The Believer’s Jointure – Chapter One

This poem is a part of Ralph Erskine’s (1685-1752) Gospel Sonnets, it is the first chapter of “The Believer’s Jointure” and it is powerful:

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.

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Filed under poetry, ralph erskine

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