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Yet never sleep the sun up; prayer should
Dawn with the day: there are set lawful hours
'Twixt heav'n and us; the manna was not good
After sun-rising; far day sullies flowers:
Rise to prevent the sun; sleep doth sins glut,
And heaven's gate opens when the world's is shut.
Walk with thy fellow-creatures: note the hush
And whisperings amongst them. Not a spring
Or leaf but hath his morning hymn; each bush
And oak doth know I am.—Canst thou not sing ?
O leave thy cares and follies ! go
way, And thou art sure to prosper all the day.
Serve God before the world ; let him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
The whole unto him, and remember who
Prevailed by wrestling ere the sun did shine:
Pour oil upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eye to heav'n.
Mornings are mysteries: the first, world's youth,
Man's resurrection, and the future's bud,
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Is styld their star; the stone and hidden food :
Three blessings wait upon them, one of which
Should move-they make us holy, happy, rich.
When the world's up, and every swarm abroad,
Keep well thy temper, mix not with each clay;
Despatch necessities; life hath a load
Which must be carried on, and safely may:
Yet keep those cares without thee; let the heart
Be God's alone, and choose the better part.
Dim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars
To lonely, weary, wandering travellers,
Is reason to the soul: and as on high,
Those rolling fires discover but the sky,
Not light us here; so Reason's glimmering ray
Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way,
But guide us upward to a better day.
And as those nightly tapers disappear,
When day's bright lord ascends our hemisphere,
So pale grows Reason at Religion's sight;
So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light.
Some few, whose lamp shone brighter, have been led
From cause to cause, to Nature's secret head;
And found that one first principle must be:
But what, or who, that Universal He;
Whether some soul encompassing this ball,
Unmade, unmovid; yet making, moving all ;
Or various atoms' interfering dance,
Leap'd into form, the noble work of Chance;
Or this great All was from eternity;
Not e'en the Stagirite himself could see;
And Epicurus guess'd as well as he:
As blindly grop'd they for a future state ;
As rashly judg'd of Providence and Fate;
But least of all could their endeavours find
What most concern’d the good of human kind :
For happiness was never to be found,
But vanish'd from them like enchanted ground.
One thought content the good to be enjoy'd :
This every little accident
roy'd: The wiser madmen did for virtue toil, A thorny, or at least a barren soil:
In pleasure some their glutton souls would steep;
But found their line too short, the well too deep;
And leaky vessels which no bliss could keep.
Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll,
Without a centre where to fix the soul:
In this wild maze their vain endeavours end :
How can the less the greater comprehend ?
Or finite reason reach infinity ?
For what could fathom God were more than He.
Thus man by his own strength to heaven would soar : And would not be oblig'd to God for more. Vain wretched creature, how art thou misled To think thy wit these god-like notions bred! These truths are not the product of thy mind, But dropt from heaven, and of a nobler kind. Reveal'd religion first inform’d thy sight, And reason saw not till Faith sprung the light. Hence all thy natural worship takes the source: 'Tis revelation what thou think'st discourse. Else how com'st thou to see these truths so clear, Which so obscure to heathens did appear ? Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found: Nor he whose wisdom oracles renown’d. Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime ? Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb? Canst thou by reason more of godhead know Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero ? Those giant wits, in happier ages born, When arms and arts did Greece and Rome adorn, Knew no such system: no such piles could raise Of natural worship, built on prayer and praise To one sole God.
WHENCE but from heav'n could men unskill'd in arts,
In several ages born, in several parts,
Weave such agreeing truths ? or how or why
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie ?
Unask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice,
Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price.
If on the Book itself we cast our view,
Concurrent heathens prove the story true :
The doctrine, miracles, which must convince,
For heaven in them appeals to human sense;
And though they prove not, they confirm the cause,
When what is taught agrees with Nature's laws.
Then for the style; majestic and divine,
It speaks no less than God in ev'ry line:
Commanding words, whose force is still the same,
As the first fiat that produced our frame.
All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend,
Or sense indulged has made mankind their friend;
This only doctrine does our lusts oppose;
Unfed by nature's soil on which it grows;
Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin,
Oppressed without, and undermined within,
It thrives through pain, its own tormentors tires,
And with a stubborn patience still aspires.
To what can reason such effects assign
Transcending nature, but to laws divine,
Which in that sacred volume are contained,
Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain’d ?
TRIAL AND HOPE.
As when a sudden storm of hail and rain,
Beats to the ground the yet unbearded grain,
Think not the hopes of harvest are destroy'd
On the flat field, and on the naked void ;
The light, unloaded stem, from tempests freed,
Will raise the youthful honours of its head;
And soon restored by native vigour bear
The timely product of the bounteous year.
Nor yet conclude all fiery trials past;
For Heaven will exercise us to the last;
Sometimes will check us in our mid career,
With doubtful blessings and with mingled fear,
That, still depending on his daily grace,
His every mercy for an alms may pass;
With sparing hands will diet us to good,
Preventing surfeits of our pamper'd blood.
So feeds the mother bird her craving young,
With little morsels, and delays them long.
BORN, 1637; DIED, 1711.
All praise to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, oh, keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thy own Almighty wings!
Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live, that I may
The grave as little as my bed;
To die, that this vile body may
Rise glorious at the judgment-day.
Oh, may my soul on thee repose,
And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close-
Sleep, that may me more vig'rous make
To serve my God when I awake.