Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FRAGMENT OF A HYMN, by JOHN BYROM



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FRAGMENT OF A HYMN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O goodness of god! More exceedingly great
Last Line: And of glory to come, for whoe'er would embrace.
Subject(s): Fragmentation; Good


O Goodness of God! more exceedingly great
Than thought can conceive, or than words can repeat;
Whatsoever we fix our conceptions upon,
It has some kind of bounds, but thy goodness has none:
As it never began, so it never can end,
But to all thy creation will always extend;
All nature partakes of its proper degree,
But the self-blinded will that refuses to see.

Whensoever new forms of creation began,
Thy goodness adjusted the beautiful plan;
Adjusted the beauties of body and soul,
And plac'd in the centre the good of the whole;
That shone, like a sun the circumsference round,
To produce all the fruits of beatified ground:
To display, in each possible shape and degree,
A Goodness eternal, essential to Thee.

Blest orders of angels surrounded thy throne,
Before any evil was heard of or known;
Till a self-seeking Chief's unaccountable pride
Thine immutable rectitude falsely belied;
And despising the Goodness that made him so bright,
Would become independent, and be his own light;
And induc'd all his host to so monstrous a thing,
As to act against nature's Omnipotent King.

Then did evil begin, or the absence of good,
Which from Thee could not come—from a creature it could;
Who, made in thy likeness, all happy and free,
Could only be good as an image of thee:
When an angel profan'd his angelical trust,
And departed from order, most righteous and just;
Self-depriv'd of the light, that proceeds from thy throne,
He fell to the darkness, by nature, his own.

For nature itself is a darkness express,
If a splendour from thee does not fill it and bless;
An abyss of the pow'rs of all creaturely life,
Which are, in themselves, but an impotent strife
Of action, re-action, and whirling around,
Till the rays of thy light pierce the jarring profound;
Till thy Goodness compose the dark, natural storm,
And enkindles the bliss of light, order, and form.

Thy unchangeable Goodness, when wrath was begun,
Soon as e'er it beheld what an angel had done,
Exerted itself in restoring anew
A celestial abode, and inhabitants too;
Made a temporal world in the desolate place,
And thy likeness, a man, to produce a new race;
That the evil brought forth might in time be suppress'd,
And a new host of creatures succeed to be blest.

When the man, whom thy counsel design'd to have stood,
Fell into this mixture of evil and good;
And, against thy kind warning, consented to taste
Of the fruit that would lay his own Paradise waste;
Thy mercy then sought his redemption from sin,
And implanted the hope of a Saviour within;
Of a Man to be born, in the fulness of time,
To supply his defect, and abolish his crime.

All the hopes of good men, since the ruin began,
Were deriv'd from the grace of this wonderful man:
His life, in the promise, has secretly wrought
Its intended effect, in their penitent thought,
Who believ'd in thy word, in whatever degree
They knew, or knew not, how his coming would be:
A true faith in a Saviour was one and the same,
Both before his blest coming as after He came.

Patriarchal, Mosaic, Prophetical views,
The desire of all nations, or Gentiles or Jews,—
Who obey'd, in the midst of their natural fall,
The degree of his light, which enlighten'd them all,—
Still center'd in Him, the MESSIAH, the Man
Who should execute fully thy merciful plan;
And impart the true life, which thy Goodness design'd,
By creating a Man, to descend to mankind.

When this Son of thy love was incarnate on earth,
And the WORD was made flesh by a virginal birth,
Thy angelical host usher'd in the great morn,
With the Tidings of Joy, that a SAVIOUR was born;
Of joy to all people, who round the whole ball,
Should partake of the Goodness, that came to save all;
To erect, upon earth, a true kingdom of grace
And of glory to come, for whoe'er would embrace.





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