« PoprzedniaDalej »
can receive no increafe from thy creatures, yet give us leave with humility to prefs Thee ever with this ar gument alfo. Thou haft been pleafed to declare unto us, that thy glory is the great end of all thy works; and art pleafed to fet the greatest value that may be upon thy own glory; and art pleafed to command thy creatures to glorify Thee; and doft accept that fmall tribute of Praife and Thanksgiving, and glorifying of thy Name, from thy creatures in good part. Thou haft the glory of our dependance upon Thee, which we teftify by invoking thy great Name; thou wilt have the glory of thy goodness, thy power, thy bounty, in granting thefe our petitions and requests; and the glory of our Praifes and Thanksgivings for thy bounty and goodnefs in accepting and anfwering them; which though it cannot benefit Thee, yet it is all thy poor creatures can return unto Thee, and thou haft declared thyfelf well pleafed with it. He that offereth praife, glorifieth Thee'.
Bleffed Lord, therefore be it according to these our petitions and defires: and fo much the rather, because these our requests are not the product of our own imaginations and weak judgments; but that Son of thine, who beft knew thy will, and what thou wouldst grant, hath taught us thus to pray; When ye pray, fay, Our Father, &c.
1 Psalm 1 32.
POEMS UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY.
ALMIGHTY God, when he had raised the frame
Of Heaven and Earth, and furnished the fame
With works of equal wonder, framed then
A piece of greater excellence, called Man:
Gave him a comprehenfive foul, that foared
Above the creatures, and beheld his Lord;
Infcribed him with his image, and did fill
The compass of his intellect and will
With truth and good; gave him the custody
Of his own blifs and immortality.
And juftly now his fovereign might demand
Subjection and obedience at his hand;
Were only being given, 'twere but right
His debt of duty fhould be infinite:
But here was more, a fuper-added drefs
Of Life, Perfection, and Happiness;
Yet this great king, for an experiment
Of man's deferved allegiance, is content
To use an easy precept, fuch as food
Both with his creature's Duty and his Good;
Forbids one fruit on pain of death, and gives
Freely the reft, which he might eat and live.
But Man rebels, and for one tafte doth choose
His Life, his God, his Innocence to lofe.
And now death-ftricken, like a wounded deer,
Strictly pursued by guilt, and fhame, and fear,
He feeks to lofe himfelf; from God he flies,
And takes a wildernefs of miseries;
A land of new tranfgreffions, where his curfe
Is closer bound, his nature growing worse.
And whiles in this condition mankind lay,
A man should think his injured God should say—
There lies accurfed man, and let him lie
Entangled in that web of misery
Which his own fin has fpun! I must be true
And juft, unthankful Man, thou hast thy due.
But 'twas not fo. Though Man the mastery
With his Creator's power and will dares try,
And being over-matched with power, difdains
To feek a pardon from his Sovereign;
The Great and Glorious God, the Mighty King
Of Heaven and Earth, defpifed by fuch a thing
As man, a worm of his own making, breaks
The rules of greatnefs, and his creature feeks,
His froward creature; not in fuch a way
As once he did in the cool of that day
Wherein man finned, and hid; fuch Majefty
Had been too great for Man's neceffity:
But the eternal Son of God, the Word
By which all things were made, the Mighty Lord,
Affumes our flesh, and under that he lays,
And hides his Greatnefs, and thofe glorious rays
Of Majefty, which had been over bright,
And too refplendent for poor mortals fight;
And under this difguife, the King of Kings
The Meffage of his Father's Mercy brings;
Solicits man's return; and pays the price
Of his tranfgreffions by the facrifice
Of his own foul; and undertakes to cure
Their fin, their peace and pardon to procure;
To conquer Death for him, and more than this,
To fettle him in everlafting blifs.
And now, O Man, could this excefs of love
Thy thankfulnefs to fuch a height improve,
That it could fire thy foul into one flame
Of love, to only him that bought the fame
At fuch a rate, yet ftill it were too fmall
To recompence thy Saviour's love withal.
Once did he give thee being from the duft,
And for that only being, 'twere but just
To pay thy utmost felf: but when once more
Thy being and thy blifs he did restore
By fuch a means as this, it doth bereave
Thy foul of hopes of recompence, and leaves
Thy foul infolvent. Twice to him this day
Thou oweft thyself, yet but one felf can pay.
THE prince of darkness, flusht with victory
In our first parents first apoftacy,
Ufurpt a lawless fovereignty on man,
Revolted thus from his firft Sovereign:
And though by that apoftacy he found,
Under the chains of death, his vaffal bound,
Yet to fecure his empire, he overfpread
The world with darkness, and thereby did lead
His captives as he pleafed: Thus he bears
His rule ufurped near four thousand years;
Except fome fmall confined plantation,
Within a family or nation.
But now to put a period to this reign
Of this ufurper, and reduce again
Man to his juft fubjection, 'tis decreed
That man from this subjection shall be freed ;
And this not by the abfolute command
Of an immediate Power, nor fhall the bands
Of Angels, glorious hofts, engaged be
To refcue man from this captivity:
But God an unfufpeated means intends,
And yet most suitable unto this end.
Sin ftained our nature, and the ferpent's wile
Did man of Innocence and Life beguile;
By Man his head is crushed; the lawful Lord
Unto his creature man to his life restored:
A Virgin's Son is born: this rifing fun
The world's enthralling darknefs overruns:
A Child to us is born, whofe innocence
Our nature's spot and stain doth purge and cleanfe ;
His wounds, our cure; his bonds, our liberty;
His Death becomes our Life, our Victory.
And this is he whofe birth we celebrate,
And from this day our happiness do date.
READER, behold and wonder. There was one
Obliged to his prince, and him alone
In all the bonds which duty, gratitude,
Or love could faften; fuch as might exclude
All thoughts of a defection; yet this man
Breaks all; rebels against his Sovereign ;
He flies; is apprehended; fentenced; caft;
And die he muft; the final fentence paft
Knows no reverfal. Lo in that very Now,
Wherein the offender waits his fatal blow;