Pressing Toward the Mark

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 2
" One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,"
On O beloved children,
The evening is at hand,
And desolate and fearful
The solitary land.
Take heart! the rest eternal
Awaits our weary feet;
From strength to strength press onwards,
The end, how passing sweet!
Lo, we can tread rejoicing
The narrow pilgrim road;
We know the voice that calls us,
We know our faithful God.
Come, children, on to glory!
With every face set fast
Towards the golden towers;
Where we shall rest at last.
It was with voice of singing
We left the land of night,
To pass in glorious music
Far onward out of sight.
O children, was it sorrow?
Though thousand worlds be lost,
Our eyes have looked on JESUS,
And thus we count the cost.
The praising and the blaming,
The storehouse and the mart,
The mourning and the feasting,
The glory and the art,
The wisdom and the cunning,
Left far amid the gloom;
We may not look behind us,
For we are hast'ning home.
Across the will of nature
Leads on the path of God;
Not where the flesh delighteth
The feet of JESUS trod.
O bliss to leave behind us
The fetters of the slave,
To leave ourselves behind us,
The grave-clothes and the grave?
To speed, unburdened pilgrims,
Glad, empty-handed, free;
To cross the trackless desert,
And walk upon the sea;
As strangers among strangers,
No home beneath the sun;
How soon the wanderings ended,
The endless rest begun!
We pass the children playing,
For evening shades fall fast;
We pass the wayside flowers-
God's Paradise at last!
If now the path be narrow
And steep and rough and lone,
If crags and tangles cross it,
Through grace, we will press on.
We follow in His footsteps:
What if our feet be torn?
Where His have marked the pathway-
All hail the briar and thorn!
Scarce seen, scarce heard, unreckoned,
Despised, defamed, unknown,
Or heard but by our singing
On, children! ever on!
" Let us run with patience the race...... Looking unto JESUS... Consider HIM!"...
Come, children, on and forward!
With us the Savior goes;
He leads us, and He guards us.
Though thousands be our foes:
The sweetness and the glory,
The sunlight of His eyes,
Makes all the desert places
To glow as Paradise.
Lo! through the pathless midnight
The fiery pillar leads,
And onward goes the Shepherd
Before the flock He feeds;
Unquestioning, unfearing,
The lambs may follow on,
In quietness and confidence
Their eyes on HIM alone.
Come, children, on and forward!
We journey hand in hand,
Let each one cheer his brother
All through the stranger land;
And hosts of God's high angels
Beside us walk in white;
What wonder if our singing
Make music through the night?
Come, children, on and forward!
Each hour brings nearer HOME!
The pilgrim days speed onward,
And soon the last will come.
All hail! O golden city!
How near the shining towers!
Fair gleams our Father's mansions:
That radiant home is ours.
On! dare and suffer all things!
Yet but a stretch of road,
Then wondrous words of welcome,
And then—the Face of God!
The world—how small and empty!
Our eyes have looked on HIM;
In our hearts the Day-Star's risen
And all below grows dim.
To the bright scenes of heaven
Our JESUS leads His own,
The Mightiest, the Fairest,
CHRIST ever, CHRIST alone.
Led captive by His sweetness,
And dowered with His bliss,
Forever HE is ours, Forever we are HIS!