Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SOLILOQUY ON READING 'A DISPUTE ABOUT FAITH AND WORKS', by JOHN BYROM



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A SOLILOQUY ON READING 'A DISPUTE ABOUT FAITH AND WORKS', by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What an excessive fondness for debate
Last Line: Division ceases,—and dispute is gone.
Subject(s): Faith; Belief; Creed


WHAT an excessive fondness for debate
Does this dividing faith from works create!
Some say "Salvation is by faith alone—
"Or else the gospel will be overthrown:"
Others, for that same reason, place the whole
In works which bring salvation to the soul.

Gospel of Christ, consistently applied,
Unites together what they both divide:
It is itself, indeed, the very faith
That works by love and saves a soul from wrath:
A new dispute should some third party pave,
Nor faith, nor works, but love alone would save.

The Solifidian takes a text from Paul,
And "works are good for nothing, faith is all;"
Doctrine, which his antagonist disclaims,
And shews how works must justify, from James;
A third, in either, soon might find a place,
Where love is plainly the exalted grace.

There is no end of jarring system found,
In thus contending not for sense, but sound;
For sound, by which th' inseparable three
Are so distinguish'd, as to disagree;
Altho' salvation, in its real spring,
Faith, work, or love, be one and the same thing;

One pow'r of God, or life of Christ within,
Or Holy Spirit washing away sin;
Not by repentance only; or belief
Only, that slights a penitential grief
And its meet fruits, and justifies alone
A full conceiv'd assurance of its own;

Nor by works only, nor, tho' Paul above
Both faith and works have lifted it, can love
Have, or desire to have, the exclusive claim,
In men's salvation, to this only fame;
By all together souls are sav'd from ill,
Whene'er they yield an unresisting will.

God has a never-ceasing will to save,
And men, by grace, may savingly behave:
This would produce less fondness for a sect,
And more concern about the main effect;
Then faith alone might save them from the fall,
As one good word, in use, that stood for all.

By native union, all the blessed pow'rs
Of grace, that makes salvation to be ours,
One in another, spring up in the breast,
No soul is sav'd by one without the rest:
Since, then, they all subsist in any one,
Division ceases,—and dispute is gone.





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