God’s house

Daily Reading for February 27 • George Herbert, Priest, 1633

What doth this noise of thoughts within my heart

As if they had a part?

What do these loud complaints and pulling fears,

As if there were no rule or ears?

But, Lord, the house and family are thine,

Though some of them repine.

Turn out these wranglers, which defile thy seat:

For where thou dwellest all is neat.

First Peace and Silence all disputes control,

Then Order plays the soul;

And giving all things their set forms and hours,

Makes of wild woods sweet walks and bowers.

Humble Obedience near the door doth stand,

Expecting a command:

Than whom in waiting nothing seems more slow,

Nothing more quick when she doth go.

Joys oft are there, and griefs as oft as joys;

But griefs without a noise;

Yet speak they louder, than distemper’d fears.

What is so shrill as silent tears?

This is thy house, with these it doth abound:

And where these are not found,

Perhaps thou com’st sometimes, and for a day;

But not to make a constant stay.

“The Family” by George Herbert, from The Church, quoted in George Herbert: The Country Parson, The Temple, edited by John N. Wall, Jr., The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 1981).

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