Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

And strain'd to the last screw that he can bear,
Yield only discord in his Maker's ear:
Once the bless'd residence of truth divine,
Glorious as Solyma's interior shrine,
Where, in his own oracular abode,
Dwelt visibly the light-creating God;
But made long since, like Babylon of old,
A den of mischiefs never to be told:
And she, once mistress of the realms around,
Now scatter'd wide, and no where to be found,
As soon shall rise and reascend the throne,
By dative power and energy her own,
As Nature, at her own peculiar cost,
Restore to man the glories he has lost.
Go-bid the winter cease to chill the year,
Replace the wandering comet in his sphere,
Then boast (but wait for that unhoped-for hour)
The self-restoring arm of human power.
But what is man in his own proud esteem ?
Hear him-himself the poet and the theme :
A monarch clothed with majesty and awe,
His mind his kingdom, and bis will his law,
Grace in his mien, and glory in his eyes,
Supreme on earth, and worthy of the skies,
Strength in his heart, dominion in his nod,
And, thunderbolts excepted, quite a God!
So sings he, charm’d with his own mind and form,
The song magnificent-the theme a worm !
Himself so much the source of his delight,
His Maker has no beauty in his sight.
See where he sits, contemplative and fix'd,
Pleasure and wonder in his features mix'd,
His passions tamed and all at his control,
How perfect the composure of his soul !
Complacency has breathed a gentle gale
O'er all his thoughts, and swell'd his easy sail
His books well-trimm'd and in the gayest style,
Like regimental coxcombs, rapk 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 profess'd,
The worst of inen, and curses of the best.
Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes;
The dying, trembling at the awful close;
Where the betray'd, forsaken, and oppress'd,
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 luuacy the verdict of the court;
Reverse the sentence, let the truth be known,
Such ludacy 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 Alings abroad
Its odour o'er 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 polish'd share, Ploughs up the roots of a believer's care, Kills too the flowery weeds, where'er they grow, That bind the singer's Bacchanalian brow. Oh that unwelcome voice of heavenly love, Sad messenger of mercy from above !

D

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 desigo;
Pride, of a growth superior to the rest,
The subtlest serpent with the loftiest crest,
Swells at the thought, and, kiodling into rage,
Would hiss 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 deem'd 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 unborrow'd 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, unmellow'd yet by time,
Bore on his brancb, Juxuriant 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,
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, abhorr'd,
And the fool with it, who insults his Lord.

The atopement, a Redeemer's love has wrought,
Is not for you—the righteous weed it not.
Seest thou yon harlot, wooing all she meets,
The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,
Herself from morn to night, from pight 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 buch?
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 wroug.
Truly not I-the partial light men have,
My creed persuades me, well employ'd, 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 seusuality and dross behind,
Possess for me tijeir 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.
Their fortitude and wisdom were a flame
Celestial, though they knew not whence it came,
Derived from the same source of light and grace,
That guides the Christian in his swifter race;
Their judge was conscience, and her rule their law,
That rule, pursued with reverence and with awe,
Led them, however faltering, faint, and slow,
From what they knew, to what they wish'd to know.
But let not him, that shares a brighter day,
Traduce the splendour of a noontide ray,
Prefer the twilight of a darker time,
Add deem his base stupidity no crime:
The wretch avlo slights the bounty of the skies,
And sinks, while favour'd with the means to rise,

Shall find them rated at their full amount;
The good he scoro'd all carried to account.

Marshalling all his terrours as he came,
Thunder, and earthquake, and devouring flame,
From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law,
Life for obedience, death for every flaw.
When the great Sovereign would his will express,
He gives a perfect rule; what can he less?
And guards it with a sanction as severe
As vengeance can inflict, or sinners fear:
Else his own glorious rights he would disclaim,
And man might safely trifle with his name,
He bids him glow with unremitting love
To all on earth, and to himself above;
Condemns the injurious deed, the slanderous tongue,
The thought that meditates a brother's wrong :
Brings not alone the more conspicuous part,
His conduct, to the test, but tries his heart.

Hark! universal nature shook and groan'd, 'Twas the last trumpet-see the Judge enthroned : Rouse all your courage at your utmost need, Now summon every virtue, staud and plead. What! silent? Is your boasting heard no more? That self-renouncing wisdom, learn'd before, Had shed immortal glories on your brow, That all your virtues cannot purchase now.

All joy to the believer! He can speakTrembling yet happy, confident yet meek.

Since the dear hour, that brought me to thy foot, And cut up all my follies by the root, I never trusted in an arm but thine, Nor hoped, but in thy righteousness divine: My prayers and alms, imperfect and defiled, Were but the feeble efforts of a child; Howe'er perform'd, it was their brightest part, That they proceeded from a grateful heart; Cleansed in thine own all-purifying blood, Forgive their evil, and accept their good; I cast them at thy feet-my only plea Is what it was, dependence upon thee,

« ForrigeFortsett »