The Narrow Way. Matt. 7. 13, 14; Luke 13. 24

J. Hart                           S.M.

Wide is the gate of death;
The way is large and broad;
And many enter in thereat,
And walk that beaten road.

Because the gate of life
Is narrow, low, and small;
The path so pressed, so close, so strait,
There seems no path at all.

[This way, that’s found by few,
Ten thousand snares beset,
To turn the seeker’s steps aside,
And trap the traveller’s feet.]

[Before we’ve journeyed far,
Two dangerous gulfs are fixed,
Dead sloth and pharisaic pride,
Scarce a hair’s breadth betwixt.]

[False lights delude the eyes,
And lead the steps astray;
That traveller treads the surest here
That seldom sees his way.]

[Guides cry, “Lo here!” “Lo there!”
“On this, on that side keep;”
Some overdrive, some frighten back,
And others lull to sleep.]

[On the left hand and right,
Close, cragged rocks are seen,
Distrust and self-wrought confidence;
’Tis hard to squeeze between.]

[Sometimes we seem to gain
Great lengths of ground by day;
But find, alas! when night comes on,
We quite mistook the way.]

[Sometimes we have no strength;
Sometimes we want the will;
And sometimes, lest we might go wrong,
We choose to stand quite still.]

[Again, through heedless haste,
We catch some dangerous fall;
Then, fearing we may move too fast,
We hardly move at all.]

[Deep quagmires choke the way;
Corruptions foul and thick;
Whose stench infects the air, and makes
The strongest traveller sick.]

[Through these we long must wade,
And oft stick fast in mire;
Now heat consumes, now frost benumbs,
As dangerous as the fire.]

[Spectres, of various forms,
Allure, enchant, affright;
Presumption tempts us every day;
Despair assaults by night.]

[Companions if we find,
Alas! how soon they’re gone!
For ’tis decreed that most must pass
The darkest paths alone.]

Distressed on every side
With evils, felt or feared;
We pray, we cry, but cannot find
That prayers or cries are heard.

Thickets of briers and thorns
Our feeble feet enclose;
And every step we take betrays
New dangers and new foes.

When all these foes are quelled,
And every danger past,
That ghastly phantom, Death, remains
To combat with at last.