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First put it out, then take it for a guide.
Halting on crutches of unequal size,
One leg by truth supported, one by lies ;
They sidle to the goal with awkward pace,
Secure of nothing—but to lose the race.
Faults in the life breed errours in the brain,
And these reciprocally those again.
The mind and conduct mutually imprint
And stamp their image in each other's mint ;
Each sire, and dam, of an infernal-race,
Begetting and conceiving all that's base.
None sends his arrow to the mark in view,
Whose hand is feeble, or his aim untrue.
For tho', ere yet the shaft is on the wing:
Or when it first forsakes th' elastick string,
It err but little from th’ intended line,
It falls at last far wide of his design;
So he, who seeks a mansion in the sky,
Must watch his purpose with a steadfast eye.
That prize belongs to none but the sincere,
The least obliquity is fatal here.
With caution taste the sweet Circcan cup:
He that sips often at last drinks it up.
Habits are soon assum'd; but when we strive
To strip them utf, 'tis being flay'd alive.
Callid to the temple of impuro delight,
He that abstains, and he alone, does right.
If a wish wander that way, call it home ;
He cannot long be safe whose wishes roam.
Bat, if yon pass the threshold, you are caught ;
Die then, if pow'r Almighty save you not.
There hard’ning by degrees, till double steeld,
Take leave of Nature's God, and God reveald;
Then laugh at all you trembled at before ;
And, joining the free thinkers' brutal roar,
Swallow the two grand nostrums they dispense---
That Scripture lies, and blasphemny is sense.
If clemency revolted by abuse
Be damnable, then damn'd without excuse.
Some dream that they can silence when they will,
The storm of passion, and say, “ Peace, be still ;"
But,“ Thus far and no farther,” when addressd 600
To the wild wave, or wilder human breast,
Implies authority that never can,
That never ought to be the lot of man.
But, muse, forbear; long flights forebode a fall; Strike on the deep-ton'd chord the sum of all. 605
Hear the just law—the judgment of the skies !
He that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies:
And he that will be cheated to the last,
Delusions strong as Hell shall bind him fast.
But if the wand'rer his mistake discern,
Judge his own ways and sigh for a return,
Bewilder'd once, must he bewail his loss
For ever and for ever? No-the cross !
There, and there only, (though the deist rave,
And atheist, if earth bear so base a slave ;) 615
There, and there only, is the power to save.
There no delusive hope invites despair ;
No mock’ry meets you, no deception there.
The spells and charms, that blinded you before,
All vanish tliere, and fascinate no more.
620 I am no preacher, let this hint sufficeThe cross once seen is death to ev'ry vice; Eise he that hung there, suffer'd all his pain, Bled, groan'd, and agoniz'd, and died in vain.
Pensantur trutinâ-Hor. Lib. II. Epist. 1.
MAN, on the dubious waves of errour toss'd,
His ship half founder'd, and his compass lost,
Sees far as human opticks may command,
A siecping fog, and fancies it dry land !
Spreads all his canvass, ev'ry sinew plies;
Pants forit, aims at it, enters it, and dies !
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes,
His well-built systems, philosophick dreams
Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell !
He reads his sentence at the flames of Hell. 10
Hard lot of man-to toil for the reyard
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, tho' uneqnal!d 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.
20 Oh how unlike the coinplex works of man, Heav'n's easy, artless, unencumber'd plan! No meretricious graces to beguile, No clust'ring ornaments to clog the pilo; From ostentation as from weakness free,
25 It stands like the cerulean arch we see, Majestick in its own simplicity.
Inscrib'd above the portal, from afar
Conspicuous as the brightness of a stils,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quick’ning words believe and live.
Too many, shock'd at what should charm them most,
Despise the plain direction, and are lost.
Heav'n on such terms! (they cry with proud disdain,)
Iạcredible, 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
40 On the sad theme, their everlasting stato, Sport for a day, and perish in a night, The foam upon the waters not so light.
Who judg'd the pharisee? What odious cause Expos’d him to the vengeance of the laws ?
4. Had he seduc'd a virgin, wrong'd a friend, Or stabb’d 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 charg'd his Lord.) No--the man's morals were exact, what then? 'Twas his ambition to be seen of men; His virtucs were his pride; and that one vice Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price;
55 He wore thein as fine trappings for a show, A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau. The self-applauding bird, the peacock, seeMark 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 musick near, His ineasur'd step wore govern'd 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, christian-like, retreats with modest mien
To the elose copse, or far sequester'd green,
And shines without desiring to be seen.
The plea of works, as arrogant and vain,
Heav'n turns from with abhorrence and disdain;
Not more affronted by avow'd neglect,
Than by the mere dissembler's feign'd respect.
What is all righteousness that men devise ? 75
What—but a sordid bargain for the skies ?
But Christ as soon would abdicate his own,
As stoop from Heav'n to sell the proud a throne.
His dwelling a recess in some rude rock, Book, beads, and maple dish, his meagre stock. 80 In shirt of hair and weeds of canvass dress'd, Girt with a bell rope that the pope has bless'd; Adust with stripes told out for ev'ry crime, And sore tormented long before his time; His pray'r preferr'd to saints that cannot aid; 85 His praise postpond, and never to be paid; See the sage hermit, by mankind admir'd, With all that bigotry adopts inspir'd, Wearing out life in his religious whim, Till his religious whimsy wears out him.
30 His works, his abstinence, his zeal allow'd, You think him humble-God accounts him proud; High in demand, though lowly in pretence, Of all his conduct this the genuinc senseMy penitential stripes, my streaming blood, 05 Have purchas'd Heav'n, and prov'd my title good. Turn eastward now, and Fancy shall apply To your weak sight her telescopick eye. The bramin kindles on his own bare head The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade;
100 His voluntary pains, severe and long, Would give a barb'rous air to British song ; No grand inquisitor nould worse invent,