::R3095 : page 317::
THE MORN IS COMING
Our age’s sphere of light,
Though widening still, is walled around by night;
With slow, reluctant eye, the Church has read,
Skeptic at heart, the lesson of its Head.—Whittier.
Despite the light that cheers the world today,
Shadows surround us, on our heavenward way,
And Error darkens Truth’s celestial ray.
Not yet the beams, whose radiant splendors dart
From the fair realms of Science and of Art,
With equal glory shine from soul and heart:
Men worship golden calves and serpents still;
Like cringing slaves bow to their masters’ will—
Obey the letter, but the spirit kill;
Still tremble at the Priest’s uplifted rod,
For fear that he may doom them, by a nod,
To endless hell-fire in the name of God.
False prophets still the wrath of Heaven provoke;
And hypocrite, and Pharisee, and rogue,
Sit in high places in the synagogue.
As sheep disguised, wolves still make sheep their prey;
The blind still lead the blind the downward way;
And sneaking Judases their Lord betray.
Still is assailed the free soul that aspires;
Still persecution feeds her smoldering fires;
And still, to murder Truth, are leagued the Liars.
Still everywhere a selfish spirit rules—
Men herd themselves in squabbling sects and schools,
And deem dissenting brethren knaves or fools;
Still hack their heads with dull, polemic swords,
Fan the fierce flames of hate with windy words,
And take the Devil’s plaudits for the Lord’s.
The world, which God gave to his children all,
They parcel into sections, large or small,
And round each petty church “patch” build a wall;
Shout their strange shibboleths and battle cries,
Assert pre-emption title to the skies,
And curse him as a heathen who denies.
Thus bigotry and sect intolerance
Sharpen the infidel’s else harmless lance,
And cause the Devil’s imps for joy to dance!
Thank God! Religion is a plant that grows:
Its perfect flower perennially blows,
More fragrant and more fair than Sharon’s rose.
It yet shall rise from out the sloughs and swamps,
Shed from its shining leaves the dungeon damps,
Break every bond that yet its free growth cramps!
Methinks I see it rising and expand!
Its mighty branches arching every land,
From Zembla’s snows to India’s sunny strand.
Upward, forever up, I see it rise,
Flashing resplendent glory on our eyes,
Until its crown is lost within the skies.
And there, beneath this everlasting tree,
This Tree of Life and Human Destiny,
I see the nations gather, bond and free,
Gentile and Jew, of every clime and race—
God’s children all—and standing face to face,
Own but one God, their Father, and embrace!
Then, only then, will men indeed be free,
Then will the Golden Age we dream of be,
And Jesus Christ reign universally.
—Charles W. Hubner.
— October 15, 1902 —