Look back from Millennial Year 400
The setting for this poem is some four hundred years inside the millennium. The speaker is someone from our day who was living when the morning, the great Day of the Lord, arrived. The audience is a group of young Millennium mortals, whose cup of blessing is fuller than they can realize.
Oh come, my children, while I tell
Of former times we knew so well,
The age before Christ came to dwell
And make all things anew.
In that age there were just a few,
Who would believe God’s Word so true,
The only ones on earth who knew
And I was one of them!
We watched with longing, anxious eyes,
For we knew He would bring the prize
To all the ready, working, wise—
And He would not be late.
We turned the pages of God’s Book
To learn the things for which to look,
While for our pattern Christ we took,
His life of holiness.
And when the Scriptures we rehearsed,
We read Elijah would come first;
When things were at their very worst
The Prophet great would come.
Again we read the promise clear
That Christ would come, we need not fear,
Come quickly! Oh, the Day was near!
The Day of glorious triumph!
With pow’rs of wrong on every hand,
Still God’s great cause we did defend,
And for His truth we did contend—
The cause of Christ our Lord!
The best of tools that men did make
We purchased for the Savior’s sake,
To publish far, “Your sings forsake,
Our Lord is coming soon.”
Prophetic signs we saw so plain,
We knew things could not stay the same—
Full soon our Lord would come to reign—
He could not tarry long.
At times, ’twas hard to keep faith bright,
‘Twas very hard to keep the right;
It was not like this age of sight;
Ours was an evil time.
That age was dark with sin and hate,
The world was in an awful state;
Vast millions had no God but fate—
No love, no hope, no faith.
They talked as if all faith were vain,
While man on man afflicted pain,
Their selfish ways none could restrain—
Their Maker they denied.
Men everywhere did wrong and not
A judgment came—they quite forgot
That God would bring them to account
For all their evil ways.
So greedy for material gain,
They’d wreck another’s upright name
Without a twinge of guilt or shame—
So hardened were their hearts.
Even small children, young in years
Victims of terror, lived in fear
Of losing what to them was dear—
A new age had to come.
But though the world was dark with sin,
No more than this could I take in,
For I was working hard to win
My crown of life eternal.
I had to be so careful lest
I fail in some small trial or test
And lose my share in this sweet rest—
It was a rousing thought.
We read God’s Word to make us strong,
To help us through the midnight long,
To fill our days with hope and song,
God’s blessed, holy Word.
We worked together, one on one,
To help each other faster run,
For we had much that need be done
Before the morning dawned.
For well we knew each one who’d win
Must keep himself in fighting trim—
Must free himself from ever sin,
‘Twas not an easy task.
So few believed God’s promise then;
So few had faith to fight the trend—
Yes, we were just a handful when
We saw the morning break.
You ask, Did we have angels then?
Oh yes, they were our constant friend,
Yet never did we see their form—
Because we walked by faith.
For though we knew an angel near
His warning voice we did not hear
When tempted from the right to veer—
Ours was an age of faith.
What do I mean by “faith” or “sight”?
‘Tis this: You know when you walk right—
We had to walk as in the night—
None told us when we erred.
But oh, you ask, “What was the night?”
My dearest ones, ’twas lack of light,
As if you had no gift of sight—
We had to trust in God!
How oft our hearts were weighed with care,
As we each other’s loads did share,
With sick and suffering everywhere—
We longed to see the morn!
You wonder what I mean by “sick”?
Well, I can tell you all right quick
You would not like it one least bit—
And neither, friends, did we!
But oft it was a passing test
That helped us in our God to trust,
That gave our hope and faith new thrust
To work for better times!
And as the years went speeding past,
With prophecies fulfilling fast,
It seemed the moment could not last—
The Day was almost here!
So near it seemed, so very near
There scare could be another year.
And yet God’s mercy tarried more—
So gracious is our God!
God had His eye upon a few
Who would provide a witness true,
Who would become all clean and new,
His chosen, precious ones.
He knew we needed time to be
Made clean from all impurity,
Add patience and humility,
Before our day was done!
You wonder we had much to do?
My friends, we were made just like you;
We had to be all spotless, too,
Before we could be crowned.
‘Twas hard for us to keep faith bright
For lo, ’twas then the dark of night,
You can’t imagine what ’twas like—
With all the world asleep.
No prophet spoke to us, or seer;
Yet evidence grew more each year;
We had no cause to doubt or fear
The promise of our God.
We looked above to stars of light,
To myriad worlds, all shining bright.
Whence came these wonderous
orbs of night?
They were the work of God!
Then opened we His Book to see,
And read they were God’s family,
All clothed with immortality
Now looking down on us.
And how we prayed, Lord Jesus, come,
Come, bring to us the things we love,
Blest peace and purpose from above—
Oh, let the morning break!
But what if I were left behind?
This thought, it lingered in my mind—
It made me work right hard to find
The evils in my heart.
For what if He should come and find
Me angry, impudent, unkind?
I kept this ever on my mind
Lest I should be condemned!
You wonder I could be defiled?
My little ones, I have to smile,
It seems but such a little while
Since I was just like you.
And most of all, we knew not when
Our Saviour might the midnight rend
And bring probation to an end—
It kept us on the watch.
And then—we saw the daylight break!
The heavens rent, the earth did quake!
Oh, Day of days for all the saints!
Grand Day of Christ our Lord!
A noble man—oh, could it be
The one we’d waited long to see—
God’s man Elijah, was it he?—
Was this the crack of dawn?
We had not long to wonder, for
He soon disclosed his mighty power;
I never will forget that hour—
The miracles we saw!
Our badge of fame let none forget
We who the midnight vigil kept
While all the world in darkness slept
Before the morning broke.
This our distinction long shall be,
From age to age eternally:
The handful who were blest to see
The glorious dawn arise.
Of all the kings and priests today,
Only a special few can say,
“We saw the first faint streaks of Day,
WE SAW THE MORNING BREAK!”
And then, one ordinary day
As we were gathering to pray
We saw a stranger come our way
A man we’d never seen.