Friday, February 22, 2013

Emptying the Cross of Its Power by our Form of Worship?

Commenting on 1 Corinthians 3:11, Rosner and Ciampa say, "Paul explains why it is imperative that 'each one build with care.'  As Fee states, 'the reason for care in building the superstructure is related to the foundation.' The foundation which has already been laid is Jesus Christ.  This warning is similar to the one in 1:18-25, where a style of public speaking that did not suit 'the message of the cross,' threatened to 'empty it of its power.'"

If a style or form of public speaking can threaten to empty the cross of its power, then a style or form of worship can also empty the cross of its power.  This is my main concern as I look at how the church today in the Evangelical and Reformed world worships.  My fear is that the very form of our worship services is at odds with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Our problem is twofold.  First of all, we have all but eliminated the Lord's Supper from the divine service.  In Reformed circles we have a regulative principle that says that Scripture is to guide our worship services.  This is a good principle, but if we ask the question, Where in Scripture is the worship service instituted? the answer is found in Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of me."  Here is where our Lord instituted the liturgy.

But notice that Jesus instituted the divine service through the meal, and not through the preaching and teaching of the Word.  He knew that his pattern of teaching accompanied by a meal, and his pattern of teaching accompanied by miracles, would ensure for the regular teaching of his people in the liturgy.  He knew that what we would be prone to leave out of the liturgy was the meal, and so he instituted the liturgy with the meal rather than preaching or teaching.

When we leave out the meal, we empty the cross of its power because in the meal we draw near to the risen and exalted Christ.  The meal is a sign and wonder that corresponds to the miracles of Jesus, for it brings us into contact with the crucified and risen Christ.  In the meal Jesus gives us his forgiveness and risen life.  Yes, Jesus also gives these same blessings in the preaching of the Word, but since the teaching of the Word is designed to lead us to this fellowship with the Father and the Son, it is best if we allow it to happen in our services.  If we leave out the meal, our tendency will be to begin to view sermons as mere lectures, instead of teaching that leads us to life because they lead us to Jesus Christ.

The Supper is a kingdom meal.  Jesus told us that he would not eat this meal until he came into his kingdom.  But the risen Christ ate this meal with his disciples on the day of his resurrection!  This meal, therefore, is powerful because in it we meet with our resurrected Christ.  It is the goal of the preached Word.  We are unwise builders if we keep this meal, which brings us into contact with our King, from his people.  The pattern that Jesus gave us continues in his church: teaching and signs, teaching and a meal. This pattern accords with Jesus' death and resurrection, but a change in the pattern he gave us does not.

If the first problem we have has been inherited (although all the evidence shows that the early church participated in the Supper each Lord's Day), our second problem is this generation's own doing.  This second problem is multi-faceted but it involves the first part of the liturgy, which is called the liturgy of the Word as opposed to the second part of the liturgy which is called the liturgy of the table.  Lots of issues are involved in this part of the problem including the proper way to approach God, the role of music, and the reading of God's Word.  The second problem, like the first, is a lack of wisdom in applying the cross to our worship together --- a failure to pay attention to the pattern of worship Jesus gave us in his words of institution and in his ministry.

The cross necessitates that we approach our Father humbly.  The triune God we serve is glorious in holiness.  We can only approach him through a mediator, and that mediator is Jesus.  Early on in our service we must confess our sins and our unworthiness to approach him in and of ourselves.  We do not believe in a theology of glory---the teaching that we can approach God through our own merit or wisdom or spirituality.  We come to him through the blood of the Mediator, which cleanses us.  We come humbly, because original sin still clings to us even as believers, and our need of cleansing and covering by the blood and righteousness of Jesus is constant.

We also come humbly to our Lord to listen.  Imagine coming to Jesus while he walked this earth and spending more time talking to him than he spent talking to us!  Yet this is what we are doing now days as we eliminate Scripture reading from our services, so that we can sing (talk) more and more.  We are to come to him humbly, recognizing that the written Word is a means of grace.  Yes, we should sing as as part of our dialogue with the the Father and the Son, but not to the exclusion of Scripture readings from the Old and New Testaments.

We also need to be careful in the words we sing.  More thought needs to be given to the function of each song in the liturgy.  Some songs are praise; some are prayers; some are confessions and laments; some are teaching; some are exhortation; some are a combination thereof.  The direction of our songs can be vertical from God to us or from us to God.  They can also be horizontal as we address one another.  But these things need to be kept in mind so that our songs serve the dialogue of worship.  Our goal in the liturgy of the Word is to hear Christ, and this is not just applicable to the sermon, but to the entire liturgy of the Word.

Our tendency today is to sing about ourselves!  "I will love, I will serve," etcetera.  Too often we are the subject of our songs, rather than our Lord.  Not only that, by putting words into people's mouths in the first person singular, we make liars out of many in the congregation.  Individual thank offerings in the Old Testament were just that, namely, individual.  The individual brought the thanks for the individual mercies given to him and no one could do that for him.  The place for individual thanks in the divine service is during the quiet of the Supper, but because we no longer have the Supper, we have to compensate!  When we follow Jesus' pattern in the Lord's Prayer of we, us, and our we do not make liars out of the congregation for we are speaking collectively.  If we do not use I and me much in our prayers, then why would we use I's and me's in our songs, which are, for the most part, prayers put to music?

But aren't the Psalms full of I's and me's?  Yes, but we are singing the Psalmists' words and ultimately the words of Jesus to whom the Psalmists pointed.  The Psalmists' I and me is really a collective word, for Jesus is our representative and we are singing the words of Scripture.  I am not saying that we can never sing a hymn or chorus that contains I or me but we have to be very careful.  True worship is a self-offering of ourselves to God in view of his mercies in his Son (Romans 12:1), but we cannot make that offering for others.

If we can empty the cross of its power by a form of public speaking that is inimical to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we can as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 1-4, then it is possible to do the same thing in our form of worship.  We need a form of worship that is in accord with the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus has not left us without such a form!  He instituted the form in the words, "Do this in remembrance of me," and instituted the pattern of worship in his ministry of word and signs and word and meal.  May we build as wise builders, and not as foolish ones, for his glory and our good.  In our worship may we experience the power of the age to come by the Holy Spirit as we taste our Lord's gracious Word and eat his heavenly meal (Hebrews 6:4-5). Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Attraction of Jesus' Service of Word and Meal

One of my contentions about the divine service of worship is that it is first and foremost about Christ's service to us before it is about our service to him.  The glory of the Christian service of worship is Jesus' presence among us, but he is among us as One who serves.  He serves us by teaching us, by serving us a meal, and through these means of grace we are blessed as he gives us his forgiveness and risen life.  We are absolutely dependent on these life-giving means of grace, because in and of ourselves we have no life.

Psalm 146 is a psalm framed by praise and yet at it's heart is not our service to Jesus, but his service to us.  Let's take a look at this psalm:

[146:1] Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
[2] I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

[3] Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
[4] When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
[5] Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
[6] who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;

[7] who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
[8] the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
[9] The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

[10] The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the LORD!

One of the things we rarely talk about is the importance of trust in worship (v. 3-6).  Whatever we trust in is really our god!  If we trust in riches, then money is our god.  If we trust in the state, then the state is our god.  Whatever we trust in to give us happiness is our god.

Israel's tendency was to seek its security in making alliances with the nations around them.  Rather than trusting the Lord who made heaven and earth, they trusted in mortal princes, whose frailty and sin was exhibited by their deaths.

The church in its worship can make the same sort of foolish alliances.  How often, for example, do we put our trust in contemporary music, rather than Christ, to attract people to our church?  Just recently I was in a small group setting and heard about the sanctifying ability of music.  Really?  Do we really want to give sacramental status to music?  Music enhances our worship as we put our prayers, praise, and sometimes God's Word to music.  But in and of itself, music has no ability to sanctify.  Only our Lord can sanctify us by his word and touch, and this is what he does through Word and sacrament as he serves his people.

Trust is necessary to true worship, and by its very nature, trust is receptive.  It looks away from self to Christ to sanctify and satisfy.  This is what we see in verses 7-9.  In these verses we see that Jesus is the Lord incarnate, for who but the Lord can open eyes that are blind?  Jesus is the Lord incarnate, the God of Jacob who made the heaven and earth.  While we are not to trust in mortal princes who die, we are to put our trust in the Prince who died but rose from the dead on the third day!  It was prophesied that when the Christ would come, he would open the eyes of the blind, for he was both David's son and David's Lord.

Look at how needy and dependent Christ's people are in verses 7-9.  They are oppressed by sin and a wicked world.  They hunger and thirst for righteousness.  They long for freedom from sin's enslavement and presence.  They are blind to spiritual reality until the Lord opens their eyes in conversion, but even then their spiritual eyesight is often dim, failing to see the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection for all of life, including worship!

But look at how Christ meets their needs as his people take hold of him by faith.  Are we exiles and sojourners in this dark world? Yes, but we have fellowship with the Father and the Son even as we live in the world that is not our home.  The Spirit lifts our hearts to heaven where Jesus is and we partake of his life and blessings by faith.  In this world we are unloved, and even hated because the world hated and put to death our Lord.  But he is a husband to us, and by his grace his Father becomes our Father and no longer our judge.

This same Lord who saves us by his death is now resurrected and reigning at the right hand of the Father.  He will reign forever in the heavenly Zion where we will live forever with him (v. 10).

What a privilege it is to gather each Lord's Day to be served by our resurrected Christ.  He is present with us---the glorious, risen Lord---present by the Spirit he has given us.  The Spirit lifts us to heaven where we worship around our Lord's throne.  He teaches us through the written Word and the preached Word.  And, then, best of all he gives us his forgiveness and risen life, especially through the meal he gives us.  We eat the bread that came down from heaven and our sins are forgiven.  We drink the blood of his covenant he poured out for us, and his life is given to us, for as the Old Testament teaches us, the life is in the blood.

May we stop trusting in music and all human inventions in worship.  Jesus' way is better.  He comes to serve us by teaching us and feeding us.  What could be better or wiser than that?!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Learning About Worship In Psalm 147

Psalm 147 has a lot to teach us about worship.  It begins with praise and it ends with praise, and each of its three main sections begin with praise.  First, it teaches us who may worship and how we should approach our Father in worship.  Second, it teaches us how our Lord serves his people in worship.  Let's develop these two main points as we look at each main section of the Psalm.

[147:1] Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
[2] The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
[3] He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
[4] He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
[5] Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
[6] The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
(Psalm 147:1-6 ESV)

Each main section of this psalm teaches us who the Lord's people are.  His people are not who we might expect them to be.  His people are the outcasts whom he gathers; the brokenhearted whom he heals; and the humble whom he lifts.

Each main section of the Psalm has an interplay between what the Lord does for all of his creation and what he does for his people, whom he has redeemed.  As the Psalm progresses it is clear that there is a parallel between what the Lord does in creation and what he does in redemption.  Keep this in mind as we move through the Psalm.  We will come back to glance at verse 4 in which the Lord names the stars.

[7] Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
[8] He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
[9] He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
[10] His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
[11] but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
        (Psalm 147:7-11 ESV)

In this section of the Psalm we learn more about the Lord's people.  Not only are they the outcasts, the brokenhearted and the humble, they are also the weak.  Much like the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27, who says that "God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong," Psalm 147 teaches that the Lord does not take delight in human strength.  Rather, he takes pleasure in those who fear him and hope in his covenant love.

Again, note the reference to nature and what the Lord does for nature.  He feeds the animals of the land and the birds of the air.  Keep this thought in mind as we move to the last section of the Psalm.

[12] Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
[13] For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
[14] He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
[15] He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
[16] He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
[17] He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
[18] He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
[19] He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
[20] He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the LORD!
        (Psalm 147:12-20 ESV)

We learn in this final section that the Lord's people are those to whom he gives his word (v. 19).  This is a blessing that no other nation is given, not even the United States! (v. 20).  It is similar to Paul's teaching about wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1-2.  True wisdom comes from God's revelatory word, especially the word about our Lord's death and resurrection:

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. [7] But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. [8] None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8 ESV)

The theme of reversal --- not the proud but the humble, not the strong but the weak, not the wise but the foolish, not the happy but the sad, not the well fed but the hungry, etc., is found throughout Psalm 147.  In Scripture, this theme of reversal comes to its culmination in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord.  It is the outcasts, the brokenhearted, the humble, the weak, and the foolish that the Lord saves, for the Lord who saves was himself cast out of the vineyard and cut off on the cross in order to save us from our sins.  On the cross, our Lord's heart was broken as he suffered and died to save the race that rejected him.  He was God, and is God, and yet he became incarnate, and his humility took him from the heights of heaven to the depths of the cross, so great was his compassion.  He became weak for our sake and allowed himself to die in our place, though legions of angels were waiting for his call.  How foolish all of this looked to the world, and still looks to the world, but the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of this world.  To us who are being saved by our Lord's death and resurrection, the message of the cross is salvation, wisdom, and greatest blessing.  The reversal is now complete for our Lord, who was rejected and despised by the world, but was exalted by God the Father through his resurrection and ascension.  Seated at the right hand of the Father he now has all authority.

In this last section of Psalm 147 we learn that what the Lord does for his creation has a parallel for his redeemed people.  Just as the Lord "gives to the beasts their food" (v. 9), so "He fills you (his people) with the finest of wheat" (v. 14).  Furthermore, we learn that just as the Lord "sends out his command to the earth," --- "his word" which gives the snow and frost of Winter and the wind and warmth of the Spring, so he gives his "word to Jacob," which is something he does only for his people, whom he revives through his life-giving word.

Having seen this parallel between the Lord's feeding of creation and his saved people, and the parallel between his word in nature and his life-giving word to his people, I think it is fair to go back and see that just as he names the stars, so the Lord names his people who receive Jesus as Lord and are a new creation through his resurrection power.  Therefore, in a Psalm that is enveloped by praise we are told about the means of grace: God's Word, God's meal, and God's naming ordinance of baptism!  The worship service is first and foremost about Christ's service to us in Word and sacrament.

But we also learn something about how we should approach this Lord who condescends to serve his baptized people through Word and meal.  We should come humbly, not proudly.  We should come as those who were once outcasts, far away from God.  We should come as those who are brokenhearted, grieving that even as regenerate people, original sin still clings to us so that we do not trust and love our heavenly Father and his Son as we should.  We should come as those who are weak, who have no spiritual life in and of themselves, who are wholly dependent on Christ's declaration of forgiveness and risen life given to us in Word and meal.  We should come as those who are foolish, whose only wisdom is found in God's Word that points us to Jesus, crucified and risen for our sake, whose path of suffering we too must follow, sustained by our Lord's service to us in Word and sacrament, until we experience the complete reversal ourselves on the day of resurrection.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Worshiping With Receptive Faith

What if tomorrow Jesus was physically going to be present at our church. Jesus was going to be in the pulpit. Jesus was going to pass out the bread and wine. Would that not change our reason for going? Would we not come to be served by his teaching, sitting reverently at his feet? Would we not seek by faith to touch him---to ingest his very life through the bread and wine? Undoubtedly, we would come to be served by our Lord (though of course this would result in praise and thanks). But the truth is, Jesus is present with us and we are present with Him as the Spirit lifts us to gather around His throne. So we should come by faith, which is by its very nature, receptive, to receive Christ and his benefits.  

And, if we came to hear from Jesus and instead got a minister who was unfaithful to the words of Jesus, would we not at some point leave such a church? Or, if we went to a church where we never received his life through bread and wine as the Spirit lifted us to heaven, would we not leave such a church?  

Maybe this is one of the things that might change for us if we got the reason for coming to church right!  Maybe we would see people begin to leave their churches in order to come to Jesus, present with us in a powerful way through Word and meal!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Christ's Glory and Service in Worship

In God's providence, I went to a funeral today, led by a UCC pastor, who at one point in the service chose to read some lines from Peter Pan rather than one of the Gospels.  He felt that words from Peter Pan would be more appropriate than words from one of the Gospels.  As I commented to a cousin at the meal afterwards, there is a reason that the Christian faith is waning in our country.

Then, in God's providence on the drive home from the funeral held a couple of hours from Omaha, I heard four Reformed ministers on the radio, all of whom I have met and two of whom I know somewhat.  Hearing these men was a breath of fresh air compared to what I had just experienced. But there was one thing that one of the pastors said that I strongly disagree with, and Reformed people really need to get this point.

This pastor said that worship is a verb, therefore, the main thing in worship is for us to come to serve God. Wrong! and this pastor's own words later in the program show why this is wrong, for later he spoke of how Christ speaks to us through faithful preaching.  Here is the point we are missing: WE COME, FIRST OF ALL, TO RECEIVE FROM OUR LORD JESUS, WHO SERVES US BY TEACHING US AND GIVING US HIS BODY AND BLOOD RECEIVED BY FAITH. We need to get this straight, that the Lord always gets the honor of serving us, before we serve Him (see Psalm 50). 

I really wish Reformed people would begin to see how God is glorified by our dependence, and stop taking away from the glory he deserves in worship as the One who is present among us as One who serves. When we come with ourselves as first in service we actually dishonor Christ, and we empty the divine service of worship of its power. O how we need faith to follow the pattern Jesus gave us of Word and meal, through which He serves us! When restored, the Word and meal pattern, which is in line with the foolishness and weakness of the cross, has the potential to restore the power, which we, His well-intentioned, but not so bright servants, keep emptying! (see 1 Corinthians 1:18ff).

Yes, we can empty the power of the cross like the liberal pastors through simply ignoring and replacing the law and gospel message of the cross.  But we too, as well-intentioned Reformed people, can also empty the cross of its power because the form of our services are contrary to the weakness and foolishness of the cross, which is the wisdom and power of God.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom [and the power and the glory].  Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Does the Regulative Principle Deserve the Praise It Gets?

If you go to a conservative Reformed church for any length of time, it won't take too long to run into the regulative principle of worship.  The regulative principle teaches that we should allow only those elements in public worship that are biblical. While I believe in the regulative principle, I have to admit I am not a big fan of how it is being put into practice in our Reformed churches these days. Here are a few ways we do not pay close enough attention to Scripture in our worship services --- ways in which we fail to be biblical:

First, we ignore the basic structure of worship, which Jesus gave us through his table fellowship with sinners.  This pattern of teaching and meal is regularly ignored and distorted in Reformed churches.  The most obvious way this pattern is neglected is our infrequent participation in the Supper.  Jesus said of the Supper, "Do this in remembrance of me," but on the day that we remember him (the Lord's Day), most Reformed churches do not worship with the pattern Jesus gave us because there is no meal.  There is teaching, but no meal, even though Jesus said to do this.  On the day of resurrection  --- the eighth day, which is a pledge and symbol of our Lord's everlasting kingdom, Reformed churches do not remember their resurrected Lord in the very way he told us to remember him!  So, what good is our regulative principle?

Second, we ignore Jesus' structure of Word and meal, by distorting the service of the Word.  The early church rightly incorporated Jesus' pattern of Word and meal, so that there was a service of the Word and a service of the table.  This pattern of Word and table has been has been mangled in our churches because we do not have the Supper each Lord's Day.  But in our time, this pattern of Word and meal has been mangled even further by turning the service of the Word into a service of music.  Even though Scripture says to be devoted to the public reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13), many Reformed churches do not even have an Old Testament reading in their public service.  Even though the synagogue services that the church inherited had readings from the law, prophets, historical books, and Psalms, we have no Old Testament readings in most of our churches.  Even though the early church added readings from the Gospels and Epistles to readings from the law and prophets, many of our churches have only one reading from the sermon text.  So, again, what good is our regulative principle?

Third, in Reformed churches we are big on "protecting the pulpit" by carefully making sure that our ministers have the right credentials.  I am all for that.  But what about protecting us from all of the preachers/song writers whose words are preached to us and put on our lips in songs and hymns?  Almost anyone and anything is allowed in the early part of our services that would never be allowed in our pulpits.  Songs and hymns from revivalism, from Charismatic movements, and from our culture's obsessive individualism are allowed in---not much is "protected" in this early part of the service---and Scripture reading and prayer are eliminated at least in terms of proportionate time.  We protect the pulpit but not the service of the Word.[1]  The result many times is a schizophrenic kind of service where the theology of our songs is out of step with the theology of our preaching.  Not only has music usurped the place of reading God's Word and prayer because of the amount of time devoted respectively to each, but we are subjected to a theology in our hymns and songs that many times seems a long ways from Scripture.  Jesus participated in the synagogue service of prayers, Scripture readings, the singing of Psalms and teaching, but I seriously doubt if he could sing/participate in some of the vacuous songs we are asked to sing in the service of the Word.  So, again, I ask, what good is our regulative principle?!

I am not an expert on the regulative principle, but as a guy who hears it lauded quite a bit, I am beginning to wonder if it deserves the praise it is getting in our Reformed churches!  Recently I was reading Bruce Waltke explain the meaning of two wisdom words in Proverbs.  He said that these two words "ask its audience to make an intuitive critical judgment of their own behavior," [not others].  Maybe it is time for us, who call ourselves Reformed, to lay off the Lutherans and their normative principle (whose worship often seems more biblical than ours despite their lack of a regulative principle!) and really apply the regulative principle to ourselves.  Is our worship really biblical?  Are we following the words and pattern of our Lord in our worship?


[1] Oddly enough, while we protect the pulpit, but fail to protect the liturgy of the word, we "protect" the table by simply not having it whenever the "priest"...uh, I mean, pastor, happens to be absent!  While we never fail to have a sermon even if the minister is gone, the table, which is more easily administered than the Word, we simply do not have.  It points to the low view we take of meeting with the risen Christ as the Spirit lifts us above to spiritually partake of his forgiveness and risen life.  The wonder of the sacrament of the Supper is that by faith we are able to touch Jesus, so to speak, as the Spirit lifts us into his presence.  Just as Jesus' teaching was often accompanied by miracles, so his teaching through Scripture read and preached is still accompanied by the miracle of the sacrament that brings us into contact with his supernatural life.  Thus, the service of Word and meal is a service of the Spirit and power of Jesus, or at least it can be if we will stop emptying it of that power through our own inventions and cultural accommodation/compromise.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Almighty Judge, how shall poor wretches brook
thy dreadful loable a heart of iron to appall,
when thou shalt call
for ev'ry man's peculiar book?

What others mean to do, I know not well;
yet I hear tell,
that some will turn thee to some leaves therein,
so void of sin,
that they in merit shall excel.

But I resolve, when thou shalt call for mine,
that to decline,
and thrust a Testament into thy hand;
let that be scann'd,
there thou shalt find my faults are thine.

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