The Angel’s Bidding by Adelaide Anne Procter

Not a sound is heard in the Convent;
The Vesper Chant is sung,
The sick have all been tended,
The poor nun’s toils are ended
Till the Matin bell has rung.
All is still, save the Clock, that is ticking
So loud in the frosty air,
And the soft snow, falling as gently
As an answer to a prayer.
But an Angel whispers, “Oh, Sister,
You must rise from your bed to pray;
In the silent, deserted chapel,
You must kneel till the dawn of day;
For, far on the desolate moorland,
So dreary, and bleak, and white,
There is one, all alone and helpless,
In peril of death to-night.

“No sound on the moorland to guide him,
No star in the murky air;
And he thinks of his home and his loved ones
With the tenderness of despair;
He has wandered for hours in the snow-drift,
And he strives to stand in vain,
And so lies down to dream of his children
And never to rise again.
Then kneel in the silent chapel
Till the dawn of to-morrow’s sun,
And ask of the Lord you worship
For the life of that desolate one;
And the smiling eyes of his children
Will gladden his heart again,
And the grateful tears of God’s poor ones
Will fall on your soul like rain!–

“Yet, leave him alone to perish,
And the grace of your God implore,
With all the strength of your spirit,
For one who needs it more.
Far away, in the gleaming city,
Amid perfume, and song, and light,
A soul that Jesus has ransomed
Is in peril of sin to-night.

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“The Tempter is close beside him,
And his danger is all forgot,
And the far-off voices of childhood
Call aloud, but he hears them not;
He sayeth no prayer, and his mother–
He thinks not of her to-day,
And he will not look up to Heaven,
And his Angel is turning away.

“Then pray for a soul in peril,
A soul for which Jesus died;
Ask, by the cross that bore Him,
And by her who stood beside;
And the Angels of God will thank you,
And bend from their thrones of light,
To tell you that Heaven rejoices
At the deed you have done to-night.”

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