67. Isaac

MANY the guileless years the Patriarch spent,
    Bless'd in the wife a father's foresight chose;
    Many the prayers and gracious deeds, which rose
Daily thank-offerings from his pilgrim tent.
Yet these, though written in the heavens, are rent
    From out truth's lower roll, which sternly shows
    But one sad trespass at his history's close,
Father's, son's, mother's, and its punishment.
Not in their brightness, but their earthly stains
Are the true seed vouchsafed to earthly eyes.
Sin can read sin, but dimly scans high grace,
So we move heavenward with averted face,
Scared into faith by warning of sin's pains;
And Saints are lower'd, that the world may rise.

January 23, 1833.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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