When first the God of boundless grace disclosed His kind design;
To rescue our apostate race from misery, shame, and sin,
Quick through the realms of light and bliss, the joyful tidings ran;
Each heart exulted at the news, that God would dwell with man.
Yet, ‘midst their joys, they paused awhile, and asked, with strong surprise,
But how can injured justice smile, or look with pitying eyes?
Will the Almighty deign again to visit yonder world;
And hither bring rebellious men whence rebels once were hurled?
Their tears, and groans, and deep distress, aloud for mercy call;
But, ah, must truth and righteousness to mercy victims fall?
So spoke the friends of God and man, delighted, yet surprised;
Eager to know the wondrous plan that wisdom had devised.
The Son of God attentive heard, and quickly thus replied,
“In Me let mercy be revered, and justice satisfied.
“Behold, My vital blood I pour a sacrifice to God;
Let angry justice now no more demand the sinner’s blood.”
He spoke, and heav’n’s high arches rung
With shouts of loud applause;
He died, the friendly angels sung,
Nor cease their rapturous joys.
Samuel Stennett (1727-1795)