On Church Communion - Part Ii. Poem by John Byrom

On Church Communion - Part Ii.

If once establish'd the essential part,
The inward Church, the Temple of the Heart,
Or house of God, the substance, and the sum
Of what is pray'd for in -
thy kingdom come
To make an outward correspondence true,
We must recur to Christ's example too.

Now in his outward life we plainly find,
Goodness demonstrated of ev'ry kind;
What he was born for, that he show'd throughout,
It was the business that he went about:
Love, kindness, and compassion, to display
Towards ev'ry object coming in his way.

But Love so high, Humility so low,
And all the Virtues which his actions show;
His doing good, and his enduring ill,
For Man's salvation, and God's holy will:
Exceed all terms - his inward, outward plan,
Was Love to God, express'd by Love to Man.

Mark of the Church which he establish'd then,
Is the same Love, same proof of it to Men;
Without let Sects parade it how they list,
Nor Church nor unity can ne'er subsist:
The name may be usurp'd, but want of pow'r,
Will shew the Babel, high or low the Tow'r.

And where the same behaviour shall appear,
In outward form, that was in Christ so clear;
There is the very outward Church that he
Will'd all mankind to shew, and all to see;
Of which whoever shews it from the heart,
Is both an inward and an outward part.

What Excommunication can deprive
A pious soul that is in Christ alive,
Of Church-Communion? or cut off a limb,
That life and action both unite to him?
For any circumstance of place or time,
Or mode or custom, which infers no crime?

If he be that which his beloved

Calls him, -
The Light, enlightening every one

That comes into the world - will he exclude
One from his Church, whose mind he has renew'd,
To such degree, as to exert, in fact,
Like inward Temper, and like outward Act?

Invisible, and visible effect
Of true Church Membership, in each respect,
Let the one Shepherd from above behold,
The Flocks, howe'er dispers'd, are his one Fold:
Seen by their hearts, and their behaviour too,
They all stand present in his gracious view.

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