The gathering storm of her impending fate,
In threatening clouds, around now darkly lowers,
Confusion is the name upon her gate;
Her creeds are various as her costly towers.
Tho’ heavenward point her scores of spiral fanes,
That rise in rich and gorgeous display,
Yet in religion, pure, her glory wanes,
As nature’s in the sun’s last setting ray.
Such gilded temples for Devotion’s shrine,
With gaudy trimmings decked, so finely wrought,
But ill accord with many a sacred line,
Inscribed by holy Seers, divinely taught;
Who ‘neath no roof but heaven’s blue vault could pray
And words of wisdom pour on desert plains,
Where echoing forests swelled the gushing lay
Of feelings, melted by their simple strains.
The streams of wealth through all her channels run,
And numbers, more than worth her ranks o’erflow;
Her theme—the record of her honors won—
Not how it stands above, but how below.
No fearful conflicts with the Prince of death;
No rude assailings of the world’s abuse;
Her armor rusts in friendship’s fetid breath—
Not for the lack of need, but lack of use.
In all the pomp of equipage and show,
The mass, in gay attire, resort to hear
The pealing organ’s notes melodious flow,
And sermons fashioned for the pop’lar ear.
The sound of chiming bells, to call the crowds,
Falls heavy, like some lone funereal knell;
For darkness, like a deathly pall, enshrouds
The class who dream of Heaven in paths to Hell.
There vile Hypocrisy secures a screen,
And Sin, unchecked, infects her ample fold—
Impassable the steps that lie between
The poor and those who revel in their gold.
There Peace, with syren song, has spread her charm,
And many a victim lulled in fatal sleep;
No faithful sentinels to give alarm,
While dangerous foes around insidious creep.
No more of fervency disturbs their ease
Than party sect and party zeal inspire;
The wayward fancy strive alone to please—
The love of souls exchanged for love of hire!
There widely is diffused the baneful wreath,
They choose to cull from Error’s devious maze,
While plain and saving truths are hid beneath
The pompous flow of ornamental phrase.
The burning thoughts that once could light the brow,
And lips that fresher eloquence impart.
To break the magic spell, are powerless now—
Affecting still the head, but not the heart.
When Pastors trusted not in earthly aid
For language to supply what grace bestows;
No golden idol’s intervening shade,
Against the heavenly messengers to close;
When with unwearied steps they sought to save
The lost and wandering in the depths of sin,
Tho’ oft surrounding perils they must brave,
And still severer trials quell within;
When even the tone of warnings meekly given,
The solemn awe their sainted manners brought,
Their very presence so akin to heaven,
Gave lasting lessons otherwise untaught;
Then were their flocks on hidden manna fed,
And from the living fountains were refreshed;
Then multitudes were to the Saviour led,
Whose pardoning mercy showed their labors blest.
Tho’ nations lavish praises on her shower,
And worship long within her sculptured wall,
‘Tis but a form—Pride saps the vital power,
And leaves her crumbling to her final fall.
A cry shall yet be heard, unknown before,
In breadth and depth, and on swift pinions fly,
To penetrate corruption’s inmost core—
“Come out of her my people,” lest ye die.
Her sins, of blackest hue, have reached the throne,
The blood of saints her cup of guilt has lined,
Afar resounds a fellow sufferer’s moan,
In fetters her own hands have helped to bind.
In night her day of splendor soon will end,
And wailings loud, arise o’er land and sea;
For wrath, unmixed with mercy, will descend,
And seal her woeful doom eternally.