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My son, God will provide himself a lamb
Sar. Ah! 'twas then
Ab. Even as a lamb, that to the slaughter goes, Innocent, meek, and opening not his mouth.
Sar. Alas! I can imagine all the pangs Of that most bitter moment.
Ab. Sarah, no: I felt an unknown strength support me then, His own mysterious gift. No more the Father, No more the man possessed me. Of faith had conquered nature. A clear light, Unseen by mortal wisdom, to my thought Showed marvellously linked with my son's death The promises of God. With love and faith And hope, my heart was glowing in one blaze Of wondrous ecstasy, wherein I seemed To hold communion with the Eternal Mind. And now already on the up-turned brow of kneeling Isaac was my left hand laid ; My eyes were bent on heaven ; and I stretched forth My hand, and took the knife to slay my son, When a bright radiance, with a sudden burst Of glory kindled all the air. A voice
For the power
Called to me out of heaven, saying, Abraham,
Sar. I breathe once more.
Ab. At these awakening words,
Is. The victim yet was wanting for the rite,
In an entangled thicket's thorny brake,
Gam. Thrice happy Abraham! who hath to God Given such clear proof of Faith.
Sar. No, not therein The blessing lies. Already known to God Without such proof was Abraham. Himself Did Abraham not know, nor the full power Of his own confidence in God, who willed To instruct him in its strength; willed that in him Of faith and constancy the world should have A glorious example, memorable Through all succeeding ages. Oh henceforth Pregnant be all the examples of his faith With generous fruits; and often, in ourselves, May we repeat this solemn sacrifice !
May every heart an altar prove,
A Son devoted, in his eyes
And give the heart, in follies lost,
Ab. Be silent. Heaven is opening.
The angel appears. Angel. Abraham, I come to thee again, a messenger From God. With thine obedience, and thy proof Of perfect faith, he is well pleased. Because Thou hast done this thing, and not withheld thy son, Thine only son, he doth renew to thee His promises. In blessing he will bless thee, In multiplying he will multiply Thy seed even as the stars of heaven, or sands On the sea shore; and in them, in due time, Shall all the nations of the earth be blest.
In the fulness of ages
Thy progeny glorious,
Trampling victorious :
Their gates shall fly open,
Their hosts shrink before him,
Who shall kneel and adore him!
From God is the promise,
His foes long shall mourn it;
He can swear by no greater,
By HIMSELF he hath sworn it.
Sar. Hast thou heard, Abraham ?
The hills shake! The graves are opened! And the thick blackness of profoundest night Covers all heaven!—I read the mystery! Thanks, thanks, redeeming God! This is that day, I have desired to see! This is that blood, An infinite recompense for infinite guilt! This is that sacrifice which must be made, That satisfies and reconciles at once Eternal Justice and Eternal Love! This is that death which unto man redeemed Unfolds the gates of everlasting life!