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The pardon such presume upon,
They do not beg, but steal ;
Oh! where's the Spirit's seal ?
Was it for this, ye lawless tribe,
The dear Redeemer bled ?,
From Christ the living Head ?
Ah, Lord, ye know thy chosen few
Are fed with heavenly fare ;
Proclaim them what they are.
The liberty our hearts implore,
Is not to live in sin ;
Till Mercy calls us in.
LXV, [Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life — vain pursuit of the world.]
What thousands never knew the road !
What thousands hate it when 'tis known!
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end,
One only leads to joys on high;
Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask or hope to find
Delight or happiness below;
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
The bright reward of faith and love.
Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,
Contented lick your native dust;
Against the idol of your trust.
LXVI. [Man's dependence is upon God alone --we are saved by grace through Jesus Christ.]
To keep the lamp alive,
With oil we fill the bowl ;
And grace that feeds the soul.
The Lord's unsparing hand
Supplies the living stream;
But still derived from him.
Beware of Peter's word,*
Nor confidently say,
But, grant I never may.
Man's wisdom is to seek
His strength in God alone ;
Who trusted in his own.
Retreat beneath his wings,
And in his grace confide ;
Than all your works beside.
In Jesus is our store,
Grace issues from his throne;
Confesses he has none.
* Matt. xxvi. 33.
of John, vi. 29.
sBy the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified. advancement an idolatry—a robbing of Christ.]
GRACE, triumphant in the throne,
Self, the god his soul adores,
LXVIII. [God's providence mysterious, but ever merciful. Our own unbelief only can deprive us of this comfortable assurance. This is the last hymn composed by Cowper ; his spirit had been darkening daily, till late in the autumn of 1772, when during one of his latest walks he composed these noble verses. The face of that nature which he loved, and of the Creator whom he thus praised, were to be hid from his sight for many years.]
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform ;
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace :
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,*
And scan his work in vain :
And he will make it plain.
* John, xiii. 7.
NOTES TO TABLE TALK.
Note 1.-_ Page 1, line 6.
The laurel the very lightning spares. Naturalists describe and class upwards of forty different species of laurel; but in all the quality of being a preservative against lightning, exists as a poetical attribute only. Both antiquity, however, and poetry have hallowed a superstition which probably derived its birth from the purposes to which the latter dedicated the shrub: there the belief is no fiction,
For the true laurel wreath which glory weaves,
Note 2.- Page 1, line 13.
Laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews. The whole of this spirited paragraph was an afterthought, added while the manuscript lay with the printer, but before it had been put to press. In the third line of the author's copy, as transmitted in a letter tó Newton, the expression is the noblest, instead of unshaken in the printed poem. In his original writings, when once finished, few writers appear to have altered less than Cowper. - Touching and retouching," he indeed confesses “ to be his secret of writing well ;” but it was during the progress of composition only that he thus laboured ; a poem fairly transcribed was dismissed from his mind. Hence we are able to trace a very small number of emendations in his proof sheets, and hardly any difference between his own editions of his works. The few corrections, however, or alterations, now to be ascertained evince consummate taste; while the additions, as in the present instance, are always such as the world would regret to have lost.
NOTE 3. - Page 2, line 4 from bottom.
Oh ! bright occasions of dispensing good. This beautiful passage was written as descriptive of the character of George III. However some readers may differ in their estimate of its truth as applicable to the princely qualities of that monarch, few will doubt that it is a just tribute to the household virtues of the man.