« PreviousContinue »
Most sure, as means; whose end was this alone,
To prove the Godhead of the' eternal Son.
God thus asserted, man is to believe
Beyond what sense and reason can conceive,
And for mysterious things of faith, rely
On the proponent, Heaven's authority.
If, then, our faith we for our guide admit;
Vain is the farther search of human wit;
As when the building gains a surer stay,
We take the' unuseful scaffolding away.
Reason by sense no more can understand;
The game is play'd into another hand.
Why choose we then, like bylanders, to creep
Along the coast, and land in view to keep,
When safely we may launch into the deep?
In the same vessel which our Saviour bore,
Himself the pilot, let us leave the shore,
And with a better guide a better world ex-
Could he his Godhead veil with flesh and blood,
And not veil these again to be our food?
His grace in both is equal in extent,
The first affords us life, the second nourishment.
And if he can, why all this frantic pain
To construe what his clearest words contain,
And make a riddle what he made so plain?
To take up half on trust, and half to try,
Name it not faith, but bungling bigotry.
Both knave and fool the merchant we may call,
To pay great sums, and to compound the small;
For who would break with Heaven, and would
not break for all?
Rest then, my soul, from endless anguish freed;
Nor sciences thy guide, nor sense thy creed.
Faith is the best insurer of thy bliss;
The bank above must fail, before the venture miss. But Heaven and heaven-born faith are far from thee, Thou first apostate to divinity;
Unkennell'd range in thy Polonian plains,
A fiercer foe, the' insatiate wolf, remains.
Too boastful Britain, please thyself no more
That beasts of prey are banish'd from thy shore;
The bear, the boar, and every savage name,
Wild in effect, though in appearance tame,
Lay waste thy woods, destroy thy blissful bower,
And, muzzled though they seem, the mutes devour.
More haughty than the rest the wolfish race
Appear, with belly gaunt and famish'd face;
Never was so deform'd a beast of grace.
His ragged tail betwixt his legs he wears,
Close clap'd for shame; but his rough crest he
And pricks up his predestinating ears.
His wild disorder'd walk, his haggard eyes,
Did all the bestial citizens surprise :
Though fear'd and hated, yet he rul❜d awhile,
As captain or companion of the spoil.
Full many a year his hateful head had been
For tribute paid, nor since in Cambria seen;
The last of all the litter scap'd by chance,
And from Geneva first infested France.
Some authors thus his pedigree will trace,
But others write him of an upstart race;
Because of Wickliffe's brood no mark he brings,
But his innate antipathy to kings.
These last deduce him from the' Helvetian kind,
Who near the Leman-lake his consort lin'd;
That fiery Zuinglius first the' affection bred,
And meagre Calvin blest the nuptial bed.
In Israel some believe him whelp'd long since,
When the proud Sanhedrim oppress'd the Prince;
Or, since he will be Jew, derive him higher,
When Corah with his brethren did conspire
From Moses' hand the sovereign sway to wrest,
And Aaron of his ephod to divest :
Till opening earth made way for all to pass,
And could not bear the burden of a class.*
The Fox and he came shuffled in the dark.
If ever they were stow'd in Noah's ark;
Perhaps not made; for all their barking train
The dog (a common species) will contain;
And some wild curs who from their masters ran,
Abhorring the supremacy of man,
In woods and caves the rebel-race began.
O happy pair, how well have you increas'd!
What ills in church and state have you redress'd?
With teeth untried, and rudiments of claws,
Your first essay was on your native laws;
Those having torn with ease, and trampled down,
Your fangs you fasten'd on the mitred crown,
And freed from God and monarchy your town.
What though your native kennel still be small,t
Bounded betwixt a puddle and a wall,
Yet your victorious colonies are sent
Where the north-ocean girds the continent?
Quicken'd with fire below, your monsters breed
In fenny Holland, and in fruitful Tweed;
And, like the first, the last affects to be
Drawn to the dregs of a democracy.
As where in fields the fairy rounds are seen,
A rank sour herbage rises on the green;
The classical ordination of the Presbyterian church.
† Geneva: bounded by its ramparts and lake.
So, springing where those midnight elves advance,
Rebellion prints the footsteps of the dance.
Such are their doctrines, such contempt they)
To Heaven above, and to their prince below,
As none but traitors and blasphemers know.
God, like the tyrant of the skies, is plac'd,
And kings, like slaves, beneath the crowd debas'd.
So fulsome is their food, that flocks refuse
To bite, and only dogs for physic use.
As, where the lightning runs along the ground,
No husbandry can heal the blasting wound;
Nor bladed grass nor bearded corn succeeds,
But scales of scurf and putrefaction breeds;
Such wars, such waste, such fiery tracts of dearth
Their zeal has left, and such a teemless earth.
But, as the poisons of the deadliest kind
Are to their own unhappy coasts confin'd;
As only Indian shades of sight deprive,
And magic plants will but in Colchos thrive;
So Presbyt❜ry and pestilential Zeal
Can only flourish in a commonweal.
From Celtic woods is chas'd the wolfish crew;
But, ah! some pity e'en to brutes is due:
Their native walks, methinks, they might enjoy,
Curb'd of their native malice to destroy.
Of all the tyrannies on humankind
The worst is that which persecutes the mind.
Let us but weigh at what offence we strike;
"Tis but because we cannot think alike.
In punishing of this, we overthrow
The laws of nations and of Nature too.
Beasts are the subjects of tyrannic sway,
Where still the stronger on the weaker prey;
Man only of a softer mould is made,
Not for his fellows' ruin, but their aid :
Created kind, beneficent, and free,
The noble image of the Deity.
One portion of informing fire was given
To brutes, the' inferior family of Heaven :
The Smith Divine, as with a careless beat,
Struck out the mute creation at a heat;
But, when arriv'd at last to human race,
The Godhead took a deep considering space;
And, to distinguish man from all the rest,
Unlock'd the sacred treasures of his breast,
And mercy, mix'd with reason, did impart,
One to his head, the other to his heart :
Reason to rule, but mercy to forgive;
The first is law, the last prerogative :
And like his mind his outward form appear'd,
When, issuing naked to the wondering herd,
He charm'd their eyes; and, for they lov'd, they
Not arm'd with horns of arbitrary might,
Or claws to seize their furry spoils in fight, Or with increase of feet t' o'ertake 'em in their flight:
Of easy shape, and pliant every way,
Confessing still the softness of his clay,
And kind as kings upon their coronation-day;
With open hands, and with extended space
Of arms, to satisfy a large embrace.
Thus kneaded up with milk, the new-made man
His kingdom o'er his kindred world began;
Till knowledge misapplied, misunderstood,
And pride of empire, sour'd his balmy blood: