Translations. - A Spiritual Song, Concerning Our Holy Baptism, Wherein Is Briefly Contained What It Is, Who Has Instituted It, Whereto It Serves, &C. (Luther's Song-Book.)

A poem by George MacDonald

To Jordan when our Lord had gone,
His Father's pleasure willing,
He took his baptism of St. John,
His work and charge fulfilling;
Therein he did appoint a bath
To wash us from defilement,
And there to drown that cruel Death
In his blood of assoilment:
'Twas no less than a new life.

Let all then hear and right receive
The baptism of the Father;
And learn what Christians must believe,
Shunning where heretics gather.
Water indeed, not water mere
Therein can work his pleasure:
His holy Word is also there
With Spirit rich, unmeasured:
He is the one baptizer.

This clearly showed He by his word
Of open recognition;
The Father's voice men plainly heard
At Jordan claim his mission.
God said, This is my own dear Son
In whom I am well contented;
To you I send him, every one--
That all may hear I have sent him,
And follow what he teaches.

Also God's Son himself here stands
In human presentation;
On him the Holy Ghost descends
In dove-like shape and fashion,
That not a doubt should ever rise
That, when we are baptized,
All the three Persons do baptize;
And they be recognized
Themselves come to dwell with us.

Christ to his scholars says: Go forth,
Give to all men acquaintance
That lost in sin lies the whole earth,
And must turn to repentance.
Believe, and be baptized, and then
Each man is blest for ever;
From that hour he's a new-born man,
And thenceforth, dying never,
The kingdom shall inherit.

But who in this grace puts no faith
Abides in sin, life misses;
He is condemned to endless death
Deep down in hell's abysses.
Nothing avails his righteousness,
And lost are all his merits;
Sin original holds its place--
The sin which he inherits;
And help himself he cannot.

The eye but water doth behold
As from man's hand it floweth;
But inward faith the power untold
Of Jesus Christ's blood knoweth:
Faith sees therein a red flood roll,
With Christ's blood dyed and blended,
Which hurt of every kind makes whole,
Whether from Adam heired
Or by ourselves committed.

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