Last month’s Royal Wedding was the first time I had seen the lyrics to that beautiful hymn Jerusalem. I first heard that hymn in the inspirational movie Chariots of Fire, but I could not make out the words. It is a song that seems to have been written for Westminster Abbey. Its majestic strains want to rise up among the banners and buttresses, like incense offered to God.
I did not know the words were those of poet William Blake. Surely this great mystic, in the last line of this verse, was referring to England’s burgeoning steel mills and railroads.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Viewers of last week’s pageantry saw beautiful trees brought into the sanctuary for the occasion. They will be planted around England, we were told, to commemorate the event. Blake would have been happy at that. I hope they are sturdy English oaks.
Seeing Queen Elizabeth II standing in the first pew, I thought of her father and mother. There has been renewed interest in George VI occasioned by the movie The King’s Speech. When the patriotic monarch and his faithful wife rallied Londoners during the Battle of Britain, they assured themselves a place in Britons’ hearts—and in the hearts of millions of Americans too.
Would she send her daughters away from the blitzed capital to safety in Canada, the Queen was asked. “The princesses will never leave without me. I will never leave without the King. And the King will never leave,” she answered succinctly.
When George VI died in February 1952, Princess Elizabeth was traveling in Africa. The news was withheld from the world for a day. It’s hard to imagine that happening today.
There was a chance, however slight, that the Queen Mum was pregnant. Had that been the case, the British Empire would have had to wait for nine months to learn whether the unborn child was a boy. Had she been carrying a boy, that son, and not his eldest sister, would have inherited the throne of England. The Queen Mother was not pregnant. Still, an Empire had waited for a full day on the chance that life was stirring in her womb.
Now we have another story of unborn life in another capital. In Washington, D.C., last week, 28 mothers did not have to wait 24 hours. They had appointments with Planned Parenthood. They were scheduled to terminate their pregnancies.
Because Congress has acted to cut off funding for the lethal machinations of Planned Parenthood in the District of Columbia, there was hope that those 28 unborn children’s lives would be spared.
But Planned Parenthood was ready for any eventuality. Like Blake’s “tyger,” they lunged. They insistently called upon their vast money networks for help in this emergency. Soon, they could announce this with triumph: The funds had been transferred for the terminations. All 28 mothers had abortions. Twenty-eight innocent lives had been snuffed out.
I see in this our own “dark satanic mills.” The joy and hope that brought millions into the streets of London was not to be shared in our own capital city. The culture of life was mocked by Planned Barrenhood’s engines of death.
All of us who are believers are taught by God to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) We therefore pray for this great city and for all its inhabitants, born and unborn.
This beautiful Washington, our nation’s capital, was once a city where men and women and their children were bought and sold. It was once a city where white and black were separated for no reason other than the occasion of their birth. We have by God’s grace overcome those ancient injustices. But today it is a city where liberals tell us we must all pay to kill unborn children in the womb rather than let them breathe free.
Perhaps Planned Parenthood can announce this one time a triumph of death over life for the children of those 28 young mothers. But they cannot do that every day. Cutting off funding for their lethal operations will save lives, we know. That’s why they fight like tygers to keep the sluice gates of taxpayer funding wide open.
And we will never rest in our labor of building Jerusalem here, though opposed by those dark satanic mills.