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Could he with reason murmur at his case,
Himself sole author of his own disgrace?
No! the decree was just and without flaw;
And he, that made, had right to make, the law;
His sov'reign pow'r and pleasure unrestrain’d,
The wrong was his, who wrongfully complain'd.
Yet half mankind maintain a churlish strife
With Him, the Donor of eternal life,
Because the deed, by which his love confirms
The largess he bestows, prescribes the terms.
Compliance with his will your lot ensures,
Accept it only, and the boon is yours.
And sure it is as kind to smile and give,
As with a frown to say, Do this, and live.
Love is not pedlar's trump'ry bought and sold:
He will give freely, or he will withhold;
His soul abhors a mercenary thought,
And him as deeply who abhors it not;
He stipulates indeed, but merely this,
That man will freely take an unbought bliss,
Will trust him for a faithful gen’rous part,
Nor set a price upon a willing heart.
Of all the ways that seem to promise fair,
To place you where his saints his presence share,
This only can; for this plain cause, express'd
In terms as plain, Himself has shut the rest.
But oh the strife, the bick'ring, and debate,
The tidings of unpurchas'd Heav'n create!
The flirted fan, the bridle and the toss,
All speakers, yet all language at a loss.
From stucco'd walls smart arguments rebound;
And beaus, adept in ev'ry thing profound,
Die of disdain, or whistle off the sound.
Such is the clamour of rooks, daws, and kites,
Th' explosion of the levell’d tube excites,
Where mould'ring abbey-walls o’erhang the glade,
And oaks coeval spread a mournful shade,
The screaming nations, hov'ring in mid air,
Loudly resent the stranger's freedom there,
And seem to warn him never to repeat
His bold intrusion on their dark retreat.
Adieu, Vinosa cries, ere yet he sips
The purple bumper trembling at his lips,
Adieu to all morality! if Grace
Make works a vain ingredient in the case.
The Christian hope is—Waiter, draw the cork-
If I mistake not-Blockhead! with a fork!
Without good works, whatever some may boast,
Mere folly and delusion-Sir, your toast.
My firm persuasion is, at least sometimes,
That Heav'n will weigh man's virtues and his crimes
With nice attention, in a righteous scale,
And save or damn as these or those prevail.
I plant my foot upon this ground of trust,
And silence ev'ry fear with-God is just.
But if perchance on some dull drizzling day
A thought intrude, that says, or seems to say,
If thus th' important cause is to be tried,
Suppose the beam should dip on the wrong side;
I soon recover from these needless frights,
And God is merciful-sets all to rights.
Thus between justice, as my prime support,
fled to as the last resort,
I glide and steal along with Heav'n in view,
And, -pardon me, the bottle stands with you.
I never will believe, the Colonel cries, The sanguinary schemes, that some devise, Who make the good Creator on their plan A being of less equity than man. If appetite, or what divines call lust, Which men comply with, ev'n because they must,
Be punish'd with perdition, who is pure?
Then theirs no doubt, as well as mine, is sure.
If sentence of eternal pain belong
To ev'ry sudden slip and transient wrong,
Then Heav'n enjoins the fallible and frail
A hopeless task, and damns them if they fail.
My creed (whatever some creed-makers mean
By Athanasian nonsense, or Nicene)
My creed is, he is safe that does his best,
And death's a doom sufficient for the rest.
Right, says an ensign; and for aught I see,
Your faith and mine substantially agree;
The best of ev'ry man's performance here
Is to discharge the duties of his sphere.
A lawyer's dealings should be just and fair,
Honesty shines with great advantage there.
Fasting and pray'r sit well upon a priest,
A decent caution and reserve at least.
A soldier's best is courage in the field,
With nothing here that wants to be conceald.
Manly deportment, gallant, easy, gay;
A hand as lib'ral as the light of day.
The soldier thus endow'd, who never shrinks,
Nor closets up his thoughts, whate'er he thinks,
Who scorns to do an injury by stealth,
Must go to Heav'n—and I must drink his health.
Sir Smug, he cries, (for lowest at the board,
Just made fifth chaplain of his patron lord,
His shoulders witnessing by many a shrug
How much his feelings suffer'd, sat Sir Smug)
Your office is to winnow false from true;
Come, prophet, drink, and tell us, What think
Sighing and smiling as he takes his glass, Which they that woo preferment rarely pass, Fallible man, the churchbred youth replies, Is still found fallible, however wise; And diff’ring judgments serve but to declare, That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where. Of all it ever was my lot to read, Of critics now alive, or long since dead, The book of all the world that charm'd me most Was, welladay, the titlepage was lost; The writer well remarks, a heart, that knows To take with gratitude what Heav'n bestows, With prudence always ready at our call, To guide our use of it, is all in all.