has gone some steps before.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.11

    What say you, friends?
    That this is Ephesus, and Christ has gone
    Back to his kingdom? Ay, ‘t is so, ‘t is so.
    I know it all; and yet, just now I seemed
    To stand once more upon my native hills,
    And touch my Master. O, how oft I’ve seen
    The touching of his garment bring back strength
    To palsied limbs! I feel it has to mine.
    UP! bear me once more to my church! Once more
    There let me tell them of a Saviour’s love;
    For, by the sweetness of my Master’s voice
    Just now, I think he must be very near, —
    Coming, I trust, to break the veil, which time
    Has worn so thin that I can see beyond,
    And watch his footsteps.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.12

    So, raise my head.
    How dark it is! I cannot seem to see
    The faces of my flock. Is that the sea
    That murmurs so, or is it weeping? Hush,
    My little children! God so loved the world
    He gave his Son. So love ye one another.
    Love God and man. Amen. Now bear me back.
    My legacy unto an angry world is this.
    I feel my work is finished. Are the streets so full
    What call the folk my name, — the Holy John?
    Nay, write me rather, Jesus Christ’s beloved,
    And lover of my children.
    GCB April 1895, page 489.13

    Lay me down
    Once more upon my couch, and open wide
    The eastern window. See, there comes a light
    Like that which broke upon my soul at eve,
    When, in the dreary Isle of Patmos, Gabriel came
    And touched me on the shoulder. See, it grows
    As when we mounted toward the pearly gates.
    I know the way! I trod it once before.
    And hark! It is the song the ransomed sang
    Of glory to the Lamb! How loud it sounds!
    And that unwritten one! Methinks my soul
    Can join it now
    O my Lord, my Lord!
    How bright thou art! and yet the very same
    I loved in Galilee. ‘T is worthy the hundred years
    To feel this bliss! So lift me up, dear Lord,
    Unto thy bosom. There shall I abide.
    GCB April 1895, page 490.1

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