God's Temple Defiled

Like to the weeping Prophet shall I bow
Low in the dust my head, cry out, and howl,
And fill with lamentations loud the vault
Of the high heaven, as I contemplate
The mischief, the irreparable wrong
Done to that heaven-invented edifice,
The Habitation of the Living God,
Whose Architect was the triumphant Christ.
Here underneath the sun have princes ruled,
And raised with polished granite, or with slabs
Of purest marble, mansions marvellous,
Garnished from roof-tree to foundations strong
With ivory from Afric, and with gold
And priceless stones of lustre rare, which flame
With wildering glory, rivalling the beams
Of lordly Helios; and yet these are
But rude inventions of the creature base.
But this which bears the title of the Christ
Outrivals far in glory everything
That can be found, not only in the work
Of cunning craftsmen who employ their powers
Earth's temples to embellish, but the best
Exhibited in star or satellite
Within the realm of the eternal God.
Of stones instinct with life, the life divine,
The life of the eternal Father, of
The Son, Creator, glorious, excellent:
With such a life those precious stones are quick
And in the Holy Spirit's might they move.
And it is into this fair dwelling place,
That the proud enemy of God and man
Has made his way with intent horrible,
To scatter, desecrate, corrupt, destroy,
And with the poison of a gospel fell,
The household to inoculate, and bring
Down on this citadel the wrath of God.
And Oh, what marvellous success has crowned
The energies of that apostate Star!
Today the gold has dim become, the walls
Have lost their brightness, and their strength has gone:
Huge breaches have been made, thro' which the foe
Has led his legions, havoc horrible,
And pitiless soul-slaughter, have ensued.
Corruption, murder, pestilence and death,
Now meet the eye where once the signs of life
And health and strength and happiness and love
And peace were everywhere discernable.
The flowing tide of soul-prosperity
Has now become most lamentably low;
The steadily retreating wave has left
The spacious foreshore naked, parched and dry,
As is the desert sand; the tide of life
No longer covers from the burning sun
The sea's wide margin, which once fathoms deep
Was by the ocean of abounding grace
Completely covered, but its dead front now
Presents a weird and woeful spectacle.
Where in the vigour of the Holy Ghost
Floods from the throne of the Lifegiver flowed
In volume without limit, and alone
The crowns of all the little hills appear,
But visible above the brookless vales
With scarce a sign of spiritual dew.
Where once rejoicing saints in multitudes
Bathed in the ocean of the grace of God,
And in its crystal depths delighted swam,
Now myriads of those who naught possess
Except an empty name to live, are found
All paddling in the mud-flats of a false
Feeble and fatuous philosophy,
Or of a hell-begot theology.
The sects of Christendom are in a race
With one another for both place and power,
As citizens of this Christ-hating world;
While to the city of the living God
And to a portion in a world to come,
In vain the Gospel of the Glory calls.
Descent is wrestling for a foothold firm
In the political arena, and
The pulpits swarm with ranting democrats.
Episcopacy headlong goes to Rome,
While Rome as ever follows Satan's lead
On to Gehenna's everlasting doom.
The German infidels all poison-fanged
Found a huge welcome in this favoured land,
And feted were as messengers from heaven;
And not the thoughtless crowd, but the elite
Among the wiselings, paid them reverence,
Yielding their naked souls that they might be
Inoculated with the virus fell.
Having received, and gladly welcome given,
To those soul-murderers, God is today
In mercy great severely testing us
By means of German guns and bayonets,
And fumes that kill the body, not the soul,
For He is merciful and gracious.
And yet those carnal instruments of war
Are dreaded more by those who know not God
Than is the poison of their blasphemies.
This wide world's wasteful diabolic war—
All merely human wars have origin
In what is diabolic—ceaselessly
Doth trail its savage, sanguinary bulk
Across the fields of Belgium and of France;
And on the borders of the fiery east,
Yea, even on the ocean can be traced
Its brutal welter and barbaric spoor,
Nor can the keenest observator find
The least appearance of enfeeblement
In the fierce frenzy of the murderous pulse
That throbs throughout the monster's noxious veins.
That on the nations proud the mighty hand
Of the forgotten God, in chastisement
Is righteously and rigorously laid,
Should not, and cannot rightly, be denied.
Wounds, weals, putressent sores, and bruises black
On the whole body politic appear,
And with red mouths give silent utterance
To the dread woes that whelm the world, and to
The castigations of an angry God.
And yet where have we seen the rulers proud
With bended knee before the eternal throne,
In soul distress and frank acknowledgement
Of sad departure from the Christ, whose name
The nations now engaged in battle bear,
And who at one another hurl themselves
In deadly grapplement? Or in what place
Has there been heard confession unto God
For all the haughtiness that dominates
The mind of those who in the senate make
Their voices heard throughout the suffering lands?
Is it not often more the voice of boast
In huge battalions that assails our ears?
Surely it is but meet to say to Him,
Who of our thoughts and ways takes cognisance,
And unto whom all men must give account,
That we have sinned, and suffered chastisement,
And that thro' grace we will offend no more.
Well do we know that he who hides his faults,
Refusing to acknowledge them to God,
Cannot expect to prosper in his way;
Whereas the soul that shall his sins confess
And them forsake, shall surely mercy find.
What place the banner of Great Britain waves,
The Word of truth for centuries has found
Uninterrupted and unfettered course;
And God, who no man's debtor is, has made
The nation prosperous and opulent,
The envy of the habitable world.
And this the servants of the heavenly Christ
Should not forget, but ever ready be
This to acknowledge, giving God the thanks
For this great mercy. In no other land,
Except perhaps where wave the Stars and Stripes
Have saints of God known such tranquillity.
How long this yet may last we cannot tell.
Not long, if God allowed the open door
To be closed up by those who wish it closed.
But He that opened keeps on it His hand,
And none can shut it till He gives the power.
The speed by which the long foretold and dread
Apostasy is coming in upon
That cult on which the name of Christ is called
Gives one to scent the evil at the door,
And therefore that the coming of the Lord
For which we wait must surely be at hand.
And when it comes it will be as the thief
That in the night a slumbering household finds.
And woe betide the careless in that day!
Just as it was in days before the flood
That in a moment whelmed the ancient world,
So shall it be when from the battlements
Of heaven the Lord of glory shall appear
Together with the angels of His might
In flaming fire, vengeance to execute
On them that know not God, and who refuse
The Gospel of His Glory to obey.
In those primeval days they ate and drank—
For men must eat and men must drink to live;
With such things guilt is not associate—
They married wives, and were in marriage given—
For this is God's appointment for the race,
That men might multiply and spread abroad,
This therefore never does His wrath provoke—
The land was tilled, the seed was sown, the mist
Went nightly up the vales, and climbed the hills,
And sank into the soil, and to the heart
Of all the weary land refreshing brought,
For yet it had not rained upon the earth.
The seed-time came and went, the golden grain
Before the reapers fell, the heavy sheaves
Were gathered in and overflowed the barns;
The feet of oxen pressed the precious corn
Out of the chaff, which was by winnowing fans
Purged from the threshing-floor; the wheat was brought
Into the mill; the tables all were spread
Most bountifully, and the hearts of men
Were filled with food and gladness; all rejoiced,
And the wide welkin rang with mirth and song;
And of this fallen world the sorrows were
In a great sea of gaity submerged.
True, violence ran riot thro' the earth,
Coupled with violated human lust;
For angels, designated "sons of God,"
Had wilfully the boundary broken thro'
Which had by Him been set, to indicate
The limits of their habitation, these
Attracted by the daughters of the race
Of fallen men, had with huge violence
Appropriated for their lawless lust
The fairest, who thro' this coition curst
Brought into being a prodigious breed
Of hybrids, in part angel, in part man,
Nor subject to the death that mortals die.
Giants were there too, men of stature huge,
With thews of steel, and hearts that mocked at fear,
Whose doughty deeds of violence were famed
Wherever men were found upon the earth.
In all that primal, pre-diluvian age,
And even after the destructive flood
Had purged the earth from such a monstrous brood,
Their deeds were unforgotten, and their wars
Were heralded abroad in martial song,
And for their creature prowess, put to use
Godless and wicked, but which dazzled men
By a display of superhuman might,
They soon became the objects of regard
And veneration which to none belong
But the Creator, infinite and good.
That in the age of this rebellion great,
The time of the long-suffering of God,
Science and art had flourished is most true;
True that in iron and in copper men
Wrought and invented useful instruments
For self-defence, or agriculture, as
Were by their need suggested, implements
Of stone seem to have been reserved for yet
A post-deluvian, and subsequent
Lapse on the part of some Noachian
Tribes into barbarism. Implements
Of stone were far beneath the intelligence
Of those so near related to the head
And father of the fallen human race,
At least as far as can by us be known.
The harp and organ whiled away the hours
In which released from daily toil to rest
Were given, for men had well embellished earth,
As tho' they were for ever to be here;
And when we think that life was lengthened out
To almost a millennium, we can
Well understand how very little thought
Was given to the problem of the grave.
That human beings died, that men were slain,
That every one was very well aware
He could not hope to be for ever here,
Goes without saying. But when with good cause
One might the day of death postpone for yet
Almost a thousand years, the present time,
The time of youth and even middle age,
May be most generously sacrificed
To the fulfilment of the fleshly will,
Life's gloomy evening can be given to God.
Yet here and there were men who served the Lord,
And sin rebuked, and spoke of coming wrath,
For not without a witness God will leave
Himself at any time or place on earth.
He mercy also marvellous evinced,
From man's first error thro' the centuries
In which that mercy and long-suffering
Bore with the rebel race in their contempt
For His authority and righteous claims,
Until the day was come, in which to bear
Longer with their rebellion would have been
To tell His holy angels that revolt
Gainst His authority was of small account,
That every man was left to please himself,
And give a loose rein to his fallen will,
Without the slightest reference to Him.
And this He could not do by word or deed
Every intelligence that He has formed
Must in the end the certain knowledge gain
How utterly impossible it is
That God should lie in either word or deed,
Therefore when once had struck the fateful hour,
That to a finish His long-suffering brought,
He loosed the flood-gates of His pent up wrath,
And everything that breathed of life the breath,
Except the souls that sheltered in the ark,
Perished beneath the overwhelming wave.
And as it happened to that world of sin
And culpable forgetfulness of God,
So shall it happen to this evil world,
When ends the patience and long-suffering,
That in this present interval of grace
Are being exercised. Leaders of men
May be determined to asseverate
That every way the world is prospering,
Because the things that daily come to light,
As the discoveries of latent powers,
Serve, where they are legitimately used,
To the convenience and the comfort good
Of mankind weary with life's drudgery.
But have those wonderful discoveries
Served to make men more moral, turned their thoughts
More to the Revelation He has given,
And wrought in us more passionate desire
To know His will and do it at all cost?
Or has there not in recent years been sad
And sorrowful departure from the truth,
Which had been the salvation and the boast
Of Britons now long entered into rest?
And have not idleness, fulness of bread,
Pleasure, pursuit of wealth, and love of self,
Along with traffic false and fraudulous
With spirits fell, bold infidelity,
And every form of opposition to
The living truth of the eternal God
Been lifting up their polymorphic heads,
And with their slaver foul the sacred page
Of holy Writ besmearing? It is not
Alone the brainless multitude, the mob,
Thoughtless, illiterate, precipitate,
That have apostatised from Christ, and spat
Upon the Revelation given of God,
As once they spat upon the incarnate Word;
Nor is it altogether those who scoff
At all religion, who thus tread beneath
Their feet unhallowed the good news of grace,
And of the blood for our redemption paid,
The blood of Christ, but hierarchs
Cradled in universities, those dens
Of ravening wolves, tho' schools professedly
For training shepherds how to feed the flock
Of God, but vomiting a vicious spawn
Of raving sceptics; these, in their conceit
Too wise to need the sacred light divine,
Disclose their folly in a gay parade
Of wisdom, which is foolishness with God.
And therefore has the all-protecting hand
Of the Creator, after patience long,
Been for a little in His wrath withdrawn;
And like the waters of an ocean great
Armies prodigious have burst all bounds,
And overflowed, and whelmed the world with blood.
Millions have fallen, millions more made mad,
Nerve shattered, mutilated, paralysed,
Crippled for life, half dead, compelled to live,
A burden to themselves, and to the nations—What?
Crouches at someone's door this guilt of blood,
To someone's dread account it shall be laid.
God knows, if not another soul on earth
Can tell, in whose dark heart the cursed seed
Took evil root, and brought about this fell,
Mad welter of bewildering butchery.
The curse that's causeless is impuissant,
And falls like a spent bullet to the ground,
But not the curse that's caused, it one day finds
Its fearful target in the heart of him
Whose reckless razzias and devilries
The righteous curse so powerfully invoked.
And thro' that heart that craftily conceived
That woeful struggle shall the arrows sharp
Of fearful retribution strike, when comes
The day for calling sinners to account;
Unless by penitence and faith in Christ
Forgiveness the transgressor may have found.
But whether there be one on whom the guilt
Of this unholy strife more pressing lies
Than on all others we must leave with God,
But we have every one of us to see
How far we are accountable for all
This evil that we cannot but deplore.
On which of us has wisdom been bestowed
That we the issue of the struggle may
Forecast? or who shall tell us in what mind
The war-worn multitudes shall home return?
Many have doubtless thro' their bitter woes
Been roused from their soul stupor, and have thrown
Themselves into the gracious arms of Him
Who gives a welcome to the soul-distrest
Who trust His willingless to save and bless.
Such shall return—or what remains of them—
To fight the good and noble fight of faith.
For never does our God forget to show
Mercy in the infliction of His wrath.
But what about the vast majority?
What have they heard upon the stricken fields
Of France, or Belgium, or more distant lands?
Those who escape the German bayonet
Shall they escape the infidelity
That into many a far too ready ear
Pours its rank poison? Or if they escape
The infidelity, is it to fall
Into the traps and subtle toils of Rome?
Twin brothers, these, who have their origin
In the abyss of evil. Wise they are,
And cunning as the crooked serpent, bold
In propagating that, which, taking root
Within the soul, the conscience stupifies,
And makes the foolish victim more the child
Of hell than ever he had been before.
Rulers of nations think this hideous war
Shall be the last the world shall ever see.
Would God this might be so! But has it not
Ever the manner been of Godless men
To look for and expect an age of peace
Without the presence and the reign of Christ?
Peace in the absence of the Prince of Peace
Would be indeed a strange anomaly,
And something no believer could desire.
'Tis that which mortal man shall never see,
For He, and only He, makes wars to cease.
But in the meantime, ere He comes to take
Unto Himself the power that belongs
To Him by right, must we His blood redeemed
Go hand in glove with His traducers base,
Call evil good, and good with ill unite;
Call error truth, and truth with error bind;
Call Satan Christ, and Christ as Satan brand;
Call God's beloved children hell begot,
And children of the devil born of God?
Or shall we, let it cost us what it may,
Speak truth, and valiant stand in its defence,
Until the Morning Star smites thro' the mist
Of night, and calls us from the battle-field?
Shall we, in order that we may escape
The scorn and hatred of the Christless throng,
Give the right hand of goodly fellowship
To men who slander the eternal Christ,
Because the God He set before us here
Was not the god of which they would approve,
Nor at whose footstool they would bend the knee?
Or shall we diligently seek the few
Who love and reverence His sacred name,
And who in spiritual conflict stand,
With sword unsheathed, where neither quarter nor
Armistice ever has been once pronounced?
Among themselves, alas, the sons of God
Have fought, received, and given woeful wounds;
Let that be past, and let us now return
With hearts repentant, and with weeping eyes
To Him whose love surpasses knowledge, and
Whose grace will not to us our sins impute;
But who will bind us, spirit, heart and soul,
To one another, and unto Himself,
With cords unbreakable, the golden cords
Of infinite, unfathomable love.
But let us not on one another wait,
As tho' we sought by numbers to impress
Him who the searcher is of all our hearts.
But let each one of us in penitence
Draw near to Him, and of the part that he
Has played by his forgetfulness of God,
In bringing all this misery to pass,
Make full and frank confession, well assured
Of full forgiveness and supply of grace
And wisdom, so that in this evil day
He may be fitted to withstand the foe,
And help the weak to keep the heavenly way.
This first of all is requisite, and then
Let those who thus their souls have purified,
Approach together to the throne of grace,
And there pour out their hearts with cries and tears
And supplications fervent unto Him,
Against whose grace we have so greatly sinned;
Each laying all the blame of all the wrong
Done to His name and sacred interests,
Not on his erring neighbour, but upon
Himself alone. And this shall please the Lord,
Who for His great name's sake will not withhold
His bounteous blessing, nor the needed grace
To qualify us, so that we may keep
The Spirit's unity in bond of peace.
O Lord, behold us in our low estate,
And shine upon us in compassion great,
For unto Thee in confidence we turn,
That in Thy presence we may better learn
How great our failure in this wretched place
Of Thy rejection, but how great Thy grace,
That can and will our fickle hearts sustain
In heavenly love, until Thou come again,
When never more our ways shall give Thee pain.