Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)
Those that pretend want of opportunity to repent.
A wondrous crowd then ’gan aloud
thus for themselves to say:
“We did intend, Lord, to amend,
and to reform our way.
Our true intent was to repent
and make our peace with thee;
But sudden death stopping our breath,
left us no liberty.
“Short was our time, for in its prime
our youthful pow’r was cropt;
We died in youth before full growth,
so was our purpose stopt.
Let our good will to turn from ill,
and sin to have forsaken,
Accepted be, Lord, by thee,
and in good part be taken.“
Are confuted and convicted.
To whom the Judge: “Where you allege
the shortness of the space,
That from your birth you liv’d on earth,
to compass saving Grace,
It was Free Grace that any space
was given you at all,
To turn from evil, defy the Devil,
and upon God to call.
“One day, one week wherein to seek
God’s face with all your hearts,
A favor was that far did pass
the best of your deserts.
You had a season; what was your reason
such precious hours to waste?
What could you find, what could you mind
that was of greater haste?
“Could you find time for vain pastime,
for loose, licentious mirth?
For fruitless toys and fading joys,
that perish in the birth?
Had you good leisure for carnal Pleasure,
in days of health and youth?
And yet no space to seek God’s face,
and turn to him in truth?
“In younger years, beyond your fears,
what if you were surprizéd?
You put away the evil day,
and of long life deviséd.
You oft were told, and might behold,
that Death no Age doth spare;
Why then did you your time foreslow,
and slight your soul’s welfare?
“Had your intent been to repent,
and had you it desir’d,
There would have been endeavors seen
before your time expir’d.
God makes no treasure, nor hath he pleasure
in idle purposes;
Such fair pretenses are foul offenses,
and cloaks for wickedness.“