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An arch-like, strong foundation, to support
Th' incumbent weight of absolute, complete
Conviction; here, the more we press, we stand
More firm ; who most examine, most believe.
Parts, like half-sentences, confound ; the whole
Conveys the sense, and God is understood ;
Who not in fragments writes to human race:
Read his whole volume, sceptic! then reply.
This, this is thinking free, a thought that grasps
Beyond a grain, and looks beyond an hour.
Turn up thine eye, survey this midnight scene;
What are earth's kingdoms, to yon boundless orbs,
Of human souls, one day, the destin'd range?
And what yon boundless orbs, to godlike man?
Those num'rous worlds that throng the firmament,
And ask more space in Heav'n, can roll at large
In man's capacious thought, and still leave room
For ampler orbs; for new creations, there.
Can such a soul contract itself, to gripe
A point of no dimension, of no weight?
It can; it does; the world is such a point :
And, of that point, how small à part enslaves !
How small a part of nothing, shall I say?
Why not ?--Friends, our chief treasure ! How they
Lucia, NARCISSA fair, PHILANDER, gone !
The grave, like fabled Cerberus, has op'd
A triple mouth; and, in an awful voice,
Loud calls my soul, and utters all I sing.
How the world falls to pieces round about us !
And leaves us in a ruin of our joy!
What says this transportation of my friends!
It bids me love the place where now they dwell,
And scorn this wretched spot, they leave so poor.
Eternity's vast ocean lies before thee;
There, there, LORENZO ! thy CLARISSA sails.
Give thy mind sea-room ; keep it wide of earth,
That rock of souls immortal ; cut thy cord ;
Weigh anchor; spread thy sails ; call ev'ry wind;
Eye thy great pole-star; make the land of life.
Two kinds of life has double-natur'd man, And two of death; the last far more severe. Life animal is nurtur'd by the sun; Thrives on his bounties, triumphs in his beams. Life rational subsists on higher food, Triumphant in his beams, who made the day. When we leave that sun, and are left by this (The fate of all who die in stubborn guilt,) - 'Tis utter darkness; strictly double death. We sink by no judicial stroke of Heav'n, But Nature's course ; as sure as plummets fall. Since God, or man, must alter, ere they meet (For light and darkness blend not in one sphere,) 'Tis manifest, LORENZO ! who must change.
If, then, that double death should prove thy lot, Blame not the bowels of the DEITY; Man shall be blest, as far as man permits. Not man alone, all rationals, Heav'n arms With an illustrious, but tremendous pow'r To counteract its own most gracious ends ; And this of strict necessity, not choice : That pow'r deny’d, men, angels were no more, But passive engines, void of praise, or blame, A nature rational implies the pow'r Of being bless'd, or wretched, as we please ;
Else idle reason would have nought to do;
And he that would be barr'd capacity
Of pain, courts incapacity of bliss.
Heav'n wills our happiness, allows our doom ;
Invites us ardently, but not compels ;
Heav'n but persuades, almighty Man decreçs ;
Man is the maker of immortal fates.
Man falls by man, if finally he falls ;
And fall he must, who learns from death alone,
The dreadful secret That he lives for ever.
Why this to thee! Thee yet, perhaps in doubt
Of second life! But wherefore doubtful still!
Eternal life is Nature's ardent wish :
What ardently we wish, we soon believe ;
Thy tardy faith declares that wish destroy'd :
What has destroy'd it !-Shall I tell thee, what?
When fear'd the future, 'tis no longer wish'd;
And, when unwish’d, we strive to disbelieve.
“Thus infidelity our guilt betrays."
Nor that the sole detection! Blush LORENZO!
Blush for hypocrisy, if not for guilt.
The future fear'd?- - an Infidel ! and fear!
Fear what ? a dream? a fable?-How thy dread
Unwilling evidence, and therefore strong,
Affords my cause an undesign'd support!
How disbelief affirms, what it denies !
* It, unawares asserts immortal life.”
Surprising! Infidelity turns out
A creed, and a confession of our sins :
Apostates, thus, are orthodox divines.
LORENZO ! with LORENZO clash no more :
Nor longer a transparent vizor wear.
Think'st thou, RELIGION only has her mask?
Our Infidels are Satan's hypocrites,
Pretend the worst, and at the bottom, fail.
When visited by thought (thought will intrude)
Like him they serve, they tremble and believe.
Is their hypocrisy so foul as this?
So fatal to the welfare of the world?
What detestation, what contempt, their due !
And, if unpaid, be thank'd for their escape
That Christian candour they strive hard to scorn.
If not for that asylum, they might find
A hell on earth ; nor ’scape a worse below.
With insolence, and impotenee of thought,
Instead of racking fancy, to refute,
Reform thy manners, and thc truth enjoy.
But shall I dare confess the dire result?
Can thy proud reason brook so black a brand ?
From purer manners, to sublimer faith,
Is Nature's unavoidable ascent ;
An honest Deist, where the Gospel shines,
Matu to nobler, in the Christian ends.
When that blest change arrives, e'en cast aside
This song superfluous ; Life immortal strikes
Conviction, in a flood of light divine.
A Christian dwells, like URIEL,* in the sun.
Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight;
And ardent hope anticipates the skies.
Of that bright sun, LORENZO ! scale the sphere,
'Tis easy; it invites thee; it descends
From Heav'n to woo and waft thee whence it came !
Read and revere the sacred page ; a page
Where triumphs immortality ; a page
Which not the whole creation could produce ;
Which not the conflagration shall destroy ;
In Nature's ruins not one letter lost :
'Tis printed in the mind of gods, for ever.
In proud disdain of what e'en gods adore,
Dost smile? Poor wretch! thy guardian angel weeps.
Angels, and meri, assent to what I sing ;
Wits smile, and thank me for my midnight dream.
How vicious hearts fume frenzy to the brain !
Parts push us on to pride, and pride to shame ;
Pert infidelity is wit's cockade,
To grace the brazen brow that braves the skies,
By loss of being, dreadfully secure.
LORENZO ! if thy doctrine wins the day,
And drives my dreams, defeated, from the field;
If this is all, if earth a final scene,
Take heed ; stand fast; be sure to be a knave ;
A knave in grain ! ne'er deviate to the right:
Shouldst thou be good-how infinite thy loss !
Guilt only makes annihilation gain.
Bless'd scheme! which life deprives of comfort,
death Of hope ; and which VICE only, recommends. If so; where Infidels ! your bait thrown out To catch weak converts ? Where your lofty boast Of zeal for virtue, and of love to man? ANNIHILATION ! I confess, in these.
What can reclaim you ? Dare I hope profound Philosophers the converts of a song? Yet know, its title * flatters you ; not me ; Yours be the praise to make my title good ; Mine, to bless Heav'n, and triumph in your praise