THou who condemnest Jewish hate, For choosing Barrabas1 a murderer Before the Lord of glorie; Look back upon thine own estate, Call home thine eye (that busie wanderer): That choice may be thy storie. He that doth love, and love amisse, This worlds delights before true Christian joy, Hath made a Jewish choice: The world an ancient murderer is; Thousands of souls it hath and doth destroy With her enchanting voice. He that hath made a sorrie wedding Between his soul and gold, and hath preferrd False gain before the true, Hath done what he condemnes in reading: For he hath sold for money his deare Lord, And is a Judas-Jew.2 Thus we prevent the last great day, And judge our selves. That light, which sin & passion Did before dimme and choke, When once those snuffes3 are tane away, Shines bright and cleare, evn unto condemnation, Without excuse or cloke.
1 Barrabas (also Barabbas). See Matthew 27: 15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? . . . 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. [Return] Links have several translations and commentaries.
2 Judas. See Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. and Luke 22:47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? [Return] Links have several translations and commentaries.
3 snuffes. Powders taken through the nostrils by inhalation. ["snuff" is singular.] (Oxford English Dictionary) [Return]
Prose Translation: Those of you who condemn the hatred that Jews have / because they chose Barabbas, a murderer, before Christ; / Look (as in a mirror) at your own situation. / (Instead of judging and condemning others) call your own eye home, to yourself. / That choice (between Barabbas and Christ) may be your story. // He that loves (puts his heart and soul into) and loves wrongly this world's delights before true, Christian joy, / has made the same choice between Barabbas and Christ that the Jewish crowd made: / The world is an ancient murderer [kills the soul since ancient times]; / Thousands of souls it has and does destroy / With her enchanting voice [like a Siren luring us to the rocks of worldly desires]. // The person who has made a sad union between his/her soul and gold and has preferred / False gain [all gain in this world] before the true [gain in the Kingdom of God], / Has done what he condemns in reading [the story in the New Testament]: / Because he has sold his/her dear Lord for money, / And is a Judas [doing just what Judas did]. // Thus we make the Last Great Day [Judgment Day] unnecessary / because we judge ourselves. That light [of understanding which God through Christ has given us and] which sin & passion / Did before [as shown in the Trial of Jesus] dimme and choke, / When once those snuffes [that disguise our God-given understanding] are taken away, / (The Light) Shines bright and clear, even unto (our) condemnation, / Without excuse or cloak. [When the snuff and delusions of worldly passions are seen in Heavenly light, our condemnation will be clear.]
Related Criticism: "George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and the conversion of the Jews" by Nabil I. Matar [Works cited: "The Jews," Priest to the Temple, Ch. 34, "The Parson's Dexterity in applying of Remedies", "Self-condemnation,"
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