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Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid,
-Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather, thou celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
FROM THE SAME. Book iv. I. 32.
O THOU that, with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
O sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
'Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down
Warring in heav'n against heav'n's matchless King:
Ah, wherefore! He deserv'd no such return
From me, whom He created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with His good
Upbraided none; nor was His service hard.
What could be less than to afford Him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay Him thanks,
How due! yet all His good prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice. Lifted up so high,
I'sdein'd subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burthensome still paying still to owe;
Forgetful what from Him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd. What burthen then ? ·
O had His powerful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd
PEACE, brother, be not over exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion?
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not,)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into mis-becoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,
Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd.
He that has light within his own clear breast,
May sit i' th' center, and enjoy bright day;
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
Himself is his own dungeon..
THE DEIST CONFUTED.-From the Religio Larci.
THUS man by his own strength to heav'n would
And would not be oblig'd to GOD for more.
Vain wretched creature, how art thou misled
To think thy wit these God-like notions bred!
These truths are not the product of thy mind,
But dropt from heav'n, and of a nobler kind.
Reveal'd Religion first inform'd thy sight,
And Reason saw not, 'till Faith sprung the light.
Hence all thy natural worship takes the source,
'Tis Revelation what thou think'st Discourse;
Else, how com'st thou to see these truths so clear,
Which so obscure to heathens did appear? ›
Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found;
Nor he, whose wisdom oracles renown'd.
Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime ?
Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb?
Canst thou, by reason, more of Godhead know
Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero ?
Those giant wits, in happier ages born,
(When arms and arts did Greece and Rome adorn) Knew no such system; no such piles could raise Of natural worship, built on prayer and praise, To one sole GOD.
Nor did remorse, to expiate sin, prescribe,
But slew their fellow creatures for a bribe:
The guiltless victim groan'd for their offence,
And cruelty and blood was penitence.
If sheep and oxen could atone for men,
Ah! at how cheap a rate the rich might sin!
And great oppressors might Heav'n's wrath beguile
By offering his own creatures for a spoil!
Dar'st thou, poor worm, offend Infinity?
And must the terms of peace be giv'n by thee?
Then thou art Justice in the last appeal ;
Thy easy God instructs thee to rebel;
And, like a king remote and weak, must take
What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make.
But if there be a Pow'r too just and strong
To wink at crimes, and bear unpunish'd wrong;
Look humbly upward, see His will disclose
The forfeit first, and then the fine impose;
A mulct thy poverty could never pay,
Had not Eternal Wisdom found the way,
And with celestial wealth supplied thy store;
His justice makes the fine, His mercy quits the
See God descending in thy human frame ;
Th' offended suff'ring in th' offender's name;
All thy misdeeds to Him imputed see,
And all His righteousness devolv'd on thee.
For granting we have sinn'd, and that th' offer
Of man is made against Omnipotence,