THE THREE BIDDERS

by Bill
(Forest Grove, Ore)

Will you listen, kind friends, for a moment,
While a story to you 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 sold.

'Twas on the broad "king's highway."
Near a century ago,
That a preacher stood, whose heart overflowed,
Telling the fallen and low
Of a saviour's love and a home above,
And a peace that they all might know.

All crowded 'round to listen;
And they wept at the wondrous love
That could wash their sin, and receive them in
His spotless mansion above;
While slow through the crowd, a lady proud,
In 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 there, good people, I pray."
The preacher heard, and his soul was stirred,
And he cried to the rider, "Nay!"

His eye like the lightening flashes;
His voice like a trumpet rings --
"Your grand fete-days
And your fashions and ways
Are all but perishing things.
'Tis the king's highway, but I hold it today
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 speaks 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'll give the 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 purchace her for Mine own.
To conquer the grave, and her soul to save,
I bore the judgement 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 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,
Fair lady! Which of the three?"

Nearer the stand of the preacher
The gilded chariot stole,
And each head was bowed, as over the crowd
The thundering accents roll;
And every word, as the lady heard,
Burned in her very soul.

"Pardon , good people," she whispered,
As she rose from her cushioned seat.
Full well, they say, as the crowd made way,
You could hear her pulses beat;
And each head was bare, as the lady fair
Knelt at the preacher's feet.

She took from her hands 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 its 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.

"Give me Thy cup of suffering,
Welcome earth's sorrow and loss,
Let my portion be to thank and praise Thee
For taking my place on the cross.
I Gladly lay down this coveted crown,
And count the World's glory but dross."

"Amen!" said the earnest 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 Saviour has claimed His purchase,
And around His radiant seat,
A mightier throng, in an endless song,
The wonderous story repeat.
And a form more fair is bending there,
Laying her crown at His feet.

******************************************************************
Dear Friend :
These bidders three, still bid for thee,
Their terms remain the same.
Which wilt thou choose, and which wilt thou lose,
This life or the life to be?
Author Unknown
******************************************************************

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