[Written for the Sentinel]

Naaman

Would God my lord were with the prophet inSamaria; he would recover himOf his foul leprosy. Thus sweetly spakeA little maid of Israel, captiveOf mighty Naaman, valiant captain ofThe host of Syria's king. Far from her homeAnd kindred; yet no hatred rankled, andNo fierce desire for vengeance burned withinHer breast. There was no thought of self, but onlyHer love for God and man; a love so pureIt pierced the trappings, glitter, pomp, and allVainglory, and beheld a friend in need.This prayer she uttered then: Would God my lordWere with the prophet. Straightway, then, with horses,With chariots, the leper journeyed onTo Israel. He took much silver andMuch gold, fine raiment, too. Full proudly thenHe stood before the prophet's house, and thusHe thought alone: Am I not mighty Naaman,The favorite of the king, and man of valor,Before whom all men tremble? Surely, then,This man will do obeisance unto meAnd be well pleased to do what I require;I will reward him well. The prophet sentA message unto him, proclaiming, GoAnd bathe thyself in Jordan seven times,When, lo, thou shalt be clean. But Naaman, fullOf wrath, spake haughtily: What, bathe in Jordan?Have we not better rivers in our landWhere I may bathe? Fierce indignation filledHim, and he gave the order for the marchHomeward. His servants tremblingly beganTo plead: O Master, had the prophet saidThat thou shouldst do some great and glorious deed,Wouldst thou not willingly have then obeyed?Wherefore canst thou not do the simple thingThat he requireth? Then these words brought light.He looked deep down within his heart. There heBeheld self-will and arrogance, tyrannyAnd pride of power and pomp, and many thingsUnworthy of a place within the heartOf man. A strange, new sense of meekness andHumility came over him, and heObeyed. Now stepping quickly to the river'sLow edge, he dipped full seven times. When, lo!His leprosy was gone—and he was clean!

February 2, 1929
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