The Burning Bush by John Newton Brown (1840)

Low in the vale, whence, rising high,
Mount Horeb mingles with the sky,
Where the broad rocks their shadow spread,
To shield the fainting shepherd’s head,
When in his radiant course the sun
The burning height of heaven has won;—
At dawn of day a shepherd strayed,
Ere yet the mist had left the glade,
In holy meditation lost,
Till the dark stream his footsteps crossed.
He paused—then turned his step again,
Where lay his sheep upon the plain;
Wound round the intervening hill,
Absorbed in meditation still.
But ere his eye beheld his flock,
From underneath the jutting rock
A flame burst forth ! He turns his eyes
Towards the strange sight with deep surprise;
A bush was all on fire—yet, still
Stood unconsumed upon the hill!

Unknowing what could be the cause
Of this reverse of Nature’s laws.
Silent awhile the shepherd stood;
Then slow approached in anxious mood,
More narrowly to scrutinize
This object of his just surprise;
For ne’er before, he well presumed,
A bush on flame was not consumed;
When from the glowing flame there broke
A voice, which thus, like thunder, spoke:—
‘Moses ! the Eternal God I am
‘Of Israel, Isaac, Abraham!
‘Death the relation cannot break
‘That binds my servants unto me;
‘I love their off*spring for their sake,
‘And I am come to set them free.
‘Think not to me their grief’s unknown,
‘Who now in Egypt’s bondage groan.
‘Their prayers I hear, their tears I see,
‘And now commission give to thee
‘To rescue them from Pharaoh’s hand,
‘And lead them to the Promised Land.—
‘Fear not ; though myriad foes assail,
‘Jehovah’s promise cannot fail!’

by John Newton Brown, 1820


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