I got this from a friend and I thought to share. It is an excerpt from a sermon by Ralph Erskine. The following selection is taken from Erskine’s Gospel Sonnets as found in “The Sermons and Practical Works of Ralph Erskine” (Glasgow: W. Smith and J. Bryce Booksellers, 1778) vol. 10, pp. 283-290. The text has been modified slightly, although there may still be a mix of old English involved. The original title appears as follows:
The Believer’s Principles concerning Justification and Sanctification, their Difference and Harmony
Kind Jesus spent his life to spin
My robe of perfect righteousness;
But by his Spirit’s work within
He forms my gracious holy dress.
He as a Priest me justifies,
His blood does roaring conscience still;
But as a King he sanctifies,
And subjugates my stubborn will.
He justifying by his merit,
Imputes to me his righteousness;
But sanctifying by his Spirit,
Infuses in me saving grace.
My justifying righteousness
Can merit by condignity;
But nothing with my strongest grace
Can be deserv’d by naughty me.
This justifying favour sets,
The guilt of all my sin remote:
But sanctifying grace delets
The filth and blackness of its blot.
The former is my Judge’s act
Of condonation full and free:
The latter his commenced fact,
And gradual work advanc’d in me.
The former’s instantaneous,
The moment that I first believe:
The latter is, as Heav’n allows,
Progressive while on earth I live.
The former pardons ev’ry sin,
And counts me righteous, free, and just:
The latter quickens grace within,
And mortifies my sin and lust.
My righteousness is infinite,
Both subjectively and in kind;
My holiness most incomplete,
And daily wavers like the wind.
So lasting is my outer dress,
It never wears nor waxes old;
My inner garb of grace decays
And fades, if Heav’n do not uphold.
My righteousness and pardon is
At once most perfect and complete;
But sanctity admits degrees,
Does vary, fluctuate, and fleet.
Hence fix’d, my righteousness divine
No real change can undergo;
But all my graces wax and wane,
By various turnings ebb and flow.
I’m by the first as righteous now,
As e’er hereafter I can be:
The last will to perfection grow,
Heav’n only is the full degree.
The first is equal, wholly giv’n,
And still the same in ev’ry saint;
The last unequal and unev’n,
While some enjoy what others want.
My righteousness divine is fresh,
For ever pure and heav’nly both;
My sanctity is partly flesh,
And justly term’d a menstrual cloth.
My righteousness I magnify,
‘Tis my triumphant lofty flag;
But, pois’d with this, my sanctity
Is nothing but a filthy rag.
I glory in my righteousness,
And loud extol it with my tongue;
But all my grace, compar’d with this,
I under-rate as loss and dung.
By justifying grace I’m apt
Of divine favour free to boast;
By holiness I’m partly shap’d
Into his image I had lost.
The first to divine justice pays
A rent to still the furious storm;
The last to divine holiness
Instructs me duly to perform.
The first does quench the fiery law,
Its rigor covenant fully stay;
The last its rule embroidered draw,
To deck my heart, and gild my way.
Though all my graces precious are,
Yea, perfect also in desire;
They cannot stand before the bar
Where awful justice is umpire:
But, in the robe that Christ did spin,
They are of great and hight request;
They have acceptance wrapt within
My elder Brother’s bloody vest.
My righteousness proclaims me great
And fair, even in the sight of God;
But sanctity’s my main off-set
Before the gazing world abroad.
More justified I cannot be
By all my most religious acts;
But these increase my sanctity,
That’s still attended with defects.
My righteousness the safest ark
‘Midst every threatening flood will be;
My graces but a leaking bark
Upon a stormy raging sea.
My righteousness is that which draws
My thankful heart to this respect:
The former then is first the cause,
The latter is the sweet effect.
Christ is in justifying me,
By name, The Lord my righteousness:
But as he comes to sanctify,
The Lord my strength and help he is.
The former does annul my woe,
By God’s judicial sentence past;
The latter makes my graces grow,
Faith, love, repentance, and the rest.
The first does divine pardoning love
Most freely manifest to me;
The last makes shining graces prove
Mine interest in the pardon free.
My soul in justifying grace
Does full and free acceptance gain;
In sanctity I heavenward press
By sweet assistance I obtain.
The first declares I’m free of debt,
And nothing left for me to pay;
The last makes me a debtor yet,
But helps to pay it every day.
My righteousness with wounds and blood
Discharged both law and justice’ score;
Hence with the debt of gratitude
I’ll charge myself for evermore.
- On the law of God (eardstapa.wordpress.com)
- Justification (Imputed Righteousness) Pt. 2 (anotherchristianblog.org)
- The Grace of God defined in the Holy Scriptures (ptl2010.com)
- His Righteousness (kbhall.wordpress.com)