Tags

, , ,

Revelation 2:10 (KJV)

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

First Stanza

Fain I would sing thy praise, but fear I feign

My sin doth keep out of my heart thy fear

Damps love: defiles my soul. Old blots new stain.

Hopes hobbled lie, and rusty chains worn clear.

My sins that make me stand in need of thee                         5

Do keep me back to hug all sin I see.

Notes:

Fain: I desire

Feign: I pretend

Fear: a fear of his own sin

Fear: a rightful respect and awe of God

FAIN i would SING thy PRAISE but FEAR i FEIGN

The poem begins with an accented syllable: Fain. That leads to a very quick “I would”, with the accent falling squarely on “Sing.” Interestingly, there is no accent on the word “I” which appears twice in this line. There is assonance on the long “A” of Fain, Praise, Feign. There is alliteration on Fain, Fear, Feign.

Fain I would sing thy praise, but fear I feign

I desire to praise you, but I am fearful that praise would be a mere pretense.  This leads to the question: Why does he fear himself?

My sin doth keep out of my heart thy fear

The fear of himself from the first line appears here in absence: He is fearful of his heart, because his heart does not fear.

The concept of sin will be developed in two directions: First, it is his person sin.  That is an attribute. “My sin” (2) Second, there are individual events, “sin” (5).  Third, there is sin in the abstract, “hug all sin.” (6)

Psychologically: sin and fear of God are inconsistent with one-another.  The lack of fear of God is a characteristic of human rebellion, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Rom. 3:18

This lack of fear is a dreadful symptom, because fear of God is a blessing of the New Covenant,  Jeremiah 32:39 (KJV)  “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them.”

My sin …

Damps love: defiles my soul. Old blots new stain.

What does sin do?  Three clauses. The first two begin with an accented D. The third clause is accented on a B.  The line does not move along easily.

DAMPS love. DEfiles my SOUL. old BLOTS new STAIN

The sounds are spit out: Damp defile blot stain. It sounds with the revulsion Taylor feels at himself.

Hopes hobbled lie, and rusty chains worn clear.

He continues with the negative effects of sin, but now he shifts the sound H/L

HOPES HOBbled LIE and RUSty chain worn CLEAR

The line must be read slowly. Sin destroys and leaves him without hope.

I’m not sure exactly what to make of “rusty chain worn clear”. For a rusty chain to be freed from rust and thus clear, would entail lots of dragging and scraping.

The couplet is the paradox of the Christian life:

My sins that make me stand in need of thee                         5

Do keep me back to hug all sin I see.

We need grace and forgiveness because of our sin. This should cause us to love God for his grace and forgiveness. But sin destroys our love and defiles our conscience. The sin that necessitates God’s grace simultaneously drags us away from God and to our sin.

The nature of addiction works well: The addiction to the drug necessitates the help of others to drag the addict away from the drug: but the desire for the drug draws him back.

The image of hugging sin is perverse. He does not come near sin, he draws it to his chest in a loving manner.