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• Pensantur trutinâ :'--Hor. Lib. ii. Ep. I.

[ARGUMENT :—Error leads to destruction, 1-Grace leads to peace, 17-Its direction despised, 32—The self-complacent Pharisee, 44—The humble Christian, 66–The Hermit and the Bramin, 79—A sanctimonious prude, 131-A saint, 171—The Christian's freedom, 197– The Gospel the sinner's refuge, 238—False grounds of peace, 283–

301—The believing cottager, 317–Not many rich led, 337—Poverty the best soil for the Gospel, 361–What man is, and what he thinks himself, 383—The unbelieving suicide, 429—Scripture the cure of woe, 451—Pride hostile to truth, 463—Dangers of rejecting the Gospel, 503—Plea for the conscientious heathen, 515—Terrors of the Law, 547—The Judgment Day, 563—Humility crowned; faith triumphant, 571.]

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Man on the dubious waves of error tossed,
His ship half foundered, and his compass lost,
Sees, far as human optics may command,
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land;
Spreads all his canvass, every sinew plies,
Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies.
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes,
His well built systems, philosophic dreams;
Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell !
He reads his sentence at the flames of Hell.
(Hard lot of man, to toil for the reward
Of virtue, and yet lose it! Wherefore hard ?
He that would win the race, must guide his horse
Obedient to the customs of the course;








Else, though unequalled to the goal he flies,
A meaner than himself shall gain the prize.
Grace leads the right way; if you choose the wrong,
Take it and perish; but restrain your tongue:
Charge not, with light sufficient and left free,
Your wilful suicide on God's decree.

Oh how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumbered plan!
No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clustering ornaments to clog the pile,
From ostentation, as from weakness, free,
It stands, like the cerulean arch we see,
Majestic in its own simplicity.
Inscribed above the portal, from afar
Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quickening words-BELIEVE AND LIVE.
Too many, shocked at what should charm them most,
Despise the plain direction, and are lost.
'Heaven on such terms!' they cry with proud disdain,
'Incredible, impossible, and vain!'-
Rebel, because 'tis easy to obey,
And scorn, for its own sake, the gracious way.
These are the sober, in whose cooler brains
Some thought of immortality remains ;
The rest too busy, or too gay, to wait
On the sad theme, their everlasting state,
Sport for a day, and perish in a night,
The foam upon the waters not so light.

Who judged the Pharisee? What odious cause
Exposed him to the vengeance of the laws ?
Had he seduced a virgin, wronged a friend,
Or stabbed a man to serve some private end?
Was blasphemy his sin ? Or did he stray
From the strict duties of the sacred day?
Sit long and late at the carousing board ?
(Such were the sins with which he charged his Lord)
No—the man's morals were exact; what then?




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'Twas his ambition to be seen of men;
His virtues were his pride; and that one vice
Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price;
He wore them as fine trappings for a show,
A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.

The self-applauding bird, the peacock,
Mark what a sumptuous Pharisee is he !
Meridian sunbeams tempt him to unfold
His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold;
He treads as if, some solemn music near,
His measured step were governed by his ear,
And seems to say—'Ye meaner fowl, give place;
I am all splendour, dignity, and grace!'

Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes,
Though he too has a glory in his plumes.
He, Christianlike, retreats with modest mien
To the close copse, or far sequestered green,
And shines without desiring to be seen.
The plea of works, as arrogant and vain,
Heaven turns from with abhorrence and disdain ;
Not more affronted by avowed neglect,
Than by the mere dissembler's feigned respect.
What is all righteousness that men devise,
What, but a sordid bargain for the skies ?
But Christ as soon would abdicate his own,
As stoop from Heaven to sell the proud a throne.

His dwelling a recess in some rude rock,
Book, beads, and maple dish, his meagre stock,
In shirt of hair, and weeds of canvass dressed,
Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has blessed,
Adust with stripes told out for every crime,
And sore tormented long before his time,
His prayer preferred to saints that cannot aid,
His praise postponed, and never to be paid,
See the sage hermit, by mankind admired,
With all that bigotry adopts, inspired,
Wearing out life in his religious whim,
Till his religious whimsy wears out him.








His works, his abstinence, his zeal allowed,
You think him humble-God accounts him proud;
High in demand, though lowly in pretence,
Of all his conduct this the genuine sense-
My penitential stripes, my streaming blood,
Have purchased Heaven, and prove my title good.

Turn eastward now, and Fancy shall apply
To your weak sight her telescopic eye.
The Bramin kindles on his own bare head
The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade;
His voluntary pains, severe and long,
Would give a barbarous air to British song;
No grand inquisitor could worse invent,
Than he contrives to suffer well content.

Which is the saintlier worthy of the two ?
Past all spute, yon anchorite,' say you.
Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name?
I say the Bramin has the fairer claim.
If sufferings Scripture no where recommends,
Devised by self to answer selfish ends,
Give saintship, then all Europe must agree,
Ten starveling hermits suffer less than he.

The truth is (if the truth may suit your ear,
And prejudice have left a passage clear)
Pride has attained its most luxuriant growth,
And poisoned every virtue in them both.
Pride may be pampered while the flesh grows lean;
Humility may clothe an English Dean;
That grace was Cowper's—his, confessed by all -
Though placed in golden Durham's second stall.
Not all the plenty of a Bishop's board,
His palace, and his lacqueys, and 'My Lord,'
More nourish pride, that condescending vice,
Than abstinence, and beggary, and lice;
It thrives in misery, and abundant grows:

misery fools upon themselves impose. But why before us Protestants produce An Indian mystic, or a French recluse,





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Their sin is plain, but what have we to fear,
Reformed and well instructed? You shall hear.

Yon ancient prude, whose withered features show
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her elbows pinioned close upon her hips,
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
Her eyebrows arched, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon amorous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchiefed neck defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails with lappet head and mincing airs,
Duly at clink of bell to morning prayers.
To thrift and parsimony much inclined,
She yet allows herself that boy behind;
The shivering urchin, bending as he goes,
With slipshod heels, and dewdrop at his nose,
His predecessor's coat advanced to wear,
Which future pages yet are doomed to share,
Carries her Bible tucked beneath his arm,
And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm.

She, half an angel in her own account,
Doubts not hereafter with the saints to mount,
Though not a grace appears on strictest search,
But that she fasts, and, item, goes to church.
Conscious of age, she recollects her youth,
And tells, not always with an eye to truth,
Who spanned her waist, and who, where'er he came,
Scrawled upon glass Miss Bridget's lovely name;
Who stole her slipper, filled it with Tokay,
And drank the little bumper every day.
Of temper as envenomed as an asp,
Censorious, and her every word a wasp,
In faithful memory she records the crimes,
Or real, or fictitious, of the times,
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,
And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn.

Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride,
Of malice fed while flesh is mortified:





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