The Old Man In the Model Church by John H. Yates

Well, wife, I've found the model church! I worshiped there to-day!
It made me think of good old times before my hair was gray;
The meetin'-house was fixed up more than they were years ago.
But then I felt, when I went in, it wasn't built for show.
 
The sexton didn't seat me away back by the door;
He knew that I was old and deaf, as well as old and poor;
He must have been a Christian, for he led me boldly through
The long aisle of that crowded church to find a pleasant pew.
 
I wish you'd heard that singin'; it had the old-time ring;
The preacher said, with trumpet voice: "Let all the people sing!"
The tune was "Coronation," and the music upward rolled,
Till I thought I heard the angels striking all their harps of gold.
 
My deafness seemed to melt away; my spirit caught the fire;
I joined my feeble, trembling voice with that melodious choir,
And sang as in my youthful days: "Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all."
 
I tell you, wife, it did me good to sing that hymn once more;
I felt like some wrecked mariner who gets a glimpse of shore;
I almost wanted to lay down this weatherbeaten form,
And anchor in that blessed port forever from the storm.
 
The preachin'? Well, I can't just tell all that the preacher said;
I know it wasn't written; I know it wasn't read;
He hadn't time to read it, for the lightnin' of his eye
Went flashin' long from pew to pew, nor passed a sinner by.
 
The sermon wasn't flowery; 'twas simple Gospel truth;
It fitted poor old men like me; it fitted hopeful youth;
'Twas full of consolation, for weary hearts that bleed;
'Twas full of invitations, to Christ and not to creed.
 
The preacher made sin hideous in Gentiles and in Jews;
He shot the golden sentences down in the finest pews;
And—though I can't see very well—I saw the falling tear
That told me hell was some ways off, and heaven very near.
 
How swift the golden moments fled within that holy place!
How brightly beamed the light of heaven from every happy face!
Again I longed for that sweet time when friend shall meet with friend—
"When congregations ne'er break up, and Sabbaths have no end."
 
I hope to meet that minister—that congregation, too—
In that dear home beyond the stars that shine from heaven's blue;
I doubt not I'll remember, beyond life's evenin' gray,
The happy hour of worship in that model church today.
 
Dear wife, the fight will soon be fought; the vict'ry soon be won;
The shinin' goal is just ahead; the race is nearly run;
O'er the river we are nearin', they are throngin' to the shore,
To shout our safe arrival where the weary weep no more.