Two from Henry

Peace
My Soul, there is a country
Afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skillful in the wars;
There, above noise and danger
Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend
And (O my Soul awake!)
Did in pure love descend,
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flow’r of peace,
The rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges,
For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

 

The Relapse

My God, how gracious art thou! I had slipt
Almost to hell,
And on the verge of that dark, dreadful pit
Did hear them yell,
But O thy love! thy rich, almighty love
That sav’d my soul,
And checkt their fury, when I saw them move,
And heard them howl;
O my sole comfort, take no more these ways,
This hideous path,
And I will mend my own without delays,
Cease thou thy wrath!
I have deserv’d a thick, Egyptian damp,
Dark as my deeds,
Should mist within me, and put out that lamp
Thy spirit feeds;
A darting conscience full of stabs and fears;
No shade but Yew,
Sullen, and sad eclipses, cloudy spheres,
These are my due.
But he that with his blood, (a price too dear,)
My scores did pay,
Bid me, by virtue from him, challenge here
The brightest day;
Sweet, downy thoughts; soft lily-shades; calm streams;
Joys full and true;
Fresh, spicy mornings; and eternal beams
These are his due.

 

Henry Vaughn (1622-95) ROCKS !
Don’t you agree ?

 

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Mirage: My Rage

Fata Morgana !

Career churchmen, paid to guide
lead new-found converts to abide
in dull consumeristic stupor,
promises of living water
vanishing like desert pools
and luring onwards thirsty fools
who glimpse oases, there to find
dry carcasses of humankind
evaporation, drought and death.
You think you found it? Save your breath.
The springs of life become a puddle
where theologies befuddle:
muddy, stagnant, barely damp
how different from St. Jacob’s camp
where heaven opened in a dream—
unlike this churchy marketing scheme.

Strike this cloud we labor under !
Let it pour. Let Luther thunder.
Where is Calvin’s sovereign grace
and where the omnipresent face
of Christ enthroned in holy splendor ?
When will our divine defender
clear the record, end confusion
bring to a final, just conclusion
Babel, His dismembered body—
(can I get a witness, anybody?)

Spare me the free verse.
Try writing something rhythmic!
(Haiku overdose).

Prayer for Our Nation

John Newton  [1725-1807]

Lord, while Thy judgments shake the land,
Thy people’s eyes are fixed on Thee;
We own Thy just uplifted hand,
Which thousands cannot, will not, see.

How long hast Thou bestowed Thy care
On this indulged, ungrateful spot!
While other nations, far and near,
Have envied and admired our lot.

Here peace and liberty have dwelt,
The glorious Gospel brightly shone;
And oft our enemies have felt
That God has made our cause His own.

But ah! both heaven and earth have heard
Our vile requital of His love;
We, whom like children He has reared,
Rebels against His goodness prove.

His grace despised, His power defied,
And legions of the blackest crimes,
Profaneness, riot, lust, and pride,
Are signs that mark the present times.

The Lord, displeased, has raised His rod;
Ah! where are now the faithful few
Who tremble for the Ark of God,
And know what Israel ought to do?

Lord, hear Thy people everywhere,
Who meet to mourn, confess, and pray;
The nation and Thy churches spare,
And let Thy wrath be turned away.