THE BLIND GIRL — by Fanny Crosby

Her home was near an ancient wood,
Where many an oak gigantic stood,
And fragrant flowers of every hue
In that sequestered valley grew—

A church there reared its little spire;
And in their neat and plain attire.
The humble peasants would repair
On Sabbath morn, to worship there;

And on the laughing breeze would float
The merry warbler’s choral note,
When at Aurora’s rosy dawn.
She decked with light the dewy lawn.

A pearly stream meander’d there;
And on its verdant banks so fair,
From school released, at close of day,
A group of happy girls would play.

With their gay laugh the woodlands rang;
Or if some rustic air they sang,
Those rural notes, of music sweet.
Echo, would in mock tones repeat.

Amid those scenes of mirth and glee.
That sightless girl, oh where was she?
Was she, too, blithely sporting there,
Or wreathing garlands for her hair?

She sat beside her cottage door;
Her brow a pensive sadness wore;
And while she listened to the song
That issued from that youthful throng;

The tears, warm gushing on her cheek,
Told what no language e’er could speak;
While their young hearts were light and gay.
Her hours passed heavily away—

A mental night was o’er her thrown;
She sat dejected, and alone.
Yet, no; a mother’s accents dear,
Came softly on that blind girl’s ear.

While all were locked in dreamy sleep,
That mother, o’er her couch would weep.
And as she knelt in silence there.
Would breathe to God her fervent prayer;

“That He, all merciful and mild.
Would bless her sightless—only child.”

‘Twas eve—the summer’s sky was bright.
The crescent moon unveiled her light
And many a mild and radiant star
Its lustre spread o’er climes afar.

That mother, to her throbbing breast
Her lovely daughter fondly pressed.
She on her bosom leaned her head,
And thus in mournful accents said:

“Tell me, dear mother, what is sight?
I hear you say the stars are bright
In yonder sky of azure hue;
I wish I could behold them, too:

You tell me of the summer flowers,
That blossom in the green wood bowers.
Their balmy breath is sweet to me.
And shall I ne’er their beauty see?”

There Anna paused—her mother sighed,
Then in a low, sweet voice, replied:

“On earth these joys may ne’er be thine.
But why, my child, why thus repine?
‘Tis thy Almighty Father’s will.
He bids thy murmuring heart be still;
There is a fairer world than this—
A world of never-fading bliss.
There let thy heart—thy treasure be.
And thou its purer joys shalt see.”

The summer and the autumn passed.
And wildly blew the winter blast;
‘Twas midnight, nature slept profound.
Unbroken stillness reigned around—

Save in one little cottage,
Where was heard a dying mother’s prayer.

“Oh God, my helpless orphan see,
She hath no other friend but Thee;
She frendless on the world is thrown
Sightless—heart-broken—and alone—
Father all merciful and mild—
Oh God ! protect my orphan child”

One last farewell that mother breathed—
One parting sigh her bosom heaved,
And all was over—she had fled
To mingle with the silent dead.

The dreary winter passed away,
The spring returned and all was gay;
O’er hill and vale, and verdant plain,
The warbling choir was heard again.

Yet spring or nature’s cheerful voice,
Made not that orphan’s heart rejoice;
Her mother’s grave was near her cot.
And Anna, to that lonely spot
Led by some friendly hand, would stray,
To kiss the turf that wrapt her clay.

‘Twas evening’s melancholy hour.
And zephyrs fanned each sleeping flower;
O’er her soft lute her fingers ran,
And thus her mournful lay began:

“Alas! how bitter is my lot,
Without a friend—without a home—
Alone—unpitied and forgot—
A sightless orphan, now I roam.
Where is that gentle mother now,
Who once so fondly o’er me smiled,
Who gently kissed my burning brow.
And to her bosom clasped her child?
I could not see that angel eye.
Suffused with many a bitter tear.
But oh! her deep, heart-rending sigh.
Stole mournful on my listening ear.
I knelt beside her dying bed,
I felt her last expiring breath,
God bless my child, she faintly said,
And closed those lovely eyes in death.
Oh! how I long to soar away.
Where that departed one doth dwells
To join with her the choral lay.
Angelic choirs forever swell!”

She ceased—she heard a footstep near,
A voice broke gently on her ear:
”Maiden, I’ve heard thy tale of woe.
And more of thee I fain would know;
Oh tell me why thy youthful brow
Is mantled o’er with sadness now?”

“Sir,” she replied, ” well may I weep;
Beneath this little mound, doth sleep
All that on earth to me was dear;
My mother’s lifeless form lies here;
And I, her only child, am left
Of kindred, and of home bereft;
But He who marks the sparrow’s fall,
Will hear the helpless orphan’s call.
My mother left me in His care,
He will not leave me to despair.”

The stranger sighed; “Maiden,” said he,
“Thou hast my warmest sympathy;
No longer friendless shalt thou roam,
I’ll take thee to a happier home;
A home erected for the Blind—
Where friends, affectionate and kind,
Will o’er thee watch with tender care.
And wipe away the orphan’s tear.”

“Forgive me, sir!” the maiden said,
As modestly she bent her head;
“I cannot bear to leave this grave,
Where these pale flowers so sadly wave.
And oh! while here I sit alone.
And listen to the wind’s low moan,
Methinks my sainted mother dear
Smiles on me from her starry sphere,
And softly then she seems to say,
“My child, my darling, come away
To the bright mansion where I dwell
And bid that world of care farewell.”

The stranger wept; his generous heart
In other’s sorrows shared a part.
“Thou must not linger here,” said he,
“Haste, I entreat thee, haste with me.
Thou lone one, to that dear retreat,
Where thou a sister band shalt meet;
Yes, maiden, they are blind, like thee,
And they will love thee tenderly.”

How changed ! that sightless orphan brow;
Her buoyant step is light and free.
And none more happy is than she:
For Educations glorious light
Hath chased away her mental night.
Contentment smiles upon her face,
And with delight, her fingers trace
The Page,” by inspiration given,

“To guide her to a brighter heaven.
If o’er the past her memory stray.
Then music’s sweet and charming lay,
Drives each dark vision from her breast.
And lulls each heaving sigh to rest.
Her grateful lips breathe many a prayer
For him who kindly placed her there.

[The foregoing was suggested by an incident which occurred while visiting the interior of the State of New York, with a view of satisfying the public mind of the advantages to be derived from placing the blind at the Institution, and was inscribed to H. M., one of the managers, who accompanied the party…]

Lord of my death

Lord of my death
Lord of my weeping
Lord of my loss
Lord of my wounds
Lord of my illness
Lord of my unbearable pain
Lord of my heavy, light suffering
Lord of my unending, momentary affliction
Lord of my weakness
Lord of my fear
Lord of my despair
Lord of my uncertainty
Lord of all
Scoop me up into arms that hold to the ages
Out of time and out of dying life
Take me into wonder that I have slightly tasted
Into Your death and unending Life
Spread out Your Lordship over all of my being
Precious Lord Jesus
Lord first and last
God’s final Word forever
Have the last say!

“He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.”
–2 Corinthians 12:9,10

“Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
–2 Corinthians 4:16-18

To bind up the broken-hearted

“He was to be a healer. He was sent to bind up the broken-hearted, as pained limbs are rolled to give them ease, as broken bones and bleeding wounds are bound up, that they may knit and close again. Those whose hearts are broken for sin, who are truly humbled under the sense of guilt and dread of wrath, are furnished in the gospel of Christ with that which will make them easy and silence their fears. Those only who have experienced the pains of a penitential contrition may expect the pleasure of divine cordials and consolations.”
—Matthew Henry on Isaiah 61.1

“The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening [of the prison] to those who are bound…”
—Isaiah 61:1

“He [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed, And to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
—Luke 4:16-21

Sickness

Matthew Henry on Psalm 41 Verses 1-4:

“In these verses we have,

I. God’s promises of succour and comfort to those that consider the poor; and,

1. We may suppose that David makes mention of these with application either, (1.) To his friends, who were kind to him, and very considerate of his case, now that he was in affliction: Blessed is he that considers poor David. Here and there he met with one that sympathized with him, and was concerned for him, and kept up his good opinion of him and respect for him, notwithstanding his afflictions, while his enemies were so insolent and abusive to him; on these he pronounced this blessing, not doubting but that God would recompense to them all the kindness they had done him, particularly when they also came to be in affliction. The provocations which his enemies gave him did but endear his friends so much the more to him. Or, (2.) To himself. He had the testimony of his conscience for him that he had considered the poor, that when he was in honour and power at court he had taken cognizance of the wants and miseries of the poor and had provided for their relief, and therefore was sure God would, according to his promise, strengthen and comfort him in his sickness.

2. We must regard them more generally with application to ourselves. Here is a comment upon that promise, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Observe, (1.) What the mercy is which is required of us. It is to consider the poor or afflicted, whether in mind, body, or estate. These we are to consider with prudence and tenderness; we must take notice of their affliction and enquire into their state, must sympathize with them and judge charitably concerning them. We must wisely consider the poor; that is, we must ourselves be instructed by the poverty and affliction of others; it must be Maschil to us, that is the word here used. (2.) What the mercy is that is promised to us if we thus show mercy. He that considers the poor (if he cannot relieve them, yet he considers them, and has a compassionate concern for them, and in relieving them acts considerately and with discretion) shall be considered by his God: he shall not only be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, but he shall be blessed upon the earth This branch of godliness, as much as any, has the promise of the life that now is and is usually recompensed with temporal blessings. Liberality to the poor is the surest and safest way of thriving; such as practise it may be sure of seasonable and effectual relief from God, [1.] In all troubles: He will deliver them in the day of evil, so that when the times are at the worst it shall go well with them, and they shall not fall into the calamities in which others are involved; if any be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger, they shall. Those who thus distinguish themselves from those that have hard hearts God will distinguish from those that have hard usage. Are they in danger? he will preserve and keep them alive; and those who have a thousand times forfeited their lives, as the best have, must acknowledge it as a great favour if they have their lives given them for a prey. He does not say, “They shall be preferred,” but, “They shall be preserved and kept alive, when the arrows of death fly thickly round about them.” Do their enemies threaten them? God will not deliver them into the will of their enemies; and the most potent enemy we have can have no power against us but what is given him from above. The good-will of a God that loves us is sufficient to secure us from the ill-will of all that hate us, men and devils; and that good-will we may promise ourselves an interest in if we have considered the poor and helped to relieve and rescue them. [2.] Particularly in sickness (v. 3): The Lord will strengthen him, both in body and mind, upon the bed of languishing, on which he had long lain sick, and he will make all his bed—, a very condescending expression, alluding to the care of those that nurse and tend sick people, especially of mothers for their children when they are sick, which is to make their beds easy for them; and that bed must needs be well made which God himself has the making of. He will make all his bed from head to foot, so that no part shall be uneasy; he will turn his bed (so the word is), to shake it up and make it very easy; or he will turn it into a bed of health. Note, God has promised his people that he will strengthen them, and make them easy, under their bodily pains and sicknesses. He has not promised that they shall never be sick, nor that they shall not lie long languishing, nor that their sickness shall not be unto death; but he has promised to enable them to bear their affliction with patience, and cheerfully to wait the issue. The soul shall by his grace be made to dwell at ease when the body lies in pain.

II. David’s prayer, directed and encouraged by these promises (v. 4): I said, Heal my soul. It is good for us to keep some account of our prayers, that we may not unsay, in our practices, any thing that we said in our prayers. Here is, 1. His humble petition: Lord be merciful to me. He appeals to mercy, as one that knew he could not stand the test of strict justice. The best saints, even those that have been merciful to the poor, have not made God their debtor, but must throw themselves on his mercy. When we are under the rod we must thus recommend ourselves to the tender mercy of our God: Lord, heal my soul. Sin is the sickness of the soul; pardoning mercy heals it; renewing grace heals it; and this spiritual healing we should be more earnest for than for bodily health. 2. His penitent confession: “I have sinned against thee, and therefore my soul needs healing. I am a sinner, a miserable sinner; therefore, God be merciful to me,” Lu. 18:13. It does not appear that this has reference to any particular gross act of sin, but, in general, to his many sins of infirmity, which his sickness set in order before him, and the dread of the consequences of which made him pray, Heal my soul.”