Book XIIOur best Friend is exalted to an everlasting rule and dominion over the whole creation of God; and it is but a little while before he will dispel all those clouds and shades which at present interpose themselves and eclipse his glory and majesty from them that love him. Though the work itself seems to us long and irksome, though the ways of accomplishing it be unto us obscure, oftentimes invisible, yet He hath undertaken it, and will not give it over until his enemies are every one brought to be his footstool. Dr. Owen. Argument
Introductory Stanzas on the Mysteries of the Divine Government. — Faith anticipates the blessings in reserve for the world, yet looks with anxiety on its long-continued state of moral darkness. — Apostolical sketch of the Heathen character, still realized by a vast proportion of the inhabitants of the globe. — Possibly permitted as an awful exhibition of the nature and effects of sin, and of the necessity and value of Redemption. — Philanthropy required, not only to bewail the state of unenlightened nations, but to make sacrifices for their benefit. — Pensive reflections on the desolations of past ages, as connected with eternity. — Present awful condition of the Heathen world. — India. — Britain’s culpable disregard of its religious instruction. — Africa. — Slavery. — Wilberforce. — Call of charity for increased efforts in behalf of the nations still mysteriously left under idolatrous darkness. — Prophetic assurances of the ultimate triumph of truth. — Present favourable indications. — Light.— Martial attitude of the Church. — Sketch of a Missionary Soldier. — Transforming power of the Gospel, instanced in the Pacific Islands.— Missionary scene in South Africa. — Trials and triumphs of the work. — Tributary stanzas. — Glorious consummation of the scheme of redeeming mercy. — Earth and time. — Conclusion.
Who shall say, What hast thou done? or who shall withstand thy judgment? or who shall accuse thee for the nations that perish, whom thou hast made? — Wisdom xii, 12.
Bright on his sapphire throne,
In majesty alone,
Jehovah’s glory, erst, the prophet saw:
His trembling spirit sunk with awe,
As on the fiery chariot roll’d,
Like his who quaked when Sinai’s law
To Israel’s sons announced of old,
Bade all their shuddering tribes withdraw,
Nor Moses dared the mount behold.
Cherubic forms, whose rustling wings,
Like mighty thundering,
Or murmurs of the perilous deep,
When tempests o’er its troubled surface sweep,
Disparted the transparent skies,
Which glisten’d with intensest light,
And onward, in their mystic flight,
Drew wheels with thousand eyes.
What meant that vision dread?
That car of glory, led
By charioteers ineffable, unknown?
Why on his empyreal throne
Came Mediatorial Majesty?
While bright the bow of promise shone,
Effulgent on that dazzling sky:
The prophet knew the sign,
It spake of grace Divine,
Attempering wrath’s terrific flame.
It bade his fears subside,
His anxious heart confide
In Him who rules, a Judge, yet bears a Father’s name.
Mysterious in those mystic forms, —
Wings, and wheels, and eyes, intense,
Flashing flames and whirlwind storms, —
He reads that Providence
Which, far from human sight,
Dwells in omniscient light,
Inscrutable, its path conceals,
Or walks in tempest clouds and raging fires,
Yet ceaseless animates the living wheels,
The cherubim inspires.
That Providence is thine,
Thy wondrous rule divine,
Messiah! who, in unapproached light,
Accomplishest the purpose of thy grace,
Thy one design of wisdom infinite,
Of love, of pity, to the rescued race;
Yet far from finite sense,
Thy vast intelligence
O’er varied being reigns,
The world in its predestined course sustains!
Awakes its thousand forms of life,
Combines its parts, controls its strife;
By energy of sovereign skill
Subverts the adverse powers of ill;
Confounds the evil by the good,
And sways the’ unconscious multitude.
Lord of all power and might, thy judgments lie
Beyond the curious ken of mortal eye;
Beyond the sight
Of angels, basking in thy splendours bright!
O what a deep
Of surging waters o’er thy counsels sweep!
Or, buried in the vast abyss,
Where Silence seals her mysteries,
They lie absorb’d beneath a sea,
Calm, motionless, as, when rebuked by thee.
The Galilean wave in stillness died;
Nor current, on the undulating tide,
Their course betokens through that ocean wide.
Yet all with thee is light!
Unbroken in thy sight
Exists, all perfect, thy stupendous plan;
And thy unerring mind
Pursues the end designed
Through paths which pierce the clouds,
Through depths which darkness shrouds,
Heights thy omniscient eye alone can scan.
Creation moves obedient to thy word!
Thy voice is heard
Amid the circling spheres:
Thy guiding Spirit rules the whole,
And suns and stars harmonious roll,
Resplendent, in their glorious course,
Propell’d by one impulsive force;
Thy hand unrears,
In measureless eternity, thy throne;
And being’s endless chain on thee depends alone!
Be silent, erring man, before the face
Of Him whose counsels are too vast for thee!
Frail child of dust, take thou thy destined place,
And, prostrate, clothe thee with humility!
God is a name thou canst not know,
But as he deigns to show
His backward glories to thy downcast eye!
Suffice for thee, that, mild, the peaceful bow
Tempers his dazzling majesty.
Though lightings round him play,
His undiscovered way
Though the thick darkness shrouds;
Yet, piled upon the solid land
As adamantine mountains stand,
So stands his righteousness, — his truth transcends the clouds.
Be patient faith and cheerful duty thine,
So shalt thou meet his smile, and see the face Divine.
Yes, all with God is light! Though clouds invest:
This cold and sterile earth; though from its breast
Dense exhalations, inauspicious, rise,
And taint the air, and hide the cheerful skies;
Yet soon that Sun which gilds the spheres above,
With quickening beam shall o’er its surface move,
Pierce the deep shades, the noxious mists disperse,
And with His splendours fill the universe.
These are thy visions, hallowed Faith! To thee
The distant glories of futurity
Stand forth, even now, in evidence Divine.
The substance of the promised hope is thine;
Even now thy lofty spirit prunes its wings,
And triumphs in unutterable things:
Yet, while thy piercing eye beholds the light
Through Time’s dark vista, from meridian height
Dispensing beams of joy, and peace, and love,
Transforming earth to holier realms above;
While yet Humility, to Heaven resigned,
Owns erring man is impotent and blind;
While Piety adores that vast profound,
That Sea of Knowledge which no shores can bound;
While, bending at Devotion’s burning shrine,
Love triumphs in Beneficence Divine;
While at the cross Contrition, suppliant, kneels,
And Gilead’g balm the wounded spirit heals;
While kindling joy illumes the tearful eye
For cancelled guilt: may yearning Charity
Pour, unreproved, her interceding prayer,
That earth’s dark sons may kindred blessings share?
Raise, unrepress’d, her pondering thoughts above,
And ask, in meekness, why supernal Love
Yet shrouds his beams from earth’s still lingering gloom!
Yet, while the shadowy margin of the tomb,
By myriad tribes of alien spirits press’d
Reveals no pathway to eternal rest?
Forth in his course this globe’s all-ruling light
Marches in giant strength: the shades of night
Recede before his pure, his joyous rays;
Creation triumphs in the brilliant blaze,
Her treasures to his fostering beams expand;
They cheer her forests rude, her cultured land;
The mountain’s brow his fervid influence feels,
The balmy vale its sheltering breast conceals,
Presents its fragrant herbs, its dewy flowers,
To breathe and bloom beneath his genial powers.
Shines nature’s sun on each obscure recess,
Each glen, and glade, and desert wilderness?
Alas! what spell restrains celestial light?
Why, withering in the baleful shades of night,
Yet pines the desolate earth, and bears impress’d
The primal curse on her degraded breast?
Numbers among her outcast offspring, bands
That stretch the sceptre wide o’er peopled lands,
Nations that wild in lawless freedom rove,
Haunt the rude mountain or the palmy grove,
Where bleak the borean blast its tempest pours,
Where gentle zephyrs light on southern shores?
From orient climes, to where the parting day
O’er emerald ocean casts its crimson ray,
Why lives the great Creator’s form defaced?
While holy Truth, — as in the desert waste
The bright oases spread their cultured green, —
In lonoly beauty smiles, with arid sands between?
Dark was that sketch the mighty Master drew,
When Inspiration to his hallow’d view
Presented man, degenerate, false, defiled;
The slave of sense, the sport of passions wild,
Foe of his kind, abhorring and abhorr’d,
Rebellious traitor to his rightful Lord;
Vain-glorious, proud, and wise in self esteem,
Rejecting knowledge in its Source Supreme;
Averse from God, avei’se from heavenly light,
Courting, for deeds of darkness, deepest night;
Bound, undiscerning, by Delusion’s chain,
Polluted wanderer through mazes vain;
Mazes of demon subtleties, that led
To outlets in the regions of the dead,
Where spirits roam unblest, whose wayward will
Chose, in despite of righteous Heaven, the ill;
Delighted in the deed accursed, and sought,
Through love of evil, those who evil wrought.
Ah! still that portraiture unchanged remains,
Still sin its dire and deadly rule retains
O’er Adam’s sons, in Heathen darkness nursed,
Sad tenants of extended realms accursed,
Where yet no beams of Gospel glory break,
No voice of herald trumpet sounds, “Awake!”
Though long the dawn has streak’d the eastern sky,
Though long the sun, in dazzling majesty
Careering toward meridian height sublime,
Yields indication to advancing time,
That earth’s brief period hastes; though rolling spheres
Urge to accomplish those predestined years.
When, on his flaming throne, the Judge, reveal’d.
Shall show the doom irrevocable seal’d,
Of myriad tribes who now unconscious rove,
Nor know the mystery of Eternal Love,
Nor know the Spirit’s voice; but, blind and vain,
Drag the dark fiend’s inexorable chain;
Bend to his yoke their servile necks, and bind
His galling fetters on the immortal mind;
His impress on their darken’d spirits bear,
His ruthless nature by their deeds declare,
Like him, the hopeless prey of guilt and pain
Their graves disconsolate; their labour vain.
Dread Sovereign! thou beneath whose searching eye,
Thy own creations all uncurtain’d lie;
To whose intense, whose stainless light, alone,
Sin in its dread deformity is known;
Who only know’st the creature, prone to stray,
To droop, to linger in the upward way;
To fall, even from the point of bliss, betray ‘d
By demons, in celestial guise array’d;
Speaks not thy voice to man’s presuming mind,
Through these depress’d, degraded of his kind,
Of sin’s inveterate stain, of guilt accursed,
Of death full arm’d, of paradise reversed;
Of wisdom’s dimm’d, obliterated lines,
Of love perverted in its grand designs;
Of man, weak victim of Apollyon’s thrall,
Of glory, darken’d in his ruinous fall?
And speak’st thou not, Ineffable, whose ways
Thine own clear eye in perfect light surveys,
Who read’st alone thy whole stupendous plan?
Speaks not thy monitory voice to man
Of cautious vigilance, of prayerful heed,
Of hold on heaven, lest flattering foes mislead;
Of gratitude, for gifts of priceless worth,
The purchased blessings of the second birth;
Wisdom, and peace, and purity, and love,
Immortal hopes, and endless joys above,
Through Him restored, whose rich, vmmeasured grace
Paid the dread forfeit. Death, for man’s offending race?
Chastised, and meek in spirit, turn thine eye
From lighter griefs, benign Philanthropy,
To gaze on this sad spectacle, to weep
For Adam’s fallen sons, as scatter’d sheep
Chased by the wolf of hell! The scene survey
Where, wide and far, his mangled victims lay,
And, traversing this desolated earth,
Give every sympathy of hallow’d birth
Its full, deep current o’er thy pensive mind,
To swell the stream of sorrow for thy kind?
‘Tis thine to feel the pang, to heave the sigh,
‘Tis thine with loftier, holier charity,
To buffet the stern tide, to stem the wave,
The sinking child of Misery to save,
And, jeoparded thyself, with generous hand,
To grasp and draw the perishing to land.
Oft hast thou walk’d with Wisdom, and thine eye
Has shed sad tears, thy bosom heaved a sigh
O’er this convulsed creation, o’er the strife,
The travail, and the vanity of life;
Thou hast look’d on, while History fill’d her page
With fall of kingdoms, with the phrensied rage
Of Murder, Anarchy, and War, whose hand
Bore the bright falchion and the blazing brand,
Laid peopled cities low in dust, and spread
O’er realms renown’d the silence of the dead;
And thou hast wander’d o’er those realms, and sigh’d,
Where Desolation scowl’d on human pride,
Amid colossal fragments tower’d elate,
O’er gaping tombs, in solitary state,
Erected her rude throne, and razed, the while,
Each proud memorial from the mouldering pile.
Yet not for this world’s glories pass’d away,
Not that Ambition’s crumbling relics lay
Dishonour’d in the dust; — that Nature reigns,
In solemn stillness, o’er deserted plains;
That forests in her deep recesses rise,
And spread the growth of ages to the skies,
Where safe the brinded tiger courts the shade,
Nor human foes the serpent’s haunts invade.
Not that untrod, inhospitable lands
Leave the young ostrich safe amidst the sands,
That wilds, by man unpresenced, entertain
Her meaner guests in unmolested reign:
No, not for wrecks of human grandeur, strew’d
O’er earth forlorn, or nature’s solitude,
Heaves thy warm bosom with the generous sigh,
Though there, unhonour’d. Heaven’s bright majesty
Shines in the sunlight, and distils the dews,
Stretches the star-sprent firmament, renews
Creation’s energies with vernal showers,
Embellishes the velvet glade with flowers,
Piles, mass on mass, the mountain’s giant height,
Cleaves its broad breast, that crystal currents bright
Down the dark chasm in lucid rills may flow,
And bear rich blessings to the vales below.
Yet nature’s priest is absent; to the skies
No pure returns of glad thanksgiving rise.
No voice of holy prayer, no anthems sweet,
The ear of heaven in those lone regions greet:
Man dwells not there, intelligent, Divine,
Immortal hierophant of nature’s shrine,
Nor tribute to creation’s Source ascends.
Nor soul redeem’d in prostrate worship bends.
But thou, Philanthropy, with pensive mind,
Revolving scenes long cast by Time behind,
Searchest for souls; who, once in turbid strife,
Rode the rude billows of tempestuous life,
Scaled the proud summit of terrestrial fame,
And gain’d, for one brief hour on earth, a name!
Where are they? Mausoleums tell thee not!
Who traced their blazonry of pride? Forgot!
Their record is in dust! Oblivion stood
Marking their fruitless labours: as the Flood
Tiding his billows o’er the shelvy strand,
Erases frolic childhood’s lines of sand,
So forth from central depths her veil she brought,
And mock’d the immortality they sought.
Where are they? Though the heraldry of time
Hath blurr’d terrestrial titles, some far clime
Conceals the conscious spirit; to thine eyes
Earth’s fleeting generations spectral rise.
For thou art wont in solemn mood to stray
Near the dim precincts of that shadowy way
Where Hades’ realms beyond the grave extend,
And, thither while thy pondering thoughts descend,
Thou hear’st the groans of those to darkness hurl’d,
The prison’d spirits of that elder world,
Who, proud and reckless, closed the captious ear,
Though call’d, and warn’d, yet still refused to hear,
Till Judgment, rolling with tempestuous sweep,
Indignant, plunged them in the dreadful deep.
There, in that undefined, unmeasured shade,
Thou seest earth’s multitudes of nations laid;
Armies and kings in shame and silence bear
The badge of mightier conquest; captives there,
Lie Ashur and her companies; the slain
Surround her in their blood; stern Elam’s train
Look from their graves, and even in hell elate,
Enclose their monarch, proud in darkling state.
Egypt! ambitious of eternal fame,
There is thy record found; there, clothed with shame,
Amid the’ uncircumcised, thy hosts remain,
Gone down with those their ruthless swords had slain,
Into that realm profound: the rusted blade
Beneath the warrior’s helm in quiet laid,
No longer gleams, the terror of the world;
His conquering standard, endlessly upfurl’d,
Speaks not of glory now, but shame and dread
O’ercast his deeds of might, the worm is spread
Beneath him in the grave, and sad Despair,
With pale and haggard look, sits ever brooding there.
Nor, vision’d only, to thy aching eyes,
Within that dark domain, majestic rise
The terrible among the sons of might,
From whom the nations, in their blood-track’d flight,
Shrunk, as from blasting pestilence; but there
Alike the lofty and the mean repair,
The conquering and the conquer’d; — all await
The sentence of interminable fate;
Sentence of dread, of banishment, of pain.
To souls unpurged, whom sin’s defiling stain
Left all unmeet to climb that wondrous height;
Where spirits purified, in splendours bright,
Circling the everlasting throne, ascend
To God, their portion, origin, and end.
Sad retrospect, o’er which the pensive sigh
Heaves unavailing! Turn, Philanthropy,
Thy tearful orb on nearer scenes of wo!
In what dark streams life’s turbid waters flow,
Where dull its current moves, to sense confined,
Nor bright intelligence inspires the mind;
Nor heaven-enkindled torch of sacred truth
Directs in manhood, nor restrains in youth;
Nor hope its tinted iris bright displays,
Wreathing with beauty forms of future days;
Nor love exerts its softly soothing power
To calm the tempest of the passing hour;
Nor faith, in brilliant outline, shows, sublime,
A land of rest beyond the toils of tune:
Yet, such is life, where Adam’s vagrant race
Roam, unbless’d wanderers from celestial grace,
Nor know themselves, nor Him who bore their curse,
A dark enigma to the universe.
Rank is the soil where pale cicuta grows,
Rank from its roots destructive poison flows,
Rank the dense vapours of the stagnant lake,
Whose reedy margin hides the speckled snake.
Yet not the deleterious draught distill’d
From humid plants, with noxious juices fill’d,
Nor pestilence, on dank and baleful wing,
Rising from putrid swamps; nor scorpion’s sting,
Nor dragons, hid in miry reeds that lie,
Nor basilisk in blaze of summer sky,
Nor baneful beams o’er torrid ether cast,
Nor ague shivering in the arctic blast,
To man are fearful, as his own dark mind,
Untrain’d to virtue, to instruction blind,
“Where savage Ignorance, and demon Vice,
Their victims to Destruction’s paths entice;
And Death, and Hell, unambush’d, seek their prey,
And thorns and scorpions throng the dreary way.
Here, sacred Charity, thy sorrows shed!
Wide o’er the world is this deep darkness spread;
Still hell’s dread tyrant holds infernal sway,
And earth’s corrupted sons his rule obey.
Entangled yet beneath’his galling chain,
Her myriad tribes in ruthless bonds remain;
Delusion’s spells, and Error’s vagrant arts,
Entice to death the Heathens’ alien hearts.
Still steep’d in sensual indolence, and blind,
Untutor’d in the majesty of mind,
The human savage roams the wild, nor knows
The’ eternal Fountain whence his being flows;
Nor knows himself above the grovelling train
His hunger chases o’er the desert plain,
Debased as they, yet less innocuous found,
To man, fallen man, by sensuous passions bound,
Alike to earth, to hell, by sin allied;
Unconscious borne by Time’s resistless tide,
Down the steep verge, untaught. What voice shall there
The sovereign antidote for sin declare,
The sentence of apostate souls reverse,
Or snatch a deathless spirit from the curse?
From barbarous minds dishonour’d reason fades;
Yet moral midnight other spheres pervades,
Where idol phantoms haunt the wilder’d brain,
And demons number, in their direful train,
Proud votaries of mystic science, skill’d
Delusion’s shrine of imagery to build,
To lead the dazzled multitude astray,
And urge the blind to tread the downward way;
There myriad footsteps still adventurous bend,
There countless tribes to Death’s dim shades descend,
Beneath a gloom no idol dreams disperse,
Dark, sad forebodings of the future curse,
The sense of unpurged guilt, — though rites abhorr’d,
And dread libations to hell’s tyrant lord,
Idolatry’s infernal altars stain,
And earth and heaven by impious acts profane.
Mourns pensive Sympathy o’er human grief?
Flies heaven-born Love to Misery’s prompt relief?
Do holy ties of patriot Justice bind
Earth’s sceptred rulers to the tribes consign’d
To their imperial sway? Does Albion own
A conqueror’s triumph o’er Hindostan’s throne?
Does Albion bear the Christian’s hallow’d name,
And glows not on her cheek the flush of shame,
That unimparted by her fostering hand
To myriad realms her sword, her laws command
The boon of life, the gift of Heaven, remains?
That hell’s dark king in gloomy terror reigns
In uninvaded empire, wide and far,
Beneath the light of her resplendent star?
Yes! Albion’s banners float in orient lands;
Her sails of commerce and her martial bands
Gleam bright and gorgeous on the fervid plain,
And cleave the billows of the dark blue main;
She courts the skies where favouring zephyrs blow,
The streams where broad, majestic waters flow;
The groves that high their palmy foliage wave,
The golden sands that mountain currents lave;
The costly ruby, and the emerald bright,
The sapphire steep’d in heaven’s ethereal light;
She plants the diamond in her jewell’d crown,
Sees idol votaries tremble at her frown;
Yet from the mind, that gem of heavenly price,
Seeks not to purge the dimming stains of vice;
Though rude enearth’d its beauteous lustre lies,
Reflects no beam of glory from the skies,
Nor form of grace in rich adornment wears,
Nor standard value in the balance bears.
Yes! India sighs, degraded and forlorn,
Though proud Britannia lifts the towering horn
O’er subject millions of her swarthy bands;
Receives her tribute, reaps her fertile lands,
Exacts her toil, invests her guarded coasts,
Expends her treasures, of her glory boasts;
Yet leaves her in the deepest gloom of night,
Nor bids awake to view the Gospel light,
Nor seeks to chase demoniac powers to hell,
But, undisturb’d, invites the fiend to dwell
Beneath her banner’d shade! Yes! India sighs
The suffering thrall of vanity and lies;
By sin debased, by ignorance beguiled,
By Superstition’s blood-stain’d rites defiled;
Beneath whose dark and pestilential shade
The loveliest forms of blooming nature fade;
Whose breath corrupts the healthful springs of life,
Whose reign is terror, misery, and strife.
Beneath that yoke Hindostan’s myriads groan,
Nor Albion heeds the deep, the piteous moan;
Nor lifts her sceptred hand to break the chain,
Nor guides her vassals to the purer reign
Of Gospel peace, of holiness, and love;
Nor speaks of Mercy bending from above
To succour souls distress’d: no, all is dark!
Save where, uncheer’d by earthly suns, the spark
Of Christian zeal with kindling lustre glows;
Where Charity her form benignant shows;
Where, unarray’d in draperies of pride,
With pilgrim’s staff, and heart to heaven allied,
The lonely Missionary’s prayer ascends;
Where, calmly meek, his gather’d flock he tends,
With patient footstep tracks the desert wild
In search of wanderers by the foe beguiled;
Endures meridian heats and damps of night,
With prowling wolves sustains the dangerous fight,
In steadfast faith his hallow’d course pursues,
Through lowering clouds the distant day-star views;
Like Abraham, walks before Jehovah’s face,
A beam from heaven to guide a darken’d race.
Yet Albion’s sons for India’s bondage sigh,
For India, wrong’d, they lift the prayer on high;
Nor Albion’s Church her holy prayer shall cease,
Till hapless India hail her glad release
From Superstition’s toils; till idol shrines,
And demon forms, and hell’s detested signs,
In mingled ruin press the groaning soil;
Till, from the fight triumphant, rich in spoil
From sin and hell, in arduous battle won,
Return the warriors of the conquering Son,
To show the Heathen by his cross subdued,
A sprinkled, saved, rejoicing multitude,
From death to life, from hell to heaven transferr’d,
The hallow’d trophies of the living Word.
Does Asia mourn, through all her wide domain,
The deep, dread darkness of Delusion’s reign?
Weeps she beneath the Crescent’s lurid beams,
That still, portentous, through her midnight gleams?
Does Asia weep? Alas! what words of wo
Can burthen’d Africa’s sad sorrows show?
Benighted, wandering, snared, enslaved, despoil’d,
Through rugged paths her sable sons have toiled,
The prey of Avarice, the scoff of Pride,
The common brotherhood of man denied;
Leagued with the beasts, to brutal labours doom’d,
By tortures, scourges, chains, and deaths consumed;
From home, from country, friends, and kindred torn,
By pirate bands to ruthless bondage borne.
From stranger isles to lift the imploring cry,
To Him, who, touch’d with mortal misery,
An earnest of approaching vengeance pours,
In storm and tempest on those heaving shores;
Who shakes his curses from the whirlwind’s wing,
Bids murmuring thunders threats of judgment bring;
By blasting flames of livid lightning shows,
How fierce his wrath against oppression glows.
Afflicted Africa! what tears can speak
Compassion for thy wrongs? On Europe’s cheek
Deep be the blush of shame, and copious rise
Compunction’s sorrows to her downcast eyes.
But O what sorrows can that guilt efface!
The guilt of crimes against thy injured race!
The guilt of blood for sordid avarice sold,
The murderer’s guilt, incurr’d through thirst of gold!
O she should kneel, and pour to heaven the prayer,
That righteous wrath may yet the guilty spare?
Ere yet, retributive, that wrath descend,
And forfeit blessings from her bosom rend;
Ere yet the desolating tempest sweep
Her blood-stain’d treasures to the yawning deep,
And Afric’s sons, in spectral horror rise,
To scowl, exulting, o’er her miseries.
Britatinnia! more than warrior trophies, gain’d
When hostile blood the field of conflict stain’d;
More than thy navies, though in gallant pride
Throughout the world in every port they ride;
More than thy power, thy commerce, or thy gold,
Shall truth and righteousness thy name uphold;
And more than scrolls of long ancestral race,
Those patriot pleaders shall thy senate grace,
Who dare, with warm benevolence replete,
The darkling frown of Mammon’s brow to meet;
Who, generous, fired with philanthropic zeal,
Arouse the world for Afric’s wrongs to feel;
To feel the holy rights of nature stain’d,
The great Creator in his work profaned;
And kindle, while that Heaven-affronting crime
Remains to blot the heraldry of time,
A temper’d flame of stern, reproving light,
To show the darkness of that world of night.
There is a name, which, when the Cesars fail,
Applauding multitudes shall raptured hail.
There is a name which yet the grateful earth
Binds to its bosom. Dost thou ask the worth
Of wisdom and of virtue? Seek the shade,
Where, calm, in dignified retirement laid,
The sainted patriot for his heaven prepares,
And holds a truce with earth, its toils and cares;
Toils long endured, and arduous cares sustain’d,
For suffering man in ruthless bondage chain’d;
For whom, in silver strain, his accents flow’d,
For whom his soul with warmest ardours glow’d:
Whose cause he pleaded in his country’s ear,
And Afric’s wrongs bade Albion’s senate hear;
Nor Albion’s listening senate heard in vain,
Truth’s purest eloquence inspired his strain;
His country’s Genius echoed to his voice,
And bade the depths of Afric’s wilds rejoice;
Snapp’d with indignant hand the ponderous chain,
And hurl’d her threaten’d thunders o’er the main.
Calm be thy rest, bless’d spirit! As the sun,
When his meridian course, resplendent, run,
Descends illustrious to the emerald deep,
As bright, as pure, as glorious, be the rays
That shed their lustre o’er thy evening days!
May holy visions bless the tranquil scene,
And smiling spirits from that land serene,
Invite to higher joys, to purer love,
While angel lyres, soft sounding from above,
With hallow’d songs thy passing spirit greet,
And bear it, blissful, to the Saviour’s feet!
Yet, while thy jewell’d crown, in lustre bright,
Thy palm of holy victory waves in sight,
Might Heaven, well pleas’d, the blameless wish allow,
Fain would thy country round thy honour’d brow
A wreath of recent verdure, bright, entwine.
Even now, in hope achieved, thy grand design,
Joyous she hails, and longs to share with thee
The generous triumphs of that victory,
When neither torturing scourge, nor clanking chain,
Nor slave oppress’d, beneath Britannia’s reign,
Shall blast the beauteous islands of the deep, [
And round her sea-girt throne bid scowling judgments sweep.
Yes, WILBERFORCE! the patriot’s claim is thine!
High in immortal heraldry shall shine
The holy record of thy honour’d name!
Humanity awards the wreath of fame!
And nobler styles than banner’d warrior’s bear,
“To future ages shall thy worth declare.
Friend of the friendless! when the captive’s yoke,
From his gall’d neck by lingering Justice broke,
Shall loose his tongue, and set his spirit free,
Thy name revered his grateful theme shall be.
When healthful knowledge cheers his opening mind,
And ranks him on the scale of human kind,
Brings forth his spirit to the beams of day,
To brighten in celestial wisdom’s ray;
Then, when intensest glows his soul’s desire.
And purest thoughts his wakening powers inspire;
Then shall he thankful bless the Name Divine,
And emulate philanthropy like Thine.
Unbless’d with heavenly wisdom, life is vain,
A whirlwind passing o’er the desert plain,
Whose rude and boisterous wing, with sweeping blast,
Hurtles a transient tempest, and is past.
So, rock’d in elements of stormy strife,
Flits the dark vapour of barbarian life;
So, fierce and frowning, sinks in shades away
Idolatry’s perturb’d and painful day;
So Superstition’s meteor hopes expire
Explosive sparklings of unreal fire;
So proud Presumption feels, though sighs suppress’d
Conceal the labour of the anxious breast;
So feel, and live, and pass to realms unknown,
The mighty multitude; each circling zone
Of this dark world the chain of bondage bears,
And misery, dread entail of sin, declares;
Sin, whose fell grasp the struggling earth detains,
And still to death o’er captive myriads reigns.
Philanthropy! whose hallow’d beam benign
Reflects the light of charity divine,
Here let thy pondering spirit prayerful rest;
Here heave the sigh, and smite the anxious breast;
Here ask thy heart, while Misery pours its groan,
And thy still ear receives the desolate moan,
Low murmuring, from the margin of the grave; —
Here ask thy heart, Can pitying Mercy save?
Can Charity on buoyant pinions soar,
Destruction’s dark and dreary realms explore?
The light of life, the balm of peace convey,
Reclaim the lost, turn midnight gloom to day?
Why lingers, then, the messenger of grace?
Lingers, while Adam’s uninstructed race,
As autumn leaves deciduous, fall, and lie,
Beneath the scowlings of a wintry sky?
O, long, too long, that harbinger hath stay’d;
Even Love hath linger’d, Charity delay’d;
Else had not earth till now a desert seem’d,
Nor man, immortal, by the cross redeem’d,
Remain’d the outcast slave of sin and sense,
Marr’d transcript of Divine intelligence,
Deserted temple of a hallow’d Guest,
A haunt, by spirits false and foul possess’d,
A wretched ruin, loathsome and defiled,
A base apostate, a barbarian wild.
Righteous art thou, O Lord! Yet who shall dare
To scrutinize thy judgments? Who prepare
To urge his venturous progress through the deep,
Tracking thy chariot wheels? With backward sweep
Thy wondrous course, lo, refluent waters hide;
Presumption, whelm’d beneath the boundless tide,
Pays the stern forfeit of temerity;
Faith, calm, svibmissive, pure, confides in thee,
Adoring the’ Unsearchable, though clouds
Pavilion him in night, though tempest shrouds
The march of his omnipotence, nor ray
Of beamy lightning tracks his secret way.
Ineffable! to thy omniscient eyes
At once unveil’d thy mighty purpose lies!
‘Tis thine, Eternal, Infinite, to scan
Thy whole, unbroken, vast, stupendous plan!
What Love design’d, unerring Wisdom guides;
Thy boundless mercy o’er thy works presides;
Thy power controls opposing force, and bends
Reluctant evil to benignest ends;
Nor asks thy goodness from the creature aught
But what thy love bestows; yet pondering thought
Revolves, in vain, the mystery of thy ways!
Enough! Eternity’s effulgent blaze,
O’er the pure spirit’s recreated sight,
Shall pour its whole intensity of light!
Transparent then thy glorious work shall shine.
With perfect knowledge, perfect praise combine;
Creation, form’d and govern’d by thy hand,
A monument of might, of wisdom stand;
And all thy works, consentient, loud proclaim,
In everlasting songs, the triumphs of thy Name!
Yet not for ever shall intrusive shade,
Even here on earth. Light’s holy sphere invade;
Not ever thus shall adverse powers assail,
Or prosperous craft against the truth prevail.
No; for the kingdom is the Lord’s! That word,
Proclaim’d in heaven, by listening angels heard;
That word, announced by Jadah’s royal lyre,
When Inspiration swept its chords of fire;
That word shall stand, though heaven in smoke decay,
Though solvent fires on earth’s foundations prey;
The Heathen, long by tyrant lords oppress’d,
At length beneath Messiah’s sway shall rest:
Earth’s utmost bounds his heritage shall prove,
Or spurn’d in anger, or subdued by love.
Yes, high enthroned on Zion’s sacred hill,
Messiah’s hand sustains his sceptre still;
His purchased kingdom rules in power Divine,
Injustice awful, as in grace benign.
Beneath his kindling wrath what foe shall stand?
What might resist the terrors of his hand?
Though long in patient clemency forborne,
Soon shall the withering crown of Pride be torn
From his presumptuous brow; in darkness laid,
Not long shall Antichristian powers invade
The honours of the everlasting throne;
But earth and hell the puissant Conqueror own,
Exultant share the triumphs of his reign,
Or drag in endless wrath the exiled captive’s chain,
Lo, from His Church goes forth his rod of power:
Expectant nations, eager, wait the hour
When hell’s dread chains a hand unseen shall break,
A voice from heaven their midnight slumbers wake,
A hallow’d energy their spirits fill,
A sacred impulse bend the stubborn will,
A light from purer skies illume the blind,
With beams of knowledge cheer the vacant mind,
Disperse the gloom that shrouds with guilty dread
The dark idolater’s unshelter’d head,
Unfold the visions of a brighter sphere,
And bid immortal life on death’s dim verge appear.
The nations wait: the Spirit’s energy
Pours from the weary, labouring breast the cry
For renovated life: a holy birth,
As orient dew drops gem the sparkling earth,
Even now amid the arid waste appears;
Even now his wings o’er dark and distant spheres
The’ Eternal Sun in rising radiance spreads,
And light and life o’er noxious chaos sheds,
The bitter springs of stagnant nature heals,
To parching lips health’s vital fount unseals,
Bids living verdure clothe the desert drear;
Commences, bright, the’ acceptable year,
The hallow’d dawn of liberty and peace.
The joyous jubilee of glad release
From direst bonds, by Sin and Satan laid
On captive spirits, by their arts betray’d:
Reveals Salvation’s glorious morning broke,
The dragon foil’d beneath Messiah’s stroke.
The true light now shineth.— St. John.
What shadows cannot glorious light dispel?
When first from heaven its radiance fell,
Lo! darkness plunged into the deep;
Swift o’er the soundless gulf of hell,
His rushing wings were heard to sweep
Above, the rich, full-toned, harmonious swell
Of angel lyres their raptures told,
Sweet music burst from chord and shell,
As broad and bright its radiance roll’d,
They saw, before the quickening ray,
Void, formless chaos haste away,
And heaven its bright expanse display;
Creation hail the rising day;
They heard fair Nature’s voice, rejoicing, say,
“What shadows cannot glorious light dispel?”
Light! emblem of the purity Divine!
Thy penetrating beams refine
The dross of this disorder’d earth;
The bright blue heavens resplendent shine
When thou in glory issuest forth;
The sun is but a charioteer of thine;
And the meek moon, through yonder hyaline
That moves so gracefully, receives thy gifts benign.
Emblem of Heaven’s, beneficence, fair light!
Thou scatterest blessings in thy flight!
The wing of morn receives its hues from thee,
When, rising from the emerald sea,
She decks the earth with dew drops bright.
And every flower that charms the sight.
Vermeil, saffron, pearly white,
Commingling colours infinite,
Purple violet, blushing rose,—
Every beauteous plant that grows
In dell or shade,
Or sunny glade, —
Receives from thee its grace, benign, celestial light!
Pure effluence from the Fount of being! thou
Nor bind’st alone on Nature’s brow
Her coronal of various dyes;
Through thee life’s streams instinctive flow,
In all their vigorous energies;
Languid and drooping beneath polar skies,
In torpid gloom she lies,
Her wheel revolving slow:
Distant from thee, fair light, her sickly pulse is low,
In thy eclipse is sorrow; in thy beams
The halcyon home of pleasure seems:
Wisdom arrays herself with thee:
Joy brightens in thy lucid streams;
And heaven’s own stainless sanctity,
Thee, of itself not unmeet symbol, deems;
Thy splendour o’er the seraph gleams.
Yet higher, — O transcendent height! —
Thou, as a robe, around the Infinite,
Shrouding his glory’s blaze,
Pourest intense, insufferable rays;
Thy dazzling form Jehovah wears;
And, lo! his oracle declares
That God himself is Light!
Light Uncreate! the mantling mists of hell
Soon shall thy glorious beams dispel!
Swift to its subterrene abode
Shall pass the night that on creation fell,
When sin and wrath the fallen world o’erflow’d.
Again this dark, disorder’d earth,
In pristine purity shall shine,
And beauteous in its second birth,
Reflect the Light Divine.
That sun is up whose beams shall trace
Each long-lost lineament of grace,
Fach faded tint of loveliness restore.
That Sun is up whose beams shall set no more,
Whose quenchless rays shall scatter wide
Delusion, Falsehood, Error, Pride,
The troublous storms of passion quell,
And chase Night’s dread chimeras back to hell.
Hail! Uncreated Light!
Thy stainless splendours bright
Shall pierce the shades of death, sepulchral gloom dispel!
Shine, Everlasting Sun!
Thy glorious circuit run!
Wide dispread thy healing wings,
Quickening earth awaits thy power;
Lo, the new creation springs!
Bends the branch, and blooms the flower.
Light itself but shadows thee;
Shine till all thy glory see!
On tented field what veteran warrior sleeps,
When loud and long the clangous trumpet sweeps
Its charge of battle through the echoing hills?
When, fierce, the foe with shout of onset fills
Reverberant heaven with dissonance and dread?
No; quick the crested helmet o’er his head
Waves its black plumes; with sword and corslet bright,
And full-orb’d shield emboss’d, for fearful fight
Instant equipp’d, beneath his captain’s eye,
With march intrepid, on to victory
All undismay’d he goes: nor life is dear,
Nor danger terrible; his eye, his ear,
His soul, by one absorbing aim confined,
Casts every thought but conquest far behind.
So starts the Church, aroused by martial cry
Of mustering hosts in arms: her Captain’s eye
Signals to battle, where the proudest foes,
Though scathed by burning thunders, yet oppose
Messiah’s conquering sway: around his sign
His call’d, his chosen, faithful friends combine;
In might invincible they nobly wield
The sword of temper and the sevenfold shield;
Fix’d in the firm resolve to sleep no more
While hell’s dread hosts their banded legions pour;
While blood-stain’d idols haunt the withering earth,
While Superstition rears her demon birth,
While Antichrist his hydra form extends,
Or man, debased, to grovelling folly bends;
While unsubdued Messiah’s latest foe,
Or earth its curse by sin and suffering know.
Not like earth’s warriors, bounding from afar
O’er sanguine plains, deep-plough’d with iron car
Of Slaughter, yoked to Tumult’s snorting steeds,
Eager for blood, and where the trumpet leads
Proud prancing to the fight; not wrapt in vest
Of gory crimson, nor with plumed crest
“Waving its gorgon terrors in the wind,
Dread ministers of wrath to scourge mankind: —
Not such Messiah’s sacramental bands;
No, swords of other temper their purged hands
From their liege Lord receive; far other fight
Than sternest conflict of terrestrial might
Emmanuel to his marshall’d hosts assigns;
Bright on their ranks no blazon’d banner shines,
Nor trump sonorous wakes to warlike fires,
Nor ardour kindles but what Heaven inspires.
A viewless Leader summons to the field;
A prize from all but Faith’s clear eye conceal’d
Awaits the victory in that arduous fight,
That glorious triumph o’er the hosts of night.
Earth, bound to sense and time, no wreath bestows
On hallow’d enterprise, whose ardour knows
No conflict but with adverse powers unseen;
She spurns its toils, accounts its triumphs mean,
And, deep immersed in transitory cares,
No sympathy with man, immortal, shares;
No lofty scenes attract her downcast eyes,
No thought expands o’er human destinies
Link’d with eternal life, or endless wo.
Soldier of Christ! her worthless crown forego!
‘Tis thine to bear the cross with Him who bled
On its rude height; who bow’d his suffering head,
A Man of Sacrifice. ‘Tis thine to share
The martyr spirit that transfix’d him there;
Like him thyself for others to forego,
Detach’d from earth, and dead to things below;
Awake to Heaven’s inspiring call alone,
Blind but to splendours from the’ Eternal Throne;
Purged from terrestrial dross, and prompt to rise
In holy converse to the bending skies;
To catch from seraph flames the glow of love;
Swift, duteous zeal from angel powers above;
Like them employ’d, bless’d minister of grace,
On Mercy’s errands to the wandering race.
Soldier of Christ! thy veteran valour tried,
Must oft have proved its temper by the side
Of Him who wrestled with the powers of hell;
Beneath whose might their leader, vanquish’d fell;
A sharer with the Man of griefs, thy soul
Must know to buffet the stern tempest’s roll;
Dauntless, though danger frown or death be nigh,
Prepared to prove thy spirit’s constancy
Beneath the sneer, the taunt, the scourge, the sword,
The wild, rude floods of persecution, pour’d
From dragon fiends, or powers of death, averse
From this dark world to heave the primal curse,
Themselves enslaved, who yet delight to bind
The chains of ruthless bondage on mankind.
To meek endurance train’d, and patient love,
Transcript of Him, self-emptied, from above,
The servant, lowly, gentle, kind, must tread
The hallow’d path his gracious Master led;
Whose sympathies in uncheck’d pity fell
On recreant guilt, whose love, ineffable,
In softest yearnings of compassion moved
Toward wailing Grief or Error, blind, that roved
Far from the path of peace; whose wisdom taught
Even simplest babes, and, condescending, brought
Divine instruction to the humblest ear
That meekly bow’d, his gracious words to hear.
For lofty aim design’d, and bold emprise,
Beneath what tutoring dishipline shall rise
These sons of moral might? these spirits high,
Who scale earth’s pinnacles, and, bold, descry
Eternity beyond? What breath shall raise
These sparks of hallow’d ardour to a blaze?
Ignite these holy flames, in quenchless love
To burn and shine below; then mount above,
To blend with brighter fervours in the skies,
And, pure, toward Fontal Light in endless radiance rise?
Ah! not the veteran warrior’s sternest rules,
Or treasured lore of philosophic schools,
Can mould the spirit to that form Divine;
The meek, the firm, the strong, the soft, combine;
With valorous virture yielding kindness blend;
To sternest truth love’s gentlest accent lend;
Raise holy passion in a soul subdued.
At home with God; amid the multitude,
A teacher and a friend, — a guide, whose light,
Falling like heaven’s own beams, serenely bright,
Exhibits Virtue in her angel guise,
And tracks her hallow’d progress to the skies.
He, only He, who, glorious, bears on high,
Symboll’d in fires, the sevenfold energy;
Whose sacred unction feeds each vital flame,
In form distinct, yet still in source the same:
He from whose throne the copious blessing flows;
Whose bounteous hand the varied gift bestows;
Who calls, and seals, and hallows, and prepares
His angel ministers to glory’s heirs:
The’ Eternal Spirit, — He, in boundless grace,
Ordains his heralds to the fallen race:
He arms his chosen warriors for the fight,
Arrays them in his panoply of light,
Girds with his sword, instructs their hands to wield
The two-edged falchion, and the bright-orb’d shield,
Nerves with his strength invincible, inspires
Their burning spirits with his altar fires,
Pours on their heads his unction from above,
Baptizes with his own supernal love.
On names to earth unknown his grace descends;
The formless vessel to his mould he bends;
Brings through the pangs of second birth, the strife
Of earnest conflict for immortal life,
The sin-stain’d spirit’s agony of prayer,
The faith that seals its blood-bought pardon there;
Breathes the deep peace, from Godhead reconciled,
The filial cry, that speaks the’ accepted child,
The light, the love, that o’er the hallow’d soul
With plastic power exert their sweet control;
The servant with the Master’s form impress,
That, bright, remodell’d in his holiness,
His doctrine in his blameless life may shine,
An unstain’d mirror of the truth Divine.
Such messengers at first Messiah sent,
To teach the world his truth: no blandishment
Of earth’s adorning clothed their simple speech;
Yet came the word with power; ’twas strong to reach
The slumbering conscience, in its dark retreats
Of sophistry and pride, to shake the seats
Of gorgeous majesty, from demon shrines
To rend the wreaths of ages, stay the signs
Of muttering spirits, break the charmed spell
Wrought by delusion in the depths of hell.
Such were the men, and such their deeds of might!
As speeds through argent heaven his dazzling flight
The pure and glorious sun, so, onward they,
Mantled in truth, sublimely held their way,
Till bow’d the world before the sacred sign,
And ransom’d nations bless’d the light Divine.
Before that sign again the world shall bend;
Again the Church her conquering armies send;
Her men of apostolic faith, of zeal,
Through every clime to spread the truths they feel,
To win the field from Satan’s tyrant sway,
Earth’s trophies at Messiah’s feet to lay.
And now, even now, the solemn trumpet’s sound
Calls Zion’s forces to the tented ground;
And, lo, in mailed garb her warriors throng,
To meet the front of battle, broad and strong
In phalanx firm against the foe to stand,
To bear the war through each unconquer’d land,
Till, east, and west, and north, and south, subdued,
O’er spire-crown’d cities, desert mountains rude,
The blood-stain’d standard wave from every height,
In one hosanna every voice unite.
Soldiers of Christ! ye holy men of prayer,
Ye men of sacrifice, who nobly dare
The dangers of the field! ’tis yours to see
The present pledge of future victory;
In barbarous lands the primal spoils to win,
From hell’s dread empire, and the hydra sin;
Sweet sounds of peace thraugh desert lands to spread;
To show the king of terrors captive led;
To bear triumphant from the monster’s sting,
Myriads of spirits thrall’d. ‘Tis yours to bring
The trophied shield, the conquering banner crown’d
With earliest laurels from the well-fought ground.
The Gospel, form’d for man, on man bestows
A balm remedial for the direst woes
By Heaven inflicted on this sin-stain’d earth:
It gives monition of his glorious birth;
Exalts his grovelling nature to the scale
Of angel intellect, and bids him hail
His bright copartnership in endless life
With those unsinning spirits; wakes the strife
For glory, virtue, purity sublime ;
Lifts the dim curtain up from death and time;
And shows, consummated in brighter spheres,
The’ unravell’d mysteries of this vale of tears.
It gilds the present scene; with kindly art,
Unbinds those sympathies that, mild, impart
Their holy tenderness to suffering life;
Subdues tumultuous Passion’s stormy strife;
To social rule unlutor’d rudeness bends;
Restrains the mighty, and the weak defends;
With justice nerves the arm of Law; surrounds
The throne with strength, and gives to Power its bounds,
Till every part, beneath its wise control,
Subserves the beauteous order of the whole.
Remodell’d by this wand of power, this rod,
Borne by commission’d hands, what works of God
Has this dark world disclosed! Its deserts wild
Have bloom’d in beauty; bright and soft have smiled.
In its rude glens, the myrtle and the rose:
Where dragons lay, in perilous repose,
Now springs the healthful blade; a tide of life
Comes on the gale where pestilence, late rife
With mortal plagues, disburden’d her dank wing;
Cheer’d by heaven’s light, unwonted wild notes ring
Through the deep forest’s gloom; on mountain streams,
Translucent, fall bright Morning’s beauteous beams;
Fresh night dews sparkle on the thirsty ground;
Creation wakes, and Nature smiles around.
Won from the wastes of rude barbarian night,
Such scenes of moral beauty bless the sight.
Sin’s deadliest haunts the Gospel power assails.
And, lo, the talisman of truth prevails!
Detested demons quit their trembling prey;
In dust defiled deserted idols lay;
Man, grovelling, brutal, feels a sacred flame
Inspire his kindling spirit; generous shame
For acts and thoughts of evil leads his soul
To higher purpose, and the just control
Of opening reason; while the living light,
Direct from heaven pour’d on his wondering sight,
Discovers depths of guilt, and heights of grace,
The destinies of Adam’s deathless race;
Transforms the slave of passion, vice, and crime,
To bear, erect, the godlike port sublime;
To feel the high prerogative of mind;
To live a man, a blessing to his kind.
From shores where Freedom dwells, and Gospel light,
Where holy Truth unveils her radiance bright,
Glides the proud vessel to the distant strand:
With eager footstep, on that stranger land,
Alights the messenger of peace. His eye
The index of his heart’s philanthropy:
Sweet incense greets him from the verdant plain.
O’er glistering coral breaks the bright blue main;
Heaven’s placid glory on its bosom sleeps,
And shelving rocks, and rugged mountain steeps
Reflect their rude magnificence below;
Bright down their rifted sides fresh fountains flow,
Fair Nature, joyous, through her palmy groves,
With sportive zephyr, gay and healthful roves,
Crests the tall pinnacle, and clothes the dell;
Wakes sylvan tones from echo’s murmuring shells
Luxuriant strews her blooming treasures round,
Treads with light footstep o’er the enamell’d ground,
Unfurls her broad bananas to the gale,
And with her tangled banian shades the vale.
Creation blooms in loveliness! His sight
Rests on a paradise of soft delight.
But where is man, its lord, for whom these skies
Dispense their blessings? He whom earth supplies
From its exuberant bounty? Where is he,
The last, best, noblest work of Deity?
Shame kindles on the stranger’s cheek; surprise.
And grief, and pity, all tumultuous rise,
While, sunk in deep debasement, dark and wild,
To brutes degraded, as the fiend defiled,
Comes forth the tenant of a world so fair:
Yet yields not love nor pity to despair;
The rod of power is in his hand; it saves
From gulfs more terrible than Egypt’s waves;
Lo, at Jehovah’s word its might he proves,
Hell owns the sign, and from its haunt removes!
How changed the scene! The savage, nursed in blood,
Impure, and treacherous as the changeful flood
Circling his island home; the slave of sense,
Degraded outcast from intelligence,
Sport of malignant demons, thrall of fear,
Devoted spoil of death; on whose dull ear
No music sounded ever from the skies,
Though circling spheres breathed ceaseless harmonies;
From whose cold breast no raptured fervours came,
Though o’er the emerald deep his wings of flame
The broad, bright sun in dazzling splendour spread;
Though, mild, at eve, night’s silver planet led
Her host of sparkling stars; though gentle rain
And copious dews refresh’d the thirsty plain;
Heaven’s bounteous gifts who all unconscious shared,
Nor holy offering, nor meet praise prepared,
Unhonour’d, undesired, unknown the Name,
Unseen the Hand whence all his blessings came;
Unfelt, and unbewail’d, the spirit’s curse,
The curse of sin; the heart from heaven averse,
Unform’d for humble prayer, for holy love,
Untaught to seek, to hope for joys above,
Unsolaced ‘mid the rankling thorns of care,
Dark, cheerless, trembling victim of despair!
How changed the scene! That fierce barbarian wild
Has heard the Gospel summons. Now, a child,
Meekly he yields him to its hallow’d sway;
Unfolding intellect receives the ray
Of pure and living light; unknown desire,
Fear, hope, unfelt till now, his heart inspire;
The new creation’s dawning glories rise
In holy beauty on his wondering eyes;
Now heaves his breast the penitential sigh,
Now pours his soul the pleading prayer on high;
Now swells the song of praise, the holy hymn,
Reechoed sweet by answering cherubim,
Whose hallow’d joys to higher raptures rise
When contrite tears suffuse the mourner’s eyes.
Now breathes the Sabbath’s saintly silence round;
His eager footsteps press the hallow’d ground,
And lowly prostrate in the house of prayer,
His conscious spirit owns that God is there.
Now reigns Jehovah in his works confess’d,
Heaven sheds new splendours, verdant earth, impress’d
With footsteps of Divinity, reveals
A Presence unperceived till now; he feels
Surrounded by that strange, that wondrous might
That piled the mountains, rear’d the rough rock’s height;
He hears that voice in solemn silence sound
Which binds the deep within its destined bound; —
‘Tis God in majesty! ‘Tis wisdom, power!
Yet love, presiding in that awful hour.
Whispers of heavenly grace; a Father’s hand
Propitious, rules the sky, the sea, the land.
With filial joy his soul, exulting, springs
From doubt’s dark confines; on Devotion’s wings,
For him unfledged so long, he soars to raise
In Heaven’s according ear sweet sounds of praise,
God, his Creator, Father, Lord, to own,
Too long unhonour’d, unadored, unknown.
Yet now at length confess’d his Guide and Friend,
His being’s Hope, Original, and End.
With healthful beam o’er that untutor’d mind
Now cheering Science sheds its light refined;
Deep furrow’d by Instruction’s patient toil,
The seeds of knowledge on that rugged soil
Send forth the vigorous blade; domestic ties
Now bind the soul in life’s sweet charities;
Stern, sullen Strife foregoes his hateful sway;
Peace, Industry, and Order, bland, display,
To bless his prosperous path, their rising light;
Discordant elements, reform’d, unite;
And’social man, by Christian grace renew’d,
Reclaim’d from savage, selfish solitude,
In kindly compact lives, the general friend,
His law benevolence, and heaven his end.
It was thy work, Messiah! Thou wast seen
Treading the waves amid those islands green;
Thou didst ascewd the tossing bark, and sail
With thy disciples through the perilous gale;
Thou didst to that deserted region come,
Where “Legion” wander’d by the silent tomb;
Thy pity met him, and thy voice of power
His fetters broke; from that delightful hour
Clothed, at thy feet he sits; or joyful goes
To publish Him from whom salvation flows;
Extols with healthful mind thy power benign,
And bids the listening isles receive thy grace Divine.
Earth, dark and sterile though it be, presents
Such renovated life,— isles, continents,
Climes nurtured bright by southern suns, or where
Through arctic circles wheels the sparkling Bear;
Where vast Pacific rolls with mountain sweep,
And Eden blooms amid the watery deep;
Where Afric spreads its sullen wastes of sand,
Where stern Atlantic laves Columbia’s strand,
Where costly gems in orient mountains glow,
And glistering pearls enrich the floods below:—
There stands, confess’d by more than mortal sign,
The mighty agency of truth Divine;
There man, the monument of Gospel grace,
Revives to share the glory of his race,
Spurns the dull yoke of ignorance and sense,
And springs to happier life and lost intelligence.
Yes, Africa! even thy benighted skies
At length behold the purple morning rise!
Thy glowing ether streams with radiant light,
And floods of amber steep thy mountains’ height;
Mountains on whose rude tops the deepening shade
Of midnight darkness, from creation laid,
Has chill’d the pale and sickly plants that grow
Unscented in thy rugged vales below;
Pernicious poisons on thy plains distill’d,
Thy tainted breezes with infection fill’d,
Its cheerless gloom o’er withering nature spread,
And wide the moral scene immersed in shadows dread.
As sails the cloud from whose impending shade
The dread artillery of the tempest play’d,
When rising winds dispart its massive piles,
And show the pure, ethereal calm that smiles
In the pure vault above; so rolls the gloom
That wrapp’d thee in the shadows of the tomb
Prom thy long-curtain’d skies; by Him dispell’d
In whose strong grasp the winds of heaven are held.
He gently breathing o’er the formless mass,
As erst o’er chaos, swift the shadows pass,
Sweet gales of grace sin’s stagnant mists disperse.
Disclose the light that cheers the universe,
And lo! the Sun, in dazzling strength appears,
And with his glorious beams even desert Afric cheers.
From mountains towering o’er the western deep,
From frowning rocks where southern billows sweep,
From orient coasts by Indian breezes fann’d,
The Gospel trumpet wakes thy slumbering land;
Around thy shores the herald angel bright,
Dispensing blessings, wheels his glorious flight;
Life in his course, and health and verdure spring,
Sweet Pleasure brightens in his beamy wing;
Rejoicing Nature on his voice attends,
Man, wondering man, in strange emotion bends;
Unpractised in salvation’s sounds, his ear
Awaits Heaven’s opening touch: that hand is near
Which erst in Judah’s climes the deaf restored,
And living light on wandering blindness pour’d.
That present Power, lo, Afric’s sons confess,
Hosannas cheer the desert wilderness ;
Rude rocks and mountain caves the strains prolong,
From clime to clime reverberant rolls the song;
Translucent tides convey its liquid notes,
Mellifluous on the breeze of heaven it floats;
In lonely solitude the voice of prayer
Ascends to Him who reigns in silence there;
And there, but newly taught from earth to rise,
Devotion plumes her pinions for the skies.
There are who love the sylvan scene, when high
The bright moon rides in the ethereal sky,
And o’er heaven’s dark blue vault, and o’er the green,
(Earth’s beauteous mantle,) casts her glittering sheen;
When not a cloud, presumptive, dares intrude,
A vagrant on that splendid solitude;
Or zephyr, restless, raise his murmuring shell,
To wake soft silence from her moonlight spell:
There are who at that sweet, still hour invite
Sublime companionship with spirits bright,
Who list the breathing lute, who wait to see
Forms loved and lost, in sainted minstrelsy
Tuning awhile the notes of paradise,
And soft and splendid as those moonlight skies,
Inviting friends beloved to rise from earth,
And pant for pleasures of celestial birth.
There are to whom such soothing scenes present
An image of heaven’s stainless element;
And they will love, with angels hovering nigh,
To listen even to earthly minstrelsy,
To catch the voice of praise, the voice of prayer,
Ascending soft upon the midnight air,
From lips unused to raise the solemn hymn,
Unpractised in the strains of cherubim;
From whom no breathing sigh was wont to rise,
Who knew no suppliant commerce with the skies;
From lonely huts in Afric’s deserts wild,
From mountain glens, whose towering bulwarks piled
In frowning height o’erhang the vales below,
And, rude, their shadows o’er the moonbeams throw;
From coverts close amid the bushy brake,
Where outcasts wild from nightly slumbers wake
To meet the’ Omniscient Eye, to seek the Power
Whose Name, unknown till that impressive hour,
Now fills their opening minds with strange concern,
Of life, of hope, of heaven, of Him to learn.
Cold is that heart, unused to solemn mood,
To impulse deep, who in that solitude
Would not have stood with Heaven in audience high,
Beneath the veil of that far-stretching sky,
When there the angel herald stay’d his flight,
And, while in heaven high hung the orb of night,
Like him who gather’d Israel’s wanderers wide,
Announced his message from the mountain’s side,
Behind their chiefs barbarian tribes advance;
Dim, fitful, strange, their uncouth shadows glance
Athwart the beams of that pale cresset bright,
Which yields their patriarchal temple light.
The stranger guest their gather’d ranks surround,
Sedate, in thoughtful silence, wait the sound,
The sound till then unheard, of mercy nigh,
Of proffer’d peace, of purchased clemency.
Yes, then the desert heard the prophet’s voice;
He bade those sterile, rugged climes rejoice;
Proclaim’d the message of the Saviour’s love,
The Name that brought redemption from above;
Proclaim’d to dull, barbarian ears the grace
That seeks and saves a lost, an alien race;
Proclaim’d, till bright the kindling ardour burn’d,
Heaven shone on earth, and earth the beam return’d.
Even savage breasts a sacred impulse fired,
And faith, enraptured, from the scene retired.
The same in every age, in every clime,
The Gospel’s simple, saving truths, sublime,
Speak to man’s anxious heart; they meet the cry
Of burthen’d nature in captivity
Thi’ough sin’s o’erwhelming curse, the restless pain
Of spirits struggling with corruption’s chain;
They meet the loftiest moods of soaring thought,
The deep debasement of dark spirits brought
Within the verge of sense: not unapplied
That Gospel fell on Afric’s deserts wide;
Beneath its power her sable children bend
In humble homage to the sinner’s Friend,
And, docile at the teacher’s feet reclined,
Attentive wait the path of life to find;
The path they seek the quickening Spirit shows.
And holy light and heavenly grace bestows,
Owns and confirms the pure baptismal sign,
Accepts as offerings to the sacred shrine
The primal fruits that in his house appear,
Prelusive of the ripening harvest near.
Nor to the Church on earth received alone,
In hallow’d hope, — to Heaven’s eternal throne
From death’s dark shades, lo, alien strangers rise
To share a Father’s mansion in the skies;
In tranquil peace from life’s rude scenes depart,
Meet unappali’d the dreaded tyrant’s dart;
New born to brighter hopes, their quivering breath
Proclaims salvation in the grasp of death;
Their filial faith on proffer’d grace relies,
Accepts the Heaven-appointed Sacrifice,
Till, glad dismiss’d to rest with saints above,
They share in paradise a Father’s equal love.
Thus beckoning hope invites to toil renew’d,
Sweet blossoms scent the desert solitude,
And cheerful voices from wild woodlands sing
Tlie beauteous verdure of reviving spring;
While Faith and Charity accept the sign,
Co-workers with Beneficence Divine.
Go, then, ye spirits of unearthly mould,
Who dare to emulate those names of old,
Emblazon’d in celestial registry,
Who toil’d, and bled, and gloried even to die
For Christ, and for the cause he left below?
Ye whose pure thoughts with warm expansions glow,
Whose glistering eyes behold the martyr’s crown,
Content with Paul to lay, rejoicing, down
A weary frame, consumed with toil and care,
The Master’s sacrificial griefs to share;
Like him in fix’d resolve an offering given,
To serve till death, and grasp the palm in heaven.
Go, ye who dare renounce a world of sense,
Sublime aspirants to magnificence
From vulgar minds conceal’d , go, grasp the prize!
Go, nerved for toil, for pain, for sacrifice!
Go, win the world to grace your Saviour’s crown!
Go, love like Him, and tread the tempter down!
Go, for even yet, o’erhung with shades of night,
An orb opaque, earth wheels her destined flight,
Or moves, a meteor in a turbid sky,
On whose broad piles dim, lowering tempests lie,
Though sunbeams, on its fleecy margin spread,
Gild the rude mass, and cheering lustre shed.
Go, arm’d with wisdom, virtue, patience, prayer,
The Saviour’s cross, the Saviour’s glory share;
Forego the ties of friendship, country, home;
Go, wake by night, by day as strangers roam;
Go, seek the sheep on desert mountains wide,
The lorn, lost wanderers to the Shepherd guide;
Go, tempt the marshy plain, the misty air,
The torrent’s sweep, the f.tful lightning’s glare,
The fierce tornado in its furious course,
The thunder’s crash, the rude barbarian force
Of lawless man, untrain’d to social arts,
Fell Pestilence, and fiery Fever’s darts:
Go, nobly dare to brave the shafts of death;
Jehovah’s hand shall keep thy fluttering breath,
His power impetuous elements restrain,
Arrest fierce fever in thy throbbing vein;
Turn baleful plague, innocuous, from thy way.
Barbarian wrath by secret impulse stay;
Bid guardian angels on thy steps attend,
Thy peril’d path in danger’s hour defend,
Till, glad, — at length thy destined labours wrought,
Thy course fulfill’d, the fight victorious fought,
While soft the quivering, speechless lip commends
The soul to Him who on his saints attends;
While angel wings amid the silence sweep,
While seraphs smile, and sad survivors weep, —
The’ unprison’d spirit, freed from earth, shall rise,
And grasp the crown impending from the skies;
Receive the plaudit of approving Love,
The joyous welcome to the rest above,
To wait, in holy, tranquil triumph there,
For those, the trophies of thy faith and prayer,
For those thy dauntless spirit rush’d to save
From sin’s deep gulf, from death’s o’erwhelming wave:
To wait till each the blissful haven gain,
When thou, blest leader of the rescued train,
A glorious band with sacred joy shalt bring,
And, meek presenting to thy Saviour King,
Low at his feet shalt lay thy banners down,
And from his hand receive an amaranthine crown.
Peace to the souls received to hallow’d rest!
Peace to the pilgrim on earth’s quiet breast
In tranquil slumbers laid! whose weary feet,
Unsandall’d now, no burning deserts meet.
Peace to the prophet’s grave! For, lowly laid,
He sleeps serene beneath his palm tree’s shade;
In hope he sleeps, beside the sainted shrine
His zeal erected to the Name Divine;
And oft, ‘mid nature’s sympathetic gloom,
Shall holy tears bedew his silent tomb,
And fervid lips shall bless his memory there,
Who bent their footsteps to that house of prayer
Whose lucid spire ‘mid darkling woodlands seen,
When morning glows, or evening sinks serene,
Proclaims that there the gentle voice of Love
Has breathed the whispers of the heavenly Dove;
That there the message of salvation, told,
Has gather’d wanderers to the sheltering fold;
That there, reclaim’d from rude barbarian strife,
Man owns the social sympathies of life;
That there, aroused to feel his heavenly birth,
He courts a bliss beyond the bounds of earth;
That there, redeem’d, the peace of heaven he shares,
A Christian’s name, a Christian’s glory bears.
TO A FRIEND OF MISSIONS
Prophetic Muse! to scenes of death,
Unwittingly thy numbers stray’d;
With angels watch’d the parting breath
Of saints in hallow’d slumbers laid;
Stood by the Missionary’s bier,
And dropp’d on Afric’s sands a tear.
Ah ! homeward turn thy wandering feet,
Thy native vales are fill’d with grief;
And many a sound thine ear shall meet,
A sound of wailing, sudden, brief;
Struck by Astonishment, whose strings
Are waken’d by the tempest’s wings.
Death is a tempest, when it comes
With rushing sweep upon the soul;
Chafed by dark rocks, the ocean foams;
By fierce winds lash’d, rude billows roll;
But more tumultuous, on the verge
Of time, resounds death’s swelling surge.
PHILANDER! while the sun was high,
Nor gathering clouds presaged him near,
That meteor form, athwart the sky,
A gliding phantom, dark and drear,
Rush’d on thy unsuspecting way,
And smote thee with malignant ray.
The stroke with sudden impulse came;
It found thee on the field of strife;
But thine was no ignoble aim,
No selfish cares engross’d thy life;
To God, to man, that life was given;
‘Twas toil on earth, ’tis rest in heaven.
Rest, rest in glory! O’er thy bier
Shall Faith and Hope submissive bow;
Sad Friendship drops the tender tear,
With cypress wreathes her pensive brow,
Pale, by her crumbling column leans,
And turns to heaven for happier scenes.
Rest in thy bliss! For not in vain
The wretched sought repose from thee:
Thine ear received the plaintive strain,
Wrung from the breast of Misery.
Thy heart, thy hand extended wide,
The balm to Sorrow’s wounds applied.
Rest with the saints whose race is run,
Whose virtues track their flight to heaven.
The goal is gain’d, the battle’s won,
To thee the palm, the crown be given,
Which conquerors in that region wear,
Where all is lasting, bright, and fair.
Farewell, Philander! never more
Thine ear shall greet the Muse’s strain,
Till on that calm, that bhssful shore,
Friends sever’d here shall meet again.
Farewell The minstrel’s plaintive tone
Sighs to the winds, “My friends are gone!”
Yes, those who loved her, those who praised
The warblings of a simple lyre,
To heaven’s harmonious courts are raised,
To meet them there, let her aspire;
In Sorrow’s solitary gloom,
Wait years of bliss beyond the tornb.
Years! No! Such sever’d shreds of time
Pass not beyond earth’s narrow bound;
Duration, measureless, sublime,
Encircled in her ample round,
Eternity’s vast scroll shall show, —
Years, days, and hours are left below.
But should funereal sorrows blend
With high and hallow’d themes like thine?
Forgive the Muse, she mourns a friend,
A patron of that cause divine,
For which her warmest ardours glow,
Which wakes her lyre to songs below.
Philander loved the Saviour’s name,
With ardent zeal his glory sought;
Devotion’s pure and fervid flame
Refin’d the gross, the grovelling thought;
And while to heaven in prayer he turn’d,
O’er earth his pitying kindness yearn’d.
He cared for heathen tribes, and loved
The Church, the kingdom of his Lord.
By Charity’s sweet impulse moved,
To flow in copious streams abroad,
His heart’s diffusive kindness spread
To all who hold the mystic Head.
So on the pure, the silent lake
Descends the impulse from on high;
No rising winds its surface shake;
Yet swift in curling circles fly
Its waters to their utmost bound,
And feed the freshening woodlands round.
Farewell, Philander! Even the page,
To Heaven devote, may own thy name;
Thee still shall hallow’d themes engage;
Thy sphere is changed, thy work the same;
A minister of mercy still,
If saints above such charge fulfil.
Farewell! Awhile thy friends on earth
Pursue the path to each assigned;
Yet, waiting for their heavenly birth,
Prepared their perfect bliss to find,
They look to meet thee on that shore.
Where life’s inconstant scenes are o’er.
Friendship in heaven resides alone,
In all her symmetry of bliss:
Here veil’d, and as a stranger known;
Yet o’er the heart’s best sympathies
She holds her strong, her sweet control,
And lays in lasting bonds the soul.
Friends join’d above shall part no more,
No sigh shall heave the swelling breast;
Unclouded light its radiance pour,
While, pure, the spirit stands confess’d;
Nor darkling mists an entrance find,
To grieve the heart, or veil the mind.
All, all in those sweet realms is love!
The nature and the bliss divine!
And saints on earth, and saints above,
Shall soon in hallow’d union join,
Within their Father’s housf to raise
One song of consentaneous praise.
The shadows flee, the morning breaks,
The long, dark night of death recedes,
Earth’s reeling orb convulsive, shakes,
The flame on heaven’s bright concave feeds,
Long, loud, and deep, the trumpet’s sound
Re-echoes through the heaving ground.
‘Tis past! The dreamless sleep is o’er!
Lo, myriads to the call reply!
The earth, the sea, their dead restore,
And Hades’ house of mystery
Sends forth its immaterial guests,
To wait Jehovah’s high behests.
Jehovah speaks! In living light,
In glory like His own array’d,
Than suns, than seraph flames, more bright,
Upstarting from death’s central shade,
His resurrection’s power to share,
His servants meet him in the air.
‘Tis finish’d ! His mysterious plan
Results in ecstasies of praise:
The wisdom angels could not scan,
The depth of his unmeasured ways,
Are now to saints and seraphs shown,
While wonder yields to love alone.
Go, then, thy way; with patient mind
Pursue the path prepared for thee;
There is a rest which thou shalt find;
There, in that bright eternity,
The heart no guise of suffering wears,
Nor Death from Life its laurel tears.
There is a Sabbath for the world; a rest
In promise given, when burthen’d earth, oppressed
No more beneath the withering curse shall sigh,
But holy Peace, and heaven-born Charity,
Man, renovated man, in concord bind;
When Truth’s ethereal radiance o’er his mind
Shall cast the splendours of unsullied light;
When, reimpress’d with Heaven’s perfections bright
Creation’s lord and hierophant, again
Earth’s varied tribes shall bless his gentle reign,
In union sweet, fierce, adverse natures blend,
And guile, and hate, and rage, and discord, end.
There is a rest, a promised rest, sublime,
A Sabbath, even within the verge of time,
For which the prayerful Church, expectant, sighs,
Which Faith with more than eagle glance descries,
Which seraph Charity, with raptured glow,
And holy Hope, anticipate below;
When, curb’d and clench’d the dire deceiver’s chain,
Messiah’s might shall bind his ruthless reign
To the dark prison of the central deep;
When angel warders their stern charge shall keep,
Nor man’s apostate tempter foe release,
To violate his purity and peace,
To blast his paradise by grace renew’d,
Or, specious, on Jehovah’s courts intrude.
There is a rest, a holy Sabbath nigh.
When, rich in consecrating energy,
The Paraclete shall on his Church descend,
The pure, baptismal, copious unction send,
And soft effuse his plenitude of grace
O’er wide-spread realms, where man’s far-wandering race,
Have roam’d in dark and desert solitude;
When elemental nature, wild and rude,
Again, beneath the Spirit’s dove-like wing.
Shall see from chaos beauteous order spring;
When, fed by suns and showers, the fruitful field,
Redundant, shall its waving harvests yield,
Sweet Sharon’s rose the woods and hills adorn,
And blooming myrtles bright supplant the grieving thorn.
That rest shall come! Lo, radiant Truth on high,
With outstretch’d arm, the lamp of prophecy
Hangs o’er a darken’d world. With gladdening beams
Its holy light through time’s long vista streams,
Tracks through the deep His wondrous course, who hides
His path in tempests, on the whirlwind rides,
Or moves sublime, amid the stars of light,
On wheels of flame, or wings of seraphs bright;
Yet still pursues his wisdoin’s destined ends,
And wind, storm, lightning, to his purpose bends.
That rest shall come! By prophet bards descried,
“When, like the sun’s, His glory’s flowing tide,
Earth’s utmost bounds shall bless. Messiah’s seed,
As morning dew drops on the sparkling mead,
Innumerous, shall his sovereign pleasure wait,
Obsequious princes throng his temples’ gate,
To Him the gift, the rich oblation bring,
Bask in his smile, repose beneath his wing;
Him, Lord of this world’s empires, glad confess,
Great Prince of Peace, and King of Righteousness,
That day shall dawn! Its calm and hallow’d rest
Shall emblem here the Sabbath of the bless’d,
Though lingering clouds obstruct the glorious light;
Though wrathful foes withstand Messiah’s might;
Though darkling Folly’s earth-bred vapours rise
In noxious exhalations to the skies;
Though shrouded, changeful, sad, appears till now
The sorrowing Church; though on her pensive brow
Depression oft, and grief, dejected, lower,
Bedimm’d, like moonbeams by the passing shower;—
Not ever thus with light shall darkness blend,
Faith views even now the mighty conflict end;
Hope spreads her brilliant wing, and soars above
To meet that cloudless sky; while generous Love
Through earth’s wide circuit still unwearied flies.
And bids the dead awake, the sleeper rise,
The trembling captive cast his bonds away,
And spring to light, and bless the opening day.
Yes, mild evangelists His way prepare,
His living word Messiah’s heralds bear,
Through heathen lands the Gospel trumpet sounds,
‘Gainst Antichrist’s unhallow’d throne rebounds,
Dissolves dark Superstition’s direful spell,
Assails the atheist sophistry of hell,
Lays Babel’s towering turrets in the dust,
And bids the poor in boundless mercy trust.
Time speeds his flight! The dawn of earliest day
Has pass’d with patriarchal seers away;
Long, long withdrawn, no more the mystic sign
Adumbrates, dim, the Archetype Divine;
The Covenant Angel, long in flesh reveal’d,
His final grace by bloocl-stain’d rites has seal’d;
His Spirit, in its lairge effusions shed,
His glorious Gospel through the nations spread;
His kingdom founded in the world below,
Bade all mankind his truth, his mercy know;
His sovereign rule on heaven’s high throne sustains,
Supreme in mediatorial gloiy reigns,
Defends his Church against the gates of hell,
Fix’d on Himself secure, the Rock impregnable.
Time’s hours are ages; yet his lengthened day
Hastes toward its mighty close. A dazzling ray
Of sevenfold splendour with intensest light
Shall gild his evening firmament, and bright
Enfold in glory earth’s revolving sphere.
Even now Messiah’s promised signs appear.
The world awaits his coming; ceaseless sighs,
The travail of creation, ardent rise;
Earth groans, o’erladen with its primal curse,
Sad burthen of a struggling universe.
Subject to Vanity, its fruitless toils
Win but unreal bliss. Ambition’s spoils,
The robber Envy plunders; Honour’s name
Oblivion razes from the scroll of Fame;
Blank Disappointment’s vacant scowl betrays
Gay Hope’s dispersed allusions; Grief o’erlays,
With leathern wing, the sad and anxious heart;
Pain wounds the quivering flesh with poison’d dart;
Death, hideous Death, appals with brandish’d sting;
And loathed Corruption nestles in his wing.
Intense, in earnest hope, with lifted eye,
Yet waits the creature for deliverance nigh;
Expects the promised dawn of glad release,
When Vanity’s dull, vapid rule shall cease,
Corruption with the curse from earth remove,
And man and nature hail the reign of love;
When, bright, dispersing from his golden beams,
Health, fragrance, beauty, in ten thousand streams,
The Sun of Righteousness shall cloudless shine,
And fill the universe with light Divine;
When earth’s wide realms shall bless the’ Eternal Name,
One glorious Lord, Jehovah, One, proclaim,
To one Messiah all her offerings bring,
And bow the suppliant knee to one immortal King.
Awaits the world his coming? Instant prayer,
Deep breathing sighs, and labouring thoughts, declare
The Church, his bride, expectant of her Lord.
Long in this weary wilderness, His word,
That speaks of happier scenes, hath been her stay;
And urging oft her rude and cheerless way
Through many a thorny brake, her tearful eyes
Have turn’d in holy transport to the skies,
And realized, by faith’s transpiercing power,
The bliss of that anticipated hour,
When, glorious, seated on his conquering throne,
Messiah’s sway a subject world shall own,
And, raised from earth, his consecrated bride,
His Church, appear resplendent by his side.
The Spirit with the bride awaits the hour
Of holier, mightier triumph: strong in power
Of wrestling faith, He breathes the ceaseless cry;
And, prevalent in heavenly energy,
Fill’d with his life, the saints accepted pray, —
“Messiah, o’er the world thy sceptre sway!
Collect thy holy ones from every clime;
Reveal thy glory on the verge of time;
Then, then the hour of final triumph bring;
In pomp return! Descend, immortal King!
The withering earth and flaming heavens shall flee
The dazzling presence of thy Majesty,
When, circled with seraphic hosts, thy throne,
Rear’d in eternity, shall lift alone
Its stainless splendours to the sons of light;
When conquer’d Death, stern trophy of thy might,
And Hades, stricken by thy glance of ire,
Shall plunge imjpetuous down to gulfs of fire.”
Yes, heightening still to its stupendous close,
The mighty mystery of salvation flows!
That hour to finite natures unreveal’d,
Shall show the’ adopted heirs of glory seal’d,
The sons of God from death’s dark bonds set free,
Sublime in sinless immortality,
Prepared the triumph of their Lord to share,
Prepared his glory’s blissful weight to bear,
To mount with Him his everlasting throne,
Avouch’d before assembled worlds his own.
‘Tis done! the stern, strange conflict ends at last!
The curse is fled! the scene of trial past!
The children of the resurrection shine,
Corruptible no more! The form Divine
Evolves in glorious, ever-brightening grace
On every spirit stamp’d, from every face
Out-beaming splendours, His reflections, flow.
In vain! No mortal muse that light may show!
No energy to earthly bards consign’d
Paint the pure raptures of the deathless mind,
Pursue the’ expanding thought that soars and springs,
Outstrips the semblance of terrestrial things,
Collects its elements from scenes sublime,
Veil’d ever from the darkling sons of time,
Contemplates Deity unchain’d by sense,
And unobstructed scans Omnipotence!
No! all ineffable, that bliss supreme,
Even angel harps o’er that stupendous theme
Suspended vibrate with unequal tone;
Heaven’s holy minstrels throng the’ eternal throne,
And wait the finish’d mystery, to raise
Their perfect anthem of perpetual praise;
To lift their triumph to its loftiest height,
With saints, symphonious, in that world of lights
To sing the bliss of spirits saved below,
The depth of streams that from His fulness flow,
The broad expanse of that unfathom’d sea,
The joy of deathless souls, emplunged in Deity.
No! not the mind’s magnificence, nor might
Of its pure vehicle, its shrine of light,
Nor bliss nor dignity of re-form’d man,
May mortal eyes, yet seal’d, presume to scan.
Still unapparent, but to Him alone,
And Faith, to whom he makes his secrets known,
Remains that symmetry of grace Divine,
In which his saints, to him conform’d, shall shine;
Those full, deep springs, untasted here below,
Whence richest draughts of raptured pleasure flow;
Those sights of glory, when the lifted veil
Unfolds Divinity; when faith shall fail
In the full blaze of vision; hope, replete
In ecstasy of consummation, meet
A tide of untold joy; and hallow’d love,
Complacent in its glorious Object, prove
Its pure beatitude of deep delight,
In ripening friendship with the Infinite.
Then, then shall swell the heaving tide of bliss!
Then, then shall roll, in murmuring ecstasies,
The song unlearn’d below! One glorious voice,
The chorus of creation, sound, “Rejoice!”
One rushing hailelujah loud proclaim
The mighty triumphs of Emmanuel’s Name,
Extol the Omnipotent, whose rule sublime,
Beyond earth’s sphere dissolved, and perish’d time,
Extends eiernal through the ample range
Of boundless being; whom nor death nor change
Shall ever more invade. Then, then the cry
Of those who share the spoils of victory,
The shout of those who to the garner bring
The harvest’s golden sheaves, shall joyous ring
Through heaven’s eternal hills in loftier lays
Than seraphs swell’d their primal songs of praise;
The universe Messiah’s reign shall greet,
And hail the Saviour Son on his triumphant seat.
Yes, then consummated, the scheme Divine,
The mystery of stupendous grace shall shine
Full orb’d in glorious light. His judgment throne
To all heaven’s listening hierarchies make known
His providential rule,— how kind, how wise.
Then, all unveil’d from earth’s obscurities,
His saints shall track his wondrous course sublime
Through the deep waters of tempestuous time,
Adoring own the matchless might that gave
Concentring impulse to each restless wave,
Bade every boisterous billow sink or swell
To urge his triumphs or his foes repel.
Then throned powers, and every lofty name
Blazon’d in earthly or unearthly fame,
To Him, their Head, in mystic union bound,
Shall hail Messiah in his glory crown’d;
Shall hail him in his ransom’d Church complete,
Behold his vanquish’d foes beneath his feet,
Behold fulfill’d his purposes of love,
His everlasting kingdom fix’d above;
Him, Alpha and Omega, glad confess,
Extol the unsetting Sun of Righteousness,
Bask in his beams through one eternal day,
Imbibe new splendours from each darting ray,
His wondrous Name with deepening search explore,
With deepening awe that wondrous Name adore,
And own eternity’s transcendent light
Too dim to pierce the vale that shrouds the Infinite.
As he, adventurous, who with bounding breast
Look’d forth from proud Columbia’s mountain crest,
And view’d beneath in broad, majestic sweep,
The heaving, hoarse, illimitable deep,
A new-found world of waters, glorious, spread
O’er half creation’s adamantine bed;
Whose eagle eye the wondrous scene explored,
While his rapt spirit glad and grateful pour’d
Its orisons to Heaven; to whom there came,
Kindled on high, a pure and patriot flame,
That swell’d and glow’d within his panting breast,
Till, eager, down the rough rock’s side he press’d,
Plunged in the deep, and claim’d what Heaven had shower
And felt that world of waters all his own:
So Faith from Contemplation’s height surveys
The boundless glories of advancing days;
Sees in sublime expanse, unfathom’d, bright,
An ocean of interminable light;
With raptured awe adores that Power Divine,
Beneath whose far-spread beams its splendours shine,
Whose kindly hand from filmy clouds of sense
Unseals her eyes, and Time’s circumference
Expands in outline to her gifted sight,
Withdraws from mystic glories infinite
The impenetrable veil.
She worships there!
Breathes untold ecstasies of praise and prayer!
Yet lingers not; but as that veteran, brave,
Who fearless stemm’d the stern Pacific wave,
Intrepid marches toward that shoreless sea,
Exulting hails its vast immensity,
And, panoplied in heaven-wrought arms of light,
Claims that wide ocean in Messiah’s right.
Hope weighs her anchor for those stormless seas,
Spreads her broad pennon to the favouring breeze,
Ploughs the blue deep, the bursting brightness hails,
And fills with breath of heaven her swelling sails.
Love, sphered in sunbeams, cleaves the azure sky,
In vain beneath time’s darkling shadows lie;
With seraph wing he sweeps its mists aside,
Careers uncheck’d through light’s translucent tide;
Uncheck’d, untired, till, o’er that tranquil deep
Where winds are hush’d, and angry tempests sleep,
His buoyant plumes he spreads with glad delight,
And hails the ark upon those waters bright,
Triumphant vaulting o’er the glassy tide,
To widening seas of bliss from Godhead’s depths supplied.
EARTH AND TIME
THE THEATRE FOR THE DISPLAY OF THE DIVINE
Tis well! Thy silent yet continuous flight
Toward duration infinite
Thou still pursuest, O Time!
With solemn and majestic march sublime,
Through realms of empyreal space.
Their wheeling course where stars and comets trace,
And sphered spirits hold harmonious chime,
Thy registering heraldry hath pass’d.
Spring’s mantle thou hast cast
O’er the green earth; and bound
With summer’s rosy wreath her brow.
Thy suns and moons in ceaseless round
Have watch’d her waving harvests grow.
Her vintage bright empurpled glow;
Stern Winter’s wide domain of snow
Has felt thy arrowy currents blow.
Thine is a strangely changeful clime!
Thy works are strange,
Thy nature, change!
Go, then, go on thy way, still strangely changing Time,
There was a period, far, O far behind,
When neither time nor change existence knew:
He only lived, the Everlasting Mind,
Who from himself essential being drew,
All-perfect, infinite, alone.
Ere suns, or stars, or heavens appear’d,
Immovable, his radiant throne
Stood in eternity ensphered.
No cherub at his footstool bow’d,
Whose worship rose like incense cloud;
No throned spirits, ranged on high,
Pour’d wide celestial minstrelsy;
Nor heavenly harps with golden wires,
Nor solemn, sweet, mellifluous lyres,
Their tones of holy rapture spread
Through sapphire domes, where rainbows shed
Their meek, chaste light
The Godhead in his dark pavilion dread.
No! In that vast, unmeasured depth profound,
Where finite thoughts are drown’d,
The Triune Glory singly dwelt,
Eternity his presence felt.
And bliss and beauty in himself he found,
Himself of beauty, bliss, the Source, the Soul,
Sublime, stupendous, vast, He was the mighty whole!
Why, then, did He, to whom the praise
Ascending in archangel’s hymn
Imported not; whose glory’s blaze
No light received from seraphim;—
Why did he call his wisdom forth,
And mete the heavens, and mould the earth?
Why breathe his own immortal fires
Through radiant ranks of angel choirs?
Or kindle bright the intellectual ray
Whose cloudless skies
Beheld an earthly shrine celestial lights display.
Strike, strike the harp, the lyre, the swelling lute!
Wake every voice! Nor shell, nor string be mute!
‘Twas love, diffusive, rich, redundant love
That bade the’ eternal forming Spirit move;
On heaven’s bright plains,
To wake from myriad raptured hosts above;
That from the gloom
Of Night’s dark womb,
Where anarchy, confusion, restless strove,
Call’d forth this world, in beauty fair,
Peopled the waters, earth, and air,
And bade all live in Him, and all his blessing prove.
Then, Time, thy wondrous course began;
‘Twas then thy brief, appointed span,
Dissever’d from eternity,
Commenced those mysteries to unfold,
Whose secret depths shall lie untold,
When thou resorb’d into the sea,
Duration’s ebbless tide, shalt be!
Ah! what presumptuous child of dust shall dare,
What vision-favour’d prophet bold declare
The counsels of the’ omniscient Throne?
Ah! who, adventurous, shall make known
The purpose of the sacred Three?
Who would not lowly fall, and own
The depths of His immensity,
Eludes the sense
Of every keen and curious eye?
Nor mortal men,
Nor angels’ ken,
Shall pierce that covering cloud which veils the Deity,
To man or angel ere his forming hand
Gave bliss or being, all his works He knew,
Time, nature, thought, his eye, all searching, scann’d,
Ere thought or mind from him existence drew.
He form’d the good, allow’d the ill,
And bade them both his word fulfil;
From deepest darkness call’d forth light.
By power stupendous, infinite,
Confounded stratagem and strife,
And show’d through death the path of life.
O height sublime, whence flow’d those counsels forth?
O depth unfathom’d of exhaustless love!
Be glad, O heavens! Sing, O astonish’d earth!
For truth, and righteousness, and mercy meet above.
Time! on this theatre of thine,
This little, low, terrestrial sphere,
Appear’d a mystery Divine!
O, of that mystery who shall hear
Unmoved, unawed, by deepest, holiest fear?
Who, when thy scroll shall wave unfurl’d,
In that broad light which waits the world,
Shall unsubdued by praise, by love appear?
Who will not own the work accomplish’d here,
A mystery unparallel’d,
Such as creation ne’er beheld,
Nor shall again astonish’d see,
Through all the’ unmeasured rounds of wide eternity?
From that high throne of everlasting state,
Where sat in glory uncreate,
The Triune Deity,
He humbly stoop’d, who claim’d to be,
In coessential Majesty,
Equal to Him, the only Potentate.
Forth from that unapproached light,
For man or angel’s orb too bright,
Forth from the Father’s bosom came
His Word, his Wisdom, He whose name
Is Jah, Jehovah, infinite I AM;
Who form’d the stars that gem his throne,
Whom princes, powers, dominions, own;
Creator, Ruler, Sovereign, Lord;
Theme of heaven’s highest, deepest chord,
Who waked the universe to life, the earth
In beauty clad,
While angels glad
Hymn’d forth his praise. His praise whose goings forth
From everlasting were, ere yet his works had birth.
He (O stupendous grace!) appear’d,
A lowly stranger here below;
And yet the gloom his glory cheer’d
Refused the living Light to know.
Incarnate, through the fleshly shrine
Full oft the eternal Effluence broke;
The gracious word, the work benign,
The present Deity bespoke.
The meek, the merciful, the mighty One,
A suffering path majestically trod,
Lived, agonized, expired! Yes! Hark! “Tis done!”
Beneath that groan, lo, reeling mountains nod!
Creation heaves in pangs, with nature’s sufferong God!
O wondrous sacrifice!
For man his Maker dies!
Christ, thy arm omnipotent
Grasp’d a falling universe!
Earth and heaven, with one consent,
Thy eternal praise rehearse.
Hell through all her vast profound,
Central depth of grief and gloom,
Feels her flaming spirits bound,
Conquer’d in the Conqueror’s tomb.
Earth, on this transitory realm of thine,
Within time’s fleeting span this work was wrought;
Atonement, fruit of Sacrifice Divine,
Peace, pardon, heaven, for mortal frailty bought!
The dead to life restored, the lost to glory brought!
What, though the space allotted thee
Be as the shade of evening brief?
Yet shall this mighty history
Enrol thy annals with the chief
Of all His ways whose will controls the deep,
The shoreless ocean of eternity;
Whose vast waves pour their everlasting sweep
Back to himself, — interminable Sea,
Whence all proceeds that is, or evermore shall be?
Time! ’tis thy glory, that, though short thy span,
Thou hast to the wide universe display’d
More than, ere yet thy little round began,
Was known of Him who time and nature made;
Him, the Creator, in his might,
His wisdom, matchless, infinite,
Thy earliest hours disclose;
Him, the Preserver, on whose hand
The fabric rests, at whose command
Thy wheeling orbs or roll or stand,
Thy swift succession shows.
And who, O who shall trace
His wondrous works and ways?
What eye, acute, intense,
Shall scan his providence?
Borne on thy restless swell
The nations rose and fell!
But not the murmur of the multitude,
In the full, beating, busy tide of life;
Nor the deep silence of the desert rude,
Where rest the mouldering wrecks of human strife;
Not one of all the changes that have pass’d
On earth’s collected, on her single sons,
But have been mark’d by Him whose glance is cast
Where’er heaven’s light its glorious circuit runs.
And soon eternity shall tell
How kingdoms rose and kingdoms fell,
Obedient to his word;
Tell how men’s froward ways have been
In all their hues of darkness seen
By Him, omniscient Lord;
Tell how he heard the humble suppliant’s prayer;
Tell how he bade the harsh oppressor spare;
Tell how he crush’d the proud, and made the meek his care.
Ineffable, unsearchable, immense,
With strong, unerring hand,
Still leads the rushing course of ages on.
The Spirit, One and Seven, before the throne
Lives in the burning, rolling wheels that stand,
Or at his word advance. In deep suspense
All heaven looks down, through all her states,
And every bright intelligence
The mighty consummation waits.
Time! though the radiant glory of those fires
Which mark thy measured course
Has waked the harmony of angel lyres
To hymn creation’s Source;
Though the green earth, by Him suspended
In bright, ethereal fields of space,
Proclaims his providence extended,
His bounteous, kind, paternal grace,
What though successive generations,
Borne on thy torrent’s mighty sweep,
Have shown his judgments to the nations,
A fathomless, a boundless deep!
Yet ’tis thy richest, thy transcendent glory,
That in the circles of thy sphered flight,
The universe, amazed, has heard the story,
Seen, all incomprehensible, the sight
Of God enshrined below,
On man’s dark world of wo,
A willing Exile from the plains of light,
To bear his captives back to glory infinite!
Yes, Time! to thee the wondrous theme belongs,
That shall exalt seraphic songs.
The heavenly hierarchy,
With hallow’d admiration see
The glory of the ransom’d Church; their tongues,
Their lyres, respond to loftier notes of praise;
And love, redeeming love, shall raise
Devotion’s raptured ecstasies
To their sublimest, sweetest key,
While saints or seraphs live, or rolls eternity.
Go, then, swift traveller! nor stay
Thy silent, yet continuous flight.
Spread thy broad pinions! haste away
Toward duration infinite!
Fulfil thy round of years!
Let human hopes and fears
Depress or gild thee with illusions bright,
Soon, — as the shadowy visions of the night
Before the bursting beams of morning flee, —
This earth, these heavens, shall vanish from the sight!
But God, the Eternal One, the Almighty Three,
Shall live, shall reign in immortality!
While, on his everlasting throne,
Lord of the ransom’d world alone,
Him, glorious Prince of Peace,
Great King of Righteousness,
Messiah, ever bless’d, shall all creation own.
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