Mary Ann Carter Poems >>
The General Resurrection
How lovely doth the universe appear!
And how refulgent shine those glorious orbs
That round the sun their evolutions make!
As well as yon innumerable host,
That fill the wider range of boundless space!
This fruitful earth, with beauties bright adorn'd,
Still in unfading freshness smiles and blooms,
And rich abundance to her offspring yields.
Successive seasons bring to man supplies
For ev'ry want his nature hath--and mark!
Busied in varied scenes of life, he fears
No dissolution of this pond'rous globe,
But carelessly beholds its charms--its fruits--
And from their fulness sates his own desires.
He recks not, that the hour is nigh, wherein
Shall be fulfill'd those words prophetic which
The Saviour spoke! when even heav'n itself
Shall pass away, and as a vest be chang'd!
That earth amid her own luxuriance too
Shall be consumed--yea, utterly consumed!
That sun, and moon, and stars, shall fade or fall:
Yes! such destruction shall there be--that none
Who see that day shall gaze unchill'd--unchain'd
With fear and awe upon the utter ruin
That will encompass the abodes of men.
Those bright immeasurably distant spheres,
That perhaps to other systems are as suns,
May view this world from its existence hurl'd,
And still in harmony unceasing shine.
How will amazement seize each soul!--and fear,
And horror, ev'ry guilty bosom tear!--
When they behold the Heavens all opening wide--
The great Archangel with a shout descend--
The God who bare our sins as Judge of all!
Attended with a gorgeous throng of saints,
Who now of his magnificent approach
The grandeur swell, and fill the air with sounds
Of triumph, that the time is come, when He
With them shall judge in righteousness the world!
Who by His death atonement made for man--
Who our infirmities endured--on whom
The wrath of God in an o'erwhelming stream
Was pour'd, until it deluged His afflicted
Spirit, which He without a murmur bore!
The same who left th' empyreal realms of Heav'n,
And suffered sickness, pain, and want, and woe,
Too bitter to be told! Who had no home,
In which to rest His weary head! No friend
To succour in His hour of deepest grief!
No hand to wipe the bloody sweat that sate
Upon His agonized and tortured brow!
No cup of water to relieve His thirst--
Cool His parch'd lips--and cheer his fainting heart!
No! He was desolate! "He had laid
His Godhead by," and must endure alone
The heavy load of bitter agony!
"Behold! He comes!" His promises to seal
With those who've trusted to His mighty love!
To punish unrepented sin--to cast
The wicked to their final doom--to bid
"The heav'ns from His presence flee!" and make
The unbelieving "gaze on Him whom they
Have pierced" (inflicting keen and deadly wounds),
And of their heinous guilt the horror feel--
The deeper dread of that eternal woe
In which they'll be ingulph'd! without one ray,
One cheering ray, to dart across their souls
Ah! they may "call upon the rocks to hide" them
From His sight--'tis vain! His eye still follows!
No refuge for a moment can they find
From His insulted justice and His wrath!
"He comes!" to bid the dead arise, and stand
Upon His right and on His left! "The sea
To yield what it contains"--and ev'ry atom
Of man's scatter'd elements to re-unite,
And start again to animated life:
And all receive from Him the just reward
Of their remorseless, unrepented sins!
The fiends whose bold rebellion caus'd, amid
The Host of heav'n, a conflict dire, stupendous,
Who have ranged among th' inhabitants of earth,
Disseminating misery, death, and sin,
Must now receive their just terrific doom:
Nor more immortal spirits captive lead,
To plunge into hell's dark abyss, that they
Might revel in their victim's fearful pangs!
The mid-day sun dazzling and resplendent--
The moon, that crowns with silv'ry brilliancy
The night: the glitt'ring stars, more splendid far
Than gems in richest diadem: the dawn,
The welcome harbinger of beauties rich,
Varied, glowing, and effulgent: evening's
Soften'd radiance, that inspires the mind
With ev'ry pure and holy contemplation;
The night, in sombre majesty array'd--
The billows of the deep by tempest swoln--
Its tranquil surface in unruffled calm--
The rainbow's arch of blended hues, that grasps
The sky, are each magnificent, and full
Of beauties exquisite, unutterable,
And infinite! but could they in one bright
And pow'rful focus concentrate their charms,
And all its blazing influence on our
Enraptur'd and astonish'd spirits pour,
'T would be no mirror to reflect the grandeur,
Or to the mind a just conception give,
Of the majesty august--the glory
Jehovah will display, when He with hosts
Innumerable shall appear, the end
Of time to consummate, and finally
To launch both quick and dead, with their deserts,
Upon eternity's unbounded sea!
Hark! 'tis the earth's intestine groans I hear,
That she with agony convuls'd now heaves,
Shrinking as 'twere beneath the thrilling sense
Of speedy dissolution, from the face of Him
Who call'd her forth, and will destroy!
With deaf'ning noise the pealing thunders roll,
And earth's foundations shake--the lightning's
Rapid flash illumes the air, and makes the sky
One vast expanse of vivid flame--
Tho' pale its brightness to the dazzling blaze
Of glory that adorns the Saviour's brow!
That marks His path, and spreads thro' all His train.
"The saints alive upon the earth" now rise
With joy, "to meet Him in the air"--to hail
Their Lord--to mingle in the brilliant throng--
To share His smile, and from His lips receive
The just fulfilment of their ardent hopes.
Perhaps there are some, who chilling fear have felt,
As they've beheld the elements in motion,
Then prostrate, of devout and humble pray'r
The burning incense to their Maker giv'n,
And found their faith, the pinions of their souls
Fresh plumed, triumphantly to bear them thro'
The agitated sea of air, and the loud crash
Of storm, and the crowds of trembling beings,
Together cluster'd in appalling fright,
Shrivell'd to half their size with conscious guilt,
And dire forebodings of their future woe:
Sublimely soar the saints, until they meet
The armies of our God, and then exultingly
The swelling strains of heav'nly music join.
They reach this globe--this atom 'mid the space
That's boundless, fathomless immensity!
"The last trump sounds!" and in a moment wake
The mouldering dead, whose sleep unbroken
Hath for many thousand years endured.
But now the grave no longer can their dust
Contain! And first the dead in Christ arise
With bodies glorious and spiritual,
That never fade, but must their vigour, youth,
And bloom throughout eternity retain.
In mingled multitudes around their Judge
They crowd, a splendid, mighty phalanx,
Of patriarchs, prophets, saints, and martyrs--
All who have fought the battles of "the Lamb,"
And of His cross, the bright insignia wore.
The next shrill blast calls forth the wicked, who
From their dark tombs start in trembling millions!
They too are with immortal bodies clothed,
And, "in the twinking of an eye!" Oh! what
Would they now give, could they be henceforth
Annihilated?--and ne'er behold again
Their incens'd Maker's frown, that hangs a cloud
Terrific on his threat'ning brow! What black,
What thick'ning horrors do their souls perceive
In His accumulated wrath! that soon
On such rebellious creatures must be hurl'd.
No honours now, that time bestow'd, exist
Among th' affrighted throng--they feel too late
They were for immortality designed.
Monarchs and slaves without distinction stand--
All classes and all crimes await their doom--
The poor who stole--the rich who would not give,
And by their vast abundance but increas'd their sins--
The boasting coward, who much valour then
Profess'd, but even from the exercise
Of common courage shrunk, tho' 'twere the wrongs
Of innocence t' avenge. The knave, who strove
Alike the virtuous and the wicked
To deceive, and with their rights himself invest.
The young, the old, who false, and vile, have in
Their path dissensions strewn, and poison'd life
With calumny's insidious blighting curse,
And the bright temple of domestic joy
To atoms shiver'd, and fair fame so much
Distorted, that it became a filthy
Thing for fools to scoff at. The hypocrite,
Who now of his dissembling robe is stripp'd,
Amid the gaze of an astonish'd world,
Disclosing such a hideous list of crime,
As if 'twere possible would blacken demons'
Guilt. The harden'd villain, who ne'er could feel,
For any deed, the scarlet hue of shame
Rush thro' his veins, and tinge his flinty face.
The ruthless wretch, whose hands are crimson'd with
A brother's gore; the drunkard too, whose midnight
Revels and debauch'd carouse, have made his
Throat the sepulchre of domestic peace,
That with unsated ravings hath devour'd
What should have render'd happy, those whom Heav'n
Had placed beneath his care: and he whose tongue
With subtle falsehood hath his friend betray'd.
The grim and ruthless tyrant, who hath sway'd
Oppressive pow'r with an unflinching hand,
And then, in others' misery exulted.
These, with tenfold others, most fearfully
Appall'd, before their angry Judge appear;
Who, by one Omnipotent and piercing glance,
Severs the wicked from the just, and darts
Thro' all a right perception, for each one
To instantly assume his proper place.
Now of the vilest minds are quick reveal'd
The deepest, deadliest stratagems; and ev'ry thought
That with iniquity's imbued, is bared.
Each victim can as on a tablet read,
In characters emblazon'd, the foul deeds,
Which he hath wrought--the thoughts he hath conceiv'd,
Nor needs he memory's aid--the faithful
Register of Heav'n, with this faculty
(In man so estimable) dispenses.
He who reckless hurl'd the unrepented
To untimely death and ceaseless torment,
Now finds his frantic misery increased
By bitter groans, and still more bitter shrieks,
By black invectives, and the revengeful curse
Of the despairing, and distracted wretch,
Whom of Heav'n's pardon he at once deprived,
And existence here, by the fell blow which
He in monstrous cruelty inflicted.
And there's the ambitious conquerer, whose aim
Was rapine, wealth, and pow'r, whose thirst of blood
Scarce with a life of slaughter could be sated;
Who bereaved so many wives of husbands--
So many mothers of their sons--children
Of their fathers--and ev'ry sacred, dear
Connection sever'd--o'erwhelming thousands
In seas of woe, as vast as those with blood
Incarnadine, that cover'd spacious plains--
That at his word laid kingdoms desolate!
No sigh for orphans or for widows heav'd
By his unpitying and relentless breast!
No tear shone in his eye of pride and scorn,
Nor e'er bedew'd his rough and hardy cheek!
But one black series of remorseless strife
Mark'd his too dark, destructive, vile career!
Unlike the valiant warrior, who fights
The rights of innocence to guard, and save
His country from invasion's flagrant wrongs,
And sets his life at nought in honour's cause.
The licentious too, whose numerous crimes
All unveil'd, make him stand with fright aghast,
And wring his sinful soul with lacerating
Pangs! while he surveys with horror, as arraign'd
Before him, in confusion and dismay,
The many wrecks of happiness which he
Hath made; who now like frighted spectres stare
Upon him, waiting the dread sentence, that
Must ere long their fearful doom determine.
The countless crimes disclosed--the sentences
Decreed, might a ponderous volume fill,
And 't would be vain! already the heart sickens--
The features pale, 'neath the contemplation
Of this sure and fast approaching day!
Let those behold who can, the awful scene,
And list the Judge's stern decree, that casts
Into the black abyss of horror--woe--
From the ceaseless gnawings of that restless,
Never dying, though devouring worm,
A guilty conscience; and to each awarding
The full punishment their crimes have earn'd!
Heaven's gates now open wide, to welcome
The enraptur'd myriads to those realms
Of glory, bliss, and praise, where God himself
In uncreated splendour reigns, and whose
Presence fills this blest abode with joy,
With happiness ineffable, unending!
Yes! there the ascending souls with rapture mount,
Who in their flight perhaps may cast one look
Back upon the raging element, that now
Envelopes, and soon will terminate, of this
Fair, fertile globe, the full destruction!
Quickly the mansions of the just resound
With "Hallelujahs to the Lamb," whose blood hath
Wash'd them from their sins, and in the Kingdom
Of His Father giv'n them immortal joy,
And clearly to their blissful minds display'd
The exhaustless springs of knowledge--wisdom--truth--
That they in full fruition may partake!
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Based on Keywords: incens, convuls, dissensions, terminate, incarnadine, emblazon, dispenses, inflicting, unchill, annihilated, lacerating