Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

What else was our creating Father's view?
His image lost why sought he to renew?
Why all the scenes of love that Christians know,
But to attract us from this poor below?
To save us from the fatal choice of ill,
And bless the free co-operating will?

Blame not enthusiasin, if rightly bent;
Or blame of saints the holiest intent,
The strong persuasion, the confirm❜d belief,
Of all the comforts of a soul the chief;
That God's continual will, and work to save,
Teach, and inspire, attend us to the grave:
That they, who in his faith and love abide,
Find in his spirit an immediate guide:
This is no more a fancy, or a whim,
Than that we live, and move, and are in him:
Let Nature, or let Scripture, be the ground,
Here is the seat of true religion found.
An earthly life, as life itself explains,
The air and spirit of this world maintains:
As plainly does an heav'nly life declare,
An heav'nly spirit, and an holy air.

What truth more plainly does the gospel teach,
What doctrine all its missionaries preach,
Than this, that ev'ry good desire and thought
Is in us by the Holy Spirit wrought?
For this the working faith prepares the mind;
Hope is expectant, charity resign'd:
From this blest guide the moment we depart,
What is there left to sanctify the heart?
Reason and morals? And where live they most?
In Christian comfort, or in stoic boast?
Reason may paint unpractis'd truth exact,
And morals rigidly maintain-no fact:
This is the pow'r that raises them to worth,
That calls their rip'ning excellencies forth.
Not ask for this?-May Heav'n forbid the vain,
The sad repose!-What virtue can remain?
What virtue wanting, if, within the breast,
This faith, productive of all virtue, rest,
That God is always present to impart
His light and spirit to the willing heart?

He, who can say my willing heart began
To learn this lesson, may be christen'd man;
Before, a son of elements and earth;
But now, a creature of another birth;
Whose true regenerated soul revives,
And life from him, that ever lives, derives;
Freed by compendious faith from all the pangs
Of long-fetch'd motives, and perplex'd harangues;
One word of promise stedfastly embrac'd,
His heart is fix'd, its whole dependence plac'd:
The hope is rais'd, that cannot but succeed,
And found infallibility indeed:

Then flows the love that no distinction knows
Of system, sect, or party, friends, or foes;
Nor loves by halves; but, faithful to its call,
Stretches its whole benevolence to all;
It's universal wish, th' angelic scene,
That God within the heart of man may reign;
The true beginning to the final whole,
Of Heav'n, and heav'nly life, within the soul.
This faith, and this dependence, once destroy'd,
Man is made helpless, and the gospel void.
He that is taught to seek elsewhere for aid,
Be who he will the teacher, is betray'd:
Be what it will the system, he's enslav'd;
Man by man's Maker only can be sav'd.
In this ore fountain of all help to trust,
What is more easy, natural, and just?

Talk what we will of morals, and of bliss,
Our safety has no other source but this:
Led by this faith, when man forsakes his sin,
The gate stands open to his God within:
There, in the temple of his soul, is found,
Of inward central life, the holy ground;
The sacred scene of piety and peace,
Where new-born Christians feel the life's increase;
Blessing, and blest, revive to pristine youth,
And worship God in spirit, and in truth.

Had not the soul this origin, this root,
What else were man but a two-handed brute?
What but a devil, had he not possest
The seed of Heav'n, replanted in his breast?
The spark of potency, the ray of light,
His call, his help, his fitness to excite
The strength and vigour of celestial air,

Faith, and the breath of living Christians, pray'r:
Not the lip-service, nor the mouthing waste
Of heartless words, without an inward taste;
But the true kindling of desirous love,
That draws the willing graces from above;
The thirst of good that naturally pants
After that light and spirit which it wants;
In whose blest union quickly coincide,
To ask, and have, to want, and be supply'd.
Then does the faithful suppliant discern
More of true good, more of true nature learn,
Than from a thousand volumes on the shelf,
In one meek intercourse with truth itself.

All that the gospel ever could ordain,
All that the church's daily rites maintain,
Is to keep up, to strengthen, and employ,
This lively faith, this principle of joy;
This hope and this possession of the end,
Which all her pious institutes intend;
Fram'd to convey, when freed from wordy strife,
The truth, and spirit, of an inward life;
Wherein th' eternal Parent of all Good
By his own influence is understood,
That man may learn infallibly aright,
Blest in his presence, seeing in his light,
To gain the habit of a godlike mind,
To seek his holy spirit, and to find.

In this enthusiasm, advanc'd thus high,
'Tis a true Christian wish, to live, and die.

A PARAPHRASE ON THE LORD'S
PRAYER.

Our Father which art in Heaven-
FATHER-to think of his paternal care

Is a most sweet encouragement to pray'r.
Our Father-all men's Father; to remind
That we should love, as brethren, all mankind.
Which art in Heaven-assures an heav'nly birth
To all his loving children upon Earth.

Hallowed be thy name.

Name-is expressive of a real thing.
With all the pow'rs of which it is the spring.
Thy name is therefore to be understood
Thy blessed Self, thou Fountain of all Good.
Be hallowed-be lov'd, obey'd, ador'd,
By inward pray'r habitu'lly implor'd.

Thy kingdom come

Kingdom-of grace, at present, seed and root Of future glory's everlasting fruit.

Thy kingdom-not the world's war-shifted scene, Of pomp and show, but love's all peaceful reign. Come-rule within our hearts, by grace divine, Till all the kingdoms of the world be thiue.

Thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. Thy will-to ev'ry good that boundless pow'rs Can raise, if we conform to it with ours. Be done in Earth-where doing of his will Promotes all good, and overcomes all ill. As 't is in Heav'n-where all the blest above Serve, with one will, the living source of love.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Give us-implies dependence, whilst we live,
Not on ourselves, but what he wills to give.
This day-cuts off all covetous desire
Of more and more, than real wants require.
Our daily bread-whatever we shall need,
And rightly use, to make it ours indeed.

And forgive us our trespasses-
Forgivebetokens penitential sense,
And hope for pardon, of confess'd offence.
Us-takes in all, but hints the special part
Of ev'ry one, to look to his own heart.
Our trespasses which the forgiving grace,
By our sincere conversion, must efface.

As we forgive them that trespass against us.
As we forgive-because the fairest claim
To mercy pray'd for is to show the same.
And we who pray should all be minded thus,
To pardon them, that trespass against us.
Without forgiving, Christ was pleas'd to add,
Our own forgiveness never can be had.

And lead us not into temptation. Temptation rises in this world, the field Of good and evil, and incites to yield. Lead us not into it becomes the voice Of all, who would not go to it by choice. Whose resignation, mix'd with meek distrust Of their own strength, is more securely just.

But deliver us from evil

But-when temptation will, of course, arise, The Hand that leads can minister supplies. Deliver us-instructs the soul to place Its firm reliance on protecting Grace. From evil-from the greatest evil, sin; The only one not to be safely in.

Amen.

Amen is truth, in Hebrew, and consent To truth received, by its long use, is meant Jesus, himself the truth, the living way, The faithful witness, teaches thus to pray. Again should we be learning, and again, Till life becomes a practical amen.

A DIVINE PASTORAL.

THE Lord is my shepherd, my guardian, and guide;

Whatsoever I want he will kindly provide:
Ever since I was born, it is he that hath crown'd
The life that he gave me with blessings all round:
While yet on the breast a poor infant I hung,
E'er time had unloosen'd the strings of my tongue,
He gave me the help which I could not then ask;
Now therefore to thank him shall be my tongue's
task.

Thro' my tenderest years, with as tender a care, My soul, like a lamb, in his bosom he bare; To the brook he would lead me, whene'er I had need,

And point out the pasture where best I might feed: No harm could approach me; for he was my shield From the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the

field;

The wolf, to devour me, would oftentimes prowl, But the Lord was my shepherd, and guarded my soul.

How oft in my youth have I wander'd astray? And still he hath brought me back to the right way!

When, lost in dark errour, no path I could meet, His word, like a lantern, hath guided my feet: What wond'rous escapes to his kindness I owe! When, rash and unthinking, I sought my own woe: My soul had, long since, been gone down to the deep,

If the Lord had not watched, when I was asleep.

Whensoe'er, at a distance, he sees me afraid, He skips o'er the mountain, and comes to my aid; Then leads me back gently, and bids me abide In the midst of his flock, and feed close by his side: How safe in his keeping, how happy and free, Could I always remain where he bids me to be! Yea blest are the people, and happy thrice told,

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the That obey the Lord's voice, and abide in his fold,

glory.

Thine is the kingdom-the essential right To sov'reign rule, and majesty, and might. Thine is the pow'r-to bless, and to redeem; All else is weak whatever it may seem. Thine is the glory---manifestly found In all thy works, the whole creation round.

For ever and ever.

For ever---from an unbeginning source,
Almighty Love pursues its endless course.
Through all its scenes, Eternity displays
New wonders to our heav'nly Father's praise.
King, Father, Leader, Judge, his hallow'd name
Was, is, and ever will be, still the same.

The fold it is full, and the pasture is green;
All is friendship and love, and no enemy seen:
There the Lord dwells, amongst us, upon his own
Hill;

With the flocks all around him awaiting his will:
Himself, in the midst, with a provident eye
Regarding our wants, and procuring supply;
An abundance springs up of each nourishing bud,
And we gather his gifts, and are filled with good.

At his voice, or example, we move, or we stay; For the Lord is himself both our leader and way: The hills smoke with incense where'er he hath

trod,

And a sacred perfume shows the footsteps of God.

While blest with his presence, the valleys beneath
A sweet smelling savour incessantly breathe:
The delight is renew'd of each sensible thing;
And behold in their bloom all the beauty of spring.

Or, if a quite different scene he prepare, And we march thro' the wilderness, barren and bare;

By his wonderful works we see plainly enough, That the Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof:

If we hunger, and thirst, and are ready to faint,
A relief in due season prevents our complaint;
The rain, at his word, brings us food from the
sky,

And rocks become rivers when we are adry.

From the fruitfullest hill to the barrenest rock, The Lord hath made all for the sake of his flock; And the flock, in return, the Lord always confess In plenty their joy, and their hope in distress: He beholds in our welfare his glory display'd, And we find ourselves blest in obedience repay'd; With a cheerful regard we attend to his ways; Our attention is pray'r, and our cheerfulness praise.

The Lord is my shepherd; what then shall I fear?

What danger can frighten me whilst he is near? Not, when the time calls me to walk thro' the vale Of the Shadow of Death, shall my heart ever fail; Tho' afraid, of myself, to pursue the dark way, Thy rod, and thy staff, be my comfort and stay; For I know, by thy guidance, when once it is past, To a fountain of life it will bring me at last.

The Lord is become my salvation and song, His blessing shall follow me all my life long: Whatsoever condition he places me in,

I am sure 't is the best it could ever have been: For the Lord he is good, and his mercies are sure; He only afflicts us in order to cure:

The Lord will I praise while I have any breath; Be content all my life, and resign'd at my death.

[blocks in formation]

The Sun, in the evening, is out of our sight, And the Moon is enlighten'd to govern the night: His power we behold, in yon high arched roof, When the stars, in their order, shine forth in its proof: [see,

And reflect on our littleness, Lord, what are we? While the works, so immense, of thy fingers we Yet, while 't is our glory thy Name to adore, Even angels of Heav'n cannot boast any more.

Praise the Lord, upon earth, all ye nations and

lands,

Ye seasons and times, that fulfill his commands; Let his works, in all places, his goodness proclaim, And the people, who see them, give thanks to his

name:

[brings

For the good, which he wills to communicate,
Into visible form his invisible things:
Their appearance may change, as his law shall
[ordain,
But the goodness that forms will for ever remain.

What a world of good things does all nature

produce, [use? Which the Lord, in his mercy, hath made for our The Earth, by his blessing bestow'd on its soil, By his rain, and his sunshine, gives corn, wine, and oil:

Let men to adore him then thankfully join, When fill'd with his bread, or made glad by his wine;

As in wealth, so in gratitude, let them abound, And the voice of his praise be heard all the world round.

They, that o'er the wide ocean their bus'ness

[blocks in formation]

press;

And devoutly contemplate thy wonderful ways, Thou that turnest the fierceness of men to thy praise: [crease,

Then lands, in due season, shall yield their in And the Lord give his people the blessings of peace.

The Lord he is high, far above all our thought How then shall we worship him so as we ought? What tongue can express, or what words can show forth

The praise which is due to his excellent worth?
Ye righteous, and ye that in virtue excell,
Begin the glad task which becomes you so well;
The Lord shall be pleas'd when he heareth your
voice,

And in his own works shall th' Almighty rejoice.

The Lord hath his dwelling far out of our view, And yet humbleth himself to behold what we do;

To his works, all around him, his mercies extend, | Send us thy light, and arm us for the strife
His works have no number, his mercies no end;
He accepteth our thanks, if the heart do but pay;
Tho' we never can reach him, by all we can say.
How just is the duty! how pure the delight!
Since whilst we give praises we honour him right.

Praise the Lord, O my soul! all the pow'rs of
my mind,
[kind!
Praise the Lord, who hath been so exceedingly
Who spareth my life, and forgiveth my sin,
Still directeth the way that I ought to walk in:
When I speak, let me thank him; whenever I write,
The remembrance of him let the subject excite;
Guide, Lord, to thy glory, my tongue, and my pen,
Yea, let ev'ry thing praise thee-amnen, and amen.

ÅN HYMN ON THE OMNIPRESENCE. DH Lord! thou hast known me, and searched me

out,

Thou see'st, at all times, what I'm thinking about;
When I rise up to labour, or lie down to rest,
Thou markest each motion that works in my
breast;
[tell,
My heart has no secrets, but what thou can'st
Not a word in my tongue, but thou knowest it
well;

Thou see'st my intention before it is wrought,
Long before I conceive it, thou knowest my
thought.

Thou art always about me, go whither I will,
All the paths that I take to, I meet with thee still;
I go forth abroad, and am under thine eye,
I retire to myself, and behold! thou art by;
How is it that thou hast encompass'd me so
That I cannot escape thee, wherever I go?
Such knowledge as this is too high to attain,
'Tis a truth which I feel, tho' I cannot explain.
Whither then shall I flee from thy spirit, O

Lord?

What shelter can space from thy presence afford?
If I climb up to Heav'n, 't is there is thy throne,
If I go down to Hell, even there thou art known;
If for wings I should mount on the Morning's
swift ray,

And remain in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there, let the distance be ever so wide,
Thy hand would support me, thy right hand would
guide.

If I say, peradventure, the dark may conceal
What distance, tho' boundless, is forc'd to reveal,
Yet the dark, at thy presence, would vanish away,
And my covering, the night, would be turn'd into
day:

It is I myself only who could not then see,
Yea, the darkness, O Lord, is no darkness to thee:
The night, and the day, are alike in thy sight,
And the darkness, to thee, is as clear as the light.

THE COLLECT FOR ADVENT SUNDAY. ALMIGHTY God, thy heav'nly grace impart, And cast the works of darkness from our heart;

Against all evils of this mortal life;
O'er which our Saviour Jesus Christ, thy son,
With great humility the conquest won:
That when, in glory, our victorious Head
Shall come to judge the living and the dead,
may, thro' him, to life immortal spring,
Wherein he reigns, the everlasting King;
The Father, Son, and Spirit may adore,
One glorious God Triune, for evermore.

We

HYMNS FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.
On this auspicious, memorable morn,
God and the Virgin's holy child was born;
Offspring of Heav'n, whose undefiled birth
Began the process of redeeming Earth;
Of re-producing Paradise again,
And God's lost image in the souls of men.

Adam, who kept not his first state of bliss,
Rend'red himself incapable of this;
Nor could he, with his outward helpmate Eve,
This pure, angelic, virgin birth retrieve:
This, in our nature, never could be done,
Until a virgin should conceive a son.

Mary, prepar'd for such a chaste embrace,
Was destin'd to this miracle of grace;
In her unfolded the mysterious plan
Of man's salvation, God's becoming man;
His power, with her humility combin'd,
Produc'd the sinless Saviour of mankind.

The heighth and depth of such amazing love
Nor can we measure, nor the blest above;
Its truth whoever reasons right will own,
Man never could be sav'd by man alone:
Salvation is, if rightly we define,
Union of human nature with divine.

What way to this, unless it had been trod
By the new birth of an incarnate God?
Birth of a life, that triumphs over death,
A life inspir'd by God's immortal breath;
For which himself, to save us from the tomb,
Did not abhor the Virgin Mother's womb.

O may this infant Saviour's birth inspire
Of real life an humble, chaste desire!
Raise it up in us! form it in our mind,
Like the blest Virgin's, totally resign'd!
A mortal life from Adam we derive;
We are, in Christ, eternally alive.

ON THE SAME.

CHRISTIANS awake, salute the happy morn,
Whereon the Saviour of the world was born;
Rise, to adore the mystery of love,

Which hosts of angels chanted from above:
With them the joyful tidings first begun
Of God incarnate, and the Virgin's Son:
Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
Who heard th' angelic herald's voice-"Behold!
I bring good tidings of a Saviour's birth
To you, and all the nations upon Earth;
This day hath God fulfill'd his promis'd word;
This day is born a Saviour, Christ, the Lord:

In David's city, shepherds, ye shall find
The long foretold Redeemer of mankind;
Wrapt up in swaddling clothes, the babe divine
Lies in a manger; this shall be your sign."
He spake, and straightway the celestial choir,
In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire:
The praises of redeeming love they sung,
And Heav'ns whole orb with hallelujahs rung:
God's highest glory was their anthem still;
Peace upon Earth, and mutual good-will. [ran,
To Bethlehem straight th' enlightened shepherds
To see the wonder God had wrought for man;
And found, with Joseph and the blessed maid,
Her son, the Saviour, in a manger laid.
Amaz'd, the wond'rous story they proclaim;
The first apostles of his infant fame:
While Mary keeps, and ponders in her heart,
The heav'nly vision, which the swains impart;
They to their flocks, still praising God, return,
And their glad hearts within their bosoms burn.
Let us, like these good shepherds then, employ
Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy:
Like Mary, let us ponder in our mind
God's wond'rous love in saving lost mankind;
Artless, and watchful, as these favour'd swains,
While virgin meekness in the heart remains:
Trace we the babe, who has retriev'd our loss,
From his poor manger to his bitter cross;
Treading his steps, assisted by his grace,
Till man's first heav'nly state again takes place:
Then may we hope, th' angelic thrones among,
To sing, redeem'd, a glad triumphal song:
He that was born, upon this joyful day,
Around us all, his glory shall display;
Sav'd by his love, incessant we shall sing
Of angels, and of angel-men, the King.

ON THE EPIPHANY.

LED by the guidance of a living star,
The eastern sages travell'd from afar
To seek the Saviour, by prophetic fame
Describ'd to them as King of Jews by name;
Whose birth, to gentiles worthy of his sight,
Was now declar'd by this angelic light.

To its full height th' expectancy had grown
Of what the learned foreigners made known;
When at Jerusalem the sacred news

Was spread by them to Herod, and the Jews; "Where is he born? For by his star," they said, "Thus far to worship him have we been led."

Herod, who had in his tyrannic mind No thought of empire, but of earthly kind, Jealous of this new king of Jewish tribes, In haste assembl'd all the priests, and scribes; Where Christ was to be born was his demand"In Bethlehem," they said, " in Juda's land."

He call'd the magi, privately again, To learn from them the time, precisely, when The star, which had conducted them, appear'd: And, having all his wily questions clear'd,

Bad them to seek the child, and from the view Come, and tell him, that he might worship too.

They journey'd on to the appointed place, Which Jewish priests from prophecy could trace:

Cheer'd by the star's appearance on the way,
That pointed where the infant Saviour lay;
Meekly they stepp'd into his humble shrine,
And fell to worshipping the babe divine.

The Virgin mother saw them all prefer
Their off'rings, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh;
But warn'd of God his Father, in a dream,
They disappointed Herod's murd'rous scheme;
And, having seen the object of their faith,
Sought their own country by another path.

Does not reflection justly hence arise, That in the east, so famous for the wise, The truest learning, sapience, and skill, Was theirs, who sought, amidst the various ill Which they beheld, for that predicted scene, That should on Earth commence an heav'nly reign?

These true inquirers into Nature saw
That Nature must have some superior law;
Some righteous monarch, for the good of all,
To rule with justice this disorder'd ball;
Their bumble sense of wants, o'erlook'd by pride,
Made them so worthy of the starlike guide.

We read how, then, the very pagan school
Was fill'd with rumours of a Jewish rule:
Tho' Jews themselves, as at this present day,
Dreamt of a worldly domineering sway;
The truly wise, or Jew, or Gentile, sought
A Christ, the object of an happier thought.

They best could understand prophetic page, Simple, or learn'd, the shepherd, or the sage: Their eyes could see, and follow a true light, That led them on from prophecy to sight: Could own the Son who, by the Father's will, Should reign a King on Sion's holy Hill,

Of treasures which the wise were mov'd to bring, If gold presented might confess the king, Incense to his divinity relate,

And myrrh denote his bitter, suff'ring state,
They offer'd types of the theandric plan
Of our salvation, God's becoming man.

In this redeeming process all concurr'd
To give sure proof of the prophetic word;
Jesus, Emanuel, the inward light

Of all mankind, who seek the truth aright,
Forms in the heart of all the wise on Earth
The true day-star, the token of his birth.

MEDITATIONS

FOR EVERY DAY IN PASSION WEEK. MONDAY.

God in Christ is all love.

BEHOLD the tender love of God!-behold
The Shepherd dying to redeem his fold!
Who can declare it?-Worthy to be known-
What tongue can speak it worthily?-His own:
From his own sacred lips the theme began,
The glorious gospel of God's love to man.

So great, so boundless was it, that he gave His only Son-and for what end?-To save;

« PoprzedniaDalej »