« PreviousContinue »
Support, and ornament, of Virtue's cause.
Thero stands the messenger of truth ; there stands
The legate of the skies ! - His theme divine,
His office sacred, his credentials clear.
By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders: and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace.
He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
Reclaims the wand'rer, binds the broken heart,
And, arm’d himself in panoply complete
of beav'nly temper, furnishes with arms
Bright as his own, and trains, by every rule
or holy discipline, to glorious war
The sacramental host of God's elect:
Are all such teachers ?-Would to Heav'n all were !
But hark-the doctor's voice !-fast wedg'd between
Two empiricks he stands, and with swoln cheeks
Inspires the news, his trumpet. Keener far
Than all invective is his bold harangue,
While through that publick organ of report
He hails the clergy; and, defying shame,
Announces to the world his own and theirs !
He teaches those to read whom schools dismiss'd,
And colleges, untaught : sells accent, tone,
And emphasis in score, and gives to pray'r
Th' adagio and andante it demands.
He grinds divinity of other days
Down into modern use ; transforms old print
To zigzag manuscript, and cheats the eyes
or gall’ry critics by a thousand arts.
Are there who purchase of the doctor's ware?
0, name it not in Gath!-it cannot be,
That grave and learned clerks should need such aid.
He doubtless is in sport, and does but droll,
Assuming thus a rank unknown before-
Grand caterer and dry-nurse of the church !
venerate the man, whose heart is warn), Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life, Coincident, exhibit lucid proof That he is honest in the sacred cause. To such I render more than mere respect, Whose actions say that they respect themselves. But loose in morals and in manners vain, In conversation frivolous, in dress Extreme at once rapacious and profuse ; Frequent in park with lady at his side, Ambling and prattling scandal as he goes ; But rare at home, and never at his books, Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card; Constant at routs, familiar with a round of ladyships, a stranger to the poor; Ambitious of preferment for its gold, And well prepared, by ignorance and sloth, By infidelity and love of world, To make God's work a sinecure ; a slave To his own pleasures and his patrons pride; From such apostles, O ye mitred heads, Preserve the church ; and lay not careless hands On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, Were he on Earth, would hear, approve, and own, Paul should himself direct me. I would trace His master-strokes, and draw from his design. I would express him simple, grave, sincere ; In doctrine uncorrupt ; in language plain, And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste, And natural in gesture ; mu mpress' Himself, as conscious of his awful charge, And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds blay feel it too ; affectionate in look, and tender in address, as well becomes sflessenger
grace to guilty men.
Behold the picture !-Is it like ?-Like whom ?
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
And then skip down again; pronounce a text ;
Cry-hem; and, reading what they never wrote
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene !
In man or woman, but far most in man,
And most of all in man that ministers
And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe
All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn ;
Object of my implacable disgust.
What!-will a man play tricks-will he indulge
A silly fond conceit of his fair form,
And just proportion, fashionable mien,
And pretty face, in presence of his God?
Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes
As with the diamond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
When I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his' flock.
Therefore avaunt all attitude and stare,
And start theatrick, practis'd at the glass !
I seek divine simplicity in him :
Who handles things divine ; and all besides,
Though learn’d with labour, and though much admir'd
By curious eyes and judgments ill-inform’d,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the press'd nostril, spectacle bestrid.
Some, decent in demeanour while they preach,
That task perform’d, relapse into themselves,
And, having spoken 'wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye,
Whoe'er was edify'd, themselves were not ! Forth comes the pocket-mirror. First we stroke An eyebrow, next compose a straggling lock ; Ther with an air mosi gracefully perform’d, Fall back into our seat, extend an arm, And lay it at its ease with gentle care,, with handkerchief in band depending low ; The better hand more busy gives the nose Its bergamot, or aids th' indebted eye With op'ra glass, to watch the moving scene, And recognize the slow retiring fair.Now this is fulsome; and offends me more Than in a churchman slovenly neglect And rustic coarseness would. A heavenly mind May be indiff'rent to her house of clay, And slight the hovel as beneath her care ; But how a body so fantastic, trim, And quaint, in its depórtment and attire, Can lodge a heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.
He that negotiates between God and man, As God's amrbassador, 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 facetions 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 fail. No: he was serious in a serious cause, And understood too well the weighty terms, That he had ta’en in charge. He would not stoop To conquer those by jocular exploits,
Whom truth and soberness assail'd in vain.
O 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-wlo, then, alas!
With all his canvass set, and inexpert,
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r?
Praise from the rivellid 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 ost too welcome and may much disturb
The bias of the purpose. How much more,
Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite;
lo language soft as Adoration breathes?
Ah, spare your idol, think hiin 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 semiternal 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 mingid and defil'd
With hurtful errour, predjudice, and dreams
Hlusive of philosophy, so callid,
But falsely. Sages after sages strove
In vain to filter off a crystal draught
Pure from the lees, which often more enhanc'd
The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred
Intoxication and delirium wild.
In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth
And spring-time of the world; ask'd, Whence is man?
Why formod at all ? wherefore as he is ?
Where must be find his maker with what rites
Adore him? Will he hear, accept, and bless ?