« Prev Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity — Ezekiel’s… Next »


Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols. Ezekiel xiv. 4.

Stately thy walls, and holy are the prayers

Which day and night before thine altars rise:

Not statelier, towering o’er her marble stairs,

Flash’d Sion’s gilded dome to summer skies,

Not holier, while around him angels bow’d,

From Aaron’s censer steam’d the spicy cloud,

Before the mercy-seat. O Mother dear,

Wilt thou forgive thy son one boding sigh?

Forgive, if round thy towers he walk in fear,

And tell thy jewels o’er with jealous eye?

Mindful of that sad vision, which in thought8888Ezekiel viii. 3.

From Chebar’s plains the captive prophet brought.

To see lost Sion’s shame. ’Twas morning prime,

And like a Queen new seated on her throne,

God’S crowned mountain, as in happier time,

Seem’d to rejoice in sunshine all her own:

So bright, while all in shade around her lay,

Her northern pinnacles had caught th’ emerging ray.

The dazzling lines of her majestic roof

Cross’d with as free a span the vault of heaven,

As when twelve tribes knelt silently aloof

Ere God His answer to their king had given,89891 Kings viii. 5.

Ere yet upon the new-built altar fell

The glory of the Lord, the Lord of Israel.

All seems the same: but enter in and see

What idol shapes are on the wall portray’d:9090Ezekiel viii. 10.

And watch their shameless and unholy glee,

Who worship there in Aaron’s robes array’d:

Hear Judah’s maids the dirge to Thammuz pour,9191Ezekiel viii. 14.

And mark her chiefs yon orient sun adore.9292Ezekiel viii. 16.

Yet turn thee, son of man — for worse than these

Thou must behold: thy loathing were but lost

On dead men’s crimes, and Jews’ idolatries —

Come, learn to tell aright thine own sins’ cost, —

And sure their sin as far from equals thine,

As earthly hopes abus’d are less than hopes divine.

What if within His world, His Church, our Lord

Have enter’d thee, as in some temple gate,

Where, looking round, each glance might thee afford

Some glorious earnest of thine high estate,

And thou, false heart and frail, hast turn’d from all

To worship pleasure’s shadow on the wall?

If, when the LORD of Glory was in sight,

Thou turn thy back upon that fountain clear,

To bow before the “little drop of light,.”

Which dim-eyed men call praise and glory here;

What dost thou, but adore the sun, and scorn

Him at whose only word both sun and stars were born?

If, while around thee gales from Eden breathe,

Thou hide thine eyes, to make thy peevish moan

Over some broken reed of earth beneath,

Some darling of blind fancy dead and gone,

As wisely might’st thou in Jehovah’S fane

Offer thy love and tears to Thammuz slain.

Turn thee from these, or dare not to inquire

Of Him whose name is Jealous, lest in wrath

He hear and answer thine unblest desire:

Far better we should cross His lightning’s path

Than be according to our idols beard,

And God should take us at our own vain word.

Thou who hast deign’d the Christian’s heart to call

Thy Church and Shrine; whene’er our rebel will

Would in that chosen home of Thine instal

Belial or Mammon, grant us not the ill

We blindly ask; in very love refuse

Whate’er Thou know’st our weakness would abuse.

Or rather help us, Lord, to choose the good,

To pray for nought, to seek to none, but Thee,

Nor by “our daily bread” mean common food,

Nor say, “From this world’s evil set us free;”

Teach us to love, with Christ, our sole true bliss,

Else, though in Christ’S own words, we surely pray amiss.

« Prev Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity — Ezekiel’s… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |