If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.@Luke 16:31
portrait
Charles C. Converse (1834-1918)

Anonymous, in The Lexington Collection (Lexington, Kentucky: Maccoun, Tilford & Company, 1811), number 47.

Erie Charles C. Converse, 1868 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Dark and thorny is the desert
Through which pilgrims make their way;
Yet beyond this vale of sorrow,
Lie the fields of endless day.
Fiends loud howling in the tempest
Make them tremble as they go—
And the fiery darts of Satan
Often lay their courage low.

Oh! young soldiers, do you murmur
At the troubles of the way?
Do your hearts begin to fail you
And your vigor to decay?
Jesus, Jesus shall defend you—
He shall lead you to His throne,
He that dyed His garments for you,
And the wine press trod alone.

He whose thunder shakes creation,
He that bids the planets roll,
He who rides upon the tempest,
And whose scepter sways the whole;
Round Him see ten thousand angels,
Ready to receive command;
They are ever watching round you,
’Till you reach the heavenly land.

There, on flowery fields of pleasure,
And the hills of endless rest—
Joy and peace and love, shall ever
Reign and triumph in your breast;
Who can paint the scenes of glory,
Where the ransomed dwell on high,
Where the golden harps forever
Sound redemption round the sky.

There a million flaming seraphs
Fly across the heavenly plain;
There they sing immortal praises,
Glory! Glory! is their strain.
But methinks a sweeter concert
Makes the crystal arches ring,
And a song is heard in Zion
Which the angels cannot sing!

See the heavenly host in rapture,
Gaze upon this shining band—
Wondering at their costly garments
And the laurels in their hand.
There upon the golden pavement,
See the ransomed march along—
While the splendid courts of glory
Sweetly echo to their song.

But methinks, in whiter garments,
Some are marching on before;
Oh! their crowns, how bright they sparkle,
Such as monarchs never wore.
They were shepherds in My pastures,
Faithful in My cause below;
They shall now, in peace forever,
Sit on thrones as white as snow.

Round them see the lambs they gathered,
See the flocks they fed with care;
Now they’re come to richer pastures;
Jesus is their shepherd there.
Hail! ye happy, happy spirits!
Death no more shall make you fear;
Sin and sorrow, pain and anguish,
Shall no more disturb you there.

Sinners here shall not deride you,
Tho’ they vexed you while below;
Now they’re gone, and gone forever,
To the gulf of endless woe.
Closed in that eternal prison,
They can injure you no more;
Hell, alas, is all around them!
And eternity before!

There they find a God of justice,
Whom they once refused to fear;
There a lake of burning sulfur,
Tho’ they disbelieved it here;
Hark! methinks I hear from Tophet,
Cries more dreadful than the rest;
Some appear in greater anguish,
And with sorer vengeance pressed.

Ah! they cry, we heard the Gospel,
Where the Lord revived His cause;
Saw how numbers bowed before Him,
Yet we still refused His laws.
We rejected every warning—
Scorned the penitential tear;
We despised the calls of mercy—
Now we lie in fetters here.

Sinners, will you come to Jesus?
Oh! that you would come today;
Come, before the sword of vengeance
Cuts you down upon the way.
Soon the harvest may be gathered,
And the sheaves collected home;
Then, in vain you’ll call for mercy,
And, in vain, may wish to come.