O how can they look up to Heaven,
And ask for mercy there,
Who never soothed the poor man’s pang,
Nor dried the orphan’s tear?
The dread omnipotence of Heaven
We every hour provoke;
Yet still the mercy of our God
Withholds the avenging stroke.
And Christ was still the healing friend
Of poverty and pain;
And never did imploring soul
His garment touch in vain.
May we with humble effort take
Example from above;
And thence the active lesson learn
Of charity and love!
But chiefly be the labor ours
To shade the early plant;
To guard from ignorance and guilt
The infancy of want;
To graft the virtues, ere the bud
The canker worm has gnawed,
And teach the rescued child to lisp
Its gratitude to God.