Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts in Verse on the Feast of Pentecost


From The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holydays Throughout the Year

by John Keble

When God of old came down from Heaven,

In power and wrath He came;

Before His feet the clouds were riven,

Half darkness and half flame:

Around the trembling mountain’s base

The prostrate people lay;

A day of wrath and not of grace;

A dim and dreadful day.

But when he came the second time,

He came in power and love,

Softer than gale at morning prime

Hover’d His holy Dove.

The fires that rush’d on Sinai down

In sudden torrents dread,

Now gently light, a glorious crown,

On every sainted head.

Like arrows went those lightnings forth

Wing’d with the sinner’s doom,

But these, like tongues, o’er all the earth

Proclaiming life to come:

And as on Israel’s awe-struck ear

The voice exceeding loud,

The trump, that angels quake to hear,

Thrill’d from the deep, dark cloud;

So, when the Spirit of our God

Came down His flock to find,

A voice from Heaven was heard abroad,

A rushing, mighty wind.

Nor doth the outward ear alone

At that high warning start;

Conscience gives back th’ appalling tone;

’Tis echoed in the heart.

It fills the Church of God; it fills

The sinful world around;

Only in stubborn hearts and wills

No place for it is found.

To other strains our souls are set:

A giddy whirl of sin

Fills ear and brain, and will not let

Heaven’s harmonies come in.

Come Lord, Come Wisdom, Love, and Power,

Open our ears to hear;

Let us not miss th’ accepted hour;

Save, Lord, by Love or Fear.


  1. Beautiful. I think I have my sermon now.

  2. The only thing that would make it stronger, in my opinion, would be for some stanzas between Mt. Sinai and Pentecost referring to Mt. Calvary or the Incarnation. It was that which made it possible for the Day of Pentecost to be a day of joy, not of sorrow and dread.

  3. The Holy Spirit did not appear in the form of a dove on Pentecost.


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