Friday, October 01, 2010

The Softening of the Heart (Francis Quarles)

This Icy, Marble Heart, like Wax will melt
Soon as the Fire of heavenly Love is felt

Job 23:16 "God makes my heart soft"

Mine heart is like a marble ice,
Both cold and hard: but thou canst in a trice
Melt it like wax, great God, if from above
Thou kindle in it once thy fire of love


Nay, blessed Founder, leave me not
If out of all this grot
There can but any gold be got,
The time thou dost bestow, the cost
And pains will not be lost:
The bargain is but hard and most.
And such are all those thou dost make with me:
Thou know'st thou canst not but a loser be.

When the sun shines with glitt'ring beams,
His cold-dispelling gleams
Turn snow and ice to wat'ry streams.
The wax, so soon as it hath smelt
The warmth of fire, and felt
The glowing heart thereof, will melt
Yea, pearls with vinegar dissolve we may
And adamants in blood of goats, they say.

If nature can do this, much more,
Lord, may thy grace restore
Mine heart to what it was before.
There's the same matter in it still
Though new inform'd with ill,
Yet can it not resist thy will.
Thy pow'r, that fram'd it at the first, as oft
As thou wilt have it, Lord, can make it soft

Thou art the Sun of righteousness:
And though I must confess
Mine heart's grown hard in wickedness,
Yet thy resplendent rays of light
When oce they come in sight
Will quickly thaw what froze by night
Lord, in thine healing wings a pow'r doth dwell
Able to melt the hardest heart in hell

Although mine heart in hardness pass
Both iron, steel and brass
Yea, the hardest thing that ever was
Yet if thy fire thy Spirit accord,
And, working with thy word,
A blessing unto it afford,
It will grow liquid, and not drop alone
But melt itself away before thy throne

Yea, though my flinty heart be such,
That the sun cannot touch
Nor fire sometimes affect it much,
Yet thy warm reeking self-shed blood,
O Lamb of God's so good,
It cannot be withstood.
That aqua-regia of thy love prevails.,
Ev'n where the pow'r of aqua-fortis fails.

Then leave me not so soon, dear Lord,
Though I neglet thy word,
And what they power doth afford;
O try thy mercy, and thy love
The force thereof may prove
Soak'd in thy blood, mine heart will soon surrender
Its native hardness, and grow soft and tender

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