Thursday, May 29, 2008

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 3 - Section 1

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 3

SECTION I. The sweet solemnity of the marriage now over, and the sad effects of the remains of a legal spirit.

THE match is made, with little din 'tis done,
But with great pow'r, unequal prizes won.
The Lamb has fairly won his worthless bride;
She her great Lord, and all his store beside.
He made the poorest bargain, though most wise;
And she, the fool, has won the worthy prize.
Deep floods of everlasting love and grace,
That under ground ran an eternal space,
Now rise aloft 'bove banks of sin and hell,
And o'er the tops of massy mountains swell.
In streams of blood are tow'rs of guilt o'erflown,
Down with the rapid purple current thrown.
The bride now as her all can Jesus own,
And prostrate at his footstool cast her crown,
Disclaiming all her former groundless hope,
While in the dark her soul did weary grope.
Down tumble all the hills of self-conceit,
In him alone she sees herself complete;
Does his fair person with fond arms embrace,
And all her hopes on his full merit place;
Discard her former mate, and henceforth draw
No hope, no expectation from the law.
Though thus her new-created nature soars,
And lives aloft on Jesus' heav'nly stores;
Yet apt to stray, her old adult'rous heart
Oft takes her old renounced husband's part.
A legal cov'nant is so deep ingrain'd,
Upon the human nature, laps'd and stain'd,
That, till her spirit mount the purest clime
She's never totally divorced in time.
Hid in her corrupt part's proud bosom lurks
Some hope of life still by the law of works.
Hence flow the following evils more or less;
Preferring oft her partial holy dress,
Before her husband's perfect righteousness.
Hence joying more in grace already giv'n
Than in her Head and stock that's all in heav'n.
Hence grieving more the want of frames and grace,
Than of himself the spring of all solace.
Hence guilt her soul imprisons, lusts prevail,
While to the law her rents insolvent fail,
And yet her faithless heart rejects her Husband's bail.
Hence soul disorders rise, and racking fears,
While doubtful of his clearing past arrears;
Vain dreaming, since her own obedience fails,
His likewise little for her help avails.
Hence duties are a task, while all in view
Is heavy yokes of laws, or old or new:
Whereas, were once her legal bias broke,
She'd find her Lord's commands an easy yoke.
No galling precepts on her neck he lays,
Nor any debt demands, save what he pays
By promis'd aid; but, lo! the grievous law,
Demanding brick, won't aid her with a straw.
Hence also fretful, grudging, discontent,
Crav'd by the law, finding her treasure spent,
And doubting if her Lord will pay the rent.
Hence pride of duties too does often swell,
Presuming she perform'd so very well.
Hence pride of graces and inherent worth
Springs from her corrupt legal bias forth;
And boasting more a present with'ring frame,
Than her exalted Lord's unfading name.
Hence many falls and plunges in the mire,
As many new conversions do require:
Because her faithless heart sad follies breed,
Much lewd departure from her living Head,
Who, to reprove her aggravated crimes,
Leaves her abandon'd to herself at times;
That, falling into frightful deeps, she may
From sad experience learn more stress to lay,
Not on her native efforts, but at length
On Christ alone, her righteousness and strength:
Conscious, while in her works she seeks respose,
Her legal spirit breeds her many woes.

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