Images de page


Good life be now my task; my doubts are done ;
What more could fright my faith, than three in one ?
Can I believe eternal God could lie
Disguised in mortal mould, and infancy?
That the great Maker of the world could die?
And after that trust my imperfect sense,
Which calls in question his omnipotence ?
Can I my reason to my faith compel,
And shall my sight, and touch, and taste rebel?
Superior taculties are set aside;
Shall their subservient organs be my guide ?
Then let the moon usurp the rule of day,
And winking tapers shew the sun his way;
For what my senses can themselves perceive,
I need no revelation to believe
Can they, who say the host should be descried
By sense, define a body glorified ?
Impassable, and penetrating parts?
Let them declare by what niysterious arts
He shot that body through the opposing might,
Ot bolts and bars impervious to the light,
And stood before his train confessed in open sight. †
For since thus wondrously he passed, tis plain,
One single place two bodies did contain ;
And sure the same Omnipotence as well
Can make one body in more places dwell.
Let reason then at her own quarry fly,
But how can finite grasp infinity?

'Tis urged again, that faith did first commence
By miracles, which are appeals to sense,
And thence concluded, that our sense must be
The motive still of credibility;

* See Introductory remarks.
+ Note VII.

For latter ages must on former wait,
And what began belief, must propagate.

But winnow well this thought, and you shall find
'Tis light as chaff that flies before the wind.
Were all those wonders wrought by power divine,
As means or ends of some more deep design?
Most sure as means, whose end was this alone,
To prove the Godhead of the Eternal Son.
God thus asserted, man is to believe
Beyond what sense and reason can conceive,
And, for mysterious things of faith, rely
On the proponent, heaven's authority.
If, then, our faith we for our guide admit,
Vain is the farther search of human wit;
As when the building gains a surer stay,
We take the unuseful scaffolding away.
Reason by sense no more can understand;
The game is played into another hand.
Why chuse we then like bilanders * to creep
Along the coast, and land in view to keep,
When safely we may launch into the deep?
In the same vessel, which our Saviour bore,
Himself the pilot, let us leave the shore,
And with a better guide a better world explore.
Could he his Godhead veil with flesh and blood,
And not veil these again to be our food ?
His grace in both is equal in extent,
The first affords us life, the second nourishment.
And if he can, why all this frantic pain,
To construe what his clearest words contain,
And make a riddle what he made so plain ?
To take


half on trust, and half to try, Name it not faith, but bungling bigotry;

Quasi By-land-er, an old word for a boat, used in coast navigation,

Both knave and fool the merchant we may call, To pay great sums, and to compound the small; For who would break with heaven, and would not

break for all ? Rest then, my soul, from endless anguish freed ; Nor sciences thy guide, nor sense thy creed. Faith is the best ensurer of thy bliss; The bank above must fail, before the venture miss.

But heaven and heaven-born faith are far from thee,
Thou first apostate to divinity.
Unkennelled range in thy Polonian plains ;
A fiercer foe the insatiate Wolf remains.
Too boastful Britain, please thyself no more,
That beasts of prey are banished from thy shore;
The bear, the boar, and every savage name,
Wild in effect, though in appearance tame,
Lay waste thy woods, destroy thy blissful bower,
And, muzzled though they seem, the mutes devour.
More haughty than the rest, the wolfish race
Appears with belly gaunt, and famished face;
Never was so deformed a beast of grace.
His ragged tail betwixt his legs he wears,
Close clap'd for shame; but his rough crest he

And pricks up his predestinating ears.
His wild disordered walk, his hagard eyes,
Did all the bestial citizens surprise.
Though feared and hated, yet he ruled a while,
As captain or companion of the spoil.
Full many a year his hateful head had been
For tribute paid, nor since in Cambria seen;
The last of all the litter 'scaped by chance,
And from Geneva first infested France.

Note VIII,

Some authors thus his pedigree will trace,
But others write him of an upstart race;
Because of Wickliffe's brood no mark he brings,
But his innate antipathy to kings.
These last deduce him from the Helvetian kind,
Who near the Leman-lake his consort lined ;
That fiery Zuinglius first the affection bred,
And meagre Calvin blest the nuptial bed.
In Israel some believe him whelped long since,
When the proud sanhedrim oppressed the prince ;
Or, since he will be Jew, derive him higher,
When Corah with his brethren did conspire
From Moses' hand the sovereign sway to wrest,
And Aaron of his ephod to divest;
'Till opening earth made way for all to pass,
And could not bear the burden of a class. *
The Fox and he came shuffled in the dark,
If ever they were stowed in Noah's ark;
Perhaps not made; for all their barking train
The dog (a common species) will contain;
And some wild curs, who from their masters ran,
Abhorring the supremacy of man,
In woods and caves the rebel-race began.

O happy pair, how well have you increased !
What ills in church and state have you redressed !
With teeth untried, and rudiments of claws,
Your first essay was on your native laws;
Those having torn with ease, and trampled down,
Your fangs vou fastened on the mitred crown,
And freed from God and monarchy your town.
What though your native kennel still be small,
Bounded betwixt a puddle and a wall; t

* Alluding to the classical ordination, which the Presbyterian church has adopted, instead of that by Bishops.

+ Geneva, the cradle of Calvinism. The territories of the little republic, dum Troja fuit, were bounded by its ramparts and lake. Yet your

victorious colonies are sent Where the north ocean girds the continent. Quickened with fire below, your monsters breed In fenny Holland, and in fruitful Tweed And, like the first, the last affects to be Drawn to the dregs of a democracy. As, where in fields the fairy rounds are seen, A rank sour herbage rises on the green ; So, springing where those midnight elves advance, Rebellion prints the footsteps of the dance. Such are their doctrines, such contempt they show To heaven above, and to their prince below, As none but traitors and blasphemers know. God like the tyrant of the skies is placed, And kings, like slaves, beneath the crowd debased. So fulsome is their food, that flocks refuse To bite, and only dogs for physic use. As, where the lightning runs along the ground, No husbandry can heal the blasting wound; Nor bladed grass, nor bearded corn succeeds, But scales of scurf and putrefaction breeds ; Such wars, such waste, such fiery tracks of dearth Their zeal has left, and such a teemless earth. But, as the poisons of the deadliest kind Are to their own unhappy coasts confined; As only Indian shades of sight deprive, And magic plants will but in Colchos thrive; So presbytery and pestilential zeal Can only flourish in a commonweal. From Celtic woods is chased the wolfish crew; But ah! some pity e’en to brutes is due; Their native walks, methinks, they might enjoy, Curbed of their native malice to destroy.

* Alluding to the recall of the Edict of Nantz, and persecution of the Huguenots. See Note IX.

« PrécédentContinuer »