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When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
That just to find a God is all we can,
be proper to observe, that some passages, in the preceding Essay, having been unjustly suspected of a tendency towards Fate and Naturalism, the author composed this Prayer as the sum of all, to shew that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: That the first cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the Universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submisfion to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay) was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but the resting in a religious acquiescence, and confidence full of Hope and Immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this Paraphrafe.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord !
Who all my Sense confin'd
And that myself am blind;
To see the Good from Ill; And, binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the Human Will. What Conscience dictates to be done, Or warns,
me not to do, This, teach me more than Hell to Thun,
That, more than Heaven pursue.
Let me not caft away;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Thy Goodness let me bound,
When thousand Worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw, And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy Foe.
Still in the right to stay:
To find that better way.
Or impious Discontent,
Or aught thy Goodness lent,
j That Mercy I to others show,
That Mercy show to me. Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken’d by thy Breath; O lead me wherefoe'er I go,
Through this day's Life or Death, This day, be Bread and Peace
And let thy Will be done.
Whose Altar, Earth, Sea, Skies :
All Nature's Incense rise !