Toward The Sunset
100 Sonnets on Biblical Themes
This volume of new sonnets has a strong biblical basis and, as for the earlier collection of fifty two sonnets, addresses the following topics:
- 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 second collection of biblically based, classically styled sonnets follows on from the earlier "Fifty Two Sonnets of Glory and Grace", and expresses a reformed world view. On the facing page to each sonnet are appropriate, but certainly not exhaustive, bible references. A number of people have found this arrangement to be quite convenient for devotional use. These bible references are also listed in biblical order in a Scripture Index.
All of these sonnets are new and specific to this volume.
Excerpts from the Preface
“As a senior traveller through life who has seen more than eighty summers come and go, most of which have been as a Christian, I have witnessed a marked change in the thrust of preaching and doctrine presented from many pulpits. All too often the sovereignty, majesty, omnipotence, and decrees of God are ‘watered down’; and the centrality of Jesus Christ is replaced with the focus on man’s capabilities and well-being.
“But as well as this I have found fuzzy thinking and theology, which leads to uncertainty and doubt in the minds of many Christians which, in turn, can engender fear when one looks at the state of the world in general and the moral decline and open antagonism toward God in our own nation in recent times. We need a solid foundation for our lives, and that foundation is Jesus Christ.
“Another factor which had a strong influence in many of these poems is advancing age and the frequent reminders we have had of the closeness of death, and the fragility and uncertainty of life. But, as Christians, we can approach such inevitability with confidence, knowing that our eternal future is secure in the vicarious work of Jesus Christ for us, and that to die is gain.”
No.26. Looking Back: Looking Forward
When I look back across the years now passed,
A lifetime’s journey very close to done,
Recalling this life’s conflicts, lost or won,
I see the hand of God in all this vast
Expanse of possibilities traversed,
For He has led in unexpected ways.
At times in life’s impenetrable haze
There through the gloom, His ray of hope has burst.
And now, with little time that lies ahead,
The unknown pathway surely has no fears,
For in the hands of One who holds the years
I could not be more surely, safely led.
It’s one more part of His eternal story;
The promise to receive me into glory.
No.66. Not Ashamed
The fear of man indeed may bring a snare;
The artful orator with cutting word
May cleverly ensure his case is heard
And ridicule a counter concept there.
And some might be persuaded to comply
(By pressure and coercion from the crowd,
Who cry with vitriolic hearts unbowed)
With ideals they would never wish to buy.
But Christian, in these days in which we live,
The battle is becoming more intense,
And worldly-wise there may be some expense,
But all we need is ours which Christ shall give.
Proclaim with boldness faith in God our King,
No matter what affliction that may bring.
No.80. Toward the Sunset
The sunset now lies not too far away.
Our daytime busyness has ceased which shows
The slowing down of life. The flowers close.
The coloured petals—spread throughout the day—
Are swallowed by the darkness of the night.
Their very being and the place of toil
In which they lived, their little patch of soil
Where they once bloomed, are hidden from our sight.
But soon shall come the dawning of the day,
A new day as has never been before,
When God’s own light shall shine for evermore,
His beauty and His glory on display.
To walk toward that sunset with our Guide
Who is our Lord; what could we ask beside?
2 Timothy 1:8
2 Timothy 3:12
Review published in "Goodreads.com", August 2019
Toward the Sunset
ISBN 978 0 980 748 376
By Tom Chapman
“My prayer is that your soul be richly fed
In contemplating here the grace of God,
His holiness be better understood.”
So states Tom Chapman in his final sonnet, making clear his desire that God be better known, and glorified, through his book. This has certainly been the case for myself as I read through these 100 sonnets, all of which are deeply steeped in God’s word. Truth after truth was brought clearly before my eyes, reminding me of God’s goodness, His rich mercy and wondrous grace. These sonnets were an encouragement to persevere in the face of growing opposition to God’s truths, to trust His sovereignty and His good design for His people.
As was the case for Tom Chapman’s last poetry collection, I feel that these sonnets could easily be used as part of daily devotions, with the Biblical references for each sonnet being clearly displayed on the opposing page. What a beautiful way to start the day, reading God’s truths in His word and then contemplating how these are reflected in the sonnet.
Toward the Sunset is a book full of beautiful sonnets that seek to make clear the truths of God’s word and is sure to be an absolute delight for any Christian who loves poetry.