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The pardon such presume upon,

They do not beg, but steal ;
And when they plead it at thy throne,

Oh! where's the Spirit's seal ?

Was it for this, ye lawless tribe,

The dear Redeemer bled ?,
Is this the grace the saints imbibe

From Christ the living Head ?

Ah, Lord, ye know thy chosen few

Are fed with heavenly fare ;
But these, the wretched husks they chew,

Proclaim them what they are.

The liberty our hearts implore,

Is not to live in sin ;
But still to wait at Wisdom's door,

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!
None but the chosen tribes of God

Will seek or choose it for their own.

A thousand ways in ruin end,

One only leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,

Pleased with a journey to the sky.

No more I ask or hope to find

Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind

That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.

The joy that fades is not for me,

I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be,

The bright reward of faith and love.

Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,

Contented lick your native dust;
But God shall fight, with all his storms,

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 ;
'Tis water makes the willow thrive,

And grace that feeds the soul.

The Lord's unsparing hand

Supplies the living stream;
It is not at our own command,

But still derived from him.

Beware of Peter's word,*

Nor confidently say,
“I never will deny thee, Lord,”

But, grant I never may.

Man's wisdom is to seek

His strength in God alone ;
And e'en an angel would be weak,

Who trusted in his own.

Retreat beneath his wings,

And in his grace confide ;
This more exalts the King of kings,t

Than all your works beside.

In Jesus is our store,

Grace issues from his throne;
Whoever says, “ I want no more,”

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,
Scorns a rival, reigns alone.
Come, and bow beneath her sway,
Cast your idol-works away.
Works of man, when made his plea,
Never shall accepted be;
Fruits of pride (vain-glorious worm !)
Are the best he can perform.

Self, the god his soul adores,
Influences all his powers ;
Jesus is a slighted name,
Self-advancement all his aim :
But when God the Judge shall come,
To pronounce the final doom,
Then for rocks and hills to hide
All his works and all his pride!

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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 ;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,

And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,

The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace :
Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,*

And scan his work in vain :
God is his own interpreter,

And he will make it plain.

* John, xiii. 7.


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,
Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves!


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.

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