The Millennial Earth

SCENE — The Millennial Earth .

Saints and A NGELS conversing ; F ESTUS .

A NGEL . The Earth is all one Eden. Pity, sure,
That it should ever end.
S AINT . I say not so;
Although I have a thousand plans in hand,
Some interwoven with the farthest stars —
Each one of which might ask a year of years
To perfect.
A NGEL . True; our Maker knoweth best
What thought or deed may best belong to time
Or to eternity.
S AINT . All prophecy
Hath said the earth shall cease, and that right soon.
F ESTUS . 'Tis like enough. Beauty's skin to Death.
A NGEL . Behold, our sister Graces of the skies,
Faith, Hope, and Love, descend! Methinks of late
Ye chiefly dwell on earth.
L OVE . Where lives and reigns
The Son of God, there are we ever seen,
Successive, as the seasons to the sun.
Saints . Well are ye known and welcome in all worlds.
Wherever lofty thought or godly deed
Is lodged or compassed, there your blessings rest.
H OPE . How sweet, how sacred now, this earth of man's!
The prelude of a yet sublimer bliss! —
I marked it from the first, while yet it lay
Lightless and stirless; ere the forming fire
Was kindled in its bosom, or the land
Lift its volcanic breastwork up from sea.
The deluge and idolatries of men
I viewed, though shuddering, and with faltering eye,
E'en to the incarnation of Heaven's Lord,
And dawning of His faith; that faith which was
An infant and anon a giant; was
A star, and grew a Heaven-fulfilling sun;
Which was an outcast, and become, ere long,
A dweller in all palaces; which hid
Its head in dens of deserts, and sat throned,
After, in richest temples high as hills;
Which was poured out in mortal blood, and rose
In an immortal spirit; as a slave
Was sold for gold and prostrated to power; —
And now that lowly bondmaid is a Queen;
And lo! she is beloved in earth and Heaven;
And lieth in the bosom of her Lord,
The Bride of the all-worshipped, one with God.
L OVE . We even of divinest origin
In infinite progression view all worlds;
And we are happy.
F AITH . The dead sleep as yet;
But their time cometh, and the bonds of death
Already slacken round the living soul;
The mortal sleep of ages, which began
When Time sank down into his slumberous west,
Thins even now o'er the reviving eyes
Gathering their Heaven-lent light, no more to wane
In woe or age; never be quenched in tears
Like a star in the sea. 'Tis as I ever knew;
My life is to receive and to believe
The Word and words of God.
L OVE . I, who am Love
And Grace and Charity, rejoice with you;
Whither ye wend I with ye; whether here,
Or on the utmost rim of Light's broad reign —
The least and last of stars which even seems
To tremble at its insignificance
In presence of Infinity; where yet
No angel's wing hath waved, nor foot of fiend
Left its hot imprint; — still, in all do we
Find fit delight and honor, as now here.
Now earth and Heaven hold commune, day and night;
There's not a wind but bears upon its wing
The messages of God; and not a star
But knows the bliss of earth.
F ESTUS . The earth hath God
Remade, and all its elements refined,
Fit for sublimer Being. Flesh hath passed
Its fiery baptism, and come forth clear
As crystal gold: all that of vile or mean
Pertained to it hath perished atomless.
Earth, like a diamond, basks in her own free light;
Unfed, unaided, unrequiring aught.
All now is purity and power and peace.
The first-born of creation, they who hail
Archangels as their brethren, mountainlike
Reign o'er the plains of men, converting all;
Reaping the fields of immortality,
Each one his sheaf, for Him the Harvest-Lord,
To whom belongs earth's whole estate and life
And every world's.
A NGEL . And He shall garner all.
The awful tribes which have in Hades dwelt,
Past count of time, await their rising. God's
Great day, the sabbath of the world's long week,
Is at high noon; and Christ hath yet to come
To judge and save the living and the dead.
S AINT . The shadows of Eternity o'ercast
Already Time's bright towers. The Heavens shall come
Down like a cloud upon a hill, and sweep
Their spirit over earth, and the whole face
And form of things shall be dissolved and change.
Nothing shall be but essence, perfect, pure,
And void of every attribute but God's.
This even is too gross for that which is
To come. The holy have both earth and Heaven.
F ESTUS . Nor pain, nor toil of mind or frame, nor doubt,
Nor discontent, nor enmity to God,
Disturb the steady joy the spirit feels;
Nor element can torture, nor time tire;
Nor sea nor mountain make or bar or fear;
Sickness and woe and death are things gone by;
Destroyed with the destruction of the world: —
Shadows of things which have been, never more
To waste the world's bright hours, nor grate the heart
Of mighty man; now fit for thrones and wings;
Ruler of worlds, main minister of Heaven,
Inheritor of all the prophecies
Of God fore-uttered through the tongues of Time,
Ages of ages. Evil is no more.
A RCHANGEL . And does earth satisfy thee now?
F ESTUS . As earth.
There is a brighter, loftier life for man
Even yet, the very union with God.
A RCHANGEL . God works by means. Between the two extremes
Of Earth and Heaven there lies a mediate stat —
A pause between the lightning lapse of life
And following thunders of eternity; —
Between eternity and time a lapse,
To soul unconscious, though age-lasting, where
Spirit is tempered to its final fate;
When every interfulgent conscious state
Within or between worlds, repose or bliss,
Divested, man shall mix with Deity,
And the Eternal and Immortal make
One Being. As in earth's first paradise
God's Spirit walked with man, and commune made
With him, so in the second, after death,
Man's spirit walks with God in an elect
Existence, and a vigil of the great,
The holy day which is to break in Heaven.
Thither the Lord of Life went, in the hour
That Hell by earth revenged itself on Heaven,
With one soul penitent accompanied; —
Nor long remained He there, yet long enough
To cheer earth's faithful, who received Him then
In silent, unknown blessedness of soul,
With time-outwearing hope that yet in Him
They should partake the Godhood of His love.
And with Him rose then, in prophetic proof
Of His Divinity, many a deathless ghost,
Triumphant o'er that blind revenge which wrought,
Hell! thy destruction — thy salvation, Earth!
F ESTUS . That such will be, the just well know, and all
Earth's great events and changes tend thereto;
Its fiery dissolution in the past,
And supernatural recommencement now
Under the universal creed of Christ.
The chosen and the world-redeemed partake
His personal and spiritual reign.
A RCHANGEL . And this shall last, till, like the setting sun
Deserting earth, He shall retire to Heaven,
With all His captive victors in His train,
Triumphant, and translated evermore
Into the hierarchal skies. Wilt see,
While yet time is, earth's shadowy world within —
The inward living death she bears about
Her heart, hath ever borne — and, augur-like,
Explore the ominous bowels of the earth?
To me are given the secrets of the centre,
The keys of earth, to lock and to unlock,
Coffer-like. I, it was who seized and bound,
At His behest who wills and it is done, —
Even on their thrones, the mighty thou wilt see.
F ESTUS . Angel of Heaven! I would view these things.
A RCHANGEL . Nor these alone, but other wonders yet.
The valley where Death's dark wings brooded o'er,
A God-offending night, unvisited
By sun or star, where but the fatuous fire
Of man's weak judgment wandered, till God's Son
Laid o'er the black abyss a bridge of light,
And married earth to the mainland of Heaven —
This shalt thou see, Death's grave; and over him,
And over it, that monument of light,
Enlightening earth. The gods and fiends of old,
And all the fictions of the heart of man,
Imagined of the future past for aye,
Thou shalt inspect. Behold this mountain! We
Must pass through it; for under lie the gates
Of the invisible regions whereunto
We tend, for a brief season.
F ESTUS . On, then!
Thy marble breast, O mountain, to its depths!
An angel and a man divine demand
A way through these foundations.
F ESTUS . And the rocks
Open like mists before thee.
A RCHANGEL . Follow me!
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