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His books well trimmed and in the gayest style,
Like regimented.coxcombs rank and file,
Adorn his intellects as well as shelves,
And teach him notions splendid as themselves:
The Bible only stands neglected there,
Though that of all most worthy of his care; .
And like an infant troublesome awake,
Is left to sleep for peace and quiet sake.
What shall the man deserve of human kind,
Whose happy skill and industry combined
Shall prove (what argument could never yet)
The Bible an imposture and a cheat?
The praises of the libertine professed,
The worst of men, and curses of the best.
Where should the living, weeping over his woes,
The dying, trembling at the awful close,
Where the betrayed, forsaken, and oppressed,
The thousands whom the world forbids to rest,
Where should they find, (those comforts at an end
The scripture yields) or hope to find, a friend?
Sorrow might muse herself to madness then,
And seeking exile from the sight of men,
Bury herself in solitude profound,
Grow frantic with her pangs and bite the ground.
Thus often unbelief, grown sick of life,
Flies to the tempting pool, or felon knife.
The jury meet, the coroner is short,
And lunacy the verdict of the court;
Reverse the sentence, let the truth be known, i
Such lunacy is ignorance alone;
They knew not, what some bishops may not know,
That scripture is the only cure of woe; .
That field of promise, how it fings abroad
Its odour over the Christian's thorny road!
The soul, reposing on assured relief, ...
Feels herself happy amidst all her grief,
Forgets her labour as she toils along,
Weeps tears of joy, and bursts into a song.....
But the same word, that, like the polished share, Ploughs up the roots of a believer's care, ., ..! Kills too the flowery weeds, where'er they grow, That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow... Oh that unwelcome voice of heavenly love, i Sad messenger of mercy from above! .. .
How does it grate upon his thankless ear,
Crippling his pleasures with the cramp of fear!
His will and judgment at continual strife,
That civil war imbitters'all his life:
In vain he points his powers against the skies,
In vain he closes or averts his eyes,
Truth will intrude---she bids him yet beware;
And shakes the sceptic in the scorner's chair.
Though various foes against the truth combine,
Pride above all opposes her design;
Pride, of a growth superior to the rest, .
The subtlest serpent with the loftiest crest,
Swells at the thought, and kindling into rage,
Would biss the cherub mercy from the stage.
And is the soul indeed so lost ?--she cries; Fallen from her glory and too weak to rise? Torpid and dull beneath a frozen zone, Has she no spark that may be deemed her own? Grant her indebted to what zealots call Grace undeserved, yet surely not for all! Some beams of rectitude she yet displays, Some love of virtue, and some power to praise;
Can lift herself above corporeal things,
And, soaring on her own unborrowed wings,
Possess herself of all that's good or true,
Assert the skies, and vindicate her due.
Past indiscretion is a venial crime,
And if the youth, unmellowed yet by time,
Bore on his branch, luxuriant then and rude,
Fruits of a blighted size, austere and crude,
Maturer years shall happier stores produce,
And meliorate the well concocted juice.
Then, conscious of her meritorious zeal, i
To justice she may make her bold appeal,
And leave to mercy with a tranquil mind,
The worthless and unfruitful of mankind.
Hear then how mercy, slighted and defied,
Retorts the affront against the crown of pride.
Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorred, .'
And the fool with it, who insults his Lord.
The atonement a Redeemer's love has wrought,
Is not for you-the righteous need it not.
Seest thou yon harlot wooing all she meets,
The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,
Herself from morn to night, from night to morn,
Her own abhorrence, and as much your scorn;
The gracious shower, unlimited and free, ''.
Shall fall on her, when heaven denies it thee.
Of all that wisdom dictates, this the drift, . :
That man is dead in sin, and life a gift.
Is virtue then, unless of Christian growth,
Mere fallacy, or foolishness, or both?
Ten thousand sages lost in endless woe,
For ignorance of what they could not know?
That speech betrays at once a bigot's tongue,
Charge not a God with such outrageous wrong.
Truly not I-the partial light men have,
My creed persuades me, well employed, may save;
While he that scorns the noon-day beam, perverse;
Shall find the blessing unimproved a curse.
Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind
Left sensuality and dross behind,
Possess for me their undisputed lot,
And take unenvied the reward they sought.
But still in virtue of a Saviour's plea,
Not blind by choice, but destined not to see."