Friday, June 29, 2012

From Sir Walter Scott and William Sleeper

This bit from the hymn, "Jesus, I Come" is one of four verses. I am posting it in order to boast. I am boasting in the grace of God, which I have recently seen powerfully manifested in the life of a dear brother. All glory to God.

"Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storm and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee!"

-William Sleeper

This bit is from the poem, "Lay of the Last Minstrel," Canto III. Think Romeo and Juliet, except replace Italy with Scotland, and warring families with feuding clans. The Baron (Cranstoun) is the Scottish "Romeo," who has just finished visiting his "Juilet," while the Borderer (Deloraine) is a knight from Juliet's family.

"Their very coursers seemed to know
That each was other's mortal foe;
And snorted fire, when wheeled around,
To give each knight his vantage-ground.

In rapid round the Baron bent;
   He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer.
The prayer was to his patron saint,
   The sigh was to his ladye fare.
Stout Deloraine nor sighed, nor prayed,
Nor saint, nor ladye, called to aid;
But he stooped his head, and couched his spear
And spurred his steed to full career.
The meeting of these champions proud
Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.

Stern was the dint the Borderer lent!
The stately Baron Backwards bent;
Bent backwards to his horse's tail,
And his plumes went scattering on the gale;
The tough ash spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand splinters flew.
But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;
Through shield, and jack, and action, passed,
Deep in his bosom broke at last -
Still sate the warrior saddle-fast,
Till, stumbling in the mortal shock,
Down went the steed, the girthing broke,
Hurled on a heap lay man and horse.
The Baron onward passed his course;
Nor knew - so giddy rolled his brain -
His foe lay stretched upon the plain."

- Sir Walter Scott

Friday, June 22, 2012

From Isaac Watts

One of Watts' best hymns, showing both desperation and hope. Note the strong terms he uses to describe his own evil and weakness, and how his trust is placed only in God.

O Help My Unbelief

"How sad our state by nature is!
Our sin, how deep it stains!
And Satan binds our captive minds
Fast in his slavish chains
But there's a voice of sov'reign grace,
Sounds from the sacred word:
"O, ye despairing sinners come,
And trust upon the Lord."

"My soul obeys th' almighty call,
And runs to this relief
I would believe thy promise, Lord;
O help my unbelief!
To the dear fountain of thy blood,
Incarnate God, I fly;
Here let me wash my spotted soul,
From crimes of deepest dye.

"Stretch out Thine arm, victorious King,
My reigning sins subdue;
Drive the old dragon from his seat,
With all his hellish crew.
A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On thy kind arms I fall;
Be thou my strength and righteousness,
My Jesus, and my all."