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My firm persuasion is, at least sometimes,
That Heav'n will weigh man's virtues and his crimes
With nice attention, in « righteous scale,
And save or damn as these or those prevail.
I plant my foot upon this ground of trust,
And silence ev'ry fear with--God is just.
But if perchance on some dull dı izzling day
A thought intrude, that says, or seems to say,
If thus th’important cause is to be tried,
Suppose the beam should dip on the wrong side ;
I soon recover from these needless frights,
And God is merciful-sets all to rights.
Thus between justice, as my prime support,
And mercy, fled to as the last resort,
I glide and steal along with Heav'n in view,
And,-pardon me, the bottle stands with you.
I never will believe, the Col’nel cries,
The sanguinary schemes, that some devise
Who make the good Creator on their plan
A being of less equity thạn man,
If appetite, or what divines call lust,
Which men comply with, e'en because they must,
Be punished with perdition, who is pure ?
Then theirs, no doubt, as well as mine, is sure.
If sentence of eternal pain belong
To ev'ry sudden slip and transient wrong,
Then Heav'n enjoins the fallible and frail
A hopeless task, and damns them if they fail.
My creed (whatever some creed-makers mean
By Athanasian nonsense, or Nicene)
My ced is, he is safe that does his best,
And death's a doom sufficient for the rest,
Right, says an ensign ; and, for aught I see, Your faith and mine substantially agree; The best of ev'ry man's performance bere Is to discharge the duties of his sphere. A lawyer's dealings should be just and fair, Honesty shines with great advantage there. Fasting and pray’r sit well upon a priest, A decent caution and reserve at least. A soldier's best is courage in the field, With nothing here that wants to be conceald; Manly deportment, gallant, easy, gay; A hand as lib'ral as the light of day. The soldier thus endow'd who never shrinks, Nor closets up his thoughts, whate'er he thinks, Who scorns to do an injury by stealth, Must go to Heav'n--and I must drink his health, Sir Smug, he cries, (for lowest at the board, Just made fifth chaplain of his patron lord, His shoulders witnessing, by many a shrug, How much his feelings suffer'd, sat Sir Smug,) Your office is to winnow false from true; Come, prophet, drink, and tell us what think you?
Sighing and smiling as he takes his glass, Which they that woo preferment rarely pass, Fallible man, the church-bred youth replies, Is still found fallible, however wise ; And dif'ring judgments serve but to declare, That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where. Of all it ever was my lot to read, Of criticks now alive, or long since dead, The book of all the world that charm'd me most Was-welladay, the titlepage was lost;
The writer well remarks, a heart that knows
To take with gratitude what Heav'n bestows,
With prudence always ready at our call,
To guide our use of it, is all in all.
Doubtless it is.To which, of my own store,
I superadd a few essentials more,
But these, excuse the liberty I take,
I waive just now, for conversation's sake.
Spoke like an oracle, they all exclaim,
And add Right Rev'rend to Smug's honour'd
And yet our lot is giv'n us in a land,
Where busy arts are never at a stand ;
Where Science points her telescopick eye,
Familiar with the wonders of the sky ;
Where bold Inquiry, diving out of sight,
Brings many a precious pearl of truth to light;
Where nought eludes the persevering quest
That fashion, taste, or luxury, suggest.
But, above all, in her own light array'd,
See Mercy's grand apocalypse display'd!
The sacred book no longer suffers wrong,
Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue ;
But speaks with plainness, art could never mend,
What simplest minds can soonest comprehend.
God gives the word, the preachers throng around,
Live from his lips, and spread the glorious sound ;
That sound bespeaks Salvation on her way,
The trumpet of a life-restoring day;
Tis heard where England's eastern glory shines,
And in the gulfs of her Cornubian mines,
And still it spreads. See Germany send forth
-Her sons* to pour it on the farthest north:
Fir'd with a zeal peculiar, they defy
The rage and vigour of a polar sky,
And plant successfully sweet Sharon's rose
On icy plains, and in eternal snows.
O blest within th' enclosure of your rocks,
Nor herds have ye to boast, nor bleating flocks;
No fertilizing streams your fields divide,
That show revers'd the villas on their side;
No groves have ye; no cheerful sound of bird,
Or voice of turtle, in your land is heard ;
Nor grateful eglantine regales the smell
Of those, that walk at ev'ning where ye dwell:
But Winter, arm’d with terrours here unknown,
Sits absolute on his unshaken throne;
Piles up his stores amidst the frozen waste,
And bids the mountains he has built stand fast;
Beckons the legions of his storms away
From happier scenes, to make your land a prey :
Proclaims the soil a conquest he has won,
And scorns to share it with the distant sun.
Yet Truth is yours, remote, unenvied isle !
And Peace, the genuine offspring of her smile;
The pride of letter'd Ignorance, that binds
In chains of errour our accomplish'd minds,
That decks, with all the splendour of the true,
A false religion, is unknown to you.
Nature, indeed, vouchsafes for our delight
The sweet vicissitudes of day and night;
* The Moravian Missionaries in Greenland.
Soft airs and genial moisture feed and cheer
Field, fruit, and flow'r, and ev'ry creature here;
But brighter beams than his who fires the skies,
Have ris’n at length on your admiring eyes,
That shoot into your darkest caves the day,
From which our nicer opticks turn away.
Here see th' encouragement Grace gives to vice,
The dire effect of mercy without price!
What were they? what some fools are made by art,
They were by nature, atheists, head and heart.
The gross idolatry blind heathens teach
Was too refin'd for them, beyond their reach.
Not e'en the glorious Sun, though men revere
The monarch most, that seldom will appear,
And though his beams that quicken where they shine,
May claim some right to be esteem'd divine,
Not e'en the sun, desirable as rare,
Could bend one knee, engage oné voľry there ;
They were, what base Credulity believes
True Christians are, dissemblers, drunkards, thieves.
The full-gorg'd savage, at his nauseous feast,
Spent half the darkness, and snor'd out the rest,
Was one whom Justice, on an equal plan,
Denouncing death upon the sins of man,
Might almost have indulg'd with an escape,
Chargeable only with a human shape.
What are they now ?-Morality may spare
Her grave concern, her kind suspicions there :
The wretch, who once sang wildly, danc'd, anci
And suck'd in dizzy madness with his draught,
Has wept a slent flood, revers'd his ways,
Is sober, meck, benevolent, and praye,