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Good Words 1860
Faith and Reason


Reason unstrings the harp to see
Wherein the music dwells;
Faith pours a hallelujah song,
And heavenly rapture swells.
While Reason strives to count the drops
That lave our narrow strand,
Faith launches o'er the mighty deep,
To seek a better land.

One is the foot that slowly treads
Where darkling mists enshroud;
The other is the wing that cleaves
Each heaven-obscuring cloud.
Reason, the eye which sees but that
On which its glance is cast;
Faith is the thought that blends in one
The Future and the Past.

In hours of darkness, Reason waits,
Like those in days of yore,
Who rose not from their night-bound place,
On Egypt's veiled shore;
But Faith more firmly clasps the hand
Which led her all the day,
And, when the wish'd-for morning dawns,
Is farther on her way.

By Reason's alchymy in vain
Is golden treasure plann'd;
Faith meekly takes a priceless crown,
Won by no mortal hand.
While Reason is the labouring oar
That smites the wrathful seas,
Faith is the snowy sail spread out
To catch the fresh'ning breeze.

Reason, the telescope that scans
A universe of light;
But Faith, the angel who may dwell
Among those regions bright.
Reason, a lonely towering elm,
May fall before the blast;
Faith, like the ivy on the rock,
Is safe in clinging fast.

While Reason, like a Levite, waits
Where priest and people meet,
Faith, by a "new and living way,"
Hath gain'd the mercy-seat.
While Reason but returns to tell
That this is not our rest,
Faith, like a weary dove, hath sought
A gracious Saviour's breast.

Yet both are surely precious gifts
From Him who leads us home,
Though in the wilds Himself hath trod
A little while we roam.
And, link'd within the soul that knows
A living, loving Lord,
Faith strikes the keynote, Reason then:
Fills up the full-toned chord.

Faith is the upward-pointing spire
O'er life's great temple springing,
From which the chimes of love float forth
Celestially ringing;
While Reason stands below upon
The consecrated ground,
Alike, and mighty buttress, clasps
The wide foundation round.

Faith is the bride that stands enrobed
In white and pure array,
Reason, the handmaid who may share,
The gladness of the day.
Faith leads the way, and Reason learns
To follow in her train;
Till, step by step, the goal is reach'd,
And death is glorious gain.

F. R. H.


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