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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 wo,
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,
Deriv'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 faltring, 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 terrours 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
As 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 topgue,
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,
That all your 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, And cut up all 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 faild, 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
Dona sines? Virg.
Why weeps 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 charm, 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;