George Barrell Cheever.

Memorabilia of George B. Cheever, D. D. : late pastor of the Church of the Puritans, Union square, New York, and of his wife, Elizabeth Wetmore Cheever ; in verse and prose online

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Online LibraryGeorge Barrell CheeverMemorabilia of George B. Cheever, D. D. : late pastor of the Church of the Puritans, Union square, New York, and of his wife, Elizabeth Wetmore Cheever ; in verse and prose → online text (page 18 of 31)
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Whereto the angels hearkened.
The pulses of united hearts

That sin had never darkened,

In characters of vital strength,
Charged with exhaustless forces.

Through age on ages to reveal
Love's infinite resources ;



1 1 THIR T\ 'SECOND A NNIVERSARY.

The register of wedded life,
Where love foretells the pages,

Sure as the magnet to the pole.
Whatever tempest rages.

It shall be published all abroad,
The year without a winter,

A book ordained by Love Divine,
And Love alone the printer.

It makes our cloudless noon of love
The twenty-first November;

No lovelier day rose up in June,
That ever men remember.

Love's Indian summer is renewed,
The morn that we were married ;

The spring of time was newly set.
And into autumn carried.

The golden vane was fixt at last,
A rule for all the seasons ;

And Love, the indicator, made
The law of Nature's reasons.

Dear wife, thine almanac is true,

Whoever may abuse it.
Further, Deponent sayeth not;

Content, if we may use it



THtRTV-THIRD ANNIVERSARY. \\\



1878.

TTLUSHED with the hectic of the dying year,
-*- November seems as beautiful as June,
Though sad the glories of the harv^est moon,
With winter's silent footsteps stealing near.
Solemn the veiled light of hazy noon ;
A trance is in the dreamy atmosphere ;
The misty sun seems wandering in his sleep;
The skeleton woods a ghostly watching keep,
O'er forest walks of leaves rustling and sear;
A plaintive sadness breathes in every sound ;
The angel of decay is in the air,
A moist earth-fragrance fuming o'er the ground,
From fields and faded gardens ; all around
A melancholy veil the forms of Nature wear.

But in the flight of these revolving years,
How lovely with bright joy, beloved wife,
The Indian summer of our wedded life.
With fragrant sheaves and golden light, appears.
And sound of bells from high celestial spheres !
Fulfilled, that promise of undoubting love.



112 THIRTY-THIRD A XXIVERSARY.

That youth and gentle hope in spring-tide wove ;
Though from the bosom of a thousand fears,
Foretelling harvest months divinely bright,
That, through the shadows of our evening gray,
Would far into the bosom of dim night
Shoot the sweet influence of a vernal day,
Filling the heart with deep serene delight,
When the world's flatteries all had fled and died
away.

So on we travel as in dreams of praise,
Our pilgrimage by this enchanted light.
The fields to-da}' with rime are silver white ;
How like a bridal veil the snowy maze
Of frosty mist smokes upward soft and bright !
Floating like incense on the morning breeze,
Or snowy birds swinging on halcyon seas.
The uprisen sun kisses the frost away,
And lo, the tender grass is green again.
The morn breathes sweet as early April day.
You would not think the year was in its wane,
But a new spring set in the year's refrain,
Such blessed balmy airs around us play.
Fore-type of earth's divine, millennial array.

The frost's light touch drew forth a spicy smell,
Breathed on the air from the thick walnut grove
Whose tangled alleys we were wont to rove,
Shady and cool along the river's dell ;



THIR TY- THIRD . I XMl^ERSA RV. ! 1 3

Nor yet dispersed the radiant joyous spell

Of the bright sunshine we enjoyed so well.

This Indian summer, brooding as a dove,

Creates a magic atmosphere of love,

Fit to assuage the mind with anguish driven.

And bear it upward to the gates of Heaven;

It is the Sabbath of the grateful year,

Season of rest for tranquil worship gi\'en :

Praise be to God who keeps us in its sphere.

And with his tender grace to-day doth meet us here.



114 THIRTY-FOURTH ANNIVERSARY.



1879.



THOU Evening Star, whose lustrous flame,
Upon the brow of night,
Burns on the sky thy Maker's name.



A coronet of hght !



My heart adores thy rising beams.

As dayhght fades away,
And leaves me to the glorious dreams

Of an eternal day.

When soft dews fall, and day declines,
And twilight shadows throw

Their silvery veil of magic grace
Upon the world below.

Then from the distant spirit- land
What whispering voices come

To mind us that our friends are there,
And our eternal home.



THIRTY-FOURTH ANNIVERSARY. 11$

Their strains of music, soft and low,

No matter where we rove,
Make all our pilgrimage a way

Of Heaven's unceasing love.

We walk by faith, but all the way

God's angels go before,
And round our whole horizon play

Their life-protecting power.

And rustlings as of dove-like wings

Bring exquisite presage
Of ever-watchful ministries

Through all our pilgrimage.

Sweet evening star of radiant hope !

When each day's work is done.
Faith lifts our weary spirits up

To climes beyond the sun.

Oh, Love Divine, that ministers

Such evening lights in heaven.
To point us to that blest abode

Where sins are all forgiven !

There those who walked together here

In Christ's appointed way,
In that bright sphere no more shall fear '

From him to go astray.



I 1 6 THIR 1 Y^FO UR IH A NNI VERSA R V.

The dear remembered anthem there
Our hsping tongues shall frame,

And endless years the song repeat
Of Moses and the Lamb.

Burn on, burn on, O lovely star !

Heaven's glory to adorn,
And prophesy through worlds on high

Our Resurrection Morn.



THIRTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY. I»7



1880.

IN Hebrew phrase, five weeks of years,
Since our dear wedding day ! —
Dear Sabbath Jubilees of life,
How swiftly past away !

With golden sheaves of blessings fresh,

The retrospect how plain !
And melodies of flying hours

In musical refrain.

O sacred covenant of Time !

Could we but stay thy flight.
Earth might renew in Eden's clime

Old Adam's first delight.

For years and months and seasons, sweet

As ever God arrays.
Have borne new gifts upon their wings,

And taught new songs of praise



1 1 8 THIR TY -FIFTH A NNIVERSA R Y.

How crowned with mercy all our life !

Our Father's love, how clear !
The stations of our pilgrimage

Marked by his heavenly care.

He wakes for us the opening dawn, —
The clouds, the passing shower.

The landscape, valley, plain, and hill,
All call us to adore.

He plants the flowers, unfolds the buds.
Their fragrant hues combines.

And bids the resurrection woods
Foretell his bright designs.

He bids the honeysuckle bloom,

Our cottage to adorn ;
He spreads the grass in tender green

Upon the dewy lawn.

Where do his thoughts of love begin?

Where will they ever end ?
The Covenant of Love Divine,

By our Almighty Friend !

O God, our God, thee will we bless
While life for praise is given.

Till immortality renews

The blissful strain in heaven.



THIRTY-SIXTH ANNIVERSARY. 119



I88I.

THE sun is shining clear and bright,
All Nature moves in sweet array,
But sweeter still the pleasant light
That shines upon our wedding day.

The heavens once more look mildly down,
The night shows many a beauteous star,

The angry clouds away have flown,
But cloudless love is brighter far.

The dawn of day is sweet to see,
And twilight is a lovely hour,

But they are only types to me

Of love's celestial, deathless power.

The setting sun, the golden eve.
The starry sky, shall pass away,

As brightest dreams our spirits leave.
But love dwells in eternal day.



I20 rillRTY-SIXTH ANMVERSARY.

Love makes the day, 't is not the sun ;

His rays may but in mockery shine.
'T is darkness if 't is light alone ;

But love alone makes light divine.

O Thou who art the source of love,
Still shine in mercy from on high,

And bring us to that world above.
Where love shall never wane nor die.



THIRTY-SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY. 121



1882.

I THANK my God for all the varied light
Of his rich mercy which doth crown my days ;
While the whole flying year, morn, noon, and night,

Brings fresh memorials for his lasting praise ;

But most of all, that after such delays
Of lowering misery in a wilful heart,

He could with tender loving-kindness raise
Me from my lonely prison, and impart

The dearest blessing that can charm man's life, —

A loving, faithful, gentle, winning wife !

Now, may the course of every da)- be such

As shows the effort of a grateful mind.
May he who saves us by his healing touch

Keep us in paths of piety inclined ;

And as the golden threads of life unwind,
May they by grace be gathered up in heaven,

Till Christ's eternal love in glory bind
The hearts that each to each on earth were given.

Lord, for such bliss our sinful souls prepare;

Then make us sharers of thy glory there !



122 THIRTY-EIGHTH ANMVERSARY.



1883.



OUR earthly pleasures at their best
Are but a questionable rest,
Which they who seek as their chief aim
Find an inheritance of shame.

For this world's bliss without alloy

We never safely can enjoy,
And therefore to the loved of Heaven

Affliction's sacred shield is given,

To save from those infernal darts

Aimed by the Tempter at our hearts ;

And sorrow is Faith's telescope,

Held by the trembling hand of Hope.

So looking where the bulwarks shine

Of our inheritance divine,
The sufferings of our mortal state

Are balanced by the eternal weight



THIRTY-EIGHTH ANMVERSARY. 1 23

Of life and immortality,

From every shade of evil free ;
And trials pass like summer showers,

And then a lovelier growth of flowers.

So joys and griefs alike shall be

A Father's heavenly ministry;
And all the wants of life shall prove

A gentle discipline of love;

Not severing, but uniting more

The hearts that grew as one before,

To trust with sweet, submissive will

Christ's words of mercy, Peace ! be still !



124 THIRTY-NINTH ANNIVERSARY.



1884.

/'~\H, well do I remember when

^— ^ The age of threescore years and ten

In Hfe's horizon lay,
As distant mountains in repose,
Beneath a robe of silent snows.

From earth how far away !

But I have climbed this mountain top,
And from these snowy crags look up

The infinite expanse ;
Where morning sweeps a vaster sphere,
And distant suns seem rushing near,

As if from Heaven's advance.

The clouds are all beneath me now.
The skies a brighter glory show,

The Gates Celestial shine ;
And I sometimes within them see
The form of Him who died for me

Upon the Throne Divine.



THIRTY-NINTH ANNIVERSARY. I 25

So we in love have travelled on,
For He hath left me not alone,

But this dear angel given ;
My better soul, my constant wife,
The helpmeet of my halting life,

To lift me nearer Heaven.



O Giver of each perfect gift !

Winged by thy love, our days fly swift ;

But as they fly we see
How filled with light and mercy, all.
The claims of thy dear grace recall,

And bring our souls to thee.

When angry w^inds tempestuous roared,
We still amid the storms have heard

The music of God's days ;
Each day thy love our diadem,
Each week a seven-fold crowned hymn

Of witness to thy praise.



What do these boundless mercies prove,
And pulses of a grateful love.

By heavenly grace bestowed,
But this, — that he, our loving Friend,
With us will travel to the end,

And bring us home to God?



126 THIRTY-NINTH ANNIVERSARY.

Author and Finisher of Faith !

We rest on thy sweet word that saith,

Thy plea for us in prayer, —
That when we see thee as thou art,
We shall be like thee, heart to heart,

And dwell forever there.



FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY. 12/



1885.

THROUGH forty years of wedded life,
God grant brought nearer heaven,
How full of light and love, dear wife,
Our journey hath been given !

So h'ttle have we known of woe,

From want so far removed,
Almost a paradise below.

Wherever we have roved.

By manna fed, on God's own word,
And in his grace grown strong,

Their forty years of pilgrimage
Our fathers thought full long.

But Love Divine our life hath crowned

With blessings all the way,
And sweetly still the years run round.

Love's counsels to obey.



128 FORTIETH AXNIVERSARY.

The air presages frost and snow,
The trees have shed their leaves,

But every season hath its own
Dear ministry of sheaves.

And in our blest experience

There are no make-believes ;
For God is love, and every day

Gives all that faith receives.

The whole of self that raises us

To pride for what we seem,
Were but a sentence and a curse,

Like old Belshazzar's dream !

If grace did never interpose,

Of reason so bereft,
No remnant but of sins and woes

Had in man's life been left.

Dear Lord ! how good, how kind, how mild.

Thy discipline hath been ;
Though oft by folly almost spoiled.

Through threescore years and ten.

It might have been a vale of tears,
But filled with rainbows bright,

The retrospective vision wears
A radiance of delight.



FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY. 1 29

And could we live our years again,

By old experience taught,
Except new grace upheld us still,

Experience would be nought.

From every wilderness of wrong,
Led forth, redeemed, forgiven;

Dear Miriam's and Moses' song
Shall be renewed in heaven.

O day of gifts that ushered in

The empire of my wife !
O day of days, when thou wast given

To be my star of life !

Sweet firmament of heavenly grace !

The rising of a morn,
With radiant lights and melodies

To brighten and adorn !



I30 FORTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY.



1886.



WHAT loving-kindness in disguise
From the great city bade us rise
To this enchanted ground;
Where, midst the rage of angry seas,
As from an Ararat we gaze
The lovely landscape round.



A mount of vast and clear survey,
Where shepherds from the king's highway

With pilgrims might have come ;
To show through telescopic eye
Far off the pearly gates on high

Of their celestial home.

For Jacob's ladder doth appear,
And angels are descending here

In clouds of heavenly flame ;
And in the north, angelic hosts.
With diamond spears rush to their posts,

In love's celestial name.



FOR TV-FIRS T A .\ NI I 'ERSA RY. I 3 I

All unimaginable hues

The dying hours of day diffuse,

Colors so deep and fair,
As if the lightning and the sun
Had met and mingled into one

Magnetic impulse there.

The glory and the peace supreme.
The evening light, the sunset gleam,

A sea with diamonds riven:
Horizons lost in boundless air,
Hills rising as a verdant stair,

Whose landing-place is heaven.

The sky reflected in a glow
Of richer, mellower light below,

A new creation seems.
The river with a soul imbued,
Reverberates infinitude.

As in the chansje of dreams.



And mirrored in its silent face.
This wondrous evanescent grace,

Shed from the heavens abroad,
Uprises as a radiant glance,
The indwelling soul's adoring trance,

Where Nature worships God.



132 FORTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY.

Here, dearest one, may love's control,
In God's own peace preserve thy soul.

And grace and mercy given,
Make thy declining years renew
The freshness of youth's vernal dew,

In sweet foretastes of heaven.



The reader will notice that the forty-first is the
last of the anniversary poems. The miscella-
neous poems, which follow, I could not conscien-
tiously withhold from this volume, as they were
prized by my dear wife, and in the main, se-
lected by her for publication in connection with
the memorial poems.

Her death, which occurred on Friday, Novem-
ber 19, 1886, was an event so sudden, so instan-
taneous, without warning, without a look, a word ;
as swift as a flash of lightning out of a cloudless
heaven, — a translation like that of Enoch, "who
was not, for God took him," — so overwhelming
that I hardly dare to trust myself with the re-
membrance of it.

Some sentences from a letter written by me, in
answer to inquiries of sympathy, anxiety, and
sorrow from a very dear relative of my beloved
wife, may be a more suitable description than
anything I can now employ : —

What a life of happiness in her beloved and
loving society have I, in God's mercy, been per-



BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS. 133

mitted to enjoy ! Forty-one years of the love
and ministering care of such an angel, never
thinking of herself, but always for me and oth-
ers, with her tender, anxious, incessant care, al-
ways renewed ; relieving me of every household
anxiety, with such an artless, affectionate, trust-
ful simplicity and earnestness, that the life of the
whole family was an unruffled current of happi-
ness ; her prayers always ascending for us all ;
and in uninterrupted attention to my welfare, for
my quietude, and happiness, and peace of mind
and heart.

Oh what a precious era of existence with such
a being! I look back upon it all with amazement
at God's loving-kindness, in providing and sparing
for so many years such an angel of his own loving
guidance to be my wife ! Oh the inestimable
value of such a blessing !

And then the precious benediction of our ador-
able Redeemer upon our mutual affection, in
which there could be no idolatry, but a sweet ful-
filment of his own dear command, " HUSBANDS,
LOVE YOUR Wives, even as Christ loved the
Church, and gave Himself for it." No hu-
man being can ever go beyond that, nor can any
one ever come up to it, except by the inspiration
of our dear Lord's own Divine Spirit, which, if
possessed and obeyed, would make every family
on earth a dwelling-place of Heaven.



134 BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS.

Truly, " the voice of rejoicing and salvation "
is thus in the "tabernacles of the righteous," and
will always be such as long as Christ's own
prayers and commandments are offered and
obeyed ; our households are thus of Christ's own
creation and presence. Their mercy-seat under
the wings of his own cherubim, intended as the
representative of his presence and love. Oh
what an uninterrupted, constituted state of infi-
nite mercy would even this world be, if only this
one command of wedded love, parental tender-
ness, and holy teaching of the children, given by
our blessed Saviour for every family on earth,
were fulfilled by all I

Oh who can rightly appreciate the preciousness
of such a gift I

Several weeks before my dear wife was so trans-
lated from us on earth to Heaven, she had been
employed in preparation for a mission of tender-
est love and mercy to the dear children, so be-
loved by her (and especially to dear little Wyatt),
whose education in Christ's own love had been
for many months so great an object of her anxiety
and prayer.

Oh how the dear child was intwined in the
affections of her heart, and what sweet, attractive,
and entrancing power of heavenly emotion she
possessed over him ! Every night and morning
she carried him to the gates of the New Jerusa-



BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS. 1 35

lem, and set him down there as in the care of
guardian angels! And now, just before this new
Christmas season, she was getting a sweet array
of attractive, persuasive lessons and presents for
him and for the other dear ones, and was antici-
pating the happiness of another winter of undis-
turbed and blessed efforts to lead his youthful
heart to Jesus.

Oh what would she not have enjoyed in carry-
ing out this intention ; which indeed she seemed
to have regarded in some respects as if it were
her final and crowning missionary work in the
dear circle of souls committed to her charge !

We had been perusing the record of some happy
pilgrimage full of usefulness, and closed with
grace and glory. I cannot now remember the
name of the Pilgrim, whose life and death were
so full of radiance ; but these lines which I now
copy were written then : —

Dearest Love, may I and you
Find this Pilgrim's record true :
Dearest Love, may you and I,
Watching, praying, hourly try.
From Christ's earnest in the hearf,
By the Holy Spirit given,
Each to others to impart
Something of the bliss of heaven !

May we by this river live.
Till in glory we arrive !
Finding still, for me and you,



136 BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS.

Something more for each to do ; —
Something more for Jesus' praise,
Ere we close our pilgrim days.

May we, by this river living,
Hourly drafts to others giving.
Find it sweeter thus to give,
Than else it could be to receive.
Till in glory we arrive :
Finding still, for me and you,
Some more precious work to do ;
More tor our Redeemer's praise,
Ere we close our pilgrim days !



BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS. 137



THE FAREWELL BLESSING.
T T OW precious to each heart the farewell
blessing
Of all departing saints in Christ is found !
They, like the sun, seem larger at their setting,
And flood with light the whole creation round.

May God's dear mercy grant us such possession,
And power of faith to speak our Saviour's love ;

That we may know the bliss of faith's confession,
Through all earth's pilgrimage towards heaven
above !

That hope in Christ,— how glorious, how divine !

God's witness to the Grace of his Dear Son !
A light through all the vale of death to shine,

The Resurrection and the Life begun.

Oh what a dream of glory might it be,

If thou, God's dearest gift,— my loving wife-
Should prove the Angel first to welcome me
Within the glories of Eternal Life.

O gracious God! within thy presence hide us,
Redeemed and sheltered from the death of sin ;

And grant thy Holy Spirit's grace to guide us,
The Resurrection Life in Christ to win.



138 BIRTHDAY OFFERINGS.



BIRTHDAY OFFERING.

DAY of thy birth, my loving wife !
Oh, who could then foresee
The spring of love, the star of life,
Thou wouldst be unto me!

In all my wanderings round the globe

How little could I dream
That such a rainbow light would come

To comfort and redeem ;

That I, unworthy and forlorn.
So many years should roam,

And thou reserved my bride to be,
The angel of my home !

Most Merciful ! deal kindly still.

Thou Everlasting Friend !
And lead us gently, all thy way,

Rejoicing to the end.

Whatever be thy blessed will.

Oh, let not ours intrude ;
For thou alone art always still

The Giver of all good.



BIRTHDAY OFFERIXGS. 139

But grant that in the Book of Life

Our names as one remain,
Forever to adore his grace,

The Lamb for sinners slain.

Our times are in his loving hand,

And our eternal bliss;
Our quiet sleep at his command,

Our resurrection his.

As in the covenant of his love

Our Christian names were tied,
So in the presence of the Lord

Forever we '11 abide.



LOVE'S EARLIEST MEMORIALS.

YE dear memorials of love's earliest hours !
How pleasant to be welcomed by these
flowers !
As grateful as the fragrant breath of June,
Sweet as the dew, precious as these soft showers
Falling to-day, like spring, from morn till noon,
Mayhap till twilight introduce the moon,
With interlude" of winds, through autumn bowers,
Kissing the earth, keeping the world in tune.



HO BIRTHDAY OFFERI.XGS.

The autumnal rain veils with a misty light

The birth of that fair bridal cloudless day,

When, in the covenant of God's holy rite,

We gave each other and ourselves away,

And, in our little boat with promise bright,

As for the unseen land of pure delight,

\\ ith hopes and prayers and grateful praise alway,

From the dear household shore we sailed that day.

With clouds of blessings borne b)' anxious fears,

Distilled from pravers as rainbows by the sun.

Groups of loved friends surrounded us in tears,

Not doubtful of the sunshine from above,

But with rich fruits of tenderest yearning love,

Insurance for life's journey so begun,

Not knowing through what snares their path might

run,
By whom the crown of glory should be won.

The tears, the prayers, the sadness, and the joy, —
Not dreams of evil darkling o'er the mind.
Nor premonitions of mistakes entwined,
Nor in default of thoughts to God resigned,
But that no earthly bliss, without alloy,
Comes from the Father of Eternal Light,
Whose gifts alike are, morning, noon, or night,
A jewelled train with his own radiance bright.

Sure as the covenant in God's word expressed.
Sure as the sun shining from east to west,



BIRTHDAY OFFERLXGS. ^41

His love shall guide our daily pilgrimage,
Who gives his angels charge, where'er we roam,
To keep our faltering steps through every stage,
Till he shall speak the word that calls us home.
With all the dear ones of the household blest,
To be partakers of his heavenly rest.

Now be the temple, — oft by mercy swept

For his abode who knocked for entrance there, —

In heart and mind by grace divinely kept,

In his dear name, with holiest praise and prayer;

Till his indwelling presences become.

Through love's assurance of our sins forgiven,

Sweet foretastes of the life that makes heaven home,

Dear worship of a faith that makes home heaven.



PERPETUAL YOUTH.

I^OR do you not know that the older you grow,
The nearer you come to perpetual youth?
With the swift-flowing river of time you go

To the bright-rolling ocean of God's own truth.



Online LibraryGeorge Barrell CheeverMemorabilia of George B. Cheever, D. D. : late pastor of the Church of the Puritans, Union square, New York, and of his wife, Elizabeth Wetmore Cheever ; in verse and prose → online text (page 18 of 31)