In 1629, the thirty-five-year-old politician George Herbert seemed set for a promising career in public life. He had already been a favorite of King James I as a student, and now he was an up-and-coming member of Parliament. Instead, he abandoned it all to become a priest in an obscure rural church. Never a healthy man, he died of consumption four years later.

From his deathbed, he sent a friend the manuscript of his collected poems, The Temple, which he described as “a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed between God and my soul, before I could subject mine to the will of Jesus, my Master.”

The poem “Love Bade Me Welcome” is surely the record of one such struggle.