Thursday, May 14, 2009

GOSPEL SONNETS – Chapter 3 – Section 5

Gospel Sonnets
By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 3

SECTION V. – Gospel-grace giving no liberty nor freedom to sin, but to holy service and pure obedience.

THE glorious husband’s love can’t lead the wife
To whoredom or licentiousness of life:
Nay, nay; she finds his warmest love within
The hottest fire to melt her heart for sin.
His kind embrace is still the strongest cord
To bind her to the service of her Lord.
The more her faith insures this love of his,
The more his law her delectation is.
Some dream, they might, who his assurance win,
Take latitude and liberty to sin.
Ah! such bewray their ignorance, and prove
They want the lively sense of drawing love;
And how its sweet constraining force can move.
The ark of grace came never into dwell,
But Dagon-lusts before it headlong fell
Men basely can unto lasciviousness
Abuse the doctrine, not the work of grace.
Huggers of divine love in vice’s path,
Have but the fancy of it, not the faith.
They never soared aloft on grace’s wing,
They knew not grace to be a holy thing:
When pregnant she the powers of hell appals,
And sin’s dominion in the ruin falls.
Cursed is the crew whose Antinomian dress
Makes grace a cover to their idleness.
The bride of Christ will sure be very loth
To make his love a pillow for her sloth.
Why may’nt she sin the more that grace abounds?
Oh, God forbid! the very thought confounds.
When dead unto the law, she’s dead to sin;
How can she any longer live therein? (1)
To neither of them is she now a slave,
But shares the conquest of the great, the brave,
The mighty General, her victorious Head,
Who broke the double chain to free the bride.
Hence, prompted now with gratitude and love,
Her cheerful feet in swift obedience move.
More strong the cords of love to duty draw,
Than hell, and all the curses of the law.
When with seraphic love the breast’s inspired,
By that are all the other graces fired;
These kindling round, the burning heart and frame,
In life and walk send forth a holy flame.

(1) Rom. vi. 1, 2.

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