Ralph Erskine Poems >>
The Believer's Jointure : Chapter I.
Containing the Privileges of the Believer that is espoused to Christ by faith of divine operation.
The Believer's perfect beauty, free acceptance, and full security, through the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness, though imparted grace be imperfect.
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.
Christ the Believer's friend, prophet, priest, king, defence, guide, guard, help, and healer.
Dear soul, when all the human race
Lay welt'ring in their gore,
Vast numbers, in that dismal case,
Thy Husband passed o'er.
But, pray, why did he thousands pass,
And set his heart on thee?
The deep, the searchless reason was,
Thy Husband's love is free.
The forms of favour, names of grace,
And offices of love,
He bears for thee, with open face,
Thy Husband's kindness prove.
'Gainst darkness black, and error blind,
Thou hast a Sun and Shield:
And, to reveal the Father's mind,
Thy Husband's Prophet seal'd.
He likewise to procure thy peace,
And save from sin's arrest,
Resign'd himself a sacrifice;
Thy Husband is thy Priest.
And that he might thy will subject,
And sweetly captive bring;
Thy sins subdue, his throne erect,
Thy Husband is thy King.
Though num'rous and assaulting foes
Thy joyful peace may mar:
And thou a thousand battles lose,
Thy Husband wins the war.
Hell's forces, with thy mind appal,
His arm can soon dispatch;
How strong soe'er, yet for them all,
Thy Husband's more than match.
Though secret lusts, with hid contest,
By heavy groans reveal'd,
And devil's rage; yet, do their best
Thy Husband keeps the field.
When in desertion's ev'ning dark,
Thy steps are apt to slide,
His conduct seek, his counsel mark;
Thy Husband is thy guide.
In doubts, renouncing self-conceit,
His word and Spirit prize:
He never counsell'd wrong as yet,
Thy Husband is so wise.
When weak, thy refuge seest at hand,
Yet cannot run the length:
'Tis present pow'r to understand
Thy Husband is thy strength.
When shaking storms annoy thy heart,
His word commands a calm:
When bleeding wounds, to ease thy smart,
Thy Husband's blood is balm.
Trust creatures not, to help thy thrall
Nor to assuage thy grief:
Use means, but look beyond them all,
Thy Husband's thy relief.
If Heav'n prescribe a bitter drug,
Fret not with froward will:
This carriage may thy cure prorogue;
Thy Husband wants not skill.
He sees the sore, he knows the cure
Will most adapted be;
'Tis then most reasonable, sure,
Thy Husband choose for thee.
Friendship is in his chastisements,
And favour in his frowns;
Thence judge not that in heavy plaints,
Thy Husband thee disowns.
The deeper his sharp lancet go
In ripping up thy wound,
The more thy healing shall unto
Thy Husband's praise redound.
Christ the Believer's wonderful physician, and wealthy friend.
Kind Jesus empties whom he'll find,
Casts down whom he will raise;
He quickens whom he seems to kill;
Thy Husband thus gets praise.
When awful rods are in his hand,
There's mercy in his mind;
When clouds upon his brow do stand,
Thy Husband's heart is kind.
In various changes to and fro,
He'll ever constant prove;
Nor can his kindness come and go,
Thy Husband's name is Love.
His friends, in most afflicted lot
His favour most have felt;
For when they're try'd in furnace hot,
Thy Husband's bowels melt.
When he his bride or wounds or heals,
Heart-kindness does him move;
And wraps in frowns as well as smiles,
Thy Husband's lasting love.
In's hand no cure could ever fail,
Though of a hopeless state;
He can in desp'rate cases heal,
Thy Husband's art's so great.
The medicine he did prepare,
Can't fail to work for good:
O balsam pow'rful, precious, rare,
Thy Husband's sacred blood:
Which freely from his broached breast
Gush'd out like pent-up fire.
His cures are best, his wages least,
Thy Husband takes no hire.
Thou hast no worth, no might, no good,
His favour to procure:
But see his store, his pow'r, his blood!
Thy Husband's never poor.
Himself he humbled wondrously
Once to the lowest pitch,
That bankrupts through his poverty
Thy Husband might enrich.
His treasure is more excellent
Than hills of Ophir gold:
In telling stores were ages spent,
Thy Husband's can't be told.
All things that fly on wings of fame,
Compar'd with this are dross;
Thy searchless riches in his name
Thy Husband doth engross.
The great Immanuel, God-man,
Includes such store divine,
Angels and saints will never scan
Thy Husband's golden mine.
He's full of grace and truth indeed,
Of spirit, merit, might;
Of all the wealth that bankrupts need,
Thy Husband's heir by right.
Though Heav'n's his throne, he came from thence,
To seek and save the lost;
Whatever be the vast expence,
Thy Husband's at the cost.
Pleas'd to expend each drop of blood
That fill'd his royal veins,
He frank the sacred victim stood;
Thy Husband spar'd no pains.
His cost immense was in thy place,
Thy freedom cost his thrall;
Thy glory cost him deep disgrace,
Thy Husband paid for all.
The Believer's safety under the covert of Christ's atoning Blood, and powerful Intercession.
When Heav'n proclaim'd hot war and wrath,
And sin increas'd the strife;
By rich obedience unto death,
Thy Husband bought thy life.
The charges could not be abridg'd,
But on these noble terms;
Which all that prize, are hugg'd amidst,
Thy Husband's folded arms.
When law condemns, and justice too
To prison would thee bale;
As sureties kind for bankrupts do,
Thy Husband offers bail.
God on these terms is reconcil'd,
And thou his heart hast won;
In Christ thou art his favour'd child,
Thy Husband is his son.
Vindictive wrath is whole appeas'd,
Thou need'st not then be mov'd;
In Jesus always he's well pleas'd,
Thy Husband his Belov'd.
What can be laid unto thy charge,
When God does not condemn?
Bills of complaint, though foes enlarge,
Thy Husband answers them.
When fear thy guilty mind confounds,
Full comfort this may yield,
Thy ranson-bill with blood and wounds
Thy Husband kind has seal'd.
His promise is the fair extract
Thou hast at hand to shew;
Stern justice can no more exact,
Thy Husband paid its due.
No terms he left thee to fulil,
No clog to mar thy faith;
His bond is sign'd, his latter-will
Thy Husband seal'd by death.
The great condition of the band,
Of promise and of bliss,
Is wrought by him, and brought to hand,
Thy Husband's righteousness.
When therefore press'd in time of need,
To sue the promis'd good,
Thou hast no more to do but plead
Th Husband's sealing blood.
This can thee more to God commend,
And cloudy wrath dispel,
Than e'er thy sinning could offend;
Thy Husband vanquish'd hell.
When vengeance seems, for broken laws,
To light on thee with dread;
Let Christ be umpire of thy cause,
Thy Husband well can plead.
He pleads his righteousness, that brought
All rents the law could crave;
Whate'er its precepts, threat'nings, sought,
Thy Husband fully gave.
Did holiness in precepts stand,
And for perfection call,
Justice in threat'nings death demand?
Thy Husband gave it all.
His blood the fiery law did quench,
Its summons need not scare;
Tho't cite thee to Heav'n's awful bench,
Thy Husband's at the bar.
This Advocate has much to say,
His clients need not fear;
For God the Father hears him ay,
Thy Husband hath his ear.
A cause fail'd never in his hand,
So strong his pleading is;
His Father grants his whole demand,
Thy Husband's will is his.
Hell-forces all may rendezvous,
Accusers may combine;
Yet fear thou not, who art his spouse,
Thy Husband's cause is thine.
By solemn oath Jehovah did
His priesthood ratify;
Let earth and hell then counterplead,
Thy Husband gains the plea.
The Believer's Faith and Hope encouraged, even in the darkest nights of desertion and distress.
The cunning serpent may accuse,
But never shall succeed;
The God of peace will Satan bruise,
Thy Husband broke his head.
Hell-furies threaten to devour,
Like lions robb'd of whelps:
But, lo! in ev'ry per'lous hour
Thy Husband always helps.
That feeble faith may never fail,
Thine Advocate has pray'd;
Though winnowing tempest may assail,
Thy Husband's near to aid.
Though grievous trials grow apace,
And put thee to a stand;
Thou mayst rejoice, in ev'ry case
Thy Husband's help's at hand.
Trust, though, when in desertion dark
No twinkling star by night,
No transient ray, no glim'ring spark;
Thy Husband is thy light.
His beams anon the clouds will rent,
And through the vapours run;
For of the brightest firmament
Thy Husband is the Sun.
Without the Sun who mourning go,
And scarce the way can find,
He brings through paths they do not know;
Thy Husband leads the blind.
Through fire and water he with skill
Brings to a wealthy land;
Rude flames and roaring floods, Be Still,
Thy Husband can command.
When sin disorders heavy brings,
That press thy soul with weight;
Then mind how many crooked things
Thy Husband has made straight.
Still look to him with longing eyes,
Though both thine eyes should fail;
Cry, and at length, though not thy cries,
Thy Husband shall prevail.
Still hope for favour at his hand,
Though favour don't appear;
When help seems most aloft to stand,
Thy Husband's then most near.
In cases hopeless-like, faint hopes
May fail, and fears annoy:
But most when stript of earthly props,
Thy Husband thou'lt enjoy.
If providence the promise thwart,
And yet thy humbled mind
'Gainst hope believes in hope, thou art
Thy Husband's dearest friend.
Art thou a weakling, poor and faint,
In jeopardy each hour!
Let not thy weakness move thy plaint,
Thy Husband has the pow'r.
Dread not the foes that foil'd thee long,
Will ruin thee at length:
When thou art weak, then art thou strong;
Thy Husband is thy strength.
When foes are mighty, many too,
Don't fear, nor quit the field;
'Tis not with thee they have to do,
Thy Husband is thy shield.
'Tis hard to fight against an host,
Or strive against the stream;
But, lo! when all seems to be lost,
Thy Husband will redeem.
Benefits accruing to Believers from the offices, names, natures, and sufferings of Christ.
Art thou by lusts a captive led,
Which breeds thy deepest grief?
To ransom captives is his trade,
Thy Husband's thy relief.
His precious name is Jesus, why?
Because he saves from sin;
Redemption-right he won't deny,
Thy Husband's near of kin.
His wounds have sav'd thee once from woes,
His blood from vengeance screen'd;
When heav'n, and earth, and hell were foes,
Thy Husband was a friend:
And will thy Captain now look on,
And see thee trampled down?
When lo! thy Champion has the throne,
Thy Husband wears the crown.
Yield not, though cunning Satan bribe,
Or like a lion roar;
The Lion strong of Judah's tribe,
Thy Husband goes before.
And that he never will forsake,
His credit fair he pawn'd;
In hottest broils, then, courage take,
Thy Husband's at thy hand.
No storm needs drive thee to a strait,
Who dost his aid invoke:
Fierce winds may blow, proud wave may beat,
Thy Husband is a rock.
Renounce thine own ability,
Lean to his promis'd might;
The strength of Israel cannot lie,
Thy Husband's pow'r is plight.
An awful truth does here present,
Whoever think it odd;
In him thou art omnipotent,
Thy Husband is a God.
Jehovah's strength is in thy Head,
Which faith may boldly scan;
God in thy nature does reside,
Thy Husband is a man.
Thy flesh is his, his Spirit thine;
And that you both are one,
One body, spirit, temple, vine,
Thy Husband deigns to own.
Kind he assum'd thy flesh and blood,
This union to pursue;
And without shame his brotherhood
Thy Husband does avow.
He bore the cross, thy crown to win,
His blood he freely spilt;
The holy one, assuming sin,
Thy Husband bore the guilt.
Lo! what a bless'd exchange is this!
What wisdom shines therein!
That thou might'st be made righteousness
Thy Husband was made sin.
Thy God of joy a man of grief,
Thy sorrows to discuss;
Pure innocence hang'd as a thief:
Thy Husband lov'd thee thus.
Bright beauty had his visage marr'd,
His comely form abus'd:
True rest was from all rest debarr'd,
Thy Husband's heel was bruis'd.
The God of blessings was a curse,
The Lord of lords a drudge,
The heir of all things poor in purse:
Thy Husband did not grudge.
The Judge of all condemned was,
The Lord immortal slain:
No favour, in thy woful cause,
Thy Husband did obtain.
Christ's Sufferings further improved; and Believers called to live by faith, both when they have, and want sensible influences.
Loud praises sing, without surcease,
To him that frankly came,
And gave his soul a sacrifice;
Thy Husband was the Lamb.
What waken'd vengeance could denounce,
All round him did beset;
And never left his soul, till once
Thy Husband paid the debt.
And though new debt thou still contract,
And run deep arrears;
Yet all thy burdens on his back
Thy Husband always bears.
Thy Judge will ne'er demand of thee
Two payments for one debt;
Thee with one victim wholly free
Thy Husband kindly set.
That no grim vengeance might thee meet,
Thy Husband met with all;
And, that thy soul might drink the sweet,
Thy Husband drank the gall.
Full breasts of joy he loves t' extend,
Like to a kindly nurse;
And, that thy bliss might full be gain'd,
Thy Husband was a curse.
Thy sins he glu'd unto the tree,
His blood this virtue hath;
For, that thy heart to sin might die,
Thy Husband suffer'd death.
To purchase fully all thy good,
All evil him befel;
To win thy heav'n with streams of blood,
Thy Husband quenched hell.
That this kind Days-Man in one band
Might God and man betroth,
He on both parties lays his hand,
Thy Husband pleases both.
The blood that could stern justice please,
And law-demands fulfil,
Can also guilty conscience ease;
Thy Husband clears the bill.
Thy highest glory is obtain'd
By his abasement deep:
And, that thy tears might all be drain'd,
Thy Husband chose to weep.
His bondage all thy freedom bought,
He stoop'd so lowly down:
His grappling all thy grandeur brought,
Thy Husband's cross, thy crown.
'Tis by his shock thy sceptre sways,
His warfare ends thy strife;
His poverty thy wealth conveys,
Thy Husband's death's thy life.
Do mortal damps invade thy heart,
And deadness seize thee sore?
Rejoice in this, that life t' impart
Thy Husband eas in store.
And when new life imparted seems
Establish'd as a rock,
Boast in the Fountain, not the streams;
Thy Husband is thy stock.
The streams may take a various turn,
The Fountain never moves:
Cease then, o'er failing streams to mourn,
Thy Husband thus thee proves.
That glad thou may'st, when drops are gone,
Joy in the spacious sea:
When incomes fail, then still upon
Thy Husband keep thine eye.
But can't thou look, nor moan thy strait,
So dark's the dismal hour?
Yet, as thou'rt able, cry, and wait
Thy Husband's day of pow'r.
Tell him, though sin prolong the term,
Yet love can scarce delay:
Thy want, his promise, all affirm,
Thy Husband must not stay.
Christ the Believer's enriching Treasure.
Kind Jesus lives, thy life to be
Who mak'st him thy refuge:
And, when he comes, thou'lt joy to see,
Thy Husband shall be judge.
Should passing troubles thee annoy,
Without, within, or both?
Since endless life thou'lt then enjoy,
Thy Husband pledg'd his truth.
What! won't he ev'n in time impart
That's for thy real good?
He gave his love, he gave his heart,
Thy Husband gave his blood.
He gives himself, and what should more?
What can he then refuse?
If this won't please thee, ah! how sore
Thy Husband dost abuse!
Earth's fruit, heav'n's dew he won't deny,
Whose eyes thy need behold:
Nought under or above the sky
Thy Husband will with-hold.
Dost losses grieve? Since all is thine,
What loss can thee befall?
All things for good to thee combine,
Thy Husband orders all.
Thou'rt not put off with barren leaves,
Or dung of earthly-pelf;
More wealth than heav'n and earth he gives,
Thy Husband's thine himself.
Thou hast enough to stay thy plaint,
Else thou complain'st of ease;
For, having all, don't speak of want,
Thy Husband may suffice.
From this thy store, believing, take
Wealth to the utmost pitch:
The gold of Ophir cannot make,
Thy Husband makes thee rich.
Some, flying gains acquire by pains,
And, some by plund'ring toil;
Such treasure fades, but thine remains,
Thy Husband's cannot spoil.
Christ the Believer's adorning Garment.
Yea, thou excell'st in rich attire
The lamp that lights the globe:
Thy sparkling garment heav'ns admire,
Thy Husband is thy robe.
This raiment never waxes old,
'Tis always new and clean:
From summer-heat, and winter-cold,
Thy Husband can thee screen.
All who the name of worthies bore,
Since Adam was undrest,
No worth acquir'd, but as they wore
Thy Husband's purple vest.
This linen fine can beautify
The soul with sin begirt;
O bless his name, that e'er on thee
Thy Husband spread his skirt.
Are dung-hills deck'd with flow'ry glore,
Which Solomon's outvie?
Sure thine is infinitely more,
Thy Husband decks the sky.
Thy hands could never work the dress,
By grace alone thou'rt gay;
Grace vents and reigns through righteousness;
Thy Husband's bright array.
To spin thy robe no more dost need
Than lilies toil for theirs;
Out of his bowels ev'ry thread
Thy Husband thine prepares.
Christ the Believer's sweet Nourishment
Thy food, conform to thine array,
Is heav'nly and divine;
On pastures green, where angels play,
Thy Husband feeds thee fine.
Angelic food may make thee fair,
And look with cheerful face:
The bread of life, the double share,
Thy Husband's love and grace.
What can he give or thou desire,
More than his flesh and blood?
Let angels wonder, saints admire,
Thy Husband is thy food.
His flesh the incarnation bears,
From whence thy feeding flows;
His blood the satisfaction clear;
Thy Husband both bestows.
Th' incarnate God a sacrifice
To turn the wrathful tide,
Is food for faith; that may suffice
Thy Husband's guilty bride.
This strength'ning food may fit and fence
For work and war to come;
Till through the crowd, some moments hence,
Thy Husband bring thee home:
Where plenteous feasting will succeed
To scanty feeding here:
And joyful at the table-head
Thy Husband fair appear.
The crumbs to banquets will give place,
And drops to rivers new;
While heart and eye will, face to face,
Thy Husband ever view.
More Poetry from Ralph Erskine:
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- The Believer's Espousals : Chapter II. (Ralph Erskine Poems)
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