FAITH

          Lord, how couldst thou so much appease
Thy wrath for sin, as, when man's sight was dim,
And could see little, to regard his ease,
          And bring by Faith all things to him?

          Hungry I was, and had no meat:
I did conceit a most delicious feast;
I had it straight, and did as truly eat,
          As ever did a welcome guest.

          There is a rare outlandish root,
Which when I could not get, I thought it here:
That apprehension cured so well my foot,
          That I can walk to heaven well near.

          I owed thousands and much more:
I did believe that I did nothing owe,
And lived accordingly; my creditor
          Believes so too, and lets me go.

          Faith makes me anything, or all
That I believe is in the sacred story :
And when sin placeth me in Adam's fall,
          Faith sets me higher in his glory.

          If I go lower in the book,
What can be lower than the common manger ?
Faith puts me there with Him, who sweetly took
          Our flesh and frailty, death and danger.

          If bliss had lien in art or strength,
None but the wise and strong had gained it:
Where now by Faith all arms are of a length;
          One size doth all conditions fit.

          A peasant may believe as much
As a great Clerk, and reach the highest stature.
Thus dost thou make proud knowledge bend and crouch,
          While Grace fills up uneven Nature.

          When creatures had no real light
Inherent in them, thou didst make the sun,
Impute a lustre, and allow them bright:
          And in this show what Christ hath done.

          That which before was darkened clean
With bushy groves, pricking the looker's eye,
Vanish'd away, when Faith did change the scene:
          And then appear'd a glorious sky.

          What though my body run to dust?
Faith cleaves unto it, counting every grain,
With an exact and most particular trust,
          Reserving all for flesh again.


by George Herbert 1593-1633
source: The Poetical Works Of George Herbert, ed. George Gilfillan. Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1853

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