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A true incident in the life of Rowland Hill

Will you listen, friends, for a moment,
While a story I unfold;
A marvelous tale, of a wonderful sale
Of a noble lady of old:
How hand and heart, at an auction mart,
Soul and body, she was sold.”

’Twas in the broad king’s-highway,
Near a century ago,
That a preacher stood—though of noble blood—
Telling the fallen and low
Of a Savior’s love, and a home above,
And a peace that they all might know.

All crowded around to listen;
They wept at the wondrous love,
That could wash their sins, and receive them in
His spotless mansions above:—
While slow through the crowd, a lady proud
Her gilded chariot drove.

“Make room,” cried the haughty outrider,
“You are closing the king’s highway;
My lady is late, and their Majesties wait,
Give way, good people, I pray.”
The preacher heard, his soul was stirred,
And he cried to the rider, “Nay.”

His eye like the lightning flashes;
His voice like a trumpet rings.
“Your grand days, and your fashions and ways
Are all but perishing things.
’Tis the king’s highway, but I hold it to-day
In the name of the King of kings.”

Then—bending his gaze on the lady,
And marking her soft eye fall,—
“And now in His name, a sale I proclaim,
And bids for this fair lady call.
Who will purchase the whole—her body and soul,
Coronet, jewels, and all?”

“I see already three bidders,”
The World steps up as the first,
“I will give her my treasures, and all the pleasures
For which my votaries thirst;
She shall dance each day, more joyous and gay,
With a quiet grave at the worst”.

But out spake the Devil, boldly:
“The kingdoms of earth are mine.
Fair lady, thy name, with an envied fame,
On their brightest tablets shall shine;
Only give me thy soul, and I give thee the whole,
Their glory and wealth to be thine.”

“And pray what hast Thou to offer,
Thou Man of Sorrows unknown?”
And He gently said, “My blood I have shed,
To purchase her for mine own.
To conquer the grave, and her soul to save,
I trod the winepress alone.

“I will give her My cross of suffering,
My cup of sorrow, to share;
But with endless love, in My home above,
All shall be righted there:
She shall walk in light, in a robe of white,
And a radiant crown shall wear.”

“Thou hast heard the terms, fair lady,
That each hath offered for thee.
Which wilt thou choose, and which wilt thou lose,
This life, or the life to be?
The fable was mine, but the choice is yet thine,
Sweet lady, which of the three?”

She took from her hand the jewels,
The coronet from her brow;
“Lord Jesus,” she said, as she bowed her head,
“The highest bidder art Thou,
Thou gav’st for my sake Thy life, and I take
Thy offer—and take it now.

“I know the World and her pleasures,
At best they weary and cloy;
And the Tempter is bold, but his honors and gold
Prove ever a fatal decoy;
I long for Thy rest—Thy bid is the best;
Lord, I accept it with joy!”
“Amen,” said the noble preacher;

And the people wept aloud.
Years have rolled on—and they all have gone
Who formed that awe-struck crowd.
Lady and throng have been swept along
On the wind like a morning cloud.

But the Savior has claimed His purchase,
And around His radiant seat,
A mightier throng, in a joyful song,
The wond’rous story repeat;
And a form more fair is bending there,
Laying her crown at His feet.

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