Monday, February 4, 2008

'The time is not long'

A riveting excerpt from Thomas Shepard's sermon series, The Sound Beleever (pp. 316-17), set into verse by Charles Hambrick-Stowe in his book on puritan spiritual practices, The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England (p. 61):

This is therefore the great glory
of all those whom God hath called
to the fellowship of his deare Son;

and which is yet more, blessed be God the time is not long,
but that we shall feel what now we doe but heare of,
and see but a little of,
as we use to doe of things afar off:

We are here but strangers, and have no abiding city,
we look for this that hath foundations;

and therefore let sinne presse us downe;
and weary us out with wrastling with it;

let Satan tempt,
and cast his darts at us;

let our drink be our teares day and night,
and our meat gall and wormwood;

let us be shut up in choaking prisons,
and cast out for dead in the streets,
nay upon dung-hills, and none to bury us;

let us live alone as Pelicans in the wildernesse,
and be driven among wild beasts into deserts;

let us be scourged, and disgraced,
stoned, sawn asunder, and burned;

let us live in sheep-skins, and goat-skins,
destitute, afflicted, tormented
(as who looks not for such days shortly?)

yet oh brethren, the time is not long,
but when we are at the worst,
and death ready to swallow us up;
we shall cry out,
Oh glory, glory,
oh welcome glory.

You can read this sermon series online or download a pdf through

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