Holy Haunting

Richard Dawkins has a new book out recently attempting to persuade young people to jettison belief in God. Dawkins is an evangelist of sorts for the restless sort of atheism which is discontent with widespread belief in God(s) – but mostly the Christian God.

I don’t believe in the things that Dawkins compares with God: unicorns, leprechauns, or fairies – but I’m not publishing books on how or why not to believe in those things. If belief in God is safely far on the right of ridiculousness, then why is Dawkins continually making a career of evangelizing persons into unbelief? I contend Dawkins is what I was as an atheist – haunted by the Christian God. He [God] ever lives in the conscience of unbelievers never allowing them to live in full moral freedom, always reminding their sub-conscience of their rebellion and need for forgiveness. They can never forgive Him for it.

This isn’t merely a lone hypothesis of an amused believer: psychological studies show atheists, and agnostics often choose unbelief not after a critical examination of the “evidence” for God, but because of psychological disappointment in a God. The thing they accuse believers of is the real determiner for so many: emotion. Further, this emotion often exists in the form of anger toward God.

Some atheists and agnostics reported anger involving God, particularly on measures emphasizing past experiences (Study 2) and images of a hypothetical God (Study 3). Anger toward God was associated with poorer adjustment to bereavement (Study 4) and cancer (Study 5), particularly when anger remained unresolved over a 1-year period (Study 5). Taken together, these studies suggest that anger toward God is an important dimension of religious and spiritual experience, one that is measurable, widespread, and related to adjustment across various contexts and populations.

Exline JJ1, Park CL, Smyth JM, Carey MP; Anger toward God: social-cognitive predictors, prevalence, and links with adjustment to bereavement and cancer. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2011 Jan;100(1):129-48. doi: 10.1037/a0021716.

More evidence follows:

Our interest was piqued by an early study of anger toward God among undergraduates (Exline et al., 1999), which revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward God than believers. At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God? Reanalyses of a second dataset (Exline, Fisher, Rose, & Kampani, 2004; Kampani & Exline, 2002) revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as “atheist/agnostic” or “none/unsure” reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation. Further analyses identified a group of conflicted believers (or slipping believers), all of whom had previously believed that God exists (or might exist) but no longer believed at the time of the study. When compared with believers, these individuals reported more anger toward God. These findings raised the question of whether anger might actually affect belief in God’s existence, an idea in line with Novotni and Petersen’s (2001) clinical descriptions of emotional atheism.

Worthington, Everett L. Handbook on Forgiveness (Routledge: 2005), p 79.

Other studies show that atheists have cognitive dissonance regarding what they say they believe about God and what they feel toward Him. For instance, one study had religious and unbelievers repeat statements daring God to do something harmful. The atheists who had skin electrodes showed the same stress levels at daring God as religious people.

So atheists: you’re not fooling anyone – and certainly not God. Romans 1:21 states this clearly:

For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.

I have compassion on atheists. In some sense they have their lives robbed from them by their own rebellion. They can have no moral rest from the God who haunts them until they repent. If you lived in an atheistic universe, you could have rest. Since you live in God’s universe, you’re only hope is to come to the Savior who said:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30.

Them Crazy Baptists

An early Baptist meeting

In the Modernist world, it became popular, following the example of Thomas Jefferson so many generations ago, for Christians to edit the supernatural out of their faith. This was a constant trajectory all the way back from the Enlightenment (1600s) when theologians began to think science had closed the door for the truthfulness of miracle accounts in the Bible – much less miracles by contemporary Christians. With the development of Postmodernism and all its uncertainty, people today seem more open to the possibility of the supernatural, however, even among Evangelical Christians (those who hold to Scriptural teachings most literally) there is a general lack of openness to supernatural things happening in their midst.

Jack Deere, the Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) professor who became Charismatic overnight is one example of a dramatic turn from this Enlightenment/anti-Pentecostal influenced position toward openness to the supernatural, but what about my Baptist brethren? In the 1970s, Charismatic teachings and experience had affected all the major denominations in the US, including the SBC. They had their own SBC Charismatic Conference in 1976. Today, though, most Southern Baptists are Cessationists (believing the supernatural gifts do not continue to present day).

But what about the original US Baptists? It turns out many were much more open to the practice:

One rarely gets glimpses of the individual spirituality of these early American Baptists, but we do have an account of a remarkable experience by Philip James that may suggest that evangelical mysticism— including dreams, trances, and visions— was common among the Regular Baptists. Early Baptist historian Morgan Edwards noted that when one of James’s children died in 1753, the despondent pastor fell into a kind of coma. When he awoke, he told his family that during the trance:

“my soul quitted my body [and] the resemblance of a man in black made towards me, and (frowning and chiding for wishing to die) took me up towards the sun, which filled me with fear. As I was ascending, a bright figure interposed and my black conductor was pushed off. The bright man took me by the hand and said, “we go this way,” pointing to the north. And as we ascended, I saw a company of angels and my child among them, (clothed in white and in the full stature of a man) sing with them as the company passed by us, whereupon my bright conductor said, “I am one of that company and must join them.” And as he quitted me I found myself sinking fast till I came to my body.

Edwards’s admiring account of James’s experience hints that this kind of spirit journey was acceptable among many early American Baptists, just as it was among American evangelicals more broadly.

Baptists in America: A History by Thomas S. Kidd, Barry Hankins (OUP, 2015), 27-28.

It’s certainly interesting. Is it simply isolated though?

There’s an account in Thomas Kidd’s (of Baylor; no mean scholar) work on the Great Awakening of a persecuting party coming to arrest some Baptist leaders (Baptists were a persecuted minority in the American Colonies):

A party coming to arrest the church’s leaders was struck temporarily blind in the night by a flash of light followed by thick darkness. The persecutors “agreed that this strange event was a warning to them;…. which procured quietness to the poor baptists.”

Kidd, Thomas. The Great Awakening (Yale: 2007), 245. Cited from early Baptist historian Morgan Edwards in Materials Towards a History of the Baptists.

Should the account be truthful, it would appear the Lord protected the Baptists with a miracle. That’d make present day Baptists a wee bit uncomfortable.

The Separate Baptists [Baptists formed during the First Great Awakening] regularly reported signs, wonders, and divine communications in their early years in the South. North Carolina Baptist minister James Read reported receiving “frequent teachings from God” and dreams calling him into Virginia. Both waking and sleeping, “he felt his soul earnestly impressed with the desire to preach there. In his dreams he saw large congregations assembled to hear him, and his family heard him crying out, “O Virginia, Virginia, Virginia!” in his sleep. Just as he was preparing to set out, messengers arrived from Virginia pleading with him to come.

Meetings typically ran late into the night, and “sometimes the floor would be covered with persons struck down under conviction of sin.”

Ibid, 246.

So there’s visions, dreams, prophecies. What about healing?

Waller was reported to have remarkable preaching gifts, and at least once he administered a miraculous healing. The wife of the Baptist minister in Buckingham, Virginia, was healed of “deplorable violent spasms” by Waller’s prayers and anointing of oil.

Ibid.

Moreover, Baptists arose because biblical literacy became a thing just after the Reformation (Bibles became common in a language people could understand). As there’s no clear instance of infant baptism in Scripture, so Baptists said, “let’s do this upon conscious trust in Christianity” rather than being born in the right family.

On a similar note, James 5:15 contains a promise about healing for the sick by Elders of the church. Thus, Baptists going by the Scriptures began anointing the sick and some were healed. As a result they were attacked by Cessationist churches. Can anyone imagine Baptists today being attacked for widespread healing ministries? Or of that being a distinctive of that group?

It would be nice if Baptists just going by the Scriptures instead of reacting against Pentecostalism/Charismatics and falling in line with the Enlightenment. Them crazy [early] Baptists were on to something. Maybe them sane, ordinary Baptists can learn something from them.

Use yo gifts, girl!

It may seem ridiculous to non-evangelicals, but this is a real question within our circles.

I am a seminarian at a pretty conservative evangelical seminary embroiled in a debate over the place of women in the church. In a denomination committed to the literal interpretation of the Scripture (which commissions males and females into certain roles), how can we accommodate our sisters in Christ, some of which are extraordinarily gifted.

I see a few things happening as I observe my seminary community: first, I see a lot of women who are thirsty for influence. I don’t mean this in a bad way: these women are gifted in theological understanding, communication, thoughtfulness, counseling ability, and many other things. True to the name of the famous/infamous doctrine, they complement men well in the ways they are gifted.

Second, I see some chafing against the present implementation of the doctrine known as complementarianism. This a doctrine which says certain church offices (pastor, teacher of men) are restricted to men. Sometimes, however the implementation can go a bit further than Scripture warrants, and indeed the way some proponents of complementarianism have discussed the issue displays something moderns would call patriarchy, and the Bible would call failing to obey the second greatest commandment (“love your neighbor as yourself”; cf. Matthew 26:32-39).

Third, I am writing this article because inspiration struck after reading a book review related to the subject of Evangelical/Mainline Protestant women in ministry. At the end of the article is this statement by the reviewer (an Evangelical woman with a sort of public/parachurch role):

As I consider my influence on my church family and the wider world, I want to cultivate the ministry of availability. This will involve saying no to good opportunities for gospel ministry, perhaps even some that would bring me more influence. Jesus prizes faithfulness (Matt. 25:23), and the pursuit of celebrity status or influence for its own sake is more likely to distract us from that calling than to fulfill it.

What struck me was the Scripture reference she used to support her statement that Jesus values faithfulness rather than influence. In the reference, Jesus gives a parable about how rewards will be recompensed in at the judgment for Jesus people based on how they lived their lives on earth. In the parable, one person coming to Jesus is given 5 coins, another 2, and another 1 – the amount being given “depending on each one’s ability.” Another way of saying this is based on the sort of physical, intellectual, and spiritual capital you’ve got. Your gifts and talents (which, ironically in English translations, is the type of currency that Jesus calls the coins).

Jesus, in the parable, expects the people to use the gifts to make a sort of profit back equivalent to those coins. The person with 5 coins makes 5 more, the one with two coins, two more. Finally the person with one coin just hides their gifts – they don’t use them at all. Jesus throws that guy into hell!

What lesson do I think Jesus wants us to gain? I see all these single ladies at seminary and in churches. A pastor, which I believe is reserved for men in Scripture, is called to help equip saints for the work of ministry. We need to do a better job of giving women a shot at everything they are or could be gifted at. I don’t think this means throwing out the possibility of faithful homemaking out of the picture, but I do believe it means that we should widen the scope of the possibilities.

Some women of influence have concluded you can’t have both dreams – power and a family. Yet what about all the single ladies in our churches and Christian colleges/seminaries?

I say, girl use your gifts in every way Scripture allows. Your church needs it and Jesus will hold ya accountable for it one day. Pastors and male church leaders: lets get out of the way because God wants a generations of ladies to get to work for Jesus’ sake.

Something better than minimum wage.

I’ve been poor lately. Quite poor actually. Despite having a masters and multiple years of experience in my field, I left my career and went back to grad school. The result was, of course, relative poverty.

Relative poverty isn’t necessarily being kicked on the streets. This kind of poverty does mean a significant lifestyle adjustment. It meant rice and beans – if that. It meant going without health insurance. There’s gotta be something better than minimum wage, though, granted, I chose this life.

I was reading ancient literature this morning. The sort that people fight wars over and give up all they own to follow. The literature was written by a physician of antiquity, as a letter to a contemporary who was questioning whether he had been told the truth about some events recent to him. Despite being a letter, it’s really a historical account of the most influential person of all time: Jesus of Nazareth.

In the account Jesus makes a startling statement about poverty, and suffering. Whether he is right about poverty and, well, everything else he said and did, makes the difference about whether there is something better than minimum wage.

Jesus says something which makes modern American Evangelicals queasy:

Blessed are you who are poor,
because the kingdom of God is yours.
21 Blessed are you who are now hungry,
because you will be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
because you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you [now],
when they exclude you, insult you,
and slander your name as evil
because of the Son of Man.

Luke 6:20b-22

I sat down for coffee with a fellow server at a Thai restaurant I work for. He left what he understood Christianity to be for atheism. One of his genuine struggles was why so many faithful people would suffer so greatly and remain in such poverty, if Jesus is on the throne, reigning as a king. I mean, if as Kanye says, JESUS IS KING, when why do the faithful followers of Jesus suffer so? Are all the blessings kept for later?

Jesus highlights a hard reality of his present kingdom: It’s present glory is hidden. While there may be a few churches with multi-million dollar budgets, the vast majority have far fewer persons and expenditures. Most Christians worldwide have it much rougher than Joel Osteen.

Thus, in my poverty now, I am blessed. Why? Because one day I will not be. In my hunger now, I am blessed. Why? One day I will be fat and happy. So the question is, what is that one day?

An anonymous work within the same ancient compendium as the previous passage has the answer:

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

13 These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. 16 But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:1, 13-16 respectively.

There is a church called Sojourn. They take their name from the concept of the people of God wandering through a wilderness. God’s there with them, sustaining them with miracles and food… but they can’t stay there. It’s not home. So it is with those who follow Jesus. This ain’t home – but we’re headed there.

Until then, we’re blessed from a distance. That’s better than $15 an hour.

7-Up, with Lithium!

It started as a tonic for hangovers in the 1920’s. Charles Leiper Grigg from the Howdy Corp. decided to market the stuff as “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon Lime Soda.” Today the product is better known as 7-Up.

In the 1940’s Australian John Cade discovered a new use for lithium carbonate, known today as lithium: a mood-stabilizer for severe depression and bi-polar.

While working at a mental hospital in Melbourne, Cade experimented with guinea pigs by injecting them with the urine of manic patients to see if mania would develop in the guinea pigs. Because Cade used lithium to disolve the uric acid (what he assumed was the toxin) for injection, he noticed the GPs became docile, and quite mellow for the species’ baseline.

As a result, lithium was recommended as a treatment for mania. Many thousands have benefited from this strange experiment. May the guinea pigs which were lithiumized forever live in peace.

Note: 7-Up is now lithium free.

Guineas Pigs,

how science has grown from your broken brains

and forsaken wheel runners.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Depressives, Manics, and Big Pharma

Bibliography

Tacchi, M. & Scott, J. (2017). Depression : a very short introduction. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Have you heard this song??

There is a glory to finding a new musical artist or band. When perhaps everyone but you has heard of them, but their album or song came at exactly the right moment – when life is mundane, when suffering breaks you and your ability to enjoy life – suddenly the heavens split and your ears, yea, your soul rejoices at the glory coming through your speakers.

Certain groups, artists and pieces have been like that for me: John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Explosions in the Sky’s “Birth and Death of the Day,” Handel’s Messiah, just about everything Josh Garrels has put out. Each of these has broken glory through at a time when I was lost in the wilderness of affliction, broken hardheartedness, or a multitude of other burdens and trials.

You know, that’s what Christ was for me. I was an atheist, pretty happy with where I was in life aside from occasional depression. All the sudden an awareness breaks in – there’s more to this world than materialism, biology and an endless cycle of life/death/birth. Indeed, each of the things which the philosophy of the day – materialism, postmodernism, enter-your-ism proclaimed – was quite wrong. I cried out to Jesus at a momentous time, during an accidental overdose of my antidepressant, and I for the first time experienced the glory behind the glories I saw in sunsets, amazing albums, and poetry. Yes, Jesus is the power behind those glories. I experienced him for the first time May 4, 2010. Things have never been the same.

Do you know this glory? I tell you every enjoyment, whether it is sanctioned by the church or not really finds its origins in Jesus. They are messages in the bottle – even the vilest of sins – calling you home.

When that tremendous artist, in tune with the joy all around us, reaches your ears – remember that there is a great King mighty to deliver you from the endless burdens, monotony and brokenheartedness.

Christ, O Thou, art all I want

More than all in Thee I find...

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint

Charles Wesley, Jesu Lover of My Soul

Jesus’ Passion With Wit: George Herbert’s The Sacrifice

What if the gospels (accounts of Jesus’ life) recorded his internal dialogue, which were – hypothetically – full of wit? George Herbert’s The Sacrifice is that hypothetical account. It’s at once striking, beautiful, and painful. The first time I read it, my jaw was on the floor. It became, and remains, my favorite poem of all time. Following is the text in full.

The Princes of my people make a head
Against their Maker: they do wish me dead,
Who cannot wish, except I give them bread:
Was ever grief like mine?


Without me each one, who doth now me brave,
Had to this day been an Egyptian slave.
They use that power against me, which I gave:
Was ever grief like mine?

Mine own Apostle, who the bag did bear,
Though he had all I had, did not forebear
To sell me also, and to put me there:
Was ever grief like mine?

For thirty pence he did my death devise,
Who at three hundred did the ointment prize,
Not half so sweet as my sweet sacrifice:
Was ever grief like mine?

Therefore my soul melts, and my heart’s dear treasure
Drops blood (the only beads) my words to measure:
O let this cup pass, if it be thy pleasure:
Was ever grief like mine?

These drops being temper’d with a sinner’s tears,
A Balsam are for both the Hemispheres:
Curing all wounds but mine; all, but my fears,
Was ever grief like mine?

Yet my Disciples sleep: I cannot gain
One hour of watching; but their drowsy brain
Comforts not me, and doth my doctrine stain:
Was ever grief like mine?

Arise, arise, they come. Look how they run.
Alas! what haste they make to be undone!
How with their lanterns do they seek the sun!
Was ever grief like mine?

With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief,
Who am the way of truth, the true relief;
Most true to those, who are my greatest grief:
Was ever grief like mine?

Judas, dost thou betray me with a kiss?
Canst thou find hell about my lips? and miss
Of life, just at the gates of life and bliss?
Was ever grief like mine?

See, they lay hold on me, not with the hands
Of faith, but fury: yet at their commands
I suffer binding, who have loos’d their bands:
Was ever grief like mine?

All my Disciples fly; fear puts a bar
Betwixt my friends and me. They leave the star
That brought the wise men of the East from far.
Was ever grief like mine?

Then from one ruler to another bound
They lead me; urging, that it was not sound
What I taught: Comments would the text confound.
Was ever grief like mine?

The Priest and rulers all false witness seek
‘Gainst him, who seeks not life, but is the meek
And ready Paschal Lamb of this great week:
Was ever grief like mine?

Then they accuse me of great blasphemy,
That I did thrust into the Deity,
Who never thought that any robbery:
Was ever grief like mine?

Some said, that I the Temple to the floor
In three days raz’d, and raised as before.
Why, he that built the world can do much more:
Was ever grief like mine?

Then they condemn me all with that same breath,
Which I do give them daily, unto death.
Thus Adam my first breathing rendereth:
Was ever grief like mine?

They bind, and lead me unto Herod: he
Sends me to Pilate. This makes them agree;
But yet their friendship is my enmity:
Was ever grief like mine?

Herod and all his bands do set me light,
Who teach all hands to war, fingers to fight,
And only am the Lord of hosts and might:
Was ever grief like mine?

Herod in judgement sits while I do stand;
Examines me with a censorious hand:
I him obey, who all things else command:
Was ever grief like mine?

The Jews accuse me with despitefulness;
And vying malice with my gentleness,
Pick quarrels with their only happiness:
Was ever grief like mine?

I answer nothing, but with patience prove
If stony hearts will melt with gentle love.
But who does hawk at eagles with a dove?
Was ever grief like mine?

My silence rather doth augment their cry;
My dove doth back into my bosom fly;
Because the raging waters still are high:
Was ever grief like mine?

Hark how they cry aloud still, ‘Crucify:
It is not fit he live a day, ‘ they cry,
Who cannot live less than eternally:
Was ever grief like mine?

Pilate a stranger holdeth off; but they,
Mine own dear people, cry, ‘Away, away, ‘
With noises confused frighting the day:
Was ever grief like mine?

Yet still they shout, and cry, and stop their ears,
Putting my life among their sins and fears,
And therefore wish my blood on them and theirs:
Was ever grief like mine?

See how spite cankers things. These words aright
Used, and wished, are the whole world’s light:
But honey is their gall, brightness their night:
Was ever grief like mine?

They choose a murderer, and all agree
In him to do themselves a courtesy:
For it was their own cause who killed me:
Was ever grief like mine?

And a seditious murderer he was:
But I the Prince of peace; peace that doth pass
All understanding, more than heav’n doth glass:
Was ever grief like mine?Why, Caesar is their only King, not I:
He clave the stony rock, when they were dry;
But surely not their hearts, as I well try:
Was ever grief like mine?

Ah! how they scourge me! yet my tenderness
Doubles each lash: and yet their bitterness
Winds up my grief to a mysteriousness.
Was ever grief like mine?

They buffet me, and box me as they list,
Who grasp the earth and heaven with my fist,
And never yet, whom I would punish, miss’d:
Was ever grief like mine?

Behold, they spit on me in scornful wise,
Who by my spittle gave the blind man eyes,
Leaving his blindness to mine enemies:
Was ever grief like mine?

My face they cover, though it be divine.
As Moses’ face was veiled, so is mine,
Lest on their double-dark souls either shine:
Was ever grief like mine?

Servants and abjects flout me; they are witty:
‘Now prophesy who strikes thee, ‘ is their ditty.
So they in me deny themselves all pity:
Was ever grief like mine?

And now I am deliver’d unto death,
Which each one calls for so with utmost breath,
That he before me well nigh suffereth:
Was ever grief like mine?

Weep not, dear friends, since I for both have wept
When all my tears were blood, the while you slept:
Your tears for your own fortunes should be kept:
Was ever grief like mine?

The soldiers lead me to the common hall;
There they deride me, they abuse me all:
Yet for twelve heavn’ly legions I could call:
Was ever grief like mine?

Then with a scarlet robe they me array;
Which shows my blood to be the only way.
And cordial left to repair man’s decay:
Was ever grief like mine?

Then on my head a crown of thorns I wear:
For these are all the grapes SIon doth bear,
Though I my vine planted and watred there:
Was ever grief like mine?

So sits the earth’s great curse in Adam’s fall
Upon my head: so I remove it all
From th’ earth unto my brows, and bear the thrall:
Was ever grief like mine?

Then with the reed they gave to me before,
They strike my head, the rock from whence all store
Of heavn’ly blessings issue evermore:
Was ever grief like mine?

They bow their knees to me, and cry, ‘Hail king’:
What ever scoffs or scornfulness can bring,
I am the floor, the sink, where they it fling:
Was ever grief like mine?

Yet since man’s sceptres are as frail as reeds,
And thorny all their crowns, bloody their weeds;
I, who am Truth, turn into truth their deeds:
Was ever grief like mine?

The soldiers also spit upon that face,
Which Angels did desire to have the grace,
And Prophets once to see, but found no place:
Was ever grief like mine?

Thus trimmed forth they bring me to the rout,
Who ‘Crucify him, ‘ cry with one strong shout.
God holds his peace at man, and man cries out.
Was ever grief like mine?

They lead me in once more, and putting then
Mine own clothes on, they lead me out again.
Whom devils fly, thus is he toss’d of men:
Was ever grief like mine?

And now weary of sport, glad to engross
All spite in one, counting my life their loss,
They carry me to my most bitter cross:
Was ever grief like mine?

My cross I bear my self, until I faint:
Then Simon bears it for me by constraint,
The decreed burden of each mortal Saint:
Was ever grief like mine?

O all ye who pass by, behold and see;
Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;
The tree of life to all, but only me:
Was ever grief like mine?

Lo, here I hang, charg’d with a world of sin,
The greater world o’ th’ two; for that came in
By words, but this by sorrow I must win:
Was ever grief like mine?

Such sorrow, as if sinful man could feel,
Or feel his part, he would not cease to kneel,
Till all were melted, though he were all steel:
Was ever grief like mine?

But, O my God, my God! why leav’st thou me,
The son, in whom thou dost delight to be?
My God, my God –
Never was grief like mine.

Shame tears my soul, my body many a wound;
Sharp nails pierce this, but sharper that confound;
Reproaches, which are free, while I am bound.
Was ever grief like mine?

Now heal thy self, Physician; now come down.
Alas! I did so, when I left my crown
And father’s smile for you, to feel his frown:
Was ever grief like mine?

In healing not my self, there doth consist
All that salvation, which ye now resist;
Your safety in my sickness doth subsist:
Was ever grief like mine?

Betwixt two thieves I spend my utmost breath,
As he that for some robbery suffereth.
Alas! what have I stolen from you? death:
Was ever grief like mine?

A king my title is, prefixt on high;
Yet by my subjects am condemn’d to die
A servile death in servile company;
Was ever grief like mine?

They gave me vinegar mingled with gall,
But more with malice: yet, when they did call,
With Manna, Angels’ food, I fed them all:
Was ever grief like mine?

They part my garments, and by lot dispose
My coat, the type of love, which once cur’d those
Who sought for help, never malicious foes:
Was ever grief like mine?

Nay, after death their spite shall further go;
For they will pierce my side, I full well know;
That as sin came, so Sacraments might flow:
Was ever grief like mine?

But now I die; now all is finished.
My woe, man’s weal: and now I bow my head.
Only let others say, when I am dead,
Never was grief like mine.


Get Herbert’s The Temple, where “The Sacrifice” is found:

Original Free here.