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Say, does not life its nourishment exceed,
Observe the rising lily's snowy grace,
If ceaseless thus the fowls of heav'n he feeds,
PARAPHRASE ON MATT. VII. 12. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye
even so to them. PRECEPT divine ! to Earth in mercy given; Q sacred rule of action, worthy Heaven!
Whose pitying love ordain'd the bless'd command
Who views unmov’d, from scenes where pleasures
bloom, The flame of genius sunk in mis'ry's gloom, The soul, heaven-form'd to soar, by want deprest, Nor heeds the wrongs that pierce a kindred breast, Thou, righteous Law, whose clear and useful light Sheds on the mind a ray divinely bright, Condensing in one rule whate'er the sage Has proudly taught, in many a labour'd page Bid every heart thy hallow'd voice revere, To Justice sacred and to Nature dear.
CHARITY: A PARAPHRASE ON 1 COR. CHAP. XIII. Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue Than ever man pronounc'd or angel sung ; Had I all knowledge, human and divine, That thought can reach or science can define ; And had I power to give that knowledge birth, In all the speeches of the babbling Earth; Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire, To weary tortures and rejoice in fire ; Or had I faith like that which Israel saw When Moses gave them miracles and law; Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent guest, Were not thy power exerted in my breast, Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r, That scorn of life would be but wild despair; A cymbal's sound were better than my voice; My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.
Charity! decent, modest, easy, kind, Softens the high, and rears the abject mind;
Knows with just reins, and gentle hand to guide
Each other gift which God on man bestows
As through the artist's intervening glass Our eye observes the distant planets pass, A little we discover, but allow That more remains unseen than art can show; So whilst our mind its knowledge would improve, (Its feeble eye intent on things above) High as we may we lift our reason up, By faith directed, and confirm'd by hope; Yet are we able only to survey Dawnings of beams, and promises of day. Heaven's faller effluence mocks our dazzled sight, Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light.
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispells The sun shall soon be face to face beheld, In all his robes, with all his glory on, Seated sublime on his meridian thrones
Then constant Faith and holy Hope shall die.. One lost in certainty, and one in joy; Whilst thou, more happy power, fair Charity, Triumphant sister, greatest of the three, Thy office and thy nature still the same, Lasting thy lamp, and unconsum'd thy flame, Shalt still survive Shalt stand before the host of Heaven confess'd For ever blessing, and for ever bless'd. Prior.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH CHAPTER OF JOB PARA:
PHRASED. Then will vain man complain and murmur still, And stand on terms with his Creator's will ? Shall this high privilege to clay be given ? Shall dust arraign the providence of Heaven? With reason's line the boundless distance scan? Oppose Heaven's awful majesty to man? To what a length his vast dimensions run! How far beyond the journeys of the Sun! He hung yon golden balls of light on high, And launeh'd the planets through the liquid sky: To rolling worlds he mark'd the certain space, Fix'd and sustain'd the elemental peace.
Unnumber'd as those worlds his armies move, And the gay legions guard his realms above; High o'er th ethereal plains the myriads rise, And pour their flaming ranks along the skies : From their bright arms incessant splendour stream, And the wide azure kindles with the gleam.
To this low world he bids the light repair, Down through the gulfs of undulating air;