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And brightness as of glowing amber, round
Those living creatures inexpressible.1
Of human likeness seem'd they, clad with wings
Of Cherubim, like burning coals of fire
Or lamps that flash'd as lightnings to and fro;
Straight moving, where the Spirit will’d. Beneath
Wheels rush’d, set with innumerable eyes,
Wheel within wheel of beryl, and instinct
With one pervading Spirit: over-head
The firmament of crystal, terrible
In its transparent brightness stretch'd. They rose,
And lo, the rushing of their wings appear’d
The roll of mighty waters, or the shout
Of countless multitudes : until, the voice
Of God above them sounding eminent,
Straightway they stood and droop'd their awful wings.
And far above the firmament behold
The likeness of a sapphire throne: and there,
Mysterious presage of the Incarnate, shone
The likeness of a man; human He was
In every lineament, yet likest God,
Clad with the glory of amber and of fire:

1 See Ezek. j. and x.

Pure light amid the impenetrable dark,
Insufferably radiant, till it wrote
The arch of mercy on the clouds of wrath,
And with its zone of soften'd rainbow hues,
Gold, emerald,' and vermilion, spann'd the throne.

His hand was on thee, prophet, in that hour:
Prostrate in adoration at His feet

His voice revived thee, or thy soul had sunk
Unstrengthen’d to endure such massive weight
Of glory. But enough — thine eyes have seen
The King, the Lord of Hosts, Emmanuel ;
And henceforth in the panoply of God
Arm’d, thou canst front the lowering looks of man,
The powers of hell discomfit, and athwart

,
The troublous ocean-floods of time look forth

Firm as the rooted rocks. Such hidden springs
Of strength the vision of the Almighty gives.
So he who bow'd before the burning bush
Quail'd not in Pharaoh's presence. He who led
The hosts of Israel forth victoriously,
First stood before their Captain and his own

1 “In sight like unto an emerald.” – Rev. iv. 3.

And worshipp'd. But the time would fail to tell
Of Mamre's plain, and Peniel's midnight hour,
Of warriors, and the goodly fellowship
Of prophets, and apostles, who beheld
In vision or in blest society
Jehovah's glory, ere they turn’d to flight
The armies of the aliens, or proclaim'd
His advent, or in faith impregnable
Storm’d the proud ramparts of a rebel world,
And on the crumbling citadel of Rome
Raised gloriously the standard of the Cross.

:

:

Nor needless was the strength of heaven: for bleak
And bitter were the wintry storms that swept
Thy destined path, Ezekiel : unto grief
No stranger thou. Softly thy childhood smiled
Around thee in thy far-off fatherland :
A mother's tears of joy upon thy cheeks
Had fallen, brief as dewdrops, which the Spring
Sips from the waking flowers; and through thy soul
A father's benediction had diffused
Its life-long balm : and soon the priesthood claim'd

1 “As Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” – Josh. v. 14.

In Salem's courts thy white-robed ministries.
How dear the memories of that holy shrine
Amid unrest and exile! Israel's sins
Had drain', the last of heaven's long suffering,
And vengeance might not slumber more.

The storm,
Whose skirts enfolded Palestina, fell
Upon thy guilty walls, Jerusalem,
With fiercest bolts of ruin and of wreck.1
Before its path the land of Eden bloom'd,
Behind there lay one desolate wilderness.
Nor now avails it from a thousand homes
Blacken’d with blood and flames, to single thine :
One of the darkest pictures which the Past
Hides trembling. Fatherless and motherless,
Reft of thy brethren, home, and native land,
Torn from the bleeding altars of thy God,
They spared thee to adorn the purple pride
Of Asshur's triumph, and then cast thee forth
To hang thy exiled harp by Chebar's streams.

Little they dream'd in their delirious mirth
The might th slumber'd in those shatter'd chords.

1 Ezekiel apparently began his prophecy about five years after the second captivity.

Thy spirit was bruised, not broken: time has lost
Its spell — eternity has fill’d thy heart:
Thy early home is drench'd with tears and blood,
And, lo, before thee rises dimly grand
Thy mansion in the heavens. What if the dews
And summer rivulets of life, its fresh
And first affections, have been wither'd up
Untimely, in thy spirit's inmost depths
Unseen the springs of heavenly love gush forth,
And make low music in the ear of God.

His hand was on thee, and His Spirit breathed
In thy stern oracles, what time alone
Thou wentest forth in bitterness of soul,
Unbending, unattracted, undismay'd,
With adamantine forehead to confront

Faces of adamant and hearts of stone:1

Seven days a voiceless witness, communing
With God in silence. But the Sabbath came,

2

1 Ezek. iii. 8, 9.

2 "I... remained there astonished seven days ... and it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me." Ch. iii. 15, 16. This has been thought to allude to the Sabbath.

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