Then Truth is hush'd, that Heresy may preach;
And all is trash, that Reason cannot reach:
Then God's own image on the soul impress'd
Becomes a mock'ry, and a standing jest;
And faith, the root whence only can arise
The graces of a life that wins the skies,
Loses at once, all value and esteem,
Pronounc'd by graybeards a pernicious dream:
Then Ceremony leads her bigots forth,
Prepar'd to fight for shadows of no worth;
While truths, on which eternal things depend,
Find not, or hardly find, a single friend:
As soldiers watch the signal of command,
They learn to bow, to kneel, to sit, to stand;
Happy to fill religion's vacant place
With hollow form, and gesture, and grimace.

Such, when the teacher of his church was there.
People and priest, the sons of Israel were;
Stiff in the letter, lax in the design
And import, of their oracles divine;
Their learning legandary, false, absurd,
And yet exalted above God's own word;
They drew a curse from an intended good,
Puff 'd up with gifts they never understood.

He judg'd them with as terrible a frown,

As if not love, but wrath, had brought him down:

Yet he was gentle as soft summer airs,

Had grace for others' sins, but none for theirs;

Through all he spoke a noble plainness ran—

Rhet'ric is artifice, the work of man;

And tricks and turns, that fancy may devise,

Are far too mean for him that rules the skies.

Th' astonish'd vulgar trembled while he tore

The mask from faces never seen before;

He stripp'd th' impostors in the noon-day sun,

Show'd that they follow'd all they seem'd to shun;

Their pray'rs made public, their excesses kept

As private as the chambers where they slept;

The temple and it's holy rites profan'd

By mumm'ries, he that dwelt in it disdain'd;

Uplifted hands, that at convenient times

Could act extortion and the worst of crimes,

Wash'd with a neatness scrupulously nice,

And free from ev'ry taint but that of vice.

Judgment, however tardy, mends her pace

When Obstinacy once has conquer'd Grace.

They saw distemper heal'd, and life restor'd,

In the fiat of his word;

Confess'd the wonder, and with daring tongue
Blasphem'd th' authority from which it sprung.
They knew by sure prognostics seen on high,
The future tone and temper of the sky;
But, grave dissemblers! could not understand
That Sin let loose speaks Punishment at hand.

Ask now of history's authentic page,
And call up evidence from ev'ry age;
Display with busy and laborious hand
The blessings of the most indebted land;
What nation will you find, whose annals prove
So rich an int'rest in almighty love?
- Where dwell they now, where dwelt in ancient day
A people planted, water'd, blest as they?
Let Egypt's plagues and Canaan's woes proclaim
The favours pour'd upon the Jewish name; •

Their freedom purchas'd for them at the cost
Of all their hard oppressors valued most;
Their title to a country not their own
Made sure by prodigies till then unknown;
For them the states they left made waste and void;
For them the states, to which they went, destroy'd:
A cloud to measure out their march by day,
By night a fire to cheer the gloomy way;

That moving signal summoning, when best,
Their host to move, and when it stay'd, to rest.
For them the rocks dissolv'd into a flood,
The dews condens'd into angelic food,
Their very garments sacred, old yet new,
And Time forbid to touch them as he flew;
Streams, swell'd above the bank, enjoin'd to stand,
While they pass'd through to their appointed land;
Their leader arm'd with meekness, zeal, and love,
And grac'd with clear credentials from above;
Themselves secur'd beneath th' Almighty wing;
Their God their captain*, lawgiver, and king;
Crown'd with a thousand vict'ries, and at last
Lords of the conquer'd soil, there rooted fast,
In peace possessing what they won by war,
Their name far publish'd, and rever'd as far;
Where will you find a race like theirs, endow'd
With all that man e'er wish'd, or Heav'n bestow'd?

They, and they only, amongst all mankind
Receiv'd the transcript of th' eternal mind;
Were trusted with his own engraven laws,
And constituted guardians of his cause;

• Vide Joshua v. n. VOL. I. H

Theirs were the prophets, theirs the priestly call,
And theirs by birth the Saviour of us all.
In vain the nations, that had seen them rise
With fierce and envious yet admiring eyes,
Had sought to crush them, guarded as they were
■ By pow'r divine, and skill that could not err.
Had they maintain'd allegiance firm and sure,
And kept the faith immaculate and pure,
Then the proud eagles of all-conqu'ring Rome
Had found one city not to be o'ercome;
And the twelve standards of the tribes unfurl'd
Had bid defiance to the warring world.
But grace abus'd brings forth the foulest deeds,
As richest soil the most luxuriant weeds.
Cur'd of the golden calves, their fathers' sin,
They set up self, that idol god within;
View'd a Deliv'rer with disdain and hate,
Who left them still a tributary state;
Seiz'd fast his hand, held out to set them free
From a worse yoke, and nail'd it to the tree:
There was the consummation and the crown,
The flow'r of Israel's infamy full blown;
Thence date their sad declension and their fall,
Their woes not yet repeal'd, thence date them all.

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