Edward Taylor, “Meditation 26 (Second Series)”
Unclean, unclean: my Lord, undone, all vile,
Yea, all defiled: what shall Thy servant do?
Unfit for Thee: not fit for holy soil,
Nor for communion of saints below.
A bag of botches, lump of loathsomeness:
Defiled by touch, by issue: Leproused flesh.
Thou wilt have all that enter to Thy fold
Pure, clean, and bright, whiter than whitest snow
Better refined than most refined gold:
I am not so: but foul: what shall I do?
Shall Thy church doors be shut, and shut out me?
Shall not church fellowship my portion be?
How can it be? Thy churches do require
Pure holiness: I am all filth, alas!
Shall I defile them, tumbled thus in mire!
Or they me cleanse before I current pass?
If thus they do, where is the nitre bright
And Soap they offer me to wash me white?
The brisk red heifer’s ashes, when calcined,
Mixed all in running water, is too weak
To wash away my filth: the doves assigned
Burnt and sin offerings ne’er do the feat
But as they emblemize the fountain spring
Thy blood, my Lord, set ope to wash off Sin.
Oh! richest grace! Are Thy rich veins then tapped
To ope this holy fountain (boundless sea)
For sinners here to laver off (all sapped
With sin) their sins and sinfulness away?
In this bright crystal crimson fountain flows
What washeth whiter than the swan or rose.
Oh! wash me, Lord, in this choice foundation, white
That I may enter, and not sully here
Thy church, whose floor is paved with graces bright
And hold church fellowship with saints most clear.
My voice all sweet, with their melodious lays
Shall make sweet music blossomed with Thy praise.
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