A Dream, Or God Knows Best

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A Dream, Or God Knows Best
by Mary C. Ryan

Sometimes beneath the richest jewel robes,
The weary heart in supreme anguish throbs,
For this vain haughty world no succor gives
To those who mourn o'er lost chords in this life.
But God, who clothes the lilies of the field,
And gave the birds their plumage bright and warm,
O'er all His creatures, both the great and small,
Has a wise care, and suits His gifts to each.
Although His blessings sometimes come disguised,
With wisdom and unfathomable love
He shapes and rules the destinies of men.
So if we trust in Him, all will be well;
E'en as the man who treads in virtue's paths
And sees the snares and vices of this world,
Will thank the hand that did chastise the child,
And showed the perils that beset this life.
For in the great hereafter each will find,
His deepest griefs are blessings sent from God
To train the soul for higher spheres above.
So in the maze of this world's changing scenes.
And as we climb the rugged heights of time,
We must not wonder why we fall so oft,
Or why our hearts are bruised. For on the earth
The sharpest thorns with fairest flowers grow,
Under affliction's rod, each soul must pass
And bear the stings of its relentless strokes.
Then through the storms of life, doubt not God's love;
!Nor shrink from fate. There's a merciful hand
That e'er in justice rules the world.

One eve
My weary spirit groaned beneath its cross,
So bitterly I mourned a wretched lot;
Tried to comprehend God's dispensation,
Why some were doomed to labor and to wait.
While others, though they neither sowed nor reaped.
Yet e'er did bask in fortune's favored bowers.
While some were straggling for mere existence,
Others reposed on splendor's downy couch;
'Neath calumny some shriek in agony,
As others stray in pleasure's wanton ways;
Then some are princes, others vassals, slaves.
When posed o'er these strange facts, a zephyr sighed:
''Tis God's will."

Weariness came o'er me then.
And pensively lost in meditation,
I soon was gently clasped in Morpheus' arms;
When lo ! the gloaming of a winter's eve
Was quickly changed to a bright summer day;
The dreary place of my sad waking hours.
Vanished before a lovely fairy scene;
Gay wildwood birds flitting from bough to bough,
Singing to their Creator songs of praise.
The sky, the earth, all things proclaimed His love.
While o'er my soul blew sweet Lethean winds.
Which silently did lull my weary brain.
And brought deep peace.

A light flashed from on high.
And then appeared an angel clad in white.
Standing upon a snowy, fleecy cloud;
One hand did clasp a tiny book of gold.
The other was outstretched as if to bless
The world so cursed since the great fall of man.
In a clear, gentle voice, the vision spoke:
"God made man holy, but he fell from grace.
Then sin brought misery, loathsome disease,
And even death into a fair bright world.
Loud lamentations God has heard from earth;
All men complain of a stern cruel fate,
Each thinks his sorrows are a darker hue
Then those of fellow-men. There's none content.
So, now, afflicted ones, lend me your ears,
Take heed! and hear what the Most High decrees!
Bring ye, your troubles, ailments, here at eve.
And with companions change sin's heavy load;
From day to day come all and barter fate,
'Till this fair moon shall wax and wane once more;
Whatever burdens then your soul shall choose
Must e'er be borne while time and life shall last.
The angel paused. A multitude drew nigh,
Bringing myriads of earthly ailments.
Pain, disease, sorrows, all the ills of life,
Were quickly cast at the bright angel's feet,
Forming a mountain reaching to the sky,
On whose lofty summit despair did reign,
For all the woes of life were in that heap.
The vision bade each one to take his choice.
Then quickly the dark mountain disappeared,
As each and all bore some complaint away -
One he deemed lighter than his own.

A blank,
And then the golden sun illumed the earth,
An amethystine sky in beauty beamed
Upon a world disconsolate and wild;
The piercing shrieks and groaUvS that rent the air,
Were terrible indeed for me to hear.
Each person did bewail the trade he made,
Piteously cried for his own burden back.
Days passed away, probation's time was o'er,
Once more the angel standing on the cloud,
Proclaimed aloud, The moon has waxed and waned,
"Of all the ills of life, now take your choice."
Again I saw the mountain of despair
Rise before an impetuous multitude.
I heard a voice as of the rustling winds:
"Contented are we all to take once more
Our own true being and its sorrows too."
Bravely each shouldered his accustomed ills,
And lightly bore his burden from the scene.
But as they disappeared, I heard some say:
''Neath smiles and wealth, sorrows are often hid";
"In poverty, joys sometimes are obscured ";
"God knows what's best for each and all.
And gives us strength to bear His easy yoke";
"If we could only trust His holy word,
Affliction's rod we need not ever dread ";
"For He will heal the contrite, broken heart'*;
"'Over each life His day and night must pass";
"Oh! there is none,but bears a secret grief ";
'' For joy and woe go hand in hand through time;
Filling the air with smiles and tears."

At last
The angel opened wide the book of gold.
No name was there, no man himself had changed.
The angel smiled, and pointing to the sky,
Said in a cheering voice like music sweet :
"For those who love and serve the Lord of Hosts,
The gates of Heaven ever stand ajar.
But time is fleeting; prepare the soul
To enter into that Elysium."
And then I saw, oh! wondrous, glorious sight.
The pearly gate standing ajar for me.
I heard a voice like angels singing low:
' In this fair city sorrows are unknown.
Great joy and peace forever here abound.
Strive to come in."

But as I tried to go.
The vision passed away, for I awoke
Amidst this life's accustomed poignant woes;
But I resolved ever to be content,
And nobly bear my sorrows through this world;
Resigned to fate, but earnestly I'd strive
With all the fervor of a yearning soul,
To gain an entrance into Paradise.

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