“Moonlight Devotion” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Moonlight on the Lake
Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York

MOONLIGHT – DEVOTIONAL

 When on days of balmy June

The sun at last withdraws its light

Then you bring a mystic glow

To lovers strolling in the night.

The moon enriches us on earth, by soft and welcome light. But of itself the moon has no light. It only reflects the light of the sun. From this we can learn a lesson. Christ is introduced in these passages from Gospel of John. “….In him was life and the life was the light of men.” If man had ever had light on his own, by sin he had lost it. “….I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “When I am in the world I am the light of the world.” “….Yet a little while is the light among you. Work while you have the light, that darkness overtake you not; and he that walketh in darkness knoweth not where he is going. While you have the light believe in the light, that you may become children of the light.”

But while Jesus was with us in visible form, the time was short, very short; and the territory he could cover was small, very small. But he had his followers “As the Father sent me into the world, I am sending you.”

The church is well called the body of Christ. Christians by abiding in Christ and he abiding in them can reflect his lights to all the world till the end of time. So Jesus told his disciple “You are the light of the world.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We then have the supreme opportunity of earth, and the responsibility is equally grave. In our day and in our time there are those whom we can so bring the light of Christ, they will eternally share with us the love and joy, and glory as the children of God. If we fail that will be forever lost to them. Let your light shine now and where you are.

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?79477
Source: Detroit Publishing Company postcards / Unnumbered cards
Digital ID: 79477

 

“Down Where the River Flows” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Joseph Martin Kronheim‘s (1810-1896) Baxter process illustration of Revelation 22:17


DOWN WHERE THE RIVER FLOWS

 

The summer day is warm and fair,

And balmy sweetness fill the air,

And beauties greet me everywhere.

Away with toil! Away with care!

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

An old, old man with withered look

Is wading slow the running brook,

And casting out a line and hook,

And searching every quiet nook;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

A farmer lad is whistling gay;

He tosses out some new mown hay

In lowland meadows where they lay

Along the river’s winding way;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

The music running waters make,

As they o’ver stones in ripples break

Some childhood’s long lost memories wake

And I must still my lone heart ache;

Down where the river flows,

Down were the river flows.

Some wading birds with wagging tails

Are searching in the river shales

Perhaps for bugs or tiny snails,

Or what to them for food avails,

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

A church bell sounds a solemn call.

The saints of God now worship all.

The hopes of old I must recall.

My heart turns pleasures into gall;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

They bear the burdens of the day.

For such as I they meet to pray.

They now deny some pleasures gay,

The things they know will pass away;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

Shall I go down the world’s broad way

While others for salvation pray?

And shall I live in pleasures gay

While others work while its today;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

No, I will now in tears repent,

Although the years my God has lent

I have in selfish ways misspent

I know the Lord for me was sent;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.


Image above retrieved from:
http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:The_Sunday_at_Home_1880_-_Revelation_22-17-_Joseph_Martin_Kronheim.jpg

Source: The Sunday at Home: A Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading, 1880 [collected volume], London, Religious Tract Society, Paternoster Row, 164 Picadilly.
Description: Joseph Martin Kronheim’s (1810 – 1896) Baxter process illustration of Revelation 22:17 from page 366 of the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home.

“At Church” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Young girl going to church, Bologna, 16th century (1859-1860)
by Etienne Huyot, Engraver


AT CHURCH

Vonda with the pale rose coat,

And hair so flowing soft;

Your girlish face is sweet and fair

As you glance upwards oft.

Are you to your own parents dear

As my child is to me?

And do they for you dream and pray,

Wherever you may be?

Just what may be your thought today,

As you the sermon hear?

Do peace and joy possess your heart

As you to Christ draw near?

And have you seen the cross of Christ?

And have you with Him died?

To all the world does offer you,

That you might His abide?

And do you have the SPIRIT, child?

And do you through Him LIVE?

And do you serve the Christ, my dear?

Your all in service give?

And sees some youth in all his dreams

Sweet visions of that face?

And is he praying for the day,

When he will you embrace?

Is there somewhere a sailor lad,

A boy who’s won your heart?

In all your dreams of future days,

Does this one have a part?

To fathom those deep thoughts of yours,

I know I never can:

For God has made you, you, you see,

And made me just a man.

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?811554

Image Title:  Young girl going to church, Bologna, 16th century
Creator : Huyot, Etienne, b. 1808 — Engraver
Published Date: 1859-1860
Original Source: From Costumes anciens et modernes : habiti antichi e moderni di tutto il mondo.(Paris : Firmin Didot, 1859-1860) Vecellio, Cesare (ca. 1521-1601), Author.
 Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Costume — 1500s — Italian

“Now I Dream of Heaven” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Soul Carried to Heaven by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905)

NOW I DREAM OF HEAVEN

 

And now I dream of heaven,

Of heaven bright and fair:

I know it won’t be long

Before my welcome there.

I’m old I know, past eighty,

My friends have gone before;

I’ll not be sad nor lonely

Upon the glory shore.

Through life my God has been

So very good to me;

To Him I must be grateful,

As grateful as can be.

My Bible tells how all

Are lost in sin and woe;

Yet how in Christ we can

Be saved while here below.

I’ve cast myself on Him,

A sinner at His feet;

I trust His grace to give me

Salvation full complete.

As he on earth did suffer

On cross atonement make

I shall now live forever

Accepted for his sake.

I’m very near the river

Near my eternal home,

Where I shall joy forever

Before my Savior’s throne.

Image above retrieved from:

Source: http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/55530/soulcarriedtoheaven

“I Wonder” by Darius M. Ratcliff

For Such is the Kingdom of Heaven by Frank Bramley, 1891

I WONDER

Written after talking to a woman who wondered why misfortune happened to her. She had not been so bad.

 

I wonder at my burdened lot:

I have not been so bad.

I thought perhaps I’d happy be,

That life would make me glad.

I’d dreamed such happy dreams in youth: –

In those blessed golden years.

I’ve seen my hopes all withered die

Amid bitter tears.

I saw the undeserving gain

The things I so had sought:

The wicked blessed and happy too:-

It seemed they should have nought.

The sands of time are running out,

My hopes have proved in vain:

I have no longer time nor strength

My goals to now attain.

I looked today and saw anew

A figure on a cross.

He left the gains and joys of heaven

For such an awful loss.

I know at last that I have sinned.

My pride had made me blind

To deep rebellion in my heart,

To worldliness of mind.

He gave Himself for sins of mine;

For He no difference knew;

For all have sinned and fallen short,

And must be born anew.

All this he did to save me from

This present evil world;

And here I am bemoaning sore

The loss of such a world.

My life is hid with Christ in God,

And Christ is now my all;

My gain is everlasting life,

My loss is earthly, small.

In heaven I my treasures store

Where nothing can destroy;

When earthly treasures all dissolve

My treasures I’ll enjoy.

If I am put to grief today

While living here on earth,

I’ll count that grief far better than

The world’s poor passing mirth.

If I now fail to understand

All that on earth I see,

I’ll trust His wisdom, love, and might

Who loved and died for me.

No longer is my wonder now

Why I must burdened be:

I wonder rather why my Lord

Should do so much for me.

I wonder at His dying love

For such a one as I;

I wonder at the awful price:-

That He for me should die.

I wonder at my sonship too:-

A child of God above.

I wonder at a thousand things,

The tokens of His love.

I wonder at the kingdom great

Prepared for me on high;

I wonder at eternity

My heaven by and by.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frank_Bramley_-_Kingdom_Of_Heaven_1891.jpg
Source: Art Knowledge Daily
Permission: photograph reproduction in the public domain

“My Heart is Turning” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Kingdom of Heaven by Violet Oakley (1903)

MY HEART IS TURNING

 

My heart is turning back to May;

The world was then so young and gay:

The birds seemed laughing in the trees,

And flowers scented every breeze.

The peach tree blossoms all are gone,

And it is now September morn;

The days grow short, the nights are cold,

And nature seems so dead and old.

But autumn has its treasures too,

For autumn brings the harvest new,

The luscious fruit, the ripened grains:

In autumn man his food attains.

If earth were always May,

If blossoms never passed away;

We would not have the apples red,

Nor would we have our daily bread.

I will not mourn the time that’s past,

Nor wish that May could ever last;

For May itself was not complete,

Could not my needs entirely meet.

This is the day the Lord has made:

It matters not if flowers fade;

God gives rich blessings in their stead,

New joys are here, though some have fled.

Nor will I dread tomorrow’s dawn,

Nor think that good will then be gone;

For God will me tomorrow love,

And I’ll have blessings from above.

Eternal is God’s love for me,

And I shall never winter see;

My path is like the morning ray,

That brightens on till perfect day.

And I can smile at childhood’s days,

They had the charm of earthly Mays.

But I have treasures richer still

In place of childhood’s morning thrill.

My heart is set beyond the grave,

Beyond the Jordan’s mystic wave:

My life then be all complete,

For there the Prince of Life I’ll meet.

In place of blessings that have flown,

In place of fragments I have known;

I’ll then possess the perfect whole

That lasts while times eternal roll.

Should you who’ve had a later birth

Outlast my days upon this earth;

And should you think you’re called to mourn,

When I in silence hence am borne:

Think then of blessings I have gained,

And of the joys I have attained;

And think how long my race I’ve run;

That I have now the victory won.

This earthly life I must resign,

Or heaven never will be mine:

God’s best for man is never given,

Till death this earthly frame has riven.

You do not mourn the blossoms cast,

When you enjoy the fruit at last;

So why lament what’s left behind,

When you the consummation find?
Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?833496

Image Title:  “The kingdom of heaven.”
Creator: Oakley, Violet, 1874- — Artist

Published Date: 1903

Original Source: From Century magazine.(New York : The Century Co., 1870-)

Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Heaven and hell

“The Riddle” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Light of the World  by William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910)
John 8:12

THE RIDDLE

Birds of a feather flock together,

Thus has is always been:

Crows flock with crows, and wrens flock with wrens:-

Like, is the nearest of kin.

Christ is the head of a new-born race;

Children of light are they:

Earth knows them not, and the world loves not; –

Darkness cares not for the day.

Christ is the light, and Christ the way,

Christ the salvation of men:

Once let the dreamers turn to the light,

True is their fellowship then.

Pray for the eyes fast blinded by night;

Hope for the straying feet:

Patiently teach them by word and by deed;

Patiently mercy entreat.

Swift speeds the time, another today,

Birds now with us are flown:

Thanks to our God will fill our hearts is

Seeds for a harvest we’ve sown.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHunt_Light_of_the_World.jpg
William Holman Hunt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons