Arthingtons Lamentation - Poem by Henry Arthington
O heauenly Lord O father deare, how downe thine eares to me
A wofull wretch that in my grief do onely seeke to thee.
Remember (Lord) thy promyse made to all that stande in neede,
that when they cal vpon thy name, thou wilt them helpe with speede.
The waight and burden of my sinnes, do presse me downefull fore.
therefore (O Lord) I come to thee, that mercy hast in store,
Confessing from a broken hart my greeuous sinnes (O Lord,)
in that I haue not led my lyfe according to thy word.
Not onely in my youthfull yeares, when frayltie bore the sway,
and led me captiue to his lusts, most apt to run astray
But since euen at this present tyme when knowledge doth abound,
I feele my selfe most prone to sinne, which seekes me to confound:
There is no branch of thy iust law, but I haue broken quites,
In hart, in thought, in worde, in deede, with all my whole delight:
Yea, euery day and euery houre, O glorious God of myght,
thy holy lawes I do transgresse most vilely in thy sight.
For why, there is within my flesh, a secrete lust of sinne,
which stil resistes thy worke of grace, & woundes me with his sting
So that the good which I would do, and gladly would fulfill,
I am not able to performe, but euyll is with me styll
Which doth inforce my sinfull soule, with sorow to complayne,
that I (as captiue vnto sinne) in bondage should remayne.
Yea (Lord) freely do confesse my best in deuours here
deserue thy earthly plague, and lasting death elsewhere
O then most vile and wicked wretch, what vengance is my right,
For my so late most fearefull fall, in all thy peoples sight.
Assuredly (my souereigne Lord) my hart cannot conceiue,
the horrour of those tormentes, great, that I deserue to haue:
So that if thou should throw me downe, the cursed feendes among
I must confesse thou hast been good, in sparing me so long
For neuer since the worlde began, was euer heard or seene,
the lyke scandall in any age, as our offence hath been;
A mortall man for to presume, as thou dost vnderstand,
to call himselfe (Christ Iesus (Lord) the Iudge with fanne in hand,
And I my selfe (distract in mynd) a Prophet false by name,
should be so mad this cursed wretch Christ Iesus to proclayme.
Woe is my hart, woe is my soule, and all my sences woe,
for to abuse them selues so much, to make thee Lord my foe.
And to rebell with shamelesse face agaynst thy maiestie,
whom I haue found a louyng Lord, in styll preseruyng me.
If I should weepe both day and nyght, so long as I do lyue,
my teares could be no cause (O Lord) why thou shouldst me forgiue.
Or yf I should in fetters lye, whylst Sunne and Moone do last,
and as vnworthy of the lyght in dungion deepe be cast.
Or yf I should be dayly whypt in open market place,
to warne all people to beware how they abuse thy grace.
I do protest vnfeygnedly these were to lytle payne.
so that I might be reconcild into thy loue agayne.
Oh then (deare God) what should I do, thy Iustice to withstand,
or where shall I Sauiour finde, to ridde me from thy hande.
Yf I should sue vnto thy Saints, or holy Angels moue,
to begge me pardon for my sinnes, they woulde me all reproue.
Yf I could flee as feathered foule and hide me in some hill,
euen there thyne eyes would spy me out, to worke on me thy wil.
As for thy creatures in their kynd, they can not helpe my case,
but rather storme because I sought their maker to disgrace
And al the damned ghostes in hel, they watch (already bent)
when thou wouldst giue them leaue (O Lord) my soule for to torment.
O wretched man should I dispayre, because my sinnes are great,
or feare thou wylt not heare my playntes, when I do thee intreate.
No (Lord) thy worde and spirit sayth, although mens sinnes abound,
yet hast thou no delyght at all, poore sinners to confound.
Namely such wretches as in hart, their greeuous sinnes lament,
and stryue by all good meanes they may, the same for to repent.
But to that ende such sinners may finde comfort in distresse,
thou chargest them to call on thee, and thou wylt sende release.
Then looke vpon thy seruant (Lord) whylst there is tyme & space,
for from thy iustice I appeale vnto thy throne of grace:
Beeseching thee (O father deare) some pittie on me take,
and saue me (not for my desartes) but for thy mercies sake.
Alas what glory shouldst thou gayne in damning me to hell.
or who shall there thy noble factes, and worthy prayses tell:
O blessed God thou hast delyght thy mercies to extende
vnto all those that iudge them selues and would not thee offend:
In trueth (my Lord) I do confesse of all that know thy name,
I am the least than haue done well, and most deseruing blame.
O therefore in thy iustice (Lord) do not contende with me,
for why as gylte in thy sight I yeelde my selfe to thee:
Requesting one thing at thy handes, that thou wouldst thinke vpon
thy couenant made in Iesus Christ, for mans saluation.
And as it then so pleased thee, when we were all thy fooes,
to sende him downe for vs to die, thy mercies to disclose.
That where our sinnes (by thy iust dome) deserued lasting payne,
his merites myght restore vs all into thy loue agayne.
Of all those fooes I do confesse my selfe for to be chiefe,
then magnifie thy mercies (Lord) to sende me some reliefe.
And though my sinnes in number passe the starres aboue the skye,
yet (Lord) thy mercies far surmount thou canst it not deny.
O then increase my fayth in Christ, so strongly to abounde,
that neither Satan, death, nor hell, my wounded soule confound.
But that when iustice grypes my hart, and cryes vengance for sinne,
to Christ his merites I may flye, and pleade my light therein.
O father make the power thereof, transforme my barren hart,
that sinne may die that grace may lyue, & my styll soule conuert:
Giue strength (O God) to spende my dayes according to thy worde:
and after this lyfe, grant me heauen through Iesus Christ my Lord.
And seeing Satan seeketh styll Christes glory to deface,
by castyng how to griue his sainctes almost in euery place.
O father deare preuent his rage, and let him not preuayle.
but though his purpose be to hurt, yet let his power quayle.
Lord sende thy Angels from aboue to pitch their tentes below,
to saue all such as trust in thee, from Satans ouerthrow.
Beate downe his kingdome into hell, fro whence sin first did spring,
and styll exalt thy holy worde, that Christ may reigne as king.
Be good (O Lord) to Israel, thy poore despysed flocke,
euen such as suffer for thy name, and buylde vpon the Rocke.
O Lord, be good vnto all those that loue thee in their hart,
and from the wayes of wickednesse, do more and more depart.
So shall thy people all abrode, fall downe before thy face,
and quite forsake their former sinnes, thy Gospell to imbrace.
O blessed Lord, graunt this request, thy glory to aduance,
and styll regarde for to maynteyne thine owne inheritaunce.
Increase the number of thy sainctes, defende them from all euyll,
Lord giue them grace to watch and ward styl to resist the deuyl.
And as saluation is thy gyft (O heauenly God aboue)
bestow vpon thy lytle flocke that blessing of thy loue:
Then shal we al with cheareful voyce, sound out thy worthy prayse
and in thy Church with one accorde, sing Psalmes to thee alwayes.
All laude and prayse (O Lord of hostes) I do ascribe to thee,
for sending Iesus Christ thy sonne, my sauiour for to be.
Giue God his due quoth H. A. prisoner.
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