A Divine Poem on a Spiritual Birth
William Huntington - 1745-1813
How keen are the pains of a Spiritual Birth,
When its dreadful attendants invade!
The soul is a stranger to music and mirth,
A companion for none but the dead.
But spiritual travail is life in disguise,
Though with imminent dangers beset;
The voice of the prophets calls flames from the skies;
Yea, and Moses pursues us for debt.
All crimes from the cradle come fresh to the mind,
Transgressions presented to view;
While Satan accuses for every crime,
Yea, and conscience repeats?it is true.
Jehovah erects his tribunal within,
And the criminal trembles with guilt;
The billows of wrath stir the motions of sin,
And the arrows of vengeance are felt.
His feigned profession is totally marr'd,
Both torments and terrors invade;
The door of kind Mercy seems bolted and barr'd,
And the gates of Destruction display'd.
All friends stand aloof, and acquaintances hide,
And the soul is refus'd to be known;
Our intimates curse us, and scorners deride,
Yea, and fathers and mothers disown.
I envy'd the brutes which dissolve with the day,
And reflected with wrath on the womb;
The pains of the damn'd rack'd my mind with dismay
And I wish'd I could end in a tomb.
I cavill'd with Mercy, and trembled at Fate,
While distraction was raging within,
And envy'd the angels their innocent state,
For I knew they were strangers to sin.
This fearing, and doubting, and hoping between,
While the Tempter, he never gives out;
His dreadful blasphemies how cutting and keen,
When my life hung impending in doubt!
My follies were link'd like a chain to my soul,
And as bound for the realms of the dead:
I look'd for a friend, or for some to condole,
But my friends and companions were fled!
On my wearisome bed I courted the day,
And at morning I woo'd for the night;
I mourned to think in what darkness I lay,
And yet trembled as much at the light.
If I made my confession in private alone,
Then the worst of temptations began;
And, though I petition'd with many a groan,
Yet I fain would have tled from his hand.
The horrors of justice, and terrors of death,
And mad desperation within!
How dreadful to travel this perilous path,
With a conscience polluted with sin!
This sorrowful travail, what will it aveil,
While my heart's too contracted to yield!
Despair and distraction must, doubtless, preveil:
My wound is too deep to be heal'd.
My cruel companions, they daily deride,
And I'm chafed with the plague of my heart;
My prayers to heaven have passage deny'd,
And this wounds more than dagger or dart.
Can such a conception be found in the dead?
And, if quickened, why under the curse?
Hope springing within me must prove that I'm wed,
And, if barren, then why am I thus!
But, though of all strength I am wholly bereav'd,
And deliverance hid from my view,
Yet, still in child-bearing the spouse must be sav'd.
Old Adam must yield to the New.
My Saviour perceiv'd me when sunk in distress,
And his love could no longer refrain;
He yielded to prayer, and granted redress,
And my mountains were sunk to a plain.
He deliver'd my spirit by knowledge profound,
And rescu'd my Mind from her smart:
The balm of his rays stopp'd the rage of my wound,
And dissolved the stone of my heart.
The Saviour perceiv'd me to melt in the flame;
Then he scatter'd his odours abroad:
He perfumed my soul, and revived my frame;
And I call'd him my Lord and my God.
Now, Moses, from bondage my soul is enlarg'd;
My Redeemer has cancell'd my debt;
My fatal arrears are now wholly discharg'd,
And kind heaven has sent the receipt.
I thought you my friend: and you knew I was poor,
And you gave me long credit, 'tis true;
But, had I suspected your rigour before,
I had ne'er struck a balance with you.
To deceive and to strip is but to defraud,
Though it does not become me to rail;
Yet I must relate to my neighbours abroad,
The deception that lies in your veil.
Your tribes of disciples may boast of their head,
And the flock of the Saviour deride:
Jehovah hath told us their leader is dead,
Though he speaks to accuse them of pride.
I thought to have rais'd your demand from my trade,
Till you brought in your fatal account;
But, when I Perceiv'd you arrested the dead,
O what enmity rose at the Mount!
A second discharge of a bill that is past,
Is a payment that never can end:
The sum for the which you arrested me last,
Has been fully discharg'd by a friend.
Why so many preachers I cannot devise;
How from death can your legions revive?
All trust in a servant I hope to despise,
As Jehovah the Master's alive.
Of help from the law I for ever despair'd,
When conscience and creditor met:
What mortal can think he with truth can be clear'd,
When sued for an infinite debt?
Vain rebels can sport with the rounds of the Mount:
Till by thundering threat'nings they're aw'd;
And wantonly dream of a balanc'd account,
Till they see the commandment so broad.
In open defiance, they daringly peep,
Till a terrible clap from the cloud
Instructs the presumptuous his distance to keep,
That Jehovah resisteth the proud.
They boast of escaping the deluge of wrath,
By obedience that felons perform;
And hope to get life from file sentence of death,
From the earthquake, the wind, and the storm.
They seek for a portion with glorify'd saints,
Where all must be silent in dust;
And call out for mercy, and urge their complaints,
In a way that all mortals are curs'd.
What wretches! to play at the fiery throne,
With the buckler of God at their heart!
Where beasts that approach must be slain with a stone,
Or must die by the thrust of a dart!
The glorify'd Judge shall assemble the lost,
And their towering Babel shall crack
And builders and buildings shall find, to their cost.
Their foundation disclos'd to the neck.
The archangel's trump, and the sentence shall blast
Yea, the fabric of nature be crash'd;
And mortals deluded convinc'd at the last
When in infinite ruins abash'd.
How sweet are the joys of a Spiritual Birte,
How delightful the comforts within,
When weeping and mourning are silenc'd by mirt
And the conscience disburden'd of sin!
All doubtings and rearings are made to subside,
And sobmit to the triumphs of Love;
The fetters are broke, and the bondage unty'd,
And exchang'd for the wings of a dove.
Stern Justice refuses to carry the suit,
When Jesus, the Ransom, appears;
The debtor's amaz'd when the creditor's mute;
The insolvent is drowned in tears.
All torments and terrors take flight and are gone,
And divine consolations succeed;
Believers and Jesus how happy alone,
When Elias and Moses are fled!
Regardless he seem'd when he wrote on the ground:
But, as soon as he lift up his head,
The Law, Sin, or Satan, could neither be found,
For all mine accusers were fled.
"Hath no man condemn'd thee," he cry'd with condole,
"Though guilty by every plea?
Nor will I condemn thee, thou penitent soul,
Nor permit them to pluck thee from me."
"Peace be unto thee and an end to the strife,
For I am the First and the Last:
I pardon thee freely, and raise thee to life,
Nor upbraid thee for aught that is past?"
Thus wounded with sorrow, and melted with love,
A victim to Mercy I fell;
Amaz'd he should come from the regions above,
With the keys both of death and of hell.
My clouds of transgressions were chas'd from the skies
By the radiant beams of the Sun;
By faith in the Saviour from death we arise,
Then is life everlasting begun!
The heaven of heavens desist from their lour,
The tempest is hush'd to a calm;
The kingdom of heaven is taken by pow'r,
And the victor is crowned with palm.
He's led to the Rock by omnipotent hand;
In the secret cliff he can sing:
The voice of the turtle is heard in the land,
And his winter exchang'd for a spring.
My God, in compassion, did sweetly appear,
And dictated my song as I sung:
I thought all the angels stood silent to hear,
While the melody dropp'd from my tongue.
I wept with rejoicing, and sung in my grief,
And I fainted, and melted with love;
I coyly refused his gracious relief,
But he made all my bowels to move.
All nature look'd gay, and afforded delight,
And proclaim'd divine wisdom abroad;
The heavens themselves would admit of my flight,
When I fled to commune with my God!
I yielded my soul as a captive to grace,
When the banner of love was unfurl'd;
My spirit dissolv'd iu the rays of his face,
And I died to the charms of the world
My jealousy fled, and my mind was compos'd,
When my soul to my Saviour was wed:
I charged my eyes to refuse to be clos'd,
Lest my husband should slip from my bed.
I us'd my entreaties his bowels to move,
For I trembled for fear he'd depart;
And gently woo'd him, and call'd him my love,
And I crown'd him the King of my heart.
Through each silent watch still my bed he would keep,
With his love as profuse as her source;
My mind he employ'd when I sunk in a sleep,
And he charm'd me with mental discourse.
I thought of his birth, and amaz'd at the scheme,
While Faith was triumphant with palms;
And wonder'd my God and my Maker supreme,
As an infant, should live upon alms!
His wearisome journeys by faith I could trace,
And his footsteps my tears would bedew;
The truths he then taught he would freely rehearse,
And I set to my seal?God is true.
The supper I view'd when the table was spread,
And I thought, as a guest, I was nigh;
And, when he foretold that he must be betray'd,
I answer'd, "O Lord, is it I?"
But, when I beheld him as rack'd on the cross,
And reflected my sin gave the wound;
I found for some minutes my senses were lost,
Yea, I fainted, and dropp'd to the ground.
I wonder'd to see such a victim appear,
And was griev'd that his foes could deride;
But, oh! when they pierced his heart with a spear,
I could fancy a pain in my side.
But when on his throne I perceiv'd him supreme,
With his garments all cover'd with gore;
I said, "He hath finished the tragical scene,
And my Saviour can suffer no more!"
The nature of angels was never so high,
As with crown and with sceptre to reign
The seraphic host, who inhabit the sky,
Must adore and attend as his train.
The wondering millions all cast off their crowns.
And acknowledge their glory from his;
While rays of divinity blaze from his wounds,
And illumine the regions with bliss.
The brilliant, seraphic, and ransomed race,
Appear in majestic array;
While Jesus emits, from the rays of his face,
The perpetual springing of day.
They shine in his glory, and bask in his beams
While Immanuel smiles on his Wife,
And leads her by pleasure's unchangeable streams,
Which flow from the Fountain of Life.
O, when shall I join the harmonious throng?
From corruption when shall I be free!
And sing that delightful and rapturous song,
Of redemption, by Jesus, for me!
But I must withdraw from this ravishing scene
For the boon is deny'd which I crave;
Mortality's vail is a dropping between,
And my soul must return to her cave.
I gradually sunk from the views of the Mount,
For my wings were too feeble to hold;
The pleasures of heaven I cannot recount,
Its felicity cannot be told!
Let weeping, and mourning, and sorrow, be gone,
Bid adieu both to doubting and fear;
For Jesus, the head, hath ascended his throne,
And his members shall surely be there.
Thrice happy the soul that has God for his sire,
And his heart, with his treasure, above!
Who inwardly burns with that hallowed fire
Which proceeds from the fullness of love.
Let such with submission their station abide,
Till they rise from their cottage of clay:
On a cherub they mount and to paradise ride,
And inhabit the regions of day!
Their journey from Egypt will clearly be view'd,
And the intricate paths they have trod:
They'll admire the methods that wisdom pursu'd:
And the tender regard of their God.
The doom of a rebel they'll perfectly know;
And with love and amazement behold,
And acknowledge the story related below?
But the tale was imperfectly told.
What thought, or conception, or language, can paint
Or describe this celestial estate!
This Solomon's fame to a glorify'd saint,
Exceeds all that mortals relate!
How precious is hope at the end of the race,
While the Object of faith is in view!
It strengthens the heart, and emboldens the face,
In the perilous paths we go through.
The comforts of union and foretastes of bliss,
Refresh and ennoble the mind;
All earthly enjoyments, compar'd but to this,
Are as empty and fleeting as wind.
In the path-way of life there can be no death;
Consecrated it lies through the veil:
Nor shall death him destroy who travels in faith,
Till Faith and her Object can fail.
Assisted with strength, and enlarged with love,
And led by Omnipotent Hand,
He still eyes the city that's founded above,
And he longs for the promised land.
The presence of God, and his tokens for good
The staff, and the chastening rod;
All sharpen his hunger for heavenly food,
And he thirsts for the vision of God
This path is above to the man that is wise,
Who departs from the regions beneath:
The way that is hid from the vulture's keen eyes,
Is reveal'd to the children of Faith.
Each cherub of Jesus who preaches the word,
Guards the Path-way that leadeth to life:
The Sixty that handle the spiritual sword,
Attend both the Lamb and his Wife.
They cast up the road, with the banner display'd;
And their land-marks they set by the way
And daily exhort her to cleave to her Head,
Lest she from her husband should stray.
The world may oppose, yea, and fiends may engage,
And dangers and threat'nings dismay;
But still they pursue, in defiance of rage
The righteous shall hold on his way.
From the bondage of Egypt they slowly proceed,
Yet the heavenly Canaan they find:
From the bond of corruption they all shall be freed;
Nor a hoof shall be found left behind.