Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SINNER AT THE CROSS, by PHOEBE CARY

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THE SINNER AT THE CROSS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Helpless before the cross I lay
Last Line: "to-night in paradise with me."
Subject(s): Crucifixion; Jesus Christ - Crucifixion

HELPLESS before the cross I lay,
With all to lose, or all to win,
My steps had wandered from the way,
My soul was burdened with her sin;
I spoke no word, I made no plea,
But this, Be merciful to me!

To meet his gaze, I could not brook,
Who for my sake ascended there;
I could not bear the angry look
My dear offended Lord must wear;
Remembering how I had denied
His name, my heart within me died.

Almost I heard his awful voice,
Sounding above my head in wrath;
Fixing my everlasting choice
With such as tread the downward path;
I waited for the words, Depart
From me, accursed as thou art!

One moment, all the world was stilled,
Then, He who saw my anguish, spoke;
I heard, I breathed, my pulses thrilled,
And heart, and brain, and soul awoke;
No scorn, no wrath was in that tone,
But pitying love, and love alone!

"And dost thou know, and love not me,"
He said, "when I have loved thee so;
It was for guilty men like thee
I came into this world of woe;
To save the lost I lived and died,
For sinners was I crucified."

The fountain of my tears was dried,
My eyes were lifted from the dust:
"Jesus! my blessed Lord! I cried,
And is it thou, I feared to trust?
And art thou He, I deemed my foe;
The Friend to whom I dared not go?

"How could I shrink from such as thou,
Divine Redeemer, as thou art!
I know thy loving kindness now,
I see thy wounded, bleeding heart;
I know that thou didst give me thine,
And all that thou dost ask is mine!

"My Lord, my God! I know at last
Whose mercy I have dared offend;
I own thee now, I hold thee fast,
My Brother, Lover, and my Friend!
Take me and clasp me to thy breast,
Bless me again, and keep me blest!

"Thou art the man, who ne'er refused
With sinful men to sit at meat;
Who spake to her who was accused
Of men, and trembling at thy feet,
As lips had never spoke before,
Go uncondemned, and sin no more.

"Dear Lord! not all eternity
Thy image from my heart can move,
When thou didst turn and look on me,
When first I heard thy words of love;
Repent, believe, and thou shalt be,
To-night in Paradise with me."

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