Scripture Verse

A land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:8


John G. Whittier

Words: John G. Whit­ti­er, 1837.

Music: Ash­land (Smith) Lu­cia M. Smith, 1918 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Smith (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?


Blest land of Judea!
Thrice hallowed of song;
Where the holiest of memories
Pilgrim-like throng;
In the shade of thy palms,
By the shores of thy sea,
On the hills of thy beauty,
My heart is with thee.

With the eye of a spirit,
I look on thy shore,
Where pilgrim and prophet
Have lingered before;
With the glide of a spirit,
I traverse the sod
Made bright by the steps
Of the angels of God.

Blue sea of the hills!
In my spirit I hear
Thy waters, Gennesaret,
Chime on my ear;
Where the lowly and just
With the people sat down,
And thy spray on the dust
Of His sandals was thrown.

Beyond are Bethulia’s
Mountains of green,
And the desolate hills
Of the wild Gadarene;
And I pause on the goat crags
Of Tabor to see
The gleam of thy waters,
O dark Galilee!

Hark! a sound in the valley
Where, swollen and strong,
Thy river, O Kishon,
Is sweeping along;
Where the Canaanite strove
With Jehovah in vain,
And thy torrent grew dark
With the blood of the slain.

There, down from his mountain,
Stern Zebulon came,
And Napthali’s stay,
With his eyeballs of flame,
And the chariots of Jabin
Rolled harmlessly on,
For the strength of the Lord
Was Abinoam’s son!

There sleep the still rocks,
And the caverns which rang
To the song which the beautiful
Prophetess sang,
When the princes of Issachar
Stood by her side,
And the shout of a host
In its triumph replied.

Lo, Bethlehem’s hill-site
Before me is seen,
With the mountains around
And the valleys between,
There rested the shepherds
Of Judah, and there
The song of the angels
Rose sweet on the air.

And Bethany’s palm-trees
In beauty still throw
Their shadows at noon
On the ruins below;
But where are the sisters
Who hastened to greet
The lowly Redeemer,
And sit at His feet?

I tread where the twelve
In their wayfaring trod;
I stand where they stood,
With the chosen of God—
Where His blessing was heard,
And His lessons were taught,
Where the blind were restored
And the healing was wrought.

O here with His flock
The sad Wanderer came;
These hills He toiled over
In grief are the same;
The founts where He drank
By the wayside still flow,
And the same airs are blowing
Which breathed on His brow.

And throned on her hills
Sits Jerusalem yet,
But with dust on her forehead
And chains on her feet;
For the crown of her pride
To the mocker hath gone,
And the holy shechinah
Is dark where it shone.

But wherefore this dream
Of the earthly abode
Of humanity clothed
In the brightness of God?
There my spirit but turned
From the outward and dim,
It could gaze, even now,
On the presence of Him.

Not in clouds and in terrors,
But gentle as when
In love and in meekness
He moved among men;
And the voice which breathed peace
To the waves of the sea,
In the hush of my spirit
Would whisper to me!

And what if my feet
May not tread where He trod,
These ears hear the dashing
Of Galilee’s flood,
Nor my eyes see the cross
Which He bowed Him to bear,
Nor my knees press Gethsemane’s
Garden of prayer,

Yet, loved of the Father,
Thy Spirit is near
To the meek and the lowly
And the penitent here;
And the voice of Thy love
Is the same even now
As at Bethany’s tomb
Or on Olivet’s brow.

Oh, the outward hath gone!—
But in glory and power,
The spirit surviveth
The things of an hour;
Unchanged, undecaying,
Is Pentecost flame
On the heart’s secret altar
Is burning the same.