THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM

 

By

 

W.H. Pepworth

 

Author of “The Joys of Heaven” and other Poems

 

1922

Printed by R. Seed and Sons,

43 Guildhall Street and 12 Lune Street,

Preston.

 

THE LORD COMETH

                                                                               

Rejoice, O earth, the LORD from heaven comes,

                Now in the fulness of prophetic time;

He comes, not with the sound of warlike drums,

                But in the plenitude of grace sublime.

 

He comes to bind in adamantine chains

                The mighty adversary of our race;

To purge the nations from their sinful stains,

                And all Satanic influence efface.

 

To bend mankind to His benignant sway,

                To win by truth and righteousness His foes;

To drive all want and misery away,

                To make the desert blossom as the rose.

 

He comes, He comes, our great Emmanuel,

                To bid the world its angry clamours cease;

He comes all forms of tyranny to quell,

                And usher in the thousand years of peace.

 

The hour approaches—yea, is now at hand,

                The bright millennial dawn its splendour flings;

Lift up your longing hearts, expectant stand,

                And hail the presence of the King of kings.

 

PREFACE

 

In venturing to publish these lines, I am conscious of their want of literary merit. Convinced, however, from long thought and study of the near approach of Christ’ reign on earth, and how little this is realised by many of His nominal followers, I do so in the hope that under the blessing of God they may lead some to search the Scriptures anew, where will be found clearly predicted those “Times of Restitution” spoken of by St. Peter as being the theme of “all the holy prophets since the world began.”

                Recent events, such as the great world war, the subsequent misery of the nations, and the return of the Jews to their ancestral home, are evidence that prophecy is being rapidly fulfilled, and that soon the voice of Him who stilled the Galilean storm will bid the raging elements in the world be still, and there shall be a great calm.

                The invasion of Palestine by the anarchistic hordes, and their final destruction, which are taken from the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, will, I believe, form the culminating stages in the great “Time of Trouble” referred to by our Lord in His memorial prophecy, and immediately precede the inauguration of His Kingdom.

                In order to impart a little more of human interest to the story, several imaginary personages have been introduced, together with scenes which may perhaps at first seem somewhat incongruous, such as the use of an airship in connection with the coming of Israel’s deliverers, but which will help to make more real the events of those tremendous days to come.

                Although the usual rhymed heroic measure has been chiefly used, blank verse has been adopted in a few instances, with the object of lending more dignity to the utterances of the speakers.

 

W.H.P.

 

THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM

 

Almighty Father, who in days of old,

Inspired Thy faithful prophets to unfold

Some features of Thy vast and wondrous plan

For raising up the fallen sons of man;

Whose all-enlight’ning Holy  Spirit came

In cloven tongues of Pentecostal flame,

And stirred the hearts of those with light and power,

Who long had waited the auspicious hour;

Touch with Thy fire these faltering lips of mine,

Which fain would sing Thy purposes Divine,

And herald forth in an exalted strain

The glory of the great Messiah’s reign.

 

Oh deem me not presumptuous, gracious Lord,

For daring thus to use Thy Sacred Word,

Or vain in seeking to portray in rhyme,

With my poor art a subject so sublime.

Be Thine the glory, all the praise be Thine;

The privilege of serving Thee be mine.

 

I

 

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my moth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”—Psa. 137:5, 6.

 

__________

 

AWAKE, oh harp of David! Let the strain

Triumphant roll o’er mountain, sea and plain.

Rejoice ye little hiss and valleys green,

And all ye rippling streams that flow between;

Ye giant cedars clap your hands with glee,

Jerusalem from all her bonds is free!

 

                No longer prostrate in the dust she lies;

The light of liberty is in her eyes,

And rising up, in strength and beauty drest,

She takes her long-lost children to her breast.

Dispersed among the nations, lo, they come,

Not to the sound of bugle, fife and drum,

But by an impulse which divinely stirs

Their hearts to gain the land they feel is theirs.

 

                Long centuries have passed since Caesar’s hand

Struck with an iron blow the sacred land,

Since Rome’s relentless legions thronged around

And crushed the Holy City to the ground,

And Israel through all these weary years,

Have drunk the cup of bitterness and tears.

Enduring hardships, poverty and pain,

Despised and persecuted, robbed and slain,

They kept inviolate their faith in Him

Whose glory shone between the cherubim;

And often would their thoughts with longing dwell

Upon the land their fathers loved so well,

Remembering the ancient promise given

To Abraham, that, as the stars of heaven

In multitude, and as the grains of sand,

His seed should be and dwell in all the land.

 

II

 

“A day of dankness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of think darkness......

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible, and who can abide it?”—Joel 2:2, 11.

 

__________

 

                THE great world war was ended, but a cloud

Hung o’er the weary nations like a shroud,

Emitting thunders of impending woe

And lurid flashes on the world below;

And men, perplexed, sought blindly for a path

To lead them safely through the aftermath.

 

                A League of Nations framed with good intent,

All wars and revolutions to prevent,

Seemed helpless to arrest the surging tide

Of anarchy which spread on every side,

Uprooting thrones and kingdoms in its way

And filling hearts of rulers with dismay.

 

                Disease and hunger, anguish and despair,

Swept like four ghastly spectres through the air,

And in their wake, a grim and solemn shade,

Went Death with his insatiable blade.

 

                In some more favoured realms there still remained

Some law and order, which awhile restrained

The anarchistic forces and withstood

The threatened carnival of crime and blood.

Such was the empire whose protecting robe

Covered vast territories of the globe,

Whose arm of power outstretched with mighty stroke

Smote from Judea’s neck the Turkish yoke,

And thus became the means Divinely planned

To bring GOD’S people to their promised land.

 

                But even there and in that far-off home,

Beyond Atlantic’s thousand leagues of foam—

That land whose starry banner floated free,

A symbol and a sign of liberty—

Labour, a seething mass of discontent,

Menaced the life of every government;

And, like an ancient tree with roots decayed,

Society’s vast fabric shook and swayed.

 

                The world seemed bankrupt and its statesmen grew

More fearful at the ever darkening view.

Strong men essayed to drive with efforts great

The old and creaking chariot of the State,

But failed and fell, like fabled Phaeton,

Who sought to drive the horses of the sun.

 

                Vice struck with its far-reaching tentacles

The hearts of men, and Pleasure wove her spells,

Till all the nations in made orgies sought

To stupify anxiety and thought.

As when the ostrich by fleet foes outsped

Buries beneath the sand its foolish head,

So pleasure seekers plunged their thoughts in mirth

And strove to elude the coming woes of earth.

 

                In those dark days, so pregnant with distress,

Faith in eternal verities grew less,

And Hope’s lone star with ever-waning light

Flickered forlornly in the troubled night.

No note of inspiration sounded from

The influential sects of Christendom;

Mankind without a shepherd’s voice and care

Wandered in helplessness, they knew not where.

Some roamed o’er tracks of speculative thought,

Which neither sustenance nor comfort brought,

Or sought in “Christian Science” to obtain

Relief from all imaginary pain.

And some in Esoteric pastures fed

By Theosophical professors led,

While others deemed that Evolution brought

A substitute for what the Bible taught;

And many found their way to Endor’s cave,

In hope of gleaning from the silent grave

Some crumbs of knowledge which might haply bring

An answer to their anxious questioning.

Deceived by spirits from Tartarian gloom,

(For whom was near their own swift hour of doom),

They fondly thought sweet intercourse to hold

With those o’er whom the stream of death had rolled.

 

                But here and there, a little flock, were some

Who saw the dawn of the Millennium

Breaking in shafts of pure and heavenly light

Through the dark curtain of the sullen night—

The thousand years wherein mankind should rise

From their low state to a new paradise;

When from his throne th’ usurping prince should fall

And CHRIST the rightful King be LORD of all.

With loving zeal they strove by word and pen

To spread the message of good-will to men,

And seemed to those whom they desired to bless

But voices crying in the wilderness.

 

III.

 

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left....and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”—Isaiah 11:11, 12.

 

                AMID this roaring sea of discontent

Submerging country, town and continent,

Tranquility seemed for a while to shine

Upon the favoured land of Palestine.

Her children had returned—from every clime—

With hope unbounded and a faith sublime.

Some from the teeming plains of fair Cathay

And some from regions desolate and grey,

Beyond the Himalayan peaks of snow

To where the mighty streams of China flow,

And where Pacific’s breezes beat upon

Th’ Imperial banner of the Rising Sun.

From Norway’s rocky coast; from sunny Spain,

And where Britannia watches o’er the main;

From Teuton lands, whence sprang the dogs of war

On those unhappy countries near and far;

From classic realms where Grecian poets sung

And Rom’s far-spreading ensign proudly hung,

And from distracted Russia’ vast domain,

Where many fell, in bloody pogroms slain.

 

                O’er land and sea they joyously had come

Like exiles to their native hearth and home,

Glad to escape from Europe’s heaving breast

To find in Canaan a place of rest.

Through some, like their progenitors of old,

Held by the lure of Babylonish gold,

In their adopted countries still remained,

Contented with the honours they had gained.

 

                Great cities of the Western Hemisphere,

Poured forth their thousands, who, with vision clear

And hearts inspired by patriotic flame

Hoped to restore their Zion’s former fame.

And others came from where the billows toss

Their crested heads beneath the Southern Cross,

And many from the land where toiled and wept

Their fathers, in Egyptian bondage kept—

That ancient country which for ages hid

The secrets of the Sphinx and Pyramid.

 

                Directed thus by GOD’S unerring hand

They took possession of their native land.

Some sought in agriculture to obtain

A bountiful supply of fruit and grain,

And soon the long-neglected, slumbering soil

Awoke beneath their unremitting toil.

But not by labour of the hand alone,

Nor by the methods to their fathers known:

No longer patient oxen, yoked in twain,

Draw the rude ploughshare o’er the stubbly plain;

No longer goes the sower in his need

To scatter handfuls of the precious seed;

No more the reaper with his sickle cleaves

The weighted stalks and binds them into sheaves,

Nor threshers now laboriously beat

With wooden flails the safely-garnered wheat:

the old has yielded to the new and now

The mighty power of steam impels the plough,

Disperses wide the seed, and, when the plain

Shines with the golden glory of the grain,

Cuts the ripe corn and binds the sheaves secure

And then transports them to the threshing floor.

 

                Some skilled as artisans their craft pursued,

And some, with business energy endued,

To trade and commerce turned attentive ear,

Or found in finance a congenial sphere.

Gigantic irrigation words were planned

To bring fertility to barren land,

And schemes whereby the cities were supplied

with water from the hills and countryside.

 

                Art reared her lofty dome and Science drew

The marvels of the universe to view,

And Learning, like a huge umbrageous tree,

Spread its wide arms from Jordan to the sea.

 

                On whirling wheels the traveller was borne,

And roads re-echoed to the motor horn;

The ass, the camel and the faithful steed

Gave way before the iron horse of speed.

 

                A tidal wave of modern life had swept

Upon a country, which so long had slept

In Oriental stupor, unimpressed

By all the virile splendour of the West.

 

                Jerusalem became, as was foretold,

A city fair and wondrous to behold;

Her streets were pleasant and her bulwarks strong,

Her dwelling-places jubilant with song,

And daily offerings of praise arose

To Him who brought salvation from her foes.

 

IV.

 

Jehovah GOD will raise

                Our ever-grateful song.

To Thee all glory, honour, praise

                And majesty belong.

Eternal Father, GOD of Grace,

The Saviour of Thy chosen race.

 

Thine arm of strength hath led

                From far our wand’ring feet,

To this our ancient country, spread

                With mild and honey sweet.

And now our joyful anthems swell

To Thee, the GOD of Israel.

 

Jerusalem no more

                In desolation pines,

Her cup with joy is flowing o’er,

                Her face with glory shines.

We praise Thee now with all our powers,

Our father’s gracious GOD, and our.

 

Still be our helper, LORD,

                Should enemies assail,

And let Thy swift-descending sword

                O’er Zion’s foes prevail

Almighty Father, GOD of Grace,

Protector of Thy chosen race.

 

__________

 

THE joyful waves of song came surging through

The synagogue’s wide-open door and grew

In jubilance as, soaring up on high,

They kissed the sunbeams from the smiling sky.

 

                The singing ceased; with reverence imbued

The rabbi blessed the waiting multitude,

And through the stillness of the Sabbath day

Each worshipper went on his homeward way.

But one—an influential merchant Jew,

Who spent his substance freely to renew

The city’s ancient glory—stayed to hold

Important converse with the rabbi old.

 

                As when before the sun dark clouds appear

And make the landscape desolate and drear,

So, as they talked, a shadow fell upon

The rabbi’s face and left it grave and wan.

“This message, Jonathan, which thou has brought

Is with anxiety and trouble fraught,

For this beloved country, but, think you,

The tidings are reliable and true?”

“There is, I fear, no doubt,” the other said.

“This early morn a summons came to speed

Without delay to where the Governor sat

In counsel with the Officers of State.

‘Twas there I learned that from a trusty source

The news had come that Anarchists in force

Had marched on Syria, and that plans were laid

Our peaceful territories to invade.”

 

                “What is their aim” the minister enquired,

“And what the motives which have thus inspired

Their chiefs to wage unholy war upon

A harmless people, who have undergone

Such trials and who only seek to dwell

In peace and serve the God of Israel?”

 

                “Their aim” he answered, “is to crush our state,

To stop our worship and to confiscate

The wealth which we by industry have earned

Since to Jerusalem our feet returned.

They are the foes of ordered government,

And ‘tis their purpose, their avowed intent

The world to revolutionise and force

All nations to their communistic course.

So far their violence has been restrained

From Palestine and we have long remained

In peace and quietness, but now they see

With jealous eye our land’s prosperity,

And seek to bring beneath their evil spell

The people of the God of Israel.”

 

                But shall we not,” the rabbi then enquired,

“Receive from Britain all the help desired?

She did so great and wonderful a work

In freeing us from the oppressing Turk

That surely now, in such a crisis grave,

Her friendly arm will be outstretched to save?”

 

                “Alas,” the merchant said, “we cannot build

Our hopes on England’s aid, for she is filled

With her own troubles, and her mighty power

And energy are needed at this hour

to stem the tide which threatens to o’erwhelm

With anarchy and bloodshed all her realm.

 

                As thus he spake the shadow grew space

Upon Ben Ashur’s venerable face,

And thoughtfully he pondered; then there came

A smile of hope and faith, which like a flame

Dispersed the gloom—as when the morning light

Beams on the darkness of the troubled night.

With eyes upraised he fervently exclaimed,

“Though all forsake us we shall not be shamed,

The GOD in whom we trust—to whom we bow—

Who brought us here—He will not leave us now.

His promises to Israel are sure

And in His mighty strength we stand secure.

Jeshurun’s GOD is ours—He is our King—

and we are safe beneath His sheltering wing.

At evening worship we in earnest prayer

Will all invoke His loving aid and care;

And, in the meantime, fear thou not, my son—

Whate’er befalls us may His will be done.”

 

                The two then parted; each went on his way

The merchant to his home, the minister to pray.

 

V.

 

“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”—Jeremiah 30:7.

 

“Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel....and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”—Ezekiel 38:19, 23.

 

_________

 

                THE tranquil beauty of summer’s eve;

A garden which the sun seemed loth to leave;

Where, tarrying, he cast a golden ray

Of benediction on the closing day;

Where incense-laden zephyrs softly crept

With fragrance gathered from the flowers that slept;

Where drowsy twitterings fell on the ear

From sleepy fledglings in the thickets near,

And solitary murmurings from some

Belated honey-bee returning home.

 

                Within a rustic alcove’s green retreat,

O’erhung with eglantine and roses sweet,

Three friends in converse say: Ben Ashur one

And by his side the merchant Jonathan;

The third a traveller from England’s shore,

Known to the other tow in days of yore.

 

                Long had they talked in earnest tones on all

The dangers which were threatening to fall

Upon the nation; then the rabbi said

To him who came from far, ‘You are well read

In Holy Writ, and, though a Christian, you

Have been a sympathiser with the Jew,

And know in prophecy how large a space

Is given to the future of our race,

Think you the prophets in those days of old

This crisis in our history foretold?”

 

                “‘Tis clear to me,” the Englishman replied,

That in the Scriptures we may find a guide

To all GOD’S future dealings with the Jew,

And with the kingdoms of the Gentiles too;

For hath he not declared that every knee

Shall bow before His glorious majesty?

But, touching the events which now engage

Our anxious thought, methinks they are a stage

In the development of His great plan

Designed before this very world began.

In Jeremiah reference is made

To “Jacob’s trouble,” and we find portrayed

In vivid outline what may now befall

This realm—though couched in words symbolical.

And from Ezekiel we understand

That Gog’s great armies from the Northern Land

Shall, like a storm, burst over Palestine,

With evil thoughts and purposes malign.

That they shall come with haughty confidence

Because these cities are without defence,

Unwalled and having neither bar nor gate—

An inoffensive, unprotected State.

And so,” continued he, “w may apply

These prophecies and all they signify

To this momentous hour, for it indeed

A time of trouble is to Jacob’s seed.”

 

                “Then we,” exclaimed the merchant, “really are

In direst peril, for, unused to war,

With military weapons unsupplied

And with our boundaries unfortified,

We cannot hope to drive the foe away,

Or even keep his countless hordes at bay.”

 

                “But,” interposed the rabbi, “if we view

One portion of these prophecies as true,

Then surely the remaining part should bring

Much comfort to us in our suffering.

Jehovah through his prophet has foreshown

How Gog and all his hosts shall be o’erthrown:

Confusion suddenly shall come upon

Their companies; the hand of everyone

Shall be against his fellow, and the breath

Of pestilence shall wither them in death;

With blood and hailstones and consuming fire

The Lord shall smite them in His vengeance dire,

Until the mountains and Megiddo’s plain,

Are strewn with all the weapons of the slain.”

 

                As thus they talked there came upon the ear

The sound of music from the dwelling near;

And then a voice, far sweeter than the notes

Which rippling flow from feathered songsters’ throats,

Rose like a vesper hymn and filled with hope

And quiet confidence the listening group—

 

                “Our home is now in Zion,

                                The city of our King,

                His mercy we rely on,

                                His praises ever sing;

                We will not fear, for GOD is near;

                                Our sun and shield for ever.

 

                Although the mountains tremble

                                And ocean’s billows roar,

                Though round us foes assemble

                                And strive to wound us sore,

                We will not fear, for GOD is near,

                                His grace will fail us—never!”

 

“This song has cheered our hearts,” the rabbi said,

“Come let us thank the singer who has shed

A ray of comfort on our anxious thought.

It emphasises what the prophet taught

That in this hour of danger GOD will prove

An everlasting source of strength and love.”

 

                The merchant in response arose and led

His friends across a grassy lawn o’erspread

With sleeping daisies to a pleasant room

Where, in the silence of the gathering gloom

Before an instrument, in dreamy ease,

Her fingers idly staying o’er coming feet

Aroused her, and she hastened forth to greet

Her father’s honoured guests. Well known to her

The rabbi, but the other visitor

She had not seen before, though oft upon

Her father’s lips she heard his name as one

Who lov’d her people and had aided them

In all their labours for Jerusalem.

 

                “This, Miriam, is he of whom I spake

But yesterday, who for our nation’s sake

Is striving to avert the tide of woe

Which threatens now the land to overflow.

And this, good Stephen, is my joy and pride,

My help and comfort since her mother died.”

 

                A flush of pleasure crossed the stranger’s face

As he beheld a figure full of grace,

From whose bright eyes the light of welcome shone,

Like gleams of glory captured from the sun.

 

                “It is a privilege,” he said, “to meet

Another Miriam, a singer sweet

Of Israel. May He who in the days

Of Moses, saved His people, and with praise

The lips of your great namesake filled, give you

Such opportunity of service too.”

 

                The damsel knew it was with good intent

That Stephen paid this graceful compliment,

For though not far beyond the stage of youth,

His thoughtful features bore the stamp of truth,

And from her father she had learned that he

Possessed the very soul of chivalry.

So, with a smile that did not half conceal

The mantling blush, she to the evening meal

Invited them; and soon with one accord

They gathered round the merchant’s welcome board.

 

VI.

 

“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.”—Ephesians 1:9, 10.

 

                THE  supper ended all while withdrew

Their former conversation to renew,

(Perchance, as Stephen thought, again to hear

The singer’s voice, so pleasant to his ear).

And much they talked of what the prophets said,

and many a verse the learned rabbi read,

To prove that God intended Israel

For ever in their promised land to dwell.

Then Stephen spoke and from the Scriptures showed

The various features of the plan of GOD.

“You know,” he said, “how honestly I seek

To understand His will, and though I speak

Of things with which you cannot now agree

Yet, listen for awhile and bear with me.

I had a friend who from his early youth

Was full of ardour for the word of truth.

It was his meat and drink; from it he drew

Such peace and comfort as are known to few.

Through him I learned the little yet I know

Of GOD’S design to bless the world below—

Would he were here, then we should be content

To listen to a voice so eloquent.”

 

Emotion for a moment shook the voice

Of Stephen, then he said, “But I rejoice

That he was counted worthy to achieve

Such honour as the world could never give.

Long ere he died our custom was to meet

For mutual study and communion sweet

With others, who had likewise found supreme

Delight and profit from each Bible theme.

Devoted lovers of the Truth were these,

And this their reading of the prophecies:

GOD made with Abraham a covenant,

Confirming it by oath, that He would grant,

Not only that this land should be possessed,

But in his seed all nations should be blest.

This surely means that Israel will be

A means of blessing to humanity.

 

                “This promise now begins to operate,

For Abraham’s “seed” have gained their lost estate;

Nor will they evermore be driven from

The country which they rightly deem their home.

Though trials sore will in the meantime try

Their faith in Him whose throne is in the sky.

But these will form the culminating stage

In the great, worldwide drama of the age.

These days of trouble now upon the earth

Are but the pangs preceding a new birth,

And are by many ancient seers foretold

In striking phase and imagery bold.

In Daniel’s writings they are mentioned as

A “Time of trouble such as never was”;

And some describe them as the LORD’S great day—

A day of vengeance, which shall sweep away,

All earthly governments, that there may come

Messiah’s Kingdom, the Millennium.

And then will “Jacob’s trouble” all be past,

And this distracted earth have peace at last!

 

                “But ‘tis our thought that GOD ere long will raise

To life again those men of olden days,

Who in His service lived and fought and died,

And by their faith in Him were justified.

These “Ancient Worthies” will as princes be

In all the earth, and rule in equity,

For GOD to each authority will give

To be His earthly representative.

And then from Zion shall the law proceed

And all thy people shall be blessed indeed.”

 

                “I see much food,” the rabbi said, “for thought

In what you say, but this has not been taught

By ministers and priests in Christendom,

Who rarely speak of the Millennium.”

 

                “The churches,” Stephen’ answered, “long have lost

Their hold upon the Word, and now are tossed

Like derelicts upon a sea of doubt,

Bereft of chart or compass and without

A pilot’s guiding hand to keep them clear

From all the reefs and hidden dangers near.

And she, the greatest of them all in fame,

Now lies a wreck upon the rocks of shame.

 

                “You know, Ben Ashur, that I follow Him

Whom I believe to be, in GOD’S great scheme,

The Saviour of the world, the true Messiah

So vividly depicted by Isaiah,

But in my view these systems of today

Have from His teachings wandered far astray.”

 

                “What then,” the rabbi asked, “do you regard

As the distinctive features of His word?

Some creeds of Christendom do but repel

By what they teach of a material hell,

And some the holy Pentateuch reject,

Thus rendering their words of small effect .

But you, In know, have always sought to find

The path of Truth with an unbiassed mind,

And I am therefore curious to hear

The doctrines of the faith you hold so dear.”

 

                Then answered Stephen: “Adam by his fall

In Paradise brought death upon us all.

To save mankind and for the sin atone

GOD sent the Logos, His beloved Son,

To earth in mortal flesh that He might be

A ransom price for all humanity.

Thus, as the prophet says, our griefs He bore,

For our transgressions He was wounded sore,

And, pouring out His soul in death, became

Jehovah’s meek, unblemished paschal Lamb.

You know full well the story of His death

How on the cross He yielded up His breath;

But we believe that He was raised again

O’er all the multitudes of earth to reign.”

 

                “Long centuries,” the rabbi said, “have come

And gone since then, and no Millennium.

What in the meantime has been done to bring

Upon the earth the rule of CHRIST your King”?

 

                “GOD’S purpose is,” he answered, “to provide

A faithful number who shall form the bride

In glory, honour, immortality.

To change the figure—He the head and they

The body of the CHRIST complete, whose sway

Shall from the heavens to the earth extend,

A Kingdom which shall never have an end,

Till at the name of JESUS every knee

Shall bow before His grace and majesty.

Throughout the Gospel age the call went forth

To win this prize of such transcendent worth,

But few obtained, for, as the Master said,

The way thereto was narrow, hard to tread,

And those who entered left the world behind—

The hopes and aims and pleasures of mankind,

And now the bridegroom for His bride has come,

The ‘little flock’ have all been gathered home,

And soon shall Restitution blessings pour

In streams beneficent the wide-world o’er.”

 

                As thus he spake it seemed to those who heard

As if they listened to a prophet’s word,

And felt much more deeply than they dare confess,

It was the word of truth and righteousness.

 

VII.

 

“Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy GOD; I will strengthen thee;  yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.”—Isaiah 41:10, 11.

 

__________

 

                A GLOOM hung ‘er the city like a pall,

And dark forebodings filled the minds of all.

The Anarchists who for awhile had made

No progress to the south, had now displayed

A disposition to invade the land,

And subject it to their supreme command.

Men walked the streets with a dejected air,

As if already shaken with despair;

While others met to earnestly debate

The measures taken to protect the State.

And some had sought encouragement to gain

From Holy Scriptures, which for long had lain

Misunderstood or misinterpreted,

Though in their synagogues each Sabbath read.

 

                Long hours the Council sat in anxious mood,

Considering the course to be pursued

In striving to avert the coming blow

From so implacable and strong a foe.

At last, when each considered scheme was found

To be impracticable or unsound,

The merchant, Jonathan, proposed that they

Ambassadors should send without delay,

to meet the enemy, so that, perchance,

Diplomacy might stay the foe’s advance,

And should they tribute finally demand

the Council by such means might hold their hand.

That even if no benefit accrued

It was the only course to be pursued.

“I have,” he said, “a friend, an Englishman,

Well known to some of you, who, if he can

Of service be, will gladly give his aid

In any efforts which may now be made

To save our land from being over-run

By foes more ruthless far than Goth or Hun.

His character is such that even they

May listen to the words he has to say,

For to their leaders he is known to be

A fervent lover of democracy;

One who has freely given of his best

To help the poor, the sick and the distressed.”

 

                To Jonathan’s suggestions all agreed

And welcomed Stephen’s offer to proceed

With special envoys and negotiate

The best terms possible to save the State.

Arrangements then were made to send next day

The mission on its long and dubious way.

 

                The meeting over Jonathan returned

With hasty steps and with a heart that burned

Alternately with hope and doubt to where

His friends were waiting the result to hear;

And as he reached his home there came again

Upon his ears a sweet melodious strain—

The voice that but the night before had brought

Such consolation to their troubled thought.

 

                “A vision came before me

                                Of earth as it shall be,

                When He the King of Glory

                                Shall reign from sea to sea;

                A vision so entrancing,

                                So wonderfully fair

                It set my heart a-dancing,

                                With longing to be there.

 

                Along a highway spacious

                                There moved a happy throng,

                Who wore a look so gracious

                                And sang a joyful song;

                And on this way to Zion

                                There was no evil thing,

                Nor any ravenous lion,

                                By order of the King.

 

                Mankind had lost their blindness

                                And bowed before the face

                Of Him, whose loving kindness

                                Had raised their fallen race;

                And everyone was striving

                                To do his fellow good,

                For all the world was living,

                                In one great brotherhood.

 

                No heart with grief was aching,

                                No eye was dim with tears,

                For Grace Divine had taken

                                Away all doubts and fears.

                It was a dream more splendid

                                Than tongue can ever tell,

                For sin and woe had ended,

                                And Love had come to dwell.”

 

                “GOD grant,” said Jonathan, “that this may be

Not vision only but reality;

Although it may well be”—and as he spoke

There came into his eyes a wistful look—

“That some will even then be seen to weep

For those they loved, whom death had called to sleep.”

 

                The faltering voice betrayed the hope that moved

Within his breast to see the wife he loved.

Nor unobserved was this by Miriam,

And to her father’s side she softly came,

And kissed his brow and stroked with tender care

The scanty remnants of his silver hair.

“Forget not, father dear, the Scriptures say

That GOD himself all tears will wipe away;

And Stephen states that in Messiah’s reign

All those who died shall come to life again;

So let us rest assured that she will come—

It may be soon—to join us from the tomb.”

 

                With eyes that brightened ‘neath the soft caress,

And with a heart more full of hopefulness,

He turned enquiringly as if to know

The grounds that Stephen had for saying so.

 

                “Messiah was a ransom,” Stephen said,

“Not only for the living, but the dead,

And all these ‘prisoners of hope’ shall rise

By virtue of His might sacrifice.

Those faithful ones of old, of whom I spake,

Will be the first from Sheol to awake,

And then will follow in their order due

The Jew, the Christian, and the Heathen too.

These all the call of Jesus shall obey

To face the great Millennial Judgment Day.

Mankind will then be freed from Satan’s thrall

And judgment will be met ed out to all.”

 

                “But,” said the rabbi, “as I know, a Jew

Does not accept as the Messiah true

The found of your faith—yet do I feel

Impressed by what your earnest words reveal,

And if events corroboration bring

Then gladly will I hail your JESUS king.”

“That time,” he answered, “surely is at hand—

But, tell us, Jonathan, what has been planned

To meet the present crisis and if I

Assistance can in any shape supply.”

 

                The merchant told the plans that had been made

And how the Council welcomed Stephen’s aid—

That on the morn the mission would set forth

With Stephen on its journey to the north.

 

                “Is not this journey with much danger fraught?”

Asked Miriam, with apprehensive thought;

“An evil reputation has the foe,

And he may dark and sudden treachery show.”

 

                “No harm can come to us, if such His will—

He who commandeth and the waves are still;

Before whose eyes the serried ranks of war

But grains of dust upon the balance are;

His strong right arm the anger will restrain

Of these our foes, and bring us back again.”

 

                His voice so full of faith and courage stirred

To confidence the hearts of those who heard.

“May He who saved the Hebrew children three—

May He,” the rabbi said, “watch over thee;”

And Miriam, because she did not dare

To trust her voice, breathed out a silent prayer.

 

VIII.

 

“Therefore, son o man, prophesy and say unto Go” Thus saith the LORD GOD: In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou and many people with thee....a great company and a mighty army; and thou shalt come up against my people of Israel as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.”—Ezekiel 38:14-16.

 

__________

 

                A WEEK had gone since from Jerusalem

The mission left and yet no tidings came

To those, who with alternate hope and fear,

Waited in patience the result to hear.

Beyond the northern borders of the State

No means existed to communicate

By rail or road or wire with other lands,

For all were in the foe’s relentless hands.

Then when another week of deep suspense

Had passed away there came intelligence

By wandering Arabs that the enemy

Had forcibly detained the Embassy,

And now in multitudinous array

Were marching on their devastating way.

Already from Damascus to the coast

Their troops like locusts swarmed, a mighty host,

And round the slopes of Lebanon their van

Had penetrated even unto Dan.

 

                As leaves before the bursting of a storm,

The hearts of men were trembling with alarm,

And myriads in haste began to flee

From villages and towns in Galilee;

Some to the rocky highlands there to stay

Until the blighting scourge had passed away,

And others to the deserts of the east,

The haunt of many a wild and savage beast,

Preferring readily with them to dwell

Than meet with foes far more implacable.

But many southward turned with eager feet

In hope of finding Salem a retreat—

Like that fond instinct which in danger brings

Her chickens to the mother’s sheltering wings.

 

                Within the city divers views were held:

By patriotic sentiments impelled

Some advocated measures of defence,

While others, conscious of their impotence

Against a foe so numerous and strong

Maintained that they could never hope for long

To hold the City, and that such a course

Would make their fate incomparably worse.

 

                They called to mind the carnage that ensued,

When Roman troops Jerusalem subdued,

And thought the wise course would be to show

No active opposition to the foe,

But rather, as in Alexander’s day,

To meet him peaceably upon the way;

That, peradventure, like the Grecian king,

He might restrain his hand from plundering.

A few, of whom Ben Ashur was the chief,

In Holy Scripture found divine relief,

Believing that the Lord would surely raise

Deliverers as in the ancient days.

 

                The Governor, a grave and worthy man,

Considered with his Council every plan

Suggested, but there seemed to be in none

A solid ground of hope to work upon.

Still, with stout heart he counselled all to bear

With fortitude their lot and not despair,

For as the hills were round Jerusalem

So GOD’S almighty power encompassed them.

 

                The merchant also, who by great and small,

Both Jew and Gentile, was belov’d by all,

Strove earnestly a panic to prevent

With words of comfort and encouragement.

And Miriam with her full heart of love

Went forth like some sweet angel from above,

Supplying confidence to those afraid,

And rendering to all her loving aid.

Though oft in anxious thought her heart would yearn

For Stephen’s safety and his swift return.

 

                All business ceased, for men could not apply

Their minds to work while danger was so nigh.

Each day more ominous the tidings grew,

And more disturbed the ever-darkening view;

From every part came stories sinister,

Of pillage, cruelty and massacre;

Of synagogues profaned and towns laid low,

Of devastation, misery and woe,

Of men who bravely strove, but strove in vain,

To save their homes, and ruthlessly were slain.

 

                The foe had passed Mount Carmel and were now

Encamping on Esdraelon’s plain below,

A motley multitude, the progeny

Of revolution and red anarchy.

From all restraints of moral law released,

They gathered there like vultures to the feast,

Composed of every lawless element

From Europe, Africa, the Orient—

Black, white and yellow, men of every race,

Gog’s vast marauding army filled the place.

 

                Not armed were they as in the days of yore,

Each one a weapon of destruction bore

More deadly far than ancient sword or bow,

Or aught that could be dreamed of long ago.

Machines were there which belched a poisonous breath,

And some which poured forth leaden streams of death;

Huge armour-plated dragons forms of war

Which vomited destruction from afar,

And roll’d their ponderous mass with crushing force

O’er every obstacle upon their course;

And flying-craft which rained their missiles down,

Upon the hapless countryside or town.

 

                The port of Haifa, which had grown to be

The most important outlet to the sea,

Was occupied by hordes of savage men,

Who robbed or murdered every citizen

They chanced to meet, and rifled every store

In search of treasure—and demanding more.

Oppressed with terror all the people kept

Within their houses, or at nightfall crept

Like timid mice along the darkened street,

With apprehensive hearts and trembling feet.

 

                All liberty of worship was restrained,

And church and synagogue alike profaned;

And many zealous teachers who had sought

To give religious aid were promptly brought

Before the chiefs of the invading foe,

And brutal treatment made to undergo.

 

                From such a tyranny there seemed to be

No way to liberty by land or sea;

Each road was blocked and in the harbour lay,

Like some sea monster eager for its prey,

A grim destroyer whose instructions were

To capture any vessel leaving there.

 

                While thus upon the land of Galilee,

The oppressor’s hand was laid so heavily,

Jerusalem remained in deep suspense,

Yet hoping still that in His providence

The LORD with mighty power would interpose

And bring confusion on their savage foes.

 

IX.

 

“Beneath the tempest of His wrath outpouring,

                The heavens like a vail are rent in twain’

The sea and all the waves thereof are roaring,

                The hills and mountains levelled to the plain.”

 

__________

 

                MEANWHILE events abroad were marching on

In quick succession. Every trace was gone

Of stable government; mob law had gained

Ascendancy, and blank confusion reigned.

 

                The armies and the navies of the world

Were broken up; the only flag unfurled

Was that which flew, a blood-red banner o’er

The anarchistic hordes from shore to shore.

 

                The earth was full of violence, as when

GOD in His wrath poured on the sons of men

A mighty flood of waters and o’erthrew

All human life except a faithful few;

So in this darkest period of time,

AS rampant grew iniquity and crime,

Morality and virtue found no room,

And all the world seemed ripening for its doom.

The huge machine of Trade, which modern skill

Had made so complex, now was lying still,

For lawless bands had wantonly destroyed

The means by which vast numbers were employed.

All giant trusts and business houses failed,

The banks and treasuries were all assailed,

And men who once were high in wealth and fame

Now hid their heads in poverty and shame;

The lands and fortunes which had been their boast,

To them were irrecoverably lost.

 

                Plague, pestilence and famine swept away

Innumerable multitudes each day,

Until it seemed as if no flesh would live

Unless some unknown power could succour give.

 

                The earth itself was quaking with unrest,

As if by evil elements possessed;

From out the seething cauldron far beneath

It poured forth desolating streams of death,

And with convulsive throbs laid cities low,

Thus adding to the weight of human woe.

 

                Mankind seemed floundering in a miry slough

Of want and misery and knew not how

To extricate itself, for all around

Was shifting bog, uncertain and unsound;

And thousands with despair were stupefied,

And, ceasing from their hopeless struggling, died.

 

                When like a giant France arose in wrath

And swept both king and nobles from her path,

She to Religion turned a scornful face

And set up human reason in its place;

So in this worldwide strife were overthrown

Not sceptre, crown and coronet alone,

But altar, vestment, crucifix and all

Symbols and rites ecclesiastical.

Men looked upon Religion with disdain

As on a superstition old and vain.

Each solemn liturgy and man-made creed,

Had failed to help them in their hour of need,

And now in wrath they turned on every sect,

Its clergy scattered and its temples wrecked.

 

                The Papal Church, like Babylon the Great,

Had fallen from her high exalted state;

She who had proudly said, “I sit a queen

Upon my hills” was shorn of all her sheen,

And like a millstone cast into the sea—

The restless roaring tide of anarchy.

Her daughters, too, who sought to federate,

And thus escape their harlot mother’s fate,

Became but shadows, destitute of life,

Despised, ignored, forsaken in the strife.

 

                The LORD had taken home his faithful few,

Who, when on earth, proclaimed the message due;

Who, like their Master, on the altar lain

Their earthly bodies and with GOD had made

A covenant by sacrifice that they

Might reign with CHRIST through the Millennial Day;

Enduring ignominy, scorn and shame,

They fought, they suffered and they overcame.

 

                But there were many left who failed to run

With faith and diligence the race begun.

Encumbered with the trivial things of earth,

They missed the treasure of exceeding worth,

And now in tribulation’s purging fire

Were being freed from every vain desire,

Their robes were being washed in JESUS’ blood,

That they might stand before the throne of GOD.

 

                These, ere they passed from earth’s unhappy sphere,

Gave witness to the truth, so strong and clear,

Of GOD’S intention to restore to all

The blessings that were lost by Adam’s fall,

That many thoughtful listeners began

To see how futile was the work of man,

Himself to govern and to realise

Deliverance could come but from the skies.

As when a child has striven long in vain

To put a puzzle into shape again,

And then the father comes, and, bit by bit,

The pieces all are quickly made to fit,

So human efforts through six thousand years

Had ended by in misery and tears,

And rule Divine alone could save and bless

And bring about a state of happiness.

 

                With this in mind they sought with diligence

To find corroborative evidence

Within the sacred page, and as they read

The light of hope came back and on them shed

Its cheering beams, and with fresh courage they

Looked forward to a brighter, happier day.

 

                To aid them in their studies, once again

They turned to books which long unused had lain

Upon their shelves, and which in days gone by

They bought, some passing mood to satisfy.

These volumes (by a servant of the LORD

Who years before had passed to his reward)

Were now to them of unsuspected worth,

Portraying not alone the woes of earth

By which they were encompassed, but the peace

To follow when these troublous times should cease.

That CHRIST had come, unseen by mortal eye

In strict accord with Bible prophecy,

And all these happenings were but a sign

That He was present and His rule Divine

On earth establishing, and that ere long

Weeping and wailing should be changed to song.

 

X.

 

                “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee saith the LORD and thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel.”—Isaiah 41:14.

 

__________

 

                WHEN, centuries ago, crusaders won

Their way through Palestine and gazed upon

The Holy City from the hills around,

In ecstasy they knelt upon the ground

And kissed the sacred soil, while tears and sighs

Burst from humiliated hearts and eyes.

Before them on that memorable day

The goal of all their aspirations lay,

And, casting down their arms, in pilgrim guise

They climbed with awe the hill of sacrifice.

 

                And now before Jerusalem appeared

Another foe, who neither thought nor cared

For things Divine; whose object was to wrest

From feeble hands the treasure they possessed.

Not like those feudal warriors did they kneel

And weep in an exuberance of zeal,

But looked with keen and avaricious eyes,

Upon the place they deemed was now their prize.

No love or veneration did they bear

For hallowed mount or Holy Sepulchre,

For irreligion breeds irreverence,

And bitterness but end in violence.

 

                Within the city strange events occurred

Which deeply moved the citizens and stirred

Their hearts to hope that yet the LORD would be

A help to them in their extremity.

One morning when the foe was at the gate,

And all the city waited for its fate,

When men were in the stupor of despair

With neither energy nor faith for prayer,

And wan-faced women strove in vain to still

Their beating hearts from apprehending ill,

When hope of succour fled and high and low

Waited in silence the approaching blow—

Then by some unknown means a message came:

“Ye men and women of Jerusalem

Have faith in GOD and listen to the voice

Of one whose word will make your hearts rejoice.

Soon in your midst this messenger will stand,

Therefore give earnest heed to his command.”

 

                This filled the people with encouragement,

Though much they wondered who the message sent,

And who the messenger that would appear,

Whose counsel they were thus enjoined to hear;

But when to Miriam the news was known

Her heart proclaimed that Stephen was the one

From who it came, and as she pondered long

The thought arose within her, bright and strong,

That GOD was now beginning to release

His faithful ones, who long had slept in peace

Within the caves of death—those prophets old

And patriarchs—as Stephen had foretold.

If this were so their own deliverance

Was nigh at hand, and with fresh confidence

She sought her father’s anxious heart to cheer,

And wait in faith for him who should appear.

Nor had they long to wait, for ere the sun

Had well upon his downward course begun

Some keen-eyed watchers saw what seemed a star

Appearing in the eastern sky afar;

But as it nearer came its form displayed

An airship small but exquisitely made.

Emblazoned on it was a cross of gold,

A sign of hope, impressive to behold,

And from it flashed the sun’s reflected rays

As if the vessel was itself ablaze.

 

                The sight inspired the multitude below

With courage fresh, for never would their foe

Bear on his winged vehicles of death

The sacred symbol of the Christian faith.

And thus they reasoned, though uncertain still

Whether the visit was for good or ill,

The roar of cannon shook the solid ground,

Reverberating from the hills around,

And deadly shells went hissing far on high

Against the airship floating in the sky,

The enemy the gleaming cross had spied,

And, in their animosity and pride,

Sought from their view the symbol to erase—

But all their shells burst harmlessly in space.

Whereat the people raised a mighty shout,

Heard by the angry enemy without,

Who strove by gun and rifle fire again,

To wreck the strange intruder—but in vain.

Then met in council, where a plan was made

The city on the morrow to invade.

                As if to all assaults indifferent,

The ship began its leisurely descent,

And every tongue was mute and every eye

Gazed at the glowing wonder from the sky.

But as it reached the earth, and from the car

Stepped those they thought were prisoners of war,

Hope once again drove out profound despair,

And cries of joy and welcome filled the air.

 

                The envoys had returned, and in a way

Which seemed to be a marvellous display

Of GOD’S almighty power; but who was he

Whom Stephen treated with such courtesy

And deference? A man of noble mien,

And royal stature; in his face were seen,

High purpose, courage and intelligence,

Combined with holy faith and reverence.

A perfect specimen of manly grace—

A superman of our degenerate race.

 

                And as the people in amazement saw

The Godlike form a feeling as of awe

Possessed their hearts; in each the thought awoke,

That it was he of whom the message spoke.

But Miriam who eagerly had viewed

(Outside the pressure of the multitude)

The thrilling scene, was quick to realise

Her hopes fulfilled, for now before her eyes,

Was surely one of those whom Stephen said

Would soon be resurrected from the dead.

This thought a vista opened to her mind

So glorious that for awhile, all blind

To things around, she stood as in a dream,

Entranced with all the splendour of the theme.

And then the voice of Stephen, clear and strong,

Rang like a trumpet o’er the listening throng:

 

                “Good friends, our presence with you at this hour,

Is due to GOD’S unfailing love and power.

Much could I tell of all that He has done

And of the dangers we have undergone,

But let it now suffice that by His hand

We once again unharmed among you stand.

A matter more important to us all

Is now to hear the message which shall fall

From lips commissioned by almighty grace

To preach glad tidings to the Jewish race.

This man of GOD a story has to tell

Which may to many seem incredible—

But it is true; and earnestly I pray

That you will heed the word he has to say.”

 

XI.

 

A man of noble mind and mien,

Such as the world had never seen.

Perfect as Adam was when GOD

Formed him from the primeval sod.

And when he spoke his accents fell

Upon the people as a spell;

He seemed to their entranced eyes

A special envoy from the skies.

 

__________

 

                A HUSH of expectation filled the space

Before the Council hall, and every face

In the vast company assembled there

Lost for awhile its look of anxious care,

And turned in eagerness towards him who came

To bear GOD’S message to Jerusalem.

And as his voice with easy effort filled

The spacious square the hearts of all were thrilled

With strong emotion, for it seemed to be

The voice of one having authority:

 

                “Hearken, my brethren! I am come to you

At GOD’S behest to speak of all the things,

Most wonderful and great, which He is now

Accomplishing for you and all mankind.

Already one stupendous miracle

His power has wrought in raising from the dead

Those patriarchs and prophets who, in days

Long long ago, midst trials deep and sore,

Were faithful unto death—Behold in me,

Unworthy, one whom He has honoured thus.”

                At this a murmur of astonishment

Broke from the crowd, yet mingled with dissent—

For even there were Sadducees, who taught

That man could never from the grave be brought—

But as the speaker with a gesture made

Command for silence all at once obeyed,

And with desire and interest intense

They listened to his voice of eloquence.

 

                “Doubt not my words,” he said, “for they are true,

As those who brought me here can testify;

And ere tomorrow’s sun has dipped its rim

In the great sea beyond fresh evidence

Of this astounding fact will be made known.

But my great mission now is to proclaim

Messiah’s reign on earth and to demand

Your loyalty to Him as rightful King.

Perchance you ask, who is this new Messiah?

To which I answer: He is GOD’S own Son

Who in His love and pity for mankind,

And to redeem them fro the curse of death

Which fell upon the race through Adam’s sin,

Came nineteen hundred years ago to earth

In fleshly garb, and in this land of ours

Wrought many mighty words, and sealed His claim

To be the true Messiah by His death

Upon the cross. But by almighty power

He broke the bonds of Sheol and arose

To sit in majesty at GOD’S right hand.

And now a second time He is on earth—

Not as a man rejected and despised

By those He came to save, but as a King

All glorious in power, the world to rule

In righteousness, until mankind is brought

Into a state of harmony with GOD,

And all the earth becomes a paradise.

 

                It was my mission, when on earth before,

To be Messiah’s herald and to preach

Repentance to the house of Israel—

How clear to memory that wondrous scene,

When with the multitude who thronged around

To hear my message and to be baptised

Came one, the latchet of whose shoes I felt

Unworthy to unloose, for in His face

There shone the light of innocence and truth

And Grace Divine—such as ha ne’er been seen

Before in man, and wonder filled my heart

That He should come to be baptised of me,

Who needed more to be baptised of Him.

But He with mild insistence overcame

My humble protest, and beneath the wave

With reverence I bore the sacred form;

And then—ah, wondrous fact!—when He arose

The heavens opened and the Spirit came

In dove-like form and rested on His head;

While from the sky in thundering accents pealed

The voice of GOD, proclaiming, “This is my

Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’”

 

                The speaker paused as if he still could see

The scene in all its grand reality,

While through the multitude a tremor ran

As of a message sent by GOD to man;

Each heart was throbbing, but each tongue was mute,

Nor dare the boldest cavil or dispute.

And when the voice resounding spoke again,

In a majestic awe-inspiring strain:

“This JESUS, whom your fathers crucified,

He is the true Messiah, the CHRIST of GOD.

Alas, that in their blindness they should slay

The Lord of life and glory! But they looked

For one who as a mighty conqueror

Should free them from the Roman yoke and raise

Their nation to a leading place among

The kingdoms of the world; and so they failed

To see Him, the lonely Nazarine,

Their true deliverer from sin and death.

 

                “And what of yo, my brethren? Have ye not

Right down the ages since rejected HIM?

But you will say, ‘These followers of CHRIST

Have been our bitter persecutors and

Have made our name a byeword and reproach

Among the Christian nations of the world.’

To this I answer, they were not His true

disciples, for in every way they lacked

His gracious spirit; they had wandered far

From His pure teachings, and the few who kept

Their faith unstrained were, like yourselves, cast out

By these same self-styled followers of Him.

Judge not the CHRIST by Christendom—so called—

With all its warring nations, sects and creeds;

These never formed His kingdom and are now

But ruined castles on the banks of Time.

 

                “The image which the king of Babylon

In vision saw, is utterly cast down,

Its gold and silver, iron, brass and clay

Are broken up, and now, as was foretold,

Like chaff are being scattered; and the stone

Which smote its feet of clay and iron soon

Shall be a mountain vast and fill the earth.

This is the Kingdom which the GOD of Heaven

Through His dear Son is now establishing.

And so in love and earnestness I call

Upon you, men and brethren, to repent

Of all your unbelief and turn to Him

Who is the true Messiah and your King.”

 

                Then, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he cried

“GOD of our fathers, through Thy Son who died

And rose again and now is LORD of all,

Shew these Thy people now assembled her,

That all I speak is true.” In quick reply

There came an answer from the cloudless sky,

Which seemed to open and a beam of light,

Outrivalling the sun’s meridian might,

Shone on the wondering crowd, and with it came

A gracious influence, which like a flame

Consumed their unbelief. The mist of years

Passed from before their eyes, and on their ears

Harmonious sounds of heavenly voices fell,

Singing a song of joy ineffable—

A song of praise and glory to the LORD

Who had confirmed His faithful servant’s word.

 

                Intense emotion filled the hearts of all:

Some wept aloud and some began to call

In earnestness and penitential grief,

On GOD to pardon all their unbelief.

While others speechless stood, o’erwhelmed with awe

At all the mighty signs they heard and saw.

 

                Thus for awhile the trembling multitude

In hope and fear, in joy and wonder stood;

And then the prophet lifting up his voice,

Called in impassioned tones, “Rejoice, rejoice!

GOD’S favour has returned to Israel,

He will forever with His people dwell;

Sing we His praises now with loud acclaim—

Sing praises to His ever glorious name.”

With this from out his lips there rolled a song,

Of praise to Him, to whom all praise belong;

And twice ten thousand tongues in rich accord

Took up the strain of glory to the LORD.

 

XII.

 

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads....These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from amongst men, being the first fruits unto GOD and to the Lamb.”—Rev. 14:1, 4.

 

“The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the GOD of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto GOD; He is greatly exalted.”—Psalm 47:9.

 

__________

 

                AND Miriam? Oh, never was a face

More radiant with joy and heavenly grace.

As to their homes the people slowly turned,

With minds exalted and with hearts that burned,

She sought her father, who with others round

The prophet stood, as if on holy ground.

Perceiving her the old man turned in haste,

And eagerly with joy his child embraced,

Exclaiming, “Miriam, the LORD indeed

Has proved our helper in this time of need;

Our eyes are opened and we now behold

JESUS the CHRIST of GOD, as was foretold.”

 

                Then to the man of GOD he gently led

Her willing feet, and she with lowly head

Received from holy hands a blessing which

Endowed her with a peace divinely rich.

 

                Nearby, was Stephen, and he watched the scene,

His heart o’erflowing with emotion keen,

And as his eyes met those of Miriam,

There seemed to flow from each a sacred flame

Of love reciprocal, which formed at tie

Between their lives he felt would never die.

 

                With hearts made glad by all that had transpired

The governor they followed, who desired

Their presence at the simple evening feast,

In honour of their unexpected guest,

And to receive advice from him they knew

To be GOD’S messenger, both wise and true.

 

                Like waiting wolves around a sheepfold lay

The enemy on that eventful day,

Yet those assembled in the Council hall,

Felt that the hand of GOD was over all,

And, as they listened with attentive ears,

To what the prophet said, forgot their fears.

 

                “My brethren,” he began, “no need have I

To bring credentials; you yourselves have seen

How Heaven has witnessed to the truth I speak;

Yet would I tell, for you enlightenment,

Though in brief words, for now our time is short,

Of things pertaining to my presence here.

 

                You know the story of my former life,

How in the wilderness I spent my days,

Preaching repentance and the need to be

Baptised for the remission of all sin,

And how in zeal all evil to denounce

I fell a victim to a woman’s spite.

And then—when Herod’s sword had done its work,

No more I knew—for death is but a sleep—

A dreamless sleep—until the voice of Him,

Who from the tomb awakened Lazarus,

Roused me to life again. ‘Twas in a spot

Secluded in a distant range of hill,

A place unknown, unvisited by man,

So fair and fertile that it seemed to be

A remnant left of Eden; and when I

In wonderment arose and looked around

There came into my soul a sense of power,

A consciousness of harmony with GOD,

Such as our father Adam must have felt

When GOD created him a perfect man.

 

                “With joy unspeakable I realised

Possession of the glorious privilege

Of intercourse with Heaven and cried aloud,

‘LORD fill me with a knowledge of Thy Truth,

That I may understand Thy purposes,

And what Thou does desire me to perform.’

Scarce had this utterance escaped my lips

When I beheld as in a vision clear

Him who on earth was called the Son of Man

Clad in the royal garments of a king.

And with Him stood a noble company,

Twelve times twelve thousand of his followers,

Who in their mortal life had faithful proved,

And now with immortality were crowned,

That they with Him might live and judge the world

In truth and righteousness a thousand years.

 

                “Then spake the King and in a voice so full

Of grace and gentleness, that all my heart

Went out to Him in love and loyalty:

‘Beloved one,’ he said, ‘to you was given

To herald my first advent, and I now

Commission you my Kingdom to proclaim

To all the House of Israel who dwell

In their ancestral home of Palestine.

Speak comfortably to Jerusalem

And cry to her that her appointed time

Is now accomplished. Tell her to repent

Of all her centuries of unbelief,

And then on her the Sun of Righteousness

Shall rise with healing in his beams. But first

Wait thou a flying chariot which shall bear

Thee to Jerusalem, and in it one

Who shall enlighten thee concerning all

The course of history since thy former days.

And thou shalt meet with others, who like thee

Were loyal to their GOD and died in faith,

Not having all the promises received,

But looking forward to a happier time,

When all mankind should live in righteousness.

To thee and them will I communicate

Whate’er is needful to promote my reign

On this unhappy earth; for you and they

Shall be my earthly representatives,

To whom I delegate the power to rule

On my behalf the kingdoms of the world.”

 

                “When thus the LORD had spoken long I stood

O’erwhelmed by all that I had seen and heard.

Before me opened out a vista so

Transcendently sublime and glorious

That in its contemplation I became

Oblivious to all surrounding things,

Until awakened by a throbbing sound

Strange to my ears, and looking up I saw

Majestically sailing through the sky

The wonderful device of modern man

Which brought me hither. In astonishment

I watched it gracefully descent to earth,

And saw its crew emerge, amongst them one,

Our good friend Stephen, whom the Lord had sent

To instruct me in the knowledge of the past.

 

                “No need have I, my brethren, to describe

The joy experienced in meeting him

And his companions, nor how well they fed

My hungry mind with all that was required

To carry out my mission; let me now

Relate what on the morrow came to pass:

The sun had gathered up his trailing robes

Of golden light and vanished from my view,

And overhead the moon’s round orbit shone,

With all her gorgeous retinue of stars;

And still we sat and talked, until the eyes

Of all with sleep grew heavy—saving min:

The body which the LORD had given me,

Was so replete with energy and power,

That while the others slept my mind became

Still more alert and wakeful, and the hours

Of midnight passed in mediation deep

On all that I had learned throughout that first

And memorable day of my new life.

 

                “Much had I heard of GOD’S eternal plan

For man’s redemption , and the sight of all

Those glittering worlds above increased my awe

And admiration of the mighty power

Which launched them into space and yet would stoop

To raise and bless the puny race of man.

How trivial seemed all that I had done

And suffered when on earth, my desert life,

My hardships and imprisonment and death,

Compared with the exceeding rich reward

Which by His loving-kindness now was mine.

 

                “While musing thus the stars began to pale

Before the fast approaching lite of day,

And soon the sun appeared. Oft had I watched

In days long past the coming of the dawn,

But never had it seemed so radiant

As on this morn. With joy I rose to greet

The welcome beams, and as I marvelling stood

The sound of unfamiliar voices came

Upon my ears. Approaching me were three

Majestic figures clad in eastern garb,

Whom I by intuition recognised,

As our great patriarchal ancestors;

and others followed, faithful men of GOD,

Whose names are known to you in Holy Writ,

And whom you will ere long, see face to face.

                “But, brethren, time is far too short to speak

Of how we met, of all we said and did;

Suffice it now, that ‘twas my privilege

To introduce them to our noble friends

Who brought me here; and during all that day

And through succeeding days, until the moon

Hung like a silver sickle in the sky,

We spent conversing on the things of GOD,

Much did we learn abut affairs of earth—

The progress of mankind, in all the arts

And sciences, how knowledge had increased

In latter days; and yet the world was full

Of violence as in the days of Noah.

The nations had forsaken GOD and now

Were by His righteous judgments overthrown,

That in their place the Kingdom of the Christ

Might be established. But our chiefest joy

And honour was to hold communion with

The heavenly powers and daily to receive

Instruction in the word to us assigned.

 

                “And then the day arrived where I received

The call to journey to Jerusalem.

So here I stand, my brethren, in the sure

And certain hope—nay, confidence—that He

Who brought me from the dead will also bring

Deliverance to you from all your foes.

Therefore I counsel you to not provoke

By any show of force the enemy,

But to possess your souls in patience till

You see the hostile armies like the leaves

Of Autumn flee before the breath of GOD.”

 

XIII.

 

“ As birds flying, so will the LORD of Hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it.”—Isaiah 31:5.

 

“God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the Kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail....As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our GOD: GOD will establish it for ever.”—Psalm 48:3-8.

 

__________

 

                IN splendour o’er the hills the sun arose,

And cast his beams alike on friends and foes.

 

                Within the city few had slumber sought;

Such marvellous events the day had brought

That through the hours of night in converse deep

Men sat and talked, indifferent to sleep;

And many spent in praise and prayer the night;

And read the scriptures with increasing light,

Until each page to their astonished view

Pointed to JESUS as Messiah true.

 

                In contrast to such scenes the foe without

Disturbed the midnight calm with song and shout,

Or gambled their ill-gotten gains away

Until the darkness fled before the day.

Scant discipline prevailed, for none surmised

Attack from adversaries they despised.

Yet in their leaders’ hearts a feeling crept

Of danger, and uneasily they slept.

 

                While yet the camp in drunken slumber lay,

Three horsemen slowly down a mountain way

Approached the city. Unobserved they gained

The Mount of Olives and awhile remained

As if in contemplation of the sight

Which lay before them in the morning light.

 

                In tranquil grandeur on her mountain throne,

And girded by her ancient walls of stone,

The Holy City like a monarch sat

Beyond the valley of Jehoshophat.

Mosque, synagogue and temple raised on high

Their pinnacles against the glowing sky,

And fragrant citron grove and olive tree

Exhaled their sweetness from Gethsemane;

While stretching towards the north in grim array

The armies of her fierce opponents lay.

 

                Though young the morn the streets were all astir,

With earnest patriot and worshipper,

Each seeking hurriedly the public square,

To join the throng already gathered there.

As on the scene the travellers bent their gaze,

The multitude sent up a shout of praise,

So loud and jubilant that from theirs sleep

The enemy awakened and in deep

Bewilderment their weapons seized, for fear

Lest some disaster unforeseen was near.

But quickly their alarm subsided when

No armed opponents came within their ken,

And with their thoughts on plunder, rape and sack,

They formed themselves in order for attack.

Small heed was taken of the horsemen three,

Who, robed in flowing garments, seemed to be

But wandering Arabs who had come that way

In curiosity to watch the fray.

 

                Suspicious of the city’s attitude,

And at the song of praise again renewed,

The chiefs of the marauding armies met

In council and decided ere they let

Their forces loose an order to convey

To the beleaguered city that straightway

The airship and its passengers should be

Delivered up; that failing to agree

To this demand, or seeking to prevent

An entry to the town, swift punishment

Would follow, and in spite of GOD their LORD

The city would be given to the sword.

 

                Under a flag of truce the heralds came

Bearing the message to Jerusalem,

And passing in through the Damascus gate

Were soon escorted to the Hall of State,

Where sat the Governor, who when he heard

The arrogant demand awhile conferred

With those around him. Then he answer made:

“Tell your commanders that we are not swayed

By aught they threaten, nor will we accede

To their demand. In this our time of need

The GOD of whom we trust, whom they defy,

Will help us when our enemies are nigh.”

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

                The bugles rang, and from the hillsides poured

Like locust swarms the vast and savage horde;

Impatient of restraint they swept along,

A huge, disordered, undisciplined throng.

But as they hurried eager for assault

A sudden impulse caused them all to halt.

Between them and the city’s open gate,

the horsemen from the Mount of Olives sat.

Their cloaks were cast aside, and in the dress

Of ancient warriors all motionless

They waited for the onslaught of the foe,

Who seemed awhile uncertain what to do;

For never in the bravest days of yore,

Were ever seen such mighty men of war.

Three perfect forms, as of a nobler race,

They sat their chargers with consummate grace,

And as upon their burnished helmets shone

The golden glory of the eastern sun,

Full many of the enemy were fain

To think the Gods had come to earth again.

 

                Thus for a time the hostile forces stood

Thick as the trees in primeval wood,

Till rallied by their chiefs with courage new

They sought again their object to pursue.

No shot was fired, but armed with bayonet

They rushed toward the men of Olivet.

 

                Then, at that moment, came to pass a thing

Of which the poets of all time will sing—

A scene which finds its only parallel

In those historic days of Israel,

When GOD in majesty and might arose

And brought destruction on her heathen foes—

With sudden movement and with one accord,

Each horseman held aloft his gleaming sword,

And in a loud reverberating tone

They sang together in full unison:

“Let GOD arise and let His enemies

Be scattered as the chaff before the breeze.”

 

                As when the cyclone with consuming wrath,

Spreads death and desolation in its path,

And men impelled by fear of coming woe,

Rush blindly on not knowing where to go,

So quickly on that mighty host there fell

A terror strange and uncontrollable.

                Backward they hurried with tumultuous speed

Like frightened cattle in a wild stampede,

And swarming back to camp they sought to find

Escape from their pursuers close behind,

Who seemed to them avenging angels sent

To bring condign and awful punishment.

Exhausted, many stumbled and beneath

The crush of iron heels found speedy death,

And others dropped their weapons in despair,

And climbed the hills in hope of safety there.

Along the hot and dusty highway pressed

With panting hearts and trembling limbs the rest,

A foaming torrent of humanity

Seeking from its dread Nemesis to flee.

 

                In vain their leaders strove with frantic might

To stop the masses in their frenzied flight,

Unheeded their commands, and swept aside

By the onrushing overwhelming tide,

Their hearts grew fearful too, and in dismay

They turned their backs and fled in haste away.

 

                Then suddenly a bitter blast arose,

Full in the faces of the fleeting foes,

And in its wake a cloud of blackness spread,

A cloak impenetrable overhead,

Which turned the light of day to deepest night,

And checked the armies in their headlong flight—

Like that dense darkness which at GOD’S command

Fell as a plague on stubborn Pharaoh’s land.

 

                A silence followed, ominous, and then—

Horror on horror burst upon these men,

Who but an hour before with evil glee

Had thought to win an easy victory:

From out the ebon sky fierce lightnings ploughed

Their fiery furrows through the surging crowd,

And thunders roared with sounds more awful far

Than all the dread artillery of war;

While massive hailstones with terrific might,

Smote thousands to the earth in deadly plight.

Confusion indescribable prevailed:

By thunder, hail and “coals of fire” assailed

The maddened wretches in their agony

Shouted and fought and struggled to be free,

But in the darkness found no certain path

From the pursuing elements of wrath.

 

                At length the storm abated, and with fear

Still urging on they plunged into the drear

And dreadful gloom which like a heavy pall

Or massive canopy hung over all.

Some groped along the road and thought to gain

The highway leading to Megiddo’s plain,

And others scattered o’er the mountain side,

Wandered forlornly or exhausted died.

 

XIV.

 

“Be strong and of good courage.”—Joshua 1:6.

 

“The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.”—Judges 7:20.

 

“I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the GOD of the armies of Israel.”—1 Samuel 17:45.

 

__________

 

                The people of Jerusalem had been

Amazed spectators of the stirring scene,

From every point of vantage, every height,

They watched the panic-stricken foe in flight;

Until was hid from view their final doom

By the descending canopy of gloom.

For as in Goschen shone the light of day

While Egypt’s land in densest darkness lay,

So Salem’s city, favoured from on high,

Lay bright and tranquil ‘neath the glowing sky.

 

                Enthralled by so dramatic an event,

So great display of power omnipotent,

The multitude awaited patiently

The re-appearance of the strangers three;

Nor had they long to wait, for from afar

They soon beheld those mighty men of war

Returning quietly from the pursuit;

Whereat the citizens no longer mute

Sent up a shout of joy, which seemed to make

The firm foundations of the city shake,

And reaching far to where the horsemen came,

Quickened their progress to Jerusalem.

 

                Then, as these three approached the city gate,

There issued froth the ministers of State,

Led by the noble prophet and with them

A troop of maidens fair, with Miriam,

The fairest of that bright and happy throng,

Who met the heroes with triumphant song:

 

“Sing to Jehovah a paeon of glory,

                Tell of His wisdom, His love and His power,

Let the whole earth hear the wonderful story,

                Israel He saved in their perilous hour;

Glory and honour to Him who has brought,

The aims of the alien armies to naught.

 

Loud has He spoken in accents of thunder,

                Deadly the stroke of His swift flashing sword,

Cleaving the hosts of the foemen in sunder;

                Full on their heads has His anger been poured;

Now on the mountains all scattered and worn,

They wander in darkness, bereft and forlorn.

 

Welcome, thrice welcome, ye heroes to Zion;

                Long have ye lain in the dust of the earth;

Now, at the bidding of Judah’s great Lion,

                Forth have ye come to a glorious birth.

Our gallant defenders, rejoicing we come,

To welcome you back to your country and home.”

 

                At the first sound of this triumphant song

The horsemen stopped amid the gathering throng,

And bared their heads in silent homage, till

The note of welcome caused their hearts to thrill

With gratitude to Him whose sovereign power

Had raised them for that memorable hour,

Then as they rode in slow procession through

The crowded streets the strain broke forth anew:

 

“Welcome, thrice welcome, ye heroes of GOD,

Back to the land which your fathers have trod.

Long have ye lain in the dust of the earth.

Now are ye raised to a glorious birth.

Welcome, thrice welcome! Rejoicing we come

To welcome you back to your country and home.”

 

                And many strewed beneath the horses feet,

Branches of evergreens and blossoms sweet,

While others, overcome by what they saw,

Gazed at the warriors in speechless awe.

The LORD, indeed, had in the days of old,

Delivered Jacob by His servant bold,

But now in nobler fashion did He save

By raising up deliverers from the grave.

Sure never had so great rejoicings been

Since He, the meek and lowly Nazarene,

Along the streets His kingly course pursued,

Amid the plaudits of the multitude.

 

                Superb in form, replete with every grace,

Which shines resplendent in a perfect race,

The glorious trio from the wondering crowd,

Evoked enthusiasm long and loud.

The centre figure of the noble three,

Pre-eminent in regal majesty,

Was Israel’s hero, Jesse’s mighty son,

And with him Joshua and Gideon,

Whose deeds accomplished in Jehovah’s name,

Are registered upon the scroll of fame.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

                Ere yet the night had cast its mantle grey

Upon the hours of that eventful day,

The citizens assembled in the square,

To render to Jehovah praise and prayer;

Praise for His mighty power, His saving grace,

Prayer for continued favour to their race.

 

                Impressive was the scene that summer’s eve;

No man there was who did not now perceive

The hand of GOD revealed with mighty power

In all the circumstances of the hour,

And thousands now were ready to proclaim

Allegiance to the true Messiah’s name.

 

                Around the Governor, with hearts elate,

Were gathered all the Officers of State,

With councillors and leading citizens,

And men of learning and benevolence,

But chief among the throng of worshippers,

Like princes stood their great deliverers,

Four noble figures of heroic mould,

Perfect in powers and graces manifold.

 

                The people all of solemn silence kept

As forth the venerable rabbi stepped

And in a voice which trembled with excess

Of holy joy announced, “Come, let us bless

Jehovah’s sacred name, for He indeed

Has brought salvation in our time of need.

Our eyes have seen the glory of the LORD,

Our ears have hearkened to His gracious word,

Now let our joyful songs and anthems swell

In glory to the GOD of Israel.”

 

                Then led by Miriam, a psalm of praise,

The fruit of David’s muse in olden days,

Rose like a cloud of incense to the skies,

And mingled with the heavenly harmonies.

 

                As on his ears the words familiar flowed

The royal psalmist’s heart with rapture glowed;

Near thirty troubled centuries had gone

And yet these songs of his were living on,

Supplying comfort in the midst of fears,

An inspiration through the changing years.

This knowledge was to him more precious far

Than all the honour he had gained by war,

And with a voice sublimely rich and strong

He joined the swelling chorus of the song.

Nor were his two companions less impressed

By all they heard, and mingled with the rest

In joyous notes their tuneful offering

Of heartfelt praise to Heaven’s eternal King.

 

                To Joshua the memory arose,

Of those great days of old when on the foes,

Who barred their entrance to the Promised Land,

GOD brought the weight of His avenging hand;

When sun and moon were in their courses stayed,

And Jericho’s high walls were prostrate laid.

While Gideon thought of that historic night

When all the Midianites were put to flight,

And in their hearts the grateful feeling came

That GOD still loved the seed of Abraham.

                Then in well chosen words the governor

Welcomed the presence of the noble four,

Voicing the gratitude of everyone

For all these heavenly messengers had done;

And in response spake David, and the throng

Heard with delight the music of a tongue

Which charmed their ears—as in the days of old

It spurred the camp and lulled to sleep the fold.

In glowing tones he spoke of Him whose reign

Shall bring back Paradise to earth again—

JESUS of Nazareth, whom now they knew

To be the Son of GOD, Messiah true.

And then he urged the people all to be

Obedient to the heavenly monarchy;

That soon those other “worthies” would appear

To inaugurate the new conditions here;

And meanwhile he and his companions two

Would cleanse the country from their common foe.

 

                Another psalm from the same royal pen,

Rose in the quiet evening air, and then,

The singing ended, every heard was bowed,

Beneath the prophet’s blessing, and the crowd

Dispersed with hearts immeasurably stirred

By all the wondrous things that had occurred.

 

XV.

 

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”—Rev 19:7, 8.

 

__________

 

                From Jonathan’s hospitable abode

A stream of music and rejoicing flowed.

The merchant felt his home supremely blest

For David was that night his honoured guest,

And eagerly he sought, and not in vain,

His princely visitor to entertain.

 

                Much interest and pleasure David found

As, guided by his host, he looked around,

The pleasant rooms adorned with all that art

And modern skill and labour could impart,

With curios and ornamental ware

And shelves of literary treasures rare.

But chiefly was he pleased when on his ear

Melodious voices sounded sweet and clear

Singing a song which, though unknown to him,

Contained the burden of a scared theme,

Revealed to him since he began to see

The meaning of the “hidden mystery.”

 

1st voice:                O, thou fairest among women,

                                                Thou art like a lily white,

                                And thy dove-like eyes are brimming,

                                                With a pure and tender light.

                                O’er the hills with eager feet,

                                I have come my love to greet.

 

2nd voice:                Still my eager watch I’m keeping,

                                                And my breast with longing fills;

                                My beloved he comes leaping

                                                Like a hart upon the hills,

                                And I hear his voice of love

                                Saying, “Thou art fair my dove.”

 

1st voice:                At thy window I am waiting,

                                                As the morning light appears,

                                An in earnest tones entreating

                                                Cast away thy sighs and fears.

                                Haste my love, for I have come

                                Now to take thee safely home.

 

2nd voice:                At the window, lo, he standeth

                                                In the dawning of the day,

                                And in loving tones commandeth:

                                                “Rose, my dove, and come away,

                                For ‘tis now our bridal day,

                                Therefore, haste and come away.”

 

1st voice:                None shall ever be before thee,

                                                Thou my fair one, thou my dove,

                                I will hang my banner o’er thee,

                                                As a token of my love.

                                Haste my fair one, come away,

                                For it is our bridal day.

 

2nd voice:                He will take me to his palace,

                                                To his house of banqueting;

                                I shall drink from love’s full chalice,

                                                And for very joy shall sing:

                                “O’er me now thy bride, thy dove,

                                Hangs the banner of thy love.”

 

                “This song,” the rabbi said, “I deem is one

Adapted from the ‘Song of Solomon,’

And doubtless will the heart of him delight

Who is our royal visitor tonight.”

O’er David’s face a smile of pleasure spread

And in appreciative tones he said,

“Our gratitude to Miriam is due,

And to her follow-singer Stephen too.

For they with holy song and voices skilled

Our minds with thought, our hearts with joy have filled.

But, oh, Ben Ashur, speak I pray to me

Not in the terms befitting royalty

But as a brother, one in faith and love—

WE have no king save Him who rules above,

And now, good rabbi, let us know your mind,

Upon this ‘Song of Song’ and what you find

It symbolises, for it is my thought

That with profounder meaning it is fraught.”

 

                “Some see,” the rabbi answered, “nothing more

Than lyric verse, though of the purest ore,

And others think it is a record clear

Of some event in Solomon’s career.

My own suggestion is that here is shown

The love between Jehovah and His own.

‘Thy maker is thine husband,’ we are told,

By him who wrote in imagery bold.

But doubtless our beloved Stephen can,

With all his knowledge of GOD’S wondrous plan,

A further meaning give that we may know

All that this poem is designed to show.”

 

                “What knowledge I possess I gladly bring,

Into the service of our glorious King,

And this incomparable song refers

To Him and to His faithful followers.

At least,” said Stephen, “that is what I deem

To be the meaning of this heavenly theme—

JESUS the bridegroom and the Church His bride,

For whom upon the cross He bled and died.

This song depicts the mutual love between

The heavenly monarch, and His earthly queen:

Throughout the ages, absent from her Lord,

She trusted ever in His plighted word,

And He with tenderest solicitude,

Her footsteps guided and her foes subdued.

And now the marriage of the Lamb has come

The bride is in her heavenly husband’s home;

And we rejoice, because their reign will bring

An end to all earth’s sin and suffering.”

 

                “Our friend has spoken truly,” David said,

“Much light is now upon the Scriptures shed,

And since GOD called me back to life again,

His plan and purposes to me are plain.

Oft when I felt inspired to sing His praise

In those far-distant unforgotten days,

GOD’S Holy Spirit would illuminate

My mind with visions of an earthly state,

Wherein should dwell eternal righteousness,

And every tongue Jehovah GOD confess.

And in their foregleams of a better time,

Would move a figure, gracious and sublime,

A new Melchizidek, a priest and king,

Whose rule on earth should untold blessing bring.

 

                “Though brief these glimpses were, I now can see

The spirit breathed in them of prophecy;

All these predictions are fulfilled in One—

The LORD’S Anointed, David’s greater Son—

The once despised man of Nazareth,

Whose mighty voice awakened me from death.

To Him I joyfully allegiance own

And bow with gratitude before His throne.”

 

                A silence followed as the speaker stood

In reverie; then in exalted mood

He took the harp of Miriam and swept

His fingers o’er the strings, and forthwith leapt

So exquisite a strain, that every heart

Was captivated by the player’s art,

Who seemed a harper from the heavenly choir,

To fell their bosoms with celestial fire.

And when the music ceased each knee was bent

In mute and reverent acknowledgment

Of Him, the Lord of Glory, and His bride,

Chosen of GOD, elect and sanctified.

 

XVI.

 

“The heavens declare the glory of GOD; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”—Psa 19:1, 2.

 

__________

 

                Orion’s jewelled belt in splendour shone

As Miriam stepped forth and gazed upon

The glory of the sky. The Pleiades

Hung like a cluster of celestial bees,

And Sirius, the watch-dog of the night,

Gleamed in the darkness as a sapphire bright,

While Venus smiled in radiance serene,

Upon her brother planets as a queen.

 

                The peace of nature had a counterpart

In the sweet calm within the maiden’s heart.

Awhile she silent stood, her thoughts intent

Upon the wonders of the firmament,

And then her musings on the vast expanse

Found an involuntary utterance:

“which of these mighty orbs which swing in space

Has GOD for His eternal dwelling-place?

If earth is now His footstool where will be

His throne, the entre of authority?

And where does CHRIST, His great vicegerent stay

To exercise on earth His kingly sway?”

 

                These words, half-consciously expressed, were heard

By Stephen standing near, whose mind was stirred

To make reply—for every word she spoke,

An answering echo in her heart awoke:

“GOD is a spirit, needing not to dwell,

With an environment material;

Though some have thought that all these stars above

Around one common far-off centre move:

Some point in space, some holy high estate

From which His power and glory radiate

In streams of life, and energy to all

Within creations’ vast encircling wall.

And CHRIST, our Sovereign Lord, we know is here

Within the limits of earth’s atmosphere—

Not in His mortal flesh, for that He gave

In willing sacrifice mankind to save,

But as a spirit being clothed in light,

And yet invisible to human sight.

To Him as such no barrier exists,

He moves through space and matter as He lists.

He knows our troubles, understands our needs,

Approves or disapproves our words and deeds,

And governs all the family of man

In strict accordance with His Father’s plan.

His watchful care and guidance I have known,

In all the dangers lately undergone,

And gratefully I own his goodness true,

Which brought me back to Salem and—to you!”

 

                At this last word, the eyes of Miriam shone,

And Stephen knew for sure her heart was won,

Their mutual love they each did there confess,

And all the stars were silent witnesses.

 

XVIII.

 

“GOD moves in a mysterious way,

                His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea.

                And rides upon the storm.”—Cowper.

 

__________

 

                “NOW, tell us, Stephen, ere the night grows late,

and we perforce again must separate,

How fared you in your journey to the North,

When with the embassy you ventured forth?”

All eagerly supported Jonathan

In this request, and Stephen then began

In modest tones: “My words are all too weak,

Of GOD’S unfailing providence to speak—

His loving care which from the very day

We left Jerusalem was all the way

Made manifest—but I will simply tell

A few of the adventures which befell

Our mission, which at first appeared to be

Forlorn indeed, but closed so happily.

 

                No incident of moment marked our course,

Until we reached Damascus, where in force

The enemy lay ready to o’erwhelm

Like a dread avalanche this sacred realm.

Our interview with the commanding chief

To anxious hearts afforded scant relief;

A man of intellect he seemed to be

Possessed of absolute authority,

But with a manner hard and pitiless,

Impervious to sorrow or distress;

And as he listened coldly to our tale,

Our hopes grew dim, our hearts began to fail.

We did our best—no breath more eloquent

Than that our patriotic leader spent

In pleading for our cause—but all in vain;

No favour did his advocacy gain.

 

                “I long had known the chief as one whose great

Ambition was to fully extirpate

Religious thought and practice from the earth,

And all that we esteem of holy worth.

He had no reverence for GOD or man,

And did not seek to hide from us his plan,

But told us that his object was to break

The spirit of our race, by force to take

Our country’s wealth, and crush with iron hand

All synagogues and churches in the land.

 

                “I urged him from another point of view—

That of an Englishmen, and not a Jew—

To spare the country; that he could obtain

More benefit by letting them remain

In peace, as they would probably agree

To pay a monetary subsidy,

And I would readily consent to act

As guarantee for them in such a pact.

To this proposal he refused assent,

Nor would he hear of further argument,

But bade an officer who stood in sight,

Conduct us to our lodgings for the night.

 

                “I need not tell you, brethren, that our eyes

Knew little sleep that night, but GOD, all-wise,

Drew forth our faith and hope, and to His care

We left ourselves, our cause, in earnest prayer.

 

                “Next morning when preparing to depart

A message came forbidding us to start

Without permission, and some days we passed

In anxious waiting, till arrived at last

An order for us to at once prepare

For a long journey—but we knew not where.

Our rights we pleaded as ambassadors,

But there no rights save those of conquerors

Were recognised, and we were straightway led

Outside the camp to where an airship spread

Its huge expanse; and stepping in the car

We soon were floating in the heights afar.

 

                “Some knowledge have I as an engineer

Of airships and their complicated gear,

And this of service proved, for later on

We met the north-east gale, Euroclydon,

Which struck our craft with fury unaware,

And tossed us like a feather in the air,

Until our pilot, losing all control,

Fell from his post a terror-stricken soul.

And then a sudden madness seized the crew,

In whose dark minds the superstition grew

That we, like Jonah, were responsible

For all the dangers which upon them fell,

And, but for their commander, would have cast

Us overboard into the roaring blast.

 

                “Amidst it all we had a vivid sense

Of GOD’S protecting care, a confidence

That whatsoever perils might ensue

His arm of strength would bring us safely through.

And so when we displayed no sign of fear

The captain in astonishment drew near

And cried above the raging of the gale:

‘No human help can now be of avail,

For we with engines stopped and forces spent

Are at the mercy of the element.

But why are you so calm? For you has death

No terrors in his desolating breath,

Which any moment now our ship may burst

And hurl us to the earth like things accurst?’

‘No harm can come to us,’ we mad reply,

‘For we are in the hands of the Most High.

The wind and storm are both at His command

And He will bring us safely back to land.’

 

                “‘Your faith amazes me,’ he said, ‘and I,

An unbeliever, and afraid to die!

But if our lives are spared I’ll gladly own

Allegiance to your GOD, and Him alone!’

 

                “At this we took ourselves again to prayer

That GOD, if such His will, our lives would spare,

And that this unbeliever might receive

The proof which would compel him to believe.

As when on Galilee the tempest heard,

And swift obeyed the LORD’S commanding word,

So as we prayed, the wind its fury spent,

And with one final effort whirling sent

Our ship still higher in the atmosphere,

Where all was tranquil, radiant an clear.

 

                “With hearts which overflowed with gratitude,

With faith and love and loyalty renewed,

We sang a song of praise and thankfulness,

To Him who thus had saved us in distress.

 

                “Awhile we floated in the azure sky,

Heedless of all—except that GOD was nigh,

When in a voice all tremulous with awe,

The young commander said: ‘I owned no law,

Save that of human reason; now I know

There is a GOD, and at His feet I bow.

To you his servants I confession make

That my official orders were to take

You with all speed to some lone spot afar

Where you would be no hindrance to the war;

For to our chief your presence seemed to be

A source of worry and anxiety.

But now my heart forbids me to proceed,

[With such a base, dishonourable deed,

And gladly would I cast my lot with you,

To serve a GOD so great and wise and true.’

 

                “So frank his manner was, and so sincere

Did every utterance of his appear,

That we were glad to welcome him as one

On whom the light of truth Divine had shone.

 

                “Small harm had happened to our craft and so,

With engines started we resolved to go

Towards Jerusalem. Meanwhile the crew

Another course determined to pursue;

Half-frenzied still with fear they made demand

That straightway should the ship be brought to land,

As they with one accord refused to share

In any further perils of the air.

To this their chief consented, for right well

He knew that it was most advisable

To be relieved of those who might display

A tendency to harm us on our way;

And when a landing-place appeared in sight

He made arrangements for them to alight.

We reached the ground in safety and the men,

Glad to be on the solid earth again,

Secured their weapons and, with food supplied,

Proceeded blithely down the mountain side.

 

                “The place where we had landed was a green

And fertile mountain vail, such as I ween

But few have known; and there we thought to stay

Until the morn of the succeeding day;

But (oh, how wonderful the ways of GOD,

No sooner had our feet the valley trod,

Than we beheld, approaching slowly, one

Whom you have learned to love, the prophet John!

 

                “The hostile chieftain’s treacherous intents,

The furious ravings of the elements,

The terror of the crew, and their demand

To be at once transported to the land—

All these events were used by power benign,

To bring about the purposes Divine.

 

                “You know, my friends, what afterwards occurred,

For you yourselves have heard the Baptist’s word;

And all that I can add is heartfelt praise,

To Him who through those dark and anxious days

Protected from all harm and used us thus

As agents in a cause so glorious.

 

XVIII.

 

Long, long ago, in the far distant ages,

                Loyal ye were to the GOD ye adored;

Great is your record on history’s pages

                Soldiers and prophets and priests of the LORD.

 

Welcome! Thrice welcome! We greet you with gladness,

                Hailing your coming as princes to dwell,

Here on the earth, to dispel all its sadness,

                Sin and its evils for ever to quell.

 

__________

 

                JERUSALEM right early was astir,

For great events were likely to occur,

The daily papers, which with honest zeal,

Had ever sought to serve the common weal,

Described in accurate and glowing phrase

The happenings of those tremendous days.

The spirit of a new and better age,

Inspired the columns of each printed page,

And every issue had an offering

Of loyalty to the Messiah-King.

Much praise was given to the prophet John,

To David, Joshua and Gideon:

The high authority which each possessed

To teach and act at the Divine behest;

Their perfect manhood and the mental power,

Which grasped with east the problems of the hour;

Their courage, chivalry and skill, combined

With manifest desire to bless mankind,

And all the virtues which together meet

To make a perfect character complete.

And now it was their business to proclaim

The speedy coming to Jerusalem

Of other “ancient worthies,” who should be

Strong pillars in the new theocracy;

And earnestly they urged each citizen

To give due reverence to these godly men.

 

                The sun had reached its zenith ere they came—

These men and women of undying fame—

And all the people of Jerusalem,

Flocked through the city gates to welcome them.

The news had been so widely heralded,

That many thousands to the city sped

From villages around; so great the stir

It seemed all Palestine had gathered there.

 

                How can a mortal’s feeble pen portray,

The great event of that triumphal day,

The coming of those men, so wise and great,

Messiah’s Kingdom to inaugurate?

And where could artist’s skill be found on earth

To paint a scene of such transcendent worth?

 

                Take the great specimens of Grecian art,

Life and vitality to each impart;

Let the rich life-blood course through every vein,

Rendering them innocuous to pain;

Endue them with the highest form of mind—

A Homer and a Socrates combined;

And place within each breast the noblest aim,

With purity and human live can frame—

Such, and far more, were these the LORD had sent,

To form His earthly phase of government—

Perfect in mental power, and grace of limb,

And hearts in absolute accord with Him.

 

                Foremost amongst this resurrected band,

Were those three patriarchs, to whom the land

Had been by GOD bequeathed in ages past,

Long ere the might of Babylon had cast

Its shadow on the earth, or Egypt’s king

Had caused the Hebrews untold suffering.

Scarce could the gazing populace believe

The witness of their eyes, or credence give

To the great fact that, from its long embrace,

Death had released the founders of their race.

 

                With them was Adam’s martyred son, the first

On whom the hurricane of death had burst;

And that devout and saintly patriarch

Who walked with GOD when all the world was dark;

And he who in his loyalty to GOD

Passed safely through the overwhelming flood.

And there was Job, the patient one, who bore

With fortitude sublime his sufferings sore,

And Joseph, radiant with joy to be

Amongst so glorious a company.

And in their midst there moved a form unique,

Old Salem’s priestly king Melchizedek;

A type of Him whose reign had now begun,

GOD’S holy, well-belov’d, immortal Son.

 

                And there was he, who through the wilderness,

Amid the discontent, the storm and stress

Of forty weary years, their fathers led,

And saw from Pisgah’s mount in beauty spread,

The land he could not enter then—but now

The light of triumph shone upon his brow,

As Aaron and their sister, Miriam,

With him proceeded to Jerusalem.

 

                The prophets, too, were there, those faithful men,

Who feared not to proclaim by voice or pen

The message of the LORD. By Samuel led

They formed a company whose presence shed

A light of triumph over all, for they

Had prophesied of the Millennial Day,

And now their visions, hitherto despised,

Were being gloriously realised.

Isaiah, most poetical of seers,

And Jeremiah, now no more in tears;

Great prophets who, in no uncertain strain,

Foretold the glory of Messiah’s reign;

And he who by the side of Chebar’s stream,

Saw living wheels and holy cherubim;

And faithful Daniel who beheld the day

When earth’s great empires should be swept away,

When knowledge should increase and all would be

Obedient to the Divine decree.

 

                With them were those two prophets of the Lord,

To life and fellowship again restored;

He who on Horeb’s sacred mount had heard

The “still, small voice,” and he whose heart was stirred

With pit for the Shunamite’s distress

And raised her son to life and happiness.

And Samson, mighty in his strength was there,

With him who sacrificed his daughter fair;

And many others known to those who look

Within the pages of the Holy Book;

And others known to GOD, but not to fame,

Who suffered persecution for His name,

But now, raised up to dignity and worth,

They gain reward as princes of the earth.

                Oft had the people viewed with eager gaze,

Processions pass along their sacred ways,

But never so impressive an array,

Of God-like men and women as that day

Passed through the city gates amid the loud

Rejoicings of the vast and happy crowd.

As each exalted figure came in view,

More jubilant the people’s welcome grew,

For those whose voices had before been dumb,

Proclaimed aloud the kingdom now had come.

 

                And truly it had come, though not with show

Of military triumph o’er a foe;

No roar of cannon shook the hills around,

No trumpet bellowed forth a warlike sound,

Nor did the joyous sunshine, bright and warm,

Smile upon troops in martial uniform;

The quiet dignity Messiah gives

To all His faithful representatives,

Marked their demeanour as they moved along,

Surrounded by the enthusiastic throng.

 

                Then as they passed within the City Hall,

Where hospitality awaited all,

The prophet John addressed the multitude,

Who in the public square expectant stood:—

“My brethren,” he began, “our hearts today

Are full of praise and gladness,  for we know

That in the wise and wond’rous plan of GOD

The time has come when shall be manifest

To all the world the reign of CHRIST on earth.

Those whom ye have so joyfully received

Are here to do His will: raised from the grave

To perfect human life they shall fulfil

Isaiah’s prophecy, ‘Behold a King

Shall reign in righteousness and princes rule

In judgment.’ ‘Out of Zion shall go forth

The law of God and from Jerusalem

His word; and many people then shall say,

Come let us go up to Jehovah’s house,

For He will teach us of H is ways and we

Will walk therein.’ And so beneath the wise

administration of the Law Divine

By these His servants all the world shall find

Its way to Him, whose footstool is the earth,

Which He has promised to make glorious.

 

                “Therefore, I  counsel you to have regard

To all they do, for they will now assume

direction of affairs in Palestine;

And soon the troubled nations of the world

Will come to them for aid when they perceive

The mighty power behind these men of GOD.

For then the prophecy shall come to pass

Which Zachariah wrote, that in those days

Ten men from all the languages of earth

Shall grasp the skirt of him that is a Jew

And say, ‘We will go with you for we hear

That GOD is with you.’ So I say to you:

O house of Jacob, in Jehovah’s light

Come ye and walk, and He will make of you

A means of peace and blessing to mankind.”

 

                Thus spake the prophet, and the people paid

Devout attention to the words he said,

And when he finished raised a mighty shout

Of praise to Him who brought these things about,

and cried, as did their fathers long ago,

“All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.”

 

XIX.

 

“Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee....And the Gentiles shall come to thy light and Kings to the brightness of thy rising.”—Isaiah 60:1, 3.

 

__________

 

                Behold the city of earth’s rightful LORD,

To peace and confidence again restored.

No fear of hostile armies chills the heart,

No sound of cannon makes the timid start;

Beneath the wise and righteous rule of those

Whom GOD had wakened from their long repose,

the people all in grace and virtue grew,

And neither grief nor apprehension knew,

Assured no further danger could befall

For the Almighty arm was over all.

 

                The scattered enemy had sought in vain

To reassemble on Megiddo’s plain,

But, whether on the plain or mountain bare,

The hand of GOD had reached them everywhere;

Where’er their footsteps led they seemed to see

Pursuing them th’ inexorable three,

And some in madness with each other fought,

Or their own lives in desperation sought.

Vast numbers seized with deadly sickness lay

And breathed convulsively their lives away,

And few from Palestine escaped to tell,

Of the great champions of Israel.

 

                But soon to other lands the tidings spread,

How Gog’s great host had been discomfited,

How Judah’s mountains and Megiddo’s plain,

Were covered with the weapons of the slain,

And how the judgments of the LORD had been,

The crowing factors in the tragic scene;

And millions saw in this the flag unfurled,

Of hope for all the nations of the world.

 

                The Jews of Palestine were quick to yield,

Obedience to the mighty truths revealed,

And thus fulfilled in actuality

The promise of the ancient prophecy,

which from the lips of Zechariah burst,

“The LORD shall save the tents of Judah first.”

 

                The scanty remnants of the foreign press,

Which through this period of sore distress

Had managed to exist on sufferance,

Now boldly published every circumstance

Connected with the wonderful events

In Palestine, and many arguments

Were used for an immediate appeal,

To those GOD’S ministers to come and heal

The sickness of the nations, and to bring

An end to all earth’s woe and suffering.

 

                These views expressed with such convincing force,

The people soon were eager to endorse.

Meetings were held  and resolutions made,

To ask Jerusalem for speedy aid,

And messengers from every State abroad,

Were sent to interview these men of GOD.

Some hostile efforts were begun by those

Who sought all law and order to oppose—

But vain are all the energies of man

To seek to hinder the Almighty’s plan;

A sudden fear came over them, as when

Swift vengeance follows on the heels of men.

They faltered in their purposes and grew

In terror at the very brightening view.

A power had come to earth which they could see,

Was breaking down the strength of anarchy;

And so ambassadors unhindered went

From every district, realm and continent.

 

                A wondrous change was coming over man.

New light was streaming forth from Canaan,

And all the world seemed eager to possess

The peaceful fruits of truth and righteousness.

The chains of error, wich for ages past

Had kept mankind in thrall, were loosening fast;

The “strong man” Satan now himself was bound,

And many of his captives freedom found.

The whip of tyranny had become a scourge,

And fires of anarchy had served to purge

The nations from their idols and to bring

Them to the footstool of earth’s rightful King.

Upon all flesh the Spirit of the LORD

Was now indeed beginning to be poured,

And men beneath the influence Divine,

Saw in the east the bow of promise shine,

And pressing forward, though on trembling feet,

Stretched out their arms the radiance to greet.

 

                No longer subject to the rude alarms,

Of earthquake shocks and devastating storms,

The earth, from its primeval curse released,

In vigour and fertility increased.

Blight, mildew and the pests, which hitherto

Had sapped the life-blood’s vitalising flow

In many a field and orchard, now began

To pass forever from the sight of man;

All things which caused the husbandman distress

And grievous loss grew gradually less.

 

                New elements the atmosphere exhaled,

And life and beauty everywhere prevailed.

The desert places, which so long had been

The haunt of savage beasts and birds obscene,

Beneath the vivifying power gave birth

To vegetation which enriched the earth,

And Nature with a lavish hand and bold

Brought forth her ripened fruits a hundred-fold.

 

                Responsive to the earnest call for aid,

The men of GOD were speedily conveyed

With escort suitable to every State,

Messiah’s Kingdom laws to promulgate.

 

                Jerusalem had quickly come to be

The centre of Divine authority,

And there a Council, chosen by the LORD,

From those whom HE from Sheol had restored,

Formed the great medium to convey His will

And all His purposes on earth fulfil.

The “Father of the Faithful,” Abraham,

Received the honour due to his great name:

Elected with the heavenly powers assent,

And hailed by all the first world-president,

His noble presence in so high a place

Brought glory, honour, dignity and grace;

And Moses, skilled in law, in learning famed,

The righteous statutes of the Kingdom framed.

To Aaron was the privilege assigned,

Of leading the devotions of mankind,

And other worthies served in divers ways

The world to guide, ennoble and upraise.

 

                Where once the temple of King Solomon,

In glory stood, the sun now shone upon

Another edifice more glorious still,

Erected with consummate art and skill,

According to the plan described so well,

Within the pages of Ezekiel.

 

                Here daily offerings of praise and prayer,

Like sacrificial incense filled the air,

And there the constant privilege was given

For earth to hold high intercourse with Heaven.

From thence stretched up, invisible to sight,

A ladder reaching to the realms of light,

By which the messengers Divine were sent

On errands to the earthly government.

 

XX.

 

“Behold the earth, to liberty uprising,

                From anarchy and despotism free,

Endowed with strength and beauty tranquillising,

                Like some fair island of a tropic sea.

 

Six thousand years of tyranny are ended,

                Six thousand years of misery and pain,

And now before us dawns the vision splendid,

                The longed-for glory of Messiah’s reign..”

 

__________

 

                ESTABLISHED firmly on the solid base,

Of GOD’S unchanging wisdom, power and grace,

The Kingdom of the CHRIST beneficent,

Its blessings she don every continent;

And as the years rolled on the earth became

A paradise in fact, as well as name.

No more did Mars uplift his blood-stained sword,

And armies march to slaughter at his word,

Nor clans and factions in unholy strife,

Destroy the peace and harmony of life.

The anarchistic spirit which had held

The world in abject terror was dispelled,

And all the tribes of men in concord stood

United in the bonds of brotherhood.

 

                No longer were there half and maimed and blind,

Dependent on the pity of mankind,

For streams of healing virtue flowed to them

From out the temple at Jerusalem;

And sorrow, pain and sickness, which below,

IN all the tragedy of human woe,

Had seemed inevitable to the race,

To comfort, health and happiness gave place.

 

                More wondrous still, the hand of death was stayed

From all who in sincerity obeyed

The kingdom’s laws and ever sought to prove

To earth’s new King their loyalty and love.

And some there were who after trial long,

Persisted in disloyalty and wrong,

And these when all their evil course had run

Suffered the second death—oblivion.

 

                One vast stupendous fact remained to tell—

The glorious Resurrection miracle.

Each day in answer to the prayer and faith

Of ardent souls, the prison-house of death

Was opened wide, and from its gloomy shade,

To life restored, in human garb arrayed,

The lov’d ones from their dreamless sleep came forth

To dwell upon a renovated earth.

 

                How weak is language to describe the joy,

The happiness which seemed without alloy,

Caused by the glad return to friends and home,

Of those who had been prisoners in the tomb.

Husband  and wife again found union,

The father greeted his returning son,

With tears of ecstacy the mother mild

Clasped to her breast her newly wakened child,

And parents, whom their children had consigned

In sorrow to the grave, came back to find

A loving welcome from the ones who long

Had mourned their absence with affection strong.

 

                Wonderful did the world appear to those

Roused from their long and undisturbed repose;

Remembering that in their former life,

The earth was full of selfishness and strife,

That sickness, want and misery were then

Familiar features in the lives of men,

They marvelled at the peace and happiness

And all the blessings, rich and numberless,

Which now were prevalent on every hand,

Spreading divine content o’er sea and land.

For men had wiser grown beneath the sway

Of CHRIST the King in this Millennial Day;

They learned to love each other and to find

A pleasure in things noble and refined;

And it was easier to follow right,

To live in harmony with truth and light,

Then do the deeds of dankness and wrong,

Or aught that to iniquity belong.

 

                The world each day continued to progress,

Along the grand highway of holiness,

To that still distant goal, when man shall win

His final victory over self and sin,

And to perfection’s height once more attain—

The crowning glory of Messiah’s reign.

 

XXI.

 

“The shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”—Isaiah 35:10.

 

__________

 

                AGAIN from Jonathan’s abode is heard

The strains of music, and with bosoms stirred

We look within. Familiar faces there—

Faces devoid of sorrow, pain and care—

Attract our gaze. The rabbi we behold

No longer as a man infirm and old,

Bearing the furrows of the ploughshare Time,

But one returning fast to manhood’s prime.

And there is Jonathan, whose features shine

With a great happiness that seems divine,

For, sitting by his side, restored to life,

Is his devoutly longed-for, loving wife.

Her hand is clasped in his, as if he fears

Again to lose her, for it all appears

So marvellous to him that she who died

Is now in life and vigour at his side.

And Miriam, sweet Miriam is there,

More radiant than ever and more fair;

and near her Stephen, who with loving bride

Views every movement of his peerless bride.

A noble pair, united by a tie

Hallowed and blest by sanction from on high.

Then, as beneath her touch the harp awakes,

From all a song of praise and triumph breaks:—

 

                The night is past, the day has come,

                The light of the Millennium

                                Irradiates the sky;

                And earth’s ten thousand voices sweet

                In happy harmony complete

                                To raise the joyful cry:

                Rejoice, rejoice! Mankind is free

                From all his ancient tyranny;

                Broken are error’s galling chains—

                Messiah reigns! Messiah reigns!

                In Zion trees of healing grow,

                A panacea for the we

                                Of all the tribes of man;

                And righteousness and peace have found

                On earth a happy meeting ground,

                                And, like a rainbow, span

                With glorious arch the heaven above,

                Displaying GOD’S eternal love;

                And vanished are our griefs and pains—

                Messiah reigns! Messiah reigns.

 

                If I have written, O most gracious Lord,

Aught which does not with all Thy will accord,

I crave forgiveness, for our works below

Much ignorance and imperfection show.

We are but broken vessels at our best,

Yet with Thy help we are supremely blest.

And Thou hast aided me in my design

To show the working of Thy plan Divine—

Of those events, which now so nigh at hand,

Cast their dark shadow over every land;

And of the coming of Messiah’s reign

To bring fair Eden to the earth again.

So with devout and loving gratitude,

I thank Thee for Thy grace each day renewed

And pray that these my humble lines may be

A hope and comfort to humanity;

And all that I have written may proclaim

The honour of Thy ever glorious name.