Friday, 28 January 2022


E'en John the Baptist did not know
Who Christ the Lord could be, 
And bade his own disciples go 
The strange event to see.

They said, Art thou the one of whom 
'Twas written long before? 
Is there another still to come, 
Who will all things restore?

This is enough, without a name-- 
Go, tell him what is done; 
Behold the feeble, weak and lame, 
With strength rise up and run.

This is enough--the blind now see, 
The dumb Hosannas sing; 
Devils far from his presence flee, 
As shades from morning's wing.

See the distress'd, all bath'd in tears, 
Prostrate before him fall; 
Immanuel speaks, and Lazarus hears-- 
The dead obeys his call.

This is enough--the fig-tree dies, 
And withers at his frown; 
Nature her God must recognize, 
And drop her flowery crown.

At his command the fish increase, 
And loaves of barley swell-- 
Ye hungry eat, and hold your peace, 
And find a remnant still.

At his command the water blushed, 
And all was turned to wine, 
And in redundance flowed afresh, 
And owned its God divine.

Behold the storms at his rebuke, 
All calm upon the sea-- 
How can we for another look, 
When none can work as he?

This is enough--it must be God, 
From whom the plagues are driven; 
At whose command the mountains nod, 
And all the Host of Heaven!

George Moses Horton (1798–after 1867)

Saturday, 22 January 2022



Why do those frowning vapors interpose
Between the bright expansion and my eyes,
By whose unkindness for a time I lose
The beauteous prospect of these azure skies?
Deny not thus my sight to satisfy,
Malicious clouds, before you rarefy

For you are of a variable condition
As well as I, and shall ere long dissolve;
Glory not, then, in interposition,
For into other elements revolve
You must, perhaps by condensation;
Hinder not, then, so poor a contentation.

And thou, sad, pond’rous, passive globe of earth,

Though, for thy weight, thou canst not mount above,
And though, from thee, my baser parts took birth,
Yet dost thou show to me more hate than love:
For, with thy shadow, thou eclipsed the light
Of splendent Phoebe from my feeble sight.

Surely thy destiny is known to thee,

And the continual revolution
Of elements, as we do hourly see,
And thy irrevocable dissolution,
As well as mine—or, rather, conflagration:
Then envy not (for shame) my contentation.

And thou, dark body of the globious moon

That dost obscure the radiant Delius’s sight,
Threat’ning to make my sun to set at noon,
Whereby I lose his influence and light:
Dost thou not know inevitable fate?
Then in conjunctions do not show thy hate.

For the impartial Parcae now have spun
Thy thread (and mine); then he that lends thee light
Shall wane himself, and dark shall be thy sun,
As in the chaos were the shades of night;
Then shall your shining spheres with fervor melt;
Then shall be done by thee as thou has dealt.

But O, Mortality, ’tis thou alone

That dost obscure bright glory from my soul;
’Tis thou that fett’rest me with flesh and bone,
And mak’st me here in dust and ashes roll,
Presenting to me transitory toys,
And hidest from my soul celestial joys.

But, Death, triumph not in my dissolution,
For though thou holdest in thy curséd jaws,
And I my passage make through revolution,
Humbly obedient to my Maker’s laws,
Yet He that doth in infinite power excel,
In love to me, hath conquered Death and Hell.

But O, my sins (my sins), and none but those,
Makes my poor soul o’erflow with sad annoy;
’Tis they, and none but they, do interpose
’Twixt heaven and me, and doth eclipse my joy;
’Tis neither clouds, nor moon, nor shades of earth
Could keep my soul from whence she had her birth.

For were my soul from all transgression free,
Earth’s fading pleasures I would then despise;
Corruption, I would trample over thee,
And with swift eagle’s wings I’d mount the skies;
But O, my sins, they will not let me fly;
They fetter me more than mortality.

But yet my Savior  me with hope doth feed,
Who did in love my curséd nature take,
And, that poor I might live in death, did bleed;
He to eternal glory will me take.
Then, Sin, triumph no longer over me,
For I in Christ have conquered Death and thee.

Lady Hester Pulter (1605-1678)

South Pentland Hills


Wednesday, 19 January 2022

From "Order and Disorder"

And herein truly lies the difference

Of natural and gracious penitence:

The first transferreth and extenuates

The guilt, which the other owns and aggravates.

While sin is but regarded slight and small

It makes the value of rich mercy fall.

But as our crimes seem greater in our eyes,

So doth our grateful sense of pardon rise.


From Canto 5: Order and Disorder by Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681)

Comment on Genesis 3

Autumn in the Penicuik House Estate


Monday, 17 January 2022


 Micah 5: 7-8

Amongst the peoples there shall be as dew

The remnant; or as showers upon the grass

Gently distilling doctrine to endue

With grace until that time of grace shall pass;

For when Jehovah comes to reign in Zion

The remnant who have been righteous and true

Shall be among the peoples as a lion.

More of the Tweed at Peebles

Saturday, 15 January 2022



He is my Rock in whom I can confide;
Ensconced within the warmth of its defile,
Safe from the storm and Satan's foul device.
I build on Him according to design:
Where could I build except on Jesus Christ?
God took me up and set me on these Heights,
Transformed my gait: I now have feet like hinds’!
But, no mere base or timeless place to hide,
Out of itself the smitten Rock provides
Abundant water imbuing me with life,
Abundant oil enduing me with light,
Abundant honey to sate my appetite.

Saturday, 8 January 2022


Peebles, and the River Tweed in Autumn

Be unto us a Rock of habitation
To which we may continually resort;
Like hyraxes who relish elevation
Here may thy people happily consort;
Help us gain honey from the Rock's recesses
And taste the oil that Thou wouldst have us find,
Having our blessing in the God who blesses
With copper in the mountains to be mined.

But may we not forget the Rock was smitten
For us to enjoy the water flowing out;
May thoughts of Christ indelibly be written
Upon the hearts He cleared from sin and doubt.

May high-placed and hind-footed singers raise
Hymns, through the Chief Musician, to Thy praise.

Saturday, 1 January 2022


Probably written 26 years ago; so the recipients have changed a bit in the meantime!


(for Rosie)

A new year has begun: and swells of change
Will surge behind and swirl around our boat;
As days move on landscapes will rearrange
And through grace only will we stay afloat.
Yet as our curragh rushes on we'll know
There is within a place we love to share
Since though the currents drive and torrents flow
We're nurtured by a wife and mother's care.

And up above the sun, in changelessness,
Provides a fixed point, rule, and warmth and light;
Its constancy rebukes our fickleness;
Its brightness warms us still and makes us bright.

Since God's great love in Christ casts out all fear
We voyage together through another year.

(For Catriona)

A new year has begun: after the years
Of human patience, folly and endeavour –
Salted with sea-spray, human blood, and tears –
Which had their spring-tide but have ebbed forever.
Fragments of lives, famous, worthwhile or dull
Strand on the shifting dunes we call "today";
We beach-comb through sea-sculpted drift to cull
Some shards we dignify as "history".

But through the moon-tossed sea and wind-blown sand
Pierces the Rock: we turn as do the tides
But Christ remains. We may not understand
Yet apprehend that He who now presides
Above the orb of time invaded time
In love that is eternal and sublime.

(For Rosalie)

A new year has begun: soon catkins' tails
Will swing on leafless twigs; then pink and white
Mayflowers will dust the hedgerows; then the trails
Of Traveller's Joy will drink the summer's light:
But as the autumn comes we will be cheered
By hazel nuts and shiny crimson haws;
Eventually silk fluff called Old Man's Beard
Will wait to grace the cheeks of Santa Claus!

And you will change as well from day to day:
New growth, new dreams, new life, new things to know
Till in a year's time, in God's will, you say
It's been a happy year in which to grow.

Our work will all have been a good pursuit
If from the year Christ gains from us some fruit.

(for Jane)

A new year has begun:
And round the shiny sun
Once more the earth will run.

Oh doesn't it astound
To know this solid ground
Is whirling round and round!

But nothing will go wrong
Although we birl along
Because the sun is strong.

And high above the sun
A stronger, greater One
Can care for everyone.

The world may pull or shove
But Christ who is above
Protects us with His love.

(for Julian)

A new year has begun:
With each day as a station:
I'm sure it will be fun
To reach each destination.

We'll start to chuff along
Through misty, snowy weather
But springtime won't be long:
We'll all reach there together.

To summer and its sun
Quite soon the journey reaches;
We'll puff and chuff and run
To holidays and beaches.

If happiness should go
We'll chase him till we've got 'im
Till soon new winter's snow
Will supersede the autumn.

But if some sad event
Should happen – who will ease us
And mend what's crushed or bent?
Our great Controller, Jesus.

So if the track is steep
Or if it's flat and faster
We know that He will keep
Us safe, our Friend and Master.

(for Marianne)

A new year has begun
In which to work and play,
To learn and to have fun
Throughout each happy day.

A year in which to live,
Enjoy life to the full,
Receive and love and give –
And even go to school!

A year in which to go
To Jesus as your Friend
As glad of One you know
On whom you can depend.

A year in which to rest
Within the Shepherd's care,
To learn that He knows best
And guards you everywhere.