The Sifting Of Peter


    In St. Luke's Gospel we are told
    How Peter in the days of old
            Was sifted;
    And now, though ages intervene,
    Sin is the same, while time and scene
            Are shifted.

    Satan desires us, great and small,
    As wheat to sift us, and we all
            Are tempted;
    Not one, however rich or great,
    Is by his station or estate

    No house so safely guarded is
    But he, by some device of his,
            Can enter;
    No heart hath armor so complete
    But he can pierce with arrows fleet
            Its centre.

    For all at last the cock will crow,
    Who hear the warning voice, but go
    Till thrice and more they have denied
    The Man of Sorrows, crucified
            And bleeding.

    One look of that pale suffering face
    Will make us feel the deep disgrace
            Of weakness;
    We shall be sifted till the strength
    Of self-conceit be changed at length
            To meekness.

    Wounds of the soul, though healed will ache;
    The reddening scars remain, and make
    Lost innocence returns no more;
    We are not what we were before

    But noble souls, through dust and heat,
    Rise from disaster and defeat
            The stronger,
    And conscious still of the divine
    Within them, lie on earth supine
            No longer.


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