By Ralph Erskine
SECTION V. - Faith's view of the freedom of grace, cordial renunciation of all its own ragged righteousness, and formal acceptance of and closing with the person of glorious CHRIST.
THE bride with open eyes, that once were dim,
Sees now her whole salvation lies in him;
The Prince, who is not in dispensing nice,
But freely gives without her pains or price.
This magnifies the wonder in her eye,
Who not a farthing has wherewith to buy,
For now her humbled mind can disavow
Her boasted beauty and assuming brow;
With conscious eye discern her emptiness,
With candid lips her poverty confess.
"O glory to the Lord that grace is free,
Else never could it light on guilty me.
I nothing have with me to be its price,
But hellish blackness, enmity, and vice."
In former times she durst presuming come
To grace's market with a petty sum
Of duties, prayers, tears, a boasted set,
Expecting Heaven would thus be in her debt.
These were the price; at least she did suppose
She'd be the welcomer because of those:
But now she sees the vileness of her vogue,
The dung that close doth every duty clog;
The sin that doth her holiness reprove,
The enmity that close attends her love;
The great heart-hardness of her penitence,
The stupid dulness of her vaunted sense;
The unbelief of former blazed faith,
The utter nothingness of all she hath.
The blackness of her beauty she can see,
The pompous pride of strain'd humility,
The naughtiness of all her tears and pray'rs,
And now renounces all as worthless wares;
And finding nothing to commend herself,
But what might damn her, her embezzled pelf;
At sov'reign Grace's feet doth prostrate fall,
Content to be in Jesus' debt for all.
Her noised virtues vanish out of sight,
As starry tapers at meridian light;
While sweetly, humbly, she beholds at length
Christ, as her only righteousness and strength.
He with the view throws down his loving dart,
Imprest with pow'r into her tender heart.
The deeper that the law's fierce dart was thrown,
The deeper now the dart of love goes down:
Hence, sweetly pain'd, her cries to heaven do flee;
"O none but Jesus, none but Christ for me:
O glorious Christ, O beauty, beauty rare,
Ten thousand thousand heav'ns are not so fair.
In him at once all beauties meet and shine,
The white and ruddy, human and divine.
As in his low, he's in his high abode,
The brightest image of the unseen God. (1)
How justly do the harpers sing above,
His doing, dying, rising, reigning love!
How justly does he, when his work is done,
Posses the centre of his Father's throne!
How justly does his awful throne before
Seraphic armies prostrate him adore,
That's both by nature and donation crown'd
With all the grandeur of the Godhead round!
"But wilt thou, Lord, in very deed come dwell
With me that was a burning brand of hell?
With me so justly reckon'd worse and less
Than insect, mite, or atom can express?
Wilt thou debase thy high imperial form,
To match with such a mortal crawling worm?
Yea, sure thine errand to our earthly coast,
Was in deep love to seek and save the lost;(2)
And since thou deign'st the like of me to wed,
O come and make my heart thy marriage-bed.
Fair Jesus, wilt thou marry filthy me?
Amen, Amen, Amen; so let it be."
(1) Heb. i. 2.
(2) Luke xix. 10.