About a trillion centuries Before the world was made, and seas Of deep and empty space were not Yet there to make an endless spot For nothingness, nor Gabriel, Nor Lucifer, nor flames of hell, Nor beasts and elders round the throne, But only God the Lord alone— No element of any kind, Nor measurement, but only Mind— Ages before the Lord employed His sovereign power to make a void Beside the vastness of his will, When there was only God to fill The mind of God with joy and He Was Life, and absolutely free...
The Father fixed his gaze on me, Foreknew my soul that I should be At first ashamed before his face, And then a vessel for his grace; And in the Holy Trinity Engaged a glad conspiracy Of love that all the energy Of God should be employed to see That I, when all his work is done, Would bear the image of his Son.
And I indeed have been ashamed For awesome things that I have named A sham. Once in Ms. Clanton's class A group of us with ample brass Announced our sure and reasoned scheme: "Predestination is a dream Of Presbyterians misled By Calvin who had lost his head And killed a man for heresy Back in the sixteenth century." And I pursued their praise with zest . . .
. . . As though a bird should curse the air Beneath its wing, and fish compare The ocean to a grave, the ant Should lift its mighty voice and rant Against the earth with pride obsessed, And infants rail against the breast.
And O, the shame, the shame of those Presumptuous years to one who knows Far better now. Had not the gaze Of God affixed itself with rays Of mercy on my unborn soul, And burned my name into the scroll Of life, there would have been no cause That all my proud and ugly flaws Should be pursued with mercy all My days.
O God of great and small, O God of free and sovereign grace, How great and wonderful your ways, Ordaining all before its days! To you alone be endless praise! Come, meet us in this season bright! We glorify your holy might, And give the name to candle one: Foreknown and destined in the Son.