The Defection of the Disciples
Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.-ST. MATTHEW xxvi. 56.
FLED!-and from whom? The Man of woe
Who in Gethsemane had felt
Such pangs as bade the blood-drops flow,
And the crushed heart with anguish melt?
They who were gathered round his board,
Partook his love, beheld his power,
Saw the sick healed, the dead restored,
Failed they to watch one fearful hour?
All fled? Yet one there was who laid
Hiis head upon that sacred breast,
By friendship's holy ardor made
A cherished, an illustrious guest;
One, too, who walked with Christ the wave,
When the mad sea confessed his sway,
And strangely sealed her gaping grave,—
Fled these forgetfully away?
Yes: all forsook the Master's side
When foes and dangers clustered round,
And when in bitterness he cried,
'Mid the dread garden's awful bound.
Yet knew they not how near him stood
The host of heaven, a guardian train,
Deploring man's ingratitude,
And wondering at his Saviour's pain.
Oh! ye, whose hearts in secret bleed
O'er transient hope, like morning dew,
O'er friendship faithless in your need,
Or love to all its vows untrue;
Who shrink from persecution's rod,
Or slander's fang, or treachery's tone,
Look meekly to the Son of God,
And in his griefs forget your own.
Forsaken are ye?—so was he,—
Reviled?—yet check the vengeful word,—
Rejected?—should the servant be
Exalted o'er his suffering Lord?
Nor deem that Heaven's omniscient eye
Is e'er regardless of your lot,—
Deluded man from God may fly,
But when was man by God forgot?