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Wept till all Israel heard his bitter cry,
Stamp'd with his foot, and smote upon his thigh ;
But wept, and stamp'd, and smote his thigh in vain, 65
Pleasure is deaf when told of future pain,
And sounds prophetick are too rough to suit
Ears long accustom'd to the pleasing lute:
They scorn'd his inspiration and his theme,
Pronounc'd him frantick, and his fears a dream; 70
With self indulgence wing’d the fleeting hours,
Till the fve found them, and down fell their tow'rs
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ong time Assyria bound them in her chain, 'Till penitence had purg'd the publick stain, And Cyrus, with relenting pity mov’d,

75 Return'd them happy to the land they lov'd; There, proof against prosperity, a while 'They stood the test of her ensnaring smile, And had the grace in scenes of peace to show The virtues they had learn'd in scenes of wo. 80 But man is frail, and can but ill sustain A long immunity from grief and pain ; And after all the joys that Plenty leads, With tiptoe step, Vice silently succeeds.

When he that rul'd them with a shepherd's rod 85 In form a man, in dignity a God, Came, not expected in that humble guise, To sift and search them with unerring eyes ; He found conceal'd beneath a fair outside, The filth of rottenness, and worm of pride ;

90 Their piety a system of deceit, Scripture employ'd to sanctify the cheat; The pharisee the dupe of his own art, Self idoliz'd, and yet a knave at heart. When nations are to perish in their sins,

95 'Tis in the church the leprosy begins ; The priest, whose office is with zeal sincere To watch the fountain and preserve it clear, Carelessly nods and sleeps upon the brink, While others poison what the flock must drink ; 100

Or, waking at the call of lust alone,
Infuses lics and errours of his own;
His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure ;
And, tainted by the very means of cure,
Catch from each other a contagious spot,

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The foul forerunner of a gen'ral rot.
Then Truth is hush'd, that Heresy may preach;
And all is trash, that Reason cannot reach:
Then God's own image on the soul impress'd
Becomes a mock'ry, and a standing jest ;

110 And Faith, the root whence only can arise The graces of a life that wins the skies, Loses at once all value and esteem, Pronounc'd by graybeards a pernicious dream : Then Ceremony leads her bigots forth,

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Prepar'd to fight for shadows of no worth ;
While truths, on which eternal things depend,
Find not, or hardly find, a single friend ;
As soldiers watch the signal of command,
They learn to bow, to kneel, to sit, to stand ; 12
Happy to fill Religion's vacant place
With hollow form, and gesture, and grimace.

Such, when the Teacher of his church was there,
People and priest, the sons of Israel were ;
Stiff in the letter, lax in the design

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And import, of their oracles divine ;
Their learning legendary, false, absurd,
And yet exalted above God's own word ;
They drew a curse from an intended good,
Puff’d up with gifts they never understood. 130
He judg'd them with as terrible a frown,
As if not love, but wrath, had brought him down
Yet he was gentle as soft summer airs,
Had grace for others' sins, but none for theirs ;
Through all he spoke a noble plainness ran-

135 Rhet'rick is artifice, the work of man; And tricks and turns, that fancy may devise, Are far too mean for him that rules the kies.

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Th' astonish'd vulgar trembled while he tore
The mask from faces never seen before :
He stripp'd the impostors in the noonday sun,
Show'd that they follow'd all they seem'd to shun
Their pray’rs made publick, their excesses kopt
As private as the chambers where they slept ..
The temple and its holy rites profan'd

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By mumm'ries he that dwelt in it disdain'd;
Uplifted hands, that at convenient times
Could act extortion and the worst of crimes,
Wash'd with a neatness scrupulously nice,
And free from ev'ry taint but that of vice. 150
Judgment, however tardy, mends her pace
When Obstinacy once has conquer'd Grace.
They saw distemper heal'd, and life restor'd,
In answer to the fiat of his word ;
Confess'd the wonder, and with daring tongue

153 Blasphem'd th' authority from which it sprung. They knew by sure prognosticks seen on high, The future tone and temper of the sky; But, grave dissemblers, could not understand, That Sin let loose speaks Punishment at hand.

Ask now of history's authentick page, And call up evidence from every age ; Display with busy and laborious hand The blessings of the most indebted land; What nation will you find, whose annals prove 165 So rich an int'rest in almighty love ? Where dwell they now, where dwelt in ancient day, A people planted, water'd, bless'd as they ? Let Egypt's plagues and Canaan's woes proclaim The favours pour'd upon the Jewish name; 170 Their freedom purchas'd for them at the cost Of all their hard oppressors valued most ; Their title to a country not their own, Made sure by prodigies till then unknown ; 174 For them, the states they left made waste and void ; For them, the states to which they went destroy'de

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A cloud to measure out their march by day,
By night a fire to cheer the gloomy way:
That moving signal summoning, when best
Their host to move, and when it stay’d, to rest. 180
For them the rocks dissoly'd into a flood,
T'he dews condens'd into angelick food,
Their very garments sacred-old, yet new,
And Time forbid to touch them as he flew;
Streams, swell’d above the bank, enjoin'd to stand, 185
While they pass'd through to their appointed land;
Their leader arm'd with meekness, zeal, and love,
And grac'd with clear credentials from above ,
Themselves secur'd beneath the Almighty wing ;
Their God their captain,* lawgiver, and king; 190
Crown'd with a thousand vict’ries, and at last
Lords of the conquer'd soil, there rooted fast,
In peace possessing what they won by war,
Their name far published, and rever'd as far:
Where will you find a race like theirs, endow'd

195 With all that man e'er wish'd, or Heav'n bestow'd ?

They, and they only, amongst all mankind
Receiv'd the transcript of the eternal mind ;
Were trusted with his own engraven laws,
And constituted guardians of his cause ;

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Theirs were the prophets, theirs the priestly call,
And theirs, by birth, the Saviour of us all.
In vain the nations that had seen them rise
With fierce and envious, yet admiring eyes,
Had sought to crush them, guarded as they were 205
By pow'r divine, and skill that could not err.
Had they maintain'd allegiance firm and sure,
And kept the faith immaculate and pure,
Then the proud eagles of all-conquering Rome
Had found one city not to be o'ercome ;

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And the twelve standards of the tribes unfurl's,
Had bid defiance to the warring world.

* Vide Joshua, o. 14.

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But grace abus'd brings forth the foulest deeds,
As richest soil the most luxuriant weeds.
Cur'd of the golden calves, their fathers' sin, 215
They set up self, that idol god, within ;
View'd a deliverer with disdain and hate,
Who left them still a tributary state ;
Seiz'd fast his hand, held out to set them free
From a worse yoke, and nail'd it to the tree :
There was the consummation and the crown,
The flow'r of Israel's infamy full blown ;
Thence date their sad declension and their full,
Their woes not yet repeal'd, thence date them all.

Thus fell the best instructed in her day,
And the most favour'd land, look where we may.
Philosophy, indeed, on Grecian eyes
Had pour'd the day, and clear'd the Roman skios;
In other climes perhaps creative Art,
With pow'r surpassing theirs, perform'd her part ; 230
Might give more life to marble, or might fill
The glowing tablets with a juster skill;
Might shino in fable, and grace idle themes
With all the embroid'ry of poetick dreams ;
'Twas theirs alone to dive into the plan,
That Truth and Mercy had reveal'd to man ;
And, while the world beside, that plan unknown,
Deified useless wood or senseless stone,
They breath'd in faith their well-directed pray’rs,
And the true God, the God of truth, was theirs. 240

Their glory faded, and their race dispers’d, The last of nations now, though once the first ; They warn and teach the proudost, would they learn Keep wisdom, or meet vengeance in your turn: If we escap'd not, if Heav'n spar'd not us,

245 Peeld, scatter'd, and exterminated thus! If Vicc recciv'd her rctribution duc, When we were visited, what hope for you? When God arises with an awful frown To punish lust, or pluck presumption down :

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