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"A rebel 'midst the thunders of his throne! "Nor I alone! a rebel universe!
My species up in arms! not one exempt!
"Yet for the foulest of the foul he dies."
Bound every heart! and every bosom burn!
Oh what a scale of miracles is here!
Its lowest round, high-planted on the skies:
Its tow'ring summit lost beyond the thought
Of man, or angel: Oh that I could climb
The wonderful ascent, with equal praise!
Praise ardent, cordial, constant, to high heaven
More fragrant than Arabia sacrific'd;
And all her spicy mountains in a flame.
$179. Praise, bestowed on Men, due to Heaven.
FROM Courts and thrones return, apostate praise!
Thou prostitute! to thy first love return.
Thy first, thy greatest, once, unrivall'd theme.
Back to thy fountain! to that parent power,
Who gives the tongue to sound, the thought to
The soul to be. Men homage pay to men, Thoughtless beneath whose dreadful eye they In mutual awe profound of clay to clay, [bow, Of guilt to guilt, and turn their backs on thee, Great sire! whom thrones celestial ceaseless sing. Oh the presumption, of man's awe for man! Man's author! end! restorer! law! and judge! Thine, all; day thine, and thine this gloom of night;
With all her wealth, with all her radiant worlds: What night eternal, but a frown from thee? What heav'ns meridian glory, but thy smile? And shall not praise be thine? not human praise, While heaven's high host on Hallelujah's live?
§ 180. Magnificence and Omnipresence of the Deity.
On may I breathe no longer, than I breathe
My soul in praise to kim, who gave my soul,
And all her infinite of prospect fair,
Cut thro' the shades of hell, great love! by thee!
Where shall that praise begin, which ne'er should
Where'er I turn, what claim on all applause!
How is night's sable mantle labor'd o'er,
How richly wrought, with attributes divine!
What wisdom shines! what love! This mid-
My voice (if tun'd); the nerve, that writes, sus-
Wrapp'd in his being, I resound his praise:
But tho' past all diffus'd, without a shore,
His essence: local is his throne (as meet),
To gather the disperst, to fix a point,
A central point, collective of his sons,
Since finite every nature but his own.
The naineless He, whose nod is nature's birth;
And nature's shield, the shadow of his hand :
Her dissolution, his suspended simile;
The great first last! pavilion'd high he sits
In darkness, from excessive splendor born.
His glory, to created glory, bright
As that to central horrors; he looks down
and spans immensity.
On all that soars,
§ 181. Inability of sufficiently praising God.
Down to the centre should I send my thought
Thro' beds of glittering ore, and glowing
This gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlay'd,
Built with divine ambition! nought to thee:
For others this profusion: thou apart,
Above, beyond! oh tell me, mighty mind,
Where art thou? shall I dive into the deep?
Call to the sun, or ask the roaring winds,
For their Creator? shall I question loud
The thunder, if in that th' Âlmighty dwells?
Or holds the furious storms in streighten'd reins,
And bids fierce whirlwinds wheel his rapid car?
What mean these questions? trembling I
My prostrate soul adores the present God :
Praise I a distant Deity? he tunes
Their beggar'd blaze wants lustre for my lay;
Goes out in darkness: if, on tow'ring wing,
send it thro' the boundless vault of stars;
The stars, tho' rich, what dross their gold to thee.
Great! good! wise! wonderful! eternal King?
If those conscious stars thy throne around,
Praise ever-pouring, and imbibing bliss,
I ask their strain; they want it, more they want;
Languid their energy, their ardor cold,
Indebted still, their highest rapture burns;
Short of its mark, defective, tho' divine
Still more-This theme is man's, and man's
Their vast appointments reach it not; they see
On earth a bounty, not indulg'd on high;
And downward look for heaven's superior praise.
First-born of æther! high in fields of light!
View man, to see the glory of your God!
You sung creation (for in that you shar'd),
How rose in melody, the child of love!
Creation's great superior, man! is thine
Thine is redemption; eternize the song!
Redemption! 'twas creation more sublime;
Redemption! 'twas the labor of the skies;
Far more than labor-It was death in heaven,
Here pause and ponder; was there death in
What then on earth? on earth which struck the
Who struck it? Who?-O how is man enlarg'd,
Seen thro' this medium! How the pigmy tow'rs!
How counterpois'd his origin from dust!
How counterpois'd, to dust his sad return!
How voided his vast distance from the skies!
How near he presses on the seraph's wing!
How this demonstrates thro' the thickest cloud
Of guilt, and clay condens'd, the son of heav'n!
The double son; the made, and the re-made!
And shall heaven's double property be lost?
Man's double madness only can destroy him,
To man the bleeding cross has promis'd all;
The bleeding cross has sworn eternal grace:
Who gave his life, what grace shall he deny?
O ye, who from this Rock of Ages leap
Disdainful, plunging headlong in the abyss!
What cordial joy, what consolation strong,
Whatever winds arise, or billows roll,
Our interest in the master of the storm [smile;
Cling there, and in wreck'd nature's ruins
While vile apostates tremble in a calm.
§ 182. Man.
MAN! know thyself; all wisdom centres there.
To none man seems ignoble, but to man;
Angels that grandeur, men o'erlook, admire :
How long shall human nature be their book,
Degenerate mortal! and unread by thee?
The beam dim reason sheds shows wonders there;
What high contents! illustrious faculties !
But the grand comment which displays at full
Our human height, scarce sever'd from divine.
By heaven compos'd, was publish'd on the cross!
Who looks on that, and sees not in himself
An awful stranger, a terrestrial god?
A glorious partner with the Deity
In that high attribute, immortal life!
1 gaze, and as I gaze, my mounting soul
Catches strange fire! eternity! at thee.
His wrath inflam'd? his tenderness on fire?
Can prayer, can praise avert it?-Thou, my all!
My theme! my inspiration! and my crown!
My strength in age! my rise in low estate !
My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth! my world!
My light in darkness! and my life in death!
My boast thro' time! bliss thro' eternity!
Eternity too short to speak thy praise,
Or fathom thy profound of love to man!
$184. God's Love to Man.
O HOW Omnipotence is lost in love!
Father of angels! but the friend of man!
Thou, who didst save him, snatch the smoking
From out the flames, and quench it in thy blood!
How art thou pleas'd, by bounty to distress!
To make us groan beneath our gratitude,
To challenge, and to distance, all return!
Of lavish love stupendous heights to soar,
And leave praise panting in the distant vale!
But since the naked will obtains thy smile,
Beneath this monument of praise unpaid,
For ever lie entomb'd my fear of death,
And dread of ev'ry evil, but thy frown.
O for an humbler heart and loftier song!
Thou, my much-injur'd theme! with that softeye
Which melted o'er doom'd Salem, deign to look
Compassion to the coldness of my breast;
And pardon to the winter in my strain.
He, the great father! kindled at one flame
The world of rationals; one spirit pour'd
From spirit's awful fountain: pour'd himself
Thro' all their souls; but not in equal stream
Profuse, or frugal of th' inspiring God,
As his wise plan demanded: and when past
Their various trials in their various spheres,
If they continue rational, as made,
Resorbs them all into himself again; [crown.
His throne their centre, and his smile their OH ye cold hearted, frozen formalists!
Why doubt we then the glorious truth to
Angels are men of a superior kind; [sing?
Angels are men in lighter habit clad,
High o'er celestial mountains wing'd in flight:
And men are angels, loaded for an hour,
Who wade this miry vale, and climb with pain,
And slippery step, the bottom of the steep:
Yet summon'd to the glorious standard soon,
Which flames eternal crimson thro' the skies.
RELIGION's all. Descending from its sire
To wretched man, the goddess in her left
Holds out this world, and in her right, the next:
Religion! the sole voucher man is man:
Supporter sole of man above himself.
Religion! providence! an after state!
Here is firm footing; here is solid rock;
This can support us; all is sea besides ;
Sinks under us; bestorms, and then devours.
His hand the good man fastens on the skies,
And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.
Religion! thou the soul of happiness;
And groaning Calvary of thee! There shine
The noble truths; there strongest motives sting!
Can love allure us? or can terror awe?
He weeps!the falling drop puts out the sun;
He sighs the sigh earth's deep foundation
If, in his love, so terrible, what then [shakes.
On such a theme 'tis impious to be calm;
?Shall Heaven which gave us ardor, and has
Its own for man so strongly, not disdain [shown
What smooth emollients in theology,
Recumbent virtue's downy doctors preach,
That prose of piety, a lukewarm praise?
Rise odors sweet from incense uninflam'd?
Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout.
$186. Death, where is thy Sting?
OH when will death (now stingless), like a
Admit me of that choir? Oh when will death,
This mould'ring, old partition-wall thrown
Give beings, one in nature, one abode? [down,
Oh death divine that gives us to the skies,
Great future! glorious patron of the past,
And present, when shall I thy shrine adore?
From Nature's continent immensely wide,
Immensely blest, this little isle of life
Divides us. Happy day, that breaks our chain;
That re-admits us, thro' the guardian hand
Of elder brothers, to our Father's throne;
Who hears our Advocate, and thro' his wounds
Beholding man, allows that tender name.
"Tis this makes Christian triumph, a command:
"Tis this makes joy a duty to the wise.
Hast thou ne'er seen the comet's flamingflight?
Th' illustrious stranger passing, terror sheds
On gazing nations, from his fiery train
Of length enormous, takes his ample round
Thro' depths of ether, coasts unnainber'd worlds
Of more than solar glory; doubles wide
Heav'n's mighty cape, and then revisits earth,
From the long travel of a thousand years.
Thus, at the destin'd period, shall return
He, once on earth, who bids.the comet blaze;
And with him all our triumph o'er the tomb.
They draw pride's curtain o'er the nood-tide ray
Spike up their inch of reason, on the point
Of philosophic wit, call'd argument,
And then exulting in their taper; cry,
"Behold the sun :" and, Indian-like, adore.
Talk they of morals? O thou bleeding Love;
Thou maker of new morals to mankind!
The grand morality is love of thee.
A Christian is the highest style of man.
And is there, who the blessed cross wipes off
As a foul blot from his dishonor'd brow?
If angels tremble, 'tis at such a sight:
The wretch they quit, desponding of their charge,
More struck with grief or wonder, who can tell?
$187. Faith enforced by our Reason.
NATURE is dumb on this important point:
Or hope precarious in low whisper breathes :
Faith speaks aloud, distinct; even adders hear,
But turn and dart into the dark again.
Faith builds a bridge across the bridge of death,
To break the shock blind nature cannot shun,
And lands thought smoothly on the farther shore.
Death's terror is the mountain Faith removes;
That mountain barrier between man and
Tis Faith disarms destruction; and absolves
From ev'ry clamorous charge the guiltless tomb.
Why shouldst thou disbelieve?'tis Reason"
"All sacred Reason."- Hold her sacred still;
Nor shalt thou want a rival in thy flame.
Reason! my heart is thine: Deep in its folds,
Live thou with life; live dearer of the two.
My reason rebaptis'd me, when adult ;
Weigh'd true and false in her impartial scale;
And made that choice, which once was but my
Reason pursu'd is faith and unpursu'd
Where proof invites, 'tis reason then no more;
And such our proof, that, or our faith is right,
Or Reason lies, and Heaven design'd it wrong
Absolve we this? What then is blasphemy?
Fond as we are, and justly fond of faith,
Reason, we grant, demands our first regard,
The mother honor'd, as the daughter dear:
Reason the root, fair Faith is but the flow'r:
The fading flow'r shall die; but Reason lives
Immortal, as her Father in the skies.
Wrong not the Christian, think not reason yours:
'Tis Reason our great Master holds so dear;
Tis Reason's injur'd rights his wrath resents.
Believe, and show the reason of a man;
Believe, and taste the pleasure of a God;
Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb :
Thro' Reason's wounds alone, thy faith can die;
Which dying, tenfold terrors gives to Death,
And dips in venom his twice-mortal sting.
§188. False Philosophy.
LEARN hence what honors due to those who
Our antidote aside; those friends to reason,
Whose fatal love stabs every joy, and leaves
Death's terror heighten'd gnawing on his heart.
Those pompous sons of reason idoliz'd,
Aud vilily'd at once; of reason dead,
Then deified, as monarchs were of old.
Whilelove of truth thro' all their camp resounds
§ 189. The mere Man of the World.
YE sold to sense, ye citizens of earth,
(For such alone the Christian banner fly)
Know ye how wise your choice, how great your
Behold the picture of earth's happiest man :
He calls his wish, it comes; he sends it back,
And says, he call'd another; that arrives,
"Meets the same welcome; yet he still calls on,
"Till one calls on him, who varies not his call,
"But holds him fast, in chains of darknessbound,
"Till nature dies, and judgement sets him free:
"A freedom far less welcome than his chain.”
But grant man happy; grant him happy long;
Add to life's highest prize her latest hour;
That hour so late, comes on in full career :
How swift the shuttle flies, that weaves thy
Where is the fable of thy former years! [thee
Thrown down the gulph of time; as far from
As the Lad ne'er been thine; the day in hand,
Like a bird struggling to get loose, is going;
treme now jsest, so suddenly 'us one;
And eac.. swiment fled, is death advanc'd
By-trides as swift: Eternity is all;
And whore cernity? Who triumphs here?
Balding for ever in the font of bliss ?..
For ever be Mag in the Deity!
Comine reply, O give it leave to speak;
For it wil speak ere long. Oh hear it now.
While us fal its advice, its accents mild.
Truth is deposited with man's last hour;
An honest hour, and faithful to her trust.
Truth, eldest daughter of the Deity;
Truth, of his council when he made the worlds,
Nor less when he shall judge the worlds he made,
Tho' silent long, and sleeping ne'er so sound,
Than from her cavern in the soul's abyss,
The goddess bursts in thunder and in flame,
"Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die."
Darkness the curtain drops o'er life's dull scene; "Tis the kind hand of Providence stretcht out "Twixt man and vanity; 'tis Reason's reign, And Virtue's too; these tutelary shades Are man's asylum from the tainted throng.
§ 191. The Futility of Man's Resolutions. VIRTUE for ever frail, as fair below, Her tender nature suffers in the crowd, Nor touches on the world, without a stain: The world's infectious; few bring back at eve Immaculate the manners of the morn, Something we thought, is blotted; we resolv'd, Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again. Each salutation may slide in a sin Unthought before, or fix a former flaw. Nor is it strange, light, motion, concourse, noise, All scatter us abroad; thought outward bound, Neglectful of our home affairs, flies off In fume and dissipation, quits her charge, And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe.
§ 192. The Power of Example. PRESENT example gets within our guard, And acts by double force, by few repell'd. Ambition fires ambition; love of gain Strikes like a pestilence from breast to breast; Riot, pride, perfidy, blue vapors breathe!
And inhumanity is caught from man;
From smiling man. A slight, a single glance,
And shot at random, often has brought home
A sudden fever to the throbbing heart,
Of envy, rancour, or impure desire.
We see, we hear with peril; safety dwells
Remote from multitude; the world's a school
Of wrong, and what proficients swarm around!
We must or imitate, or disapprove;
Must list as their accomplices, or foes; [peace.
That stains our innocence; this wounds our
From nature's birth, hence, wisdom has been smit
With sweet recess, and languish'd for the shade.
THIS sacred shade, and solitude, what is it?
'Tis the felt presence of the Deity.
Few are the faults we flatter when alone:
Vice sinks in her allurements, is ungilt,
And looks, like other objects, black by night.
By night an atheist half believes a God.
Night is fair Virtue's immemorial friend;
The conscious moon, through every distant age,
Has held a lamp to Wisdom, and let fall
On contemplation's eye her purging ray.
Hail precious moments! stol'n from the black
Of murder'd time: auspicious midnight hail! The world excluded, every passion hush'd, And open'd a calm intercourse with heav'n; Here the soul sits in council, ponders past, Predestines future actions; sces, not feels, Tumultuous life; and reasons with the storm; All her lies answers, and thinks down her charms.
$194. Little to be expected from Man. WHAT are we! how unequal! now we soar, And now we sink: how dearly pays the soul For lodging ill; too dearly rents her clay! Reason, a baffled counsellor! but adds The blush of weakness to the bane of woe. The noblest spirit fighting her hard fate, In this damp, dusky region, charg'd with storms, But feebly flutters, yet untaught to fly.
"Tis vain to seek in men for more than man. Tho' proud in promise, big in previous thought, Experience damps our triumph. I, who hate, Emerging from the shadows of the grave, Threw wide the gates of everlasting day, And call'd mankind to glory, down I rush, In sorrow drown'd- But not, in sorrow, lost. How wretched is the man, who never mourn'd! dive for precious pearls, in sorrows stream: Not so the thoughtless man that grieves Takes all the torment, and rejects the gain, (Inestimable gain!) and gives heaven leave To make him but more wretched, not more wise.
Ir wisdom is our lesson, (and what else
Ennobles man? what else have angels learnt?)
Grief, more proficients in thy school are made,
Than genius, or proud learning ere could boast,
Voracious learning, often over-fed,
Digests not into sense her motley meal.
Her native farm, her reason quite untill'd:
This forager on others' wisdom leaves
With mixt manure she surfeits the rank soil,
Dung'd, but not drest; and rich to beggary:
A pomp untameable of weed prevails: [mourns.
Her servants's wealth encumber'd wisdom
And what saysGenius? "Let the dull be wise;"
It pleads exemption from the laws of sense;
And scorns to share a blessing with the crowd.
Considers Reason as a leveller,
That wise it could be, thinks an ample claim
To glory, and pleasure gives the rest.
Wisdom less shudders at a fool, than wit.
But Wisdom smiles, when humbled mortals
weep. When sorrow wounds the breast, as ploughs the glebe,
And hearts obdurate feel her softening shower:
Her seed celestial, then glad Wisdom sows,
Her golden harvest triumphs in the soil,
If so, I'll gain by my calamity,
And reap rich compensation from my pain.
I'll range the plenteous intellectual field;
And gather every thought of sovereign power,
To chase the moral maladies of man ; [skies,
Thoughts, which may bear transplanting to the
Tho' natives of this coarse penurious soil,
Nor wholly wither there, where seraph's sing:
Refin'd, exalted, not annull'd in heaven.
§ 196. Reflections in a Church-yard. SAY, on what themes shall puzzled choice descend?
"Th' importance of contemplating the tomb; "Why
Behold th'inexorable hour forgot!
And to forget it, the chief aim of life;
Tho' well to ponder it is life's chief end.
Why men decline it; Suicide's foul birth; " The various kinds of grief; the faults of age; "And Death's dread character-invite mysong." And first, th' importance of our end survey'd. Friends counsel quick dismission of our grief; § 197. Little Attention paid to the Warnings of Mistaken kindness! our hearts heal too soon. Are they more kind than He who struck the blow? Who bid it do his errand in our hearts, And banish peace till nobler guests arrive, And bring it back a true and endless peace? Calamities are friends: as glaring day
Of these unnumber'd lustres robs our sight;
Prosperity puts our unnumber'd thoughts
Of import high, and light divine to man.
The man how blest, who, sick of gaudyscenes.
(Scenes apt to thrust between us and ourselves!)
Is led by choice to take his favorite walk
Beneath Death's gloommy, silent cypress shades,
Unpierc'd by Vanity's fantastic ray;
Is Death, that ever threat'ning ne'er remote,
That all-important, and that only sure,
(Come when he will) an unexpected guest?
Nay, tho' invited by the loudest calls
Of blind imprudence, unexpected still?
Tho' numerous messengers are sent before
To warn his great arrival. What the cause,
The wond'rous cause, of this mysterious ill?
All heaven looks down astonish'd at the sight.
§ 198. Life compared to a Stream.
Is it, that Life has sown her joys so thick,
We can't thrust in a single care between?
Is it, that life has such a swarm of cares,
The thought of death can't enter for the throng?
Is it that time steals on with downy feet,
Nor wakes indulgence from her golden dream?
To-day is so like yesterday, it cheats;
We take the lying sister for the same.
Life glides away, Lorenzo, like a brook;
For ever changing, unperceiv'd the change.
In the same brook none ever bath'd him twice:
soul,To the same life none ever twice awoke.
To read his monuments, to weigh his dust,
Visit his vaults, and dwell among the tombs!
Lorenzo, read with me Narcissa's stone;
Few orators so tenderly can touch
The feeling heart. What pathos in the date!
Apt words can strike, and yet in them we see
Faint images of what we here enjoy.
What cause have we to build on length of life?
Temptations seise when fear is laid asleep;
And ill-foreboding is our strongest guard.
See from her tomb, Truth sallies on my
And puts Delusion's dusky train to flight;
Dispels the mists our sultry passions raise,
And shows the real estimate of things,
Which no man, unafflicted, ever saw;
Pulls off the veil from Virtue's rising charms;
Detects Temptation in a thousand lies.
Truth bids me look on men, as autumn's leaves,
And all they bleed for, as the summer's dust,
Driven by the whirlwind: lighted by her beams,
I widen iny horizon, gain new powers,
See things invisible, feel things remote,
Am present with futurities; think nought
To man so foreign, as the joys possest,
Nought so much his as those beyond the grave.
No folly keeps its color in her sight:
Pale worldly wisdom loses all her charms.
How differ worldly wisdom, and divine?
Just as the waning and the waxing moon.
More empty worldly wisdom every day;
And every day more fair her rival shines.
But soon our term for wisdom is expir'd,
And everlasting fool is writ in fire,
Or real wisdom wafts us to the skies.
What grave prescribes the best?—a friend's;
From a friend's grave how soon we disengage,
Even to the dearest, as his inarble, cold!
Why are friends ravish'd from us! 't is to bind,
By soft Affection's ties, on human hearts,
The thought of death, which Reason, too supine,
Or misemploy'd, so rarely fastens there.
Nor Reason, nor Affection, no, nor both
Combin'd can break the witchcrafts of the world.
Behold th'inexorable hour at hand!
We call the brook the same; the same we think
Our life, though still more rapid in its flow;
Nor mark the much irrevocably laps'd,
And mingled with the sea. Or shall we say
(Retaining still the brook to bear us on)
That life is like a vessel on the stream?
In life embark'd, we smoothly down the tide
Of time descend, but not on time intent,
Amus'd, unconscious of the gliding wave;
Till on a sudden we perceive a shock;
We start, awake, look out; our bark is burst.
Is this the cause death flies all human thought!
Or is it judgement by the will struck blind,
That domineering mistress of the soul!
Or is it fear turns startled reason back,
From looking down a precipice so steep?
"Tis dreadful; and the dread is wisely plac'd,
By nature conscious of the make of man.
A dreadful friend it is, a terror kind,
A flaming sword to guard the tree of life,
By that unaw'd, man on each pique of pride,
Or gloom of humor, would give rage the rein,
Bound o'er the barrier, rush into the dark,
And mar the schemes of Frovidence below.
WHAT groan was that? There took his gloomy
On wing impetuous, a black sullen soul,
Blasted from hell, with horrid lust of death.
Thy friend, the brave, the gallant Altamont
So call'd, so thought-and then he fled the field.
Less base the fear of death, than fear of life.