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
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!
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