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Still from thy search, the centre still shall fly,
Here point, fair Muse! the worship God requires,
His Omnipresence. THROUGH th' unmeasurable tracks of space, Go, Muse divine! and present Godhead trace: See where, by place uncircumscrib'd as time, He reigns extended; and he shines sublime. Shouldst thou above the Heav'n of Heav'ns ascend, Couldst thou below the depth of depths descend, Could thy fond flight beyond the starry sphere The radiant Morning's lucid pinions bear,
There should his brighter presence shine confest,
In his wide grasp, and comprehensive eye,
Nor want his shining images below, In streams that murmur, or in winds that blow; His spirit broods along the boundless flood, Smiles in the plain, and whispers in the wood: Warms in the genial sun's enliv'ning ray, Breathes in the air, and beautifies the day.
Should man his great immensity deny, Man might as well usurp the vacant sky: For were he limited in date, or view, Thence were his attributes imperfect too: His knowledge, power, his goodness all confin'd, And lost th' idea of a ruling mind. Feeble the trust, and comfortless the sense Of a defective partial providence: Boldly might then his arm injustice brave, Or innocence in vain his mercy crave;
Dejected virtue lift its hopeless eye,
Even the weak embryo, ere to life it breaks,
Nor views he only the material whole, But pierces thought, and penetrates the soul: Ere from the lips the vocal accents part, Or the faint purpose dawns within the heart, His steady eye the mental birth perceives, Ere yet to us the new idea lives; Knows what we say, ere yet the words proceed, And ere we form th' intention, marks the deed.
But Conscience, fair vicegerent-light within, Asserts its author, and restores the scene; Points out the beauty of the govern'd plan, And vindicates the ways of God te man.'
Then sacred Muse, by the vast prospect fir'd, From Heav'n descended, as by Heav'n inspir'd, His all enlight’ning omnipresence own, When first thou feel'st thy dwindling presence
His wide omniscience, justly, grateful, sing, Whence thy weak science prunes its callow wing; And bless th'Eternal, All-informing Soul, (whole. Whose sight pervades, whose knowledge fills the
His Immutability. As the Eternal and Omniscient Mind, By laws not limited, nor bounds confin'd, Is always independent, always free, Hence shines confess'd Immutability! Change, whether the spontaneous child of will, Or birth of force—is imperfection still. But he, all-perfect, in himself contains Power self-deriv'd, and from himself he reigns. If, alter'd by constraint, we could suppose, That God his fix'd stability should lose ; How startles reason at a thought so strange! What pow'r can force Omnipotence to change? If from his own divine productive thought, Were the yet stranger alteration wrought; Could excellence supreme new rays acquire ? Or strong perfection raise its glories higher ? Absurd !-his high meridian brightness glows, Never decreases, never overflows; Knows no addition, yields to no decay,.. The blaze of incommunicable day.
Below, through different forms docs matter range, And life subsists from elemental change; Liquids condensing shapes terrestrial wear, Earth mounts in fire, and fire dissolves in air ; While we, inquiring phantoms of a day, Inconstant as the shadows we survey, With them along time's rapid current pass, And haste to mingle with the parent mass :
But thou, Eternal Lord of life divine !
If God, like man, his purpose could renew,
Plac'd in this narrow clouded spot below, We darkly see around and darkly know: Religion lends the salutary beam That guides our reason through the dubious gleam; Till sounds the hour, when he who rules the skies Shall bid the curtain of omniscience rise; Shall dissipate the mists that veil our sight, And show his creatures—all his ways are right!
Then, when astonishid Nature feels its fate, And fetter'd Time shall know his latest date; When earth shall in the mighty blaze expire, Heav'n melt with heat, and worlds dissolve in fire; The universal system shrink away, And ceasing orbs confess th'almighty sway: Immortal he, amidst the wreck secure, Shall sit exalted, permanently pure; As in the sacred bush, shall shine the same, And from the ruin raise a fairer frame.