[The Temple, Jerusalem, Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   The Holdfast.

I threatened to observe the strict decree
          Of my deare God with all my power & might.
          But I was told by one, it could not be;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.

Then will I trust, said I, in him alone.
          Nay, ev’n to trust in him, was also his:
          We must confesse that nothing is our own.
Then I confesse that he my succour is:

But to have nought is ours, not to confesse
          That we have nought. I stood amaz’d at this,
          Much troubled, till I heard a friend expresse,
That all things were more ours by being his.
          What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
          Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.

Criticism: "Show and tell: George Herbert, Richard Sibbes, and communings with God." by Daniel W. Doerksen. Christianity and Literature, Wntr 2002 v51 i2 p175(17). [Works cited: "The Holdfast," "Clasping of Hands," "Assurance," "A true Hymne," "The Pearl," "The Crosse," "Coloss. 3.3," "The Flower," "Unkindnesse," "The Method," "Church-lock and key," "Praise (II)"]

Note on Sonnet form and organization.

An Irreverant Insight: Bud Abbot and Lou Costello Interpret "The Holdfast"

Abbot: "You know HIM? He's big. Powerful."
Costello: (proudly) "Yeah, I know Him - personally."
Abbot: "Will you do exactly what He tells you?"
Costello: "Yes, I will."
Abbot: "EXACTLY?"
Costello: "YES, I WILL."
Abbot: "Hold fast to that determination. But it's not really yours to say, you know? He's BIG. He could make you do what He wants, if He wants to. He already knows if you're going to do it. (pause. Costello looks puzzled.) Even if you don't understand, will you TRUST Him? Completely?"
Costello: (Firmly) "YES, I will."
Abbot: "And you know that He is the One who decides IF you trust Him. That's not really yours to say either." (Costello more puzzled.)
Abbott continues: "Nothing is yours. Everything you have is His. Everything that's yours isn't yours. The clothes on your back. The money in your pocket. The strength of your arm. Nothing is yours. Not your words. Not your will. Nothing. Do you admit that?"
Costello: "OK. I ain't got nuttin'." (resolutely)
Abbot: "You don't have to tell HIM. What are you telling Him for? He KNOWS that."
Costello: "I'm a-MAZED." (pause) "What can I do?"
Abbot: "Admit everything is HIS, freely given, freely give. THEN it's YOURS."
Costello looks open mouthed at the audience.
Abbot: "Hold fast to Him." (Aside to the audience) "Even that is His."

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