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But if the wanderer his mistake discern,
I am no preacher, let this hint sufficeThe cross once seen is death to every vice: Else he that hung there suffered all his pain, Bled, groaned, and agonized, and died, in vain.
Pensantur trutinâ.HOR. Lib. ii. Epist. 1.
MAN, on the dubious waves of error tossed,
Spreads all his canvas, every sinew plies;
Hard lot of man-to toil for the reward Of virtue, and yet lose it! Wherefore hard? He that would win the race must guide his horse' Obedient to the customs of the course; Else, though unequalled to the goal he flies, A meaner than himself shall gain the prize. Grace leads the right way: if you choose the wrong, Take it and perish; but restrain your tongue; Charge not, with light sufficient, and left free, Your wilful suicide on God's decree.
Oh how unlike the complex works of man, Heaven's easy, artless, unincumbered plan! No meretricious graces to beguile, No clustering ornaments to clog the pile; From ostentation as from weakness free, It stands like the cerulean arch we see, Majestic in its own simplicity. Inscribed above the portal, from afar Conspicuous as the brightness of a star, Legible only by the light they give, Stand the soul-quickening words-BELIEVE AND
Toomany,shocked at what should charm them most, Despise the plain direction and are lost.
Heaven on such terms! (they cry with proud disdain)
Rebel, because 'tis easy to obey;
And scorn, for its own sake, the gracious way.
Who judged the Pharisee? What odious cause'
The self-applauding bird, the peacock see-
And seems to say-Ye meaner fowl give place,
Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes, Though he too has a glory in his plumes. He, christian like, retreats with modest mien To the close copse, or far sequestered green, And shines without desiring to be seen. The plea of works, as arrogant and vain, Heaven turns from with abhorrence and disdain; Not more affronted by avowed neglect, Than by the mere dissembler's feigned respect. What is all righteousness that men devise? What-but a sordid bargain for the skies? But Christ as soon would abdicate his own, As stoop from heaven to sell the proud a throne. His dwelling a recess in some rude rock, Book, beads, and maple-dish, his meagre stock; In shirt of hair and weeds of canvass dressed, Girt with a bell-rope that the pope has blessed; Adust with stripes told out for every crime, And sore tormented long before his time; His prayer preferred to saints that cannot aid; His praise postponed, and never to be paid; See the sage hermit, by mankind admired, With all that bigotry adopts inspired, Wearing out life in his religious whim, Till his religious whimsy wears out him. His works, his abstinence, his zeal allowed, You think him humble-God accounts him proud;
High in demand, though lowly in pretence,
Your sentence and mine differ. What's a name?
If sufferings, scripture no where recommends,
The truth is (if the truth may suit your ear,