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Thus spoke his tender mother:
And on an evening bright,
When the red round sun descended
Mid clouds of crimson light;
Again the boy was playing
And earnestly said he, "Oh beautiful child Jesus
Come down and play with me;
I will find thee flowers the fairest,
And weave for thee a crown,
I will get thee ripe red strawberries,
If thou wilt but come down;
Oh Holy, Holy Mother,
Put him down from off thy knee, For in these silent meadows,
There are none to play with me."
Thus spoke the boy so lovely
The while his mother heard, But on his prayer she pondered And spoke to him no word.
That self-same night she dreamed A lovely dream of joy,
She thought she saw young Jesus There playing with her boy.
"And for the fruits and flowers
Which thou hast brought to me;
Rich blessings shall be given
A thousand fold to thee.
For in the fields of heaven
Thou shalt roam with me at will, And of bright fruits celestial Shall have dear child thy fill."
Thus tenderly and kindly
The fair child Jesus spoke, And full of careful musings
The anxious mother woke.
And thus it was accomplished,
In a short month and a day, That lovely boy so gentle
Upon his death-bed lay.
And thus he spoke in dying,
"Oh mother, dear I see
The beautiful child Jesus
A coming down to me.
But in his hand he beareth,
Bright flowers as white as snow, And red and juicy strawberriesDear mother, let me go!"
Her sorrow did restrain,
For she knew he was with Jesus
And she asked him not again.
PREACHING OF THE BAPTIST.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness.”—Matt. iii. 3.
A VOICE from the desert comes awful and shrill ;
The Lord is advancing! prepare ye the way!
The word of Jehovah he comes to fulfil,
And o'er the dark world pour the splendor of day.
Bring down the proud mountain, though towering to heaven,
And be the low valley exalted on high; The rough path and crooked be made smooth and even,
For, Zion! your King, your Redeemer is nigh.
The beams of salvation his progress illume;
The lone dreary wilderness sings of her Lord;
The rose and the myrtle there suddenly bloom,
And the olive of peace spreads its branches abroad.
THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST.
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him."-Matt. iii. 13.
It was a green spot in the wilderness,
Touch'd by the river Jordan. The dark pine
Never had dropp'd its tassels on the moss
Tufting the leaning bank, nor on the grass
Of the broad circle stretching evenly,
To the straight larches, had a heavier foot
Than the wild heron's trodden. Softly in
Through a long aisle of willows, dim and cool,
Stole the clear waters with their muffled feet,
And hushing as they spread into the light,
Circled the edges of the pebbled tank
Slowly, then rippled through the woods away.
Hither had come th' Apostle of the wild,
Winding the river's course. 'Twas near the flush
Of eve, and, with multitude around,
Who from the cities had come out to hear,
He stood breast high amid the running stream,
Baptizing as the Spirit gave him power.
His simple raiment was of camel's hair,
A leathern girdle close about his loins,
His beard unshorn, and for his daily meat
The locust and wild honey of the wood -
But like the face of Moses on the mount
Shone his rapt countenance, and in his eye
Burned the mild of fire of love, as he spoke
The ear lean'd to him, and persuasion swift
To the chain'd spirit of the listener stole.
Silent upon the green and sloping bank
The people sat, and while the leaves were shook
With the birds dropping early to their nests
And the grey eve came on, within their hearts
They mus'd if he were Christ. The rippling
Still turned its silver courses from his breast
As he divined their thought. "I but baptize,"
He said, "with water; but there cometh One
The latchet of whose shoes I may not dare
Ev'n to unloose. He will baptize with fire
And with the Holy Ghost." And lo! while yet
The words were on his lips, he rais'd his eyes
And on the bank stood Jesus. He had laid
His raiment off, and with his loins alone
Girt with a mantle, and his perfect limbs,
In their angelic slightness, meek and bare,
He waited to go in. But John forbade,
And hurried to his feet and stay'd him there.
And said, "Nay, Master! I have need of thine,