What is more tender than a mother's love
To the sweet infant fondling in her arms?
What need of arguments her heart to move
To hear its cries, and help it out of harms?
Now, if the tend'rest mother were possest
Of all the love, within her single breast,
Of all the mothers since the world began,
'Tis nothing to the love of God to man.
On Church Communion - Part Ii.
If once establish'd the essential part,
The inward Church, the Temple of the Heart,
Or house of God, the substance, and the sum
Of what is pray'd for in -
thy kingdom come
To make an outward correspondence true,
We must recur to Christ's example too.
Now in his outward life we plainly find,
Goodness demonstrated of ev'ry kind;
What he was born for, that he show'd throughout,
It was the business that he went about:
Love, kindness, and compassion, to display
Towards ev'ry object coming in his way.
But Love so high, Humility so low,
And all the Virtues which his actions show;
His doing good, and his enduring ill,
For Man's salvation, and God's holy will:
Exceed all terms - his inward, outward plan,
Was Love to God, express'd by Love to Man.
Mark of the Church which he establish'd then,
Is the same Love, same proof of it to Men;
Without let Sects parade it how they list,
Nor Church nor unity can ne'er subsist:
The name may be usurp'd, but want of pow'r,
Will shew the Babel, high or low the Tow'r.
And where the same behaviour shall appear,
In outward form, that was in Christ so clear;
There is the very outward Church that he
Will'd all mankind to shew, and all to see;
Of which whoever shews it from the heart,
Is both an inward and an outward part.
What Excommunication can deprive
A pious soul that is in Christ alive,
Of Church-Communion? or cut off a limb,
That life and action both unite to him?
For any circumstance of place or time,
Or mode or custom, which infers no crime?
If he be that which his beloved
Calls him, -
The Light, enlightening every one
That comes into the world - will he exclude
One from his Church, whose mind he has renew'd,
To such degree, as to exert, in fact,
Like inward Temper, and like outward Act?
Invisible, and visible effect
Of true Church Membership, in each respect,
Let the one Shepherd from above behold,
The Flocks, howe'er dispers'd, are his one Fold:
Seen by their hearts, and their behaviour too,
They all stand present in his gracious view.
Thoughts On Predestination And Reprobation : Part Ii.
Pagan - said I - I must retract the word,
For the poor Pagans were not so absurd:
Their Jupiter, of gods and men the king,
Whenever he ordain'd a hurtful thing,
Did it because he was oblig'd to look,
And act as Fate had bid him, in a book:
For gods and goddesses were subjects, then,
To dire necessity, as well as men;
Compell'd to crush a Hero, or a Town,
As Destiny had set the matter down.
But in your scheme, 'tis God that orders ill,
With sov'reign pow'r, and with resistless will;
He in whose blessed Name in understood
The one eternal will to ev'ry good,
Is represented, thought untied by fate
With a decree of damning, to create.
Such as you term the Vessels of his wrath,
To shew his power, according to your faith:
Just as if God, like some tyrannic man,
Would plague the world, to shew them that he can
While others, (they for instance of your sect)
Are mercy's Vessels, precious and elect;
Who think, God help them! to secure their bliss,
By such a partial, fond conceit as this.
Talk not to me of Popery and of Rome,
Nor yet foretell its Babylonish doom;
Nor canonize reforming saints of old,
Because they held the doctrine that you hold;
For if they did, although of Saint-like stem,
In this plain point we must reform from them:
While freed from Rome we are not tied I hope,
To what is wrong in a Geneva Pope;
Nor what is right, should sirname supersede,
Of Luther, Calvin, Bellarmine, or Bede.
Rome has been guilty of excess, 'tis true,
And so have some of the reformers too;
If in their zeal against the Roman seat,
Plucking up tares, they pluck'd up also wheat;
Must we to children, some what they have said,
Give this Predestination stone for bread?
Sir, it is worse, this your Predestination,
Ten thousand times than transubstantiation:
Hard is the point, that Papists have compil'd,
With sense and reason to be reconcil'd;
But yet it leaves to our conception, still,
Goodness in God, and holiness of Will;
A just, impartial Government of all;
A saving love; a corresponding call
For ev'ry man, and, in the fittest hour,
For him to hear, all offer'd grace and pow'r;
Which he may want, and have, if he will crave
From him, who willeth nothing but to save.
A Poetical Version Of A Letter From Facob Behmen
’TIS Man’s own Nature, which in its own Life,
Or Centre, stands in Enmity and Strife,
And anxious, selfish, doing what it lists,
(Without God’s Love) that tempts him, and resists;
The Devil also shoots his fiery Dart,
From Grace and Love to turn away the Heart.
This is the greatest Trial; ’tis the Fight
Which Christ, with His internal Love and Light,
Maintains within Man’s Nature, to dispel
God’s Anger, Satan, Sin, and Death, and Hell;
The human Self, or Serpent, to devour,
And raise an Angel from it by His Pow’r.
Now if God’s Love in Christ did not subdue
In some Degree this Selfishness in you,
You would have no such Combat to endure;
The Serpent, then, triumphantly secure,
Would unoppos’d exert its native Right,
And no such Conflict in your Soul excite.
For all the huge Temptation and Distress
Rises in Nature, tho’ God seeks to bless;
The Serpent feeling its tormenting State,
(Which of itself is a mere anxious Hate,)
When God’s amazing Love comes in, to fill
And change the selfish to a God-like Will.
Here Christ, the Serpent-bruiser, stands in Man,
Storming the Devil’s hellish, self-built Plan;
And hence the Strife within the human Soul,—
Satan’s to kill, and Christ’s to make it whole;
As by Experience, in so great Degree,
God in His Goodness causes you to see.…
The next Temptation, which befalls of Course
From Satan and from Nature’s selfish Force,
Is, when the Soul has tasted of the Love
And been illuminated from above;
Still in its Self-hood it would seek to shine,
And as its own possess the Light Divine.
That is, the soulish Nature,—take it right,
As much a Serpent, if without God’s Light,
As Lucifer,—this Nature still would claim
For own Propriety the Heav’nly Flame,
And elevate its Fire to a Degree
Above the Light’s Good Pow’r, which cannot be.
This domineering Self, this Nature-Fire,
Must be transmuted to a Love-Desire.
Now, when this Change is to be undergone,
It looks for some own Pow’r, and, finding none,
Begins to doubt of Grace, unwilling quite
To yield up its self-willing Nature’s Right.
It never quakes for Fear, and will not die
In Light Divine, tho’ to be blest thereby:
The Light of Grace it thinks to be Deceit,
Because it worketh gently without Heat;
Mov’d too by outward Reason, which is blind,
And of itself sees nothing of this Kind.
Who knows, it thinketh, whether it be true
That God is in thee, and enlightens too?
Is it not Fancy? For thou dost not see
Like other People, who as well as thee
Hope for Salvation by the Grace of God,
Without such Fear and Trembling at his Rod.…
The own Self-will must die away, and shine,
Rising thro’ Death, in Saving Will Divine;
And from the Opposition which it tries
Against God’s Will such great Temptations rise;
The Devil too is loth to lose his Prey,
And see his Fort cast down, if it obey.
For, if the Life of Christ within arise,
Self-Lust and false Imagination dies,—
Wholly, it cannot in this present Life,
But by the Flesh maintains the daily Strife,—
Dies, and yet lives; as they alone can tell
In whom Christ fights against the Pow’rs of Hell.
The third Temptation is in Mind and Will,
And Flesh and Blood, if Satan enter still;
Where the false Centres lie in Man, the Springs
Of Pride and Lust, and Love of earthly Things,
And all the Curses wish’d by other Men,
Which are occasion’d by this Devil’s Den.
These in the Astral Spirit make a Fort,
Which all the Sins concentre to support;
And human Will, esteeming for its Joy
What Christ, to save it, combats to destroy,
Will not resign the Pride-erected Tow’r,
Nor live obedient to the Saviour’s Pow’r.…
Let go all earthly Will, and be resign’d
Wholly to Him with all your Heart and Mind!
Be Joy or Sorrow, Comfort or Distress,
Receiv’d alike, for He alike can bless,
To gain the Victory of Christian Faith
Over the World and all Satanic Wrath!