Friday, August 17, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 1 - Section 2

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 1

SECTION II. – Redemption through CHRIST

THE second Adam, sov’reign Lord of all,
Did, by his Father’s authorizing call,
From bosom of eternal love descend,
To save the guilty race that him offend;
To treat an everlasting peace with those
Who were and ever would have been his foes.
His errand, never-ending life to give
To them, whose malice would not let him live;
To make a match with rebels, and espouse
The brat which at his love her spite avows.
Himself he humbled to depress her pride,
And make his mortal foe his winning bride.
But, ere the marriage can be solemniz’d,
All lets must be remov’d, all parties pleas’d:
Law-righteousness requir’d, must be procur’d,
Law-vengeance threaten’d, must be full endured,
Stern justice must have credit by the match,
Sweet mercy by the heart the bride must catch.
Poor bankrupt! all her debt must first be paid,
Her former husband in the grave be laid:
Her present lover must be at the cost,
To save and ransom to the uttermost;
If all these things this suitor kind can do,
Then he may win her, and her blessing too.
Hard terms indeed! while death’s the first demand;
But love is strong as death,(1) and will not stand
To carry on the suit, and make it good,
Though at the dearest rate of wounds and blood.
The burden’s heavy, but the back is broad,
The glorious lover is the mighty God. (2)
Kind bowels yearning in th’ eternal Son,
He left his Father’s court, his heav’nly throne:
Aside he threw his most divine array,
And wrapt his Godhead in a vail of clay.
Angelic armies, who in glory crown’d,
With joyful harps his awful throne surround,
Down to the crystal frontier of the sky,(3)
To see the Saviour born, did eager fly;
And ever since behold with wonder fresh
Their Sov’reign and our Saviour wrapt in flesh;
Who in his garb did mighty love display,
Restoring what he never took away,(4)
To God his glory, to the law its due,
To heav’n its honour, to the earth its hue,
To man a righteousness divine, complete,
A royal robe to suit the nuptial rite.
He in her favour, whom he lov’d so well,
At once did purchase heav’n and vanquish hell.
Oh! unexampled love! so vast, so strong,
So great, so high, so deep, so broad, so long!
Can finite thought this ocean huge explore,
Unconscious of a bottom or a shore?
His love admits no parallel, -- for why?
At one great draught of love he drank hell dry.
No drop of wrathful fall he left behind;
No dreg to witness that he was unkind.
The sword of awful justice pierc’d his side,
That mercy thence might gush upon the bride.
The meritorious labours of his life,
And glorious conquests of his dying strife,
Her debt of doing, suff’ring, both cancell’d,
And broke the bars his lawful captive held.
Down to the ground the hellish host he threw,
Then mounting high the trump of triumph blew,
Attended with a bright seraphic band,
Sat down enthrone’d sublime on God’s right hand;
Where glorious choirs their various harps employ,
To sound his praises with confed’rate joy.
There he, the bride’s strong intercessor, sits,
And thence the blessing of his blood transmits,
Sprinkling all o’er the flaming throne of God,
Pleads for her pardon his atoning blood;
Sends down his holy co-eternal Dove,
To shew the wonders of incarnate love,
To woo and win the bride’s reluctant heart,
And pierce it with his kindly killing dart;
By gospel light to manifest that now
She has no further with the law to do;
That her new Lord has loos’d the fed’ral tie,
That once hard bound her, or to do or die;
That precepts, threats, no single might can crave:
Thus for her former spouse he digg’d a grave;
The law fast to his cross did nail and pin,
Then bury’d the defunct his tomb within,
That he the lowly widow to himself might win,

(1) Song viii. 6.
(2) Isa. ix. 6.
(3) Luke ii. 9-14
(4) Psalm lxix. 4.

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