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Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Milled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the prest noítril, spectacle-bestrid.
Some, decent in demeanour while they preach,
That task perform’d, relapse into themselves;
And, having spoken wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye-
Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not!
Forth comes the pocket mirror.–First we stroke
An eye-brow; next, compose a straggling lock;
Then with an air, most gracefully performi’d,
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand depending low:
The better hand, more busy, gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids th’ indebted eye
With op'ra glass, to watch the moving scene,
And recognize the now-retiring fair.-
Now this is fulsome; and offends me more
Than in a churchman slovenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. An heav'nly mind
May be indiff'rent to her house of clay,
And fight the hovel as beneath her care;
But how a body fo fantastic, trim,
And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge an heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.
He that negotiates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgment and of mercy, should beware Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation; and t address The skittish fancy with facetious tales, When sent with God's commission to the heart ! So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip Or merry turn in all he ever wrote, And I consent you take it for your text, Your only one, till sides and benches fail.
No: he was serious in a serious cause,
And understood too well the weighty terms
That he had ta’en in charge. He would not stoop
To conquer those by jocular exploits,
Whom truth and soberness affail'd in vain.
Oh, popular applause! what heart of man
Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms?
The wisest and the best feel urgent need
Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales;
But, swell'd into a gust—who then, alas!
With all his canvass fet, and inexpert,
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r?.
Praise from the riveld lips of toothless, bald
Decrepitude; and in the looks of lean
And craving poverty; and in the bow
Respectful of the smutch'd artificer;
Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb
The bias of the purpose. How much more,
Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite,
In language foft as adoration breathes ?
Ah, spare your idol! think him human still.
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too!
Doet not too much, nor spoil what ye admire.
All truth is from the sempiternal source Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece, and Rome, Drew from the stream below. More favour'd, we Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain head. To them it flow'd much mingled and defild With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams Illusive of philosophy, fo call’d, But falfely. Sages after sages ftrove In vain to filter off a crystal draught Pure from the lees, which often more enhanc'd The thirst than Nak'd it, and not seldom bred Intoxication and delirium wild. ; In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth And spring-time of the world; ask'd, Whence is man? Why form’d at all? and wherefore as he is?
Where must he find his Maker ? with what rites
Adore him? Will he hear, accept, and bless?
Or does he fit regardless of his works?..
Has man within him an immortal feed ?. .
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive
His ashes, where? and in what weal or woe?
Knots worthy of solution, which alone.
A Deity could folve. Their answers, vague,
And all at random, fabulous, and dark,
Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life,
Defective and unfanction'd, prov'd too weak
To bind the roving appetite, and lead
Blind nature to a God not yet reveald.
'Tis revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries, except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more.
Now tell me, "dignified and fapient sir,
My man of morals, nurtur'd in the shades