« PoprzedniaDalej »
Commit thy way unto the Lord, and put thy trust in him, and he will bring it to pass. V. 5.
"Commit thy way unto the Lord"-Resign
Thyself entirely to the will divine:
All real good, all remedy for ill,
Lies in conforming to his blessed will:
By all advice that holy books record,
Thou must "commit thy way unto the Lord."
"And put thy trust in him"-all other trust, Plac'd out of him, is foolish and unjust: His loving kindness is the only ground, Where solid peace and comfort can be found: What other prospects either sink, or swim, Do thou stand firm, and "put thy trust in him." "And he will bring thy way to pass"-the whole Of all that thou canst wish for to thy soul: He wills to give it, and thy seeking mind, By faith and patience, cannot fail to find: To him, whatever good desire it has, Commit and trust, and he will bring to pass.
FROM THE AUTHOR TO HIS SISTER, WITH THE FOREGOING SOLILOQUY ENCLOSED.
If soliloquy conduce,
(Meant, as the name declares, for private use)
To your contentment-if such kind of fruit
Pleases your taste, you're very welcome to 't:
Tho' pluck'd, one day in April, from the ground,
It keeps, in pickle, all the seasons round.
'Tis summer, now, and autumn comes anon;
Winter succeeds, and spring when that is gone;
But be it winter, summer, autumn, spring,
To nurture fretting is a simple thing:
A weed so useless, to the use of reason,
Can, absolutely, never be in season.
Without much nursing, that the weed will grow,
I wish I had some reason less to know;
Some less to see, how folly, when it grew
In my own ground, could cultivate it too:
Could hedge it round, and cherish, and suppose
That, being mine, the thistle was a rose.
You know the saying, of I know not whom, "Little misfortunes serve till greater come;" And saying, somewhere met with, I recall, "That 'tis the greatest to have none at all:" Rare case perhaps; they reach, we often see, All sorts of persons, him, her, you, or me.
"This being then," Experience says, "the case, What kind of conduct must a man embrace?" My 'pothecary, as you think, replies"Pray take 'em quietly, if you be wise; Bitter they are, 'tis true, to flesh and blood; But if they were not-they would do no good."
One time, when 'pothecary Patience found That his persuasion got but little ground, He call'd in doctor Gratitude, to try If his advice could make me to comply; "I recommended patience, sir," said he, "Pray will you speak, for he regards not me."
"Patience! a custard lid”-said Dr. Grat. "His case wants, plainly, something more than 'Tis a good recipe-but cure is longer [that; Than it should be; we must have something stronger:
A creeping pulse!-bare patience will not do—
To get him strength, he must be thankful too.
"He must consider"-and so on he went,
To show thanksgiving's marvellous extent;
And what a true catholicon it was;
And what great cures it had but brought to pass;
And how best fortunes, wanting it, were curst;
And how it turn'd to good the very worst.
O what a deal he said!-and in the light,
Wherein he plac'd it, all was really right:
But like good doctrine, of some good divine,
Which, while 'tis preach'd, is admirably fine,
When doctor Gratitude bad left the spot,
All that he said was charming-and forgot.
Your doctor's potion, patience, and the bark,
May hit both mental, and material mark;
One serves to keep the ague from the mind,
As t'other does, from its corporeal rind:
There is, methinks, in their respective growth,
A fair analogy betwixt 'em both.
For what the bark is to the growing tree,
To human mind, that, patience seems to be;
They hold the principles of growth together,
And blunt the force of accident, and weather:
Bar'd of its bark, a tree, we may compute,
Will not remain much longer on its root.
Will hardly bear to have its patience peel'd:
And mind in mortals, that are wisely will'd,
Nothing, in fine, contributes more to living,
Physic, or food, than patience and thanksgiving;
Patience defends us from all outward hap;
Of inward life thanksgiving is the sap.
WRITTEN UNDER A PRINT, REPRESENTING THE
SALUTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
SEE represented here, in light and shade,
The angel's visit to the blessed maid;
To Mary, destin'd, when the time should come,
To bear the Saviour in her virgin womb;
Explaining to her the mysterious plan
Of man's redemption-his becoming man.
When ev'ry previous wonder had been done,
The Virgin then was to conceive a Son;
From God his Father Gabriel was sent,
And, to prepare her for the grand event,
To hail the chosen organ of his birth
Of God with us,-of Jesus upon Earth.
Unable to express celestial things
Imagination adds expanded wings
To human form exact, and beauteous face;
Which angels have, but with angelic grace,
Free from all grossness and defect; nor se u
But with a pure chaste eye, divinely keen.
Such Mary's was, whose posture here design'd The most profound humility of mind;
Modestly asking how the thing could be; And saying, when inform'd of God's decree, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord! his will Let him, according to thy word, fulfill."
What fair instruction may the scene impart To them, who look beyond the painter's art! Who, in th' angelic message from above, See the revealing of God's gracious love To ev'ry soul, that yields itself to all That pleases him, whatever may befall!
Whatever circumstance of heav'nly grace Might be peculiar to the Virgin's case, That holy thing, that saves a soul from sin, Of God's good spirit must be born within: For all salvation is, upon the whole, The birth of Jesus in the human soul.
I render back no injuries again;
Because I wish the doer's case like mine; In which, nor good, nor evil, as from men Is minded much, but from an hand divine. I aim, sincerely, to be just and true;
For my good will to all mankind extends: A tenderness of heart, I think, is due, Where stricter ties unite me to my friends. Whether in conversation, or alone,
Still to my mind God's presence I recall: My actions wait the judgment of his throne, And 'tis to him I consecrate them all.
These are my thoughts, and briefly thus display'd;
I thank my Saviour for them ev'ry day;
Who, of a poor, weak, sinful man, has made
A man exempt from vice's evil sway.
Such is the force of his inspiring grace!
For all my good to that alone I owe;
WRITTEN UNDER A PRINT, REPRESENTING CHRIST Since, if my own corrupted self I trace,
IN THE MIDST OF THE DOCTORS.
ENGAG D, amidst the doctors here, behold,
In deep discourse, a child of twelve years old;
Who show'd, whatever question they preferr'd,
A wisdom that astonish'd all who heard,
And found, in asking, or in answ'ring youth,
Of age so tender, such a force of truth.
Observe his mild, but penetrating look;
Those bearded sages poring o'er their book:
That meek old priest, with placid face of joy;
That pharisaic frowner at the boy:
That pensive rabbi, seeming at a stand;
That serious matron, lifting up her hand.
A group of heads, as painting Fancy taught, Hints at the various attitude of thought In diff'rent hearers, all intent upon The wond'rous graces that in Jesus shon: Each aspect witnessing the same surprise, From whence his understanding should arise.
We know, at present, what the learned Jew, Disputing in the temple, little knew; That, thro' this child, in every answer made, God's own eternal wisdom was display'd; That their Messiah, then, the truths instill'd Which, grown to man, be perfectly fulfill'd.
We know that his corporeal presence then On Earth, as man, was requisite for men; That, by his spirit, he is present still, And always was, to men of upright will: To saving truth, whatever doctors say, His inward guidance must assure the way.
Whether his actions therefore be pourtray'd In printed letter, or in figur'd shade, The books, the pictures, that we read or see, Should raise reflection, in some due degree; And serve as memorandums, to recall The teacher Jesus, in the midst of all.
PASCAL'S CHARACTER OF HIMSELF. I LOVE and honour a poor humble state, Because my Saviour Jesus Christ was poor; And riches too, that help us to abate
The miseries, which other men endure.
I'm nothing else but misery and woe.
ARMELLE NICHOLAS'S ACCOUNT OF HERSELF.
"To the God of my love, in the morning," said she,
"Like a child to its parent, when waking I flee; With a longing to serve him, and please him, I rise, [eyes: And before him kneel down, as if seen by these I resign up myself to his absolute will, Which I beg that in me he would always fulfil; That the pray'rs of the day, by whomever preferr'd,
For the good of each soul, may be also thus heard.
"If, oblig'd to attend on some household affair, I have scarce so much time as to say the Lord's pray'r,
This gives me no trouble: my dutiful part
Is obedience to him, whom I have at my heart,
As well at my work, as retiring to pray,
And his love does not suffer in mine a decay;
He has taught me himself, that a work, which I
For his sake, is a pray'r very real and true.
"I dress in his presence, and learn to confess That his provident kindness supplies me with dress:
In the midst of all outward employment I find
A conversing with him of an intimate kind:
How sweet is the labour! his loving regard [hard;
So supporting one's mind, that it thinks nothing
While the limbs are at work, in the seeking to
So belov'd a companion, the mind is at ease.
"In his presence I eat and I drink; and reflect How food, of his gift, is the growing effect; How his love to my soul is so great, and so good, Just as if it were fed with his own flesh and blood: What a virtue this feeder, his meat, and his drink Has to kindle one's heart, 1 must leave you to think;
He alone can express it, no language of mine, Were my life spent in speaking, could ever define.
"When perhaps by hard usage, or weariness I myself am too apt to be fretful at best, [prest, Love shows me, forthwith, how I ought to take beed
Not to nurse the least anger, by word or by deed; And he sets such a watch at the door of my lips, That of hasty cross words there is nothing that slips;
Such irregular passions, as seek to surprise, Are crush'd, and are conquer'd, as soon as they rise.
"Or, if e'er I give place to an humour so bad, My mind has no rest till forgiveness be had; I confess all my faults, as if he had not known, And my peace is renew'd, by a goodness his own; In a manner so free, as if, after my sin, More strongly confirm'd than before it had been: By a mercy so tender my heart is reclaim'd, And the more to love him by its failing inflam'd. "Sometimes I perceive that he hideth his face, And I seem like a person depriv'd of all grace; Then I say 'Tis no matter, altho' thou conceal Thyself as thou pleasest, I'll keep to my zeal; I'll love thee, and serve thee, however this rod
May be sent to chastise, for I know thou art God; And with more circumspection I stand upon guard,
Till of such a great blessing no longer debarr'd.
"But a suff'ring, so deep, having taught me to
What I am in my selfhood, I learn to rely
More firmly on him, who was pleas'd to endure
The severest extremes, to make way for our cure:
To conform to his pattern, as love shall see fit,
My faith in the Saviour resolves to submit;
For no more than myself (if the word may go free)
Can I live without him, can he help loving me.
"Well assur'd of his goodness, I pass the whole
And my work, hard or easy, is felt as a play;
I am thankful in feelings, but, pleasure or smart,
It is rather himself that I love in my heart.
When they urge me to mirth, I think, O! were it
How I meet the best company when I'm alone!
Tomy dear fellow-creatures what ties me each hour,
Is the love of my God, to the best of my pow'r.
"At the hour of the night, when I go to my rest,
I repose on his love, like a child at the breast;
And a sweet, peaceful silence invites me to keep
Contemplating him, to my dropping asleep:
Many times a good thought, by its gentle delight,
Has with-held me from sleep, a good part of the
In adoring his love, that continues to share [night,
To a poor, wretched creature, so special a care.
"This after my heart was converted at last, Is the life I have led for these twenty years past: My love has not chang'd, and my innermost
ON THE FOREGOING ACCOUNT.
How full of proof of Heav'n's all-present aid
Was good Armelle, a simple servant maid!
A poor French girl, by parentage and birth
Of low, and mean condition upon Earth;
By education ignorant indeed,
She, all her life, could neither write nor read.
But she had that which all the force of art
Could neither give, nor take away-an heart;
An honest, humble, well disposed will,
The true capacity for higher skill
Than what the world, with all its learned din, ́
Could teach-she learn'd her lesson from within:
Plain, single esson of essential kind,
The love of God's pure presence in her mind.
Her artless, innocent, attentive thought
Was at the source of all true knowledge taught:
There she could read the characters imprest
Upon the mind of ev'ry human breast;
The native laws prescrib'd to ev'ry soul;
And love, the one fulfiller of the whole.
This holy love to know, and practise well,
Became the sole endeavour of Armelle:
Of outward things, the management and rule,
She wisely took from this internal school:
The work was servile, but the thing was grand.
In ev'ry work well done by such a hand,
There was a dignity in all she did,
Tho' from the world by meaner labours hid;
If mean below, not so esteem'd above,
Where all the grand of labour is the love:
In vain to boast magnificence of scene;
It is all meanness, if the love be mean.
ST. CECILIA'S HYMN.
O! BORN of a Virgin, most lowly and mcek, Thou sent of thy Father lost creatures to seek, Vouchsafe, in the manner that pleaseth thee best, To kindle thy love in my virginal breast;
Let the words of my mouth, and the thoughts of my heart,
Obey the sweet force, which thy grace shall impart;
Whilst angels assist me to offer my vows
To the God of my life, my redeemer and spouse.
My life I esteem, O Creator divine,
As a loving impression out flowing from thine;
As an act of thy bounty, that gives us a part
Of the light, love and glory, which thou thyself art:
May I always as little thy pleasure oppose,
As the pure simple nature from whence I arose;
And by thee, and for thee, created, fulfill
In thought, word, and deed, thy adorable will.
By this blessed will, howsoever made known, With a dutiful joy will I govern my own; And, deaf to all tempting enchantments of sin I will hearken to thee, my Redeemer within; Thy words will I ponder by night, and by day, And the light of thy gospel shall mark out my
Till at length I arrive at the honour I claim,
To live like a virgin, baptiz'd in thy name.
A LETTER TO A LADY,
OCCASIONED BY HER DESIRING THE AUTHOR TO
REVISE AND POLISH THE POEMS OF BISHOP
YOUR book again with thanks-of worthy men
One of the worthiest was bishop Ken.
Without offence to authors, far above
Ten men of learning is one man of love:
How many bishops, and divines renown'd,
Time after time, the catechism expound!
And which, of all, so help it to impart
Th' essential doctrine, purity of heart?
His choice of poetry, when civil rage
O'erturn'd a throne, the last revolving age;
When churches felt, as well as states, the shock
That drove the pious pastor from his flock;
His choice of subjects, not of party kind,
But simply fit for ev'ry Christian mind,
Are proofs of gen'rous virtue, and sublime,
And high encoiniums on the force of rhyme.
His rhymes, if those of Dryden, or of Pope,
Excel on subjects of a diff'rent scope,
It is because they only chose the mould
And, wafted providentially to shore,
I risk the boist'rous element no more;
But whilst alone I tread the distant strand,
Safe o'er the waves that all may come to land,
Whom once I call'd companions on the sea,
I pray to Jesus, whom the winds obey.
"Thus Nazianzen Gregory, of old,
Whom faction drove from his beloved fold,
Could will a Jonah's lot, to be cast o'er,
If his dismission might the calm restore.
However short of this illustrious saint,
Yet I can find, from virtues that I want,
A cause to pray that reigning feuds may cease,
To hope in Jesus for a calming peace.
"The saint, expell'd by a tumultuous rage, Cheer'd with diviner songs his drooping age; With will resign'd, in his retir'd abode,
On Christian themes compos'd the various ode:
Thus, to my closet prompted to retire,
Nothing on this side Heav'n do I require;
Employ'd in hymns, tho' with unequal skill,
To consecrate to Jesus all my will.
"With pain and sickness, when the saint was
Where ore shone brightest, whether lead, or gold: His anxious mind a sacred song reliev'd;
He, less concern'd for superficial glare,
Made weight, and worth, his more especial care,
They took the tinsel of the fabl'd Nine,
He the substantial metal from the mine.
Oft, when oppress'd, the subject which he sang,
Mix'd with devotion, sweeten'd every pang;
So, being banish'd by unruly heat,
With hymns I seek to solace my retreat;
Be my confinement ever so extreme,
His phrase (sometimes same sentence may be The love of Jesus is a special theme.
On theirs) might have more artificial cast;
But, in the main, his pieces, as they stand,
Could scarce be alter'd by a second hand:
Patchwork improvements, in the modern style,
Bestow'd upon some venerable pile,
Do but deface it-Poems to revise
That Ken has writ-another Ken must rise.
The dedication, where the case is shown
Of a Greek saint, of old, so like his own;
The preface, introduction, and the view
To Jesus-point which all his works pursue-
Arise to mind, and tempt to try the case
Of representing the imperfect trace;
To make, as memory can best recall
Its leading thoughts, one preface out of all.
Imagine then the good old man reclin'd
On couch, or chair, and musing in his mind,
How to adjust the prefatory hint,
To all the lines that he gave leave to print;
Thinking on Gregory, whose former fate
Bore such resemblance to his own of late;
Thinking on Jesus, and oppress'd with pain,
Inditing thus th' apologizing strain.
"In all my pains I court the sacred Muse,
Verse is the only laudanum I use;
Verse, and the name of Jesus, in the line,
The Christian's universal anodyne;
To hymn his saving love to all mankind
Softens my grief, and recreates my mind;
Thy glory, Jesu, while my songs intend,
May thy good spirit bless them to that end!
"Like destin'd Jonah cast into the deep, To save the vessel from the stormy sweep,
"When the apostate Julian decreed
That pagan poets Christians should not read,
The saint, who knew the subtle edict's cause,
Made verse to triumph o'er the tyrant's laws;
May I, while poetry is unrestrain❜d,
Tho' more in these, than pagan times, pro-
Show, that what real charms it has belong
To Jesus, founder of the Christian song.
"When Gregory was forc'd to leave his flock,
He chose in verse the gospel to unlock;
That flowing numbers might th' attention gain,
So long forbidden to his preaching strain:
My care for them, whom I was forc'd to leave,
Taught, and untaught, what doctrine to receive,
Would hint in rhymes, to all whom they shall
What Jesus only, in themselves, can teach.
"For sake of peace did Gregory withdraw,
And wish'd more leaders to observe that law;
By which resigners of dominion, here,
Purchase much greater in the heav'nly sphere;
In hopes of peace, more joyfully I shook
Preferment off, than e'er I undertook;
For all the flock, and banish'd head beside,
My comfort is that Jesus can provide.
"When worldly politics, and lust of rule,
Prevail'd against him in a Christian school,
The saint retir'd, and labour'd to disperse
Ungrateful discord by harmonious verse:
Sharing his fate, I share in his desire
Of discord drown'd, and of an hymning lyre
To tune the hopes of peace; and in the name
Of Jesus, rightly hop'd for, to proclaim..
"This prince of peace, this origine divine, Vouchsafe to aid the well intended line, To teach the reader's heart, and, by his grace, Make these poor labours useful in their place. O might they raise, in any single soul, One spark of love, one glimpse of the great whole, That will possess it, when by thee possess'd, Jesus! th' eternal song of all the bless'd."
A HINT TO CHRISTIAN POETS.
WHERE NOW the Jove, the Phoebus, and the Nine,
Invok'd in aid of Greek, and Roman line;
The verse-inspiring oracle, and stream,
Delphos, and Helicon, and every theme
Of charming fictions, which the poets sung,
To show the beauties of a reigning tongue?
The wars of gods, and goddesses, and men,
Employ'd an Homer's, and a Virgil's pen:
An Epicurus taught, that, with this ball,
The gods, at ease, had no concern at all:
And a Lucretius follow'd, to rehearse
His Greek impieties, in Latin verse.
Such were the bibles of the Pagan age,
Sung at the feast, and acted on the stage;
Transform'd to pompous, or to luscious ode,
As Bacchus, Mars, or Venus was the mode:
Dumb deities, at wit's profuse expense,
Worshipp'd with sounds that echoed to no sense.
The Christian bard has, from a real spring
Of inspiration, other themes to sing;
No vain philosophy, no fabled rhyme,
But sacred story, simple and sublime,
By holy prophets told; to whom belong
The subjects worthy of the pow'rs of song.
Shun then, ye born with talents that may grace
The most important truths, their hapless case;
From ranting, high, theatrical bombast,
To low sing-song of meretricious cast:
Shun ev'ry step, by which a Pagan Muse
Could lead her clients to the stage, or stews.
Let no examples tempt you to profane The gift-abhorrent of all hurtful strain: Contemn the vicious, tho' prevailing fame, That gains, by prostituting verse, a name: Take the forbearing hint; and all the rest Will rise spontaneous in your purer breast.
ON THE DISPOSITION OF MIND, REQUISITE FOR THE RIGHT USE AND UNDER
STANDING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
To hear the words of scripture, or to read,
With good effect, requires a threefold heed;
If incomplete, it only can produce
Hearings, and readings, of no sort of use.
The first, intention; or a fix'd design
To learn the truth concerning things divine;
If previous disposition be not good,
How shall a serious point be understood?
The next, attention; not the outward part,
But the fair listening of an honest heart:
Sound may, and figure, strike the ear and eye, But sense and meaning to the mind apply.
The last, retention; or the keeping pure, From hurtful mixtures, what is clear and sure: In vain the purpose, and the pains have been To gain a good, if not secur'd within.
Without intention truth no more can stay,
Than seed can grow upon a public way;
The more it is affecting, plain, and grand,
The less will heedless persons understand.
Without attention 't will have no more fruit, Than seed on stony ground, for want of root; That makes a show with hasty shoots awhile, And then betrays the barrenness of soil.
Without retention all is lost at last, Like seed among the thorns and briars cast: So worldly cares, and worldly riches both, May mix with truth, and choke it in its growth.
As ground produces goodly crops of corn, If good, and free from footstep, stone, or thorn; That of good hearts has properties as plainTo seek the truth, receive it, and retain.
ON THE SAME SUBJECT, IN A LETTER TO MR.
We ought to read, my worthy friend Ponthieu,
All holy scriptures, with a scripture view:
Writ for our learning, as their aim and scope
Is patience, comfort, and the blessed hope
Of everlasting life, a reader's aim,
To understand them right, should be the same.
The prosecution of this hpapier quest
If doubts and difficulties shall molest;
And huge debates, on passages obscure,
Be suffer'd to eclipse the plain and sure;
The more he reads, the more this rambling art
Will fill his head, but never touch his heart;
With controversial circumstances fill,
On which the learned have employ'd their skill,
With such success, that scarce the plainest text
Can be produc'd, but what they have perplext
In such a manner, that, while all assign
To scripture page authority divine,
The compliment is rather paid, for sake
Of such constructions as they please to make.
Down from the pope to the obscurest sect,
Too many proofs are seen of this effect;
Of making one same scripture a retreat
For ev'ry party's opposite conceit:
Profaner wits, observing this, mistook,
And laid the fault upon the Bible book;
Taking the same variety of ways,
By fancied meanings for its ancient phrase,
To cry it down, as sects were wont to use
To cry it up, for their peculiar views.
As this excess, from age to age, has grown
To such a monstrous height within our own,
What a sincere, impartial, honest mind
In search of truth, does it require, to find!
What calm attention, what unfeign'd desire
To hear its voice does truth itself require!
In scripture phrase, what an unceasing pray'r
Should for its sacred influence prepare!
Because, whatever comments we recall,
The disposition of the mind is all.