3. Paraphrase
of Isaiah, Chap. 64

O THAT Thou wouldest rend the breadth of sky,
   That veils Thy presence from the sons of men!
O that, as erst Thou camest from on high
   Sudden in strength, Thou so would'st come again!
Track'd out by judgments was Thy fiery path,
Ocean and mountain withering in Thy wrath!

Then would Thy name—the Just, the Merciful—
   Strange dubious attributes to human mind,
Appal Thy foes; and, kings, who spurn Thy rule,
   Then, then would quake to hopeless doom
See, the stout bows, and totters the secure,
While pleasure's bondsman hides his head impure!
Come down! for then shall from its seven bright
   To him who thirsts the draught of life be given;
Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard the things
   Which He hath purposed for the heirs of heaven,—
A God of love, guiding with gracious ray
Each meek rejoicing pilgrim on his way.

Yea, though we err, and Thine averted face
   Rebukes the folly in Thine Israel done,
Will not that hour of chastisement give place
   To beams, the pledge of an eternal sun?
Yes for His counsels to the end endure;
We shall be saved, our rest abideth sure.

Lord, Lord! our sins ... our sins ... unclean are we,
   Gross and corrupt; our seeming-virtuous deeds
Are but abominate; all, dead to Thee,
   Shrivel, like leaves when summer's green recedes;
While, like the autumn blast, our lusts arise,
And sweep their prey where the fell serpent lies.

None, there is none to plead with God in prayer
   Bracing his laggart spirit to the work {11}
Of intercession; conscience-sprung despair,
   Sin-loving still, doth in each bosom lurk.
Guilt calls Thee to avenge;—Thy risen ire
Sears like a brand, we gaze and we expire.

But now, O Lord, our Father! we are Thine,
   Design and fashion; senseless while we lay,
Thou, as the potter, with a Hand Divine,
   Didst mould Thy vessels of the sluggish clay.
Mark not our guilt, Thy word of wrath recall,
we are Thine by price, Thy people all!

Alas for Zion! 'tis a waste;—the fair,
   The holy place in flames;—where once our sires
Kindled the sacrifice of praise and prayer,
   Far other brightness gleams from Gentile fires.
Low lies our pride;—and wilt Thou self-deny
Thy rescuing arm unvex'd amid thine Israel's cry?

September, 1821

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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