The Things of Earth

by Josh Bishop

After Charles Spurgeon

It is righteous, this pleasure in natural things:
in these star-speckled heavens — sky-scattered delights! —
in these meadows, pale garnished with daisies and kingcups;
in seas, where beasts creep from deeps darker than night’s
vasty pitch; in these woods, sounding round as with wing
beats swift minstrels mark time and, mid-carol, take flight.

They are madmen who marvel the mountains and say
of their chisel-chipped peaks — here brushed light, there daubed dark —
“No, I see here no God,” though the Maker’s mark’s made
in pinched clay. There is something of him in this art.
Only look: Lift your eyes from that beauty-blind way
to rejoice — echo: “Good” — as God praised from the start.

Oh, what gladness — what joy! — in the craft of his hands.
Hear our Christ in the hills — how he thundering raves!
Hear him whisper his hush at the sea’s pebbled strand,
where his cadence sings soft in the sun-stippled waves.
When admiring these works of our Father we stand
all the nearer, among them, to him. If we say,

then, that bulbs’ goblets gold, filled with sunlight in spring,
speak of life newly waking from winter-wrapped rest,
how much more must the sight of a man new-born bring
news of goodness and grace? How much more should a breast
choked with thorns, once — once withered with sin’s leeching sting —
give us joy when revived by Christ’s cross-borne caress?

How much more than the buds of the silver-leafed birch
bursting new should those walking, once-dead, now proclaim:
“Let this slum-become-temple, this whorehouse-turned-church —
this old life dawning new like the darkness turned day —
spur your praise!” Though there’s joy to be found when we search
shore and brake, glory’s more in creation remade.

A version of this poem was published under a different title by The Rabbit Room. It is adapted from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.

One thought on “The Things of Earth

  1. Marvelous. Words worthy of Spurgeon’s, which is the highest compliment I can pay. Well done & well written, good & faithful servant.

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