Sacred Musings by Rev. John Dowling

dowling
Portrait of John William Dowling, 1807-1878, from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume IX, 1907, page 216

Niagara! thy mighty voice hath waked
The slumb’ring fancy;  and the beams which from
Thy crested bosom dart, kindle again
The smothered flame of wild poetic fire,
Which in the days of youthful ardor burn’d
Within my breast.

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Yet hard the task
To sing thy wonders!   Laboring fancy reels!
Thought staggers with amazement, and in vain
Essays to grasp thy vast sublimities!
Yet though the hand which feebly touch’d the lyre
To sing thy wonders, palsied is still,
Yet may I tell the sweet and holy thoughts
Which crowd upon my brain, as on the rocks
I stand, and gaze upon thy face.   Thoughts, which
The love-tun’d harp of Zion woke, and even
Thy thunders cannot hush.   I gaze upon
Thy waters as they leap, foaming with wrath,
From rock to rock, till vast and vehement,
The mighty torrent with resistless force
Tumbles into the gulf; and as I gaze,
I think upon the awful flood of wrath
Due to the sins of vile apostate man,
Which dashed upon the meek and holy  ONE,
And wrung the bitter cry — “My God, my God,
O why dost thou forsake me?”

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡I behold
The beauteous bow which spans the roaring gulf,
And thoughts of melting tenderness come o’er my soul!
The bow, the heavenly bow of peace and love
Which spanned mount Calvary when Jesus dies!
The eye of faith turns from the scenes of earth,
And sees — O love divine! — the wondrous words,
Inscrib’d by God’s own hand upon that bow —
“PEACE, PEACE ON EARTH,” since Christ the ransom, died.
I stand upon the rock!  here am I safe! —
Thus may I ever stand on HIM, the ROCK
Of everlasting ages.

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Thus secure from harm,
As on this solid rock, contemplate
That overwhelming Cataract of wrath,
Which on my Saviour pour’d to rescue me.
Thus may I gaze upon the bow of mercy,
Read its bright lines, and wonder and adore;
And as I gaze, in yon bless’d world forever,
Thus sweetly may the fountains of my soul,
Be broken up; and tears, luxurious tears,
Of joy and gratitude forever flow.

 

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

This link takes you to the scanned version of  the 1855 version of Table Rock Album from the Hathi Trust

See the Table of Contents of the Table Rock Album on this site.

 

See an article on Dowling

Leave a Reply