Against Penance by Kilby Austin (2010)

There’s no atonement left to make,
not even by remorse.
When God forgives for Jesus’ sake
he settles all the scores.

Nor penitence nor faith nor prayer
pays any of the debt,
for payment Jesus will not share
and less the glory get.

Then why should I one minute wait
thinking I must atone
or get me in some proper state
to come before the throne?

No, halting heart! It’s Jesus’ blood
and only what he’s done
makes me acceptable to God
in the Beloved One.

by Kilby Austin


Excerpt from The Four Ages of Man by Anne Bradstreet

428_abradFrom King to beggar, all degrees shall find
But vanity, vexation of the mind.
Yea, knowing much, the pleasant’st life of all
Hath yet amongst that sweet, some bitter gall.
Though reading others’ Works doth much refresh,
Yet studying much brings weariness to th’ flesh.
My studies, labours, readings all are done,
And my last period can e’en elmost run.
Corruption, my Father, I do call,
Mother, and sisters both; the worms that crawl
In my dark house, such kindred I have store.
There I shall rest till heavens shall be no more;
And when this flesh shall rot and be consum’d,
This body, by this soul, shall be assum’d;
And I shall see with these same very eyes
My strong Redeemer coming in the skies.
Triumph I shall, o’re Sin, o’re Death, o’re Hell,
And in that hope, I bid you all farewell.
by Anne Bradstreet

Excerpt from Contemplations by Anne Bradstreet

O Time the fatal wrack of mortal things,
That draws oblivions curtains over kings,
Their sumptuous monuments, men know them not,
Their names without a Record are forgot,
Their parts, their ports, their pomp’s all laid in th’ dust.
Nor wit, nor gold, nor buildings scape times rust;
But he whose name is grav’d in the white stone
Shall last and shine when all of these are gone.
by Anne Bradstreet428_abrad

Excerpt from Dialogue Between Old England and New by Anne Bradstreet (1642)

To all you’ve said, sad mother, I assent.
Your fearful sins great cause there‘s to lament.428_abrad
My guilty hands (in part) hold up with you,
A sharer in your punishment’s my due.
But all you say amounts to this effect,
Not what you feel, but what you do expect.
Pray, in plain terms, what is your present grief?
Then let’s join heads and hands for your relief.

by Anne Bradstreet, 1642

A Sonnet by Anne Locke (1560)

(Editor’s Note: This is part of the first sonnet sequence published in the English language.  It is based on contemplation on Psalm 51. It was published with a collection of John Calvin sermons that Anne Lock had translated from French to English.)

Have mercy, God, for thy great mercy’s sake.
O God: my God, unto my shame I say,
Being fled from thee, so as I dread to take
Thy name in wretched mouth, and fear to pray
Or ask the mercy that I have abused.
But, God of mercy, let me come to thee:
Not for justice, that justly am accused:
Which self word Justice so amazeth me,
That scarce I dare thy mercy sound again.
But mercy, Lord, yet suffer me to crave.
Mercy is thine: Let me not cry in vain,
Thy great mercy for my great fault to have.
Have mercy, God, pity my penitence
With greater mercy than my great offense.

by Anne Lock, 1560

Come Heavenly Love, Inspire My Song by Anne Steele

Come heavenly love, inspire my song,
With thy immortal flame;
And teach my heart, to teach my tongue,
The Savior’s lovely name.

The Savior! O what endless charms
Dwell in the blissful sound!
Its influence every fear disarms,
And spreads sweet comfort round.

Here pardon, life, and joys divine
In rich effusion flow,
For guilty rebels lost in sin,
And doomed to endless woe.

God’s only Son, (stupendous grace!)
Forsook his throne above;
And swift to save our wretched race,
He flew on wings of love.

Th’ Almighty former of the skies
Stooped to our vile abode;
While angels viewed with wondering eyes,
And hailed th’ incarnate God.

O the rich depths of love divine!
Of bliss, a boundless store:
Dear Savior, let me call thee mine,
I cannot wish for more.

On thee alone my hope relies,
Beneath thy cross I fall.
My Lord, my life, my sacrifice,
My Savior, and my all.

by Anne Steele

A Steadfast Heart by Elizabeth Prentiss

Keep my heart steadfast, dearest Lord,
	For earth's allurments shine,
And bid me turn mine eye away
	From looking into Thine.

O keep me steadfast! Earthly tones
	Fall sweetly on my ear,
And while I pause to list to them
	Thy voice I cannot hear.

O keep me steadfast! Human smiles
	Delude my childish heart;
While rapt in them how easily
	From Thee I can depart.

Yes keep me, keep me, for myself
	I cannot, cannot keep;
Keep me by day, keep me by night
	O Thou who dost not sleep

by Elizabeth Prentiss