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My Friend and My Foe

Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841-1923) is best known, and rightly so, for her hymn “Before the Throne of God Above”.* Mrs. Bancroft, widowed twice in her lifetime, wrote some exquisite poems all of which are available in Within the Vail published in 1867 in Omagh, Northern Ireland. At that time her initials were C.L.S. – Charitie Lees Smith. Sadly, obtaining her poems is nigh on impossible, even on the internet. Here is her offering entitled My Friend and My Foe.

I have a foe who seeks to do me ill,
Lurks in the deep recesses of my heart,
And strives with vanity my mind to fill;
Longing to tempt my soul from Christ apart,
…………………………………………Sin is that foe.

I have a friend more mighty than that foe,
Who lives and loves me better than His life;
A friend who leadeth me where’er I go;
Girds me with strength and arms me for the strife,
…………………………………………That friend is Christ.

I have a foe who triumphs in my shame,
Who darkens all my intercourse with God;
Who fain would draw my thoughts from His dear name,
And turn my heart from resting on the blood,
…………………………………………That foe is sin.

But I’ve a friend who keepeth guard within,
And soon shall reign triumphant in my breast;
Who soothes my sorrow, sorrows for my sin;
Gives strength when feeble, and when weary rest,
…………………………………………Christ is that friend.

He who is now my foe, I thought my friend;
Him once I served though hating me the while;
I was his willing slave, nor feared the end,
But kissed my chains, and loved his traitor smile,
…………………………………………Sin was my friend.

But one who loved me though I loved Him not,
Gave but a look and broke my heart of stone;
The shepherd found the wanderer He sought;
And now I follow Him and Him alone,
…………………………………………Jesus! my friend!

 


 

* The Advocate
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High Priest, whose Name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while with God He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Saviour and my God.