James Madison Bell

A Holy Messenger

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Dedicated to Rev. Thomas M. D. Ward.

The voice of Macedonia's gone
From California o'er the seas,
And yet, to help her, there was none;
No, none that offered to appease
Her anguish, and with words of cheer,
A cordial bring for all her fear.


At length that voice fell on thy heart,
And yielding to its plaintive strain,
I see thee with thy kindred part --
Resolved to cross the dashing main,
And plant life's crimson banner, where
Sin's dark pollutions taint the air.


Then all thy life, or short or long --
Then all thy powers, small or great,
To God, to whom they all belong,
Anew thou didst them dedicate;
And o'er the broad and trackless deep
Came hither both to sow and reap.


Thy coming found us poor indeed,
Unsheltered from the blasts that blow, --
No sacred Zion where in need,
Earth's sad and sorrowing ones might go;
And leave this world of care and doubt,
With all its carking fears without.


Thou didst not come as many came,
Alone to fill thy purse with gold,
Thy mission and thy noble aim,
God's glorious Gospel to unfold,
And through His aid, to seek and save
The lost and wrecked on ruin's wave.


Hence, with thy cross of faith upreared,
Thy book of promise widely spread;
While godless thousands scoffed and jeered,
Thou didst portray the life Christ led,
And how he bore sin's chastening rod
To win the erring back to God.


Though many scoffed, yet some gave heed;
Though many scorned, yet some have prayed,
And found in that dread hour of need
Thy Christ, their refuge and their aid;
Their friend, while passing through that vale
Where all our mortal friendship fail.


And thus thy labors have been crowned --
Crowned with many a signal good;
While error's hosts have darkly frowned,
Many have joined the angelhood;
And in life's morn, for each of them,
A star shall deck thy diadem.


Meanwhile thy toils have reared on high,
In grand memorial of thy name,
Our bethel, where, as years sweep by,
Shall live the record of thy fame --
The record of thy godly zeal,
That all may see, and know, and feel.


And now that duty calls thee hence,
Once more to cross the briny wave,
Once more to stand in our defense,
Amidst the holy, loved and brave;
Go, and may his presence be thy stay,
Whom maddening waves and winds obey.

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James Madison Bell