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"The world by wisdom knew not God."

Nature's great book lies open wide,
To all a spectacle, a guide;

The wondrous counsels from of old
And works of God it doth unfold;
What man has all its pages read,
Or characters deciphered?
For who can count the grains of sand
That bound the vast Atlantic strand?
Or comprehend the winds that blow?
Or tell the stars? or form the snow?
Enough if but a single page
Is mastered by declining age;
Enough if we have learnt to bow
Before the Almighty Author low:
And should we then of wisdom boast,
And pile up tomes at mighty cost,

And fill the midnight lamp with oil
Till reels the brain with senseless toil,
Seeking a standard and a rule

By which to live from human school,
While God's great book before our eyes
Teeming with truth unheeded lies?

A higher wisdom would we know,
Then needs we must to that book go,
That living record of the past,

That book which all books shall outlast,
Which tells, in words by God inspired,
How Eve the fatal fruit desired;
How man by disobedience fell,
Consenting to the Prince of Hell;
Next, how the great Redeemer met
The Tempter still on evil set,

And cast him down and overthrew,

And purged the world, and made it new. Such lofty themes might well engage

Our earliest and our latest age,

Too little known, too oft despised,
While human pedantry is prized.

What else can solace mortal woe?

What teach mankind themselves to know?

What kindle the celestial fire?

Reveal God's will, God's love inspire?
Transform the heart, the life renew,
And bid man dare be just and true?
They, who this knowledge have attained,
In the high school of God are trained,
Nor envy they, nor need, I trow,
The lore which schoolmen can bestow.
What boot to them the paltry prize
Dangled before the pupil's eyes ?
Their lofty souls have cast aside
The world, with all its pomp and pride:
Or what to them the frown, the nod,
The stroke of earthly master's rod?
Nor fire nor sword can make them swerve
From the high master whom they serve.
In sight of men they seem to die,
And vanish quick from memory,
But God their righteous souls will keep,
And wake their bodies out of sleep:

Their matchless deeds shall then be known;
Their place, in Heaven, a lofty throne ;
Their glory as the Sun shall shine;

They shall be called a seed divine,

Elect, beloved, of nobler birth Than kings or princes of the earth.


"Behold the fig tree."

The Lord once said, that, when we see
The blossoming fig and budding tree,
We know at once the time of year,
We know that Summer then is near;
So in the world, when we descry,
By vision of our mental eye,
The various changes of this life,


Plague, famine, earthquake, battle, strife,
Though human agents speak the word,
And fleshly warriors wield the sword,
And all that happens seems to be
The chances of mortality,

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