Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Resolution

An extract from "The Resolution," a poem written by Richard Baxter on December 3, 1662, "written," he says, "when I was silenced and cast out" on Black Bartholomew's Day, in Poetical Fragments, pp. 40-41:

4. Must I be driven from my Books?
From House, and Goods, and dearest Friends?

One of thy sweet and gracious looks,
For more than this will make amends.
The World's thy Book: There I can read,
Thy Power, Wisdom, and thy Love:
And thence ascend by Faith, and feed
Upon the better things above.

I'll read thy works of Providence:
Thy Spirit, Conscience, and thy Rod
Can teach without book all the sense,
To know the World, my Self, and God.
Few Books may serve, when Thou wilt teach:
Many have stolen my precious time:
I'll leave my Books to hear thee preach:
Church-Work is best when thou dost chime.

As for my House, it was my Tent,
While there I waited on thy Flock:
That work is done; that time is spent:
There neither was my Home nor Stock.
Would I in all my Journey have
Still the same Inn and Furniture?
Or ease and pleasant dwellings crave,
Forgetting what thy Saints endure?

My Lord hath taught me how to want
A place wherein to put my head:
While he is mine, I'll be content,
To beg or lack my daily bread.
Heav'n is my roof, Earth is my floor:
Thy Love can keep me dry and warm:
Christ and thy Bounty are my store:
Thy Angels guard me from all harm.

As for my Friends, they are not lost:
The several Vessels of thy Fleet,
Though parted now by Tempests tost,
Shall safely in the Haven meet.
Still we are centered all in thee;
Members tho distant, of one Head:
In the same Family we be,
By the same Faith and Spirit led.

Before thy Throne we daily meet,
As Joint Petitioners to thee:
In spirit we each other greet,
And shall again each other see.
The Heavenly Hosts world without end
Shall be my company above:
And thou my best and surest Friend:
Who shall divide me from thy Love?

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