Book VIII

Book VIII
 
With regard to the destruction of the Jewish nation, and the counsequent downfall of their religious institutions, which they all along opposed to Christianity, it may be observed, that no events whatever could have contributed so effectually to the conversion of both Jews and Gentiles. For it is a known fact, that while the Jewish constitution subsisted, the spreading of the Gospel was hindered, both by the believing and unbelieving Jews; the former disgusting the Gentiles, by endeavouring to subject them to the law of Moses; and the latter terrifying them, by the persecutions which they raised against the disciples, even in heathen countries. But the abolition of the Mosaical institutions confuted the error of the one, and the destruction of the nation broke the power of the other.                                                                             –Benson
 
Argument
 
Portents of the fall of Jerusalem. — Awful nature of an appeal to heaven. — The obstinate rejection of Messiah by the Jews avenged, and their fearful imprecation fulfilled, in the destruction of their city and temple, and in their own unparalleled sufferings. — God’s especial care over his people, and his providential interpositions for their deliverance in seasons of general calamity and judgment. — The dissolution of the Jewish polity, and consequent abolition of the Mosaic ritual, a dispensation of mercy, as well as of justice; removing entirely the typical and representative system, and thus making room for the reality which it prefigured.
The glory, fall, and restoration of Jerusalem : An ode. — Part I. Righteousness and Peace its early designation under the reign of Melchisedeck. — The abode of the patriarchs. — Visited by angels, especially the Angel of the Covenant, the Leader and King of Israel. — Its regal glory. — Solomon’s temple. — The prophets. — The law. — God manifest in the flesh. — Its fall, under the stroke of Divine wrath. — Part II. Prophetic annunciations of the renewed glory and prosperity of Jerusalem, on the repentance of Israel, and their embracing Christ as the
Messiah.
 
A day of wrath and recompense. –Horne
 
 
 
Vapours load the murky air,
    Darkness sails on sullen wing,
Lightnings gleam, and comets glare,
    Moaning sounds hoarse night winds bring!
Vultures swoop, and ravens scream,
While o’er the sky
Tempestuous fly
Swift steeds of fire,
And warriors dire,
Whose clashing swords ensanguined gleam.
 
Stern the clangous trumpet’s sound
    Comes, in fitful echoes borne,
Earthquakes cleave the solid ground,
    Cities from their bases torn
Augur Ruin’s march of Death;
While close behind,
On tainted wind,
Twin demons sail, —
Gaunt Famine pale,
And Pestilence with poison’d breath.
 
Hark! at midnight’s solemn hour,
    Hoarse those ponderous hinges grate!
Yielding to Unearthly power,
    Lebanon* unfolds its gate!
Cedars, on its lofty brow,
As aspens shake,
Tall fir-trees quake,
And howl for fear
Of judgment near,
While low the oaks of Bashan bow.
 
Priests, who on the altar wait,
    Tend by night the sacred fire,
Hear ye not the voice of Fate,
    While the viewless guests retire?
Whence that sound of rustling wings?
That silent tread,
Those accents dread,
That wound the ear
With boding fear,
Portentous of unutter’d things?
 
Worshippers, whose wakeful prayer
    Swift prevents the morning ray,
While your offer’d gifts ye bear,
    While your plighted vows ye pay,
See ye not that dazzling light,
Which spreads and streams
In dismal gleams,
And dims the fire,
Whose flames aspire,
From sacrificial altars bright?
 
‘Tis Jehovah’s wrath that burns!
    Judgment bears the sulphurous brand!
Lo, his face in anger turns
    From devoted Zion’s land!
Vengeance draws his glittering blade,
And, furbish’d bright,
Its lurid light
Portentous falls
On Salem’s walls,
On Judah’s leaguer’d towers dismay’d.
 
Whence proceeds that doleful cry,
    Burthen’d with the wail of wo?
Hark! the voice of Destiny
    Moans a nation’s overthrow!
Hush! with melancholy sweep,
O’er tower and fane
That boding strain
Re-echoing falls,
And plaintive calls
A reprobated land to weep!
 
Whence these fearful sights and signs,
    Heaven perturb’d, and earth dismay’d?
What in Judgment’s mystic lines
    Stands on Zion’s walls portray’d?
What? ’tis Zion’s hour of doom!
Her cup o’erflows!
The curse she chose
Assails her towers,
Her hosts o’erpowers,
And famine, fire, and sword, consume!
 
Yes! that curse in heaven was heard!
    Vengeance placed its record there;
Justice weigh’d the dreadful word
    Murmur’d in the murderer’s prayer!
Now the dire response descends,
For Calvary!
Yon lurid sky
Portentous glows;
To Zion’s foes,
Stern his sword Jehovah lends,
And o’er her guilty head his righteous wrath impends!
 
*”By Lebanon most interpreters understand the Temple, whose stately buildings resembled the tall cedars of that forest. There is a remarkable story mentioned by the Jewish writers to this purpose; — Some time before the destruction of the temple, the doors of it opened of their own accord; a circumstance attested by Josephus. Then R. Johanan, a disciple of R. Hillel, directing his speech to the temple, said, ‘I know thy destruction is at hand, according to the prophecy of Zechariah; Open thy doors, O Lebanon,’&.c. By the several sorts of trees are meant the several orders and degrees of men who shall be sharers in the commou destrnction.” –Lowth on
Zech. xi. 1, 2
 
 
O ’tis a fearful thing to pour the prayer
To Him who meets the spirit everywhere;
From whom no deep, deceptious veil can hide
The arts of sophistry, the thoughts of pride;
Who seals the grace by lowly faith implored,
And marks the curse by impious rashness pour’d;
That dread appeal no light-wing’d winds disperse,
No dews dissolve, no powers of earth reverse.
Jehovah grasps his thunders! Who shall stand
Against the terrors of his outstretch’d hand?
What shield avert the imprecated stroke?
What worm Omnipotence to wrath provoke?
    Judea! had thine eyes His hand beheld,
Then had thy rash blaspheming lips repell’d
That cry of blood, whose wild and clamorous sound,
With tempest murmurs roll’d its echo round,
And bade each minister of wrath prepare
His furbish’d sword; the deep, the earth, the air.
In hoarse vibrations to that voice reply,
While angry thunders shook the distant sky,
As, stern, his bow the dread Avenger drew,
And round thy reckless head his fiery arrows flew.
    Close of a host of wrongs, that ruthless cry
From thee, Jerusalem, was heard on high!
Ah! how thine eyes were closed ! Thou wouldst not see
The wing of Mercy spread to shelter thee!
Thou wouldst not hear the tender plaint of Love,
Who watch’d the vulture pouncing from above;
No! to that fostering screen thou wouldst not fly,
Till Rapine seized thy fluttering progeny,
Drank the warm life-blood from their reeking veins,
And strew’d their crimson’d plumage o’er the plains!
No, not from thee the Stem of Jesse’s line
Received meet homage, Israel’s Star Divine
Illustrious rose; but thine averted eyes
Refused the lambent glory of the skies.
Messiah sought his own; but found in thee
A wilful, proud, and stubborn enemy,
Whom neither grace could win, nor goodness charm,
Nor pity sooth, nor charity disarm,
Nor miracles convince, nor love persuade,
Nor truth admonish, nor long suffering aid.
Thy impious hand the cup of blessing spurn’d,
Till slighted balm to gall and wormwood turn’d,
Till to thy lips its bitterest dregs applied,
Constrain’d thee, loathing, in the dust to hide
The tortures of thy perfidy and pride.  
    It was a fearful hour when, stanch and true
To Heaven’s command, Rome’s mighty legions drew
Around thy walls their fierce and proud array;
When their plumed eagles to the dreadful fray
Of faction, envy, strife, and fury came,
Of guile, revenge, and every hateful name
That wars with human peace, with human kind;
When each fell passion of the darkling mind
Grappled within thy breast, and fixed the brand
Of infamy on thy devoted land;
When thou, as heaven, exalted once, wast laid
In hell’s dim precincts of unhallow’d shade,
A guilty outcast from Jehovah’s face,
A dread exemplar of rejected grace.
    It came in clouds! That dark, that wrathful day,
Which He who travell’d once thy steepy way
With tearful eye beheld. He saw it lower,
With gathering blackness, o’er the fane, the tower,
The peopled walks beneath. He saw, and wept,
While yet the storm in lingering stillness slept!
O hadst thou melted in those tears of love!
O had that sympathy had power to move!
Even then, perchance, the tempest blast had stay’d,
Nor Zion’s beauty been in ashes laid;
Even then the yearning lenderness of grace
Had yielded still some transient moments’ space,
Had lengthen’d thy tranquillity, and turn’d
The shaft aside that bright in anger burn’d.
    But — no! In vain those copious sorrows flow’d!
In vain that warning voice thy sentence show’d!
Suffusing blindness seal’d thy closing eye;
Thy heart of adamant no sympathy
Gould wake to tenderness or shame; thine ear
Shut up its foldings, and refused to hear.
And now the day thou wouldst not use is past;
Thy marshall’d enemies entrench thee fast;
Beside thy towers their ponderous shields they raise,
Scale thy broad walls, possess thy public ways,
Lay thy proud bulwarks prostrate on the ground,
Thy children in promiscuous wrath confound.
    Alas! what tearful muse her lyre shall string
To Zion’s wail of wo! What colouring
Of deepest tint that dismal scene portray,
When, crush’d by wrath Divine, sad Salem lay!
Ah! not the weeping minstrel’s saddest wail,
Nor darkest, deadliest poison of the vale,
Nor hues by Fancy in her moodiest vein
Thrown wild and lurid o’er the maniac’s brain,
Can tones of grief, can tints of terrors yield,
So deep, so dire, as that dread hour reveal’d!
‘Twas suffering earth’s excess of ill; the shade
Of Nature’s throes in dissolution laid.
    Lo, Death’s dread angel takes the charge Divine;
The war, proud Cesar, is not Rome’s, nor thine;
Jehovah bids thy veteran legions close
Around those walls his angry wrath o’erthrows.
No line of golden shields, empyreal sent,
Now guards those towers, that temple’s battlement.
The glory is departed! Far, O far,
Retires the light of Zion’s guiding Star,
He, erst the Captain of her hosts, in ire
Confronts her now; no swift-wing’d steeds of fire
The thunders of the’ invader’s might withstand;
But Heaven’s own arm o’erwhelms a guilty land.
    Go, mount the breach, the massive gates unfold;
Be war’s tempestuous tide still onward roll’d!
Go, — gasping Famine has prepared thy way,
Plague calls thy hovering eagles to their prey,
And there the desecrated carcase lies,
Abhorr’d of earth, abandon’d by the skies,
Devoted to each foul and ravenous beak,
That blood allures obscenest food to seek.
    Hark! ’tis the rush of battle! Loud and strong
The wild wind bears its echoing shouts along;
Trumpets, and clashing arms, and boisterous cries,
And snorting steeds, and thundering batteries.
Roar in commingling tumult wide and far,
And drown the deadlier dissonance of war;
The shriek, the dying groan, the wailing cry,
The wretches’ curse, the prayer of Misery,
Breathed in extremest need to Him whose ear
Amid the ravings of the storm can hear,
Whose pity, even for those condemn’d to die,
Disdains not Mercy’s still imploring cry.
Back rolls the tide from ocean’s cavern’d shore,
On moveless recks returning billows roar;
So Zion’s sons the desperate shock sustain,
The stream of carnage ebbs and flows again,
Till heaven’s wide concave glows with wasting fires,
From tower and dome the vaulting blaze aspires,
Encircling flames her spacious courts consume,
Her cedar’d roofs exude their rich perfume,
Her marble floors in crackling fragments fly,
Her golden gates in molten ruin lie.
Temples and towers, and palaces descend,
With peasant homes in stern destruction blend:
And thou, even thou, whose venerable state,
Magnificent, amid the frowns of fate,
Like Sinai, ‘mid Arabia’s desert sands;
Even thou, assail’d by sacrilegious hands,
Imperial Salem’s pride, Jehovah’s shrine,
The sacred dwelling of the Guest Divine,
Even thou, to wrath in this decisive hour
Must bend, stern trophy of the Gentile’s power.
    Yes, ’tis the day of vengeance long foretold!
The foes of Zion triumph; fierce and bold
The Heathen plants his standard on that throne
Where dwelt, in light, the’ Invisible, alone!
Rome’s blood-stain’d eagles there their pinions spread,
Where once the Ineffable his glory shed;
Jehovah’s house, polluting idols stain,
And proud idolaters his name profane;
Intrusive, to that dread arcanum press,
Where erst enshrined in fearful holiness,
He veil’d his awful Majesty from view,
And round his throne the mystic curtain drew.
Yet stay, presumptuous Heathen! own his power,
Revere his judgments in this dreadful hour!
Lo, Zion faints beneath the frown of God!
And what art thou? — the sword, the scourge, the rod.
‘Tis done! thy glorious heavens are wrapp’d in night:
Thy sun is dim; thy moon’s resplendent light
    A sanguine shade invests; thy stars are cast
Down to the ground, as, by the whirlwind’s blasts
Fall the sear’d fig-tree’s leaves. Jerusalem!
When men recovmt calamities, condemn
Outcasts to execration, then of thee
Shall their thoughts ponder; then thy misery,
The acme of all human ills, shall rise,
Their sum of vengeance, horror, and surprise.
Nay, righteous Heaven itself hath given in thee
Exemplar of its terrors. Soon shall flee
Before the coming Judge this mortal scene;
And sinners, visited as thou hast been,
Shall writhe beneath the vengeance of his rod,
Who spurn’d the gracious clemency of God.
    Yet, ever on the faithful rests his eye,
A nation’s wreck, a world in agony —
Turns not from them his tenderness, his cares;
His love a covert from the storm prepares;
Bids War his adamantine links unclose;
Suspends dissolving Nature’s final throes:
By them, amid the tempest clouds, are seen
Seraphic sights, and forms of heavenly mien;
And angels, ministrant, in glorious band,
Descend to save them from the spoiler’s hand;
Nor falls the fiery deluge on the plain,
Nor Cesar’s legions Zion’s ramparts gain,
Nor reels creation to its destined fall,
Till God’s elect his clarion trumpets call,
Till sainted feet the appointed refuge find,
And leave the sulphurous storm, the sword of war, behind.
    Type of a world destroy’d, prelusive sign
Of Guilt’s excision from the peace Divine,
By Heaven set forth, devoted Salem lies;
Yet mercies from the depths of judgment rise,
Jehovah’s ways man’s labour’d thoughts transcend,
By wisest means he works the noblest end,
And still inscrutable in counsel shines,
While power and love effect his vast designs;
While justice vindicates his awful throne,
And truth and goodness make his nature known.
‘Twas he, incomprehensible, who fought
Against oifending Israel, and brought
The Gentiles to his fold: He scourged their crime,
And swept aside that institute sublime
Which shadow’d mercy’s mystery to the world;
His glorious house from Zion’s height he hurl’d,
His ploughshare o’er her desolations drove,
Sent forth her unbelieving sons to rove
As outcasts from his face. ‘Twas wrath Divine,
For guilt’s rejection of the grace benign,
Messiah’s slighted love. ‘Twas Mercy, too,
Whose hand the ceremonial sign withdrew;
Hid types and shadows obsolete; declared
The mysteries of that elder age, prepared
But as the vestibule of Glory’s shrine,
Abolish’d now by ordinance Divine;
Proclaim’d the temple’s sanctities complete,
The pale removed, the radiant mercy-seat
To all accessible, who plead the grace
Messiah purchased for a guilty race;
Renounce the righteousness of self and pride,
And only live through Him who for their ransom died.
 
 
 
JERUSALEM.
 
HER GLORY, FALL, AND RESTORATION^
 
A LYRIC EPISODE.
 
IN TWO PARTS.
 
PART I.
 
 
 
You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos iii, 3.
 
How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger! Lam ii, 1.
 
 
 
Daughter of Heaven, fair Solyma, from far
Thy glory, like the morning star,
Upon the solemn brow of night,
Precursor of approaching light,
    Amid surrounding shadows beam’d,
Ere yet the dawn with orient splendour stream’d.
Kings were the guardians of thy infant hours!
    Peace strew’d thy way with flowers,
And Righteousness,
With lifted hands, benign, came forth thy youth to bless!
 
Beneath thy palmy shade,
The pilgrim patriarchs stray’d;
    Drank from thy vine
Refreshing draughts of pure nectareous wine;
    Received thy regal bounty spread
Before the weary warrior band,
    While blessings on the anointed head
Flow’d through thy sacerdotal hand
Thou, with thy subject woodland, hill and plain,
    A smiling land, where rills of sweetness flow’d,
Didst spread thy shadowing wings to entertain
    That stranger, to whose faith Jehovah show’d,
That in revolving time
His myriad sons should climb
Those mountains’ mossy summits, and command
Vales, plains, and cities, with their sceptred hand.
 
Soft on thy twilight shade,
Or when Creation laid
Its weary head upon the breast of Sleep,
    Thy whispering breeze its sighs suspended ,
    Thy hush’d harmonious spheres attended,
    While some celestial seraph, bright,
    Furl’d up his wings, and deign’d to light
    Beside the sainted pilgrim’s tent,
    On heavenly ministration sent;
    Or, fond, the midnight watch to keep
With those beloved ones,
Creation’s younger sons,
Above the elder born, who Mercy’s favours reap.
 
Yes; and ere yet enshrined
In semblance of mankind,
To thee the Covenant Angel frequent came;
    In converse sweet, as friend with friend,
    Did faithful Abraham’s steps attend;
Reveal’d his incommunicable name,
The oracle of mystic mercy gave,
    Promise of him, who, strong to save,
    Should on Moriah’s mount appear;
He brought the distant day of glory near,
    The rich reward of faith bestow’d,
    Messiah in his sufferings show’d,
Messiah, risen triumphagt from the grave.
 
To thee, too, came the Word,
Girt with his warrior sword;
    Thy valiant hosts to conquest led,
    His ensign bright before thee spread.
The Captain of the army of the Lord:
King o’er Jeshurun’s tribes he reign’d,
    Amid them placed his throne of power,
 
Their foes by miracle restrain’d,
    And shielded in temptation’s hour.
 
Kings in thy stately halls
Furl’d up their banners; hung upon thy walls
The gorgeous shields ofvanquish’d enemies;
    Thy mountain heights the fortress crown’d.
    Where Judah’s lion stood and frown’d,
    Lord of the subject forest round;
    While glistering in the purple skies,
    Thy ivory throne was seen to rise
    Like Lebanon, whose drifted snow
    Returns the sunbeam’s early glow
In thousand haloes bright, in thousand rainbow dyes.
 
    Yet, not thy warriors, proud, renown’d
For triumphs o’er the uncircumcised,
    Nor diadems of monarchs crown’d,
Nor golden shields of foes chastised,
    Nor cedar’d domes of stately height,
    Nor lucid sheen of ivory bright,
    Conferr’d on thee, illustrious queen,
    Thy peerless dignity of mien :
No; ‘Twas from Him who claim’d thee for his bride,
And came to’ abide
In fellowship with thee;
Who deign’d to be
Acknowledged as thy Lord; and by his side
To seat the chosen Grace his love had magnified.
 
‘Twas then, when to his house
Thou earnest with plighted vows,
And holy promises, to consecrate
To Him thy earliest and thy latest hours;
On him in duteous faithfulness to wait,
Bend to his will submissive, and thy powers
For him alone employ.
Yes, then did joy
Present it richest, fullest cup;
Then were thy purest splendours kindled up
By bright irradiations from his eye;
Be cheer’d with smiles of graciousness and love
Thy meek, confiding heart; and from above
Came forth to shrine his Majesty
In temple rear’d by mortal hands.
Hail, Solyma, resplendent from afar,
Fair morning star!
Unrivall’d stands
Thy glory to remotest lands!
 
Yes, graven in immortal lines
The holy record shines
Of that illustrious morn
When Israel’s joyous land awoke,
And cymbals, trumpets, timbrels, broke,
And lute, and harp, and horn,
At once, upon the ravish’d ear;
When swell’d the loud adoring hymn,
As on the wings of seraphim,
Jehovah to his shrine drew near;
While princes, priests, and prophets bow’d
Beneath that dazzling cloud,
Whose rolling volume spread
Throughout the trembling shrine
Where prostrate worshippers, in wondering dread,
Confess’d the incumbent Majesty Divine;
Where David’s regal Son
Pour’d suppliant forth the hallow’d orison;
While bright, as erst from Sinai’s smoke,
The flame, insufferable broke,
Retiring priests confess’d the sign,
Beheld the dreadful glory shine;
And Israel’s God, adoring, saw
Ascend his throne, in silent awe.
 
Thine was the mount of vision; and to thee
Was given the lyre of prophecy.
On thy illumined eyes
Rose wondrous scenes, celestial mysteries.
Beyond the dimming vale of time,
To thee was shown a world sublime;
A world from all but thee conceal’d,
When, conversant with God alone,
His Spirit to thy sons reveal’d
Unutter’d secrets, things unknown.
His stormy path they view’d,
‘Mid clouds and tempests dire,
His chariot, borne by whirlwinds rude,
Or lightning steeds of fire,
Or, rolling calm in tranquil might
Diffusing joy, and life, and light.
 
The’ Adoption was thine own;
For thee the glory shone;
To thee the law its awful sanctions gave;
And thou, by solemn ritual bound,
With covenant privilege wast crown’d.
To thee was given
Exemplar of the hallow’d things in heaven;
Of service acceptable there,
Propitiation, praise, and prayer.
 
Emmanuel came to thee!
The mystery
Of Godhead veil’d in flesh thine eyes beheld!
Yes, Abraham’s holy Seed was thine.
The Heir of David’s regal line,
By boundless grace impell’d,
A stranger to his brethren came;
Reveal’d the eternal Father’s name,
Before thine eyes his power display’d;
The midnight tempest sway’d,
Trod the rough billows of the raging sea;
Through Death’s terrific shade
Sent the stern mandate of authority:
Yea, in thy view,
Climbing yon mountain’s rugged height,
    His arm hell’s adverse powers o’erthrew
And, conquering by resistless might,
    The dragon’s sting he drew;
Victorious, with majestic tread,
There crush’d the scaly monster’s head.
Where is thy glory now,
Queen of the lofty brow?
Fallen is thy diadem of pride;
And Desolation’s drear and ruinous tide
Hath beaten on thy shores!
Round thee the wild wind roars,
And o’er ungenial climes thy children wander wide!
 
God hath despoil’d and brought thee low,
Beneath whose tread the kindling mountains glow;
Who, o’er the young and orient light
His curtain spreads, and nature mourns in night;
Whose mighty hand
Grasps the dark billows of the deep,
Pours rushing cataracts down the rugged steep,
And o’er the cultured land
Bids desolating torrents sweep.
 
Yes, He, who, when a dark and wondering world
Had, unrepentant, run its course of crime,
Forth from his throne sublime,
The bolt of threaten’d vengeance hurl’d;
Ruptured the channels of the central deep,
Unzoned the ambient firmament,
Earth’s massive bars in sunder rent,
And bade wide-wasting waters sweep.
He frown’d in wrath on faithless Israel;
Beneath that frov/n devoted Zion fell.
 
‘Twas dark and terrible!
It left thee, Solyma, a lurid star,
A meteor, in a wild and turbid sky;
A beacon, seen in stranger lands from far,
The dread portent of hastening destiny.
The pilgrim, traversing thy mountains drear,
Looks on the scene of wrath;
He feels vibrations shake the tremulous sphere,
Confusion veils the earth;
To heaven he turns, and, pale with fear,
Beholds its dazzling glories fled;
No birds on cheerful wing are near,
Nor man; ’tis solitude and dread!
Creation bears that frown impress’d
Upon its withering breast.
The pilgrim, as he turns his steps and sighs,
Hears the lone wailing of a voice that cries,
“Ah! wo is me! for whom the murderers wait!
Ah! wo is me! my soul is desolate!
Me! whom no eye regards in sorrow’s sad estate!”
 
 
 
JERUSALEM.
 
HER GLORY, PALL, AND RESTORATION,
 
A LYRIC EPISODE.
 
IN TWO PARTS,
 
PART II.
 
 
 
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off; and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock. Jer. xxxi, 10.
 
They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding; and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. Isaiah xxix, 28.
 
The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ophod, and without teraphim:t afterward sliall the children of Israel return, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and bis goodness in the latter days. Hosea iii, 4, 5.
 
The Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Isaiah li, 3.
 
 
Mourner, hush! What soothing voice
Speaks of comfort, speaks of joys?
‘Tis the bard, whose burning hymn
Glows like strain of seraphim;
He who beheld Jehovah on his throne,
Heard the veil’d hosts proclaim
Thrice the’ unutterable Name:
“Holy, holy, holy,”cry,
“Is God, the Lord Most High!”
His glorious Majesty in all his works is shown.
Mourner, hush! the bard that sings
Heard the seraph’s rustling wings;
Saw him to the altar turn,
Where celestial ardours burn;
Felt the flame his lips impress,
Felt the quickening holiness,
Felt the Spirit fire his breast,
Fearless claim’d the high behest.
Baptized in flame,
The prophet’s name,
The prophet’s charge he sought;
To themes unsung
His sweet harp strung,
And heavenly mysteries taught.
Bright on his soul,
With rapture fraught,
Strange visions roll
And fire his thought.
He saw the glory and the grace,
The wo, the weal of future days;
Beheld in dim perspective view,
The sight from which the sun withdrew;
Beheld his people scatter’d, peel’d,
For mercy spurn’d, to judgment seal’d;
Beheld the tempest cloud remove,
And awful Justice yield to love.
 
Who is this that mournful sits
    Beneath the palm-tree’s shade?
To the conqueror stern submits,
    In trophied pride array’d?
None sustains the head depress’d,
    None the word of comfort speaks!
Lo, her sorrows soil her breast,
    Her tears are on her cheeks!
 
Ye who weep with those that mourn,
    Regard her plaintive strains ;
From her mate the ringdove torn,
    Less piteously complains.
A mother’s grief,
That spurns relief,
    Of all her darling sons bereft;
A widow’s tears,
And untold fears,
    Are hers in desolation left.
 
Ah! it is Zion in captivity
That thus sits desolate!
    Her sad estate
A minish’d band of trembling elders see.
Silent, beneath her ruin’d towers they stand;
Or, lowly, on the ground,
In floods of sorrow drown’d,
Bewail Jehovah’s hand,
In judgment resting still on their once-favour’d land.
Their wither’d frame rude sackcloth seeks to hide,
And on their age’s pride
Defiling dust appears.
What eye can look on thee
In thy captivity,
Sad Zion, and not wet his cheek with tears?
 
Who but must weep? For where,
Above thy bulwarks, fair,
Once floated Judah’s standard in the breeze,
Shadowing thy fanes and palaces,
    Now, with malignant beams,
    The lurid crescent gleams,
And chills and blasts the springing sap of life
O’er hordes of abject slaves
The banneret of Mecca’s prophet waves,
And holds with truth and virtue ceaseless strife.
 
Yes! o’er thy holy walks,
Sad Solyma, the barbarous spoiler stalks!
No dew is on thy mountains;
And from thy unfed fountains
    No living waters flow.
Carmel and Sharon languish,
All nature mourns in anguish
The bitterness of thy sad overthrow.
 
Who but will join in deep lament
With thy sad sons in banishment?
Who will not mingle tears with thine,
Defiled, deserted Palestine?
While o’er the scene of thy solemnities
They turn their wondering eyes,
And see the Gentile there,
Where once thy house of prayer
Received the radiance of the orient skies;
Where incense rose
At evening’s close,
And pure and bright
Heaven’s lambent light
Kindled the hallow’d morning’s sacrifice.
Where, on the outstretch’d wings of cherubim,
Appear’d the fiery throne of Him
Who there in shrouded glory deign’d to rest;
There with the mitred priesthood spoke,
By Urim and by Thummim show’d
The mind of God;
In light and in perfection broke
Upon the dazzling gems of Aaron’s sainted vest
 
Ye who love the sacred land
    To ancient Israel given,
Ye who seek to understand
    The mysteries of heaven,
Listen to the raptured tones
    Of Zion’s loftiest lyre,
Form, with Abraham’s favour’d sons,
    One sweet, harmonious quire.
From the dust the captive queen
    Shall yet majestic rise,
On her ivory throne be seen, —
    While subject enemies
In suppiiance meek
Her favour seek,
And look with strange surprise
On her, though late
So desolate,
Yet bearing now
A blazing circlet on her radiant brow,
And scattering lucid glory from her eyes.
Ye who on the watchtower stand,
    To hail approaching light,
See ye yet the dawn at hand?
    Retires the darkling night?
Hark! the watchmen loud reply,
    “The shades of night retire!
Beams of glory tint the sky,
    The hills are tipp’d with fire!”
Watchmen, while the morning breaks
    Upon the mountain’s brow,
While the curling mist forsakes
    The sleeping vales below,
See ye, by that beam so bright,
    The beauteous feet draw nigh?
Say, does Israel wait for light?
    Ascends to heaven the cry?
“Not from Israel’s thousands yet
    Ascends the voice of prayer;
But the herald’s beauteous feet
    Messiah’s way prepare.
Soon the supplicating grace
    As mountain showers shall fall;
Then the long-deluded race
    Shall on their Saviour call.”
 
Hark! on the troubled air
Breathes not even now the voice of prayer!
What means that plaintive cry,
Which trembling, quivering, mounts on high?
“Return, return, offended Lord!
    Righteous Judge, forego thine ire,
Let thy temple rise restored,
    Quench the still consuming fire:
All our bones to blackness burn’d,
    Wasted all our shrivell’d skin;
Let thy wrath aside be turn’d,
    Cease thine ire, forgive our sin!
God of Abraham, build thine house!
    Reunite its scatter’d stones!
Isaac’s God, regard our vows!
    Hear afflicted Israel’s moans!
Ah! widow’d Palestine,
Were but these sorrows thine!
Then should the vivifying breezes blow
O’er that dark charnel vale, where low
And long thy children’s whitening bones have lain;
Then should the voice of prophecy go forth,
And from the earth
Raise up the slain,
And bid them live, and breathe, and stand again,
An army of the Lord,
To high and holy privilege restored.
 
Yes! when the Sun of Righteousness shall rise,
    Thaw and dissolve the icy heart of stone;
When the swollen bosom heaves with contrite sighs,
    And tears of shame and grief flow mingled down;
Yes! when the eyes long closed shall see,
    The sealed lips their Lord confess;
Then shall thy rude captivity
    Return, in sevenfold streams of peace;
Then shall the Lord his temple build again.
    His covenant with the chosen seed renew;
On David’s throne in promised glory reign,
    And every foe beneath his feet subdue.
 
For thus the prescient Spirit spake by thee,
Afflicted Jeremy,
Whose trembling fingers swept,
A plaintive lyre, attuned to sorrow’s tones.
Ah! who, unstricken by thy patriot moans,
Has not in pity wept,
And, touch’d with sympathy
Thy solitary towers in dust to see,
Sat with thee on the ground,
In speechless grief profound,
And met with answering groans thy wail of agony?
 
Dim in the midst of distant years
Thy venerable form appears,
Thy pallid cheek is wet with tears,
And that sunk eye and bending frame
The anguish of thy soul proclaim.
Ah! thou hast seen Jerusalem in blood,
Pierced by the arrows of avenging God;
Hast seen her sink beneath the smart,
As faints and falls the stricken hart,
Sore wounded by the archer’s dart.
Thou saw’st her, as inflamed with wine,
    An outcast, in confusion lie;
But ah! her cup was wrath Divine,
    In fury mix’d, and mantling high!
Thou saw’st her sons, as monsters wild,
    Entangled in the hunter’s thrall;
Thou saw’st the sacred house defiled.
     The sacred city fall!
 
Yet in that hour of doom,
When all around was gloom,
To thee, amid the silence of the night,
The Spirit’s hallow’d inspirations came,
And kindled bright
Of hope, and peace, and joy, the heavenly flame;
Then by that light
Thou saw’st Jerusalem repentant come,
Even as a wanderer, to her long-lost home:
Weeping, the penitent appear’d,
    Accepting chastisement Divine,
And in thine ears a sound was heard
    Of mourners, who in anguish pine.
 
Then Ephraim, docile, humbled as a child,
    Before thine eyes in meek submission stood;
No longer like the steer, untrain’d and wild,
    But contrite, weeping at the feet of God.
Then to thine ears, in gentlest strains, and mild,
    A Father’s soothing, soft relentings came.
It was that pitying Voice which, reconciled.
    Restored to Ephraim his filial claim;
Then pass’d his thousands, gather’d like a flock
Beneath the shepherd’s care,
Screen’d from the sunbeams by the lofty rock,
Or fed in pastures fair;
Fast by the silver stream,
Along the dewy vale,
Conducted by the hand of Him
Whose promise cannot fail.
To Zion’s heights they rise;
With Judah, Ephraim meets;
Loud hallelujahs rend the skies,
And earth the strain repeats.
How hallow’d, while before thy wondering sight
    The towers of Zion from their ashes rose,
While on her re-erected bulwarks bright,
    The lion standard waved o’er Judah’s foes?
How hallow’d to thine ears the blessing came,
That blessing utter’d in Jehovah’s name!
    How did thine heart respond the prayer,
That sacred Justice there
Might fix her pure abode!
    How did thy quivering lips express,
“O Mount of Holiness,
Be thou the throne of God!”
 
Bright was that vision, sainted seer, to thee,
    And sweet the sleep on v/hich its wonders rose
Soft from thy harp of plaintive minstrelsy,
    In soothing tone the holy rapture flows!
From every lyre
In Zion’s quire,
    Respondent rises too the strain
That He who in disdain
Disown’d Jerusalem,
Will yet recall her to his arms again.
    Though from the quiver of his wrath
    He drew the vengeful shafts of death,
    And, wing’d as lightnings through the air,
    Earthquake, famine, plague, and war,
His ministers of dread,
    To scathe rebellious Israel’s head,
Even as an oak by furious tempests riven;
    Yet, as that oak, though blasted, shoots
Young saplings from its yet uninjured roots,
So, quicken’d by the fostering care of Heaven,
For Abraham’s sake restored,
    The holy seed again shall bloom,
And yield its rich perfume,
And wide its branches spread,
And raise its lofty head,
As towers on Lebanon the cedar of the Lord!
 
    Yet, ere that day of glory come,
    The darken’d heavens with deepening gloom
Shall signs portentous bear;
    Hoarse, murmuring thunders roll above.
    Earth’s strong foundations trembling move,
And whirlwinds rend the air!
Yes! judgment shall Messiah’s way prepare:
    His enemies shall feel his might,
    Who bears his two-edged weapon bright
Still girded on his thigh;
    His arrows on his mighty bow,
    New strung to lay the wicked low,
Shall kindle as they fly!
 
    The Heathen who presumptuous stood,
In all the bitterness of scorn,
    Exulting o’er the sons of God,
When outcast, desolate, forlorn,
    Shall feel the power their pride disdain’d.
When Javan bends to Judah’s might,
    And dim with sanguine meteors stain’d,
The lurid crescent sinks in night.
 
Who still refuse to own
The sure Foundation Stone
    Shall feel its ponderous weight descend,
    And break the neck that will not bend,
    And grind to dust the stubborn frame
    That, proud rejects Messiah’s claim,
    That will not own his judgment just,
    Nor, suppliant, to his mercy trust,
    Nor touch the sceptre of his grace,
Nor, contrite, kiss the Son, nor, meek, his rule embrace.
 
Thou, Israel, then shalt own
That precious Corner Stone;
Shalt gaze with weeping eyes,
While springs of sorrow rise!
    Yes ! there shall be a gushing tide
    Of anguish for the Crucified;
    For Him transpierced on Calvary,
    A flood of grief and agony,
    Empassion’d as the stream that rose,
With rushing agitated swell
    When, stricken by Egyptian foes,
Josiah at Megiddon fell!
Bitter and deep that loud lament shall flow,
Like his who, in an ecstasy of wo,
Bewails his first born slain;
Who sees his manhood’s pride, his age’s stay,
His only hope, untimely torn away,
The hapless victim of disease and pain.
    Then, then, in lowhness of heart,
    Shall grieve each family apart;
    David mourn the king rejected,
Levi weep the priest denied,
    Nathan, prophecy neglected.
Bitter Shimei own his pride.
 
Then shall the Lord his ancient word fulfil;
    To David’s head the regal crown restore;
Again his temple build on Zion’s hill;
    Replant his vine, to root it out no more.
Discord and enmity
To hell’s dark caves shall flee,
    And heaven-born Love,
Descending from above,
    Soft, on balmy wings dispense
    Gentler, sweeter influence
    Than ever precious unguent shed,
Pour’d by anointing hand on Aaron’s sainted head.
 
Israel’s mountains then shall bear
    The withering curse no more;
Truth and justice, ruling there,
    The blessing shall restore;
Soft as dews on Hermon’s hill,
    Its genial influence shed,
Bright, as when the storm is still,
    Enlivening sunbeams spread.
The desert then shall bloom,
And yield its rich perfume,
Fragrant as Eden’s bowers,
When garlanded with Nature’s earliest flowers;
    Then towering cedars to the skies
    On snow-clad Lebanon shall rise,
And on the wilderness descend refreshing showers.
 
    Then shall the staff of Ephraim
Be one with Judah’s sceptred rod,
    United in the hand of Him
Who is again his people’s God;
The weak, in David’s might,
    Before the Lord shall stand,
And he, as Gabriel bright,
    The strength of God’s right hand.
Within the sacred towers
    No violence shall dwell,
The dire destroyer’s powers
    Messiah’s arm repel.
Beneath his banners ranged,
    The scatter’d multitude,
To warlike thousands changed,
    The veteran strength renew’d,
    Shall fight beneath their Captain’s eye,
    And earth and hell before them fly.
 
Nor Beauty, Plenty, Amity, alone,
Nor Valour, round His throne,
Shall cluster fair;
But Truth and Gentleness his way prepare,
In righteousness his majesty be shown.
The Queen in costly raiment brought,
As tissued rainbows richly wrought
    In cloth of glistering gold,
In beams as bright as rising day,
His blended graces shall display,
    His dazzling gifts unfold;
Her handmaids, pure in virgin white,
    With downcast eyes her train shall bear;
For in the heavenly Bridegroom’s sight
    Humility alone is fair.
No beauty may his favour share,
    But unstain’d holiness;
That blood-wash’d dress
His saints shall in his glorious presence wear.
 
When pitch’d again in Judah’s land
His tabernacle pure shall stand,
No Levite there, with uncleansed hand,
    Shall on his service wait;
No priest the hallow’d vessels bear,
The altar’s costly offerings share,
Ephod or shining breastplate wear,
    Or move in mitred state;
But he who on a spirit recreate,
    As on a living tablet, bears impress’d
The signature which stamps an angel great,
    Who shows in sunbeams pencill’d on his breast
The mystic holiness of Aaron’s sainted crest.
 
The priesthood shall be holy. On that day
Each worshipper shall lay
Upon the hallow’d shrine,
Sprinkled with blood Divine,
A holy offering too;
The sunder’d veil pass through,
And there, while curling clouds of incense rise,
In grateful fragrance to the bending skies,
Jehovah reconciled, in soften’d splendour view;
There, at the mercy-seat,
The God of glory meet,
    In holy praise and fervent prayer
    The fellowship of angels share;
    Angels, who love to linger there,
Where saints, admitted to communion sweet,
Find, like themselves, their heaven at the Redeemer’s feet.
 
Haste, then, ye days of glory, when the light
    Now beaming from the star of prophecy
Shall fade, absorb’d in perfect vision bright;
    When Zion’s watchmen, seeing eye to eye,
    From all her heights shall shont salvation nigh;
When with the Herald’s voice
Re-echoing wilds rejoice,
And loud winds waft it to the listening sky.
 
Salem, when, O when, to thee
Shall come the trump of jubilee?
When upon thy listening car
Shall burst its music sweet and clear?
Bid thy sons from dust arise,
Hear the heralds of the skies,
Bid them hail Messiah’s name,
Him the Prince of life proclaim,
Loud, though late, hosannas raise,
Christ, the Son of David, praise?
 
    Then shall their land, now desolate,
Regain its lost estate;
Then shall the towers of Zion stand secure;
Her bright foundations pure,
Reflecting heaven’s own beams, shall evermore endure
    Her gates Jehovah’s arm shall raise,
And call them, Praise!
Make them resplendent with his glory’s blaze,
As light upon the glistening ruby plays.
    Around her walls no stranger foes
In hostile might shall close;
    On every lofty tower unfurl’d
    Her banner to the wondering world
    Salvation’s sacred sign shall bear,
    And tell, no weapon prospers there.
Her righteous sons Jehovah makes his care,
There plants his peaceful throne, and builds his temple fair.
 
Pure on those pearly skies
The blushing morn shall rise;
    O’er that pellucid atmosphere,
    As diamond bright, as crystal clear,
The sunbeam cast its thousand dyes.
    There glistening with intensest light,
    That giant orb, in sevenfold might,
    O’er the blue heavens shall urge his way;
    Nor vagrant cloud through ether stray,
    To intercept one dazzling ray;
Nor dusky shades of night
    Again involve the world in gloom,
    When that triumphant hour shall come,
    In clear, unwaning lustre bright,
The spotless Church shall shine,
Mirror of grace, of purity Divine,
Effulgent with the blaze of glory infinite.
 
    Beneath Messiah’s hallow’d reign
    Nor sin nor sorrow’s shades remain;
    Far from his joy-inspiring eye
    The mists of tears, of mourning fly;
    His Church below, like that above,
    Shall weep no more, when sovereign Love
    His fulness of salvation shows,
And each replenish’d soul with glorious bliss o’erflows.
 
Hark! to the world that trump of jubilee
Proclaims release!
It proffers thee,
Outcast and captive, liberty and peace!
    Not Moses, when from Sinai’s flame
    To thee, in Egypt’s bonds he came,
Such sounds auspicious brought;
    Not in his hand the wondrous rod,
    Beneath the energy of God,
Such signs mysterious wrought,
    As thou shalt see, if yet at length
Thou wilt the Gospel tidings hear;
For then shall Israel’s God appear
    To save thee in his strength.
 
Great was thy might, O God of Israel,
    When haughty Misraim bow’d beneath thy stroke;
Great was thy might when stern Assyria fell,
    When impious Babylon received thy yoke.
Again thine arm, uplifted high,
    Its vengeance on thy foes shall wreak;
Proud Nilus’ sevenfold stream be dry;
    Euphrates turn his current back.
Yes! when thy hand, ungrasp’d, shall set
    The rushing tempest whirlwind free,
The ocean shall its course forget,
    And mountain waves a bulwark be.
It is thy word, who hast compress’d the sea
Within its circling zone of sand;
And o’er the land
Sooner its waves shall roll tumultuously,
Than thy decree
Less firm than heaven’s eternal pillars stand.
 
When shall thy might in Israel’s cause appear?
    When shall thy conquering arm salvation bring?
When shall the Heathen of thy triumphs hear,
    Thy ransom’d people of thy glory sing?
Ah! yet beneath the raven’s dusky wing
    They grope for light, though now the noon is high.
When shall thy conquering arm salvation bring?
    Nor help appears, nor intercessor nigh,
Till thou, O Lord, awake in mightiest majesty.
 
Wilt thou not rend the curtains of thy throne,
    And bid the mountains at thy presence flow?
Wilt thou not hear the long-protracted groan,
    And to thy Church thy dreadful glory show?
Come, and the trembling earth shall fear;
    Thy foes thy name revere;
    Thy saints, adoring, bless
    Thy truth and righteousness.
Come! to thy Church thy glory show!
Come! bid the mountains at thy presence flow!
 
Who is this, that, arm’d for fight,
    Assumes the warrior’s crest,
Braces quick the corslet bright
    Upon his ample breast?
Vengeance as a garment takes,
    Cloaks himself in flaming zeal,
Earth beneath his footstep shakes,
    Her strong foundations reel?
As a lion roused for fight,
    He meets his crouching prey,
Marches in majestic might,
    Along the crimson’d way.
Bright his furbish’d falchion gleams,
    Brandish’d by his strong right hand;
Lo, ’tis bathed in sanguine streams,
    That deluge Edom’s land.
 
Who is this that bears the war
    O’er hosts of slaughter’d foes?
See! his standard waves afar;
    In vain their squadrons close
Gonquer’d by resistless might,
    Like autumn’s spoils they lie;
Nerveless falls the arm in fight.
    The feet refuse to fly.
Lo, he treads them in his ire;
    Blood his dazzling raiment stains;
Flows his wrath in liquid fire,
    Along the burning plains.
 
Thou, Zion, thou canst tell
Who, thus invincible,
    Hath pledged for thee
A glorious victory!
Lift up thine eyes, the Conqueror hail!
    Messiah on his march to save!
His might shall o’er thy foes prevail,
    Arouse thy myriads from the grave;
He shall thine heritage regain,
    Collect thy long-dissever’d bands;
From Egypt’s flood, from Shinar’s plain,
    From borean climes, and southern lands,
To distant isles his trumpet’s sound
Shall bear the thundering summons round.
 
    Hark! the sound of trampling steeds?
Hark! the cry of martial men!
    Shouts, as wave to wave succeeds,
Mount, and fall, and mount again!
    Who, with shield, and spear, and lance,
Glistening in the noontide beam,
    Toward the channell’d depths advance,
Press into the sever’d stream?
 
    Who, with purple banners bright,
From the coral path ascend;
    Numerous as the stars of night,
Toward the stream of Jordan bend?
    Who, on Salem’s sacred towers
Plants the lion staff again;
    Israel shouts, “The land is ours
Now, adored Messiah, reign!”
 
Yes! for that victory
Shall such hosannas be
As never yet from battle field arose;
Such as not Israel, o’er Egyptian foes,
Raised on the desert strand,
When minstrelsy its loftiest numbers chose ,
To hymn Jehovah’s hand.
 
    When from that land,
In multitudinous acclaim, shall rise
This full-toned hallelujah to the skies?
 
When Israel, wilder’d long, shall understand
The prescient Spirit’s counsel to the wise,
And to celestial truth unveil their long-closed eyes. 
 
Book IX
 
Table of Contents
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s