The King’s Highway
• 4 min. read • grade level: 2
(An incident in the life of Rowland Hill.)
Just listen for a moment, kind friends,
And a story I’ll unfold—
A marvelous tale of a wonderful sale
Of a noble lady of old;
How hand and heart in an auction mart
Her soul and her body she sold.
Twas in the king’s highway so broad,
A century ago,
That a preacher stood of noble blood,
Telling the poor and low
Of a Savior’s love and a home above
And a peace that all might know.
A crowded throng drew eagerly near,
And they wept at the wondrous love
That could wash away their vilest sins
And give them a home above;
When lo! through the crowd a lady proud
Her gilded chariot drove.
“Make room! make room! ” cried the haughty
“You obstruct the king’s highway;
My lady is late, and their majesties wait;
Give way there, good people, give way! “
But the preacher heard and his soul was stirred,
And he cried to the rider, “Nay.”
His eye like the lightning flashes out,
His voice like a trumpet rings;
“Your grand fete-days, your fashions and ways,
Are all but perishing things;
‘T is the king’s highway, but I hold it today
In the name of the King of kings.”
Then he cried, as he gazed on the lady fair,
And marked her soft eye fall,
“Now here in His name a sale I proclaim,
And bids for this fair lady call.
Who will purchase the whole-her body and soul,
Her coronet, jewels, and all?’
“Three earnest bidders already I see,
The world steps up as the first:
‘My treasures and pleasurers, my honors I give,
For which all my votaries thirst
She’ll be happy and gay through life’s bright day,
With a quiet grave at the worst.’
“Next out speaks the devil and boldly bids:
‘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’ll give thee the whole,
Their glory and wealth to he thine.’
“And what wilt Thou give, O sinners’ true Friend,
Thou Man of Sorrows unknown?
Then gently He said, ‘My blood have I 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 sufferings here,
My cup of sorrow to share;
Then with glory and love in My home above
Forever to dwell with Me there;
She shall walk in light in a robe of white,
And a radiant crown shall wear.’
” Thou hast heard the terms, my lady fair,
That each has offered for thee;
Which wilt thou choose and which wilt thou lose,
This life or the life to be?
The figure is mine, but the choice is thine.
Dear lady, which of the three?”
Nearer and nearer the preacher’s stand
The gilded chariot stole,
And each head was bowed as over the crowd
The gospel accents roll;
And every word which the lady heard
Burned in her very soul.
” Pardon, good people,” she kindly said,
As she rose from her cushioned seat;
As the crowd made way, you might almost say
You could hear her pulse’s beat:
And each, head was bare as the lady fair
Knelt down at the preacher’s feet.
She took from her hand the jewels rare,
The coronet from her brow,
” Lord Jesus,” she said as she bowed her head,
“The highest, bidder art Thou;
Thou hast died for my sake and I gratefully take
Thy offer—and take it now.
” I know the pleasures and treasures of earth
At the best but 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:
O Lord, I accept it with joy!
“I turn from the pride and ambitions of earth,
I welcome Thy cross now so dear;
My mission shall be to win souls for Thee
While life shall be spared to me here;
My hope ever found with Thee to be crowned
When Thou shalt in glory appear.”
“Amen!” said the preacher with reverent grace
And the people all wept aloud.
Years have rolled on, and all have gone
Who around that altar bowed;
Lady and throng have been swept along
On the wind like a morning cloud.
But soon, oh, how soon, the glory and gloom
Of the world shall pass away,
And Jesus shall come and take His own home
To be there with Himself alway;
Wilt thou, reader, be there, His bright glory to share,
Throughout eternity’s day?