Devotional Poems of James Waddel Alexander

As we have before noted, J.W. Alexander (1804-1859)'s Thoughts on Preaching: Being Contributions to Homiletics (1861, 1864) is not a volume confined just to the subject of homiletics. The whole of the book is made up of extracts from Alexander's private journal and correspondence, most of which share insights about aspects of preaching. The final section ("Miscellaneous Paragraphs") includes devotional meditations and poems that he wrote in his journal. All of these extracts were edited into one volume posthumously by his brother, Samuel Davies Alexander (1819-1894).

Four of Alexander's poems are found in the Miscellaneous Paragraphs, along with one prose paragraph on the nature of "true poetry," which, he says, should aim at religion for its highest theme.

Just one of his poems is here given, along with encouragement to the reader to seek out the other three as well ("Thy Word is Truth"; "The Scriptures"; and "Song in the Night"). 

On the Late Cloudy Weather

Clouds on clouds have long been here,
Overhanging all our sky;
Scarce a sunny hour did peer
Through the mantle spread on high.

Yet we know the sun is still
Reigning in his bridegroom power,
And the happy instant will
Pour his radiance through the shower.

Then the tinted promise-bow,
Spanning woods and meads, shall smile,
Then the cornfields brilliant glow,
If meek patience wait a while.

Nature is the type of grace --
Spirits have their cloudy time;
'Tis, alas! our present case,
While we wait the dawn sublime.

Yet in darkness we will hope,
He is coming who is Light,
Though we may disheartened grope
For a season -- as in night -- 

He is coming; lo! his beam
Gilds already yonder hill,
Streaks of opening clearness seem
The horizon's edge to fill.

Come, expected brightness, come,
We are panting for thy ray,
Let not hopeless grief benumb
Souls that do thy word obey.

Weeping may a night endure,
Yet the morning shall be joy;
Trust the promise -- it is sure,
Hopeful toil by thine employ.

He who loves me makes my day,
Clouds but minister his will;
Christ is waiting to display
Charms that every wish shall fill.