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When Faith Too Young for a Sublimer Creed, a hymn by Penina Moïse for the consecration of her synagogue (Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim 1842)


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When Faith, too young for a sublimer creed,
Her simple text from Nature’s volume taught,
She ‘wakened Melody, whose shell and reed–
Though rude, upon her spirit gently wrought.
But soon from sylvan altars she took wing,
And music followed still the Angel’s flight;
Savage no more, she touched a golden string,
And sung of God, in Revelation’s light!
Lend, lend our chords, ye seraph-pair,
The soul of Jesse’s Son,[1] King David, son of Yishai. 
That we may in harmonious prayer,
Exalt the Holy One!
Girt in His lightning robe, God gave the Law.
From trembling Sinai, to His eldest-born;
Tablets, that time from memory could not draw,
A talisman in Judah’s bosom worn.
His spirit before thousands past,
To one alone revealed;
And ‘mid the thunder’s awful blast,
Faith’s covenant was sealed.
“Him first, him last,” him ever let us sing,
Whose promise yet the Hebrew pilgrim cheers;
Who shall his wandering people once more bring,
Back to the glory of departed years.
Bright pillar of our desert path,
Through shame and scorn adored;
Thy mercy triumph’s o’er thy wrath,
Creator, King, and Lord!
Lost is the pomp, that in the land of palms,
Thy regal temple on Moriah graced;
No wreathing incense here Thy shrine embalms,
No cherub-plumes are round its altars placed.
Our censer is the “vital urn,”
Our ark’s upborne by zeal;
To these Almighty! wilt thou turn–
At Israel’s appeal.
Now, let joyous hallelujah’s ring,
The fallen casts her ashes far away;
Behold another Fane from ruin spring,
In brighter and more beautiful array.
Enter in brotherly accord
God’s holy dwelling-place;
Chastened in spirit and in word,
There supplicate His grace.
Hear, Supreme! our humble invocation;
Our country, kindred, and the stranger bless!
Bless, too, this sanctuary’s consecration,
Its hallowed purpose on our hearts impress,
Still, still let choral harmony,
Ascend before Thy throne;
While echoing seraphim reply
The Lord our God is One!

This hymn for the 1842/5601 consecration of Congregation Beth Elohim by Penina Moïse, and was published that year as Hymn 1 in Hymns Written for the Service of the Hebrew Congregation Beth Elohim, South Carolina (Penina Moïse et al., Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim, 1842), pp. 5-6. –Aharon Varady





1King David, son of Yishai.



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