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will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and the desire of all nations shall come.”
Zechariah describes his humble entrance into Jerusalem, riding upon an ass's colt; and Malachi winds up by declaring, “ Jehovah whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple," and promising a precursor.
Thus closed that mystic song that had been singing for ages, now dying away in murmurs, now swelling out in bursts of harmony; song upheld by mingling voices of patriarch, psalmist, and seer, since near four thousand years. “Its quivering chord had gone out into all the earth, its music to the end of the world." Its vibrations woke the lyre of Paganism to bewail a golden age departed, to sigh for its return. Long after David's harp had ceased to sound, the Ascrean bard began :
“Oh, would that Nature had denied me birth
In this fifth race, this iron age of earth;
And while Elijah bowed in Carmel before the still small voice, Homer was weaving his tuneful tale of gods and goddesses Olympian.
And while the constellation of the captivity throws a far ray athwart the pagan chaos, Philosophy sends Thales to light, at Babylon, the earliest Ionic taper.
Pythagoras also kindles there his Italic torch, and lends a borrowed ray to Plato.
Anon, while Ezra and Nehemiah are closing the annals of sacred revelation, Herodotus starts from fabulous somnambulism to begin authentic history, and wends his way inquiring to old Babylon.
And when Malachi is closing revealed religion, devout Paganism commands a Socrates, a Plato, a Confucius to originate theology.
Yea, while the mighty orbs of inspiration, conscious of the coming sun, and, paling before the dawn, withdraw their shining, upward at once she soars to classic zenith with all her lesser lights. Now first she bids the world believe, history, science, religion, poetry, and art are born. Haughty Alexander she employs as her schoolmaster to teach barbarian lips to whisper Greek. Then furtively she scatters all abroad in her domain the stolen rays of Hebrew fire, gleaming from the Alexandrine scroll. And thus, with old tradition, scripture crosslight, and new-born classic genius, she bathes the dreamy nations with a chilly star-light, and calls it day. The sleeping millions stir and sigh as dawn approaches, in troubled slumber. We hear them moaning in their dreams, calling to one another in restless presage of the breaking day. “It is contained,” they whisper all over the benighted orb, " in the fates that at this very time the East shall prevail, and some who shall come out of Judea obtain the empire of the world." 66 Haste !" we hear one cry,
" thou mighty offspring of Jove! hasten thine appearing ;" while the tremulous earth, sea, and heaven exult in the impending era.
So, perchance, on darkling plains of Bethlehem, the shepherds scanned the faintly-kindling east, and began to augur day. Yet twilight, chill and cheerless, clothed the silent fields.
But as on their astonished vision a dazzling Shekinah burst through azure empyrean, and harmonies ineffable charmed their ear, bringing morning all surpassing down around them, so through moral empyrean, upon chill and cheerless starlit human thought and feeling, burst with rapturous light and melody the alloutvying dawn of Messianic love.
If such, however, was the waiting posture of the pagan mind, what of the mind of Israel, long taught and long anticipating? To what a pitch of holy fervor might we not expect their souls would be exalted ? And how can we account for that posture of far other emotion they too terribly displayed? Had they not been blind and slow of heart to believe all that their prophets had spoken, what might they not have penciled, in perfect Messianic portraiture, out of so vast and varied artistical material ?
Let us a moment seize the pencil, and throw upon the canvass at least a sketch of what they might have drawn, and filled out with richer, deeper, and more delicate coloring.
MESSIAH THE PRINCE.
"Four hundred and ninety years after Cyrus's decree, born of a virgin in Bethlehem Ephratah, shall arise the loveliest son of man. Profound in wisdom, gentle, meek, and lowly. Deliverer of the poor and needy, binder-up of the broken hearted, opener of the prison doors, he shall be himself not unacquainted with grief. He shall be a man of sorrows, and shall bear all the afflictions of mankind. Yet, though bruised for their sins, he shall be by them rejected, despised, reviled, spit upon, plucked by the beard, smitten on the cheek, till his form and visage be more marred than any man. Oppressed and afflicted, he shall not open his mouth, but be led uncomplaining to death with malefactors; his hands and feet being pierced, his garments divided, his vesture disposed of by lot, yet not a bone of him being broken. Thus cut off, not for himself, and counted among transgressors, he shall be buried in the grave of the rich, and, while we deem him deserted of God, shall bear upon his head the confessed sins of his people, unto Azazel, in the land of separation.
“ Yet shall not God leave his soul in Sheol, nor suffer his Holy One to see corruption. He shall ascend up on high, leading captivity captive, and sit on the right hand of God, a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek, until his foes be made his footstool. He shall swallow up death in victory, and destroy the veil of the covering cast over all nations. They that sleep in the dust shall awake and sing, and his people cluster about his banner in the day of his power like the sparkling drops of dewy dawn.
“He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel ; and they shall go into the holes of the rock, and into the caves of the earth, for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the