Poem by Susan Janes 1886
The Cross and the Crown
It was a time of sadness -- and my heart,
Although it knew and loved the better part,
felt wearied with the conflict and the strife,
And all the needful discipline of life.
And while I thought on these as given to me
My trial tests of faith and love to be
It seemed as if I never could be sure
That faithful to the end, I should endure.
And thus no longer trusting in His might
Who says "we walk by faith and not by sight"
Doubting -- and almost yielding to despair
The thought arose, my cross I cannot bear.
For heavier its weight must surely be
Than those of others, which I daily see.
Oh, if I might another burden choose
Me thinks I should not fear my crown to lose.
A solemn silence reigned on all around.
E'en nature voices uttered not a sound;
The evening shadows, seemed of peace to tell
And sleep upon my weary spirit fell.
A momentary pause -- and then heavenly light
Beamed full upon my wondering raptured sight
Angels on silvery wings seemed everywhere,
And Angels music thrilled the balmy air.
Then One more fair than all the rest to see
One to whom all the others bowed the knee,
Came gently to me as I trembling lay
And "follow me" He said "I am the way."
Then speaking thus, He led me far above
And there beneath a canopy of love
Crosses of diverse shape and size were seen,
Larger and smaller than my own had been.
And one there was most beauteous to behold
A little one, with jewels set in gold.
Ah! This me thought I can with comfort wear,
For it will be an easy one to bear.
And so the little cross I quickly took.
But all at once my frame beneath it shook --
The sparkling jewels, fair were they to see
But far too heavy was their weight for me.
"This may not be." I cried and looked again
To see if any there could ease my pain.
But one by on I passed them slowly by
Till on a lovely one I cast my eye.
Fair flowers around its sculpted form entwined
And grace and beauty seemed to be combined,
Wondering I gazed -- and still I wondered more,
To think so many should have passed it o'er.
But Oh! that form so beautiful to see,
Soon made its hidden sorrows known to me --
Thorns lay beneath those flowers and colours fair
Sorrowing I said "this cross I may not bear."
And so it was with each and all around,
Not one to suit my need would there be found --
Weeping, I laid each heavy burden down
as my guide gently said, "No cross, no crown."
At length to Him I raised my saddened heart
He knew its sorrows, bid its doubts depart --
"Be not afraid" He said "but trust in me"
"My perfect love shall now be shown to Thee."
And then, with lightened eyes and willing feet
Again I turned my earthly cross to meet,
With forward footsteps turning not aside
For fear some hidden evil might betide,
And there in the prepared appointed way,
Listening to hear and ready to obey,
A cross, I quickly found of plainest form --
With only words of love inscribed there on.
With thankfulness I raised it from the rest
and joyfully acknowledged it the best.
The only one of all the many there,
That I could feel was good for me to bear.
And while I thus my chosen one confessed,
I saw a heavenly brightness on it rest.
And as I bent my burden to sustain
I recognized my own old cross again.
But Oh! how different did it seem to be,
Now I had learned its preciousness to see.
no longer could unbelieving say
Perhaps another is a better way.
Ah! No! henceforth my one desire shall be,
That He who knows the best, should choose for me.
and so whate'er His love sees good to send.
I'll trust is best -- because He knows the end.