Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE NATURE OF FREE GRACE, by JOHN BYROM

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ON THE NATURE OF FREE GRACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Grace, to be sure, is, in the last degree
Last Line: Impow'r'd by him, to do what good we can.
Subject(s): Grace

GRACE, to be sure, is, in the last degree,
The gift of God, divinely pure and free;
Not bought or paid for, merited or claim'd,
By any works of ours that can be nam'd.

What claim, or merit, or withal to pay,
Could creatures have before creating day?
Gift of existence is the gracious one,
Which all the rest must needs depend upon.

All boasting then of merit, all pretence
Of claim from God, in a deserving sense,
Is, in one word, excluded by St. Paul—
"Whate'er thou hast, thou hast receiv'd it all."

But sure the use of any gracious pow'rs,
Freely bestow'd, may properly be ours;
Right application being ours to choose,
Or, if we will be so absurd, refuse.

In this respect what need to controvert
The sober sense of merit or desert?
Works, it is said, will have and is it hard
To say deserve or merit? their reward.

Grace is the real saving gift; but, then,
Good works are profitable unto men;
God wants them not; but, if our neighbours do,
Flowing from grace, they prove it to be true.

When human words ascribe to human spirit
Worthy, unworthy, merit or demerit,
Why should disputes forbid the terms a place,
Which are not meant to derogate from grace?

All comes from God, who gave us first to live,
And all succeeding grace; 'tis ours to give
To God alone the glory; and to man,
Impow'r'd by Him, to do what good we can.

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