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So he felt the Master’s presence drawing closer all the while:
Though the Master’s face was hidden, yet he knew it wore a smile.
Once he bent above a comrade fainting in the mid-day heat,
Sheltered him with woven palm-leaves, gave him water, cool and sweet. '
Then it seemed, for one swift moment, secret radiance filled the place;
Underneath the green palm-branches flashed one look of Jesus’ face.
Once again, a raftsman, slipping, plunged beneath the stream and sank;
Swiftly Felix leaped to rescue—caught him, drew him toward the bank—
Battling with the cruel river, using all his strength to save—
Did he dream? or was there One beside him walking on the wave?
Now at last the work was ended; grove deserted, quarry stilled,
Felix journeyed to the city that his hands had helped to build.
In the darkness of the temple, at the closing hour of day,
Once again he sought the altar, once again he knelt to pray:
“ Hear me, 0 Thou hidden Master; Thou hast sent a word to me ;
It is written—Thy commandment. I have kept it. Look and see.
“Thou hast bid me leave the visions of the solitary life ;
Bear my part in human labour ; take my share in human strife.
“ I have done Thy bidding, Master; raised the rock and felled the tree;
Swung the axe and plied the hammer, working every day for Thee.
“_Once it seemed I saw Thy presence through the bending palm-leaves gleam;
Once upon the flowing water— Nay, I know not — ’t was a dream i
“ This I know: Thou hast been near me : more than this I dare not ask.
Though I see Thee not, I love Thee. Let me do Thy humblest task! ”
Through the dimness of the temple slowly dawned a mystic light;
There the Master stood in glory, manifest to mortal sight: _§\
Hands that bore the mark of labour, brow that bore the print of care ;
Hands of power, divinely tender; brow of light, divinely fair.
“Hearken, good and faithful servant, true disciple, loyal friend!
Thou hast followed Me and found Me; I will keep thee to the end.
“ Well I know thy toil and trouble. Often weary, fainting, worn,
I have lived the life of labour, heavy burdens I have borne.
“Never in a prince’s palace have I slept on golden bed,
Never in a hermit’s cavern have I eaten unearned bread.
“Born within a lowly stable, where the cattle round Me stood,
Trained a carpenter in Nazareth, I have toiled, and found it good.
“They who tread the path of labour follow where My feet have trod;
They who work without complaining do the holy will of God.
“Where the many toil together, there am I among My own;
Where the tired workman sleepeth, there am I with him alone.
"I, the peace that passeth knowledge, dwell amid the daily strife;
I, the bread of heaven, am broken in the sacrament of life.
“Every task, however simple, sets the soul that does it free;
Every deed of love and mercy, done to man, is done to Me.
“Thou hast learned the peaceful secret; thou hast come to Me for rest;
With thy burden, in thy labour, thou art Felix, doubly blest.
“ Nevermore thou needest seek Me ; I am with thee everywhere ;
Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me ; cleave the wood, and I am there."