Sunday, October 29, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "LVI 'Lest we cause them to stumble'" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)



“Lest we cause then to stumble”

SILENT and sorrowful the Company went,
Pondering the Master’s word with sinking hearts
And tardy comprehension. Once again,
Their steps turned to Capernaum, the blessed,
And the Lord made His abode in Peter’s house,
High honoured to receive Him; where was she
Late raised by Christ, His grace, from fevered
Who would fain speak her love in household
Did the Lord comfort there the sorrowing Twelve,
Or sat they there with Him, as those men of old
Sate silent with stricken Job?
                                                   Peter went forth
And was accosted by those men sent out
To gather from Israelites that Temple due
The legal half a shekel. “Doth not your Lord
Contribute to the general fund?” they ask,
Surmising that, perchance, for cause unknown
He might refuse this service to religion.


“He doth,” said Peter, knowing well his Lord
Neglected no observance that became
A pious Jew. But th’ Saint went home per-
Now where should he a shekel find? Full well
He knew that Christ no money owned—though
The Son of God most high! Entering the house
With anxious brow, the Lord discerns his care,—
Speaks first to him, or e’er he told a word:—
“What think’st thou, Simon, of whom do kings
     take toll,
From their own sons, or from the subject-folk,
The strangers, not their kin, o’er whom they
“Why, sure, from strangers.” “Therefore,” saith
     the Lord,
“The King’s own sons go free and share that
The tributes of the people must support.”

Did Peter understand how the Lord had said,—
These Temple-dues are for God’s worship paid,
That th’ beauty of holiness may be set forth
By outward symbols in the Temple: See,
I and the Father are one; that worship paid
By pious souls to God, is paid to Me—
One with the Father, sharing all His dues:
Is’t fit that I contribute toward those rites
Ye Jews pay punctual to God—and Me?


“But we may not impede these men in their
Nor give them cause for anger or harsh words,
Misjudging thee and Me: so their offence
Were laid at our door who had made them sin:—
Go thou to Gennesareth and cast a hook;
Draw the first fish to land, nor pause to ask
Is’t small or great; when thou hast ope’d his
A shekel thou shalt find; that take and pay
To the men—just Temple-dues for thee and Me.”

A PDF is available here.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "VI The miracle of increase" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

VI The miracle of increase

THAT miracle of increase—what the steps,
And at what moment did the change take place?
Did broken fragments multiply the while—
The instant’s space—they passed through Jesus’
The Disciples’ baskets—were they straightway
Direct from the hands of the Lord? Or, grew
     the store
In the act of giving, each portion leaving more
Than itself to fill its place? Idle, we ask;
Who tells us how the goodly grain is built,—
The seed, the blade, the ear, full corn in ear—
That man knows th’ processes of miracles,
How thousands may be fed, how tempests, stilled!
Such mysteries, they yield all to one key
Had we the wit to know it, grace to use:
Life feeds upon the living—all we know!
“In Him was life”—our sum of knowledge, see;
No further oracle’s vouchsafed to men
For all their restless searching, arrogant boasts:
That secret place where life doth hide itself
And thence flows forth to animate the worlds—
Rejecting Christ, THE LIFE, what hope have we
That any find it for us? Alternative,
There’s none for us: ’tis Christ, or blank dismay!
As General spies weak point in his defence,
So Christ took His disciples, constraining them,
By force of that strong word they knew t’obey,
Despite their protestations—sure, not they
Would leave Him all alone to deal with this
Tumultuous multitude!—and, straight, they go,
Take boat as they are bid for further side;
And Christ, alone, took leave of all the folk,
Dispersed them to their homes, constrained by
Authority in Him which some knew to name.

And was the Christ alone? Two years had
Since in the wilderness one came and said,—
“The Kingdoms shall be thine and all their praise
Wilt thou but bow to me!” Two strenuous
The Lord had carried water in a sieve,
Had urged great boulder up a mountainous slope;
The inconstant people slipped away from Him;
Fast as He raised them, fell to lower depth:
Is any toil like his who high ideal
Urges incessant on unwilling souls?
What if, once more, the Tempter came and
“Two years gone by—no Kingdom yet to
What if he urged, “Nay, try my readier plan,—
Let them make King of Thee, and all the gifts
Which Thou wouldst give to men shall flow from
What if stress of temptation drove our Lord,
That He clomb up the mountain there to pray!—
And peace attends His prayer, and careful love.

The Lord gazed from His height; quick flash
The Disciples toiling on uneasy sea—
Sight piteous out of the dark, their boat a toy,
A plaything of strong waves, tempestuous winds:
The men distressed with rowing make no way;
In the fourth watch of the night, there were they
“Anon, the Lord was with us, safe were we
’Mid all the turmoil of wild heavens, great seas!
Alone, we perish, late so full of hope!”
What greater strait might be—alone, in the
Peril of death about them, without hope?
But what is this adds horror to their dread—
Better to drown than demons see abroad
Walking the midnight sea! Spectre abhorred,
They’d heard how such appeared to men fore-
And terror froze their hands to idle oars!
The Shape draws near—a likeness grows on
More awful fear appals: then,—Is it He,
The Spirit of their Master? He is dead,
And they, indeed, left orphaned, desolate!—
They cried aloud in terror; worse than all,
This apparition unendurable!
A tender voice bids all their fears subside—
They hear through the tempest’s raging, “It is I;
Be of good cheer poor troubled hearts, nor
Too much the joy for Peter, sudden induced
On anguish of his terror:—Lost he his wits,
And cried, “Lord, bid me come if it be
Hazards of faith are welcome to the Lord,
If so be, He must reckless zeal instruct
Which counts not the cost. “Come,’ saith Christ,
     and he came,
Stepped from the boat with eye fixed on the
And steady walked the waters: then, distract,
He saw the heaving sea; “I perish, Lord,
Save Thou!” Immediately the Lord stretched
Took hold of the sinking saint, and spake re-
“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst doubt?”
They in the boat knew all their fears subside;
That dear familiar voice quick calmed their soul;—
How awful the surroundings, here was Christ,
And willingness took the place of shrinking
Glad, they in the boat received Him; subsided
The fury of the storm: those weary leagues
Their sore-tired arms must row were over-past,
In the haven where they would be, were they
Once more they worshipped Him;—“By this
     we know
Of a truth, our Lord, Thou art the Son of God!”
The Lord, too, was He weary? What confi-
The loaves, had they produced in hardened
Which had no faith in Him when terror urged?

A PDF is available here.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "V The people would make Him king" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

V The people would make Him king

“HERE’S of a truth that Prophet of the Lord
Moses foretold should lead the folk like him,
Like him, give bread to spare in the wilderness!”
So spake all they who heard what Christ had
Full well they spake; who knows to open wide
Men’s mouths with hunger, knows straightway
     to drop
Food that shall animate or fainting flesh,
Or heart sunk low in courage; to give new life
To all the failing goodness of a soul,—
He, Prophet of the World! the One who sees,—
Knows all the needs of men, and ministers!

“This Prophet be our King!” they cry them
Allured by the hope of bread for men spread
As manna in the barren wilderness!
What need to labour? All should sit at ease;
His bread provided, each himself should please!
“Why, what’s a King for but his people’s bread

To furnish, liberal, constant: this is He!
Unwilling, He hangs back, but we are strong,
The many people, sure, may make their King!”
And hot, impetuous, by one impulse moved,
They came perforce to seize and make Him
The disciples stood exultant, from their eyes
Encouragement spake out; all the mad crowd
Knew them supported by these grave good men.

A PDF is available here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "IV Christ our 'Providence'" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

IV Christ our “Providence”

“Now make them all sit down:” and that same
Who splendours saw of the new Jerusalem,
The rainbow throne, the sardius, emerald,—
Here, also, saw what fed his artist-eye;—
Saw much grass in the place; the vivid-hued
Garments of eastern men amongst the flowers,—
Kaleidoscope of colours: soon, the word
Came, bidding all to sit by companies;
See, a score of open squares, with space in midst
Where Christ stood with th’ disciples, and that
The little meal which should sustain them all—
Mocking the eyes of thousand hungry folk
Thus bidden to break fast! Did any know
With soft assurance in his inward heart
That, the thing He gives sufficeth, less or more?

How good to us, anhungered, to perceive
The Master’s mind disclosed in all the tale,
See order emanating from His act
As song from throat of throstle! so did John see
A jewelled glory as of painted glass
Reflected on his vision from Christ’s thought! —
How good to see our Saviour in the midst
Dealing out bread to all that multitude
E’en as He deals to us in harvest field!
The harvest’s yellow glory in all lands,
In Egypt, Syria, distant western fields,
The table spread for us as for the birds,—
How this one scene interprets the Lord’s ways!

Lo, that large circle, those five thousand souls,
Raised eyes to Him in their midst; He took the
The little barley cakes, the fishes two,—
And, looking up to heaven, He blessed the meat
And gave God thanks Who feeds us. That poor
We say before meat,—convicted, we elude
The eye of Him who taught us! Consider we
This feeding of five thousand, and we perceive
How the very life of God comes with our bread!
He brake the loaves and fishes, gave the meat
To the disciples, they to th’ multitude:—
Behold, our uses! That He hands to us,
For distribution is’t, that all may eat;
We, honoured in His service and in theirs.

The people ate accustomed fare with zest—
The wonder of ’t! And ate the more to try,
Could the supply give out and any lack ?
In time they were all filled; and the ordered
Of Him, the universe sustains and made,
Appeared in a little matter: “Gather up,”
Said He who fed them with unlaboured act,
“The broken pieces left that none be lost.”
No trifling thing, these fragments of men’s
     food: —
Organic life alone can life sustain;
Cycles of time, processes manifold,
Initial act creative, evolving care
Of Him who first had made,—all these had gone To make rejected crust, fragment of fish:
And those twelve baskets filled with broken
Of God’s world-providence tell all the tale!

A PDF is available here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "III A venture of faith" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

III A venture of faith

THE Lord sat wearied after day-long speech,
Passing of “virtue” from Him in those signs—
Compassionate miracles—He wrought for them.
The people looked and heard and took their fill
Of the life that was in Jesus. (Wherefore, then,
But a handful gathered in that upper room
To fulfil their last obedience, when multitudes,
Arrested by His signs, had paid that due—
Attention to His words—which should lead to life?
Alack, an active part was theirs to play:
’Tis not enough to feed—e’en on the Word:
To assimilate that we take is our concern,
Else, go we empty!)
                                    Lifting up His eyes,—
He sees great multitudes have come to Him:
Ah, good for us that one was by who loved,
And garnered bread for Christendom’s fond heart!
Bless├Ęd to know that, there He sat, our LORD;
Where lies the spot, we know not, but rejoice
With brooding mind to know that, on a place,
Here on our very earth, the Saviour sat!
Bless’d, to know surely that He raised His
Love treasures such things up; the love of John
Made record for us; our love tells her gains;
Surpassing reverence transports the heart
To note the Lord’s regard, observe Him, sit!
And now the Master tests that growth in faith—
The disciples’ sole concern, our only care:
One picks He out; turning to Philip, saith,
(Our testing finds us ever one by one!)
“Whence buy we bread that all these folk may
As when a King calls young knight to his side—
“Thou art a man of valour—knightly hest
I lay on thee; go, do this valiant deed!”—
Was Philip honoured that day ’mongst his peers
With opportunity for splendid faith,
More in regard of Christ than any work!
Would we’d been there to answer, “Lord, I
That thou canst feed men, heal them, give them
Such chance was Philip’s: but perceived he not
Himself, a school-boy called to say his task;
The lesson, is it conned? Go higher, thou;
But, stumblest in the saying? Go thou down:
So, Philip had his chance to praise the Lord!

By what perverseness harden we our heart
When friend makes meek appeal for sympathy
In noble purpose, soul-uplifting thought?
Then, practical, are we; would count the cost,
Bid him beware of that generosity,
Or sneering men will ask, ‘What hast in bank,
What coin or credit with the Highest?’ So,
Did Philip answer, reckoning up the cost:
“Two hundred pennyworth is not enough
To afford a little bread to each of these.”—

Alas, for Philip! One chance, they say, men
One single chance of greatness in a life:
Philip lost his for common sordid thought—
What good’s done on the earth, that, money does;
And, Were we rich, what great things would we

Another heard, one of a generous stock,
Whose brother cast his all on one great throw,
One lottery of faith,—Peter, who owned,
“Thou art the Christ of God!”—Now, Andrew
“A lad’s here with five loaves, two fishes small;”—
And in his heart he thought, “Enough for one,
May’t in His hands feed all this numerous host?”
Sudden ashamed of his temerity,
Fall’n cowardly, he adds—“but what are they
For all this multitude?” With failing heart,
He launched his petty bark, the “Little Faith”:
Ah, were’t an ocean vessel for this voyage!

A PDF is available here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "II Jesus went up into the mountain" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

II “Jesus went up into the mountain”

HE climbed the slope in sight of all the folk;
They watched, nor looked away, and knew at
Unknowing that they knew, that in Him alone
Was all their hope, their life; without Him,
He sat with His disciples there; He spake
Of the Kingdom of God and how men enter in:
Of what, we know not save by gathering up
Words elsewhere He had uttered, other time;
By conceiving baffling thought of parables
And sayings precious, unregarded pearls,
That no man gathered for our after-use!

The time wore on; for many hours the folk,
A moved and swaying throng, gave heed to words
That Christ let fall among them. The day far
The Disciples came to Him, urged common
(Nay, sure, in this thing, they more wise than
So the crowd scores o’er poets and the rest,
Who top them by head and shoulders; they
     have sense!)
Sententious spake they, in dull human wise;
“See, here’s a desert place, night’s drawing on,
A great multitude’s about with nought to eat,—
Forgetting hunger now, but, by-and-by?—
Good Master, be advised; send them away
That they may lodge in villages at hand
And buy somewhat to eat!” “What need that
Should go away? give ye them bread to eat.”
Were ever men of sense brought quicker up
Before th’impossible, preposterous!
All high things knew the Lord, but this small
The people’s supper, how to get them home,—
How should great minds descend to small con-
Their plan was good, but He must have His way,
And theirs, to abide the thing He willed to do!

A PDF is available here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Charlotte Mason: "I In a desert place" (from Saviour of the World, Vol. IV)

I In a desert place

“COME ye apart to a desert place and rest,”
Saith Christ to His Chosen Twelve, returned to
From wanderings, healings, teachings, manifold.
But, see, the people will not be outdone,
Nor let their Lord, theirs also, out of sight!
They watched Him enter the boat with those, His
Tumultuous, eager, followed they on foot
Round the head of the lake, heedless of noon-day
Crowds gathered to them from the cities round,
And, lo, that desert place the Lord had sought—
Spot lovely and remembered, was’t, perhaps,
For many a prayerful vigil, solitary,—
The crowd, iconoclast, had broke the spell,
Shattered that image of sweet solitude
Which refreshed the Master’s thought! See,
Are there before Him, waiting for His words.

Men of sweet nature, sure, might feel annoy
At such rude trespass on hour set apart
For rest and converse with their chosen friends:
They of sweet nature, aye, but not the Christ:
Tender, He welcomed all those scattered sheep
Having no shepherd; diligently taught
Through the long day things that concerned
     their peace—
Things of the Kingdom which was for each of
They heard with greedy ear: all learned that
That, whoso comes to Christ comes always well;
Never intrudes on secret communings,
Hears words for other ears, presumes on hours
Devoted to great matters; all’s for him,
Poor wretch who has no claim!

A PDF is available here