What glory’s this my Lord? Should one small point
Of one small ray of’t touch my heart t’would spring
Such joy as would an adamant unjoint
If in’t, and tear it, to get out and sing.
T’run on heroic golden feet, and raise
Heart ravishing tunes, curl’d with celestial praise.
This poem is one of the four meditations upon Philippians 2:9, “God hath highly exalted him”, referring to the Ascension of Christ are his resurrection. For the previous poem in this group of poems look here.
This particular poem concerns the sight of Christ’s glorious throne and the effect upon the poet. Should I speak (and thus not rightly describe the beauty), or be silent (and thus not praise)? He finally settles upon praise, but seeks pardon in the praise because it is insufficient for the subject.
This first paragraph speaks to the subject effect of such beauty upon the poet. The first thing to realize is the glory is an objective fact: Glory is not first in the eye of the poet: the glory is overwhelmingly in the enthroned Christ. While not explicit in the biblical text, the power of this glory is implicit in the passage:
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9–11 (ESV)
The reference to every knee bowing may sound like angels go about breaking knees and every honors Christ because they have been bullied. But the text implies — and Taylor explicitly states — that the glory of Christ’s enthronement is such that bowed knees is the automatic response of even his enemies. The Father has been bestowed such surpassing glory upon Christ, which in turn honors the Father.
Taylor in this first stanza explains that this glory is of such power, that if the objective glory were to actually touch his heart it would tear it open “to get out and sin”. The joy would tear through his heart and run, singing praise.
The first three lines of the stanza proceed with a basically “normal” meter; however, at line four the rhythm changes
If IN’T, and TEAR it, to GET OUT and SING
The line also contains two pauses which force one to slow down significantly and consider this image: Glory proceeds from the throne, touches the heart, turns to joy and bursts out with extraordinary power.
This is a very interesting understanding of the Spirit’s work in the human heart. God affects the human so profoundly that the effect is the cause of God and a true spontaneously act of the human being.