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The Pentecost

By Mrs. R. Hyneman

How were they given, those pure and holy laws,
That thus for centuries have sway’d mankind,
And bound them unto Wisdom? Did they come
In the soft twilight of a summer hour,
Or in the hush’d and melancholy night,
Without attesting witnesses to prove
Their heavenly origin? When man might coin
Such words as suited his ambitious mind,
To bind the herd obedient to his will?

How were they given? See! on yon sacred mount
How the sharp lightning flashes; its fork’d tongue
Leaps like a fiery serpent,—now it twines
Its sinuous form around each rugged peak,
And now it spreads a liquid plain of fire.
Hark! how that viewless trumpet cleaves the air,
Loud, and still louder, till upon that vast
And multitudinous plain there falls an awe,
As if the archangel’s mighty voice they heard,
Summoning them unto their last account!
The strong rock quivers, and the stately trees
Moan with the weight of the dread tempest’s wrath.
Lightning and storm! Oh, ye were glorious!
And suited well the words ye heralded,
The rock on which Israel hath built her tower
Of firm, enduring strength.

Though other creeds
Have rais’d their altars where your own have stood,
And triumph’d o’er the fallen Israelite, <<178>>
Yet unto you, oh eldest born, were given
Those precepts of your God! Guard ye them well,
That, like a rich and priceless heritage
Ye, dying, shall bequesth them to your sons
Unstain’d, undimm’d; and ages yet unborn
Shall marvel how the lamp of Israel burns
Amid surrounding anarchy and gloom.