Fifty Two Sonnets of Glory and Grace
These sonnets have a strong biblical basis expressing:
- The sinfulness of man and his inability to help himself
- The holiness of God
- The power and majesty of God
- God's eternal decree in calling out a people for Himself
- The grace and mercy of God in providing salvation
- The vicarious work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection
- The glorious state for eternity for those who accept the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf
- The awful consequence for eternity for those who refuse Christ's offer of grace.
This latest collection comprises entirely of classically styled sonnets on various themes of Christian doctrine, and includes a comprehensive appendix of Bible references. Each sonnet has an associated piece of artwork on its facing page.
Many of these sonnets have appeared in earlier publications, but others are presented in this subject-specific volume for the first time.
Excerpts from the Foreword
"These sonnets present, in poetic form, a mini-commentary on a variety of biblical themes, themes that deal with all sorts of practical issues in life, but built solidly on unchanging doctrinal truths.
Above all else, we see Jesus. Jesus is the central figure throughout the sonnets, that which ties all of them together to form one cohesive whole. He is the jewel whose radiance dims all the others.
...the central theme of all Tom's sonnets is the grace of God offered through Jesus Christ for the redemption, salvation, and hope of eternal life for all who will trust in Him.
One reading of the sonnets will not do. They are not Scripture, but are full of scriptural tenets. And in a similar manner that a biblical text will yield new insights with each reading, so each time you return to these sonnets, you will find more here to bless your soul than you did the time before.”
Three sample sonnets:
See how each candle's fitful guttering glow
Spreads little light where once it brightly shone,
For now those burning wicks are almost gone
And all too soon there'll be no flame to show
Where once they burned and spread their cheery rays.
For times are passed when they lit far and wide
And now it's only those who stand beside
Who see, concerned, each candle's closing phase.
How quickly is the span of life consumed,
How soon, it seems, the years of life are spent.
And some, for wasted years, would yet repent;
A candle's span should never be assumed.
And may my candle's flame, itself not bright,
Impart, from Christ Himself, God's greater light.
No.16. How Blind Are Those
How blind are those who cannot see the truth;
A veil is drawn across each darkened mind,
And wasted is the wealth of years combined
For old age now has long supplanted youth.
The sprinkled truth received across those years
Has all been swept aside in sad neglect.
And truth now says there's judgement to expect;
In ignorance the spirit has no fears.
But ignorance, so born, shall not withdraw
The truth of judgement for a sinful soul,
Whose heavenward search is but a forlorn goal;
But rather sin's reward for evermore.
There is a hope: cry from that veil's dark place,
None is refused who seek the Saviour's face.
What if the day be difficult and long?
What if the spirit flags beneath the load?
And when the journey's on an unknown road
Where does one turn among the trampling throng?
So in the world, when turmoil seems to reign,
Where plans, both small and great, go unfulfilled,
And life itself runs counter to what's willed,
Where best of human effort seems in vain
Rejoice! It's Jesus Christ who sits supreme
Above the storms and tragedies and strife,
And sets the limits of each turn of life;
For he is Lord above each human scheme.
But greater is the joy, when, lastly blest,
The child of God shall know eternal rest.
1 Chronicles 19:15
1 Peter 1:24
1 Corinthians 2:9-11
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Review from November 2016 issue of English publication: Evangelicals Now
FIFTY TWO SONNETS OF GLORY AND GRACE
ISBN 978 0 980 748 352
By Tom Chapman
Christopher Idle, Herne hill, SE London
DON'T SKIM THROUGH
This collection bears witness to the resilience of the sonnet form
— long enough to be meaty, short enough to be memorable.
It also illustrates the enduring attraction of the sonnet sequence (and mini-sequences within the main one), where Tom Chapman has many famous predecessors and some contemporary companions. Still more vital is his gracious witness to the Christian gospel and some lifestyle fundamentals, within a sure grasp of this compact metrical shape. Fluent reading is the fruit of prayerful wrestling in writing
In reliable hands
The sonnet has no single 'classic' rhyme-scheme. But we almost always pause for breath after the eighth line, and the final couplet packs a punch. We meet wit and worship. Scripture quotes and questioning, but the key factor is consistency without any hint of mechanical sameness; doctrinally and poetically we are in reliable hands. There are still evangelicals around who recognise true rhyme and disciplined metre!
The absence of cliché or anticlimax helps enormously. I am less convinced by the choice of italic typeface and capitals, but this need not hinder our appreciation. Each sonnet is printed on the right-hand page, with the left occupied by black and white sketches from Richard Lewis and Heather Paterson, cartoon-style but with a serious aim. The author provides a biblical index, and his American missionary-namesake a Foreword.
Here is an excellent bedside or quiet-time companion. Don't skim through; much better to read one page thoughtfully each day.