A Poem By Matilda C Edwards (1936)
Today I just want to share with you a poem I have recently discovered and one that the Lord used to convict my heart somewhat.
However, I am sharing this with you today as maybe there are things of this world that are still tugging at your heart too, areas that need to still be submitted to the Lord. Maybe there are things that need to “fall into the ground and die” in order that you too can “produce more fruit” for the Lord.
We know that James 4:4 states:
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Strong words indeed from James but not ones to be taken lightly.
I have discovered that there are several differing versions of the poem available with extra verses, which gives interesting differences of how hopeful the future of the church may be in the eyes of the various writers, and obviously a modern twist to some of the later additional verses too.
Hope this is a blessing to you as it was to me.
The Church Walking
With The World
The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shore of time;
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
“Come, give your hand,” said the merry World,
“And together we shall go!”
But the good Church hid her snowy hand
And solemnly answered, “No!!
I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you.
Your way is the way of eternal death,
And your words are all untrue.”
“No, walk with me a little ways,”
Said the World with a kindly air.
“ The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there.
Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain.
The sky to me is always blue,
No lack, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark;
Your lot is a lot of woe.
My way, you can see, is a soft, easy one,
And my gate is high and wide;
There is room enough for you and me;
So let’s travel side by side.”
Half shyly the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the false World grasped it, and walked along
And whispered in accents low,
“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Sensuous hues for your graceful form
And diamonds to deck your hair.”
The Church looked down at her plain, white robes,
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip,
With a smile contemptuous curled.
“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church with a smile of grace;
So her simple garments were stashed away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
With roses and gems and swirls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.
“Your house is too plain” said the proud old World,
“Let us build you one like mine,
With walls of marble and towers of gold,
And furniture ever so fine.”
So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold!
Her sons and her daughters met frequently there,
Shining in purple and gold.
Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.
There were cushioned seats for the lazy and rich,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
But the poor who were clad in shabby array,
Sat meekly down outside.
“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine.
My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”
So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside,
As the widows went weeping by.
Then the sons of the World and the Sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside:
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”
The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame.
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne:
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich, and hast not known;
That thou art naked, poor and blind,
And wretched before my face;’
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”
Here is a version with some additional verses with a modern spin to some of them.
The angel in mercy rebuked the Church,
And whispered, “I know thy sin.”
Then the Church looked sad, and anxiously longed
To gather the children in.
But some were away at the midnight bowl,
And others online did play,
And some were hangin’ at Pizza Hut:
So the angel went away.
Then said the World in soothing tones,
“Your children mean no harm—
Merely indulging in innocent sports,”
So she leaned on his proffered arm,
And texted, and chatted, and uploaded photos,
And walked along with the World,
While countless millions of precious souls
Over the fearful brink were hurled.
“Your preachers are too old-fashioned and plain,”
Said the smart World with a sneer.
“ They frighten my children with dreadful tales
Which I do not like to hear.
They talk of judgments and fire and pain,
And the doom of darkest night.
They warn of a place that should not be
Mentioned to ears polite!
I will send you some of a better stamp,
More brilliant, educated, fast;
Who will show how men their flesh may please
And go to heaven at last.
The Father is merciful, great and good;
Loving and tender and kind.
Do you think He’d take one child to heaven
And leave another behind?”
So she called for pleasing and smart divines,
Deemed gifted and great and learned;
And the plain-spoken men who had preached the cross
Were out of her pulpits turned.
Then Mammon came in and supported the Church
And sat in a well-padded pew;
And preaching and chorals and floral displays
Soon proclaimed a gospel new.
“You give too much to the poor,” said the World,
“Far more than you ought to do;
Though the poor need shelter, food, and clothes,
Why thus need it deprive you?
And afar to the heathen in foreign lands
Your thoughts need seldom roam.
The Father of mercies will care for them:
Let charity start at home.
Go take your money and buy nice shoes
And cars and pickups fine;
And phones and iPods and cameras,
The latest and costliest kind.
My children, they dote on all such things,
And if you their love would win,
You must do as they do, and walk in the way—
The up-to-date way they’re in.”
The Church her purse snaps tightly shut
And shamefully lowered her head.
She whimpered, “I’ve given too much away.
I will do, sir, as you have said.”
So the poor were pushed out of her mind;
She heard not the orphan’s cry;
And she silently covered her MasterCard
As the widows went weeping by.
Thus they of the Church and they of the World
Journeyed closely, hand and heart.
And none but the Master, who knows all things,
Understood they had once walked apart.
Then the Church sat down at ease and said,
“I am rich and in goods increased.
I have need of nothing, and naught to do,
But to play, to sing, and to eat.”
The sly World heard her and laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said aside,
“ The Church has fallen, the beautiful Church;
Her shame is her boast and pride.”
Thus her witnessing power, alas, was lost,
And perilous times came in;
The times of the end, so often foretold,
Of form and pleasure and sin.
Then the angel drew near the mercy seat
And whispered in sighs her name,
And the saints their anthems of rapture hushed
And covered their heads with shame.
A voice came down from the hush of heaven,
From Him who sat on the throne;
“ I know your works and what you have said—
But alas! You have not known,
That you are poor and naked and blind,
With pride and ruin ensnared;
The expectant bride of a heavenly Groom
Is the harlot of the World!
You have ceased to watch for that blessed hope,
Have fallen from zeal and grace;
So now, alas! I must cast you out
And blot your name from its place.
Here is a longer ending of one version I found that offers hope for those believers who “wake up” from the delusional deceptions that currently are rampant in the “Christian world” to repent and follow the Saviour in obedience once more.
I counsel thee to buy of me
The gold that will make you rich;
And anoint your eyes with the heavenly salve
To discern your Maker’s wish.”
Then the awakened Church with deep regret
From her worldly course returned;
She opened her heart to the knock of Christ
As His love in her bosom burned.
He gave her robes and forgave her sins,
And together they sat and supped;
His proffered throne He shared with her
For whom He had suffered much.
O Church of Christ, hear the Spirit’s voice
As He calls through the world today.
Would that every church throughout the realm
Would turn from the world away.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” 1 peter 2:11
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