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And Æthiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travell’d forth
Into all lands. From ev'ry clime they come
To see thy beauty and to share thy joy,
O Sion! an assembly such as earth
Saw never, such as Heav'n stoops down to see.
Thus heav'n-ward all things tend. For all were once Perfect, and all must be at length restor’d. So God has greatly purpos'd; who would else In his dishonour'd works himself endure Dishonour, and be wrong'd without redress. Haste, then, and wheel away a shatter'd world, Ye Now-revolving seasons! we would see (A sight to which our eyes are strangers yet) A world that does not dread and hate his laws, And suffer for its crime; would learn how fair The creature is that God pronounces good, How pleasant in itself what pleases him. Here ev'ry drop of honey hides a sting; Worms wind themselves into our sweetest Aow'rs;
And ev'n the joy that haply some poor heart
Derives from heav'n, pure as the fountain is,
Is sullied in the stream, taking a taint
From touch of human lips, at best impure.
Oh for a world in principle as chafte
As this is gross and selfish! over which
Custom and prejudice shall bear no sway,
That govern all things here, should'ring aside
The meek and modest truth, and forcing her
To seek a refuge from the tongue of strife
In nooks obscure, far from the ways of men :-
Where violence shall never lift the sword,
Nor cunning justify the proud man's wrong,
Leaving the poor no remedy but tears:
Where he that fills an office shall esteem
Th’occasion it presents of doing good
More than the perquisite:-where law shall speak
Seldom, and never but as wisdom prompts
And equity; not jealous more to guard
A worthless form, than to decide aright:-
Where falhion shall not sanctify abuse,
Nor smooth good-breeding (supplemental grace)
With lean performance ape the work of love!
Come then, and, added to thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine
By ancient covenant, ere nature's birth;
And thou hast made it thine by purchase since,
And overpaid its value with thy blood.
Thy faints proclaim thee king; and in their hearts
Thy title is engraven with a pen
Dipt-in the fountain of eternal love.
Thy faints proclaim thee king; and thy delay
Gives courage to their foes, who, could they see
The dawn of thy last advent, long-desir’d,
creep into the bowels of the hills,
And flee for safety to the falling rocks.
The very spirit of the world is tir'd
Of its own taunting question, ask'd so long,
“ Where is the promise of your Lord's approach?”
The infidel has shot his bolts away,
Till, his exhausted quiver yielding none,
He gleans the blunted shafts that have recoil'd,
And aims them at the shield of truth again.
The veil is rent, rent too by priestly hands,
That hides divinity from mortal eyes;
And all the mysteries to faith propos’d,
Insulted and traduc'd, are cast aside,
As useless, to the moles and to the bats.
They now are deem'd the faithful, and are prais’d,
Who, constant only in rejecting thee,
Deny thy Godhead with a martyr's zeal,
And quit their office for their error's fake.
Blind, and in love with darkness ! yet ev’n thefe
Wortliy, compar’d with fycophants, who knee
Thy name adoring, and then preach thee man!
So fares thy church. But how thy church may
fare The world takes little thought. Who will may preachi
, And what they will. All pastors are alike
To wand’ring sheep, resolv’d to follow none.
Two gods divide them all — Pleasure and Gain:
For these they live, they facrifice to these,
And in their service wage perpetual war
With conscience and with thee. Luft in their hearts,
And mischief in their hands, they roam the earth
To prey upon each other; stubborn, fierce,
High-minded, foaming out their own disgrace.
Thy prophets speak of such; and, noting down
The features of the last degen'rate times,
Exhibit ev'ry lineament of these.
Come then, and, added to thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, as radiant as the rest,
Due to thy last and most effectual work,
Thy word fulfill’d, the conquest of a world!
He is the happy man, whose life ev'n now Shows somewhat of that happier life to come; Who, doom'd to an obscure but tranquil state, Is pleas'd with it, and, were he free to choose,