The Country Parson; The Temple

By George Herbert; John N. Wall | Go to book overview

THE CHURCH MILITANT

Almighty Lord, who from thy glorious throne
Seest and rulest all things ev'n as one:
The smallest ant or atom knows thy power,
Known also to each minute of an hour:
Much more do Commonweals acknowledge thee,
5
And wrap their policies in thy decree, Complying with thy counsels, doing nought
Which doth not meet with an eternal thought.
But above all, thy Church and Spouse doth prove
Not the decrees of power, but bands of love.
10
Early didst thou arise to plant this vine, Which might the more endear 1. it to be thine.
Spices come from the East; so did thy Spouse,
Trim as the light, sweet as the laden boughs
Of Noah's shady vine, 2. chaste as the dove;
15
Prepar'd and fitted to receive thy love. The course was westward, that the sun might light
As well our understanding as our sight.
Where th' Ark did rest, there Abraham began
To bring the other Ark from Canaan. 20
Moses
pursu'd this; but King Solomon
Finish'd and fixt the old religion. 3.
When it grew loose, the Jews did hope in vain
By nailing Christ to fasten it again.
But to the Gentiles he bore cross and all,
25
Rending with earthquakes the partition wall: 4.
Only whereas the Ark in glory shone,
Now with the cross, as with a staff, alone,

____________________
1.
endear. Bind by obligations of gratitude.
2.
Here Herbert combines images of the Church as spouse from the Song of Solomon, the bride of Rev. 21:2, and the vineyard of Gen. 9:20 with the tradition of Israel as a vine (Ps. 80:8).
3.
Herbert, following traditional readings, here identifies the place that Noah's ark landed after the Flood with the place Abraham started his journey toward Egypt and the Promised Land with the Ark of the Covenant, which was ultimately to be "fixt" in the wall of the Temple at Jerusalem by Solomon. See Gen. 8:4, 11:31, 12:10; Exod. 37:1; 1 Sam. 5:1; and 2 Chron. 3:1.
4.
partition wall. See Eph. 2:14.

-317-

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The Country Parson; The Temple
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • George Herbert - The Country Parson, the Temple *
  • Contents *
  • Preface xi
  • Foreword xix
  • Introduction 1
  • A Priest to the Temple, Or, the Country Parson His Character, and Rule of Holy Life *
  • The Temple. Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations *
  • The Dedication 119
  • The Church Porch 121
  • The Church 139
  • The Church Militant 317
  • Poems Not Included in the Temple 327
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index to Preface, Introduction and Notes 341
  • Index to Texts and Scripture References 345
  • Index to Poems 352
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