“Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions” (Psalm 132)
Remember David and His dire afflictions!
God shall remember—let not men forget
The greater David, and the contradictions
With which His foes His weary way beset;
The malice merciless, the maledictions,
The rude, unreasonable wrath, which met
Upon his head devoted undefended,
With not a crumb of true compassion blended.
Shall you—shall I—His blood-redeemed, forget Him?
Shall time His memory from our hearts erase,
Where few are found to reverence or regret Him,
Or call to mind His sorrow-furrowed face;
Or meditate upon the griefs which met Him
In the sin-bearer’s dread storm-beaten place;
Or what they owe the sorrows which He suffered
When for our sinful souls His soul He offered!
Lord of the heavens, Sovereign Son for ever!
Lord of the earth, Creator, Increate!
Come in the likeness of our flesh, but never
Tarnished by taint of sin, inviolate.
Come to destroy the power of death, and sever
Man from its terror, in His mercy great.
O let us kneel before Him! let us own Him
King of our hearts, and on that throne enthrone Him.
King, for He is a King! His birth predicted
By pen of prophet and by heavenly herald,
The grace and glory of His reign depicted,
Right from the first beginning of the world;
Kingdom, dominion vast, and unrestricted
By boundaries of earth, where flags unfurled
Wave from the battlements of every nation,
Marking the limits of their proud location.
This, circumscribing in its vast embraces,
And in the glory of its wondrous years,
Not only everything in earthly places
But to the limits of celestial spheres,
Beings angelic, with the tribes and races,
Heights of felicity and vales of tears.
Come, let us worship, at his footstool falling,
Held in the greatness of his grace enthralling!
Gabriel, sent unto the virgin daughter
Of David’s royal line, foretells a Son;
And the obedience which grace had taught her,
Sends back the answer, Let His will be done,
God, such a message as the angel brought her,
Sent to no other soul beneath the sun.
Blest among women was the virgin lowly.
Son of the Highest was her Firstborn holy.
Far from the east the wise to worship, bringing
Myrrh, and frankincense, and their gifts of gold,
Come to set every ear in Jewry ringing,
Racked or enraptured with the tale they told.
From the deep blue the royal star was flinging
Light over water, desert, waste, and wold;
Light to direct them to the Temple holy,
There with the carpenter in cottage lowly.
Wake up the echoes with your acclamations,
O world of men, your Maker draweth near;
Cry out aloud among the living nations,
Let every soul of man the tidings hear!
Rend the blue welkin with your exultations,
Rouse the lone valleys and the deserts drear;
Let every corner of the wide creation
Hear of the Saviour, and of God’s salvation.
Bid Bethlehem, the house of bread, confess him;
Let the broad ways with loud hosannahs ring;
Proud let her ancient walls be to Him;
Wide the glad gates before His presence fling;
Old men and young, your voices raise and bless Him,
The Root of David hail, the Christ, the King!
Remind them that Messiah must be born there.
Woe to the scoffer who is heard to scorn there!
Zion, acknowledge with a welcome glorious
The power that plucked thee from the Jehusite,
And made thy name with heavenly grace notorious,
And clothed thy battlements with glory bright.
Fair in prophetic vision, and victorious
In royal splendour and in kingly might;
Salute that might in the Messiah vested,
Which soon shall to thine eyes be manifested.
Cold the reception that the world’s Creator
Met in His mission of immortal love,
When in God’s mercy, as the Mediator,
Sought He the heart of fallen man to move.
On earth none lower, none in heaven greater,
Not even He who fills the throne above;
Yet in a servant’s fashion we behold Him.
Matchless the mysteries which thus enfold Him.
Wisdom incarnate, yet in wisdom growing;
In manger perfect as in man’s estate;
In knowledge limited, yet all things knowing;
Omnipotent, yet found in weakness great;
Feeling what want was, and yet bread bestowing,
The hungry heart of man to satiate:
Highest, yet lowest in humiliation;
Master, yet Servant—God in incarnation!
As one, when born in friendless land forsaken,
Where frozen wildernesses meet the sight;
And where, on bare and barren wastes, awaken
Thoughts on the threshold of primeval night,
Must, ere such crude conceptions shape have taken,
Feel the sharp winter mercilessly smite;
To such a world, in moral likeness, entered
The One in whom the hopes of men were centred.
Angels, not men, the advent celebrated
Into creation of the Incarnate;
And on the hitherto Unseen glad sated
Then holy eyes in admiration great,
While their sweet voices, as they contemplated
Almighty God come down to man’s estate,
Woke up the midnight with their marvellous story,
Proclaiming peace on earth, and highest glory.
But man, to whom this favour is attested,
And for whose sake this holy Child is born,
Is the sole creature yet uninterested,
Blind to the bliss of that majestic morn.
The grace that thus to him is manifested
He welcomes with indifference or scorn,
Except where Herod, Idumean plotter
Feels his throne murderous beneath him totter.
Against Him bolt and bar the princely palace,
Nor favour find Him at the wayside inn,
Impress Him cruelly, with conscience callous,
That want is but a synonym for sin;
Press to His infant lips the bitter chalice
Of man’s malevolence; let Him begin
Against infernal hosts the furious battle,
An Outcast cradled where they feed the cattle.
This will impress Him with the world’s remotion
From Him who made it, spite of its veneer;
This, but the spray of that infernal ocean
Full of the fury of the nether sphere.
What will His piety and prime devotion
Profit Him guided by those scenes of fear?
Shall they not fail Him in the hour of trial,
Meeting reproach, betrayal, and denial?
Him ye knew not, but had ye wished to know Him,
Or had ye pondered the prophetic Word,
Or had ye longed to see Him, and to show Him
How ye could welcome David’s Son and Lord;
Better ye would have known how to bestow Him,
And Him ye would have welcomed and adored
But governed by your thoughts, corrupt and carnal,
Ye cast away the wheat and dined on darnel.
Self, and not God, yea, guilty self asserting
Its independence and its wicked will,
Creature responsibility perverting,
Would Him who righteousness regarded kill;
Him who to God pre-eminent adverting
Would all His pleasure faithfully fulfil:
Come in His Father’s name, Him glorifying,
Where man himself was daily deifying
Yet swift no seraph from the spheres supernal,
Roused into wrath at the disloyal sight,
Breaks forth with thunders of the dread Eternal,
Earth and inhabitant servile to smite
Could not Omniscience from His seat discern all
Creature conceit, contention, spleen, and spite
Meted to Hun in measure overflowing,
Who was to man the living Father showing.
Wicked the way they met the holy Savour,
Wicked the world He came in grace to save;
There the full torrent of our base behaviour
Hurled o’er His head the overwhelming wave.
O say, what love was that that thus would brave your
Malice, O men, in spite of cross and grave?
And meeting every evil to recover
Your souls from death and hell—O what Lover!
Blind tho’ the eye be to his moral glory,
Hard tho’ the heart be set against such love,
Dull tho’ the ear be to His wondrous story,
Deaf to a message that the dead might move;
Hostile the world be, now grown old and hoary,
Scorning the light come from the courts above;
High in the heavens is One whose approbation
Does more than balance human condemnation.
Not His own will, but His who sent Him, doing;
Not His own glory seeking here below;
Not a path chosen by Himself pursuing—
How to be subject monarchs first should know:
Never with murmurings His way bestrewing;
Never complaining, tho’ the end be woe,
Crown, yea, or cross, or curse no man can measure,
Right is all if it be the Father’s pleasure.
There to the will of God by Jordan bending,
He, the Beloved and for ever blest,
Bows to the righteousness of wrath impending,
Ranks with the remnant who their sins confessed;
And thro’ the dome above the Dove descending
Finds on his person pine a place of rest.
There too the Father owns the seemed and slighted
As His own Son in whom His soul delighted.
There and there only from the world’s foundation,
Was for the that the Triune God declared;
There was the Spirit, there in incarnation
The Son, and there the Father’s voice was heard.
What, on the basis of propitiation,
Has such a Trinity for man prepared?
Things not revealed to man since the creation,
Things never reached by his imagination.
Wounded within the house of friends twice over,
Once by the nation unto which He came,
Now again wounded—O eternal Lover—
By the proud people who profess Thy name
Thou who hast sought their guilty shame to cover,
Thee they have covered with accursed shame.
Better, far better to have never known Thee
Than to desert Thee thus, and thus disown Thee.
Ah, had ye known Him as my soul has known Him,
Earth ye had filled with everlasting song;
Ye would have owned Him as the heavens do own him,
Glad to acknowledge ye to Him belong:
Lord in your heart of hearts ye had enthroned Him,
Hating their fellowship who work Him wrong:
And had the world degraded and despised you,
What if the heavens above had praised and prized you?
Ye shall yet see Him, tho’ ye have not seen Him;
Ye shall yet know him, tho’ ye have not known:
Ye who have fancied ye could stand between Him
And the companionship of all His own:
Ye who have thought that ye could so demean Him,
No one would give Him kingdom, crown, or throne:
What will ye say when ye at last behold Him,
When the dread terrors of His wrath enfold Him?
Say! Ye shall surely nothing say whatever.
What could ye say where all your thoughts are known?
Then ye will understand how vain the endeavour
Conscience to clear before his righteous throne.
Dream not that ye shall manage to assever
Willing at all times ye had been to own
Lordship in Him, so highly venerated,
Had the word better been authenticated.
Once in the form of God, with glory vested,
Enzoned with light, invisible to man;
All unapproachable, unmanifested,
Whose glorious features could no creature scan.
From thence on human woes His vision rested,
And thence He came according to the plan
Of our redemption, purposed ere the ages,
But undiscovered by the wisest sages.
Man among men, in human form and weakness,
The Servant of the Godhead here below;
In love and lowliness, mercy and meekness,
Taking a part in all our want and woe.
Praise we the grace, the goodness, the uniqueness,
Seen in that heavenly life with love aglow.
Day on man’s darkness and despair awaking;
Light thro’ our gloom in moral power breaking.
The dumb, the demon-harassed and tormented;
The suffering sick, the leper, and the lame;
Debtors, diseased, distressed, and discontented;
Transgressors steeped in all their guilty shame;
Blind, bruised, defiled, deluded, and demented,
Bound underneath the Ruler’s righteous claim;
Sore smitten by the word from Sinai spoken;
Accursed by the command so often broken:
Such found a friendly welcome and a healing
With Him who came the lost to seek and save;
And love, unfathomable love, revealing,
In tides of grace, wave overwhelming wave,
Demons of darkness from His presence reeling,
Their testimony to His Godhead gave;
While man, so wondrously and well befriended,
Hate with hypocrisy and baseness blended.
This made a Man of Sorrows of the holy
And gracious Saviour, who, to seek the lost,
Came from the Father, sent in mercy solely,
To pay for man’s deliverance the cost.
Yet in His path of loving-kindness lowly,
At every turning was He cursed and crossed
By unbeliever, hypocrite, and traitor,
Which made Him stranger where He was Creator.
In lone Adullam or in desert hiding;
On mountaintop, or on the troubled sea;
Walking upon the liquid waves, or chiding
The storm-tossed waters of dark Galilee;
Or to the hungry multitude dividing
Bread in abundance free, for, grace is free:
Wherever found, the path of love pursuing,
A way to human hearts thro’ hatred hewing.
On to the cross, for that must be the ending
Of such a life, by sinful man abhorred;
A life where heavenly grace and truth were blending,
And human thought with both in disaccord.
Yet spite of all He still must be befriending
Man, tho’ He reap reviling for reward.
Yea, as a ransom for the base offender,
Upon a gibbet He will life surrender.
Love and obedience to the living Father,
In the most small as in the greatest thing,
Marked Him who came in God’s great love, to gather
Soul, under shelter of his heavenly wing.
Scorn He would suffer, death adventure, rather
Than He should fail in fully perfecting
What to accomplish He had undertaken,
Tho’ this involved His being God-forsaken.
In the lone garden, when the gloom was stealing
Up the deep valleys and athwart the skies,
And while the breath of winter was congealing
Dews which Judea’s bleeding land baptize;
And while thro’ sorrow sleep was softly sealing
From the last conflict the disciples’ eyes,
Witnessed the stars, accomplishing their courses,
The warlike muster of infernal forces.
Heaven, the solitary sole spectator,
Views thro’ the vapours cold the powers engaged
Hell, in the person of her imperator,
War with the Lord of life and glory waged;
Who, with a might than creature prowess greater,
Struck the fell forces which around Him raged.
But who that battle to describe is able,
Fought in the bosom of the darkness sable?
Not for the first time had these met together,
Nor each at each their fearful forces hurled;
One from the upper world, one from the nether—
God of the universe—god of this world;
Nor was it now an open question whether
This one or that One had His cause unperilled.
One thro’ His righteousness and faith was shielded
One all the might of death end darkness wielded.
In miniature Pas dammim saw the battle,
When with his spear the son of Rapha strode,
Where the war chariots were heard to rattle,
Cursing the armies of the living God
Heard the youth David the perpetual prattle,
Words, which both boastful and abusive, awed
All the great heroes of the tribes assembled,
Who in the presence of the monster trembled.
Saul, taller than his brethren, head and shoulder,
The people’s choice, and every inch a king,
Beset by this huge terror is no bolder
Than is the feeblest of his following.
The son of Jesse, the alone upholder
Of the Lord’s honour, with a stone and sling,
Stands, the blest shadow of the great Redeemer,
Slaying the impious and bold blasphemer.
Faint this reflection of the battle fateful,
Foughten by David’s Son and Lord, and won;
When for a nation and a world ungrateful,
Crushed He the cherub in the darkness dun;
Perfectly paralysed the powers hateful,
Left them to prosecute the conflict none
Now thro’ man only must the fight be foughten,
Led by his guilty leaders fiend begotten.
Of this Golgotha was the awful sequel,
Christ there the chalice dark was made to drink
What in the heavens or on earth could equal
Depths into which His soul is seen to sink?
Yet not these horrors, not the godless clique will
Make Him one moment from the shame to shrink
Yea, lot them gibbet Him as a transgressor:
Death He will ’dure that He may be their Blesser.
Drank He the cup in overflowing measure;
Drank, till He could the labour done declare;
Drank, that my soul as His eternal treasure,
He might have with Him in the glory there;
Drank, when as Azazel the fierce displeasure
Felt He of Justice, when out sins to bear
He gave Himself, and thus made expiation,
Setting us free from fear of condemnation.
Who gave the Pleiades their influences?
Who drew the stalwarts to Adullam’s caves
Who on the lily a lip the dew condenses?
Who took the terror from the gloomy grave?
Who overthrew the devil’s dread defences?
Who to the prisoner his freedom gave?
He, it is He who shed His blood to save us!
He, it is He who from our sins did lave us!
Who was it slew, to save the lamb, the lion,
Plucking the quarry from between his teeth?
Who gave his weapon to the great Orion,
Tore it in triumph from its starry sheath?
Ere He was heard of in the halls of Zion,
Who consternation caused in hell beneath?
He, it is He who is the Lord’s Anointed!
He, it is He who is the king appointed!
Heard of in heaven and on earth and under,
Heard in the fastnesses of death’s domain;
Heard from the deep throat of the threat’ning thunder;
Heard in the mighty moaning of the main;
Heard in the rending of the rocks asunder,
Heard in the passion of the pouring main,
Heard in Golgotha’s gloom and grief surprising;
Heard in the rouse of the Redeemer’s using,
Youngest of all the sons of Jesse, call him!
Set him among the mighty men we see!
Right in the centre of the throng install him—
Anoint him, Samuel, for this is he!
Pour on his head the holy oil, extol him!
Bend low before him in the dust the knee!
Shepherd of Israel and God elected:
Saul is the people’s choice, but God rejected.
Glorious in holiness, in praises fearful!
Glad we Thy victories, O Lord, rehearse
Here Thou didst see us, tost and torn and tearful,
Crushed by the captor, crying under curse.
How hast Thou left us? Free, unchained, and cheerful
Who is like Thee in all the universe?
Thine is the kingdom, and the might, and glory
Who would not eulogize Thy marvellous story?
God has as Saviour and as Prince enthroned Him,
Sworn, and saluted Him as King and Priest,
Honour and glory great have crowned and zoned Him—
Lord of the highest and Lord of the least!
Soon shall have seen Him all the world and owned Him,
When critic carping has for ever ceased;
When every knee at His great name has bended,
And the rebellion of the world is ended.
His name is excellent in every nation;
His is the kingdom and the crown by right.
Fallen is Saul from his exalted station,
When Gilboa glittered with Philstim might;
Fallen before the fiery foes’ invasion,
Fallen tho’ panoplied in amour bright;
Fallen, for Justice has not slept or slumbered;
Fallen, as one who long the ground had cumbered.
Name above every name! God blest! God given!
Name that eclipses every name on earth!
Name that is mentioned in the courts of heaven
As the one name of everlasting worth;
Name that has demons into darkness driven,
Name sweetest unto all of heavenly birth,
Name that the sorrows of the soul assuages;
Name that endureth to eternal ages;
Name that the Father bears with gladness spoken;
Name all intelligences must revere;
Name that to every soul conveys the token
Of heavenly mercy brought to mankind near;
Name that celestial melody unbroken
Wafts to the sons of men in every sphere;
Name that unfolds, to us redemption’s story;
Name now almighty in the courts of glory.
Ever, O God, Thy throne is, and for ever;
This is the sceptre of Thy kingdom, right.
Right Thou hast loved, right Thou hast done, and never
Shall wrong be suffered in Thy holy sight
Sharp as a two-edged sword Thy Word shall sever
Sons of the darkness from the sons of light;
And good and evil Thou shalt disentangle,
And no more falsehood with the truth shall wrangle.
Bowed at Thy feet be all the souls that hate Thee;
Crying for mercy let them cringing come.
Tongues which deceitfully calumniate Thee,
Like to the silent dead let them be dumb;
But they who venerate and vindicate Thee,
And for Thy sake have borne opprobrium;
Let such with Thee upon Thy throne be seated,
When as the King immortal Thou art greeted.
Break forth, ye wastes of earth, with shouts glad-hearted,
Ye wildernesses, let your songs be heard,
Land from which Israel’s glory has departed,
Ye vales and hills which have his wrath incurred,
Ye solitudes which thro’ the curse have smarted,
To which no clouds have moisture ministered,
Dry as the barren rod of mitred Aaron,
Bud, and bear fruit like it, and bloom like Sharon!
Ye heavens—ye heights—celestial hosts extol Him;
Sun, moon, and stars, and all ye sons of light;
Clouds which Creator and Preserver call Him,
Him praise and magnify with all your might.
Earth, as your Maker and your Lord install Him,
Rejoice before Him, morning, noon, and night;
Worship Him, oceans, rivers, brooks, and fountains,
Fields, forests, valleys, heights, and deeps, and mountains!
Kings, princes, welcome give the King eternal,
Bow low the knee before Him—kiss the Son!
Nightly your voices raise; your praise diurnal
Shall witness that by you His will is done.
Tremble, ye rebels, and ye powers infernal
Broken in battle by Messiah won!
Firmly your fortresses have ye defended:
Howl in your hopelessness, your day is ended.
Earth from her depths cry out; the heavens enthunder,
Peal after peal breaks forth from ramparts high;
Cleave the red lightnings the expanse asunder,
And flashings fling athwart the central sky;
The weltering ocean, joyously thereunder,
Leaps to the welkin with ecstatic cry;
And all the lilies of the field are kissing
His feet who comes the cruel curse dismissing.
From every quarter of the wide creation
The principalities and powers appear,
To grace the triumph of His coronation,
And David’s royal citadel ensphere.
Angelic legions in their adoration
Gleam like the lightning holding sword and spear.
Princes and potentates and powers supernal
Flame in the phalanx round the King eternal.
Lift up your heads, ye ancient gates and hoary;
Lift up your heads, ye doors that last for aye!
Fling wide your portals, that the King of glory,
Who has the right to enter, enter may!
Who is this King of glory, famed in story?
The Lord of hosts with universal sway.
Lift up your heads, ye gates, with welcome glorious,
Before Him who from battle comes victorious.
Lift up your heads, ye gates, that He may enter;
The King of kings, and Lord of those who reign.
Lift up your heads before the sacred Centre
Of worlds which with His plaudits ring again.
Lift up your heads, ye gates, let Zion vent her
Redundant joy in rapturous refrain.
Who is this King of glory? Matchless story!
The Lord of Hosts: He is the King of glory.
Lift up your heads, ye gates! In deep devotion
Bend low, ye hills about Jerusalem!
Shout, fruitful vineyards, which with sweet emotion
The heavenly dews your purple fruit begem!
Wave, Lebanon, your green boughs like the ocean!
The King of glory wears the diadem.
Who is this King of glory! Great His story!
The Lord of Hosts: He is the King of glory.
Lift up your heads, ye gates; let all creation
Unite in giving honour to the King:
Worship Him, all ye angels: adoration
His portion be from every living thing.
With spears, with banners blue, with acclamation,
The King of glory royally enring.
Who is this King of glory? This His story:—
THE LORD OF HOSTS: HE IS THE KING OF GLORY.