I. The Rapture of the Seer (Revelation 4:1)

This vision ended, and these things reveal’d,
    I, John, look’d up; when lo! the vault of heaven
    Was open’d wide, its veil asunder riven;
As once to Jesus, when the Spirit seal’d [Mark 1:10]
Him Son of God in mortal flesh conceal’d;
    As in the grandeurs to Ezekiel given, [Ezekiel 1:1]
    And Stephen’s welcome from on high, when driven
To cruel death by men ‘gainst justice steel’d; [Acts 7:56]
    So open’d unto me in heaven a door,
And with a trumpet voice an angel spake:
    “Up hither come, and learn celestial lore;
Thee future things to understand I’ll make,”
    Me, wistful, straightway to the heavenly floor,
Wrapt in His mood, the Spirit did uptake!

II. The Enthroned One (Revelation 4:2)

And there set up in heaven I saw a throne,
    Whereon was seated, in eternal might,
    He who the world doth rule in single right
Flesh-red He was, as is the sardine stone; [Lamentations 4:7]
And like the jasper bright his body shone;
    As crystal clear, all radiant as the light [Revelation 21:11]
    Wherein God dwells apart from creature sight;
God-man, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone;
    The Father in the glorious mantle seen
Of risen manhood, predetermined shrine
    Where Godhead chose to dwell. A rainbow, green
As purest emerald, round the throne divine
    Its mercy threw, and to my heart spake keen
Of God in covenant for this earth the sign. [Genesis 9:16]

III. The Throne (Revelation 4:5,6)

The throne itself was wondrous to behold:
    The like was never seen by mortal eye.
    Nor heard of by the ear; nor doth it lie
Within the artist’s scope to cast its mould;
Forth from its womb came voices manifold;
    It was instinct with life and reason high;
    Thence thunders roll’d, and forth did lightnings fly,
Which lay this world in desolation cold;
    Before it ever burn seven lamps of fire,
Sign of the Holy Ghost, that Spirit pure
    Whose baptism maketh meet t’approach Heaven’s Sire;
In peaceful grandeur from its base secure [Ezekiel 1:22]
    Stretch’d out a crystal sea, earth’s bright attire
When purged of sin: thus ever to endure.

IV. The Four Living Ones (Revelation 4:6-8)

But chief of all, within that mystic seat,
    There was, to see, a thing beyond compare:
    Four living creatures, who dwell everywhere
Within its sacred bound, and ever greet
Your eye with Omnipresence, like the sheet
    Of lightning. All full of eyes they were.
    Within, before, behind, which doth declare
That they are spiritual; with wings most fleet
    To execute God’s will. Their fourfold face,
Man, eagle, ox, and lion, doth portray
    A fourfold lordship—reason, heavenly space,
Earth, clean and unclean, all creation’s sway:
    God’s life, power, strength, they wield; and from their place
Give forth that voice which all things else obey.

V. The Same (Revelation 4:6-8)

These very creatures rapt Ezekiel saw [Ezekiel 1,10,43]
    Upbear the throne, when he by Chebar’s stream
    Gat sights of God: in them those cherubim [Ezekiel 1:20]
He recognized, with whom God did withdraw
To dwell in the Holiest place, that place of awe,
    Where never enter’d light of lamp nor beam
    Of day. They are the same who with the gleam
Of flaming sword kept Eden, when God’s law [Genesis 3:24]
    Our father brake, and o’er the sacred strand
Was driven of God. And is it not foretold, [Psalm 18]
    That when the Church in utmost need shall stand,
He who the heavens bow’d, and forth of old
    On cherub rode, once more shall bare His brand,
And ride on cherub strong to save His fold?

VI. The Same (Revelation 4:6-8)
The Place Holy wherein these creatures dwelt [Hebrews 9]
    Was but the emblem of that city bright
    Where dwells the Church with God in God’s own light
Such, too, was Eden when no curse was felt;
Nor ever shall be in that city, built [Revelation 22:3]
    Of lively stones, elected men; whose right
    Is ever to behold, with open sight,
The glory of the Lamb, to them forth dealt
    As unto none besides: whom for His wife
With His good Spirit the ris’n Lord doth seal,
    Till the redemption of this mortal life;
When, like these living creatures, she shall feel
    One heart, one soul, one mind with Christ: all rife
With His desire to work creation’s weal.

VII. The Same (Revelation 4:6-8)
We are the body of God’s holiness,
    The sanctu’ry of His strength; and do upbear
    The glory of His throne; and ever hear
Or feel, by mystic union, all the bliss
Of His most secret counsels, and express
    His mind to every creature: therefore near,
    Within His very throne, we dwell, and wear
Those eyes of intuition, and that dress
    Of power, from olden time derived, when God abode
Within Jeshurun’s tents, and nations smote.
    In squadrons four the wilderness they trod, [Numbers 2:2]
With eagle, lion, ox, and man fair wrought
    On standards four, o’er which Jehovah rode:
Wherefore the Church retains that fourfold note.

VIII. The Four-and-Twenty Elders (Revelation 4:4)
And round about the throne, in order set,
    Were other thrones, twice twelve; whereon in state
    Sat elders crown’d, array’d like priests who wait
Upon God’s temple, and their glory get
From looking on His glory: they are met,
    Creation’s lords, to greet the Lamb, who late
    Went forth from heaven to save with peril great
The sinful earth, and now, with blood all wet,
    Returns to claim His prize, bought with the cost
Of wounds and sufferings vast. In circle round
    The elders and the throne, th’angelic host,
Myriads on myriads, stand; all creatures found
    In earth or sea are there, and those who boast
Of heav’n, or dwell in deeps profound.

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