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The first two run thy glory would to shame.
The last plea doth my soul to hell confine.
My faith therefore doth all these pleas disdain.
Thou kindness art, it saith, and I am thine.
Upon this bank it doth on tiptoes stand
To ken o’re Reason’s head at Grace’s hand.

Now he considers the possibilities. If vileness indeed has the ultimate power in his life, or if grace lacks the strength to respond to the movement of sin, then God’s promises are weaker than the strength of sin. It would bring God’s glory to shame. For what can we do with a promise such as

For sin will not have dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rom. 6:14

And he rejects these possibilities on the ground that God cannot untrue.

The third possibility he considered, that he is not truly God’s, he also rejects because that would mean that he is accursed.

What then does he attribute to the basis for this consideration:

My faith therefore doth all these pleas disdain.

These are repugnant to faith, even though they appear as a matter of reason to be the only possibilities. Having worked himself into an apparent dead end, the poem, at this point, spies a way out of the quandary:

His faith “It” sees something. Faith begins with the truth of God: God is kindness. Second, faith knows that it lays hold of God, and those who confess and believe are indeed those who belong to God (I am thine). He knows that God cannot be a liar.

Faith from here spies somewhat difficult to see

Upon this bank it doth on tiptoes stand

Faith stands upon a bank. The bank (such as riverbank) must be (1) the disdain which faith has for the possibilities: since these things cannot be true—even though it seems most reasonable; and (2) the knowledge that God is kind, and he is God’s. I will start here and look for the answer. I belong to a good God. What must that mean for someone in my condition?

Faith has the ability to see over the head of Reason and to see what Grace can do:

To ken o’re Reason’s head at Grace’s hand.

Notice something here about Faith. Faith is not blind. It is not merely guessing or vague hoping. He understands faith as a specific kind of knowledge.

Perhaps it would be best to understand Faith as the means by which persons know one-another. We believe we love another, when we believe another loves us – or hates us for that matter; we are exercising faith. While we use the word “belief” as a weak form of knowledge, that is not the only meaning of that word. Belief/faith is means by which the intangible but real beauty of a relationship can be known.

Reason assumes a sort of self-interestedness: it is unreasonable to give all that you for the good of another. It is unreasonable to love your enemy. These things do not serve my self-interest. But Faith can see things which are unreasonable, not because they are untrue, but because they do not serve one’s self-interest.

There is a kind of love in God which is both true and unreasonable (in this sense). The absolute core of Christianity is the love of the enemy. God loves his enemies and makes them into family. We are then called upon to love our enemies (which is both exalted and impossible, for this is something God must convey through us) and in so doing help to reconcile them to God.

And so Faith can see past reason and see that must exquisite of treasures, Grace.

Faith is needed to understand God, because the work of God is often not directed at the particular moment, but may be directed toward the outcome (thus, as the poet will tell us, God’s patience is not for the purpose of encouraging his sin, but rather for the provocation of the poet’s love toward God). Conversely, difficulties from God often are given out of his love toward us:

Mercy and kindness floweth from him freely, naturally; he is never severe, never harsh; he never stings, he never terrifies us, but when he is sadly provoked by us. God’s hand sometimes may lie very hard upon his people, when his heart, his bowels, at those very times may be yearning towards his people, Jer. 31:18–20. No man can tell how the heart of God stands by his hand; his hand of mercy may be open to those against whom his heart is set, as you see in the rich poor fool, and Dives, in the Gospel; and his hand of severity may lie hard upon those on whom he hath set his heart, as you may see in Job and Lazarus. And thus you see those gracious, blessed, soul-quieting conclusions about the issue and event of afflictions, that a holy, a prudent silence doth include.

Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 304.