The Consoler: On An Engraving Of Scheffer’s Christus Consolator by George MacDonald


What human form is this? what form divine?
And who are these that gaze upon his face
Mild, beautiful, and full of heavenly grace,
With whose reflected light the gazers shine?
Saviour, who does not know it to be thine?
Who does not long to fill a gazer’s place?
And yet there is no time, there is no space
To keep away thy servants from thy shrine!
Here if we kneel, and watch with faithful eyes,
Thou art not too far for faithful eyes to see,
Thou art not too far to turn and look on me,
To speak to me, and to receive my sighs.
Therefore for ever I forget the skies,
And find an everlasting Sun in thee.


Oh let us never leave that happy throng!
From that low attitude of love not cease!
In all the world there is no other peace,
In all the world no other shield from wrong.
But chiefly, Saviour, for thy feet we long–
For no vain quiet, for no pride’s increase–
But that, being weak, and Thou divinely strong,
Us from our hateful selves thou mayst release.
We wander from thy fold’s free holy air,
Forget thy looks, and take our fill of sin!
But if thou keep us evermore within,
We never surely can forget thee there–
Breathing thy breath, thy white robe given to wear,
And loving thee for all thou diedst to win!


To speak of him in language of our own,
Is not for us too daringly to try;
But, Saviour, we can read thy history
Upon the faces round thy humble throne;
And as the flower among the grass makes known
What summer suns have warmed it from the sky,
As every human smile and human sigh
Is witness that we do not live alone,
So in that company–in those sweet tears,
The first-born of a rugged melted heart,
In those gaunt chains for ever torn apart,
And in the words that weeping mother hears,
We read the story of two thousand years,
And know thee somewhat, Saviour, as thou art.

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