« PoprzedniaDalej »
And the utter extinction of foeship, and wrath,
By the working of love, in the strength of its
This gives it its boly, and catholic name, [faith:
And truly confirms its apostolic claim; [been,
Showing what the one Saviour's one mission had
"Go and teach all the world”—ev'ry creature
In the praise ever due to the gospel of grace,
Its universality holds the first place:
When an angel proclaim'd its glad tidings, the
That the Son of the Virgin, the Saviour was born;
"Which shall be to all people" was said to com-
The angelical message, so good, and so great;
Full of glory to God, in the regions above,
And of goodness to men, is so boundless a love.
This short supplication, or litany, read,
When the longer with us is not wont to be said,
Tho' brief in expression, as fully imports
The will to all blessings, for men of all sorts;
Same brotherly love, by which Christians are
To pray without ceasing, or limiting thought;
That religion may flourish upon its true plan,
Of glory to God, and salvation to man.
THE PRAYER OF RUSBROCHIUS.
O MERCIFUL Lord! by the good which thou art,
1 beseech thee to raise a true love in my heart
For thee, above all things; thee only; and then
To extend to all sorts and conditions of men:
Religious, or secular; kindred, or not;
Or near, or far off, or whatever their lot;
That be any man's state rich or poor, high or low,
As myself I may love him, friend to me, or foe.
May I pay to all men a becoming respect,
Not prone to condemn them for seeming defect;
But to bear it, if true, with a patience exempt
From the proud, surly vice of a scornful con-
If shown to myself, let me learn to endure,
And obtain, by its aid, my own vanity's cure;
Nor, however disdain'd, in the spitefullest shape,
By a sinful return ever think to escape.
Let my pure, simple aim, in whatever it be,
Thro' praise, or dispraise, be my duty to thee:
With a fixt resolution, still eyeing that scope
To admit of no other fear, be it, or hope,
But the fear to offend thee, the hope to unite,
In thy honour and praise, with all hearts that are
Wishing all the world well; but intent to fulfil,
Be they pleas'd, or displeas'd, thy adorable will.
Preserve me, dear Lord, from presumption and
That upon my own actions would tempt to con-
Let me have no dependence on any but thine,
With a right faith, and trust, in thy merits divine:
Still ready prepar'd, in each requisite hour,
Both to will, and to work, as thou givest the pow'r;
But may only thy love flame thro' all my whole
And a false selfish fire not affect the least part.
To this end, let thine arrow pierce deeply
Letting out all the filth, and corruption of sin;
All that in the most secret recesses may lurk,
To prevent, or obstruct, thy intention or work:
O! give me the knowledge, the feeling, and sense,
Of thy all-blessing pow'r, wisdom, goodness im-
Of the weakness, the folly, the malice alone,
That, resisting thy will, I should find in my own!
Never let me forget, never, while I draw breath, What thou hast done for me, thy passion, and death!
The wounds, and the griefs, of thy body, and soul,
When assuming our nature thou madest it whole:'
Taughtest how to engage in thy conquering strife,
And regain the access to its true divine life:
Let the sense of such love kindle all my desire,
To be thine my life thro'; thine to die and expire.
To hearts, in the bond of thy charity knit,.
Ev'ry thing becomes easy to do, or omit;
The labour is pleasant, the sharpest degree
Of suff'ring can find consolation in thee:
That which nature affords, or an object terrene,
When it does not divert from a perfecter scene,
Is receiv'd with all thanks, if thou pleasest to
By a mind, if thou pleasest, as willing to want.
The amusements, on which it once set such a
Are now as insipid, as grateful before;
With a much greater comfort it gives up each toy,
Than the fondest possessor could ever enjoy:
If e'er I propos'd such unsuitable ends
To the thought of religious, or secular friends,
Expel the vain images, fancies of good,
And in their heart, and mine, make thyself under-
Extinguish, O Lord, let not any one take
A complacence in me, which is not for thy sake;
In me too root out the respect, of all kind,
Which does not arise from thy love in my mind:
No sorrow be spar'd, no affliction, no cross,
That may further this love, or recover its loss;
This is always thy meaning; O let it be mine
To confess myself guilty, repent, and resign.
With a real contempt of all self-seeking views, To embrace, for my choice, what thy wisdom shall choose;
Looking up still to thee, to receive all event
Which it wills, or permits, with a thankful con-
Not regarding what men shall do to me, or why,
But the provident aim of thy all-seeing eye;
Ever watchful o'er them who persist, in each place,
To rely on its presence-O give me thy grace!
Tho' unworthy to ask it, poor sinner! I trust
In the merits and death of a Saviour so just;
Whom the Father, well pleas'd in his satisfy'd
The design to save sinners saw rightly fulfil:
In me let thy grace, O Redeemer within,
Re-establish his justice, and purge away sin;
That freed from its evils, in me, may be shown
The effect of thy all-saving merits alone.
FROM MR. LAW'S SPIRIT OF PRAYER.
OH heav'nly Father! gracious God, above!
Thou boundiess depth of never-ceasing love!
Save me from self, and cause me to depart
From sinful works of a long hearden'd heart;
From all my great corruptions set me free;
Give me an ear to hear, an eye to see,
An heart and spirit to believe, and find
Thy love in Christ, the Saviour of mankind.
Made for thyself, O God, and to display
Thy goodness in me, manifest, I pray,
By grace adapted to each wanting hour,
Thy holy nature's life-conferring pow'r:
Give me the faith, the hunger, and the thirst,
After the life breath'd forth from thee, at first;
Birth of thy holy Jesus in my soul;
That I may turn, thro' life's succeeding whole, From ev'ry outward work, or inward thought, Which is not thee, or in thy spirit wrought.
SACRED attention! true effectual prayer!
Thou dost the soul for love of truth prepare.
Blest is the man, who, from conjecture free,
To future knowledge shall aspire by thee:
Who in thy precepts seeks a sure repose,
Stays till he sees, nor judges till he knows:
Tho' firm, not rash; tho' eager, yet sedate;
Intent on truth, can its instruction wait:
Aw'd by thy powerful influence to appeal
To Heaven, which only can itself reveal;
The soul in humble silence to r sign,
And human will unite to the divine;
Till fir'd at length by Heaven's enlivening beams,
Pure, unconsum'd, the faithful victim flames.
USED BY FRANCIS THE FIRST, WHEN HE WAS AT
WAR WITH THE EMPEROR CHARLES THE FIFTH.
ALMIGHTY Lord of Hosts, by whose commands
The guardian angels rule their destin'd lands;
And watchful, at thy word, to save or slay,
Of peace or war administer the sway!
Thou, who, against the great Goliah's rage
Didst arm the stripling David to engage;
When, with a sling, a small unarmed youth
Smote a huge giant, in defence of truth;
Hear us, we pray thee, if our cause be true,
I sacred justice be our only view;
If right and duty, not the will to war,
Have forc'd our armies to proceed thus far,
Then turn the hearts of all our foes to peace,
That war and bloodshed in the land may cease:
Or, put to flight by providential dread,
Let them lament their errours, not their dead.
If some must die, protect the righteous all,
And let the guilty, few as may be, fall.
With pitying speed the victory decree
To them, whose cause is best approv'd by thee;
That sheath'd on all sides the devouring sword,
And peace and justice to our land restor❜d,
We all together, with one heart, may sing
Triumphant hymns to thee, th' eternal King.
ON THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE, IN THE GENERAL CONFESSION OF SINS, USED IN THE CHURCHLITURGY.
-According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.
ACCORDING to thy promises"-hereby,
Since it is certain that God cannot lie,
The truly penitent may all be sure
That Grace admits them to its open door;
And they, forsaking all their former sin,
However great, will freely be let in,
"Declar'd"-by all the ministers of peace,
God has assur'd repentance of release;
An intervening penitence, we see,
Could even change his positive decree;
As in the Ninivites; if any soul
Repent, the promise is the sure parole.
"Unto mankind"-not only to the Jews,
Christians, or Turks, in writings which they use,
Writ on the tablet of each conscious heart,
Repent, from all iniquity depart—
Not for no purpose; for the plain intent
Is restoration, if a soul repent.
"In Christ" by whom true scripture has asRedeeming grace for penitents procur'd; [sur'd The fainter hopes, which reason may suggest, Are de ply, by the gospel's aid, imprest: 'T was always hop'd for was the promis'd good, But, by his coming, clearly understood.
"Jesu"-Jehovah's manifested love,
In Christ, th' anointed Saviour from above;
The demonstration of the saving plan,
For all mankind, is God's becoming man:
No truth more firmly ascertain'd than this-
Repent, be faithful, and restor❜d to bliss.
"Our Lord" our new, and true parental head;
Our second Adam, in the first when dead;
Who took our nature on him, that in men
His Father's image might shine forth again:
Sure of success may penitents implore
What God, thro' him, rejoices to restore.
FOR THE DUE IMPROVEMENT OF Å FUNERAL SOLEMNITY. AROUND the grave of a departed friend, If due concern has prompted to attend,
Deep, on our minds, let the affecting scenes
Imprint the lesson, which attendance means:
For who can tell how soon his own adieu
The solemn service may for him renew?
"He that believes on me" (what Christ had said
The priest proclaims) "shall live tho' he were
To ev'ry heart this is the gracious call, [dead:"
On which depends its everlasting all;
The ever hoping, loving, working faith,
That saves a soul from death's devouring wrath.
The patient Job, by such a faith within, [skin Strengthning his heart, could say "This mortal Destroyed, I know that my Redeemer lives"In flesh and blood, which his redemption givesJob, from the dust, expected to arise, And stand before his God with seeing eyes.
The royal Psalmist saw this life of man, How vain, how short, at its most lengthen'd spau: Conscious in whom the human trust should be, "Truly my hope," he said, "is ev'n in thee"And pray'd for its recover'd strength, before He went from hence, here to be seen no more. The mystic chapter is rehears'd, wherein Paul sings the triumph over death, and sin; The glorious body, freed from earthly leav'n, Image and likeness of the Lord from Heav'n; For such th' abounding in his work shall gain; Labour, we know that never is in vain.
Hence comes the sure and certain hope, to rise In Christ; tho' man, as born of woman, dies: True life, which Adam dy'd to, at his fall, And Christ, the sinless Adam, can recall, By a new, heav'nly birth, from him, revives, And breathes, again, God's holy breath of lives.
A voice from Heav'n bad hearing John record, "Blest are the dead, the dying in the LordIn them, the pray'r, which man's Redeemer will'd That men should pray, is perfectly fulfill'd: This perfect sense the words, that we repeat, Require to make the pay'd-for good complete.
Thanks then are due for all the faithful dead, Departed hence, to be with Christ their head; And pray'r, unfainting, for his-"Come, ye blest Come, ye true children, enter into rest;
Live in my Father's kingdom, and in mine,
In grace, and love, and fellowship divine.”
Is that which gives external modes a worth,
Just in proportion as they show it forth;
Just as they help, in any outward part,
The real, true religion of the heart,
Now what this is, exclusive of all strife,
Christians will own to be an inward life,
Spirit, and pow'r, a birth, to say the whole,
Of Christ himself, brought forth within the soul;
By this all true salvation is begun,
And carried on, however it be done.
Christianity, that has not Christ within,
Can by no means whatever save from sin;
Can bear no evidence of him—the end,
On which the value of all means depend:
Christian religion signifies, no doubt,
Like mind within, like show of it without.
The will of God, the saving of mankind,
Was all that Christ had in his inward mind;
All that produc'd his outward action too,
In church communion while a perfect Jew;
Like most of his disciples, till they came,
At Antioch, to have a Christian name.
If Christ has put an end to rites of old,
If new recall what was but then foretold,
The one true church, the real heavenly ground,
Wherein alone salvation can be found,
Is still the same; and, to its Saviour's praise,
His inward tempers outwardly displays.
By hearty love, and correspondent rites
Ordain'd, the members to the head unites,
And to each other-in all stated scenes,
The life of Christ is what a Christian means;
Tho' change of circumstance may alter those,
In this he places, and enjoys repose.
Church unity is held, and faith's increase,
By that of spirit, in the bond of peace,
And righteousness of life; without this tie
Forms are in vain prescrib'd to worship by,
Or temples model'd; hearts, as well as hands,
An holy church, and catholic demands.
IF once establish'd the essential part,
The inward church, the temple of the heart,
Or house of God, the substance, and the sum
Of what is pray'd for in-"Thy kingdom come—”
To make an outward correspondence true,
We must recur to Christ's example too.
Now, in his outward form of life, we find
Goodness demonstrated of ev'ry kind;
What he was born for, that he show'd throughout;
It was the bus'ness that he went about;
Love, kindness, and compassion to display
Tow'rds ev'ry object coming in his way.
But love so high, humility so low,
And all the virtues which his actions show;
His doing good, and his enduring ill,
For man's salvation and God's holy will,
Exceed all terms-his inward, outward plan
Was love to God, express'd by love to man.
Mark of the church, which he establish'd, thes Is the same love, same proof of it to men;
Without, let sects parade it how they list,
Nor church, nor unity can e'er subsist;
The name may be usurp'd, but want of pow'r
Will show the Babel, high or low the tow'r.
And where the same behaviour shall appear
In outward form, that was in Christ so clear,
There is the very outward church that he
Will'd all mankind to show, and all to see;
Of which whoever shows it, from the heart,
Is both an inward, and an outward part.
What excommunication can deprive
A pious soul, that is in Christ alive,
Of church communion? or cut off a limb
That life and action both unite to him?
For any circumstance of place, or time,
Or mode, or custom, which infers no crime?
If he be that which his beloved John
Calls him," The light enlight'ning ev'ry one
"That comes into the world"-will he exclude
One from his church, whose mind he has renew'd
To such degree, as to exert, in fact,
Like inward temper, and like outward act?
Invisible, and visible effect,
Of true church membership, in each respect,
Let the one shepherd from above behold;
The flocks, howe'er dispers'd, are his one fold;
Seen by their hearts, and their behaviour too,
They all stand present in his gracious view.
A LOCAL union, on the other hand,
Tho' crowded numbers should together stand,
Joining in one same form of pray'r, and praise,
Or creed express'd in regulated phrase,
Or aught beside- -tho' it assume the name
Of Christian church, may want the real claim.
For if it want the spirit, and the sign,
That constitute all worship, as divine,
The love within, the test of it without,
In vain the union passes for devout;
Heartless, and tokenless if it remain,
It ought to pass, in strictness, for profane.
At first, an unity of heart and soul,
A distribution of an outward dole,
And ev'ry member of the body fed,
As equally belonging to the head,
With what it wanted, was, without suspense,
True church communion, in full Christian sense.
Whether averse the many, or the few,
To hold communion in this righteous view,
Their thought commences heresy, their deed
Schismatical, tho' they profess the creed;
Ways of distributing, if new, should still
Maintain the old communicative will;
Broken by ev'ry loveless, thankless thought,
And not behaving as a Christian ought;
By want of meekness, or a show of pride
Tow'rds any soul for whom our Saviour dy'd;
While this continues, men may pray, and preach
In all their forms, but none will heal their breach.
Whatever helps an outward form may bring To church communion, it is not the thing;
Nor a society, as such, nor place,
Nor any thing besides uniting grace:
They are but accessories, at the most,
To true communion of the Holy Ghost.
This is th' essential fellowship, the tie
Which all true Christians are united by ;
No other union does them any good,
But that which Christ cemented with his blood,
As God and man; that, having lost it, men
Might live in unity with God again.
What he came down to bring us from above Was grace and peace, and law-fulfilling love; True spirit-worship, which his father sought, Was the sole end of what he did, and taught; That God's own church and kingdom might begin, Which Moses and the prophets usher'd in.
"THE church of Christ, as thus you represent,
And all the world is of the same extent:
Jews, Turks, or Pagans may be members too;
This, some may call a dreadful mystic clue,
A combination of the Quaker schemes
With latitudinarian extremes."
They may; but names, so ready at the call
Of such as want them, have no force at all
To overthrow momentous truths, and plain,
The very points of scripture, and the main;
Such as distinguish, in the clearest view,
Th' enlighten'd Christian from the half-blind Jew.
What did the sheet let down to Peter mean,
Who call'd the Gentiles common, or, unclean?
Let Peter answer" God was pleas'd to show
That I should call no man whatever so;
In ev'ry nation he that serves him right
Is clean, accepted, in his equal sight."
If Peter said so, who will question Paul? He, in a manner, made this point his all; The real sense of what has here been said In mystic Paul is plainly to be read; Nothing but obstinate dislike to terms Obscures what all the Testament affirms.
The Jews objected, to his gospel clue, A-" What advantage therefore hath the Jew? Or, of what use is to be circumcis'd?" So may some Christians say-to be baptis'd?May form like questions, like conclusions draw, And urge the church, as they did, and the law.
Th' apostle's reas'ning from the common want
Of God's free grace, its universal grant
By Jesus Christ, its reach to all mankind,
For whom the same salvation was design'd,
Shows that his church, as boundless as his grace,
Extends itself to all the human race.
With pious Jews of old our king imply'd
The one true king of all the Earth beside;
Whose regal right, tho' he was pleas'd to call
Jacob his lot, extended over all;
Tho' Israel gloried in acknowledg'd light,
It's virtue was not bounded by their sight.
So will a Christian piety confess
A church of Christ, with boundaries no less ;
Will speak, as ev'ry conscious witness ought,
To what it knows, but scorn the partial thought
Of grace, or truth, or righteousness confin'd
To modes and customs of external kind.
THE church consider'd only as possest Of England, Rome, Geneva-and the restNotion of church so popularly rife, Such cause of endless enmity and strife, Did but arise in a succeeding hour, When Christians came to have a worldly pow'r.
The first apostles spread,' from place to place,
The gospel news of universal grace;
Inviting all to enter, by belief,
Into the church of their redeeming chief;
Entrance accessible in ev'ry part,
And shut to nothing but a faithless heart.
But when the princes of the world became,
And kings, protectors of the Christian name,
Pow'r made ambitious pastors, ease remiss,
And churches dwindl'd into that and this;
The one, divided, came to want, of course,
Supports quite foreign to its native force.
Contentions rose, all tending to create
Still new alliances of church and state;
Form'd, and reform'd, and turn'd, and overturn'd,
As force prevail'd, and human passion burn'd;
Old revolutions when by new dissolv'd,
Both church and state accordingly revolv'd.
Such is the mixture of an human sway,
In all external churches at this day;
To the same changes liable, anew,
That forms of government are subject to;
While the one church, in its true sense, in name
And thing, remains unchangeably the same.
The private Christian, bearing Christ in mind,
Whose kingdom was not of a worldly kind,
Has little, or has no concern at all,
With these external changes that befall;
Let Providence permit them, or prevent,
With truth and spirit he remains content.
Not that he thinks that evil, more or less,
Is, in its nature, alter'd by success;
The good is good, tho' suff'ring a defeat,
The bad but worse, if its success be great;
He measures neither by th' event that's past,
For what they were at first they are at last.
But, by the spirit of the gospel, free,
Whatever state of government it be,
That God has plac'd him under, to submit,
So in the church he thinks the freedom fit,
Whilst on occasion of the outward part,
He can present what God requires-an heart.
THE heart is what the God of it demands, Who dwelleth not in temples made with hands: When hands have made them, if no hearts are Dispos'd aright to consecrate the ground, [found,
Vainly is worship said to be divine,
While in the breast its object has no shrine.
But if it has, in that devoted breast,
A right intention, surely, will be blest;
Tho' forms, prescrib'd by pastors in the chair,
Should be adjusted with less perfect care;
Tho', in some points, the services assign'd
Differ from those of apostolic kind.
What outward church, or form, shall we select,
That is not chargeable with some defect?
Each is prepar'd, in all the rest, to grant
A superfluity, or else a want,
Or both; a distance from perfection wide,
Retorted on itself by all beside.
What safer remedy than pure intent
To seek the good by any of them meant?
Which he, who mindeth only what the heart
Brings of its own, is ready to impart;
No human pow'r, should it enjoin amiss
A ceremonious rite, can hinder this.
Even in sacrament, what frequent storms
Has superstition rais'd about the forms?
In rites baptismal, which the true result?
Immersion? sprinkling? infants? or th' adult?
In the Lord's supper, does the celebration
Make trans, or con, or non-substantiation?
These, and a world of controversies more
Serve to enlarge the bibliothecal store;
While champions make antiquity their boast,
And all pretend to imitate it most;
Prone to neglect, for criticising pique,
Essential truths eternally antique.
Thus inward worship lies in low estate,
Opprest with endless volumes of debate
About the outward; soon as old ones die,
All undecided, comes a new supply
Of needless doubts to a religious soul,
Whose upright meaning dissipates the whole.
Clear of all worldly, interested views,
The one design of worship it pursues;
Turns all to use that public form allows,
By off'ring up its ever private vows
For the success of all the good design'd
By Christ, the common saviour of mankind.
A CHRISTIAN, in so catholic a sense, Can give to none, but partial minds, offence: Forc'd to live under some divided part, He keeps entire the union of the heart; The sacred tie of love; by which alone, Christ said, that his disciples would be known.
He values no distinction, 'as profest By way of separation from the rest; Oblig'd in duty, and inclin'd by choice, In all the good of any to rejoice; From ev'ry evil, falshood, or mistake, To wish them free, for common comfort's sake.
Freedom, to which the most undoubted way Lies in obedience (where it always lay)