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He, that negotiates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgment and of mercy, should beware Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation: and t address The skittish fancy with facetious tales, When sent with God's commission to the heart! So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip Or merry turn in all he ever wrote, And I consent you take it for your text, Your only one, till sides and benches fáil. No: he was serious in a serious cause, And understood too well the weighty terms, That he had tak’n in charge. He would not stoop To conquer
those by jocular exploits. Whom truth and soberness assail'd in vain.
0, Popular Applause! what heart of man Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms ? The wisest and the best feel urgent need Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales; But, swell'd into a gust—who then, alas ! With all his canvass set, and inexpert, And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r? Praise from the rivell d lips of toothless, bald Decrepitude, and in the looks of lean And craving Poverty, and in the bow Respectful of the smutch'd artificer, Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb The bias of the purpose. How much more, Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite, In language soft as Adoration breathes ? Ah, spare your idol! think him human still. Charms he may have, but he has frailties too! Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye
admire. All truth is from the sempiternal source Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece and Rome,
Drew from the stream below. More favour'd we
Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain-head.
To them it flow'd much mingled and defild
With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams
Illusive of philosophy, so callid,
But falsely. Sages after sages strove
In vain to filter off a crystal
Pure from the lees, which often more hanc'd
The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred
Intoxication and delirium wild.
In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth man?
And spring-time of the world; ask'd, “Whence is
Why form’d at all? and wherefore as he is?
Where must he find his Maker? with what rites
Adore him? Will he hear, accept, and bless ?
Or does he sit regardless of his works?
Has man within him an immortal seed?
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive
His ashes, where? and in what weal or woe?”
Knots worthy of solution, which alone
A Deity could solve. Their answers, vague
And all at random, fabulous and dark,
Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life,
Defective and unsanction'd, prov'd too weak
To bind the roving appetite, and lead
Blind nature to a God not yet reveal'd.
'Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more.
Now tell me, dignified and sapient sir,
My man of morals, nurtur'd in the shades
Of Academus is this false or true ?
Is Christ the abler teacher, or the schools ?
If Christ, then why resort at ev'ry turn
To Athens or to Rome, for wisdom short
Of man's occasions, when in him reside
Grace, knowledge, comfort-an unfathom'd store ?
How oft, when Paul has serv'd us with a text,
Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully, preach'd!
Men that, if now alive, would sit content
And humble learners of a Saviour's worth,
Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth,
Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too!
Aqua And thus it is.—The pastor, either vain ·
By nature, or by flattery made so, taught
To gaze at his own splendour, and t exalt
Absurdly, not his office, but himself;
Or unenlighten'd, and too proud to learn;
Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach ;
Perverting often by the stress of lewd
And loose example, whom he should instruct;
Exposes, and holds up to broad disgrace,
The noblest function, and discredits much
The brightest truths that man bas ever seen.
For ghostly counsel, if it either fall
Below the exigence, or be not back'd
With show of love, at least with hopeful proof
Of some sincerity on the giver's part;
Or be dishonour'd in th' exterior form
And mode of its conveyance by such tricks
As move derision, or by foppish airs
And histrionic mumm’ry, that let down
The pulpit to the level of the stage;
Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
The weak, perhaps, are mov'd, but are not taught,
While prejudice in men of stronger minds
Takes deeper root, confirm’d by what they see.
A relaxation of religion's hold
Upon the roving and untutor'd heart
Soon follows, and, the curb of conscience snapp'd,
The laity run wild. But do they now?
Note their extravagance, and be convinc'd.
As nations, ignorant of God, contrive
A wooden one; so we, no longer taught
By monitors that mother church supplies,
Now make our own. Posterity will ask . (If e'er posterity see verse of mine) Some fifty or a hundred lustrums hence, What was a monitor in George's days ? My very gentle reader, yet unborn, Of whom I needs must augur better things, Since Heav'n would sure grow weary of a world Productive only of a race like ours, A monitor is wood-plank shaven thin, We wear it at our backs, there, closely brac'd And neatly fitted, it compresses hard The prominent and most unsightly bones, And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use Sov'reign and most effectual to secure A form, not now gymnastic as of yore, From rickets and distortion, else our lot. But thus admonish’d, we can walk erectOne proof at least of manhood! while the friend Sticks close, a Mentor worthy of his charge. Our habits, costlier than Lucullus wore, And by caprice as multiplied as his, Just please us while the fashion is at full, But change with ev'ry moon. The sycophant, Who waits to dress us, arbitrates their date; Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye; Finds one ill made, another obsolete, This fits not nicely, that is ill conceiv'd; And, making prize of all that he condemns, With our expenditure defrays his own. Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its favour.
We have run Through every change, that Fancy, at the loom Exhausted, has had genius to supply; And, studious of mutation still, discard A real elegance, a little us’d, For monstrous novelty, and strange disguise. We sacrifice to dress, till household joys And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires;
And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
What man that lives, and that knows how to live,
Would fail t exhibit at the public shows
A form as splendid as the proudest there,
Though appetite raise outcries at the cost ?
A man o'th' town dines late, but soon enough,
With reasonable forecast and dispatch,
T ensure a side-box station at half-price.
You think, perhaps, so delicate his dress,
His daily fare as delicate. Alas!
He picks clean teeth, and, busy as he seems
With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet!
The rout is Folly's circle, which she draws
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
That none, decoy'd into that fatal ring,
Unless by Heav'n's peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early gray, but never wise ;
There form connexions, but acquire no friend;
Solicit pleasure hopeless of success;
Waste youth in occupations only fit
For second childhood, and devote old age
To sports, which only childhood could excuse.
There they are happiest, who dissemble best
Their weariness; and they the most polite,
Who squander time and pleasure with a smile,
Though at their own destruction. She that asks
Her dear five hundred friends, contemns them all,
And hates their
coming. They (what can they less?)
Make just reprisals; and, with cringe and shrug,
And bow obsequious, hide their hate of her.
All catch the frenzy, downward from her grace,
Whose flambeaux flash against the morning skies,
And gild our chamber ceilings as they pass,
To her, who, frugal only that her thrift
May feed excesses she can ill afford,
Is hackney'd home unlackey'd; who, in haste