This series of Sonnets were included at the end of Edward Irving’s Exposition of the Book of Revelation in a Series of Lectures (1831).


Sonnet I: The Benediction or Salutation (Revelation 1:4, 5)
From Him, which is, and was, and is to come,
God Absolute, whose throne is fixed in heaven;
And from the Holy Ghost, the Spirits seven,
Who of all power and knowledge fills the sum;
From Jesus Christ, great Head of martyrdom,
The faithful Witness, who with death has striven
And from the prince of death his scepter riven;
Who of our flesh did purge away the scum,
And rise immortal; crowned Lord of all,
And Head of kingdoms: From those sacred Three
Be grace and peace unto all saints who call
Upon God’s name, and love His mercy free.
Ye members of Christ’s Church, rise from your fall,
And in Him dwell; in Him God’s fullness see.


Sonnet II: The Doxology (Revelation 1:5, 6)
To Him, who, being in the form of God,
Nor robbery thought with Godhead to compare,
Yet stooped low in love our flesh to wear.
And for our sins poured out His precious blood
Soul-cleansing fountain, in whose living flood
He, great High Priest, does wash us, and prepare
Us for Himself, a spotless bride, to share
His throne and power, God’s love and fatherhood:
Unto our Brother, Son of God, we give
The glory and dominion of our state:
To Him be praise, in whose prerogative
We reign as kings and priests,
who were of late Satan’s bare thralls.
But now free men we live,
In faith and hope; and for His coming wait.


I. The Advent (Revelation 1:7)
Behold, He comes, with glorious clouds reveal’d,
He who erewhile for man’s salvation died
On the accursed tree. Now far and wide
The vault of heav’n, which then in dark was seal’d,
Shines with His glory. Hark! the trumpet peal’d
His near approach! His saints have cast aside
The searcloth of the grave, and as His bride
Have met Him. The nations all, with fear congeal’d,
Look conscience-stricken on; for they in arms
Confed’rate are against the Lord’s Anointed,
Who thus in judgment comes with dread alarms
Upon a world with thunderbolts disjointed.
To those who pierced Him, all abroad His arms
He flings, and Zion owns Him King appointed.


II. The Seer (Revelation 1:9,10)
In Patmos’ lonely isle, where Caesar’s nod
Sent those he fear’d, in exile from their own,
I, John, your brother, in the churches known
For faithful witness to the word of God,
In patient solitude had mine abode:
For Caesar fear’d the truth which I had sown,
And deem’d the Gospel warr’d against his throne;
Nor knew that Shiloh’s sceptre is a peaceful rod.
There, dwelling all apart with God alone,
In purpose bent to keep our holy day,
On which o’er death the Lord victorious shone,
Rapt in the Spirit’s mood from sense away,
I heard behind me, with a trumpet tone,
A mighty voice, which in mine ear did say:—


III. The Annunciation (Revelation 1:8,10)
I am the Alpha and the Omega;
The all-informing Word, who doth reveal
The unknown God. I am creation’s Seal,
End and Beginning; where the Father saw
His purpose all complete. I gave the law
To all creation, and watch o’er its weal,
Hold up its being, and its troubled heal.
Mine is that dreadful name, JEHOVAH-JAH;
First, Last, which Is, which Was, which is To Come;
The Father’s style, the Godhead’s proper name.
Almighty, I the Godhead’s Fulness sum
Within myself. All power in heaven I claim;
Wide o’er the earth I rule the busy hum
Of men; and restless powers of darkness tame.


IV. The Vision (Revelation 1:12-17)
The trumpet-voice which thus announced my Lord
I turn’d to see, when, lo! the Son of man!
Whose right hand in its grasp seven stars did span;
And from His mouth a sharp two-edged sword
Went forth, meet emblem of His piercing word.
But who those feet of glowing brass might scan,
Those searching eyes, whose beams like lightnings ran,
And face from which meridian splendours pour’d?
Around Him stood seven candlesticks of gold;
His head and hairs were pure as virgin snow;
The High Priest’s robe and girdle Him enfold.
His voice was strong, and liquid, as the flow
Of many waters. Death-like fear seized hold
Upon my strength, and much I dreaded woe.


V. The Seer’s Commission (Revelation 1:17,18)
And at His feet I fell, like one o’ercast
With death’s dark shadow; when His gracious hand
He reach’d forth, and strengthen’d me to stand;
And gently said, Fear not! (as in days past
When on His breast I leant,) The First, The Last,
Behold in Me, whom hell’s confed’rate band
Could not retain within their gloomy land;
Death and the grave I spoil’d, and all aghast
Have led them captive in: wherefore now in heaven
I reign as God, the Prince of endless life.
These visions of that glory to me given
For having vanquish’d in that mortal strife,
Write thou, and send unto the Churches Seven,
My number’d saints, my death-betrothèd wife.


VI. The Universal Bishop (Revelation 2:1)
I am the One High Priest and only Head
Of my own Church; the Shepherd of the fold;
Who walk amidst the candlesticks of gold,
Their brightness to preserve, their lamps to feed
With holy oil, and in each time of need
To tend those lights o’ th’ world, which high uphold
Hope’s day-star, midst the storms and darkness cold
Of this lost earth, to save a righteous seed:
The Universal Bishop, Sovereign Lord
Of Church dominion; in whose hand
Lie side by side the angels of the word
In equal eminence of high command
And hidden power, by whom in sweet accord
I teach and rule my Church o’er every land.


VII. The Bishop’s Seven Charges to His Angels—First Charge of Love (Revelation 2:2-7)
Hear then! ye angels of the churches hear
My charge. First, last, of all your thoughts, be love
Unto those sheep, whom I preferr’d above
Heaven’s state: They to my Father’s heart are near
Who Me do love the most, because more dear
I loved them than life. My turtle-dove
Oh leave not to the vultures wild, which rove
The heavens; nor to the snare, the pit, the fear,
Aye watch. Your work, your patience, well I know,
And, knowing, well reward. He works for me
Who works for them: who aims at them a blow,
Had better far been cast into the sea
With millstone round his neck. Still forward go
In love; and to my throne advanced be.


VIII. The Spirit’s Seven Battle Words—First Battle Word, Promise of Paradise (Revelation 2:10)
Thus speaks the Spirit to the Churches all,
And to each man who hath an ear to hear:
“Whoso o’ercometh in this fell career
With Pow’rs of earth and hell, which proudly call
My people to the battle, he shall fall
Unvanquish’d, and to his grave shall bear
The martyr’s crown—victorious rise, and wear
The palm of Jubilee. Let no fears appal
Christ’s fellow-soldiers. Him, your Captain, view
Upon the throne of God; who hath on high
Mansions prepared, and wine o’ th’ kingdom new
Upon His table set; where never sigh
Is heard, nor sorrow enters. There shall you
With Him abide, and in His bosom lie.”

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