Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL, by JOHN BYROM



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ON THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In paul's conversion we discern the case
Last Line: Not in man's reason but god's revelation.
Subject(s): Conversion; Religion; Saints; Worship; Theology


IN Paul's conversion we discern the case
Of human talents, wanting heav'nly grace:
What persecutions, till he saw the light,
Against the Christian church did he excite!
By his own reason led into mistake,
Amongst the flock what havock did he make!
Within himself when, verily, he thought,
That all the while he did but what he ought.

His use of reason cannot be denied,
Nor legal zeal, nor moral life beside;
Blameless as any Jew or Greek could claim,
Who shew'd aversion to the Christian name.
His fund of learning some are pleas'd to add;
And yet, with all th' endowments which he had,
From place to place, with eager steps, he trod,
To persecute the real church of God.

When to Damascus, for the like intent,
With the High Priest's authority he went;
Struck to the ground, by a diviner ray,
The reas'ning, legal, moral zealot lay;
To the plain question put by JESUS—Why
Persecute me?—had only to reply,
What shall I do?—His reason and his wrath
Were both convinc'd, and he embrac'd the faith.

His outward lost, his inward sight renew'd,
Truth in its native evidence he view'd;
With three days' fast he nourish'd his concern,
And, a new conduct well prepar'd to learn,
Good Ananias, whom he came to bind,
Was sent to cure and to baptize the blind:
A destin'd martyr to his Jewish zeal
Of Christian faith confers the sacred seal.

Of nobler use his reason, while it stood
Without a conference with flesh and blood,
Still, and submissive; when, within, begun
The Father's revelation of the Son;
Whom, till the Holy Spirit rise to shew,
No pow'r of thought can ever come to know;
The saving mystery, obscur'd by sin,
Itself must manifest itself, within.

Thus, taught of God, Paul saw the truth appear
To his enlighten'd understanding clear:
The pow'r of Christ himself, and nothing less,
Could move his persecutor to profess:
He learn'd, and told it from the real ground,
And prov'd, to all the christian world around,
That true religion had its true foundation,
Not in man's REASON but God's REVELATION.





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