Revelation versus Speculation

Oh, the grandeur and the glory
Of the Gospel from above!
Oh, the sweetness of the story
Of the living Father’s love!
Oh, the infinite perfection
Of the work by Jesus wrought,
Glorified in resurrection,
Death despoiled and set at naught!
All its darkness and its sorrows
Which my soul in bondage held,
All its mists and mystic horrors,
He has broken and dispelled.
Rescued me from mine oppressor,
Ransomed me from bondage base,
I an insolent transgressor,
Rebel of a rebel race.
Brought me to His God and Father
In whose house my feet shall stand,
When His blood-redeemed shall gather
In that deathless love-lit land.
This is not the vain creation
Of a febrile fantasy,
I have found a firm foundation
For the hope that dwells in me.
Nor have I the foolish notion
That all others I surpass
In divine and deep devotion,
Many faults have I, alas!
If like unbelieving creatures
I in judgment should appear,
Bearing all the marks and features
Of an obstinate career.
Could I justly be defended?
Could I wrath divine evade,
I who sin with insult blended,
Love with bitter hate repaid?
I am not so feeble minded
Such a thought to entertain,
Nor so densely demon-blinded,
Spiritually insane.
This I know, and long have known it,
Give me what my deeds can claim,
Unto God and men I own it,
Wait me darkness, death and shame.
Had His judgment overtaken
Me in my campaign of sin,
God-condemned and God-forsaken
I for evermore had been.
But His grace, o’er sin abounding,
Met me in my lost estate,
Welcomed me—O love astounding!
Welcomed with forgiveness great.
Had I then in mine offences
To His judgment-seat been brought,
Worse than worthless my defences,
Shelters, hiding-places naught.
Useless all my prayers and pleading,
Vile my rags of righteousness;
Better things than these were needing
In that judgment merciless.
How could I to justice render
For my errors recompense?
I the veriest offender
How atone for mine offence?
If in liberal concession
Justice less than all would take,
Not amends for one transgression
In a thousand could I make.
Wherefore then the good of toiling
Liabilities to meet
If my debts be dailing coiling
Fetters fast about my feet?
Better drop it altogether,
Own my sinful self undone,
Turn to God, and find out whether
Grace exists for such an one.
This most pressing, most momentous
Question must an answer find:
Has our Maker message sent us?
Must the blind direct the blind?
This shall sure have evil ending
For the leader and the led;
Fool on brother fool depending,
Life of both is jeoparded.
Something more than speculation
I must have to rest upon;
If there be no firm foundation
I my hope may jettison.
What know I of my Creator?
What of sinful self know I?
Have I friend or arbitrator
In the courts of the Most High?
Bound to part with friend and brother,
Bound to pass within the shade,
Where perhaps a thousand other
Terrors lurk in ambuscade.
From beyond the blue surrounding,
From beyond the starry spheres,
Has no living voice been sounding
In this vale of toil and tears?
Unto whom for information
This regarding can I look?
Shall I practice incantation,
Call up devil, demon, spook?
I am in a world of liars
Where no mortal truth may glean,
Rank are human thorns and briars,
Do these sprout in the unseen?
Should I cross the portal mystic,
Should I words from Hades hear,
Would they fall as atheistic
Or theistic on mine ear?
Nought of that mysterious region
More than I my neighbour knows.
Speculations, these are legion—
Tell me not what ye suppose.
Light I want, the light that shineth
Brighter than your tapers dim;
Light that the unseen defineth,
Not your philosophic gum;
Not your schoolmen’s stupid babble,
Offspring of the chimpanzee,
Leaders of the restless rabble,
Doctors of Divinity.
No, I want the light that breaketh
From the living Father’s heart;
Light that ghostly worship waketh
With its wonder-working art.
Who can bring me this? What mortal
Once his ashes have been urned,
Has recrossed the mystic portal
And from Hades back returned?
Who can bring report veracious
From this spiritual sphere?
Plague upon your thoughts audacious!
Verities I want to hear.
Bring me facts, or stop your prating,
Your mad reveries restrain.
Why our souls be aggravating
With your postulations vain?
Some of you have limits broken
And with spirits have conversed,
And the stuff and nonsense spoken
Ye have in our ears rehearsed.
Ye have wonders apprehended,
Ye have seen the sacred light,
Your discoveries have ended
Our long blind and bitter night!
Ye have talked with the departed,
Ye have formed with them a link,
Ye have healed the broken-hearted
With this light divine—you think!
Ye have seen them, ye assure us,
And the sight has banished grief,
Therefore ye desire to cure us
Of our woeful unbelief.
Just a word of exhortation
From an utter stranger brook,
Doubting not confabulation
With your spirit, spectre, spook.
But while waiting some disclosure
Which may yet in darkness lurk,
Watch, lest haply you expose your
Little hole and corner work;
Also fortunately seeing
That your cult by God is banned,
Banned for your and my well-being,
Dread, desert, discard it, and
Stop your miserable yapping!
For we doubtless all know well
Seance dark and spirit-rapping
Are controlled by demons fell.
Ye who wear the Roman collar,
Ye who somewhat seem to be
In this world of moral squalor,
More than others what know ye?
Why should any human being
To your guidance trust his soul?
Have ye left this life sight-seeing
And returned upon parole?
Have ye left the solar system
In your pilgrimage behind?
Your Creator—have ye missed Him
In investigation blind?
Have ye looked into the wonders
Of the star-bespangled spheres?
Have ye reached where darkness thunders
HALT! to prying pioneers?
Have ye seen where God has hidden
Human ghosts from mortal sight?
Have ye on a cherub ridden
Thro’ the deathless vales of light?
One would fancy by your talking
Ye had heard the heavenly choir,
And had been with spirits walking
Scaithless on the stones of fire.
Without doubt ye are the people
And with you shall wisdom die!
Backed by college, church, and steeple,
Who your dogmas dare deny?
Hence with fruitless speculation,
Product of disordered brains,
Leave me with God’s revelation
And the grace that it contains.
Leave me God and Christ and heaven,
Leave me Father, Spirit, Son,
Cross and blood and sins forgiven
And the glory Christ has won.
Leave me every member holding
To the Living Head above;
Leave me faith and hope enfolding
Everlasting peace and love.
After this, to all whatever
In creation may remain
Ye are welcome. I assever
Nothing else would I retain.
Ye can keep your thoughts endearing
If they comfort to you bring,
But remember death is nearing
With its fell, envenomed sting.
Proudly now, but not for ever,
Ye His Word may criticise,
Deem yourselves uncommon clever,
Yet may God unveil your eyes.
Better have your sightless vision
Opened in a day of grace,
Than when hopeless your condition
Ye must wrath eternal face.
Then too late shall be repentance,
Then too late on Christ to call;
Ye perforce must hear the sentence
That shall every soul appal.
Blessed be the revelation
Of my God, and of His Christ,
Which, from maze of speculation,
To my Saviour me enticed.
Drew me by His grace, and met me,
Offspring of a ruined race,
Gave me welcome, safely set me
As a son before His face.
With His Holy Spirit sealed me,
Gift beyond all power to tell!
Made me sure that He shall shield me
Gainst the might of death and hell.
Gave me prospect, doubt dispelling,
That when here my course is run
I shall in the Father’s dwelling
Bear the image of the Son.
Oh, the greatness of the glory
Of the Gospel from above!
Oh, the sweetness of the story
Of His everlasting love!