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Poems By Poet Ralph Erskine  8/21/2014 4:58:08 PM
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  Best Poems From
  RALPH ERSKINE (1685-1752)
 
 

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  1.     

The Believer's Jointure : Chapter II.

Containing the Marks and Characters of the Believer in Christ; together with some further privileges and grounds of comfort to the Saints.

Sect. I.


Doubting Believers called to examine, by marks drawn from their love to Him and his presence, their view of his glory, and their being emptied of Self-Righteousness, &c.


Good news! but, says the drooping bride,
Ah! what's all this to me?
Thou doubt'st thy right, when shadows hide
Thy Husband's face from thee.

Though sin and guilt thy spirit faints,
And trembling fears thy fate;
But harbour not thy groundless plaints,
Thy Husband's advent wait.

Thou sobb'st, 'O were I sure he's mine,
This would give glad'ning ease;'
And say'st, Though wants and woes combine,
Thy Husband would thee please.

But up and down, and seldom clear,
Inclos'd with hellish routs;
Yet yield thou not, nor foster fear:
Thy Husband hates thy doubts.

Thy cries and tears may slighted seem,
And barr'd from present ease;
Yet blame thyself, but never dream
Thy Husband's ill to please.

Thy jealous unbelieving heart
Still droops, and knows not why;
Then prove thyself to ease thy smart,
Thy Husband bids the try.

The following questions put to the
As scripture-marks, may tell
And shew, what'er thy failings be,
Thy Husband loves thee well.


MARKS.

Art thou content when he's away?
Can earth allay thy pants?
If conscience witness, won't it say,
Thy Husband's all thou wants?

When he is near, (though in a cross)
And thee with comfort feeds;
Dost thou not count the earth as dross,
Thy Husband all thou needs?

In duties art thou pleas'd or pain'd,
When far he's out of view?
And finding him, think'st all regain'd,
Thy Husband's always new?

Though once thou thought'st, while Sinai mist
And darkness compass'd thee,
Thou wast undone: and glorious Christ
Thy Husband ne'er would be.

Yet know'st thou not a fairer place,
Of which it may be told,
That there the glory of his grace
Thy Husband did unfold?

Where heav'nly beams inflam'd thy soul,
And love's seraphic art,
With hallelujahs, did extol
Thy Husband in thy heart.

Could'st then have wish'd all Adam's race
Had join'd with thee to gaze;
That viewing fond his comely face,
Thy Husband might get praise?

Art thou disjoin'd from other lords?
Divorc'd from fed'ral laws?
While, with most loving gospel cords,
Thy Husband kindly draws?

A'n't thou enlighten'd now to see
Thy righteousness is naught
But rags, that cannot cover thee?
Thy Husband so has taught.

Dost see thy best performances
Deserve but hell indeed?
And hence art led, renouncing these,
Thy Husband's blood to plead?

When strengthen'd boldly to address
That gracious throne of his,
Dost find, thy strength and righteousness
Thy Husband only is?

Canst thou thy most exalted frame
Renounce, as with'ring grass,
And firmly hold thine only claim,
Thy Husband's worthiness?

Canst pray with utmost holy pith,
And yet renounce thy good?
And wash, not with thy tears, but with
Thy Husband's precious blood?


Sect. II.


Believers described, from their Faith acting by divine aid, and fleeing quite out of themselves to Christ.


Can nothing less thy conscience ease,
And please thy heart; no less
Than that which justice satisfies,
Thy Husband's righteousness?

Dost see thy works so stain'd with sin,
That thou through grace art mov'd
To seek acceptance only in
Thy Husband, the Belov'd?

Dost thou remind, that once a-day
Free grace did strengthen thee,
To gift thy guilty soul away,
Thy Husband's bride to be?

Or dost thou mind the day of pow'r,
Wherein he broke thy pride,
And gain'd thy heart? O happy hour!
Thy Husband caught the bride!

He did thy enmity subdue,
Thy bondage sad recal,
Made thee to choose, and close pursue
Thy Husband as thy all.

What rest, and peace and joy ensu'd
Upon this noble choice?
Thy heart, with flow'rs of pleasure strew'd,
Thy Husband made rejoice.

Dost know thou ne'er couldst him embrace,
Till he embraced thee?
Nor ever see him, till his face
Thy Husband open'd free?

And findest to this very hour,
That this is still the charm;
Thou canst do nothing, till with pow'r
Thy Husband shew his arm?

Canst thou do nought by nature, art,
Or any strength of thine,
Until thy wicked froward heart
Thy Husband shall incline?

But art thou, though without a wing
Of pow'r aloft to flee,
Yet able to do ev'ry thing,
Thy Husband strength'ning thee?

Dost not alone at duties fork,
But foreign aid enjoy?
And still in ev'ry piece of work
Thy Husband's strength employ?

Thy motion heav'nly is indeed,
While thou by faith dost move.
And still in ev'ry time of need
Thy Husband's grace improve.

No common nat'ral faith can shew
Its divine brood, like this;
Whose object, author, feeder too,
Thy Husband only is.

Dost thou by faith on him rely?
On him, not on thy faith?
If faith shall with its object vie,
Thy Husband's set beneath

Their hands receiving faculty
Poor beggars never view;
But hold the royal gift in eye:
Thy Husband so wilt thou.

Faith, like a gazing eye, ne'er waits
To boast its seeing pow'rs;
Its object views, itself forgets,
Thy Husband it adores.

It humbly still itself denies,
Nor brags its acts at all;
Deep plung'd into its object lies,
Thy Husband is its all.

No strength but his it has, and vaunts,
No store but his can show:
Hence nothing has, yet nothing wants,
Thy Husband trains it so.

Faith, of its own, no might can shew,
Else would itself destroy;
But will for all it has to do,
Thy Husband still employ.

Self-saviours none could ever be
By faith, or grace of theirs;
Their fruitless toil, so high that flee,
Thy Husband's praise impairs.

The seemingly devoutest deed,
That would with shameless brow
His saving trade take o'er his head,
Thy Husband won't allow.

Dost therefore thou to him alone
Commit thy sinful soul?
Knowing of thy salvation
Thy Husband is the whole?


Sect. III.


Believers characterised by the objects and purity of their desire, delight, joy, hatred, and love, discovering they have the Spirit of Christ.


Dost thou his Spirit's conduct wait?
And when compar'd to this,
All worldly wisdom under-rate?
Thy Husband waits to bless.

Tak'st thou his Spirit for thy guide
Through Baca's valley dry,
Whose streams of influence glide
Thy Husband's garden by?

In digging wells here by his pow'r
Dost find it not in vain,
While here a drop, and there a show'r
Thy Husband makes to rain?

Hence doth thou through each weary case
From strength to strength go on,
From faith to faith, while grace for grace
Thy Husband gives anon?

The good, the gracious work begun,
And further'd by his strength,
Shall prosp'rous, though with wrestling, win
Thy Husband's crown at length.

Sin's pow'r and presence, canst thou own,
Is thy most grievous smart,
That makes thee sob, and weep alone?
Thy Husband knows thy heart.

Does love to him make thee distaste
Thy lusts, with all their charms?
And most them loath'st, when most thou hast
Thy Husband, in thine arms?

Are cords of love the sweetest ties
To bind thee duty-ways?
And best thou serv'st when most thou spies
Thy Husband's beauteous rays?

Didst ever thou thy pardon read
In tears of untold joy?
When mercy made thy heart to bleed,
Thy Husband was not coy.

Do pardons sweetly melt thy heart,
And most imbitter sin?
And make thee long with dross to part,
Thy Husband's throne to win?

When he arises lusts to kill,
Corruptions to destroy,
Does gladness then thy spirit fill?
Thy Husband is thy joy.

Dost thou his person fair embrace
Beyond his blessings all?
Sure, then, thou boldly mayst, through grace,
Thy Husband, Jesus call.

What company dost thou prefer?
What friends, above the rest?
Of all relations every where,
Thy Husband is the best.

Whom in the earth or heav'n dost thou
Most ardently desire?
Is love's ascending spark unto
Thy Husband sets on fire?

Hast thou a hatred to his foes,
And dost their course decline?
Lov'st thou his saints, and dar'st suppose
Thy Husband's friends are thine?

Dost thou their talk and walk esteem,
When most divinely grave?
And favour'st best when most they seem
Thy Husband's Sp'rit to have?


Sect. IV.


Believers in Christ affect his counsel, word, ordinances, appearance, full enjoyment in heaven, and sweet presence here.


Where go'st thou first, when in a strait,
Or when with grief opprest?
Fleest thou to him? O happy gate!
Thy Husband is thy rest.

His counsel seek'st thou still prepar'd,
Nor canst without him live?
Wisdom to guide, and strength to guard,
Thy Husband hath to give.

Canst thou produce no pleasant pawn,
Or token of his love?
Won't signets, bracelets, from his hand,
Thy Husband's kindness prove?

Mind'st when he sent his healing word,
Which darting from on high,
Did light, and life, and joy afford?
Thy Husband then was nigh.

Canst thou the promise sweet forget,
He dropt into thy heart?
Such glad'ning pow'r, and love with it,
Thy Husband did impart.

Dost thou affect his dwelling-place,
And mak'st it thy repair;
Because thine eyes have seen, through grace,
Thy Husband's glory there?

Dost love his great appearing day,
And thereon muse with joy;
When dusky shades will fly away,
Thy Husband death destroys?

Dost long to see his glorious face
Within the higher orb,
Where humid sorrows losing place,
Thy Husband's rays absorb?

Long'st to be free of ev'ry fault,
To bid all sin adieu?
And mount the hill, where glad thou shalt
Thy Husband's glory view?

Life where it lives, love where it loves,
Will most desire to be:
Such love-sick longing plainly proves
Thy Husband's love to thee.

What is it best can ease thy plaint,
Spread morning o'er thine ev'n?
Is his approach thy heart's content,
Thy Husband's presence heav'n?

And when deny'd this sweet relief,
Canst thou assert full well,
His hiding is thy greatest grief,
Thy Husband's absence hell?

Let thy experience be disclos'd;
If conscience answer Yea
To all the queries here propos'd,
Thy Husband's thine for ay.

Pertain these characters to thee?
Then, soul, begin and praise
His glorious worthy name, for he
Thy Husband is always.


Sect. V.


The true Believer's humility, dependence, zeal, growth, admiration of free grace, and knowledge of Christ's voice.


Perhaps a saint may sigh and say,
'I fear I'm yet to learn
These marks of marriage love.' Yet stay,
Thy Husband's bowels yearn.

Though darkness may thy light obscure,
And storms surmount thy calms,
Day yield to night, and thou be poor,
Thy Husband yet has alms.

Dost see thyself an empty brat,
A poor unworthy thing,
With heart upon the dust laid flat?
Thy Husband there does reign.

Art in thine own esteem a beast,
And dost thyself abhor?
The more thou hast of self-distaste,
Thy Husband loves the more.

Can hell breed no such wicked elf,
As thou, in thine own sight?
Thou'st got, to see thy filthy self,
Thy Husband's purest light.

Canst find no names so black, so vile,
With which thou wouldst compare,
But call'st thyself a lump of hell?
Thy Husband calls thee fair.

When his kind visits make thee see
He's precious, thou art vile;
Then mark the hand of God with thee,
Thy Husband gives a smile.

He knows what visits suit thy state,
And though most rare they be,
It sets thee well on him to wait,
Thy Husband waits on thee.

Dost see thou art both poor and weak,
And he both full and strong?
O don't his kind delays mistake,
Thy Husband comes ere long.

Though during Sinai's stormy day,
Thou dread'st the dismal blast,
And fear'st thou art a cast-away,
Thy Husband comes at last.

The glorious Sun will rise apace,
And spread his healing wings,
In sparkling pomp of sov'reign grace,
Thy Husband gladness brings.

Canst thou, whate'er should come of thee,
Yet wish his Zion well,
And joy in her prosperity?
Thy Husband loves thy zeal.

Dost thou admire his love to some,
Though thou shouldst never share?
Mercy to
thee
will also come,
Thy Husband hath to spare.

Poor soul! dost grieve for want of grace
And weep for want of love,
And Jesus seek'st! O hopeful case!
Thy Husband lives above.

Regretting much thy falling short,
Dost after more aspire?
There's hope in Israel for thy sort,
Thy Husband's thy desire.

Art thou well pleas'd that sov'reign grace,
Through Christ, exalted be?
This fame denotes no hopeless case,
Thy Husband's pleas'd with thee.

Couldst love to be the footstool low,
On which his throne might rise,
Its pompous grace around to show?
Thy Husband does the prize.

If but a glance of his fair face
Can cheer thee more than wine;
Thou in his loving heart hast place,
Thy Husband place in thine.

Dost make his blood thy daily bath?
His word and oath thy stay?
His law of love thy lightsome path?
Thy Husband is thy way.

All things within earth's spacious womb
Dost count but loss and dung,
For one sweet word in season from
Thy Husband's learned tongue?

Skill to discern and know his voice,
From words of wit and art,
Will clearly prove thou art his choice,
Thy Husband's thine in heart.

The pompous words that fops admire,
May vagrant fancy feast;
But with seraphic harmless fire
Thy Husband's burn the breast.


Sect. VI.


True Believers are willing to be tried and examined. Comforts arising to them from Christ's ready supply, real sympathy, and relieving names, suiting their need.


Dost thou upon thy trait'rous heart
Still keep a jealous eye?
Most willing that thine inward part
Thy Husband strictly try?

The thieving crowd will hate the light,
Lest stol'n effects be shown;
But truth desires what's wrong or right
Thy Husband would make known.

Dost then his trying word await,
His searching doctrine love?
Fond, lest thou err through self-deceit,
Thy Husband would thee prove?

Does oft thy mind with inward smart
Bewail thy unbelief?
And conscious sue, from plagues of heart,
Thy Husband for relief?

Why doubt'st his love? and yet, behold,
With him thou wouldst not part
For thousand thousand earths of gold;
Thy Husband has thy heart.

Though darkness, deadness, unbelief,
May all thy soul attend;
Light, life, and faith's mature relief,
Thy Husband has to send.

Of wants annoying, why complain?
Supply arises hence;
What gifts he has receiv'd for men,
Thy Husband will dispense,

He got them in's exalted state
For rebels, such as thou;
All then that's needful, good, or great,
Thy Husband will allow.

Thy wants he sees, thy cries he hears;
And, marking all thy moans,
He in his bottle keeps thy tears,
Thy Husband notes thy groans.

All thine infirmities him touch,
They strike his feeling heart;
His kindly sympathy is such,
Thy Husband finds the smart.

Whatever touches thee, affects
The apple of his eye;
Whatever harms he therefore checks,
Thy Husband's aid is nigh.

If foes are spar'd, thy need is such,
He slays them but in part:
He can do all, and will do much,
Thy Husband acts by art.

He often for the saddest hour
Reserves the sweetest aid:
See how such banners heretofore
Thy Husband has display'd.

Mind where he vouched his good-will,
Sometimes at Hermon mount.
In Jordan land, at Mizar-hill;
Thy Husband keeps the court.

At sundry times, and divers ways,
To suit thy various frames,
Hast seen like rising golden rays,
Thy Husband's various names?

When guilty conscience ghastly star'd,
Jehovah-Tsidkenu,
The Lord thy righteousness appear'd,
Thy Husband in thy view.

When in thy straits, or wants extreme,
Help fail'd on ev'ry side,
Jehovah-Jireh was his name,
Thy Husband did provide.

When thy long absent Lord didst moan,
And to his courts repair;
Then was Jehovah-Shammah known
Thy Husband present there.

When thy assaulting foes appear'd,
In robes of terror clad,
Jehovah-Nissi then was rear'd,
Thy Husband's banner spread.

When furies arm'd with fright'ning guilt,
Dunn'd war without surcease;
Jehovah-Shalom then was built,
Thy Husband sent thee peace.

When thy diseases death proclaim'd,
And creature-balsams fail'd,
Jehovah-Rophi then was built;
Thy Husband kindly heal'd.

Thus, as thy various needs require,
In various modes like these,
The help that suits thy heart's desire,
Thy Husband's name conveys.

To th' little flock, as cases vary,
The great Jehovah shews
Himself a little sanctuary,
Thy Husband gives thee views.


Sect. VII.


The Believer's experience of Christ's comfortable presence, or of former comforts to be improved for his encouragement and support under darkness and hidings.


Dost mind the place, the spot of land,
Where Jesus did thee meet?
And how he got thy head and hand?
Thy Husband then was sweet.

Dost mind the garden, chamber, bank,
A vale of vision seem'd?
Thy joy was full, thy heart was frank,
Thy Husband much esteem'd.

Let thy experience sweet declare,
If able to remind;
A Bochim he here, a Bethel there,
Thy Husband made thee find.

Was such a corner, such a place,
A paradise to thee,
A Peniel, where face to face
Thy Husband fair didst see?

There did he clear thy cloudy cause,
Thy doubts and fears destroy;
And on thy spirit seal'd he was,
Thy Husband, with great joy.

Could'st thou have said it boldly then,
And seal'd it with thy blood?
Yea, welcome death with pleasure, when
Thy Husband by thee stood?

That earth again should thee insnare,
O how thy heart was pain'd!
For all its faiding glory there
Thy Husband's beauty stain'd.

The thoughts of living more in sin
Were then like hell to thee;
The life of heav'n did thus begin,
Thy Husband set thee free.

Whate'er thou found'st him at thy best,
He's at thy worst the same,
And in his love will ever rest,
Thy Husband holds his claim.

Let faith these visits keep in store,
Though sence the pleasure miss;
The God of Bethel, as before,
Thy Husband always is.

In meas'ring his approaches kind,
And timing his descents;
In free and sov'reign ways thou'lt find
Thy Husband thee prevents.

Prescribe not to him in thy heart,
He's infinitely wise,
How oft he throws his loving dart,
Thy Husband does surprise.

Perhaps a sudden gale thee blest,
While walking in thy road;
Or on a journey, e'er thou wist,
Thy Husband look'd thee broad.

Thus was the Eunuch fam'd (his stage
A riding on the way,
As he revolv'd the sacred page)
Thy Husband's happy prey.

In hearing, reading, singing, pray'r,
When darkness compass'd thee,
Thou found'st or ere thou wast aware,
Thy Husband's light'ning free.

Of heav'ly gales don't meanly think:
For, though thy soul complains,
They're but a short and passing blink;
Thy Husband's love remains.

Think not, though breezes haste away,
Thou dost his favour lose;
But learn to know his sov'reign way,
Thy Husband comes and goes.

Don't say he's gone for ever, though
His visits he adjourn;
For yet a little while, and lo,
Thy Husband will return.

In worship social or retir'd,
Dost thou his absence wail?
Wait at his shore, and be not fear'd,
Thy Husband's ship's a sail.

Yea, through in duties sense may miss
Thy soul's beloved One;
Yet do not faint, for never is
Thy Husband wholly gone.

Though Satan, sin, earth, hell, at once
Would thee of joy bereave:
Mind what he said, he won't renounce,
Thy Husband will not leave.

Though foes assail, and friendship fail,
Thou hast a friend at court:
The gates of hell shall ne'er prevail,
Thy Husband is thy fort.


Sect. VIII.


Comfort to Believers from the stability of the promise notwithstanding heavy chastisements for sin.


Take well howe'er kind Wisdom may
Dispose thy present lot;
Though heav'n and earth should pass away,
Thy Husband's love will not.

All needful help he will afford,
Thou hast his vow and oath;
And once to violate his word
Thy Husband will be loth.

To fire and floods with thee he'll down,
His promise this insures,
Whose credit cannot burn nor drown;
Thy Husband's truth endures.

Dost thou no more his word believe,
As mortal man's, forsooth?
O do not thus his Spirit grieve,
Thy Husband is the Truth.

Though thou both wicked art and weak,
His word he'll never rue;
Though heav'n and earth should bend and break,
Thy Husband will be true.

I'll never leave thee, is his vow;
If Truth has said the word,
While Truth is truth, this word is true,
Thy Husband is the Lord.

Thy covenant of duties may
Prove daily most unsure:
His covenant of grace for ay
Thy Husband does secure.

Dost thou to him thy promise break,
And fear he'll break to thee?
Nay, not thy thousand crimes can make
Thy Husband once to lie.

He visit will thy sins with strokes,
And lift his heavy hand;
But never once his word revokes,
Thy Husband's truth will stand.

Then dream not he is chang'd in love,
When thou art chang'd in frame;
Thou mayst by turns unnumber'd move,
Thy Husband's ay the same.

He for thy follies may thee bind
With cords of great distress;
To make thee moan thy sins, and mind
Thy Husband's holiness.

By wounds, he makes thee seek his cure;
By frowns, his favour prize;
By falls affrighting, stand more sure;
Thy Husband is so wise.

Proud Peter in the dirt of vice
Fell down exceeding low;
His tow'ring pride, by tumbling thrice,
Thy Husband cured so.

Before he suffer pride that swells,
He'll drag thee through the mire
Of sins, temptations, little hells;
Thy Husband saves by fire.

He in affliction's mortar may
Squeeze out old Adam's juice,
Till thou return to him, and say,
Thy Husband is thy choice.

Fierce billows may thy vessel toss,
And crosses curses seem;
But that the curse has fled the cross,
Thy Husband bids thee deem.

Conclude not he in wrath disowns,
When trouble thee surrounds;
These are his favourable frowns,
Thy Husband's healing wounds.

Yea, when he gives the deepest lash,
Love leads the wounding hand:
His stroke, when sin has got a dash,
Thy Husband will remand.


Sect. IX.


Comfort to Believers, in Christ's relations, in his dying love, his glory in heaven, to which he will lead them through death, and supply with all necessaries by the way.


Behold the patrimony broad
That falls to thee by line;
In him thou art an heir of God,
Thy Husband's Father's thine.

He is of relatives a store,
Thy Friend, will help in thrall:
Thy Brother much, thy Father more,
Thy Husband most of all.

All these he does amass and share,
In ways that most excel:
'Mong all the husbands ever were,
Thy Husband bears the bell.

Whence run the streams of all thy good,
But from his pierced side?
With liquid gold of precious blood
Thy Husband bought his bride.

His blood abundant value bore,
To make his purchase broad,
'Twas fair divinity in gore,
Thy Husband is thy God.

Who purchas'd at the highest price,
Be crown'd with highest praise;
For in the highest paradise
Thy Husband wears the bays.

He is of Heav'n the comely rose,
His beauty makes it fair;
Heav'n were but hell, couldst thou suppose
Thy Husband were not there.

He thither did in pomp ascend,
His spouse along to bring:
That
Hallelujahs
without end
Thy Husband's bride may sing.

Ev'n there with him for ever fix'd,
His glory shalt thou see;
And nought but death is now betwixt
Thy Husband's throne and thee.

He'll order death, that porter rude,
To ope the gates of brass;
For, lo! with characters of blood
Thy Husband wrote thy pass.

At Jordan deep then be not scar'd,
Though dismal-like and broad;
Thy sun will guide, thy shield will guard,
Thy Husband pav'd the road.

He'll lead thee safe, and bring thee home,
And still let blessings fall
Of grace while here, till glory come:
Thy Husband's bound for all.

His store can answer ev'ry bill,
Thy food and raiment's bought;
Be at his will, thou'lt have thy fill,
Thy Husband wants for nought.

What can thy soul conceive it lacks?
His store, his pow'r is thine:
His lib'ral heart to lib'ral acts
Thy Husband does incline.

Though on thy hand, that has no might,
He should thy task enlarge;
Nor work nor warfare needs thee fright,
Thy Husband bears the charge.

Thou would (if left) thyself undo,
So apt to fall and stray;
But he uplifts and leads thee too;
Thy Husband knows the way.


Sect. X.


Comfort to Believers from the text, Thy Maker is thy Husband, inverted thus, Thy Husband is thy Maker; and the conclusion of this subject.


Of light and life, of grace and glore,
In Christ thou art partaker.
Rejoice in him for evermore,
Thy Husband is thy Maker.

He made thee, yea, made thee his bride,
Nor heeds thine ugly patch;
To what he made he'll still abide,
Thy Husband made the match.

He made all; yea, he made all thine,
All to thee shall be giv'n.
Who can thy kingdom undermine?
Thy Husband made the heav'n.

What earthly thing can thee annoy?
He made the earth to be;
The waters cannot thee destroy,
Thy Husband made the sea.

Don't fear the flaming element
Thee hurt with burning ire;
Or that the scorching heart torment:
Thy Husband made the fire.

Infectious streams shall ne'er destroy,
While he is pleas'd to spare;
Thou shalt thy vital breath enjoy,
Thy Husband made the air.

The sun that guides the golden day,
The moon that rules the night,
The starry frame, the milky way,
Thy Husband made for light.

The bird that wings its airy path,
The fish that cuts the flood,
The creeping crowd that swarms beneath,
Thy Husband made for good.

The gazing herd, the beast of prey,
The creatures great and small
For thy behoof their tribute pay,
Thy husband made them all.

Thine's Paul, Apollos, life and death,
Things present, things to be;
And every thing that being hath,
Thy Husband made for thee.

In Tophet of the dam'd's resort
Thy soul shall never dwell,
Nor needs from thence imagine hurt,
Thy Husband formed hell.

Satan with instruments of his,
May rage, yet dread no evil:
So far as he a creature is,
Thy Husband made the devil.

His black temptations may afflict,
His fiery darts annoy;
But all his works, and hellish trick,
Thy Husband will destroy.

Let armies strong of earthly gods
Combine with hellish ghosts,
They live, or languish, at his nods;
Thy Husband's Lord of hosts.

What can thee hurt? whom dost thou fear?
All things are at his call.
Thy Maker is thy Husband dear,
Thy Husband all in all.

What dost thou seek? what dost thou want?
He'll thy desires fulfil;
He gave himself, what won't he grant?
Thy Husband's at thy will.

The more thou dost of him desire,
The more he loves to give:
High let thy mounting arms aspire,
Thy Husband gives thee leave.

The less thou seek'st, the less thou dost
His bounty set on high;
But highest seekers here do most
Thy Husband glorify.

Would'st thou have grace? Well; but 'tis meet
He should more glory gain.
Would'st thou have Father, Son, and Sp'rit?
Thy Husband says, \Amen.

He'll kindly act the lib'ral God,
Devising lib'ral things;
With royal gifts his subjects load;
Thy Husband's King of kings.

No earthly monarchs have such store
As thou hast ev'n in hand;
But, O how infinitely more
Thy Husband gives on band!

Thou hast indeed the better part,
The part will fail thee never:
Thy Husband's hand, thy Husband's heart,
Thy Husband's all for ever.
 
Ralph Erskine
   
 

   
   
 

  2.     

The Believer's Jointure : Chapter I.

Containing the Privileges of the Believer that is espoused to Christ by faith of divine operation.

Sect. I.


The Believer's perfect beauty, free acceptance, and full security, through the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness, though imparted grace be imperfect.


O Happy soul, Jehovah's bride,
The Lamb's beloved spouse;
Strong consolation's flowing tide,
Thy Husband thee allows.

In thee, though like thy father's race,
By nature black as hell;
Yet now so beautify'd by grace,
Thy Husband loves to dwell.

Fair as the moon thy robes appear,
While graces are in dress:
Clear as the sun, while found to wear
Thy Husband's righteousness.

Thy moon-like graces, changing much,
Have here and there a spot;
Thy sun-like glory is not such,
Thy Husband changes not.

Thy white and ruddy vesture fair
Outvies the rosy leaf;
For 'mong ten thousand beauties rare
Thy Husband is the chief.

Cloth'd with the sun, thy robes of light
The morning rays outshine:
The lamps of heav'n are not so bright,
Thy Husband decks thee fine.

Though hellish smoke thy duties stain,
And sin deforms thee quite;
Thy Surety's merit makes thee clean,
Thy Husband's beauty white.

Thy pray'rs and tears, nor pure, nor good,
But vile and loathsome seem;
Yet, gain by dipping in his blood,
Thy Husband's high esteem.

No fear thou starve, though wants be great,
In him thou art complete;
Thy hungry soul may hopeful wait,
Thy Husband gives thee meat.

Thy money, merit, pow'r, and pelf,
Were squander'd by thy fall;
Yet, having nothing in thyself,
Thy Husband is thy all.

Law-precepts, threats, may both beset
To crave of thee their due;
But justice, for thy double debt,
Thy Husband did pursue.

Though justice stern as much belong,
As mercy, to a God;
Yet justice suffer'd here no wrong,
Thy Husband's back was broad.

He bore the load of wrath alone,
That mercy might take vent;
Heav'n's pointed arrows all upon
Thy Husband's heart were spent.

No partial pay could justice still,
No farthing was retrench'd:
Vengeance exacted all, until
Thy Husband all advanc'd.

He paid in liquid golden red
Each mite the law requir'd,
Till with a loud
'Tis finished,

Thy Husband's breathe expir'd.

No process more the law can tent;
Thou stand'st within its verge,
And mayst at pleasure now present
Th Husband's full discharge,

Though new contracted guilt beget
New fears of divine ire;
Yet fear thou not, though drown'd in debt,
Thy Husband is the payer.

God might in rigour thee indite
Of highest crimes and flaws;
But on thy head no curse can light,
Thy Husband is the cause.


Sect. II.


Christ the Believer's friend, prophet, priest, king, defence, guide, guard, help, and healer.


Dear soul, when all the human race
Lay welt'ring in their gore,
Vast numbers, in that dismal case,
Thy Husband passed o'er.

But, pray, why did he thousands pass,
And set his heart on thee?
The deep, the searchless reason was,
Thy Husband's love is free.

The forms of favour, names of grace,
And offices of love,
He bears for thee, with open face,
Thy Husband's kindness prove.

'Gainst darkness black, and error blind,
Thou hast a Sun and Shield:
And, to reveal the Father's mind,
Thy Husband's Prophet seal'd.

He likewise to procure thy peace,
And save from sin's arrest,
Resign'd himself a sacrifice;
Thy Husband is thy Priest.

And that he might thy will subject,
And sweetly captive bring;
Thy sins subdue, his throne erect,
Thy Husband is thy King.

Though num'rous and assaulting foes
Thy joyful peace may mar:
And thou a thousand battles lose,
Thy Husband wins the war.

Hell's forces, with thy mind appal,
His arm can soon dispatch;
How strong soe'er, yet for them all,
Thy Husband's more than match.

Though secret lusts, with hid contest,
By heavy groans reveal'd,
And devil's rage; yet, do their best
Thy Husband keeps the field.

When in desertion's ev'ning dark,
Thy steps are apt to slide,
His conduct seek, his counsel mark;
Thy Husband is thy guide.

In doubts, renouncing self-conceit,
His word and Spirit prize:
He never counsell'd wrong as yet,
Thy Husband is so wise.

When weak, thy refuge seest at hand,
Yet cannot run the length:
'Tis
present pow'r
to understand
Thy Husband is thy strength.

When shaking storms annoy thy heart,
His word commands a calm:
When bleeding wounds, to ease thy smart,
Thy Husband's blood is balm.

Trust creatures not, to help thy thrall
Nor to assuage thy grief:
Use means, but look beyond them all,
Thy Husband's thy relief.

If Heav'n prescribe a bitter drug,
Fret not with froward will:
This carriage may thy cure prorogue;
Thy Husband wants not skill.

He sees the sore, he knows the cure
Will most adapted be;
'Tis then most reasonable, sure,
Thy Husband choose for thee.

Friendship is in his chastisements,
And favour in his frowns;
Thence judge not that in heavy plaints,
Thy Husband thee disowns.

The deeper his sharp lancet go
In ripping up thy wound,
The more thy healing shall unto
Thy Husband's praise redound.


Sect. III.


Christ the Believer's wonderful physician, and wealthy friend.


Kind Jesus empties whom he'll find,
Casts down whom he will raise;
He quickens whom he seems to kill;
Thy Husband thus gets praise.

When awful rods are in his hand,
There's mercy in his mind;
When clouds upon his brow do stand,
Thy Husband's heart is kind.

In various changes to and fro,
He'll ever constant prove;
Nor can his kindness come and go,
Thy Husband's name is
Love.


His friends, in most afflicted lot
His favour most have felt;
For when they're try'd in furnace hot,
Thy Husband's bowels melt.

When he his bride or wounds or heals,
Heart-kindness does him move;
And wraps in frowns as well as smiles,
Thy Husband's lasting love.

In's hand no cure could ever fail,
Though of a hopeless state;
He can in desp'rate cases heal,
Thy Husband's art's so great.

The medicine he did prepare,
Can't fail to work for good:
O balsam pow'rful, precious, rare,
Thy Husband's sacred blood:

Which freely from his broached breast
Gush'd out like pent-up fire.
His cures are best, his wages least,
Thy Husband takes no hire.

Thou hast no worth, no might, no good,
His favour to procure:
But see his store, his pow'r, his blood!
Thy Husband's never poor.

Himself he humbled wondrously
Once to the lowest pitch,
That bankrupts through his poverty
Thy Husband might enrich.

His treasure is more excellent
Than hills of Ophir gold:
In telling stores were ages spent,
Thy Husband's can't be told.

All things that fly on wings of fame,
Compar'd with this are dross;
Thy searchless riches in his name
Thy Husband doth engross.

The great Immanuel, God-man,
Includes such store divine,
Angels and saints will never scan
Thy Husband's golden mine.

He's full of grace and truth indeed,
Of spirit, merit, might;
Of all the wealth that bankrupts need,
Thy Husband's heir by right.

Though Heav'n's his throne, he came from thence,
To seek and save the lost;
Whatever be the vast expence,
Thy Husband's at the cost.

Pleas'd to expend each drop of blood
That fill'd his royal veins,
He frank the sacred victim stood;
Thy Husband spar'd no pains.

His cost immense was in thy place,
Thy freedom cost his thrall;
Thy glory cost him deep disgrace,
Thy Husband paid for all.


Sect. IV.


The Believer's safety under the covert of Christ's atoning Blood, and powerful Intercession.


When Heav'n proclaim'd hot war and wrath,
And sin increas'd the strife;
By rich obedience unto death,
Thy Husband bought thy life.

The charges could not be abridg'd,
But on these noble terms;
Which all that prize, are hugg'd amidst,
Thy Husband's folded arms.

When law condemns, and justice too
To prison would thee bale;
As sureties kind for bankrupts do,
Thy Husband offers bail.

God on these terms is reconcil'd,
And thou his heart hast won;
In Christ thou art his favour'd child,
Thy Husband is his son.

Vindictive wrath is whole appeas'd,
Thou need'st not then be mov'd;
In Jesus always he's well pleas'd,
Thy Husband his Belov'd.

What can be laid unto thy charge,
When God does not condemn?
Bills of complaint, though foes enlarge,
Thy Husband answers them.

When fear thy guilty mind confounds,
Full comfort this may yield,
Thy ranson-bill with blood and wounds
Thy Husband kind has seal'd.

His promise is the fair extract
Thou hast at hand to shew;
Stern justice can no more exact,
Thy Husband paid its due.

No terms he left thee to fulil,
No clog to mar thy faith;
His bond is sign'd, his latter-will
Thy Husband seal'd by death.

The great condition of the band,
Of promise and of bliss,
Is wrought by him, and brought to hand,
Thy Husband's righteousness.

When therefore press'd in time of need,
To sue the promis'd good,
Thou hast no more to do but plead
Th Husband's sealing blood.

This can thee more to God commend,
And cloudy wrath dispel,
Than e'er thy sinning could offend;
Thy Husband vanquish'd hell.

When vengeance seems, for broken laws,
To light on thee with dread;
Let Christ be umpire of thy cause,
Thy Husband well can plead.

He pleads his righteousness, that brought
All rents the law could crave;
Whate'er its precepts, threat'nings, sought,
Thy Husband fully gave.

Did holiness in precepts stand,
And for perfection call,
Justice in threat'nings death demand?
Thy Husband gave it all.

His blood the fiery law did quench,
Its summons need not scare;
Tho't cite thee to Heav'n's awful bench,
Thy Husband's at the bar.

This Advocate has much to say,
His clients need not fear;
For God the Father hears him ay,
Thy Husband hath his ear.

A cause fail'd never in his hand,
So strong his pleading is;
His Father grants his whole demand,
Thy Husband's will is his.

Hell-forces all may rendezvous,
Accusers may combine;
Yet fear thou not, who art his spouse,
Thy Husband's cause is thine.

By solemn oath Jehovah did
His priesthood ratify;
Let earth and hell then counterplead,
Thy Husband gains the plea.


Sect. V.


The Believer's Faith and Hope encouraged, even in the darkest nights of desertion and distress.


The cunning serpent may accuse,
But never shall succeed;
The God of peace will Satan bruise,
Thy Husband broke his head.

Hell-furies threaten to devour,
Like lions robb'd of whelps:
But, lo! in ev'ry per'lous hour
Thy Husband always helps.

That feeble faith may never fail,
Thine Advocate has pray'd;
Though winnowing tempest may assail,
Thy Husband's near to aid.

Though grievous trials grow apace,
And put thee to a stand;
Thou mayst rejoice, in ev'ry case
Thy Husband's help's at hand.

Trust, though, when in desertion dark
No
twinkling star
by night,
No transient ray, no glim'ring spark;
Thy Husband is thy light.

His beams anon the clouds will rent,
And through the vapours run;
For of the brightest firmament
Thy Husband is the Sun.

Without the Sun who mourning go,
And scarce the way can find,
He brings through paths they do not know;
Thy Husband leads the blind.

Through fire and water he with skill
Brings to a wealthy land;
Rude flames and roaring floods, Be Still,
Thy Husband can command.

When sin disorders heavy brings,
That press thy soul with weight;
Then mind how many crooked things
Thy Husband has made straight.

Still look to him with longing eyes,
Though both thine eyes should fail;
Cry, and at length, though not thy cries,
Thy Husband shall prevail.

Still hope for favour at his hand,
Though favour don't appear;
When help seems most aloft to stand,
Thy Husband's then most near.

In cases hopeless-like, faint hopes
May fail, and fears annoy:
But most when stript of earthly props,
Thy Husband thou'lt enjoy.

If providence the promise thwart,
And yet thy humbled mind
'Gainst hope believes in hope, thou art
Thy Husband's dearest friend.

Art thou a weakling, poor and faint,
In jeopardy each hour!
Let not thy weakness move thy plaint,
Thy Husband has the pow'r.

Dread not the foes that foil'd thee long,
Will ruin thee at length:
When thou art weak, then art thou strong;
Thy Husband is thy strength.

When foes are mighty, many too,
Don't fear, nor quit the field;
'Tis not with thee they have to do,
Thy Husband is thy shield.

'Tis hard to fight against an host,
Or strive against the stream;
But, lo! when all seems to be lost,
Thy Husband will redeem.


Sect. VI.


Benefits accruing to Believers from the offices, names, natures, and sufferings of Christ.


Art thou by lusts a captive led,
Which breeds thy deepest grief?
To ransom captives is his trade,
Thy Husband's thy relief.

His precious name is Jesus, why?
Because he saves from sin;
Redemption-right he won't deny,
Thy Husband's near of kin.

His wounds have sav'd thee once from woes,
His blood from vengeance screen'd;
When heav'n, and earth, and hell were foes,
Thy Husband was a friend:

And will thy Captain now look on,
And see thee trampled down?
When lo! thy Champion has the throne,
Thy Husband wears the crown.

Yield not, though cunning Satan bribe,
Or like a lion roar;
The Lion strong of Judah's tribe,
Thy Husband goes before.

And that he never will forsake,
His credit fair he pawn'd;
In hottest broils, then, courage take,
Thy Husband's at thy hand.

No storm needs drive thee to a strait,
Who dost his aid invoke:
Fierce winds may blow, proud wave may beat,
Thy Husband is a rock.

Renounce thine own ability,
Lean to his promis'd might;
The strength of Israel cannot lie,
Thy Husband's pow'r is plight.

An awful truth does here present,
Whoever think it odd;
In him thou art omnipotent,
Thy Husband is a God.

Jehovah's strength is in thy Head,
Which faith may boldly scan;
God in thy nature does reside,
Thy Husband is a man.

Thy flesh is his, his Spirit thine;
And that you both are one,
One body, spirit, temple, vine,
Thy Husband deigns to own.

Kind he assum'd thy flesh and blood,
This union to pursue;
And without shame his brotherhood
Thy Husband does avow.

He bore the cross, thy crown to win,
His blood he freely spilt;
The holy one, assuming sin,
Thy Husband bore the guilt.

Lo! what a bless'd exchange is this!
What wisdom shines therein!
That thou might'st be made righteousness
Thy Husband was made sin.

Thy God of joy a man of grief,
Thy sorrows to discuss;
Pure innocence hang'd as a thief:
Thy Husband lov'd thee thus.

Bright beauty had his visage marr'd,
His comely form abus'd:
True rest was from all rest debarr'd,
Thy Husband's heel was bruis'd.

The God of blessings was a curse,
The Lord of lords a drudge,
The heir of all things poor in purse:
Thy Husband did not grudge.

The Judge of all condemned was,
The Lord immortal slain:
No favour, in thy woful cause,
Thy Husband did obtain.


Sect. VII.


Christ's Sufferings further improved; and Believers called to live by faith, both when they have, and want sensible influences.


Loud praises sing, without surcease,
To him that frankly came,
And gave his soul a sacrifice;
Thy Husband was the Lamb.

What waken'd vengeance could denounce,
All round him did beset;
And never left his soul, till once
Thy Husband paid the debt.

And though new debt thou still contract,
And run deep arrears;
Yet all thy burdens on his back
Thy Husband always bears.

Thy Judge will ne'er demand of thee
Two payments for one debt;
Thee with one victim wholly free
Thy Husband kindly set.

That no grim vengeance might thee meet,
Thy Husband met with all;
And, that thy soul might drink the sweet,
Thy Husband drank the gall.

Full breasts of joy he loves t' extend,
Like to a kindly nurse;
And, that thy bliss might full be gain'd,
Thy Husband was a curse.

Thy sins he glu'd unto the tree,
His blood this virtue hath;
For, that thy heart to sin might die,
Thy Husband suffer'd death.

To purchase fully all thy good,
All evil him befel;
To win thy heav'n with streams of blood,
Thy Husband quenched hell.

That this kind Days-Man in one band
Might God and man betroth,
He on both parties lays his hand,
Thy Husband pleases both.

The blood that could stern justice please,
And law-demands fulfil,
Can also guilty conscience ease;
Thy Husband clears the bill.

Thy highest glory is obtain'd
By his abasement deep:
And, that thy tears might all be drain'd,
Thy Husband chose to weep.

His bondage all thy freedom bought,
He stoop'd so lowly down:
His grappling all thy grandeur brought,
Thy Husband's cross, thy crown.

'Tis by his shock thy sceptre sways,
His warfare ends thy strife;
His poverty thy wealth conveys,
Thy Husband's death's thy life.

Do mortal damps invade thy heart,
And deadness seize thee sore?
Rejoice in this, that life t' impart
Thy Husband eas in store.

And when new life imparted seems
Establish'd as a rock,
Boast in the Fountain, not the streams;
Thy Husband is thy stock.

The streams may take a various turn,
The Fountain never moves:
Cease then, o'er failing streams to mourn,
Thy Husband thus thee proves.

That glad thou may'st, when drops are gone,
Joy in the spacious sea:
When incomes fail, then still upon
Thy Husband keep thine eye.

But can't thou look, nor moan thy strait,
So dark's the dismal hour?
Yet, as thou'rt able, cry, and wait
Thy Husband's day of pow'r.

Tell him, though sin prolong the term,
Yet love can scarce delay:
Thy want, his promise, all affirm,
Thy Husband must not stay.


Sect. VIII.


Christ the Believer's enriching Treasure.


Kind Jesus lives, thy life to be
Who mak'st him thy refuge:
And, when he comes, thou'lt joy to see,
Thy Husband shall be judge.

Should passing troubles thee annoy,
Without, within, or both?
Since endless life thou'lt then enjoy,
Thy Husband pledg'd his truth.

What! won't he ev'n in time impart
That's for thy real good?
He gave his love, he gave his heart,
Thy Husband gave his blood.

He gives himself, and what should more?
What can he then refuse?
If this won't please thee, ah! how sore
Thy Husband dost abuse!

Earth's fruit, heav'n's dew he won't deny,
Whose eyes thy need behold:
Nought under or above the sky
Thy Husband will with-hold.

Dost losses grieve? Since all is thine,
What loss can thee befall?
All things for good to thee combine,
Thy Husband orders all.

Thou'rt not put off with barren leaves,
Or dung of earthly-pelf;
More wealth than heav'n and earth he gives,
Thy Husband's thine himself.

Thou hast enough to stay thy plaint,
Else thou complain'st of ease;
For, having all, don't speak of want,
Thy Husband may suffice.

From this thy store, believing, take
Wealth to the utmost pitch:
The gold of Ophir cannot make,
Thy Husband makes thee rich.

Some, flying gains acquire by pains,
And, some by plund'ring toil;
Such treasure fades, but thine remains,
Thy Husband's cannot spoil.


Sect. IX.


Christ the Believer's adorning Garment.


Yea, thou excell'st in rich attire
The lamp that lights the globe:
Thy sparkling garment heav'ns admire,
Thy Husband is thy robe.

This raiment never waxes old,
'Tis always new and clean:
From summer-heat, and winter-cold,
Thy Husband can thee screen.

All who the name of worthies bore,
Since Adam was undrest,
No worth acquir'd, but as they wore
Thy Husband's purple vest.

This linen fine can beautify
The soul with sin begirt;
O bless his name, that e'er on thee
Thy Husband spread his skirt.

Are dung-hills deck'd with flow'ry glore,
Which Solomon's outvie?
Sure thine is infinitely more,
Thy Husband decks the sky.

Thy hands could never work the dress,
By grace alone thou'rt gay;
Grace vents and reigns through righteousness;
Thy Husband's bright array.

To spin thy robe no more dost need
Than lilies toil for theirs;
Out of his bowels ev'ry thread
Thy Husband thine prepares.


Sect. X.


Christ the Believer's sweet Nourishment


Thy food, conform to thine array,
Is heav'nly and divine;
On pastures green, where angels play,
Thy Husband feeds thee fine.

Angelic food may make thee fair,
And look with cheerful face:
The bread of life, the double share,
Thy Husband's love and grace.

What can he give or thou desire,
More than his flesh and blood?
Let angels wonder, saints admire,
Thy Husband is thy food.

His flesh the incarnation bears,
From whence thy feeding flows;
His blood the satisfaction clear;
Thy Husband both bestows.

Th' incarnate God a sacrifice
To turn the wrathful tide,
Is food for faith; that may suffice
Thy Husband's guilty bride.

This strength'ning food may fit and fence
For work and war to come;
Till through the crowd, some moments hence,
Thy Husband bring thee home:

Where plenteous feasting will succeed
To scanty feeding here:
And joyful at the table-head
Thy Husband fair appear.

The crumbs to banquets will give place,
And drops to rivers new;
While heart and eye will, face to face,
Thy Husband ever view.
 
Ralph Erskine
   
 

   
   
 

  3.     

The Believer's Principles : Chap. IV.

Faith and Sense Natural, compared and distinguished.


When Abram's body, Sarah's womb,
Were ripe for nothing but the tomb,
Exceeding old, and wholly dead,
Unlike to bear the promis'd seed:

Faith said, 'I shall an Isaac see;'
'No, no,' said Sense, 'it cannot be;'
Blind Reason, to augment the strife,
Adds, 'How can death engender life?'

My heart is like a rotten tomb,
More dead than ever Sarah's womb;
O! can the promis'd seed of grace
Spring forth from such a barren place?

Sense gazing but on flinty rocks,
My hope and expectation chokes:
But could I, skill'd in Abram's art,
O'erlook my dead and barren heart;

And build my hope on nothing less
That divine pow'r and faithfulness;
Soon would I find him raise up sons
To Abram, out of rocks and stones.

Faith acts as busy boatmen do,
Who backward look and forward row;
It looks intent to things unseen,
Thinks objects visible too mean.

Sense thinks it madness thus to steer,
And only trusts its eye and ear;
Into faith's boat dare thrust its oar,
And put it further from the shore.

Faith does alone the promise eye;
Sense won't believe unless it see;
Nor can it trust the divine guide,
Unless it have both wind and tide.

Faith thinks the promise sure and good;
Sense doth depend on likelihood;
Faith ev'n in storms believes the seers;
Sense calls all men, ev'n prophets, liars.

Faith uses means, but rests on none;
Sense sails when outward means are gone:
Trusts more on probabilities,
Than all the divine promises.

It rests upon the rusty beam
Of outward things that hopeful seem;
Let these its supports sink or cease,
No promise then can yield it peace.

True faith that's of a divine brood,
Consults not with base flesh and blood;
But carnal sense which ever errs,
With carnal reason still confers.

What! my disciples won't believe
That I am risen from the grave?
Why will they pore on dust and death,
And overlook my quick'ning breath?

Why do they slight the word I spake?
And rather sorry counsel take
With death, and with a pow'rful grave,
If they their captive can relieve?

Sense does inquire if tombs of clay
Can send their guests alive away;
But faith will hear Jehovah's word,
Of life and death the sov'reign Lord.

Should I give ear to rotten dust,
Or to the tombs confine my trust;
No resurrection can I see,
For dust that flies into mine eye.

What! Thomas, can't thou trust so much
To me as to thy sight and touch?
Won't thou believe till Sense be guide,
And thrust its hand into my side?

Where is thy faith, if it depends
On nothing but thy finger-ends?
But bless'd are they the truth who seal
By faith, yet neither see nor feel.


Sect. II.


Faith and Sense Spiritual, compared and distinguished. Where also the difference between the Assurance of Faith, and the Assurance of Sense.


The certainty of faith and sense
Wide differ in experience:
Faith builds upon, - Thus saith the Lord;
Sense the views his work and not his word.

God's word without is faith's resort,
His work within doth sense support,
By faith we trust him without pawns,
By sense we handle with our hands.

By faith the word of truth's receiv'd,
By sense we know we have believ'd.
Faith's certain by fiducial acts,
Sense by its evidential facts.

Faith credits the divine report,
Sense to his breathings makes resort:
That on his word of grace will hing,
This on his Spirit witnessing.

By faith I take the Lord for mine,
By sense I feel his love divine:
By that I touch his garment's hem,
By this find virtue thence to stream.

By faith I have mine all on band,
By sense I have some stock in hand;
By that some vision is begun,
By this I some fruition win.

My faith can fend ev'n in exile,
Sense cannot live without a smile.
By faith I to his promise fly,
By sense I in his bosom lie.

Faith builds upon the truth of God,
That lies within the promise broad;
But sense upon the truth of grace
His hand within my heart did place.

Thus Christ's the object faith will eye,
And faith's the object sense may see:
Faith keeps the truth of God in view,
While sense the truth of faith may shew.

Hence faith's assurance firm can stand,
When sense's in the deep may strand;
And faith's persuasion full prevail,
When comfortable sense may sail.

I am assur'd when faith's in act,
Though sense and feeling both I lack;
And thus mysterious is my lot,
I'm oft assur'd when I am not;

Oft pierc'd with racking doubts and fears:
Yet faith these brambles never bears;
But unbelief that cuts my breath,
And stops the language of my faith.

Clamours of unbelieving fears,
So frequently disturb mine ears,
I cannot hear what faith would say,
Till once the noisy clamours stay.

And then will fresh experience find,
When faith gets leave to speak its mind,
The native language whereof is,
My Lord is mine, and I am his.

Sad doubtings compass me about,
Yet faith itself could never doubt;
For, as the sacred volume saith,
Much doubting argues little faith.

The doubts and fears that work my grief,
Flow not from faith, but unbelief;
For faith, whene'er it acteth, cures
The plague of doubts, and me assures.

But when mine eye of faith's asleep,
I dream of drowning in the deep:
But as befals the sleeping eye,
Though in sight remain, it cannot see;

The seeing faculty abides,
Though sleep from active seeing hides;
So faith's assuring pow'rs endure
Ev'n when it ceases to assure.

There still persuasion in my faith,
Ev'n when I'm fill'd with fears of wrath;
The trusting habit still remains,
Though slumbers hold the act in chains.

The assuring faculty it keeps,
Ev'n when its eye in darkness sleeps,
Wrapt up in doubts; but when it wakes,
It rouses up assuring acts.


Sect. III.


The Harmony and Discord between Faith and Sense; how they help, and how they mar each other.


Though gallant Faith can keep the field
When cow'rdly Sense will fly or yield;
Yet while I view their unusual path,
Sense often stands and falls with Faith.

Faith ushers in sweet Peace and Joy,
Which further heartens Faith's employ:
Faith like the head, and Sense the heart,
Do mutual vigour fresh impart.

When lively Faith and Feeling sweet,
Like dearest darlings, kindly meet,
They straight each other help and hug
In loving friendship close and snug.

Faith gives to Sense both life and breath,
And Sense gives joy and strength to Faith;
'O now,' says Faith, 'how fond do I
In Sense's glowing bosom lie!'

Their mutual kindness then is such,
That oft they doting too too much,
Embrace each other out of breath;
As AEsop hugg'd his child to death.

Faith leaping into Sense's arms,
Allur'd with her bewitching charms,
In hugging these, lets rashly slip
The proper object of its grip:

Which being lost, behold the thrall!
Anon Faith loses Sense and all;
Thus unawares cuts Sense's breath,
While Sense trips up the heels of Faith.

Her charms assuming Jesus' place,
While Faith's lull'd in her soft embrace;
Lo! soon in dying pleasures wrapt,
Its living joy away is snapt.


Sect. IV.


The Valour and Victories of Faith.


By Faith I unseen Being see
Forth lower beings call,
And say to nothing, Let it be,
And nothing hatches all.

By faith I know the worlds were made
By God's great word of might;
How soon, Let there be light, he said,
That moment there was light.

By faith I soar and force my flight,
Through all the clouds of sense;
I see the glories out of sight,
With brightest evidence.

By faith I mount the azure sky,
And from the lofty sphere,
The earth a little mote espy,
Unworthy of my care.

By faith I see the unseen things,
Hid from all mortal eyes;
Proud Reason stretching all its wings,
Beneath me flutt'ring lies.

By faith I build my lasting hope
On righteousness divine,
Nor can I sink with such a prop,
Whatever storms combine.

By faith my works, my righteousness,
And duties all I own
But loss and dung; and lay my stress
On what my Lord has done.

By faith I overcome the world,
And all its hurtful charms;
I'm in the heav'nly chariot hurl'd
Through all opposing harms.

By faith I have a conqu'ring pow'r,
To tread upon my foes,
To triumph in a dying hour,
And banish all my woes.

By faith in midst of wrongs I'm right,
In sad decays I thrive;
In weakness I am strong in might,
In death I am alive.

By faith I stand when deep I fall,
In darkness I have light;
Nor dare I doubt and question all
When all is out of sight.

By faith I trust a pardon free
Which puzzles flesh and blood;
To think that God can justify,
Where yet he sees no good.

By faith I keep my Lord's commands,
To verify my trust;
I purify my heart and hands,
And mortify my lust.

By faith my melting soul repents,
When pierced Christ appears;
My heart in grateful praises vents,
Mine eyes in joyful tears.

By faith I can the mountains vast
Of sin and guilt remove;
And them into the ocean cast,
The sea of blood and love.

By faith I see Jehovah high
Upon a throne of grace;
I see him lay his vengeance by,
And smile in Jesus' face.

By faith I hope to see the Sun,
The light of grace that lent;
His everlasting circles run,
In glory's firmament.

By faith I'm more than conqueror,
Ev'n though I nothing can;
Because I set Jehovah's pow'r
Before me in the van.

By faith I counterplot my foes,
Nor need their ambush fear;
Because my life-guard also goes
Behind me in the rear.

By faith I walk, I run, I fly,
By faith I suffer thrall;
By faith I'm fit to live and die,
By faith I can do all.


Sect. V.


The Heights and Depths of Sense.


When Heav'n me grants, at certain times,
Amidst a pow'rful gale,
Sweet liberty to moan my crimes,
And wand'rings to bewail;

Then do I dream my sinful brood,
Drown'd in the ocean main
Of crystal tears and crimson blood,
Will never lie again.

I get my foes beneath my feet,
I bruise the serpent's head;
I hope the vict'ry is complete,
And all my lusts are dead.

How gladly do I think and say,
When thus it is with me,
Sin to my sense is clean away,
And so shall ever be?

But, ah! alas! th' ensuing hour
My lusts arise and swell,
They rage and re-inforce their pow'r,
With new recruits from hell,

Though I resolv'd and swore, through grace,
In very solemn terms,
I never should my lusts embrace,
Nor yield unto their charms;

Yet such deceitful friends they are,
While I no danger dream,
I'm snar'd before I am aware,
And hurry'd down the stream.

Into the gulph of sin anon,
I'm plunged head and ears;
Grace to my sense is wholly gone,
And I am chain'd in fears;

Till straight, my Lord, with sweet surprise,
Returns to loose my bands,
With kind compassion in his eyes,
And pardon in his hands.

Yet thus my life is nothing else,
But heav'n and hell by turns;
My soul that now in Goshen dwells,
Anon in Egypt mourns.


Sect. VI.


Faith and Frames compared; or, Faith building upon Sense discovered.


Faith has for its foundation broad
A stable rock on which I stand,
The truth and faithfulness of God,
All other grounds are sinking sand,

My frames and feelings ebb and flow;
And when my faith depends on them,
It fleets and staggers to and fro,
And dies amidst the dying frame.

That faith is surely most unstay'd,
Its stagg'ring can't be counted strange,
That builds its hope of lasting aid
On things that ev'ry moment change.

But could my faith lay all its load
On Jesus' everlasting name,
Upon the righteousness of God,
And divine truth that's still the same:

Could I believe what God has spoke,
Rely on his unchanging love,
And cease to grasp at fleeting smoke,
No changes would my mountain move,

But when, how soon the frame's away,
And comfortable feelings fail;
So soon my faith falls in decay,
And unbelieving doubts prevail:

This proves the charge of latent vice,
And plain my faith's defects may show;
I built the house on thawing ice,
That tumbles with the melting snow,

When divine smiles in sight appear,
And I enjoy the heav'nly gale;
When wind and tide and all is fair,
I dream my faith shall never fail:

My heart will false conclusions draw,
That strong my mountain shall remain;
That in my faith there is no flaw,
I'll never never doubt again.

I think the only rest I take,
Is God's unfading word and name;
And fancy not my faith so weak,
As e'er to trust a fading frame.

But, ah! by sudden turns I see
My lying heart's fallacious guilt,
And that my faith, not firm in me,
On sinking sand was partly built;

For, lo! when warming beams are gone,
And shadows fall; alas, 'tis odd,
I cannot wait the rising Sun,
I cannot trust a hiding God.

So much my faith's affiance seems
Its life from fading joys to bring,
That when I loose the dying streams,
I cannot trust the living spring.

When drops of comfort quickly dry'd,
And sensible enjoyments fail;
When cheering apples are deny'd,
Then doubts instead of faith prevail.

But why, though fruit be snatch'd from me,
Should I distrust the glorious Root;
And still affront the standing tree,
By trusting more to falling fruit?

The smallest trials may evince
My faith unfit to stand the shock,
That more depends on fleeting sense,
Than on the fix'd eternal Rock.

The safest ark when floods arise,
Is stable truth that changes not;
How weak's my faith, that more relies
On feeble sense's floating boat?

For when the fleeting frame is gone,
I straight my state in question call;
I droop and sink in deeps anon,
As if my frame were all in all.

But though I miss the pleasing gale,
And Heav'n withdraw the charming glance;
Unless Jehovah's oath can fail,
My faith may keep its countenance.

The frame of nature shall decay,
Time-changes break her rusty chains;
Yea, heav'n and earth shall pass away;
But faith's foundation firm remains.

Heav'n's promises so fix'dly stand,
Ingrav'd with an immortal pen,
In great Immanuel's mighty hand,
All hell's attempts to raze are vain.

Did Faith with none but Truth advise,
My steady soul would move no more
Than stable hills when tempests rise,
Or solid rocks when billows roar.

But when my faith the counsel hears
Of present sense and reason blind,
My wav'ring spirit then appears
A feather toss'd with ev'ry wind.

Lame legs of faith unequal, crook;
Thus mine, alas! unev'nly stand,
Else I would trust my stable Rock,
Not fading frames and feeble sand.

I would, when dying comforts fly,
As much as when they present were,
Upon my living joy rely.
Help, Lord, for here I daily err.
 
Ralph Erskine
   
 

   
   
 

  4.     

Meditations on Smoking Tobacco; or, Smoking Spiritualized

Part 1.

This Indian weed now wither'd quite,
Though green at noon, cut down at night
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev'n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold'st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil'd with sin;
For then the fire
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou may say,
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Part II.

Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the Plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what's the power
Of Jesse's flow'r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of Faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon's Rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

In vain th' unlighted pipe you blow;
Your pains in outward means are so,
Till heav'nly fire
Your heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The smoke, like burning incense, tow'rs;
So should a praying heart of yours
With ardent cries
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.
 
Ralph Erskine
   
 
 

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Poems By Poet Ralph Erskine