Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 312. From ‘Christian Evidences’
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
312. From ‘Christian Evidences’
By Robert Hugh Benson  (1871–1914)
NOW God forbid that Faith be blind assent,
Grasping what others know; else Faith were nought
But learning, as of some far continent
  Which others sought,
And carried thence, better the tale to teach,        5
Pebbles and sheels, poor fragments of the beach.
Now God forbid that Faith be built on dates,
  Cursive or uncial letters, scribe or gloss,
What one conjectures, proves, or demonstrates:
  This were the loss       10
Of all to which God bids that man aspire,
This were the death of life, quenching of fire.
Nay, but with Faith I see. Not even Hope,
  Her glorious sister, stands so high as she.
For this but stands expectant on the slope       15
  That leads where He
Her source and consummation sets His seat,
Where Faith dwells always to caress His Feet.
Nay, but with Faith I saw my Lord and God
  Walk in the fragrant garden yesterday.       20
Ah! how the thrushes sang; and, where He trod
  Like spikenard lay
Jewels of dew, fresh-fallen from the sky,
While all the lawn rang round with melody.
Nay, but with Faith I marked my Saviour go,       25
  One August noonday, down the stifling street
That reeked with filth and man; marked from Him flow
  Radiance so sweet,
The man ceased cursing, laughter lit the child,
The woman hoped again, as Jesus smiled.       30
Nay, but with Faith I sought my Lord last night,
  And found Him shining where the lamp was dim;
The shadowy altar glimmered, height on height,
    A throne for Him:
Seen as through lattice work His gracious Face       35
Looked forth on me and filled the dark with grace.
Nay then, if proof and tortured argument
  Content thee—teach thee that the Lord is there,
Or risen again; I pray thee be content,
    But leave me here       40
With eye unsealed by any proof of thine,
With eye unsealed to know the Lord is mine.



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