Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

To Christ himself; who, with an inward call,
Knocks at the door, that is, the heart of all;
At the reception of this heav'nly guest,
All good comes in, all evil quits the breast.

The free receiver, then, becomes content
With what God orders, or does not prevent:
To them that love him, all things, he is sure,
Must work for good; tho' how may be obscure:
Even successful wickedness, when past,
Will bring, to them, some latent good at last.

Fall'n as divided churches are, and gone
From the perfection of the Christian one,
Respect is due to any, that contains
The venerable, tho' but faint remains

Of ancient rule, which had not, in its view,
The letter only, but the spirit too.

When that variety of new-found ways
Which people so run after, in our days,
Has done its utmost-when "lo here, lo there,"
Shall yield to inward seeking, and sincere;
What was, at first, may come to be again
The praise of church assemblies amongst men.

Mean while, in that to which we now belong,
To mind in public lesson, pray'r, and song,
Teaching, and preaching, what conduces best
To true devotion in the private breast,
Willing increase of good to ev'ry soul,
Seems to be our concern upon the whole.

So God, and Christ, and holy angels stand
Dispos'd to ev'ry church, in ev'ry land;
The growth of good still helping to complete
Whatever tares be sown amongst the wheat:
Who would not wish to have, and te excite,
A disposition so divinely right?

A DYING SPEECH.

FROM MR. LAW.

In this unhappily divided state,
That Christian churches have been in of late,
One must, however catholic the heart,
Join, and conform to some divided part:
The church of England is the part, that I
Have always liv'd in, and now choose to die;
Trusting, that if I worship God with her,
In spirit, and in truth, I shall not err;
But as acceptable to him be found,

As if, in times for one pure church renown'd,
Born, I had also liv'd, in heart and soul,
A faithful member of the unbroken whole.
As I am now, by God's good will, to go
From this disorder'd state of things below;
Into his hands as i am now to fall,
Who is the great creator of us all;
God of all churches that implore his aid,
Lover of all the souls that he hath made;
Whose kingdom, that of universal love,
Must have its blest inhabitants above,
From ev'ry class of men, from all the good,
Howe'er descended from one human blood;
So, in this loving spirit, I desire,

As in the midst of all their sacred quire,
With rites prescrib'd, and with a Christian view,
Of all the world to take my last adieu;

Willing in heart and spirit to unite
With ev'ry church, in what is just and right,
Holy and good, and worthy, in its kind,
Of God's acceptance from an honest mind:
Praying, that ev'ry church may have its saints,
And rise to that perfection which it wants.

Father! thy kingdom come! thy sacred will
May all the tribes of human race fulfil!
Thy name be prais'd by ev'ry living breath,
Author of life, and vanquisher of Death!

A COMMENT

ON THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE.

In the beginning was the Word. John, 1st and 1st. "In the beginning was the word"—saith JohnThe life, the light, the truth, for all are one; One all-creating pow'r, all-wise, all-good, In which, at first, the whole creation stood; Moving, and acting in the pow'r alone; How bright, how perfect, and no evil known! How blest was Nature's universal plan, And the fair image of his Maker, man!

The word, the pow'r, is Christ; th' Eternal Son Of God, by whom the Father's will is done; Each is the other's glory; and the love From both the bliss of all the blest above: Angels in Heav'n stand ready to obey, And, as the word directs them, so do they; So must we men, born here upon this Earth, If ever we regain the heav'nly birth;

Lost by poor Adam, in the fatal hour Of lusting after knowledge without pow'r; When, yielding to temptation, tho' forbid To eat what was not good for him, he did: The pow'r of life consenting to forego, For what was told him, would be death to know, He died to his celestial state, and then Could but convey an earthly one to men.

From which to rise, and in true life to live, What but the word, wherein was life, could give? Ingrafted, as an holy seed within,

And born to save the human soul from sin: The Word made man by virgin birth, and free From sin's dominion, Jesus Christ is he; Whom, of pure love, the Father sent to save, And finish man's redemption from the grave.

This second Adam, healer of the breach Made by the first, nor sin, nor death could reach; He conquer'd both; and, in the glorious strife, Became the parent of an endless life To all who ever did, or shall aspire To life, and spirit from this heav'nly sire; And cultivate the seed which he hath sown In ev'ry heart, till the new man be grown.

The old, we know, must die away to dust, And a new image rise amongst the just; When, at the end of temporary scene, Christ shall appear, eternally to reign In all his glory, human and divine, When all the born of God, in him, shall shine,

[ocr errors]

Rais'd to the life that was at first possest,
And bow the knee to Jesus, and be blest.

Since then the cause of our eternal life
Is Christ in us, what need of any strife
In his religion? Of "lo here! lo there!"
When to all hearts he is himself so near?
With pow'r to save us from the cause of ill,
A worldly, selfish, unbelieving will;

To bless whatever tends to make the mind
Meek, loving, humble, patient, and resign'd.

The mind to Christ so far as God shall draw
By nature, scripture, reason, learning, law,
Or aught beside, so far their use is right,
Proclaiming him, and not themselves the light:
From first to last his gospel is the same;
And of all worship, that deserves a name,
"The word of life by faith to apprehend
That was in the begiuning-is the end."

A MEMORIAL ABSTRACT

OF A SERMON PREACHED BY THE REV.
MR. H

On Proverbs, C. 20, V. 27.

THE human spirit, when it burns and shines,
Lamp of Jehovah Solomon defines-
Now, as a vessel, to contain the whole,
This lamp denotes the body, oil the soul;
(As Hobserves) which, tho' itself be dark,
Is capable of light's enkindling spark;
But, as consider'd in it's own dark root,
Still wants the unction, and the light's recruit,

Brighter than all, that now is look'd upon,
This lamp of God, at it's creation shon;
The body, purer than the finest gold,
Had no defect in its material mould;
The soul's enkindled oil was heav'nly bright,
Till even mixture darken'd its good light;
And hid the supernatural supply,
That fed the glorious lamp of the most High.

That fatal poison quench'd, in human frame,
The spirit flowing from the vital flame :
Adam's free will consenting to such food,
Death, as its natural effect, ensu’d:
True life departing left him naked, blind,
And spiritless, in body, soul, and mind;
Dead to his paradisic life, a birth
From sin began his mortal life on Earth.

His faith, his spiritual discernment gone,
He fell into a poring, reas'ning one;
Into a state of ignorance he fell,
Which brutal instincts very oft excel:

What his self-seeking will would know was known,
The light of this terrestrial orb alone;
Dark, in comparison, when this was done,
As moon, or starlight to meridian sun.

What help when lesser light should vanish too,
And death discover a still darker view?
Had not the Christ of God, sole help for sin,
Rais'd up salvation as a seed within?
That sprouting forth by penitence, and faith,
Could pierce thro' death, and dissipate its wrath;

Till God's true image should again revive,
And rise, thro' him, to its first life alive.

This parent Saviour, God's anointed son,
Begets the life that Adam should have done;
Reforms the lamp; renews the holy fire,
And sends to Heav'n its flaming love-desire:
'Tis he the life that was the light of men-
Who fits them to be lamps of God again;
Restores the vessel, oil, and light, and all
The spirit-life that vanish'd at the fall.

Reason has nothing to proceed upon, Without an unction from this holy one; Without a spirit, to dispel the damp Of nature's darkness, and light up the lamp: Nothing whatever, but the touch divine, Can make its highest faculties to shine; All just as helpless in their selfish use, As lamps their own enkindling to produce.

All true religion teaches them to trim
The lamp, that must receive its light from him;
From him, the quick'ning Spirit, to obtain
The life that must for ever blest remain :
The life of Christ arising in the soul,

This, this alone makes human nature whole;
Makes ev'ry gift of grace to re-unite,
And shine for ever in Jehovah's sight.

ON THE

UNION AND THREE-FOLD DISTINCTION
OF GOD, NATURE, AND CREATURE.
PART FIRST.

ALL that comes under our imagination
Is either God, or nature, or creation:
God is the free eternal light, or love,
Before, beyond all nature, and above:
The one unchangeable, unceasing will
To ev'ry good, and to no sort of ill.

Nature, without him, is th' abyssal dark,
Void of the light's beatifying spark;
Th' attraction of desire, by want repell'd,
Whence circling rage proceeds, and wrath un-
quell'd:

But by the light's all-joyous pow'r, th' abyss
Becomes the groundwork of a three-fold bliss.

Creation is the gift of light, and life,
To nature's contrariety and strife;
For without nature, or desirous want,
There would be nothing to receive the grant;
Nor could a creature, or created scene
Exist, did no such medium intervene.

Creature and God would be the same; the thought,
Which books inform us that Spinoza taught,
Would then be true; and we be forc'd to call
Things good, or bad, the parts of the great All:
In whatsoever state itself may be,
Nature is his, but nature is not be.

Like as the dark, behind the shining glass, By hindring rays that of themselves would pass, Affords that glimpse of objects to the view, Which the transparent mirror could not do;

So does the life of nature, in its place, Reflect the glories of the life of grace.

Of ev'ry creature's happiness, the growth
Depends upon the union of them both;
And all that God proceeded to create,
Came forth, at first, in this united state;
No evil wrath, or darkness could begin
To show itself, but by a creature's sin.

And were not nature separate, alone,
Such a dark wrath, it could not have been shown:
Its hidden properties are ground as good
For lif's support, as bones to flesh and blood:
The false, unnatural, ungodly will,
That lays them open, is sole cause of ill.

When it is caus'd, renouncing, to be sure, All such-like wills, contributes to the cure; That nature's wrathful forms may not appear, Nor what is made subservient domineer; But God's good will all evil ones subdue, And bless all nature, and all creature too.

PART SECOND.

THIS universal blessing to inspire
Was God's eternal purpose, or desire;
Desire, which never could be unfulfill'd;
Love put it forth, and Heav'n was what it will'd;
And the desire had, in itself, the means, [scenes.
From whence the love cou'd raise the heav'nly

Hence an eternal nature, to proclaim
By outward, visible, majestic frame,
The hidden Deity, the pow'r divine,

By which th' innumerable beauties shine;
That by succession without end, recall
A God of love, a present all in all.

From love, thus manifested in the birth

Of Nature, and the pow'rs of Heav'n and Earth,
The various births of creatures, at the voice
Of God, came forth to see, and to rejoice;
To live within his kingdom, and partake
Of ev'ry bliss, adapted to their make.

For as, before a creature came to see,
No other life but that of God could be;
No other place but Heav'n, no other state;
So, when it pleas'd th' Almighty to create,
From him must come the creature's life within;
Its outward state from nature must begin.

Oh! what angelic orders! what divine,
And heavenly creatures answer'd the design
Of God's communicative goodness, shown
By giving rise to offsprings of his own!
With godlike spirits how was nature fill'd,
And beauteous forms, as its great author will'd!

Thus in its full perfection then it stood,
Seeking, receiving, manifesting good,
By virtue of that union which it had
With him, who made no creature to be bad;
But highly blest; and with a potent will
So to continue, and to know no ill,

Nature's united properties had noneWhence then the change that it has undergone?

But from the creature's striving to aspire
Above the light, which their own dark desire
Quench'd in themselves, and rais'd up all the
Of nature's wrathful, separated forms. [storms

So Lucifer and his proud legions fell,
And turn'd their heav'nly mansion to an Hell;
To that dark, formless void, wherein the light
Ent'ring again with nature to unite,
The new creation of a world began,
And God's own image lord of it—a mau.

ON THE ORIGIN OF EVIL. EVIL, if rightly understood, Is but the skeleton of good, Divested of its flesh and blood.

While it remains, without divorce,
Within its hidden, secret source,
It is the good's own strength and force.
As bone has the supporting share,
In human form divinely fair,
Altho' an evil when laid bare;

As light and air are fed by fire,
A shining good, while all conspire,
But (separate) dark, raging ire;

As hope and love arise from faith,
Which then admits no ill, nor bath;
But, if alone, it would be wrath;

Or any instance thought upon, In which the evil can be none, Till unity of good is gone;

So, by abuse of thought and skill, The greatest good, to wit, free-will, Becomes the origin of ill.

Thus when rebellious angels fell,
The very Heav'n where good ones dwell,
Became th' apostate spirits Hell.

Seeking, against eternal right,
A force without a love and light,
They found, and felt its evil might.

Thus Adam biting at their bait,
Of good and evil when he ate,
Died to his first thrice happy state.

Fell to the evils of this ball, Which in harmonious union all, Were Paradise before his fall.

And when the life of Christ in men Revives its faded image, then, Will all be Paradise again.

A FRIENDLY EXPOSTULATION WITH A CLERGYMAN, CONCERNING A PASSAGE IN HIS SERMON, RELATING TO THE REDEMP TION OF MANKIND,

'TWAS a good sermon; but a close review Would bear one passage to be alter'd too;

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Because it did not, in the least, agree

With the plain text (as it appear'd to me)
Nor with your comment, on what God had done
To save mankind, by his redeeming Son.
You did, if I remember right, admit
That other means, if he had so thought fit,
Might have obtain'd the salutary views,

As well as those which he was pleas'd to choose;
That it was too presumptuous to confine,
To those alone, th' Omnipotence divine;
As if a wisdom.infinite could find
No other method, how to save mankind:
Tho' that, indeed, which had been fix'd upon,
Was, in effect, become the only one.

Now this, however well design'd, to raise
An awful sense, by its respectful phrase,
An adoration of the boundless pow'rs

Of the Almighty, when compar'd with ours;
To sink in humble rev'rence, and profound,
All human thoughts of fixing any bound
To an unerring wisdom, which extends
Beyond what finite reason comprehends;
Yet, if examiu'd by severer test,

It is, at least, incautiously exprest;

And leaves the subtlest of the gospel's foes,
The Deists, this objection to propose,

To which they have, and will have, a recourse,
And still keep urging its unanswer'd force.
"If there was no necessity," they say,
"For saving men in this mysterious way,
What proof can the divines pretend to bring,
(While they confess the nature of the thing
Does not forbid) that the celestial scenes
Will not be open'd by some other means?
What else but book authority, at best,
Asserts this way, exclusive of the rest,
Of equal force, if the Almighty's will
Had but appointed them to save from ill?
This way, in which the Son of the most High
Is, by his Father's pleasure, doom'd to die,
For satisfaction of paternal ire;

Which (when they make religion to require)
Confounds all sense of justice, by a scheme
The most unworthy of the great supreme:
As other ways might have obtain'd the end,
Nature and reason, force us to attend
To huge absurdities which follow this,
And, since it was not needful, to dismiss."
This is the bourdon of deistic song,
Which rising volumes labour to prolong;
Take this away, the rest would all remain
As flat and trifling, as it is profane;
But this remaining, hither they retreat,
And lie secure from any full defeat.

But when the need, most absolute, is shown
Of man's redemption, by the means alone,
The birth, and life, and death, and re-ascent,
Thro' which the one the-andric Saviour went,
To quench the wrath of nature in the race

Of

men (not God, in whom it has no place) Then scripture, sense, and reason coincide, And all conspire to follow the one guide; Of possibilities to wave the talk In which it is impossible to walk; And raise the soul to seek, and find the good, By this one method, which no other could. Then true religion, call it by the name Christian, or natural, is still the same; From Christ deriv'd, as healer of the soul, Or nature, made by his re-entrance whole;

Who is, in ev'ry man, th' enlightning ray,
The faith, and hope, of Love's redeeming day;
The only name, or pow'r, that can assure
Nature's religion, that is, nature's cure:
But if salvation might have been bestow'd
By other means, than what the sacred code
Declares throughout, the Deists will soon say,
The means, that might be possible, still may;
And, led to think that scripture is at odds
With nature, take some other to be God's:
Thus may a no-necessity, allow'd,
Tend to increase the unbelieving crowd.

As Adam died, and in him all his race,
Not to the life of nature, but of grace;
There could be no new birth of it, or growth,
But from a parent union of them both;
Such as, in ev'ry possible respect,
Jesus incarnate only could effect;
From him alone, who had the life, could men
Have it restor❜d, renew'd, reviv'd again:
But-1 am trespassing too much I fear,
And preaching when my province is to hear-
Millions of ways could we suppose beside,
This, we are sure, which saving love has tried,
Must be the best, must be the straightest line
Of action, when consider'd as divine;
This way alone then must as sure be gone,
As that a line, if straight, can be but one.

ON THE SAME SUBJECT, WRITTEN UPON
ANOTHER OCCASION.

MANKIND'S redemption you are pleas'd to say,
By Jesus Christ, was not the only way
That could succeed; indefinitely more
Th' Almighty's wisdom had within its store;
By any chosen one of which, no doubt,
The same redemption had been brought about.

For who shall dare, you argue, in this case,
To limit the omnipotence of Grace?
As if a finite understanding knew
What the Almighty could, or could not do:
Tho', since he chose this method, we must own,
That our dependence is on this alone.

Now, sir, acknowledging his pow'r immense, Beyond the reach of all created sense; Does it not seem to follow, thereupon, That his true way must be directly one? To save the world he gave his only Son, Therefore-by him alone it could be done.

Variety of ways is the effect

of finite view, that sees not the direct;
But the Almighty, having all in view,
Must be suppos'd to see, and take it too;
To see at once, tho' we are in the dark,
The one straight line to the intended mark.

Saint Paul's assertion of" no other name Given under Heav'n"-appears to be the same With this no other name, or pow'r, could save But that of Jesus, which Jehovah gave: More sons, more saviours, as consistent scem As more effective methods to redeem,

"I am the way" said Christ; there could not | Will pray'r, in vain by Pharisees preferr'd, By just conclusion, any then, but he :

"I am the truth"-whence it appears anew, That no way else could possibly be true: "I am the life"-to which, as Adam died, Nothing could bring mankind again, beside.

[be,

Not from repenting Publicans be heard?
Will the devout amongst the Christian flock
Not be accepted, tho' the priest should mock?
If they do right in their appointed spheres,
His want of truth and spirit is not theirs.

Our Lord's apostles, with an inward view
To reconcile the Gentile and the Jew,
To faith in him, made ev'ry outward care

AN EXPOSTULATION WITH A ZEALOUS The most subservient to that main affair:

SECTARIST,

WHO INVEIGHED IN BITTER TERMS AGAINST
THE CLERGY AND CHURCH INSTITUTIONS.

No, sir; I cannot see to what good end
Such bitter words against the clergy tend;
Pour'd from a zeal so sharp, so unallay'd,
That suffers no exception to be made;
While the most mild persuasions to repress
The bitter zeal still heighten its excess.

Its own relentless thought while it pursues,
What unrestrain'd expressions it can use!
Places of worship, which the people call
Churches, are synagogues of Satan all;
At all liturgic pray'r and praise it storms,
As man's inventions, spirit-quenching forms;
And, from baptismal down to burial rite,
Sets ev'ry service in an odious light:
All previous order, with regard to time,
Place, or behaviour, passes for a crime.

Of pharisaic pride it culls the marks,
To represent the bishop and his clarks;
Who are, if offer'd any gentler plea,
The Devil's ministers, both he and they; [train
Blind guides, false prophets, and a lengthen'd
Of all hard words that chosen texts contain:
These are the forms which, when it would object
To those in use, it pleases to select;
Repeated by its devotees, at once,
As like to rote as any church response:
Nor is a treatment of this eager kind
To this, or that society confin'd,
Sect, or profession-no, no matter which,
Leaders, or led, all "fall into the ditch;"
None but its own severe adepts can claim
Of truth and spirit-worshippers the name.
In vain it seeks, by any sacred page,
To justify this unexampled rage:
Prophets of old, who spake against th' abuse
Of outward forms, were none of them so loose
As to condemn, abolish, or forbid

The things prescrib'd, but what the people did;
Who minded nothing but the mere outside,
Neglecting wholly what it signified;
At this neglect the prophets all exclaim'd;
No pious rites has any of them blam'd;
Their true intent was only to reduce
All outward practice to its inward use.

The World's Redeemer, coming to fulfil
All past predictions of prophetic quill,
Who more, amidst the Jewish priestly pride,
Than he, with all Mosaic rites compli'd?
Say that the Christian priests are, now, as bad
As those blind leaders which the Jews then had,
Was Zachariah's, Simeon's, Anna's mind,
Any good priest, or man, or woman blind,
To offer incense, or to bear a part
In temple service, with an upright heart?

Can then the faults of clergymen, or lay, Destroy heart-worship at this present day?

The greatest christian friend to freedom, Paul,
Intent to save, was ev'ry thing to all;
To keep whatever forms should rise, or cease,
Union of spirit in the bond of peace;
Th' effects of hasty, rash, condemning zeal
He saw, and mourn'd, and labour'd to repeal.
Succeeding saints, when priest, or magistrate
Became tyrannical in church, or state,
Reprov'd their evil practices, but then
Rever'd the office, tho' they blam'd the men:
They gave no instance of untemper'd heat,
That roots up all before it, tares or wheat;
As if, by humanly invented care

Of cultivation, wheat itself was tare:
'Tis true, all sects are grown corrupt enough,
But zeal so indiscriminately rough,
May well give others reason to suspect
Some want of knowledge in a novel sect,
(If such there be) that seems to take a pride
In satanizing all the world beside;
Without the least authority, yet known,
Or species of example, but its own,

One mischief is, that its unguarded terms
Hurt many sober truths which it affirms ;;
Worship in truth and spirit suffers too,
By being plac'd in such an hostile view:
"Oh! but all self-will worshipping is wrong"-
True; but to whom does that defect belong?
Is the obedience to a rule, or guide,
For order's sake, fair proof of such a pride?
If it be none at all for men to broach
Rude, harsh, and undistinguishing reproach,
With resolution to repeat it still,
Pray by what marks are we to know self-will?

THOUGHTS ON IMPUTED
RIGHTEOUSNESS,

OCCASIONED BY READING THE REV, MR. HIER-
VEY'S DIALOGUES, BETWEEN THERON AND
ASPASIO.

A FRAGMENT.
IMPUTED righteousness!-beloved friend,
To what advantage can this doctrine tend?
If, at the same time, a believer's breast
Be not by real righteousness possest;
And if it be, why volumes on it made
With such a stress upon imputed laid?

Amongst the disputants of later days,
This, in its turn, became a fav'rite phrase,
When, much divided in religious schemes,
Contending parties ran into extremes;
And now it claims th' attention of the age,
In Hervey's elegant and lively page:
This his Aspasio labours to impress,
With ev'ry turn of language and address;
With all the flow of eloquence, that shines
Thro' all his (full enough) embellish'd lines.

« AnteriorContinua »