ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. Thomas Gibbons
The Rural Christian, "An Elegiac Poem on the Death of Thomas Gibbons" London Magazine NS 4 (May 1785) 351.
Rev. Thomas Gibbons:
1750: Rev. Moses Browne
1764: The Palladium Author
1781: Samuel Johnson
1785: The Rural Christian
1785: K. T.
1812: John Nichols
The Rural Christian:
1785: Rev. Thomas Gibbons
How swift the melancholy news is spread,
GIBBONS, the learn'd and rev'rend saint, is dead;
Who in the gospel vineyard spent his days,
To all declaring Jesu's matchless praise.
Long did he preach salvation's glorious plan,
And shew the love of God to guilty man;
For more than forty years did he proclaim,
Pardon and peace, thro' faith, in Jesu's name.
Early in life with holy zeal inspir'd,
Love for immortal souls his bosom fir'd;
And call'd by grace he told to all around
The dear and precious Saviour he had found.
While thus he labour'd, Heav'n the work approv'd,
His wisdom strengthen'd, and his fears remov'd;
While crowds with joy the welcome news receiv'd,
And in that Jesus whom he preach'd, believ'd.
Methinks I hear him still to all declare,
Jesus how precious, how divinely fair!
Methinks I hear him still to thousands cry,
Believe in Christ, on him alone rely.
His precious blood which was on Calv'ry spilt,
Will heal the wounds of sin, and cleanse from guilt;
Think not, poor soul, whatever hell may say,
Thy crimes too great for him to wash away.
Although thy sins be of a scarlet hue,
He can both pardon and absolve thee too;
His love is boundless, and his mercy free,
Then trust in him who died for such as thee.
With humble boldness come before his throne,
(All claim to merit in thyself disown)
And cry to him, "Lord, for a sinner plead,
My pardon's sure if thou but intercede.
"Thou never saidst, ye seek my face in vain,
Thou never didst a sinner's pray'r disdain;
O, plead my cause, for I'm of sinners chief,
I would believe, Lord help my unbelief.
"May thy rich grace on guilt like mine descend,
Be thou, dear Jesus, my eternal friend;
Grant I may share in thine unchanging love,
And dwell with thee in blissful realms above."
Thus daily to the throne of grace draw near,
And be assur'd the Lord delights to hear
And answer too the humble sinner's cry,
While no good thing to such he will deny.
Let all by Satan bound, who want release,
To Jesus look for pardon and for peace;
Ye heavy laden souls with guilt opprest,
To Jesus come, and he will give you rest.
Thus pious Gibbons taught while here below,
Where and to whom for pardon we should go;
In whom believing we should peace obtain,
And thro' whose merits life eternal gain.
But now his ministerial work is o'er,
His sage instructions we shall hear no more;
Gibbons, alas! no longer dwells with men,
He's gone to realms beyond a mortal's ken.
O, may his spirit on his flock descend,
Who did of late his ministry attend;
May his dear relict and her offspring share,
In God's peculiar and paternal care.
May all to whom he while on earth was known,
His bright example strive to make their own;
And after death with him in glory dwell;
Gibbons, thou dear, departed saint, farewell!