Look till thy looks low wan, my soul; here’s ground.
The world’s bright eyes dashed out: day-light so brave
Bemidnighted; the sparkling sun paled-round
With flowering rays lies buried in its grave
The candle of the world blown-out, down fell.
Life knocked ahead by death: heaven by hell.
Alas! this world all filled up to the brim
With sins, devils, crowding men to hell.
For whose relief, God’s milkwhite Lamb stepped in
Whom those cursed imps did worry, flesh and fell.
Tread under foot, did clap their wings and so
Like dunghill cocks over their conquered crow.
Brave pious fraud; as if the setting sun
Dropped like a fire ball into the seas
And so went out. But to the East come, run:
You’ll meet the morn shrined with its flowering rays.
This Lamb in laying of these lions dead;
Drank of the brook, and so lifted up his head.
Oh sweet, sweet joy! These rampant fiends befooled.
They made their gall his winding sheet; although
They of the heart-ache must, or be cooled
With inflammation of the lungs, they know.
He’s canceling the bond, and making pay:
And balancing accounts: its Reckoning Day.
See, how he from the count-house shining went,
In flashing folds of burnished glory, and
Dashed out all curses from the covenant
Hath Justice’s acquittance in his hand
Plucked out death’s sting, and Serpent’s head did mall
The bars and gates of Hell he brake all down.
The curse thus lodged within his flesh, and coiled
Can’t run from him to his, so much he gave.
And like a giant he awoke, beside
The Sun of Righteousness rose out of’s grave.
And setting foot upon its neck, I sing
Grave, where’s thy victory? Death, Where’s thy sting?
The basic point of the poem is that in Christ’s death, Christ did not lose his enemies, but rather overcame his cosmic enemies and accomplished redemption for humanity.
Lamb: In John 1:29 we have recorded that John the Baptist refers to Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” In Revelation, Jesus is again referred to as a “lamb”:
Revelation 5:6–10 (ESV)
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Canceling a bond/Cosmic Conflict:
Colossians 2:12–15 (ESV)
12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Discharging the Curse:
The Mosaic law contained a curse for those who failed to meet its demands. Jesus bore the curse of the law, discharging it:
Galatians 3:10–14 (ESV)
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Bearing Sin in His Body:
1 Peter 2:21–25 (ESV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Crushing the Serpent’s Head:
Following the Fall, God pronounces the doom of the Serpent through the “seed of the woman” who will crush the serpent’s (Satan’s) head. Genesis 3:15.
Victory Over Death:
1 Corinthians 15:50–57 (ESV)
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:1–11 (ESV)2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
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.