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Or rather neither, but a treasure
Let not his birth-day clouded be,
THE CIRCUMCISION, OR NEW-YEAR'S DAY.
SORROW betide my sins! Must smart so soon
Unto an eighth day's age?
Can nothing else assuage
Is this thy welcome to the world, great God !
Of sin-incensed wrath ?
Alas I what pleasure hath
Is it to antedate thy death? to indite
The copy with thy blood,
Since nothing is so good ? Or, is 't by this experiment to try, Whether thou beest born mortal, and canst die ?
If man must needs draw blood of God, yet why Stays he not till thy time be come to die?
Didst thou thus early bleed
For us to show what need We have to hasten unto thee as fast; And learn that all the time is lost that's pass'd ?
'Tis true, we should do so : Yet in this blood There's something else, that must be understood ;
It seals thy covenant,
That so we may not want Witness enough against thee, that thou art Made subject to the Law, to act our part.
The sacrament of thy regeneration
Of what thou wert, but we :
In holy Baptism this is brought to me,
So that thy loss and pain
Do prove my joy and gain.
O blessed change! Yet, rightly understood, That blood was water, and this water 's blood.
What shall I give again,
To recompense thy pain?
THE EPIPHANY, OR TWELFTH-DAY.
GREAT, without controversy great,
They that do know it will confess
The mystery of godliness; Whereof the Gospel doth intreat.
God in the flesh is manifest,
And that which hath for ever been
Invisible, may now be seen, The eternal Deity new drest.
Angels to shepherds brought the news :
And Wise men, guided by a Star,
To seek the Sun, are come from far: Gentiles have got the start of Jews.
The stable and the manger hide
His glory from his own ; but these
Though strangers, his resplendent rays Of Majesty divine have spied.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they give ;
And worshipping him plainly show,
That unto him they all things owe, By whose free gift it is they live.
Though clouded in a veil of flesh,
The Sun of Righteousness appears,
Melting cold cares, and frosty fears,
O that his light and influence,
Would work effectually in me
Another new Epiphany,
That, as my calling doth require,
Star-like I may to others shine ;
And guide them to that Sun divine,
THE PASSION, OR GOOD FRIDAY.
This day my Saviour died : and do I live?
What, hath not sorrow slain me yet?
His life for mine, and do I set
So full of glory, and of bliss ?
Did his free mercy, and mere love to me,
Make him forsake his glorious throne, And mount a cross, the stage of infamy,
That so he might not die alone ; But dying suffer more through grief and shame,
Than mortal men have power to name?
And can ingratitude so far prevail,
To keep me living still ? Alas! Methinks some thorn out of his crown, some nail,
At least his spear, might pierce, and pass Thorough, and thorough, till it rived mine heart,
As the right death-deserving part.
And doth he not expect it should be so ?
Would he lay down a price so great,
Accordingly? Shall I defeat
His death must needs be death to me.
My life's not mine, but his : for he did die
That I might live : yet died so,
Thorough the gates of death must go
Is a part in his death to bear.
Die then, dull soul, and if thou canst not die,
Dissolve thyself into a Sea Of living tears, whose streams may ne'er go dry,
Nor turned be another way, Till they have drown'd all joys, but those alone,
Which sorrow claimeth for its own.
For sorrow hath its joys: and I am glad
That I would grieve, if I do not :
And sorrowful, this day, my lot
Uncapable of all relief.