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From thence read on the story of His life,
His humble carriage, His unfaulty waies,
His cancred foes, His fights, His toyle, His strife,
His pains, His poverty, His sharp assays,
Through which he past His miserable dayes,
Offending none, and doing good to all,
Yet being malic'd both of great and small.
And look at last, how of most wretched wights
He taken was, betray'd, and false accused,
How with most scornful taunts, and fell despights
He was revil'd, disgrac'd, and foul abused,
How scourg'd, how crown'd, how buffeted, how
And, lastly, how 'twixt robbers crucifide,
With bitter wounds through hands, through
feet, through side.
Then let thy flinty heart, that feels no pain,
Empierced be with pitiful remorse,
And let thy bosom bleed in ev'ry vein
At sight of His most sacred heav'nly corse
So torn and mangled with malicious force;
And let thy soul, whose sins His sorrows
Melt into tears, and grone in grieved thought. With sense whereof, whilst so tlay softned spirit
Is inly touch'd, and humbled with meek zeal.
Through meditation of His endless merit,
Lift up thy mind to the Author of thy weal,
And to His soveraign mercy do appeal ;
Learn Him to love that loved thee so dear,
And in thy breast His blessed image bear.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heav'n
Upon the place beneath. It is twice bless'd ;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
"Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this scepter'd sway:
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself;.
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Tho' justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy;
And that same pray’r doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
FROM MARTIAL, lib. ii. epig. 53.
Would you be free? 'Tis your chief wish, you say,
Come on, I'll shew thee, friend, the certain way,
If to no feasts abroad thou lov'st to go,
Whilst bounteous God does bread at home bestow;
If thou the goodness of thy clothes dost prize
By thine own use, and not by others' eyes ;
If (only safe from weathers) thou canst dwell
In a small house, but a convenient shell ;
If thou, without a sigh or golden wish,
Canst look upon thy beechen bowl and dish
If in thy mind such power and greatness be,
The Persian king's a slave, compar'd with thee.
MILTON. FROM THE PARADISE LOST.-Book iii. 1. 1. HAIL, holy light, offspring of Heav'n first-born, Or of th' eternal co-eternal beam, May I express thee unblam'a ? since God is light, And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or, hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? before the sun,
Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd,
And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thou
Re-visit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt,
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song ; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather, thou celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
FROM THE SAME. Book iv. 1.32, O THOU, that with surpassing glory crown'd; Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; 'Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down, Warring in heav'n 'gainst heav'n's matchless King : Ah, wherefore! He desery'd no such return From me, whom He created what I was In that bright eminence, and with His good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard, What could be less than to afford Him praise, The easiest recompence, and pay Him thanks, How due! yet all His good prov'd ill in me, And wrought but malice. Lifted up so high, I’sdein'd subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude, So burthensome still paying still to owe; Forgetful what from Him I still received, And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and discharg'd. What burthen then? O had His powerful destiny ordain'd Me some inferior angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd Ambition,
THE CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON.
Imitated from Chaucer.
A parish priest was of the pilgrim-train,
An awful, reverend, and religious man;
His eyes diffused a venerable grace,
And charity itself was in his face,
Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor;
(As God had clothed His own ambassador ;)
For such, on earth, His blessed REDEEMER bore.
Of sixty years he seemed, and well might-last
To sixty more, but that he lived too fast;
Refined himself to soul, to curb the sense ;
And made almost a sin of abstinence.
Yet had his aspect nothing of severe,
But fuch a face as promised him sincere.
Nothing reserved or sullen was to see,
But sweet regards and pleasing sanctity;
Mild was his accent, and his action free.
With eloquence innate his tongue was armed;
Tho' harsh the precept, yet the preacher charmed':
For, letting down the golden chain from high,
He drew his audience upward to the sky;
And oft with holy hymns he charmed their ears,
(A music more melodious than the spheres.)
For David left him, when he went to rest,
His lyre ; and after him, he sung the best.
He bore his great commission in his look,
But sweetly tempered awe, and softened all he spoke.
He preached the joys of heaven, and pains of hell,
And warned the sinner with becoming zeal,
But on eternal merey loved to dwell,
He taught the Gospel rather than the Law,
And forced himself to drive; but loved to draw.
For fear but freezes minds; but love, like heat,
Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat.
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard,
Wrapped in his crimes, against the storm prepared ;
But, when the milder beams of mercy play,
He melts, and throws his cumb'rous cloak away.
Lightnings and thunder (Heaven's artillery)
As harbingers before th' ALMIGHTY fly:
Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there.