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“Thus is my deliverance.”
When sorrows surge, and strength has fled,
When streams become a flood,
When man is laid upon his bed,
And finds he’s flesh and blood,
Where will he run, where will he turn,
Where can a creature go?
When will he see, when will he learn,
What he should surely know?
“Why now? Why here? Why me? Why this?
Why us?” we cry aloud.
“Have I behaved aright? Amiss?”
We ask, with body bowed.
“Has God forgotten to be kind,
Will he not keep his vows?”
Such thoughts and questions fill the mind,
More than the soul allows.
Yet through his word, fit for my frame,
I find myself consoled.
“Recall my deeds, recall my name,
Recall my works of old.
Twas I who brought the Israelites
Out from their slavery.
Twas I who led them day and night
Through deadly land and sea.
Recall to mind, and then have hope,
That I do all things well.
When in the shadows, blind, you grope,
I will, the dark, dispel.
New, new, each morn, my mercies are,
Bright as the rising sun.
And whether you go near or far,
They cannot be undone.”
But greater still than parted waves,
Or manna from the sky,
Is God the Son, who came to save,
Who only lived to die.
He is the bread; he is the way
Through death and judgment’s path.
And he alone saves on that day
Of God’s unfailing wrath.
And in his death I start to see,
The clouds begin to clear.
The questions that were plaguing me
Begin to disappear.
In history, outside of me,
I see God’s working hand,
And find a true reality
That makes me understand.
For if my God through wickedness,
Can bring about his plan
To save from sins in righteousness
An undeserving man,
Then can he not in my life, too,
Cause good to come from ill?
And should I not, since this is true,
Resign to trust his will?
Who else have I, who else have we,
If not our God above?
Where can we fly, where can we flee,
If not to he who’s love?
We can, we may, we will, we must,
Find rest in God alone.
The creature’s sole and only trust,
Is he who’s on the throne.
And do I not have reasons great
To know that this is so?
Since he, in heaven, sets my fate
Here on the earth below?
And so the Father calms his child.
He wipes and dries my tears
And in his ever-loving arms
The Father calms my fears.
What vanities befall me now,
I know they work for good.
And though I often don’t see how,
I see the cross of wood.
So, when my sorrows well within,
As sorrows well without,
I’ll take my Savior’s medicine,
And banish fear and doubt.
These thoughts were drawn especially from Psalm 77 and Lamentations 3.
Now you know. And knowing…
“They (papists) say we have revolted from the Catholic Church, that we might follow divers imaginations of men. They cry aloud that we are heretics, schismatics, and sectaries, and they often times in mockery call us Confessionists. And moreover they lay in our dish that we neither agree with ourselves nor with others who detest the Bishop of Rome, but there are as many religions among us as there are confessions of faith.
They are no schismatics who intirely cleave to God’s church such an one as the Prophets and Apostles do describe unto us, nor to be accounted sectaries who embrace the truth of God, which is one and always like it self. What do they mean, I pray you, by the name of Confessionists so often repeated?
For if every man be commanded to make confession of his faith so often as God’s glory, and the edifying of the church shall require, what a wonderful or strange thing ought it to seem, if cities, if provinces, if whole kingdoms have made profession of their faith, when they were falsely charged by the Popish sort, that they had gone from the doctrine of the true believing Church?
But they will say, there ought to be one confession of faith and no more. As though forsooth a confession of faith were to be valued rather by the words, then by the thing it self. What therefore will they say to our ancestors, who when they had the Apostles’ Creed, yet for all that set out the Nicene, Chalcedonian, and many more such like creeds? Those creeds, say you, were general. Yea, surely, but so general that a great part of the world in those elder times followed the frantic heresies of the Arrians, whom the godly forefathers by setting forth those creeds desired to bring home into the church again. “The truth,” says Hilary, “was by the advice and opinions of Bishops many ways sought, and a reason of that which was meant was rendered by several confessions of faith set down in writing.” And a little after, “It ought to seem no marvel right well-beloved brethren, that men’s faiths began to be declared so thick—the outrage of heretics lays this necessity upon us.” Thus much said Hilary. What, that Athanasius, Augustine, and many other ancients set forth their creeds also, that the purity of the Christian faith might more and more shine forth.
Therefore if kingdoms, cities, and whole provinces have privately made confession of their faith, this was the cause thereof, for that hitherto the state of times hath not suffered, that a general counsel of all those who profess the reformed religion, might be held. But if it once come to pass (and the Lord grant that the churches may at length enjoy so great a benefit) then there may be one only confession of faith extant, conceived in the same words, if the state of the churches shall seem to require it.
Let them therefore leave off in mockery to term us Confessionists, unless perhaps they look for this answer at our hands, that it is a far more excellent thing to bear a name of confessing the faith, than of denying the truth. For even as many small streams may flow from one spring, so many confessions of faith, may issue out from one and the same truth of faith.”
From “An Harmony of the Confessions of Faith of the Christian and Reformed Churches,” 1586. Spelling has been updated.