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Complacency has breath'd a gentle gale
What shall the man deserve of human kind, Whose happy skill and industry, combin'd, Shall prove (what argument could never yet) The Bible an imposture and a cheat? The praises of the libertine, profess'd The worst of men, and curses of the best. Where should the living, weeping o'er his woes ; The dying, trembling at the awful close ; Where the betray'd, forsaken, and oppress'd, The thousands whom the world forbids to rest : Where should they find, (those comforts at an end The scripture yields) or hope to find, a friend?. Sorrow might muse herself to madness then ; And, seeking exile from the sight of men, Bury herself in solitude profound, Grow frantic with her pangs, and bite the ground, Thus often unbelief, grown sick of life, Flies to the tempting pool, or felon knife. The jury meet, the coroner is short, And lunacy the verdict of the court..
Reverse the sentence, let the truth be knowing
But the same word, that, like the polish'd share,
from above !
eyes, Truth will intrude-she bids him yet
beware ; And shakes the sceptic in the scorner's chair.
Though various foes against the truth combine, Pride, above all, opposes her design ; Pride, of a growth superior to the rest,. The subtlest serpent with the loftiest cresty,
Swells at the thought, and, kindling into rage, Would hiss the cherub mercy from the stage.
And is the soul, indeed, so lost ?-she cries ; Fallen from her glory, and too weak to rise ? Torpid and dull, beneath a frozen zone, Has she no spark that may be deem'd her own ? Grant her indebted to what zealots call Grace undeserv'd-yet, surely, not for all ! Some beams of rectitude she yet displays, Some love of virtue, and some power to praise ; Can lift herself above corporeal things, And, soaring on her own unborrowed wings, Possess herself of all that's good or true, Assert the skies, and vindicate her due. Past indiscretion is a venial crime ; And, if the youth, unmellow'd yet by time, Bore on his branch, luxuriant then and rude, Fruits of a blighted size, austere and crude, Maturer years shall happier stores produce, And meliorate the well concocted juice. Then, conscious of her meritorious zeal, To justice she may make her bold appeal ; And leave to mercy, with a tranquil mind, The worthless and unfruitful of mankind. Hear, then, how mercy, slighted and defied, Retorts th'affront against the crown of pride,
Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorr'd, And the fool with it, who insults his Lord.
Th’atonement a Redeemer's love has wrought
Is virtue, then, unless of christian growth, Mere fallacy, or foolishness, or both? Ten thousand sages lost in endless woe, For ignorance of what they could not know ! That speech betrays at once a bigot's tongueCharge not a God with such outrageous wrong! Truly, not I-the partial light men have, My creed persuades me, well employed, may save ; While he that scorns the noon-day beam, perverse, Shall find the blessing, unimprov'd, a curse. Let heathen worthies, whose exalted mind Left sensuality and dross behind, Possess, for me, their undisputed lot, And take, unenvied, the reward they sought. But still, in virtue of a Saviour's plea, Not blind by choice, bat destin'd not to see. Their fortitude and wisdom were a flame Celestial, though they knew not whence it came, Deriv'd from the same source of light and grace That guides the christian in his swifter race.
Their judge was conscience, and her rule their law :
Marshalling all his terrors as he came ;
Hark! universal nature shook and groan'd, "Twas the last trumpet-see the Judge enthron'd: