Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Richard Baxter (1615–1691)

The Exit

MY 1 soul, go boldly forth,
Forsake this sinful earth,
What hath it been to thee
  But pain and sorrow,
And think’st thou it will be        5
  Better to-morrow?
Why art thou for delay?
Thou cam’st not here to stay:
What tak’st thou for thy part
  But heavenly pleasure?        10
Where then should be thy heart
  But where’s thy treasure?
There I shall know God more,
There is the blessed chore, 2
No wickedness comes there,        15
  All there is holy:
There is no grief or fear,
  No sin or folly.
Love flames in every breast
The greatest and the least,        20
Strangers to this sweet life
  There are not any.
Love leaves no place for strife,
  Makes one of many.
Each is to other dear;        25
No malice enters there,
No siding difference,
  No hurt, no evil;
Because no ignorance,
  No sin, no devil.        30
What joy must there needs be
Where all God’s glory see,
Feeling God’s vital love
  Which still is burning;
And flaming Godward move,        35
  Full love returning.
Gladly, my soul, go forth;
Is heaven of no more worth
Than this curst desert is,
  This world of trouble?        40
Prefer eternal bliss
  Before this bubble.
Wish not still for delay;
Why would’st thou longer stay
From Christ, from home so far,        45
  In self-denial:
And live in longer war
  A life of trial?
Cherish not causeless doubt
That God will shut thee out:        50
What if He thee assured
  From heaven by letter?
His Son, His Spirit, and Word
  Have done it better.
Christ who knows all His sheep        55
Will all in safety keep.
He will not lose His blood
  Nor intercession:
Nor we the purchased good
  Of His dear Passion.        60
I know my God is just,
To Him I wholly trust
All that I have and am,
  All that I hope for:
All’s sure and seen to Him        65
  Which I here grope for.
Lord Jesus, take my spirit,
I trust Thy love and merit:
Take home this wandering sheep,
  For Thou hast sought it:        70
This soul in safety keep,
  For Thou hast bought it.    Amen.
Note 1. Richard Baxter, the celebrated Presbyterian divine, author of the “Saints’ Everlasting Rest,” was a lengthy writer. “The Exit” has thirty-one verses, of which twelve are here printed. The full title of his “Poetical Fragments” is as follows:—“Heart Employment with God and Itself. The concordant discord of a broken-healed heart, sorrowing-rejoicing, fearing-hoping, dying-living. Written partly for himself, and partly for near friends in sickness and other deep afflictions” (1699). To which the next year were added others, “written for himself, and communicated to such as are more for serious verse than smooth.” [back]
Note 2. Choir. [back]