Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Self-applause creeps in

I will spare you my full rantings about this topic, but to enlighten you a bit as to why I chose to post this poem, I will share a brief bit of information with you. First, you need to know that lately I've been very fed up with how self-centered people are, especially people within my age range. It's probably because I'm surrounded by it in my collegiate environment, having the idea of "me first" shoved in my face all the time. It may be subtly done, but lately to me it's written all over everyone's faces in thick, black ink. I know the reason I think about this frequently is because I am just as guilty of it as I see everyone else is. I think it sticks out to me because of my acute recognition of this "me first" approach in myself, and the immediate effect of disgust that follows.

When I was home over spring break, my grandma asked me to sing her a hymn called "There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood." I love (most) hymns (My Shepherd Will Supply My Need is my favorite! FYI), but strangely I had never heard this one. As I sang it, the words resonated with me, and I noted who the author was: William Cowper. I subsequently looked him up and read a bunch of his other hymns and poetry. This poem, "Jehovah Our Righteousness," painted such an ugly, truthful, beautiful picture of what I felt in regard to putting myself first, and letting pride dictate, that I just wanted to share it.

Also, if you have time, you should read some of William Cowper's other poems.

    Jehovah Our Righteousness
    My God, how perfect are Thy ways!
    But mine polluted are;
    Sin twines itself about my praise,
    And slides into my prayer.

    When I would speak what Thou hast done
    To save me from my sin,
    I cannot make Thy mercies known,
    But self-applause creeps in.

    Divine desire, that holy flame
    Thy grace creates in me;
    Alas! impatience is its name,
    When it returns to Thee.

    This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts.
    How does it overflow,
    While self upon the surface floats,
    Still bubbling from below.

    Let others in the gaudy dress
    Of fancied merit shine;
    The Lord shall be my righteousness,
    The Lord forever mine.

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