« PreviousContinue »
Thus often Unbelief, grown sick of life,
Flies to the tempting pool, or felon knife.
The jury meet, the coroner is short,
And lunacy the verdict of the court;
Reverse the sentence, let the truth be known,
Such lunacy 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 flings abroad
Its odour o'er the Christian's thorny road!
The soul, reposing on assur'd 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
the roots of a believer's care,
Kills too the flow'ry weeds, where'er they grow,
That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow.
Oh, that unwelcome voice of heav'nly love,
Sad messenger of mercy from above!
How does it grate upon his thankless
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 pow'rs 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 design;
Pride, of a growth superior to the rest,
The subtlest serpent with the loftiest crest,
Swells at the thought and kindling into rage,
Would biss the cherub Mercy from the stage.
And is the soul indeed so lost-she cries, Fall’n 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 undeserv’d, yet surely not for all-
Some beams of rectitude she yet displays,
Some love of virtue, and some pow'r 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 branch, luxuriant 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 th’affront against the crown of Pride.
Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorr'd,
And the fool with it, who insults his Lord.
Th’ atonement, a Redeemer's love has wrought,
Is not for you—the righteous need it not.
Seest thou yon harlot, wooing all she meets,
The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,
Herself from morn to night, from night to morn,
Her own abhorrence, and as much your scorn.
The gracious show'r, unlimited and free,
Shall fall on her, when Heav'n 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 both ?' 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 wrong.
Truly not I-the partial light men have,
My creed persuades me, well employ’d, may save;
While he that scorns the noonday beam, perverse,
Shall find the blessing, unimprov'd, a curse.
Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind
Left sensuality and dross behind,
Possess for me their undisputed lot,
And take unenvied the reward they sought:
But still in virtue of a Saviour's plea,
Not blind by choice, but destin'd not to see.
Their fortitude and wisdom were a flame
Celestial, though they knew not whence it came,
Deriy'd 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 rev'rence and with awe,
Led them, however falt'ring, 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,
And deem his base stupidity no crime :
The wretch, who 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 scorn'd all carried to account.
Marshalling all his terrors as he came,
Thunder, and earthquake, and devouring flame,
From Sinai's top Jehovah gave the law
Life for obedience, death for ev'ry flaw.
When the great Sov’reign would his will express,
He gives a perfect rule; what can he less ?
And guards it with a sanction as severe
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 th’injurious deed, the sland'rous 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 enthron'd!
Rouse all your courage at your utmost need,
Now summon ev'ry 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,
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,
my follies by the root,
I never trusted in an arm but thine,
Nor hop'd, but in thy righteousness divine :
My pray’rs and alms, imperfect and defild,
Were but the feeble efforts of a child;
Howe'er perform’d, it was their brightest part,
That they proceeded from a grateful heart:
Cleans’d 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 fail'd, nor shall it fail me now.
Angelic gratulations rend the skies,
Pride falls unpitied, never more to rise,
Humility is crown'd, and Faith receives the prize.
Tantane, tam patiens, nullo certamine tolli
the muse for England ? What appears In England's case, to move the muse to tears.? From side to side of her delightful isle Is she not cloth'd with a perpetual smile? Can Nature add a charin, or Art confer A new-found luxury not seen in her ? Where under heav'n 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 ; Whom fiery suns, that scorch the russet spice Of eastern groves, and oceans floor'd with ice, Forbid in vain to push his daring way To darker climes, or climes of brighter day; Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole ; The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets, Her vaults below, where ev'ry vintage meets ; Her theatres, her revels, and her sports ; The scenes to which not youth alone resorts, But age, in spite of weakness and of pain, Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again;