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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, stand 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 speak—
Trembling, yet happy, confident, yet meek.
Since #. 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 ;
While struggling in the vale of tears below,
That never # nor shall it fail me now,
Angelic gratulations rend the skies,
Pride falls unemptiod, never more to rise;
Humility is crown'd, and faith receives the prize.
“Tantane, tam patiens, nullo certamine tolli
Dona sines?” —WIRGIL.
HY weeps the muse for England? What
In England's case to move the muse to tears?
From side to side of her delightful isle,
Is she not clothed with a perpetual smile !
Can nature add a charm or art confer
A new-found luxury not seen in her?
Where under heaven is pleasure more pursued,
Or where does cold reflection less intrude :
Her fields, a rich expanse of wavy corn,
Pour'd out from plenty's overflowing horn,
Ambrosial gardens, in which art supplies
The fervour and the force of Indian skies;
Her peaceful shores, where busy commerce waits
To pour his golden tide through all her gates,
All speak her happy—let the muse look round
From East to West, no sorrow can be found,
Or only what, in cottages confined,
Sighs unregarded to the passing wind;
Then wherefore weep for England, what appears
In England's case to move the muse to tears?
The prophet wept for Israel, wish'd his eyes
Were fountains fed with infinite supplies;
For Israel dealt in robbery and wrong,
There were the scorner's and the sland'rer's tongue,
Oaths used as playthings or convenient tools,
As int’rest biass'd knaves, or fashion fools.
He saw his people slaves to ev'ry lust,
Lewd, avaricious, * unjust;
He heard the wheels of an avenging God
Groan heavily along the distant road ;
Saw Babylon set wide her two-leaved brass
To let the military deluge pass;
Jerusalem a prey, her glory soil'd,
Her princes captive, and her treasures spoil'd;
Wept till all Israel heard his bitter cry,
Stamp'd with his foot and smote upon his thigh;
But wept, and stamp'd, and smote his thigh in vain.
Pleasure is deaf when told of future pain,
And sounds prophetic are too rough to suit
Ears long accustom'd to the pleasing lute;
They scorn'd his inspiration and his theme,
Pronounced him frantic and his fears a dream,
With self-indulgence wing'd the fleeting hours,
Till the foe found them, and down fell the tow’rs.
When He that ruled them with a shepherd's rod,
In form a man, in dignity a God,
Came not expected in that humble guise,
To sift, and search them with unerring eyes,
He found conceal’d beneath a fair outside,
The filth of rottenness and worm of pride,
Their piety a system of deceit,
Scripture employ'd to sanctify the cheat,
The pharisee the dupe of his own art,
Self-idolised, and yet a knave at heart.
When nations are to perish in their sins,
'Tis in the church the leprosy begins:
The priest, whose office is with zeal sincere
To watch the fountain, and preserve it clear,
Carelessly nods and sleeps upon the brink,
While others poison what the flock must drink;
Or, waking at the call of lust alone,
Infuses lies and errors of his own :
His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure,
And tainted by the very means of cure,
Catch from each other a contagious spot,
The foul forerunner of a general rot:
Then truth is hush'd that heresy may preach,
And all is trash that reason cannot reach;
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 legendary, 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 judged 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 noonday 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 its holy rites profaned
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 restored
In answer to the fiat of His word,
Confess'd the wonder, and with daring tongue,
Blasphemed 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?
They, and they only amongst all mankind,
Received the transcript of th’ Eternal Mind,
Were trusted with His own engraven laws,
And constituted guardians of His cause;
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 power 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 fo one city not to be o'ercome;
And the twelve standards of the tribes unfurl’d
Had bid defiance to the warring world.