Page images
PDF
EPUB

PART 111.

The BELIEVER'S RIDDLE; Or,

The MYSTERY of FAITH.

The P R E F A CE,

Slewing the Use and Design of the RIDDLE.

R

EADER, the foll'wing enigmatic song,

Does not to wiseft nat'ralists belong Their wisdom is but folly on this head : They here may ruminate, but cannot read. For though they glance the words, the mean

ing chokes, They read the lines, but not the paradox. The subject will, howe'er the phrase be blunt, Their most accute intelligence surmount, If with the nat?ral and acquired fight They share not divine evangelic light. (brains,

Great wits may rouse their fancies, rack their And after all their labour lose their pains ; Their wifeft comments were but witless chat, Unapt to frame an explication pat. No unregen'rate mortal's best engines Can right unriddle these few rugged lines ; Nor any peper notions thereof reach, Though fublimated to the highest stretch. Masters of reason, plodding men of sense, Who fcorn to mortify their vain preter.ce,

In this mysterious deep might plod their fill;
It overtops the top of all their ikill.
The more they vainly huff, and scorn to read,
The more it does their foolish wit exceed.

Those finners that are fanctified in part,
May read this riddle truly in their heart.
Yea, weakest faints may feel its truest sense,
Both in their fad and sweet experience.
Don't overlook it with a rambling view,
And rash suppose it neither good nor true.
Let Heaven's pure oracles the truth decide ;
Renounce it, if it can't that test abide.
Noble Bereans foon the fenfe may hit,
Who found the divine depth of facred writ,
Not by what airy carnal reason faith,
But by the golden line of heaven-fpun faith.
Let not the naughty phrase make you

dif prove The weighty matter which deserves your love. High strains would spoil the riddle's grand inTo teach the weakest, most illit'rate faint, (tent, That MAHANAIM is his proper name; In whom twoftruggling hosts make bloody game. That such may know, whose knowledge is but

rude, How good confifts with ill, and ill with good. That faints be neither at their worft nor beft, Too much exalted or two much depreft.

This paradox is fitted to disclose The skill of Zion's friends above her foes ; To difference by light that Heaven transmits, Some happy fools from miserable wits. And thus (if bless'd) it may in fome degree Make fools their wit, and wits their folly see.

[ocr errors]

Slight not the riddle then like jargon vile, Because not garnish'd with a pompous ftile. Could th' author act the lofty poets part, Who make their sonnets foar on wings of art, He on this theme had blush'd to ufe his skill, And either clipt his wings, or broke his quill.

Why, this enigma climbs such divine heights As scorn to be adorn'd with human flights These gaudy strains would lovely truth disgrace, As purest paint deforms a comely face. Heav'n's mysteries are 'bove art's ornament, Immensely brighter than its brightest paint. No tow'ring lit'rator could e'er outwit The plainelt diction fetch'd from sacred writ; By which mere blazing rhet'ric is outdone, As twinkling stars are by the radiant sun. The soaring orators who can with eafe Strain the quintessence of hyperboles, And clothe the barest theme with purest dress, Might here expatiate much, yet say the less, If w' th' majeftical fimplicity Of scripture orat'ry they disagree.

These lines pretend not to affect the sky, Content among inglorious shades to lie, Provided facred truth be fitly clad, Or glorious shine ev'n through the dusky shade. Mark then though you should miss the gilded If they a store of golden truth contain: (strain, Nor under-rate a jewel rare and prime, : Though wrapt up in the rags of homely rhime.

Though haughty Deifts hardly stoopto fay, That nature's night has need of scripture-day: Yet gospel-light alone will clearly shew How ev'ry sentence here is just and true,

Expel the shades that may the mind involve,
And soon the seeming contradiction solve.
All fatal errors in the world proceed
From want of skill such mysteries to read.
Vain men the double branch of truth divide,
Hold by the one, and flight the other side.

Hence proud Arminians cannot reconcile
Freedom of grace with freedom of the will.
The blinded Papist won't discern nor see
How works are good unless they justify.
Thus legalists diftinguish not the odds (God's.
Between their home-bred righteousness and
Antinomists the faints perfection plead,
Nor duly sever 'tween them and their head.
Socinians won't these seeming odds agree,
How heav'n is bought, and yet salvation free. --
Bold Arians hate to reconcile or scan,
How Christ is truly God and truly man:
Holding the one part of Immanuel's name,
The other part outrageously blaspheme.
The sound in faith no part of truth controul :
Heretics own the half, but not the whole.

Keep then the sacred myst'ry still entire ; To both the sides of truth do favour bear, Not quitting one to hold the other branch; But passing judgment on an equal bench; The riddle has two feet, and were but one Cut off, truth falling to the ground were gone. 'Tis all a contradiction, yet all true, And happy truth, yet verify'd in you. Go forward then to read the lines, but stay To read the riddle also by the way.

SECT. I.

The mystery of the Saints PEDIGREE, and especially

of their relation to Christ's wonderful perfon.

[ocr errors]

Y life's a maze of seeming traps a,

A scene of mercies and mishaps b;
A heap of jarring to and froesc,
A field of joys, a food of woes d.
I'm in mine own and others eyes,
A labyrinth of mysteries e.

a Joshi xxii. 13. And Joshua said, Know for a certainty, that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be fnares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides and thorns in your eyes, &c. 'Pf cxxiv. 7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers ; the snare is broken, and we are escaped. i b Or miseries. Lam. iii. 19. Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. v. 22. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compaffions fail not. Psalm ci. 1. I will fing of mercy and judgment : unto thee, O Lord will I sing.

c Psalm cii. 10. Thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down, Psalm cix. 23. I am tossed up and dowo as the locuft.

d Hab. iii. 17, 18. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive lball fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and their shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

é Isa. viii. 18. Behold I and the children whom the Lord harb given me, are for figos, and for wonders in Israel; from the Lord of host, which dwelleth in mount Zion. Zech. iii. '8. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee : for they are men wondered at, &c. Psal. lxxi.

7. I am as a wonder unto many, but thou art my trong refuge.

« PreviousContinue »