My every sense, member, faculty, affection,
is a snare to me,
I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me,
or despise those below.
I covet honour and riches of the mighty,
and am proud and unmerciful to the rags
If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust,
or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain;
How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton
speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? what fuel for pride!
Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining!
Am I gifted? I lust after applause!
Am I unlearned? how I despise what I have not!
Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust,
make will my law, exclude others’ enjoyments,
serve my own interests and policy!
Am I inferior? how much I grudge others’ pre-eminence!
Am I rich? how exalted I become!
Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions,
and that my greatest snare is myself.
I bewail that my apprehensions are dull,
my thoughts mean,
my affections stupid,
my expressions low,
my life unbeseeming;
Yet what canst thou expect of dust but levity,
of corruption but defilement?
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state,
but let me not forget my heavenly title,
or the grace that can deal with every sin.
(from The Valley Of Vision. HT: Reuben Hunter)