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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spiritual sacrifice in George Herbert’s The Temple Paschold, Steven Recce


This thesis discusses the theme of spiritual sacrifice in George Herbert's "The Temple". In terms of poetic content the study mainly assesses the relative importance, for Herbert of three qualities of spiritual sacrifice — repentance, dedication, and praise — and examines the significance, of Christ's Sacrifice and the role of the heart in spiritual sacrifice. Although Herbert's "Dedication" to his work suggests that each, poem, is a sacrifice, the study seeks to show, how, in addition to content, several, poems, in their combination, of language and form demonstrate, the sacrificial, act itself. Along, with a treatment, of this theme, discussion of the poems reveals the way in which motifs and images of sacrifice, recur, in many poems. Chapter One considers the sanctions and stipulations of offering spiritual sacrifices and the nature of the sacrifices themselves, through a study of Old and Hew. Testament, scripture. A sampling of homiletic and exegetical sources especially contemporary to Herbert, points out the prophetic and typological concerns relevant to the subject. Chapter Two begins the study of Herbert's poetry with, an explication of the first, several poems, with, particular attention paid to the way in which "The Sacrifice" provides a focal point, for the poems which, follow. Chapter Three surveys a selection of poems scattered throughout The Temple which specifically use the language and imagery of sacrifice. This study of spiritual sacrifice in the poetry concludes that, divine ministry initiates and provides assistance in the offering of the sacrifices, and that the spiritual, sacrifices arise from a heart; dealt with by the Spirit of God. Sacrifices characteristically express the poet's sense of dedication, and praise, along with repentance. Although these qualities receive varying emphases in the poetry, as a general premise it can he said that sin. must be confessed and a sense of fellowship with God restored before expressions of dedication and praise can properly and acceptably be offered. Some poems in their combination of language and form demonstrate or suggest the sacrificial act itself, particularly regarding the "pattern" in, which sacrificial qualities are considered. As a general conclusion spiritual sacrifice expresses a way in which the Christian, responds to the reception of divine Love and Grace. The offering of, spiritual sacrifices should and does constitute a regular activity in the life of the typical believer.

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