Book IVGod himself was the instructor of the prophets; he himself taught them, partly by dreams and visions in the night, partly by revelations in the day, taking them aside from among their brethren, and talking with them, as a man would talk with his neighbor in the way. Thus they became acquainted even with the secret and hidden counsels of God. They saw things which themselves were not able to utter; they beheld that whereat men and angels are astonished; they understand in the beginning what should come to pass in the latter days. –HookerArgument
Varied forms of prophetic inspiration all derived from the same Divine Source, and modified for the edification of the Church. – Messiah’s sufferings and glory the great subjects of the word of prophecy. – David one of the most eminent of prophets. – His exquisite powers as a divine poet and musician. – These gifts communicated to man by his Creator to harmonize and elevate his mind. – Guilt incurred by their debasement to unholy purposes. – The Psalmist’s early occupations. – His victory over Goliath. – Envy. – Disciplined by adversity. – Exalted at length to the throne of Israel. – His circumstantial and varied predictions of Messiah and his kingdom. – Testimonies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel to the same Divine Person. – Judah’s captivity. – Daniel. – His patriotism and prophecies. – United testimonies of the minor prophets. – Universal establishment and triumph of the Gospel the general scope of the word of prophecy. – Its result a glorious and peaceful state of the Church. – Present indications of the approach of that blessed period. – Future glory reserved for the prophets, who, while on earth, understood but imperfectly the subjects of their own predictions.
The great object of the whole word of prophecy is the Messiah and his kingdom; and it divides itself into two branches, as it regards either the first coming of the Messiah, or the various fortunes of his doctrine and his Church until his second coming. — Horsley.
In varied streams benignant nature leads
Her fostering waters o’er rejoicing meads: —
In fleecy snows, in fertilizing rains,
The clouds of heaven drop fatness on the plains;
Soft dews in silence earth’s cold bosom steep;
From mountain heights hoarse-roaring torrents sweep;
In stately swell majestic billows rise,
And gathering vapour dims the humid skies.
One element, by Nature’s plastic power,
In ocean, river, torrent, dew, or shower,
In form dissimilar its influence sheds,
And life and beauty o’er creation spreads.
So God ordains, to bless his Church below,
His Spirit’s gifts in varied streams should flow:
In differing forms his energy conveys;
In each his wisdom, power, and grace displays;
In all unfolds the glories of his name;
Their source, their nature, and their end the same.
He gave the shepherd to his flock; his hand
Convey’d the rod of power; the minstrel band
Waked at his word the trumpet or the lyre:
He gave the herald’s voice, the poet’s fire;
Breathed sounds of peace, inspired the strain sublime,
Unveil’d the mystic course of future time,
Denounced stern Judgment in its dread career;
Bade Virtue smile, presumptuous Folly fear.
All flow’d from Him, his wisdom all inspired,
He form’d the instruments his hand required,
His Church in perfect symmetry to raise,
All fill his temple with his glory’s blaze.
Zion! what music fill’d thy hallow’d quire!
No feeble fingers swept thy sounding lyre;
Messiah’s name attuned each lofty string,
The world’s Redeemer, and his people’s King!
He in his glory, in his grief, appear’d
The Star that led them, and the Sun that cheer’d.
For Him the kindling inspiration glow’d,
And words of fire from lips terrestrial flow’d.
Him in his own supernal light they saw,
And track’d his suffering path with trembling awe;
Beheld Him conflict with the Powers beneath,
Victorious burst the iron grasp of death,
A Conqueror from the realm of Hades rise,
And pass triumphant through the cleaving skies.
They view’d his empyreal throne sublime,
High raised o’er every realm of earth and time;
And hail’d that morn commenced whose cloudless sun
An everlasting course through changeless years shall run.
Illustrious David! from thy gifted lyre
The minstrel’s music flow’d; the poet’s fire
Fill’d thy rapt bosom. It was thine to move
Sweet hope, sad fear, and ecstasy, and love;
To raise soft Pity; bid Devotion soar
To burning climes where seraphim adore;
In penitential grief, to Mercy’s shrine
To lead sad Guilt afraid of Wrath Divine;
Each tone of passion in the soul to raise,
As rustling breezes wake Aeolian lays,
Soft as sweet streams that glide through pastures fair,
Deep as hoarse thunders on the midnight air,
Solemn and sad, as Grief’s expiring groan,
Sublime as Judgment on his cloudy throne.
Sweet is the minstrel art; nor learn’d below;
‘Twas sent from heaven to soothe the breast of wo,
To calm stern Passion in his moods of strife,
Compose the throbbing pulse of fever’d Life,
To raise the soul by grovelling cares confined,
Present fair Truth and Virtue to the mind
Enwreathed with flowers by beauty cull’d, yet bright,
Pluck’d from perennial plants, in fields of light,
Celestial song no fabled Muses taught;
From burning lips it roll’d, in breathing thought;
When, bright yon heavens with earliest anthems rang,
And morning stars sublime hosannahs sang,
Hymning the Power Divine; that Power, whose voice
Bade beauteous Nature in his smile rejoice,
Call’d forth intelligence and life, to show
Himself reflected in his works below.
By Heaven bestow’d, the minstrel’s hallow’d lyre,
The poet’s song, should sacred themes inspire,
Express the harmonies of love, the glow
Of sympathy with excellence below,
With loftier excellence above, and raise
The kindling sparks of virtue to a blaze;
Fan that pure altar’s fires, on which his heart
Is laid a sacrifice.
Whoever thou art,
Unto whose hand the sacred lyre consign’d
For God’s own service, dost debase thy mind,
Pervert Heaven’s gift, and make, with impious skill,
Thy rod of power, a serpent, to distil
Rank venom from its tooth, — O learn, for thee
Awaits a dark, a fearful destiny;
Dark as yon sun eclipsed in tenfold night,
Though form’d to fill the universe with light;
Fearful as his who, once an angel bless’d,
Bore Truth’s bright signet on his beaming breast;
But quench’d the blaze, and down to depths below
Bore myriads, sad copartners in his wo;
Myriads, whose everlasting tortures tell,
In scars of fire, that not alone he fell;
Myriads, whose endless torment and despair
Shall ever heighten his. — Vain man, beware!
Prophets from angels caught the raptured hymn,
Admitted oft where harping seraphim
Swell the full burst of praise; where, loud and deep,
The choral hallelujah’s solemn sweep
No skill of unanointed hand can reach,
Or lips unpurged express in mortal speech,
Sweet Psalmist! thou, amidst those spirits bless’d,
Didst walk sublime; and oft thy hallow’d guest
The seraph Contemplation came, with thee
To hold discourse of heavenly harmony.
Oft, when thy vigorous youth was wont to climb
The mountain’s brow, whose beetling crags sublime
O’erhung the chafing torrent, as it fell,
Loud murmuring, to the rude and dusky dell;
Oft, when reclined beneath the sylvan shade,
By lofty cedars on that mountain made,
When fervid sunshine urged thy panting flocks
To seek the covert of o’erarching rocks;
Then sought thy meditative soul to rise,
In holy musings, to the distant skies.
Or, soft, at eve, when dewy vapours fell,
And Nature bound thee in Devotion’s spell;
When, slowly sailing down the western way,
Sunk the rich banners of descending day,
And night, with crescent diadem, and stole
Of studded sapphire, bade her chariot roll;
Then thy rapt spirit soar’d in praise and love,
And tuned the harp to Him who rules above;
‘Midst heaven’s magnificence around thee spread,
Smit with abasing awe, adoring dread,
Thy prostrate soul with holy ardour burn’d,
And solemn songs to heaven the sacred fire return’d.
On Judah’s hills the purple morning broke.
From short, sweet sleep, by clarion trumpet woke,
Up rose the hosts that press’d the tented field,
And braced the corslet on; from spear and shield
Fell back the beam that streak’d the orient sky,
Bright herald of the glorious day-spring nigh;
When David, from the fields of Bethlehem sent,
In Elah’s vale, beside the warrior’s tent,
Heard the loud battle cry; for marshall’d there
Stood princely Saul, and Israel’s armies fair;
And there, in close and terrible array,
Frown’d fierce Philistia on the rising day.
Philistia frown’d; but, as on deepest night
A fiery comet glares portentous light,
So sent that host a champion forth, whose form
Gleam’d dreadful as the demon of the storm.
In mailed strength he trod, and giant might;
The sunbeam sported on his armour bright;
His ebon plume the rustling breezes shook;
Fierce was his ire, and terrible his look.
Through all but David’s breast amazement thrill’d,
While, loud and stern, his impious accents fill’d
The startled ear with horror; in his pride,
Jehovah and his armies he defied.
Strong on the strippling youth the Spirit came;
He felt the boaster’s pride, the people’s shame;
“And who art thou, uncircumcised,” he said,
“That Israel’s cowering host should shrink dismay’d ?
Let mighty Saul his servant send; even now
Yon boasting Philistine’s proud head shall bow;
And he who from the lion rent his prey,
And slew the bear, shall fierce Goliah slay;
To ravening dogs his impious carcass throw,
That all may own Jehovah rules below.”
Each wondering host beheld him. To the fight,
Unarm’d, save only with Jehovah’s might,
Sudden he turn’d; and in his shepherd guise
Fronted the vaunting foe. Goliath’s eyes
Flash’d fierce disdain; and on his lip, the while,
Quiver’d a scoffing and contemptuous smile;
On his dark brow defiance scornful hung,
And vollied curses fill’d his muttering tongue.
He is invulnerable o’er whose head
The buckler of Omnipotence is spread;
And he who bears nor helm, nor shield, nor spear,
Girt by Jehovah, may disdain to fear.
So girt, so cover’d, toward his giant foe
The shepherd warrior rush’d; with deadly blow
The missile stone, well aim’d, unerring sprang;
Philistia’s champion fell; loud triumphs rang
Through Saul’s emancipated host, and Fame
Fill’d every breeze with the young warrior’s name.
Envy! cold, sullen, bloodless, cruel power!
What will not thy fell, rankling tooth devour ?
Envenom’d snake! whose blasting, baleful eye
Gloats on fair virtue, while her piteous cry
Stirs no compassion in thy heartless breast,
Where only spawn of hissing vipers rest.
Whate’er of pure, or lovely, checks thy path;
Whate’er of wisdom, goodness, valour, faith;
Whate’er of firm or gentle mood, that soars
Above the dust, where trail thy prostrate powers;—
All, by thy darting sting, or glistering eye,
Or slain, or agonized, around thee lie,
While thou, fell reptile! reeking, gorged with gore,
Insatiate, hungerest still; still ravening, cravest more.
On Jesse’s valiant son, in evil hour,
This hateful fiend enforced its torturing power;
Beside his path in guileful ambush lay,
Or sprung malignant on its struggling prey;
Around his form its snaky volume wreathed,
And poison from the’ infernal serpent breathed.
Yet crush ‘d beneath superior strength it fell;
Shrunk from its sinuous coil, and sought the shades of hell.
It was the trial of his faith, the fight
That proved his soul’s affiance in the might
Of the Omnipotent: the suffering school
Of discipline, for one ordain’d to rule;
That, tutor’d first himself, and taught to yield,
His hand might bear the sword, the sceptre wield,
In meek subjection to that Rule benign,
Where pity tempers wrath, and grace and justice shine.
O’er Israel’s gather’d tribes, in regal might,
The prophet-king diffused celestial light;
Received the holy afflux from on high;
And tuned his harp to hail Messiah nigh.
He heard the needy bless his gentle reign;
Welcome as showers that flood the parched plain:
Justice and Judgment by his side appear’d;
The meek were glad; the proud oppressor fear’d;
For not in vain the humble pour’d his prayer;
Nor fraud, nor guile, nor violence, was there;
Light cheer’d the captive in his lonely cell;
From orphan babes no tears unheeded fell;
Nor unredress’d the friendless widow’s wrong;
Nor o’er the helpless poor prevail’d the strong;
Peace o’er the mountains heavenly blessings shed;
And Plenty, where the vine and fig tree spread,
Reclin’d secure, nor fear’d the spoiler nigh,
Nor rush of summer storm in that transparent sky.
The prophet saw; and, lo, Messiah’s reign,
O’er the dark billows of the heaving main,
Pass’d to earth’s utmost verge. His throne, sublime,
Waned not, nor sunk eclipsed in shades of time;
Proud rivers from the east his tribute brought;
And island kings with costliest treasures sought;
Pour’d from the dusky south, dark Morian bands
With Egypt’s princes raised their suppliant hands;
And Ishmael’s sons with gold and incense came: —
All, every nation, bless’d Messiah’s name.
The royal bard attuned the song,
Swept his sweet lyre in transport strong,
And lifted high, in sacred lays,
The fervent voice of heavenly praise,
To Him, supreme in might,
In wisdom infinite,
Whose puissant hand performs,
By Mercy’s suasive power, by Judgment’s storms,
The counsels of his wondrous will;
To Israel’s God, whose majesty
The ransom’d universe shall fill;
To earth’s, to heaven’s, eternal Lord
Again he struck the sounding chord;
The loud “Amen,” in chorus high,
Reverberant, floated through the distant sky,
And angel harps prolong’d the joyous minstrelsy.
Angels join’d thee, royal seer!
Angels meet with thee to sing!
Soft as theirs, and sweet, and clear,
Rich and deep, thy numbers ring.
In soothing flow
Thy notes of wo
Breathe on the tender, trembling string;
The mourner’s sighs
His falling tears bedew the harp of Israel’s king.
Royal bard! thy lofty lyre
Melody divine affords;
Streams of empyreal fire
Waken thy celestial chords;
The living ray
Of fontal day
Its kindling touch to thee imparts;
The impulse sweet
Thy fervours meet;
And music wakes her powers, and bends the sternest hearts.
Heaven, with all its glistering fires,
Earth, replete with thousand charms, —
All the gazing eye admires,
All the fervid breast that warms;
The tempest’s power,
The vernal flower,
Yields strength or beauty to thy lays;
While verdant woods,
And rolling floods,
In concert rude rejoice with thy sweet songs of praise.
Providence, through all its chain
Of mystery, unexplored below,
Wakens oft thy holy strain;
Bids thy numbers, reverent, flow.
Thy gifted eye
Beholds, on high,
Jehovah on his throne, sublime,
With wisest care
The changeful scenes of earth, the course of circling time.
Awful Judgment claims thy song;
Majesty in might array’d;
Tempest fires, and thunders strong;
Earth convulsed, and heaven dismay’d.
Thy listening ear
Exults to hear
Jehovah’s call through nature sound;
In loftiest notes
Thy music floats,
While, glad, his covenant saints his glorious throne surround.
Terror clothes thy mystic strain,
While the wicked feel his ire,
Writhe in agonizing pain,
Stricken by his bolts of fire.
With rushing sweep,
Athwart the deep,
Thou hear’st them plunge in gulfs below;
And stern and strong,
Thy warning song
Bids heedless footsteps fly from that dread verge of wo.
On the height of Zion’s hill,
Lo, the filial Deity,
Answering to the Father’s will,
Stands in grace reveal’d to thee.
The hallow’d shrine,
By love Divine
Prepared to shroud the Godhead’s rays,
In mystic light
Attracts thy sight,
And tunes thy trembling strings to humble prayer and praise.
Hush! in tenser, deeper tones
Rouse the chasten’d soul to awe;
Vibrate, while Messiah groans,
Victim of the fiery law!
By traitorous hands,
To ruffian bands
Exposed, a spectacle of scorn;
Reproach and shame
Surround his name,
And mark the Man of Wo, for griefs and sorrows born.
Deeper still, upon the gale,
The minstrel’s music floats;
Listen! ’tis Messiah’s wail!
‘Tis suffering’s saddest notes!
To God his cry
Forth from the lion’s mouth ascends:
The mountains shake,
The rough rocks quake,
And o’er the startled heavens an ebon veil impends.
Lo, his lyre he strikes again,
O’er the strings sublimely sweeps,
Wakes a bolder, loftier strain,
Rises from the surging deeps!
The broken tomb,
The darkling gloom
Of sorrow’s midnight pass’d away,
The cleaving skies,
With angel choirs he sings, in tones divine as they.
Hark! the glad triumphal song,
Floating, fills the ether bright!
Seraphs bear their charge along,
Myriad angels hail the sight!
Ye heavenly gates,
His chariot waits;
Ye everlasting doors, recede:
Their conquering King
Let angels sing,
And David’s harp divine, the glorious concert lead.
Lo, within the sacred shrine
Unwonted light appears!
His lofty throne Jehovah rears,
And, manifest in majesty Divine,
Accepts the fervent hymn
Of veiled seraphim.
Beneath incumbent glory bow’d,
The temple’s portals quake.
In curling volume rolls the cloud,
That tempers light,
For earth too bright,
While angel hosts their forms, adoring shroud,
And loftiest songs of hallow’d praise awake.
Beneath the dazzling eye
Of heaven’s dread Majesty
Isaiah trembling stands.
Ah! too intense those radiant beams,
Too pure for mortal eye the light that streams
From glory uncreate.
Deep from his burthen’d breast
Escapes the plaint of wo;
And from his quivering lips sad sounds of sorrow flow,
But hush! Jehovah comes to consecrate
The herald of his high commands.
Seraphs at the altar bright,
Glad, perform the fervid rite;
Purged from sin with hallow’d fire.
Gifted with a prophet’s lyre,
Loud he strikes the lofty strings,
And in celestial strains Messiah’s glory sings.
Lo, his voice, sublimely sweet,
Swells harmonious on the gale!
Mountain echoes rush to meet,
Bear it through the breezy vale.
Zion! hear the joyful sound,
Lift to heaven thy raptured eyes!
See thy glittering turrets crown’d,
With radiance from the skies.
Hark! the herald’s trump declares,
Emmanuel in his glory nigh,
‘Midst the wilds his way prepares,
Shouts the approaching majesty,
Glad, proclaims the promised Son,
Royal Heir of David’s line,
Hails Messiah’s reign begun;
The Jubilee divine:
Sings the great mysterious Name,
Who, in fleshly shrine conceal’d,
From paternal glory came,
And God to man reveal’ d;
Father of an age of grace,
Wondrous in his counsels known,
Ruling mild the rescued race,
On mercy’s peaceful throne.
Who regards the herald’s voice?
Who the glad report receives?
Vocal wilds in vain rejoice,
Haughty Zion misbelieves,
Lo, the stem of Jesse’s root
Rises from a barren ground!
Pale, its tender blossoms shoot,
Sheds, uncheer’d, its fragrance round.
Judah spurns a plant so low,
Cherish’d, not by regal might;
Impious from the Man of wo,
Proud, averts her scornful sight!
Unadorn’d with beauty’s grace,
Grace reveal’d to mortal eyes,
Sorrow marks his furrow’d face,
His bosom heaves with sighs!
Yet for us he pours the groan;
Yet for us the scourge he bears.
Sinner, weep! for thee alone
Streams his blood, descend his tears!
By thy chastisement oppress’d,
Crush’d beneath thy weight of wrath!
Wanderer, seek in him thy rest,
His dying conquers death!
Yet, though bruised beneath our grief,
Stricken by Jehovah’s ire,
Hell and Death, your reign is brief,
To your cavern’d haunts retire!
Lo, his soul, an offering made,
Heaves from man the deadly curse!
Sing, ye heavens! thou earth, be glad?
Shout, ransom’d universe!
With the wicked join’d in death,
With the rich in burial found,
Hades holds him not beneath.
Soon with gather’d trophies crown’d,
Bursts the Conqueror from his tomb,
Issues forth in spoils elate,
Mounts, majestic, to assume
His everlasting state:
In the meed by suffering bought,
Triumphs with Divine delight,
Sees the work his love has wrought,
Pleasing in his Father’s sight.
Sees his seed as orient dew
Sparkling on the thirsty earth;
Sprinkled nations rise to view,
A race of heavenly birth:
O’er his Church extends his sway,
Guides it through the toils of time,
Mercy’s mediatorial day
Views in lengthen’d light sublime.
Lengthen’d till his prosperous reign
Perfect all his love’s intent,
Nor rebel power on earth remain
To thwart his government.
Till creation’s curse remove,
Concord, reunite the whole!
Gentle Peace, and holy Love,
Nature’s sever’d tribes control!
Till, beneath his docile sway,
Lion rage and serpent guile
Mild as infant meekness play,
Changed by his reviving smile.
Till, as floods that roll sublime
Boundless o’er the unmeasured deep,
Righteousness from clime to clime
Its tide of blessing sweep;
Gather’d by the’ uplifted sign,
Broad on every height unfurl’d,
Till his glorious power Divine
Renew a ransom’d world.
But who beneath the palm tree’s withering shade,
On the parch’d ground, in mournful musings laid,
Draws from his deep-toned lyre sad plaints of wo,
Whose downcast eyes with gushing tears o’erflow?
As moaning winds presage the tempest nigh,
While dark, dense clouds o’erhang the threatening sky,
So, on the troubled air his wailing strain
Portentous falls, yet falls, alas! in vain:
Unheeded by that dull, that treacherous ear,
It fain would wake Jehovah’s voice to hear.
Inconstant Judah spurns the prophet’s lay,
Unmoved beholds the tempest urge its way,
Till wrath the o’ercharged cloud vindictive rends,
And vengeance in the bursting storm descends.
Yet, stem Affliction’s child, sad Jeremy.
Amid his griefs, the day of glory saw:
His years of pain, his hours of agony,
The promise cheer’d; he mark’d the cloud withdraw,
As veiling mists from morn: with mingled awe
And yearning pangs his patriot spirit view’d
The sword of justice, for affronted law,
Lay Zion waste, by barbarous foes subdued,
While he, a lonely wreck, wept o’er that solitude.
Yet, though with deep, continuous, silent flow,
His tears o’er Judah’s desolations fell;
Though, o’er the queen of nations, captive, low.
His lorn harp, wailing, rung its piteous knell;
To him ’twas given with kindling joy to tell
Of ages bright with glory and renown,
When Zion’s sons again shall safely dwell
In Salem’s home of peace; and Heaven look down
Propitious on their vows, and light their altars crown.
Though round those towers where princes walk’d in state,
The whistling night-wind pour’d its piteous moan;
Though o’er her mountains, drear and desolate,
The fox, wild, wander’d; though in haunts o’ergrown
With dank, damp weeds, beneath the mouldering stone,
Slept the fell scorpion by the serpent’s side;
To him ’twas given, on David’s regal throne,
To hail that Prince whose glory’s flowing tide
Should bear from Israel’s land its blessings far and wide.
To him ‘twas given, through time’s dim vista led,
To mark the regal stem of Jesse rise,
Strike its deep roots, its waving branches spread,
With fruit the earth, with fragrance fill the skies,
‘Twas his to trace in vision’d mysteries
Messiah whom the ransom’d earth shall bless,
Whom, with adoring hearts, and wondering eyes,
All nations, saved, shall joyously confess,
Jehovah’s RIGHTEOUS BRANCH, THE LORD OUR RIGTHEOUSNESS.
Borne by ruthless foes away
Far beyond Euphrates’ flood,
Where the pining captives stray,
Banish’d from the house of God,
Who is this that paces slow,
Full of zeal and full of wo?
Priestly son of Buzzi, hear,
Turn, Ezekiel, turn thine eye!
Lo, the glorious God is near,
Meets thee in his majesty!
Listen! bow with prostrate awe:
Fiery steeds his chariot draw!
Seraphs flash in flames along,
Cherubim his way prepare.
Hark! their rustling pinions strong
Thunder on the troubled air!
Loud as ocean’s stormy roar
Breaking on the cavern’d shore.
From a cloud by whirlwinds driven,
Dark, surcharged from borean skies,
Brightness as of amber heaven,
Fiery forms resplendent rise,
Broad their burnish’d wings display,
Speed as lightnings on their way.
Bursting on the dazzled sight,
Rings of glory onward roll,
Living wheels, omniscient, bright,
Searching to the inmost soul:
Dreadful, dreadful, see, they rise,
Touch the earth, and meet the skies!
Wide the firmament expands,
Pure, transparent, terrible!
Higher, higher, higher stands,
Higher than archangels dwell,
In empyreal heights, alone.
All unveil’d the sapphire throne.
Lo, the crystal pavement glows,
Kindled to a sea of gold!
Him from whom that glory flows,
Angels tremble to behold;
Yet a human form He bears,
Adam’s rescued nature shares.
With the sapphire’s brilliant blue,
Brightest amber beaming blends,
Takes the rainbow’s tranquil hue,
Round the throne, transparent, bends
Flames of splendour mount above,
Flames of spendour downward move.
‘Tis the glory of the Lord,
Temper’d by the covenant sign.
Mournful captive! hear the word
Issuing from the eternal shrine!
Take the scroll, though words of wo
Cause thy bitterest tears to flow.
Mortal! dost thou faint with dread?
Trembling, from that eye retire?
He shall raise thee from the dead,
New and hallow’d life inspire.
Feel the Spirit’s quickening might,
Stand and view the glorious sight.
Herald, hark! he bids thee go,
Speaks Jehovah from on high!
“Prophet! let thy people know
Heaven’s offended majesty,
Swift, the sword of vengeance draws,
Stern, requites insulted laws.
“Yet my ministers of wrath
Wait till thou the way prepare;
Mercy stays the march of Death,
Bids the slaughtering weapon spare,
Till thy warning trumpet cry,
Victim, turn! the foe is nigh!
“Firm as adamant thy brow,
Stern, against the rebels bear;
Vigilant, as dauntless, thou,
Undismay’d, my word declare.
Watchman! on the rampart stand;
Sound the blast at my command.
“Say, Return, return and live!
Sinners, yet avert your doom!
Mercy lingers to forgive,
Ere the threatening sword consume.
Bright expands yon beauteous sign,
Tokening clemency Divine.”
Sudden swells the solemn hymn,
Voices on the silence break;
Rustling winds of seraphim,
Rolling wheels as thunders shake,
Sounds as rushing waters rise,
Loud as raptures of the skies.
Bright o’er Chebar’s ruffled stream
Glanced Jehovah’s car of fire,
Sparkling lights reflected gleam
Heavenward as its steeds retire.
Sink, sublime, in distant skies,
Seraphs’ stately symphonies.
By the Spirit borne on high,
Brought to Salem’s trembling towers,
Prophet, pour the piteous cry.
Lo, the insatiate sword devours!
Lo, the fire of wrath Divine
Kindles Heaven’s deserted shrine!
From the infant’s moaning cries,
From the mother’s anguish, wild,
O, avert thy weeping eyes!
Judah sinks in dust defiled,
Jacob’s star in darkness sets,
God his chosen race forgets.
Yet amid this dreary night,
Lo, a fairer vision waits!
Zion’s temple rises bright,
Wide expands its spacious gates,
To his consecrated shrine
Mild returns the Guest Divine.
On the altar’s hallow’d pile
Fires, by heaven enkindled, glow;
Gushing springs of life, the while,
From the sanctuary flow;
Higher rise, and broader sweep,
Pour their fulness to the deep.
Ocean, through its vast expanse,
Feels the vital influence spread;
Where the swelling floods advance,
Life and health their waters shed;
All within those depths that move
Glad their quickening virtue prove.
Planted by Jehovah’s hand,
Fringing that immortal flood,
Trees their beauteous boughs expand.
Such in Eden, erst there stood,
Guarded by the seraph’s sword,
Now, for health, for life, restored.
Now restored to all mankind,
Stranger tribes with Israel come,
Claim the lot by Heaven assign’d,
Seek in Canaan’s bounds their home;
Seek the covenant blessing there,
Seek in Abraham’s grace to share.
Strangers come; those courts Divine
Open for all nations stand;
Offerings at Jehovah’s shrine,
Borne from every Gentile land,
Fragrant, as from Israel rise,
Grateful, to the opening skies.
Prophet! though thy favour’d eyes
Gaze on scenes of distant years,
Dim in vision’d mysteries
Though Messiah’s march appears,
Yet his course is onward still,
Grace and nature work his will.
Borean tempests hurtling loud,
Lightnings in their fiery flight,
Cherub hosts, or spirits proud,
Mortal or immortal might,
Urge the wheels at his command,
Curb’d, confess his strong right hand.
Earth, convulsed, in pangs shall reel,
Heaven before his presence flee,
Death the grasp of Vengeance feel,
Hell its Judge in terror see;
Steadfast shall his truth remain,
Changeless his eternal reign.
Daughter of Zion, weep! Thy sun is set;
Thy palmy groves their tuneful songs forget;
No more the minstrel’s harp its music pours
By soft Siloah’s stream, or Jordan’s shores;
Impending darkness shrouds Moriah’s hill;
All, even the wailing voice of Grief, is still;
Dim, smouldering fire ‘midst reeking embers dies;
Even glutted Slaughter from the ruin flies;
Nor planet cheers the earth, nor star illumes the skies.
Thou art chastised, but not rejected; left
To feel thy infamy, yet not bereft
Of His all-pitying tenderness who hears
The sigh of sorrow, and regards the tears
Shed by the desolate, when struggling Grief
Looks round in vain, in search of earth’s relief.
He saw thy limbs with galling fetters bound
A captive on Chaldea’s ruthless ground.
He saw thy sons o’er proud Euphrates bend;
Saw their full sorrows to the stream descend,
While on the willows’ pendant branches hung
Those harps to which their earliest hymns were sung;
When joyous hearts attuned in happier days
Exulting anthems to Jehovah’s praise.
He saw, and heard, when, proud in impious mirth,
The taunting heathen, while their tears to earth
Distill’d as evening dews, sweet songs required;
Such songs as Zion’s festal scenes inspired.
Ah! can such music flow in stranger lands?
Ah! can such strings be touch’d by captive hands?
There is a fire, a quenchless fire, that glows
Even where the flood with whelming torrent flows;
There is a fire, whose mild and lambent flame
Remains’ midst rocking elements the same.
The waters drown it not, nor boisterous wind
Extinguishes: its altar is the mind,
The heart, where Love’s celestial ardour burns,
And toward its source in seraph zeal returns.
By Heaven enkindled, thitherward aspire
Its holy radiance, and its quickening fire;
Yet spreads benign its cheering warmth around,
Pervades the sterile, thaws the frozen, ground;
With brightening splendour gilds the deepest gloom;
Surmounts a frowning world, and triumphs o’er the tomb.
Beloved Daniel! in thy patriot breast
Such was tire pure, the quenchless flame that glow’d;
Thy yearning heart with grief was press’d,
Thine eyes with bitter tears o’erflowed,
Thy waking hours, thy midnight rest,
The vision of sad Salem’s wrongs possess’d.
Anointed prophet! o’er thy sacred page
The wondering eye, the heart admiring strays;
Captive and courtier, saint and sage,
‘Twas thine in youth, ’twas thine in age,
To teach the world Jehovah’s ways,
And form barbarian lips to sounds of praise.
On thee Heaven deign’d its choicest gift to shower,
Wisdom, which triumph’d o’er the arts of hell.
When in a fierce and frenzied hour,
The victims of tyrannic power,
Chaldea’s dark magicians fell,
‘Twas thine to sooth the storm, the mystic dream to tell.
Champion of Truth! before thy awful speech
Even proud blaspheming Folly stood dismay’d;
Thy firm, yet mild, reproof could reach
The sternest hearts, and wisdom teach
To those whose terrors prostrate laid
The subjugated earth beneath their baleful shade.
Exalted or depress’d, ’twas thine to bear
Thy equal mind above the thrones of kings,
In captive Zion’s grief to share,
To pour thy soul in pleading prayer,
To rise on rapt Devotion’s wings,
And learn, from angel guides unseen, unearthly things.
Angels, associates not for thee unmeet,
Became thy kind companions in distress,
When Envy, to entrap thy feet,
By fraudful rancour and deceit,
Arm’d tyrant Power against thy holiness,
And from the lion’s den bade thee thy faith confess.
Before thine eyes in mystic vision pass’d
The rising, falling kingdoms of this world;
To earth the thrones of princes cast,
The floods of judgment rolling fast,
Heaven’s starry lights to darkness hurl’d,
And in the sacred shrine the eagle’s wings unfurl’d.
These were terrestrial scenes, though dark and dread,
And curtain’d by the mists of distant years;
But thou, beloved seer, wast led
To mingle with the assembled dead,
To mark their rapturous hopes, their torturing fears,
While Judgment rear’d its throne above dissolving spheres.
Thou saw’st the Judge that awful throne assume,
The myriad throng that in his presence knelt,
The open books of fearful doom,
The iery flood, the deepening gloom;
And strange the pang thy spirit felt,
When Judgment’s gleaming sword on Guilt his vengeance dealt.
‘Twas on Messiah’s foes that vengeance fell:
They perish’d from His eye of kindling flame,
Who once with mortal weakness deign’d to dwell,
And suffering man became.
‘Twas thine, O greatly loved, to tell
Why mercy stoop’d so low:
To thee archangels deign’d to show
The mystery of grace, of love ineffable.
Thy yearning heart in prayer to Heaven appeal’d,
Upon thy sight dim signs in substance fade;
Vision and prophecy is seal’d,
Eternal righteousness reveal’d,
Atonement tor transgression made,
And God’s stupendous grace to all mankind display’d.
Thou saw’st Messiah’s destined days of wo,
And on thy view his glories radiant rose.
To him the world’s dominions flow,
All power is his above, below;
His saints his dazzling train compose,
Nor change his everlasting empire knows.
Rest, favour’d seer, among the righteous dead;
Rest, till Time’s sliding sands their course have run:
Then shall thine orb its influence shed,
Resplendent as yon glorious sun.
Rest on the quiet lap of earth,
Till, summon’d to a second birth,
The trump of God shall break thy mortal sleep,
And thou rejoicing stand,
Effulgent, in thy lot at his right hand,
And there, with all the wise, an endless Sabbath keep.
Who can count the stars of night,
Sparkling in the wilds of space?
Every ray of dazzling light
Upward to its fountain trace?
‘Midst a galaxy of beams,
Sum or separate the streams?
O’er the spangled heavens the eye
Wanders with intensest gaze;
Quick the ethereal deeps supply
Gems that gild, and fires that blaze;
Eager still, it still explores,
Orb On orb its splendour pours.
So, from wisdom’s sacred sphere,
Bursts a flood of glorious light,
Cluster’d gems of truth appear,
Brighten on the searching sight.
Who can count the suns that blaze,
Separate the blended rays?
All from one Eternal Source,
Kindled into quickening flame
Upward in reflective course,
Seek the Day-Spring whence they came,
Mingle in effulgence bright,
Form Messiah’s crown of light.
Substance of the mystic sign,
Subject of prophetic song,
Flows from him the light Divine,
Light that leads his Church along,
Guides her through the desert’s gloom,
Bursts on brighter scenes to come.
Faith! ’tis thine, with steadfast eye,
Fix’d on truth’s resplendent sphere,
Led by guiding prophecy,
Glad to view salvation near,
Glad to hail Messiah’s day,
Bless his universal sway.
Searching, with the seers of old,
With the seraphim on high,
All the Spirit’s voice foretold,
All redemption’s mystery;
Thine it is to mark the sign,
Prelude of the light Divine.
All redemption’s travail wrought,
Each mysterious type fulfill’d,
All the law, the prophets taught,
All paternal Justice will’d;
Faith! ’tis thine to wait the end,
Calm, Messiah’s march attend.
Now, even now in matchless might,
Arm’d against his impious foes,
Onward to the fearful fight
Forth the glorious Conqueror goes:
Truth surrounds his cinctured reins,
Righteousness his sword sustains.
Ye, the poor, in him who trust,
Ye, the meek, who bless his sway,
Ye shall own his judgment just,
Shielded in that dreadful day;
Shielded when his burning breath
Smites his foes with blasts of death.
Judgment, sheathe the glistering blade?
Lo, the Conqueror mounts his throne.
Every foe is captive laid;
Gentlest Mercy rules alone.
Hush! the sounds of battle cease!
All is love, and light, and peace!
From the spoiler’s bands released,
Rests his Church beneath his care;
Nature’s enmity hath ceased,
All is bright, and bland, and fair;
By the gentle infant’s side
Walks the lion in his pride.
‘Tis the reign of guileless love;
‘Tis the reign of glorious peace;
Earth below, as heaven above,
Hails Messiah’s glad increase.
Broad and deep his blessings spread,
As rolling waves o’er ocean’s bed.
Yes; the living waters flow,
Spread refreshment o’er the world.
Hail, Messiah! every foe,
From usurp’d dominion hurl’d,
At thy footstool bends the knee,
Earth and heaven bow down to thee!
Hail! beneath thy glorious rest
Weary Gentiles find repose.
Hail! around thy banner blest,
Israel’s wandering outcasts close.
Ruling on thy priestly throne,
All their One Deliverer own.
Haste the hour, the hour foretold,
All thy oracles fulfil!
Let the earth thy reign behold.
Bend the nations to thy will;
Mercy let the aliens prove,
Touch the sceptre of thy love.
Thou, who didst to prophets speak,
Teach our fathers things unknown,
Who, the lost to save and seek,
Stooping from thy glorious throne,
Didst in mortal weakness shrine,
Life, and light, and love Divine:—
Thou, whose fiat form’d the world,
Non-existence call’d to life,
Broad and bright yon heavens unfurl’d,
Harmonized chaotic strife,
Clothed with grace the beauteous earth,
Gave immortal natures birth: —
Thou, before whose puissant word
Heaven shall melt, and earth decay;—
Thou, Creator, Saviour, Lord,
Ruling with resistless sway,
Shalt thy steadfast truth maintain,
Nor make thy slightest promise vain!
Fix’d as thy eternal might,
O Jehovah, rests thy throne!
Changeless, boundless, infinite,
Founded on thyself alone.
Thy truth is as thy nature sure;
Thy word shall as thyself endure.
Rest, hallow’d choir! ere long that dawn shall rise
Which prescient Wisdom to your favour’d eyes
In mystic vision show’d: with brightening blaze
Even now the’ eternal Sun expands his rays;
Evolving leaves the fig tree’s branches bear,
And radiant summer’s swift approach declare;
When soft and bright the’ empurpled fruit shall glow,
And Nature’s gifts their rich perfection show.
Heaven gives the presage, earth unfolds the sign,
Faith antedates the’ accomplish’d word Divine,
When, dazzling, in effulgent grace reveal’d,
Messiah, with his sainted elders seal’d.
Shall, glorious, in that purer Salem reign,
And prophet-bards renew their hallow’d strain,
Awake the symphonies of heaven, and raise
Angelic harps to loftier tones of praise;
His triumph share, who warr’d like him below,
Precursors in his sad career of wo;
His ministers of grace to future years;
Stars, radiant, to illumine distant spheres;
Themselves involved in death’s nocturnal shade,
Ere yet the sun his glorious beams display’d:
Eclipsed awhile, yet Faith’s unearthly light
Disclosed that Day-Spring to their searching sights.
In earnest hope, as those who wait the morn,
To chase the sadness of a night forlorn,
So turn’d, expectant, toward that brightening ray
The prophets’ eyes, and hail’d approaching day,
When Zion’s watchmen eye to eye shall see;
When veiling sign and vision’d mystery
No more shall shroud the uncreated Light;
But heaven’s own splendour to their wondering sight
Reveal his glory, dimly seen of old,
And show that purpose wrought, their mystic themes foretold.
Book VTable of Contents