I knew a young man once who, as a child, was called aside by an elder and told that he would one day be great, that God had specially blessed him to do a great thing or work. He held these words in his heart, along with many other lesser words and ideas, and when he reached manhood more came forth to say the same and similar words to him, all of which he kept in his heart along with many other lesser ideas and words. When he reached middle age and no great thing had happened, he began to wonder, and he asked God what he had done to swerve from the path, and he told God that he was sorry, and he accepted his self-wrought fate with a great sadness in his heart, and he bowed his head in shame before his God. But God, in his own greatness from which all greatness springs, told him, in the middle of the night so as to make the time more poetic for the poetic soul who sought him—told him that the greatness promised would be holiness unseen by the world but seen by the saints and the angels. Therefore, he should cleave to God and strive for righteousness—he should make holiness his one passion, his one goal, his one work in life. He should leave the world and all rotten things in it—and all things in it are rotten. He should crave a burning heart, he should weep for his wrongs, and he should have faith that the promised holiness will come to pass. Further, he should live in joy and in the simplicity which that joy brings—and he should live in simplicity, and in the joy that simplicity brings. And as he lived thus, that holiness which he had faith to see—that holiness which he had always hoped for, now that he remembered the touches of God in his life from the time he was a young child—would come to pass even as the sun comes each morning, even as rest comes each night, even as words flow from the poet like rushing brooks, even as his heart burned as his God opened for him the Scriptures.
Come my holy godly light of love and let
death touch me gently dreamlike in the dusk
of cold and winter’s hearth-fire evening,
angels knocking gently at the door to say,
Come, the Lord, He’s waiting;
will not dine without you, loved one, come.