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HE SHALL SIT AS A REFINER
Sometimes as we look on, we gaze in wonder
Upon the dealings of our gracious God.
With those whom o’er and o’er his hand afflicted,
Who pass so often ‘neath his chastening rod.
Pure gold and well refined, to our poor vision
These loved ones seem; and oft we wonder sore
Why souls who seem to us each day more saintly
Should by his hand be chastened more and more.
But the dear, loving Lord who tries the spirit,
Sees in them what no human eye can see—
A further fineness where his gracious dealing
Has formed the Christ within, in days to be.
As in a portrait by some cunning artist,
Which men call perfect—those who praise the skill
Of him who warms to life dull, senseless canvas,
Impatient that he labors at it still.
Labors, because before his inner vision
There floats an ideal he has not attained,
And in his heart he holds a steady purpose
To labor on until that point is gained.
So with these precious souls. Men see their graces,
So far exceeding those of common men,
And wonder why a God of loving kindness
Should chasten them again and yet again.
Nor will he stay his hand, though our impatience
Claim for these souls exemption from the rod,
Till, polished, perfected, refined, and holy,
Shines out from them the image of their God.
Art thou, beloved, one of this tried number?
Hold still, though furnace fires may hotter grow,
And when his work in thee is all accomplished,
The true life “hid with Christ in God” thou’lt know.
HELEN S. PEPPER
— February 15, 1910 —
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