Horatius Bonar Poems – How Long? – On the Threshold – Heaven at Last

Listen to the reading of a short (5 min) sermon – Man acting as a devil, by Horatius Bonar here.

Horatius Bonar 1808–1889 Scotland

photo courtesy www.newhopemusic.com

poems via www.spurgeongems.org/ipoems.htm

How long ?

My God, it is not fretfulness
That makes me say „How long?”
It is not heaviness of heart
That hinders me in song,
‘Tis not despair of truth and right,
Nor coward dread of wrong.

But how can I, with such a hope
Of glory and of home;
With such a joy before my eyes,
Not wish the time were come
Of years the jubilee, of days
The Sabbath and the sum?

These years, what ages they have been!
This life, how long it seems!
And how can I in evil days,
‘Mid unknown hills and streams
But sigh for those of home and heart
And visit them in dreams?

Yet peace, my heart and hush my tongue;
Be calm, my troubled breast;
Each restless hour is hastening on
The everlasting rest.
Thou knowest that the time thy God
Appoints for thee is best.

Let faith, not fear nor fretfulness,
Awake the cry, „How long?”
Let now faintheartedness of soul
Damp thy aspiring song,
Right comes, truth dawns, the night departs
Of error and of wrong.

                          —Horatius Bonar

photo courtesy Wikimedia  David Tutwiler – Homeward Bound

On the Threshold

I’m returning, not departing;
My steps are homeward bound,
I quit the land of strangers
For a home on native ground.

I am rising and not setting;
This is not night but day,
Not in darkness, but in sunshine,
Like a star, I fade away.

All is well with me for ever;
I do not fear to go,
My tide is but beginning
Its bright eternal flow.

I am leaving only shadows
For the true and fair and good,
I must not, cannot, linger;
I would not, though I could.

This is not death’s dark portal,
‘Tis life’s golden gate to me,
Link after link is broken,
And I at last am free.

I am going to the angels,
I am going to my God;
I know the hand that beckons,
I see the holy road.

Why grieve me with your weeping?
Your tears are all in vain,
An hour’s farewell, beloved,
And we shall meet again.

Jesus, Thou wilt receive me
And welcome me above;
This sunshine which now fills me
Is Thine own smile of love.

         —Horatius Bonar

Heaven at Last

Angel voices sweetly singing,
Echoes through the blue dome ringing,
News of wondrous gladness bringing…
 Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Now beneath us all the grieving,
All the wounded spirit’s heaving,
All the woe of hopes deceiving…
Ah ‘tis heaven at last!

Sin for ever left behind us,
Earthly visions cease to blind us,
Fleshly fetters cease to bind us…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

On the jasper threshold standing,
Like a pilgrim safely landing
See, the strange bright scene expanding…
Ah ‘tis heaven at last!

What a city! what a glory!
Far beyond the brightest story
Of the ages old and hoary…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Softest voices silver pealing,
Freshest fragrances spirit-healing,
Happy hymns around us stealing…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Gone the vanity and folly,
Gone the dark and melancholy,
Come the joyous and the holy…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Not a broken blossom yonder,
Not a link can snap asunder,
Stay’d the tempest, sheathed the thunder…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Not a tear-drop ever falleth,
Not a pleasure ever palleth,
Song to song for ever calleth…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Christ Himself the living splendour,
Christ the sunlight mild and tender;
Praises to the Lamb we render…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Now at length the veil is rended,
Now the pilgrimage is ended,
And the saints their thrones ascended…
Ah, ‘tis heaven at last!

Broken death’s dread bands that bound us,
Life and victory around us,
Christ the King Himself hath crowned us…
Ah,’tis heaven at last!

                         —Horatius Bonar

Man acting as a devil – Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar  – The Surety’s Cross via http://www.gracegems.org

In the cross, we see what is in man. In the cross, man has spoken out. He has exhibited himself, and made unconscious confession of his feelings, especially in  reference to God–to His Being, His authority, His character, His law, His love. It was man who erected  the cross, and nailed the Son of God to it! Permitted by God to give vent to the feelings of his heart, and placed in circumstances the least likely to call forth anything but love–he thus expressed the feelings of his heart in hatred to God and to His incarnate Son!

Reckoning the death of the cross, the worst of all deaths–man deems it the fittest for the Son of God! Thus, the  enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God–but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred! More–he glories in his shame, crying aloud, „Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

The cross thus interprets what is in man’s heart. The cross rips the mask of pretended religion from his face; and exhibits man overflowing with the malignity of hell!

You say, „I don’t hate God! I may be indifferent to Him. He may not be in all my thoughts; but I don’t hate Him!”

Then, what does that cross mean?

Love, hatred, indifference–which? Does love demand the death of the loved One? Does indifference crucify its objects? Look at your hands! Are they not red with blood? Whose blood is that? The blood of God’s own Son! No–neither love nor indifference shed His blood. It was hatred that did it! Enmity–the enmity of the carnal heart!

You say that I have no right to judge you. I am not judging you. It is yon cross which judges you, and I am asking you to judge yourselves by it. It is yon cross that interprets your purposes, and reveals the thoughts and intents of your heart!

Oh, what a revelation! Man hating God–and hating most, when God is loving most! Man acting as a devil–and taking the devil’s side against God!

The cross, then, was the public declaration of man’s hatred of God, man’s rejection of His Son, and man’s avowal of his belief that he needs no Savior!

„What do you think of Christ?” was God’s question. Man’s answer was, „Crucify Him!”

O what must man be–when he can hate, condemn, mock, scourge, spit upon, crucify, the Lamb of God; when coming to him clothed in love, and with the garments of salvation?

And what must sin be–when, in order to expiate it, the Lord of glory must die upon the tree–an outcast, a criminal, a curse!

Published on Jun 3, 2012 by  Man Acting as a Devil – Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=18634AFFD4BC6BEF

Mark 15:12 Pilate answered and said to them again, „What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 So they cried out again, „Crucify Him!” 14 Then Pilate said to them, „Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, „Crucify Him!”

Horatius Bonar – (1808-1889), Scottish churchman and poet

Horatius Bonar had a passionate heart for revival and was a friend and supporter of several revivalists, He was brother to the more well-known Andrew Bonar, and with him defended D. L. Moody’s evangelistic ministry in Scotland. He authored a couple of excellent revival works, one including over a hundred biographical sketches and the other an addendum to Rev. John Gillies’ Historical Collections bringing it up to date.

He was a powerful soul-winner and is well qualified to pen his brief, but illuminating study of the character of true revivalists.

Horatius was in fact one of eleven children, and of these an older brother, John James, and a younger, Andrew, also became ministers and were all closely involved, together with Thomas Chalmers, William C. Burns and Robert Murray M’Cheyne, in the important spiritual movements which affected many places in Scotland in the 1830s and 1840s.

In the controversy known as the „Great Disruption,” Horatius stood firmly with the evangelical ministers and elders who left the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in May 1843 and formed the new Free Church of Scotland. By this time he had started to write hymns, some of which appeared in a collection he published in 1845, but typically, his compositions were not named. His gifts for expressing theological truths in fluent verse form are evident in all his best-known hymns, but in addition he was also blessed with a deep understanding of doctrinal principles.

Examples of the hymns he composed on the fundamental doctrines include, „Glory be to God the Father”…..on the Trinity. „0 Love of God, how strong and true”…..on Redemption. „Light of the world,” – „Rejoice and be glad” – „Done is the work” on the Person and Work of Christ. „Come Lord and tarry not,” on His Second Coming, while the hymn „Blessed be God, our God!” conveys a sweeping survey of Justification and Sanctification.

In all this activity, his pastoral work and preaching were never neglected and after almost twenty years laboring in the Scottish Borders at Kelso, Bonar moved back to Edinburgh in 1866 to be minister at the Chalmers Memorial Chapel (now renamed St. Catherine’s Argyle Church). He continued his ministry for a further twenty years helping to arrange D.L. Moody’s meetings in Edinburgh in 1873 and being appointed moderator of the Free Church ten years later. His health declined by 1887, but he was approaching the age of eighty when he preached in his church for the last time, and he died on 31 May 1889.

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