Held Fast

6 Jul 2023 | Grace of God | 0 comments

I threaten’d to observe the strict decree
    Of my dear God with all my power and might;
    But I was told by one it could not be;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
“Then will I trust,” said I, “in Him alone.”
    “Nay, e’en to trust in Him was also His:
    We must confess that nothing is our own.”
“Then I confess that He my succour is.”
“But to have nought is ours, not to confess
    That we have nought.” I stood amaz’d at this,
    Much troubled, till I heard a friend express
That all things were more ours by being His;
    What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
    Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.
George Herbert (1593-1633), The Holdfast, from The Temple (1633).

Notes from the Compiler

Andrew Moss writes: 'Like a bad penny (or perhaps a mosquito!) this poem keeps coming back to me. It is easy to miss at first. But, periodically I am utterly amazed by the utter enormity of God's grace to us, to me. That is when this almost outrageous statement of God's grace comes back to mind again. As the poet says, 'I stood amazed at this, much troubled!' I also missed at first the meaning of the title, which Herbert doesn't repeat in the poem, the 'Hold-fast'. Through this gift, through this utter grace, we are Held Fast'.


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