THOUGHTS in PRISON. WEEK the FIFTH. Futurity.

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Thoughts in Prison, Edited by Charles J. Rzepka
TEI

THOUGHTS in PRISON.
WEEK the FIFTH.
Futurity.



"To death devote!" Thus in the vernal bloom
1
Of redolent Youth and Beauty, on the Cross
2
Hung high her Motto;  [1]  --She, in Name, and choice
3
Of that far better part, like Her so fam'd
4
In story evangelical!--Sweet Saint,
5
Friend of my Soul, and soother of my Grief!
6
Shall I then dread in age, and worn with woe,
7
To meet the King of Terrors?--Coward Fear
8
Of what we all must meet: The primal curse
9
Of our first Father rests on all his Race,
10
And "Dust to Dust," the Charter of Mankind!
11
But, were it possible, oh! who would wish
12
To stretch the narrow span, grown tedious, stale,
13
With dull recurrence of the same dull acts,
14
Ev'n in its happiest state! A toilsome care,
15
A wearying round of Clothing, Food, and Sleep:
16
While chequer'd over with a thousand ills
17
Inevitably painful!--In our Frame
18
Dwell, Death's Artillery, diseases dire,
19
And potent to dislodge the brittle Life
20
With agonies Heart-rending! In the Soul
21
Lurks Sin, the serpent, with her fiery sting
22
Of sorrow, rankling in the Conscience deep,
23
Source of all mental misery!--From without,
24
In close battalion, a black troop of ills
25
Level their deep-drawn Arrows at our peace;
26
And fail not, as we pass thro' Life's bad Road,
27
To wound th' unguarded Traveller! Witness You
28
Who groan distress'd beneath Oppression's scourge;
29
Ingratitude's sharp Tooth; the canker'd Tongue
30
Of Slander; Fortune's loss; or, bitterer far,
31
The loss of Fame, and soul-connected Friends!
32
Thus tax'd, thus wretched, can the Man be wise,
33
Who wishes to retain so poor a Boon?
34
Who fears to render the deposit up
35
To his blest Hands who gave it? And who thus
36
Beneficent hath rang'd his moral plan,
37
Thus good with evil mix'd; from Earth's poor Love,
38
(School of probation!) suffering Man to wean,
39
And raise his hopes to Heaven! Silence then
40
The whisper of Complaint; low in the dust
41
Dissatisfaction's Daemons growl unheard!
42
All, all is good, all excellent below:
43
Pain is a blessing; sorrow leads to joy,
44
Joy permanent and solid! Every ill
45
Bears with its love paternal: Nay, ev'n Death,
46
Grim Death itself, in all its horrors clad,
47
Is Man's supremest privilege! It frees
48
The Soul from Prison, from foul sin, from Woe,
49
And gives it back to Glory, Rest, and God!
50
When will its welcome message lay at peace
51
My burden'd, beating Heart?--Oh strange! to point
52
Thy Darts, inexorable Tyrant, there,
53
Where Life laughs crown'd with roses; when these arms,
54
Familiar to thy Sister Sorrow's fold,
55
Would so delighted hug thee! But thou lov'st
56
Full oft the noblest quarry, highest aim:
57
Lov'st, unsuspected, and with silent step,
58
To steal on the secure: Lov'st to deal round
59
Tremendous and impartial thy stern strokes,
60
Asserting terrible o'er human-kind
61
Thy empire irresistible: And now
62
At Monarchs, now at Mimicks, grinning scorn,
63
Thy Hand indifferent hurls the twanging Shaft.
64
Ah what a groupe of primest Deer lie pierc'd,
65
Thou Hunter all-victorious, at thy feet;
66
Since to thy Empire dedicate I fell
67
From Life's bright Hope, and languish'd in this Grave,
68
This living, doleful Sepulchre immur'd!
69
Not all thy Gold or orient Pearl could save
70
Thee, Lusitania's Monarch, from the stroke
71
Impending long and dread! Nor, Terrick,  [2]  thee,
72
Thy Mitre and thy Rochet! Ensigns blest,
73
When worn with sanctity; then surely chang'd
74
For Crown of Gold, and Robe of spotless white!
75
See, neither can the Coronet, nor Garb
76
Of ermin'd pomp, from Temple  [3]  turn aside
77
The level'd Blow; nor, higher far in price,
78
Th' uplifted shield of Janssen's honest Heart!
79
Lo! too, as if in scorn of purpled pride,
80
And all Life's glories, in this high parade
81
Funereal marches, tragic-Actor now,
82
He who so late light on the comic sock
83
Trod the gay stage; and bade with Laughter's burst
84
Involuntary the throng'd Theatres resound!
85
Ah, food for worms, poor Woodward thou, no less
86
Than Patriots, Princes, Countesses and Priests!
87
Death scorns distinctions: But, despotic power,
88
Cloth'd in his direst terrors, Here he reigns,
89
Here revels! Here, with bitterest vengeance, shakes
90
O'er trembling Convicts his determin'd shaft,
91
And gluts himself with horror! See him lead
92
From yonder darksome Cell, all pale with woe,
93
That Stranger  [4]  sinking! who, in luckless hour,
94
With rash Hand pierc'd the bosom he adored,
95
Nor drank of comfort more! Half in his Heart
96
The black lance festering sticks; and Death himself,
97
Howe'er relentless, ere he drives it home,
98
Of strange commiseration feels a pang,
99
Reluctant to his office!--
100
But, that shriek--
101
Thrilling with dread--whence is it? 'Tis the voice
102
Of female misery: Bursting thro' the crowd
103
To the lone Dungeon, view that lovely form,  [5] 
104
Deck'd in the neatest white,--yet not so white
105
And wan as her wild visage: "Keep me not,"
106
Raving she cries, "Keep me not, cruel! from him.
107
"He dies this morn; I know it: He's condemn'd;
108
"The dreadful Judge has done it! He must die,
109
"My Husband! and I'm come, clad in my best,
110
"To go and suffer with him! I have brought
111
"Sweet flowers to cheer him, and to strew his corse,
112
"Pale, pale, and speechless lies it!--Husband, come!
113
"The little infant, fruit of our glad loves,
114
"Smil'd on me, as with parting breath I blest,
115
"And kiss'd the dear babe for thee! 'Tis but young;
116
"'Tis tender yet;--seven days is young in life:
117
"Angels will guard my little innocent:
118
"They'll feed it, tho' thou could'st not find it food,
119
"And its poor Mother too!--And so thou dy'st!
120
"For me and it thou dy'st! But not alone,
121
"Thou shalt not go alone; I will die with thee:
122
"Sweet Mercy be upon us: Hence, hence, hence!"
123
Impetuous then, her white arms round his neck
124
She threw; and, with deep groans would pierce a rock,
125
Sunk fainting: Oh the Husband's, Father's pangs,
126
Stopping all utterance! Up to Heaven he roll'd
127
His frantic eyes; and staring wildly round
128
In desperation's madness, to his heart
129
Drove the destructive steel!--Fell Death,
130
Would'st thou a fuller triumph?--Oh my Wife,
131
How dismal to our ears the shrieks, the groans!--
132
And what a crowd of wild ideas press
133
Distracting on the soul! "Merciful Heaven,
134
"In pity spare us! Say, It is enough,
135
"And bid the avenging Angel stay his hand!"
136
Death bars the plea; and with his thundering stalk
137
Brushing beside us, calls, in solemn sound,
138
Heed to his dart grief-pointed. Its keen stroke,
139
Ah, gentle Eleonora!  [6]  gives at once
140
Relief to thy o'er-burden'd breast! to ours
141
Anguish unutterable! 'Tis ours he wounds,
142
Thou amiable friend!--whose languid eye
143
Ne'er rais'd a look from earth, since that sad hour,
144
When sunk my sun! Thou, who from earliest youth
145
Hast humbly sought thy God, thou art at peace:
146
Happy, thrice happy, on that golden shore,
147
Where from the tossing of these troublous waves
148
We soon shall land. Oh stay, Affectionate,
149
Oh wait, and welcome us! Or, if in Heaven
150
Blest saints retain concern for those on earth
151
Held in the dearest amity, become
152
Thy darling sister's Guardian! As from youth,
153
From childhood's dawn, her dear maternal guide,
154
Be now, lov'd Spirit, in this hour of woe,
155
Her Angel-comfort, her support! Alas,
156
What talk I of support! thou Mercy's God!
157
When all her conduct, by thy grace inspir'd--
158
When all her patient gentleness and love,
159
Her fortitude unparallel'd, and peace,
160
Have Thee their Author: Be the glory Thine!
161
But say, my soul, 'midst these alarming calls,
162
This dread familiarity with Death;
163
Our common debt, from infancy's first cry
164
Denounc'd, expected, tho' its sure approach
165
Lurks in Uncertainty's obscurest night;--
166
Our common debt, which Babes and palsied Seers,
167
Princes and pilgrims, equally must pay;--
168
Say, canst thou feel reluctance to discharge
169
The claim inevitable? Senseless he,
170
Who in Life's gaudiest moments fondly strives
171
To turn his eyes unheeding from the view
172
Instructive. 'Midst those moments, deep it dwelt,
173
On my reflecting mind!  [7]  a mind which liv'd
174
More in the future than the present world;
175
Which, frequent call'd by Duty's solemn voice
176
From Earth's low scenes, on those sublimer far
177
Hath ever thought delighted; and those thoughts
178
Conveying to mankind, in them desires
179
Its real transcript, its resemblance true
180
May be survey'd--the Picture of itself.
181
For, whatsoe'er may be our earthly State,
182
The Mind's the Man. My humble labours, then,
183
When rests my part corporeal in the dust,
184
Hang up my living portrait!--And to give
185
Those labours all their force, summon'd I stand
186
By awful Providence, to realize
187
The theoretic Lessons I have taught.
188
And lo! compos'd, I fix my dying seal
189
In attestation to their Truth, their Power,
190
Felt at my heart, my inmost conscience felt;
191
Imparting triumph o'er Life's Love; o'er Death
192
Consummate exultation! while my soul
193
Longs to go forth, and pants for endless day!
194
But who can wonder, that amidst the woes,
195
Like a swoln torrent, which with frightful roar
196
Have burst destructive o'er me; midst the loss
197
Of all things dear, Fame, Honour, Peace, and Rest;
198
Amidst the cruel spoiling of my Goods,
199
The bitterest rancour of envenom'd Spite,
200
And Calumny unfeeling;  [8]  --what surprize
201
That my wean'd soul, above this worldly wreck,
202
With anxious expectation waits the call
203
From melancholy Mourning, and dim Grief,
204
To everlasting Gladness? Powerful Hope,
205
And all-sufficient to sustain the soul,
206
Tho' walking thro' the darkest vale of woe!
207
Who shall disprove that Hope? or who pretend
208
By subtle sophistry that soul to rob
209
Of its chief anchor, choicest privilege,
210
And noblest consolation--"Stedfast Faith
211
"In great Futurity's extended scene:
212
"Eternity of Being?" All things round
213
Arise in brightest proof: I see it, feel it,
214
Thro' all my faculties, thro' all my powers,
215
Pervading irresistible. Each groan
216
Sent from my sorrowing heart; each scalding tear
217
From my convicted eyes; each fervent prayer
218
By meek Repentance offer'd up to Heaven,
219
Asserts my Immortality! proclaims
220
A pardoning Deity, and future world.
221
Nor less the thought, chill, comfortless, abhorr'd,
222
Of loath'd Annihilation!--From the view,
223
Humiliating, mean, unworthy Man,
224
Almost unworthy reptiles,--glad I turn,
225
And triumph in existence! Nay, each ill,
226
And every mundane trouble, preaches loud
227
The same important truth. I read it fair
228
And legibly engrav'd on all below:
229
On all the inequalities discern'd
230
In this perplexing, mix'd, and motley scene;
231
In every rank and order of Mankind;  [9] 
232
Nay, in the wisest system of our laws,
233
Inadequate, imperfect,--and full oft
234
Unjust and cruel; in this dismal Jail,
235
And in the proudest palaces alike,
236
I read, and glory to trace out the marks
237
Irrefragably clear of future Life;
238
Of Retribution's just and equal state.
239
So Reason urges: while fair Nature's self,
240
At this sweet Season,  [10]  joyfully throws in
241
Her attestation lovely: bids the Sun,
242
All-bounteous, pour his vivifying light
243
To rouse, and waken from their wintery death
244
The Vegetable Tribe! Fresh from their Graves,
245
At his resistless summons, start they forth,
246
A verdant Resurrection! In each Plant,
247
Each Flower, each Tree to blooming Life restor'd,
248
I trace the pledge, the earnest, and the type
249
Of Man's Revival; of his future Rise
250
And Victory o'er the Grave,--compell'd to yield
251
Her sacred, rich deposit, from the seed
252
Corrupt and mortal, an immortal frame
253
Glorious and incorruptible; like His,
254
The Sun of Righteousness, whose living power
255
The mighty work shall operate! Yes, bright source
256
Of spiritual Life!--the immaterial World
257
Pervading, quickening, gladdening,--in the Rays
258
Full-orb'd of Revelation, thy prime Gift,
259
I view display'd magnificent and full
260
What Reason, Nature, in dim darkness teach,
261
Tho' visible, not distinct: I read with joy
262
Man's high Prerogative; transported read
263
The certain, clear Discovery of Life
264
And Immortality, announc'd by Thee,
265
Parent of Truth, celestial Visitant,
266
Fountain of all intelligence divine!
267
Of that high Immortality the King,
268
And of that Life the Author! How Man mounts,
269
Mounts upon Angel-Wings, when fief'd, secur'd
270
In that sublime Inheritance; when seen
271
As a terrestrial stranger here; a god
272
Confin'd a-while in Prison of the flesh,
273
Soon, soon to soar, and meet his Brother-gods,
274
His Fellows, in Eternity!--How creeps,
275
How grovels Human Nature! What a Worm,
276
An Insect of an Hour, poor, sinful, sad;
277
Despis'd and despicable, reptile-like
278
Crawls Man, his moment on his ant-hill here;
279
--Marking his little shining path with Slime,--
280
If limited to Earth, and Earth's brief round,
281
His painful, narrow views! Like the poor Moth,
282
By lights delusive to destruction led;
283
Still struggling oft its horrors to evade,
284
Still more and more involv'd; in Flame he lives
285
His transient, toilsome minute; and expires
286
In suffocating Smoke.
287
Hume, thou art gone!
288
Amidst the Catalogue of those mow'd down
289
By Time's huge Scythe, late noted;  [11]  Thou, be sure,
290
Wast not forgotten! Author, Thou hast gain'd
291
Thy vast Ambition's summit: Fame was thine;
292
Wealth too, beyond thy amplest wish's bound,
293
Encompass'd thee: And lo, the pageant ends!
294
For who, without compassion's generous tear,
295
Thy Mind, at once capacious and humane,
296
Can view, to Truth, to Hope immortal dead?
297
Thy penetrating Reason, subtle, strong,
298
Hoodwink'd by dark Infatuation's veil;
299
And all thy fine and manly sense employ'd,
300
Ev'n on Eternity's thrice-awful verge,
301
To trifle with the wonders of a State
302
Respectably alarming! of a State
303
Whose Being gives to Man--had given to Thee,
304
(Accepted by the humble hand of Faith)
305
True Glory, solid Fame, and boundless Wealth!
306
Treasures that wax not old.
307
Oh the high blessings of Humility!
308
Man's first and richest Grace! Of Virtue, Truth,
309
Knowledge and Exaltation, certain Source,
310
And most abundant: Pregnant of all good;
311
And, poor in shew, to treasures infinite
312
Infallibly conducting; her sure gift!
313
So, when old Hyems has deform'd the Year,
314
We view, on fam'd Bugundia's craggy cliffs,
315
The slow vines, scarce distinct, on the brown Earth
316
Neglected lie and groveling;--promise poor,
317
From plant so humble, of the swelling grape
318
In glowing clusters purpling o'er the hills:--
319
When all impregnating rolls forth the Sun,
320
And from the mean stalk pours a luscious flood
321
Of juice nectareous thro' the laughing land!
322
Nervous Essayist! haply had thy pen,
323
Of masculine ability, this theme
324
Pursued intelligent; from lowly Heart
325
Delineating true the features mild
326
Of genuine Humility; Mankind,
327
Now wilder'd by thy sophistry, had bless'd
328
And honour'd well thy teaching: Whilst thyself
329
Secure had sail'd and happy; nor been cast
330
On Pride's black Rocks, or empty Scorn's bleak Shore!
331
Proud Scorn, how poor and blind! How it at once
332
Destroys the sight, and makes us think we see!
333
While desperate Ridicule in Wit's wild hands
334
Implants a dangerous weapon! How it warps
335
From clear discernment, and conclusions just,
336
Ev'n captive Reason's self! How gay soe'er--
337
(Ah misplac'd gaiety, on such a theme)
338
In Life's last Hour!--on Charon's crazy Bark,
339
On Tartarus and Elysium, and the Pomp
340
Solemn and dreaded of dark Pagans Hell;
341
Thy reasoning powers knew well, full well to draw
342
Deductions true from Fables gross as these,
343
By Poet's fancy heighten'd! Well thou knew'st
344
The deep intelligence, the solid truth
345
Conceal'd beneath the mystic tale; well knew'st
346
Fables like these, familiar to Mankind
347
In every Nation, every Clime, thro' Earth
348
Widely disseminate, through Earth proclaimed
349
In language strong, intelligent and clear,
350
"A future State retributive": Thou knew'st,
351
That in each Age the Wise embrac'd the Truth,
352
And gloried in an Hope, how dim soe'er,
353
Which Thou, amidst the Blaze, the Noon-day Blaze
354
Of Christian information, madly scorn'dst,
355
And diedst insulting! Hail of ancient Times,
356
Worthies and fam'd Believers! Plato, hail!
357
And thou, immortal Socrates! of Rome
358
Prime ornament and boast! my Tully, hail;
359
Friend and companion of my studious life,
360
In eloquence and sound philosophy
361
Alike superlative!--With minds enlarg'd,
362
Yet teachable and modest, how ye sought,
363
You and your kindred souls,--how daily dug
364
For Wisdom, as the Labourer in the Mines!
365
How grop'd, in Fancy's and dark Fable's night,
366
Your way assiduous, painful! How discern'd
367
By the mind's trembling, unassisted light,--
368
(Or, haply, aided by a scatter'd ray
369
Of distant Revelation, half extinct)
370
The glimmer of a dawn; the twinkling star
371
Of Day-light far remote! How sigh'd sincere
372
For fuller information! and how long'd,
373
How panted for admission to that World
374
O'er which hung veils impervious! Sages, yes,
375
Your search ingenuous proves it: every page
376
Immortal of your writings speaks this truth!
377
Hear, ye minute Philosophers; ye herd
378
Of mean Half-thinkers, who chief glory place
379
In boldness to arraign and judge your God,
380
And think that singularity is sense!
381
Hear, and be humbled: Socrates himself  [12]  --
382
And him you boast your Master,--would have fall'n
383
In humble, thankful reverence at the Feet
384
Of Jesus--and drunk Wisdom from his Tongue!
385
Divinest Fountain! From the copious Stream
386
Then drink we freely, gladly, plenteous draughts
387
Of ever-living Wisdom; Knowledge clear,
388
And otherwise attainless, of that state
389
Supernal, glorious; where, in Angel-form
390
And Angel-blessedness,  [13]  from Death's dread power,
391
From Sin's dominion, and from Sorrow's sense
392
Emancipated ever, we shall share
393
Complete, uninterrupted, boundless bliss;
394
Incessant flowing forth from God's right hand,
395
Well of perennial joy!  [14]  Our moral powers,
396
By perfect pure Benevolence enlarg'd,
397
With universal Sympathy shall glow
398
Love's flame ethereal! and from God himself,
399
Love's primal Source, and ever-blessing Sun,
400
Receive, and round communicate the warmth
401
Of Gladness and of Glory! Then shall rule,
402
From dregs of sordid interest defecate,
403
Immortal Friendship. Then too shall we trace--
404
With minds congenial and a thirst for Truth
405
Sincere and simple,--the Creator's works,
406
Illumin'd by the intellectual soul,
407
Refin'd, exalted!--Animating thought!
408
To talk with Plato, or with Newton tread
409
Thro' Empyrean space the boundless track
410
Of stars erratick, or the comet vague
411
With fiery lustre wandering thro' the depths
412
Of the blue void, exhaustless, infinite;
413
While all its wonders, all its mystic use,
414
Expand themselves to the admiring sight!
415
Descending then from the celestial range
416
Of planetary worlds, how blest to walk
417
And trace with thee, Nature's true Lover, Hale,
418
--In science sage and venerable--trace
419
Thro' Vegetation's principle, the God!
420
Read in each tube, capillary, and root,
421
In every leaf and blossom, fruit and flower,
422
Creative Energy, consummate Art,
423
Beauty and bounty blended and complete!
424
Oh what a burst of wisdom and delight,
425
Intelligence and pleasure, to engage
426
Th' enraptur'd mind for ages! 'Twere too short[,]
427
Eternity itself, with reasoning quest
428
To search, to contemplate great Nature's God
429
Thro' all his Nature's works! Suns, Stars, and Skies,
430
With all their fast and elemental store:
431
Seas, with their finny myriads: Birds, that wing
432
With glittering pinions the elastic air,
433
And fill the woods with music: Animals,
434
That feed, that clothe, that labour for their Lord,
435
Proud Man; and half up to his reason climb
436
By instinct marvellous! Fruits, that infinite
437
In glow and taste refresh Creation's toil;
438
And Flowers, that rich in scent their incense sweet,
439
--Delicious offering both to God and Man,--
440
Breathe free from velvet variegated hues,
441
And speak celestial kindness! Then, from these
442
His lesser wonders--Fam'd Anatomists,
443
Ye, who with scrupulous, but still painful search,
444
Pore doubtful in the dark recess of Life;--
445
Then turn we, Cheselden, to Man; so form'd
446
With fear and wonder by the Master-hand!
447
And learn we, from discovery of the springs
448
Of this divine Automaton: the blood
449
In nimble currents coursing thro' the veins
450
And purple arteries; the fibres fine;
451
The tubal nerves, so ramified, and quick
452
To keen sensation; all the various parts
453
So complicate, yet distinct; adapted each
454
Its functions with minuteness to fulfil,
455
While to the one great end concurring all
456
With harmony unvarying!--Learn we hence
457
The Wisdom exquisite, which gave to life,
458
To motion, this his prime, his chief machine!
459
And superadded, in his Love's display,
460
The soul's superior, intellectual rule;
461
Connection wonderful! and till that hour
462
Of all-expanding Knowledge, to Man's mind
463
Inexplicable still, and still unknown!
464
How rise upon the thought, to truth attent,
465
Truths new and interesting, 'midst this field
466
Of universal Science!--Nor shall then
467
The Spirit's seat and influence on our frame,
468
Gross and material, be alone evolv'd
469
To our astonish'd view. Spirit itself,
470
Its nature, properties, distinctions, powers,
471
--Deep subject of investigation deep,
472
And chief Resolver of Man's anxious doubts;
473
Tho' to his sight impossible, or search,
474
While darken'd by mortality--shall rise,
475
Soon as he bursts the barrier of the Grave,
476
Clear and familiar on his sight enlarg'd:
477
Seen in himself, beatified, and cloth'd
478
With spiritual glory: in the Angelic world
479
Seen and admir'd. And,--oh ecstatic view,
480
Whose sight is perfect bliss, transforming, pure,  [15] 
481
Seen and ador'd in Thee, great First and Last,
482
Sole, self-existent Thou, the gracious Cause
483
Of all existence; Infinitely blest,
484
Yet pleas'd with life and being to impart
485
That blessing to innumerous creatures round!
486
Spirit of the Universe, thro' all diffus'd,
487
And animating all! Dread Triune God,  [16] 
488
With beams exhaustless of Eternal Love,
489
Of Life, of Glory, from thy central Throne
490
Shining beneficent; and kindling warm
491
In every Being subject to thy Rule,
492
Devotion's Rapture and Thanksgiving's Song;
493
Mellifluous Songs, and Hallelujahs high!
494
New wonders elevate! For not alone
495
By Contemplation up to Nature's God
496
From Nature's works ascending, shall the Soul
497
Beatified receive in future Bliss
498
Accessions of Delight through endless day:--
499
Lo, what a scene, engaging and profound,
500
Presents itself--the darkening curtain drawn--
501
From the high Acts of Providence, display'd
502
In one clear view consistent; in one end
503
Important, grand, concentering: one design
504
Superlatively gracious, through the whole
505
Pursued invariably; even from the hour
506
When pass'd the sentence on the Serpent's head,
507
To that thrice-awful moment, when the Son
508
His Victor-Car o'er Death and Hell shall drive
509
Triumphant, and bolt fast the gates of Time!
510
Unroll'd the mystic Volume, we behold
511
In characters of wisdom strong pourtray'd
512
The Rise and Fall of Empires: in thy hand
513
Omnipotent, or instruments of good,
514
Or of thy Justice punitive and dread
515
Awful dispensers! There, of Heroes, Kings,
516
Sages and Saints, of Prophets and of Priests,
517
Thy distributions, difficult but wise,
518
Discerning, shall we gratefully adore:
519
And in the long, long chain of seeming Chance,
520
And Accidents fortuitous, shall trace
521
Omniscience all-combining, guiding all!
522
No dispensations then will seem too hard,
523
Through temporary ills to blissful life
524
Leading, tho' labyrinthal! All will shine
525
In open day: all, o'er the mighty plan,
526
Discover Thee, with Wisdom infinite
527
Presiding glorious: All thy stedfast truth,
528
And love paternal, manifest; while falls
529
The prostrate World of Spirits, Angels, Saints,
530
In Adoration's homage 'fore thy throne!
531
Not to our Earth, or Earth's poor confines bound;
532
The Soul dilated, glorified and free,
533
On Seraph's wings shall soar, and drink in glad,
534
New draughts of high delight from each survey
535
Of its Creator's Kingdoms! Pleas'd shall pass
536
From star to star; from planetary worlds,
537
And systems far remote, to systems, worlds
538
Remoter still, in boundless depths of Space;
539
Each peopled with its myriads: and shall learn
540
The wise and strict dependence of the whole;
541
Concatenation striking of Thy works,
542
All-perfect, mighty Master! Wonder-lost
543
In the vast view of Systems numberless,
544
All regular, in one eternal round
545
Of beauteous order rolling! All design'd
546
With skill consummate; tending to one goal;
547
And manifesting all, in characters
548
Transparent as the diamond's brilliant blaze,
549
Their Sovereign Ruler's Unity of Will,
550
His all-efficient Wisdom, and his Love,
551
In Grace and Glory infinite; the chain
552
Connecting firm, and through its every link
553
Transfusing Life's ineffable delights!
554
Oh Goodness Providential! sleepless Care!
555
Intent, as ever blest, to bless the whole!
556
What plaudits from that Whole are due, shall burst
557
From full Creation's Universal Choir!
558
Then, oh transporting! shall the Scheme profound,
559
Heaven's labour, and of Angels' anxious thought
560
Sublimest meditation;--then shall blaze
561
In fullest Glory on the Race redeem'd,
562
Redemption's boundless Mercy!--High in Heav'n,
563
To millions blest, rejoicing in its Grace,
564
And hymning all its bounties, shall the Cross,
565
Thy Cross, All-conquering Saviour! be display'd;
566
While Seraphs veil their glories; and while men,
567
Thronging innumerable, prostrate fall
568
Before thy feet; and to the bleeding Lamb
569
Ascribe their free Salvation!--
570
'Midst that throng
571
Of Spirits justified, and thro' Thy blood
572
Cleans'd, perfected and blest, might I be found,
573
To scenes so high exalted; to such views
574
Ennobling brought, such intellect refin'd,
575
Such Light and Love, such Holiness and Peace;
576
Such Spheres of Science, and such Realms of Rest!
577
Ah, how I'd scorn the passage strait of Death,
578
How doleful e'er, and horrid! How I'd look
579
With stedfastness unshaken through the Grave,
580
And smile o'er all its sadness! How I'd rise
581
Exulting, great Forerunner, o'er the waves
582
And bitterness of Life! How, smiling, court
583
Ev'n the fell hand of Horror, to dismiss
584
From Earth, from Darkness, my delighted soul
585
To Heaven, to God, and everlasting Day!
586
Teacher of Truth, blest Jesu!--On the throne
587
Of majesty co-equal Thou who sitt'st
588
From all Eternity in Glory's blaze
589
With thy Almighty Father! Thou, benign,
590
From bosom of that Father hast brought down
591
Intelligence to Man of this blest state
592
Consolatory, rational; and fraught
593
With every good beyond the highest reach
594
Of Man's supreme conception! How shall then
595
In equal language Man his homage pay,
596
Or grateful laud thy goodness! Sons of Greece,
597
Or ye, who in old Times, of sevenfold Nile,
598
Proud Tyber, or the Ganges' sacred flood
599
Religious drank, and to your daemons dark
600
Paid Superstition's tribute;--tho' I trace
601
Delighted, in your visions of the world
602
Beyond the Grave, your dreams of Future Life,--
603
Proofs of that Life's firm credence, of your Faith
604
In the soul's deathless Nature;--Yet with tears
605
Of human Pity, humbled o'er the sense
606
Of human Imbecility, I read
607
Your futile fables, puerile and poor;
608
To the Soul's life, to Virtue's godlike Love
609
Unanimating, useless; while illum'd
610
By Gospel-splendor,--else, no doubt, as dark
611
And worthy pity--owns my heart rejoic'd,
612
That Gospel's eminence of Wisdom, Truth,
613
And heavenly Emanation, in its traits
614
Of future Life superlatively drawn!
615
And who could paint that life, that scene describe
616
Immortal, and All-glorious,--from the view
617
Of mortals shrouded ever,--save the Son,
618
Who from Eternity that life enjoyed;
619
And came in condescension to reveal
620
A glimpse of its perfection to Mankind?
621
Presumption vain and arrogant, in Man,
622
To think of sketching with his weak, faint line,
623
A scene so much above him! And behold
624
That vain Presumption punish'd as it ought,
625
In Araby's Impostor, dark and lewd;
626
Who dar'd, with temporary follies fraught,
627
And low Self-interest, stalking in the van
628
Of mad Ambition's route--to cheat his train,
629
Deluded by his darings, with the hope
630
Of sensual ravishment, and carnal joys
631
Perpetual in the Paradise of God;
632
Reserv'd--for Sons of Murder and of Lust!
633
Shame on the impious madness!--Nor less shame
634
Must Truth indignant dart on those, who boast
635
Exclusive Christianity; yet dare,
636
Presumptuous, in their fancied Penal Fire
637
To fetter the free Soul, "till the foul sins
638
"Done it its days of nature be purged out,
639
"And burn'd away;"  [17]  unless by lucky chance
640
The oft-repeated mass, thro' potent gold,--
641
All-sacred influence!--gain'd, unlocks the door
642
Of dismal Prison-house; and gives the soul
643
Enfranchis'd, up to Peter's better care!
644
Preposterous, weak delusion! strange reproach
645
To Christian sapience, and to manly sense!
646
But not to Christ's true Gospel, and the Code
647
Of Revelation pure; before whose Light,
648
Resplendently informing, Fables old
649
Like these, and vain (of Ignorance the birth,
650
Or coinage sacerdotal, in an age
651
Of gross Cimmerian darkness), growling hide
652
Their ignominious heads: As birds of night,
653
Reptiles, and beasts of prey before the Sun,
654
Mounting the misty hills, in splendor rob'd,
655
And beaming all around refulgent Day!
656
Other, far other, from that luminous Code
657
Breaks on the rational, enlighten'd mind
658
In perfect Beauty that exalted state,
659
Of whose high Excellence our sight hath dar'd,
660
How dim soe'er, to take an humble glimpse,
661
And peep into its wonders!--But what tongue
662
Of Man in language adequate can tell,
663
What mortal pencil worthily pourtray
664
That Excellence, those Wonders?--where nor Death,
665
Nor Sin, nor Pain shall enter ever;--where,
666
Each Ill excluded, every Good shall reign;
667
Where Day shall ne'er decline; but ceaseless Light
668
--The Lamb's eternal lustre--blazing bless
669
With salutary Glory! where shall smile
670
One Spring unvarying; and glad Nature teem
671
Spontaneous with exuberance of Bounty!
672
Where, in immortal health, the Frame sublim'd,
673
Refin'd, exalted thro' the chymic Grave,
674
In union with the Soul made perfect, pure,
675
And to the likeness of its God transform'd;
676
Shall find for every sense divine employ,
677
Gratification ample, exquisite,
678
Angelical, and holy: Chief in sight,
679
In vision beatific of its God;
680
In blest communion of his Love; in praise,
681
High choral praise, strung to the golden harp
682
In unison eternal, with the throng,
683
Thousands of Thousands that surround the Throne,
684
And feel his praise their Glory, and their Bliss!
685
There too his Works constant th' adoring Soul
686
Shall pleas'd investigate; and constant find
687
Fresh well-spring of delight; there constant share
688
The lov'd Society and Converse high
689
Of all the Good, the Wise, the truly Great
690
Of every Age and Clime; with Saints and Seers
691
Divine communication holding, rapt
692
Perpetually in new and deep displays
693
Of Wisdom boundless, and of perfect Love.
694
Then too, oh Joy! amidst this blaze of good,
695
This consummation rich of highest bliss;
696
Then shall we meet,--meet never more to part,
697
Dear, dear departed Friends! and then enjoy,
698
Eternal amity. My Parents then,
699
My Youth's Companions!  [18]  ----From my moisten'd cheeks
700
Dry the unworthy Tear! Where art Thou, Death?
701
Is This a cause for mourning?--What a state
702
Of Happiness exalted lies before me!
703
Lo, my bar'd bosom! Strike:--I court the blow:
704
I long, I pant for everlasting Day,
705
For Glory, Immortality, and God!
706
But, ah! why droops my Soul? why o'er me thus
707
Comes a chill cloud? Such triumph well besuits
708
The faithful Christian; Thee had suited well,
709
If haply persevering in the Course,
710
As first thy Race exultingly began.
711
But Thou art fallen, fallen! Oh, my Heart,
712
What dire compunction!--sunk in foul offence,
713
A Prisoner, and condemn'd: An outcast vile;
714
Bye-word and scorn of an indignant World,
715
Who reprobate with Horror thy ill Deeds;
716
Turn from thee loath'd; and to damnation just
717
Assign, unpitying, thy devoted Head,
718
Loaded with every Infamy!
719
Dread God
720
Of Justice and of Mercy! wilt Thou too,
721
In fearful Indignation on my Soul,
722
My anguish'd Soul, the door of pity close,
723
And shut me from Thee ever?--Lo! in dust,
724
Humiliant, prostrate, weeping 'fore thy Throne--
725
Before thy Cross, oh dying Friend of Man,
726
Friend of repentant Sinners, I confess,
727
And mourn my deep Transgressions; as the sand
728
Innumerous, as the glowing crimson red:
729
With every Aggravation, every Guilt
730
Accumulate and burden'd! Against Light,
731
'Gainst Love and clearest Knowledge perpetrate!
732
Stamp'd with Ingratitude's most odious stain;
733
Ingratitude to Thee; whose favouring Love
734
Had bless'd me, had distinguish'd me with Grace,
735
With Goodness far beyond my wish or worth!
736
Ingratitude to Man; whose partial Ear
737
Attended to my Doctrine with delight;
738
And from my Zeal conspicuous justly claim'd
739
Conspicuous Example!----Lord, I sink
740
O'erwhelm'd with self-conviction, with dismay,
741
With anguish and confusion past compare!
742
And could I weep whole Seas of briny Tears
743
In painful penitence; could I deplore
744
From my Heart's aching Fountain, Drop by Drop,
745
My Crimes and Follies; my deep Grief and Shame,
746
For vile dishonour on thy Gospel brought;
747
For vile discredit to my Order done;
748
For deep Offence against my Country's Laws;
749
For deep Offence to Piety and Man;
750
A patriarchal Age would be too short
751
To speak my Sorrows, and lament my Sins;
752
Chief, as I am, of Sinners! Guiltier far
753
Than He who, falling, at the Cock's shrill call
754
Rose, and repented weeping: Guiltier far--
755
I dare not say, than Judas; for my Heart
756
Hath ever lov'd,--could never have betray'd,
757
Oh never, never, Thee, dear Lord! to Death;
758
Tho' cruelly, unkindly and unwise,
759
That Heart hath sacrific'd its Truth and Peace,
760
--For what a shameful, what a paltry Price!--
761
To Sin, detested Sin; and done Thee wrong,
762
Oh blessed Source of all its Good, its Hope!
763
For, tho' thus sunk, thus sinful, sorrowing thus,
764
It dare not, cannot Judas' Crime commit,
765
Last Crime,--and of thy Mercy, Lord, despair!
766
But, conscious of its Guilt; contrite and plung'd
767
In lowest self-abjection, in the depths
768
Of sad compunction, of repentance due
769
And undissembled, to thy Cross it cleaves,
770
And cries for--ardent cries for Mercy, Lord!
771
Mercy, its only Refuge! Mercy, Christ!
772
By the Red Drops that in the Garden gush'd
773
'Midst thy Soul's anguish from Thee! By the Drops
774
That down thy precious Temples, from the Crown
775
Of Agony distill'd! By those that flow'd
776
From thy pierc'd Hands, and blessed Feet so free;
777
By all thy Blood, thy sufferings, and thy Death,
778
Mercy, oh Mercy, Jesus! Mercy Thou,
779
Who erst on David, with a clement Eye,
780
When mourning at thy Footstool, deign'dst to look;
781
Thou, who th'adulterous Magdalen forgav'st,
782
When in the winning garb of penitence
783
Contrite she knelt, and with her flowing Tears
784
Wash'd lowly thy lov'd Feet! Nor thou the Thief,
785
Ev'n in the last, the bitterest Hour of Pain,
786
Refusedst, gracious! Nor wilt Thou refuse
787
My humble supplication! nor reject
788
My broken, bleeding Heart, thus offer'd up
789
On true Contrition's Altar; while thro' Thee,
790
Only thro' Thee acceptance do I hope,
791
Thou bleeding Love! consummate Advocate,
792
Prevailing Intecessor, great High Priest,
793
Almighty Sufferer! Oh look pitying down!
794
On thy sufficient Merits I depend;
795
From thy unbounded Mercies I implore
796
The Look of Pardon, and Voice of Grace,--
797
Grace, Grace!--Victorious Conqueror over Sin,
798
O'er Death, o'er Hell, for Me, for all Mankind;
799
For Grace I plead: Repentant at thy Feet
800
I throw myself, unworthy, lost, undone;
801
Trusting my Soul, and all its dear concerns,
802
With filial resignation to thy Will:
803
Grace,--still on Grace my whole reliance built!
804
Glory to Grace triumphant!--and to Thee,
805
Dispenser bounteous of that sovereign Grace!
806
Jesus, thou King of Glory! at thy call
807
I come obedient: Lo, the future World
808
Expands its views transporting! Lord, I come;
809
And in that World Eternal trust to 'plaud,
810
With all Redemption's Sons, thy glorious Grace!
811
Then farewell, oh my Friends! light o'er my Grave
812
The green sod lay, and dew it with the Tear
813
Of Memory affectionate! And You
814
--The Curtain dropt decisive--oh my Foes,
815
Your rancour drop; and, candid, as I am
816
Speak of Me, hapless! Then you'll speak of One
817
Whose Bosom beat at Pity's gentlest touch
818
From earliest infancy: Whose boyish mind
819
In acts humane and tender ever joy'd;
820
And who,--that temper by his inmost sense
821
Approv'd and cultivate with constant care,--
822
Melted thro' Life at Sorrow's plaintive tale;
823
And urg'd, compassionate with pleasure ran
824
To soothe the Sufferer, and relieve the Woe!
825
Of One, who, though to humble Fortune bred,
826
With splendid Generosity's bright form
827
Too ardently enamour'd, turn'd his sight,
828
Deluded, from Frugality's just care,
829
And Parsimony needful! One, who scorn'd
830
Mean love of Gold, yet to that power,--his scorn
831
Retorting vengeful,--a mark'd victim fell!
832
Of One, who, unsuspecting, and ill-form'd
833
For the World's subtleties, his bare breast bore
834
Unguarded, open; and, ingenuous, thought
835
All Men ingenuous, frank and open too!
836
Of One, who, warm with human passions, soft
837
To tenderest impressions, frequent rush'd
838
Precipitate into the tangling maze
839
Of Error;--instant to each fault alive!
840
Who, in his little Journey thro' the World--
841
Misled, deluded oft, mistook his way;
842
Met with bad Roads and Robbers, for his steps
843
Insidious lurking: And, by cunning craft
844
Of Fellow-Travellers sometimes deceiv'd,
845
Severely felt of Cruelty and Scorn,
846
Of Envy, Malice, and of ill Report,  [19] 
847
The heavy Hand oppressive! One, who brought
848
--From Ignorance, from Indiscretion blind,--
849
Ills numerous on his Head; but never aim'd,
850
Nor wish'd an Ill or Injury to Man!
851
Injur'd, with cheerful readiness forgave;
852
Nor for a moment in his happy Heart
853
Harbour'd of Malice or Revenge a Thought:
854
Still glad and blest to avenge his Foes' despite
855
By Deeds of Love benevolent!--Of One--
856
Oh painful contradiction! who in God,
857
In Duty, plac'd the summit of his Joy;
858
Yet left that God, that blissful Duty left,
859
Preposterous, vile Deserter! and receiv'd
860
A just return--"Desertion from his God,
861
"And consequential plunge into the depth
862
"Of all his present--of all human Woe!"
863
Then hear his sufferings! Hear, (if found too faint
864
His feeble Song to win attention) Hear,
865
And heed his Dying Counsel! Cautious, shun
866
The Rocks on which He split. Cleave close to God,
867
Your Father, sure Protector, and Defence:
868
Forsake not his lov'd Service; and your Cause
869
Be sure He'll ne'er forsake. Initiate once
870
Happy and prosperous, in Religion's Course
871
Oh persevere unfainting! Nor to Vice
872
Or tempting Folly slightest parley give:
873
Their black Tents never enter: On the watch
874
Continue unremitting, nor e'er slack
875
The necessary guard. Trivial neglects,
876
Smallest beginnings,  [20] to the wakeful Foe
877
Open the door of danger;--and down sinks,
878
Thro' the minutest Leak once sprung, the Ship
879
In gayest and most gallant tackle trim.
880
By small neglects He fell!--
881
Oh could Ye rise,
882
Blest Ministers of Peace, by his sad Fall;
883
Gather increase of caution and of zeal;
884
And, seeing on what slippery edge ye stand,
885
Of foul and fatal lapse take the more heed;--
886
With deeper thankfulness He'd bow the knee,
887
While thus his Fate productive prov'd of good
888
To You, of Truth blest Heralds! whom he views
889
With heart-felt anguish scandaliz'd, impugn'd
890
By his atrocious Follies: But for that
891
Not honour'd less, or honourable, if rous'd,
892
Ev'n by his errors, wisely you maintain
893
Your high Profession's dignity; and look
894
With single Eye intent on the great work
895
Thrice holy, of your Calling; happiest Work
896
Of Mortals here, "Salvation of Men's Souls."
897
Oh envied Pastor, who thus occupied
898
Looks down on low Preferment's distant views
899
Contemptible; nor e'er his plotting Mind
900
To little, mean Servilities enslaves;
901
Forgetting Duty's exercise sublime,
902
And his attachments heavenly! Who nor joins
903
In frivolous converse on the rise of this,
904
Nor prospects flattering of that worldly Clerk;
905
Strange inconsistency! marching aloft
906
With step superior and Ambition's paw
907
To Dignity's wish'd Summit!--Nor allows
908
Envious, or spreads malicious the low Tales
909
Diminishing of Brethren, who by zeal,
910
Or Eminence of merit in the Cause,
911
The common Cause of Christ, distinguish'd shine:
912
Of futile politicks and party rage
913
Who, heedless, ever for the Powers that be
914
In meek sincerity implores; and lives
915
Only to spread around the Good, the Peace,
916
The Truth, the Happiness, his open Heart
917
Innocuous possesses, as the Gift
918
Of Him, the God of Peace he serves and loves!
919
Much envied Pastor! Ah, ye Men of God,
920
Who crowd the Levee, Theatre, or Court;
921
Foremost in each Amusement's idle walk;
922
Of Vice and Vanity the sportive scorn,
923
The vaunted Pillars; --ah, that ye were All
924
Such happy, envied Pastors! How Mankind
925
With Eyes of Reverence would devoutly look,
926
How would yourselves with Eyes of Pleasure look,
927
On Characters so uniform! while now,
928
What view is found less pleasing to the sight!
929
Nor wonderful, my aged Friends! For none
930
Can inward look complacent, where a void
931
Presents its desolations drear and dark.
932
Hence 'tis You turn (incapable to bear
933
Reflection's just resentment) your lull'd minds
934
To Infantine Amusements; and employ
935
The Hours,--short Hours, indulgent Heaven affords
936
For purposes most solemn,--in the toil
937
Of busy trifling; of diversions poor,
938
Which irritate as often as amuse,
939
Passions most low and sordid! With due shame,
940
With Sorrow I regret--Oh pardon me
941
This mighty wrong!--that frequent by your side
942
Silent I've sat, and with a pitying eye
943
Your follies mark'd, and unadmonish'd left,
944
Tho' tenderly lamenting! Yet, at last,
945
--If haply not too late my friendly call
946
Strike on dead ears, Oh profit by that call!
947
And, to the Grave approaching, its alarms
948
Weigh with me all-considerate! Brief Time
949
Advances quick in tread; few hours and dark
950
Remain: Those hours in frivolous employ
951
Waste not impertinent; they ne'er return!
952
Nor deem it dullness to stand still and pause,
953
When dread Eternity hath claims so high.
954
Oh be those claims fulfill'd!
955
Nor, my Young Friends,
956
Whom Life's gay Sunshine warms with laughing joy,
957
Pass You those claims unheeding!--In the bud
958
Of earliest Rose oft have I sorrowing seen
959
The canker-worm lurk blighting; oft, ere noon,
960
The Tulip have beheld drop its proud head
961
In eminent beauty open'd to the morn!
962
In Youth, in Beauty, in Life's outward charms
963
Boast not self-flattering; Virtue has a grace,
964
Religion has a power, which will preserve
965
Immortal your true Excellence! O give
966
Early and happy your young hearts to God!
967
And God will smile in countless blessings on you!
968
Nor, captivate by Fashion's idle glare,
969
And the World's shows delusive, dance the maze,
970
The same dull round, fatiguing and fatigu'd;
971
Till, discontented, down in Folly's seat,
972
And Disappointment's, worthless, toil'd, you sink,
973
Despising and despis'd! Your gentle hearts
974
To kind impressions yet susceptible,
975
Will amiably hear a Friend's Advice
976
And if, perchance, amidst the giddy whirl
977
Of circling Folly, his unheeded tongue
978
Hath whisper'd Vanity, or not announc'd
979
Truth's salutary dictates to your ears;
980
Forgive the injury, my Friends belov'd;
981
And see Me now, solicitous t' atone
982
That, and each fault, each error; with full eyes
983
Intreating you, by all your Hopes and Fears,
984
By all your dear Anxieties; by all
985
You hold in Life most precious, to attend,
986
To listen to his Lore! to seek for Bliss
987
In God, in Piety; in hearts devote
988
To Duty and to Heav'n! And seeking thus,
989
The Treasure is your own. Angels on earth,
990
Thus pure and good, soon will ye mount, and live
991
Eternal Angels with your Father--God!
992
Of admonition due, just self-contempt,
993
And frank Expostulation's honest charge,
994
The needful Debt thus paid; haste thou, my Song,
995
As hastes my life,--brief shadow,--to its close!
996
Then farewell, oh my Friends, most valued! bound
997
By Consanguinity's endearing tye,
998
Or Friendship's noble service, manly love,
999
And generous obligations! See, in All
1000
--And spare the Tear of Pity--Heaven's high Will
1001
Ordaining wise and good. I see, I own
1002
His dispensation, howsoever harsh,
1003
To my hard Heart, to my rebellious Soul
1004
Needful and salutary! His dread Rod
1005
Paternal, lo I kiss! and to the stroke
1006
Severe, submissive, thankfully resign!
1007
It weans me from the World; it proves how vain,
1008
How poor the Life of erring Man!--hath taught,
1009
Experimentally hath taught, to look
1010
With Scorn, with Triumph upon Death;--to wish
1011
The moment come!--Oh were that moment come,
1012
When, launch'd from all that's sinful here below,
1013
Securely I shall sail along the Tide
1014
Of glorious Eternity! My friends,
1015
Belov'd and honour'd, Oh that we were launch'd,
1016
And sailing happy there, where shortly all
1017
Must one day sail! Oh that in peaceful Port
1018
We all were landed! all together safe
1019
In everlasting Amity and Love,
1020
With God, our God; our Pilot thro' the Storms
1021
Of this Life's Sea!--But, why the frivolous wish?
1022
Set a few Suns,--a few more days decline;
1023
And I shall meet you,--oh the gladsome hour!
1024
Meet you in Glory,--nor with flowing tears
1025
Afflicted drop my Pen, and sigh, Adieu!
1026


1.        END OF THE FIFTH WEEK

Notes

(see also Works Cited)

[1] Miss Mary Bosanquet, whose motto, encircling a cross, is "Devoted to Death." From fourteen years of age she dedicated herself to sincere religion, and to the present hour has persevered in the most exemplary line of duty. Her letters to the author, in his last distress, afforded him peculiar comfort. BACK

[2] Bishop of London. BACK

[3] Countess of Temple BACK

[4] Alluding to Tolosa, a poor unhappy Spaniard, lately executed for the murder of his Female Friend. He took scarce any sustenance from the time of the fact, and was more than half dead when conveyed to the place of execution. BACK

[5] This also alludes to a miserable catastrophe, which happened here on the morning of a late execution. The poor young Woman who came to visit her Husband, had lain-in but seven Days. As soon as the husband's fetters were knocked off, he stepped aside, and cut his throat in a dismal manner; but not quite sufficiently to finish his existence:--And in that shocking state--paid his debt--at the destined place! BACK

[6] Mrs. Dodd's sister; who, in the midst of our sorrows, did--what she never did before--augment them, by dying of a heart broken with grief for our calamity. Oh misery! BACK

[7] Reflections on Death--Thoughts on Epiphany--Sermon on Mutual Knowledge, &c. BACK

[8] Numberless letters, of a most unchristian, horrid, and cruel nature, were continually sent to him in the height of his distresses. Yet some of these letters were subscribed, A Lady, A Christian, or A Christian Brother. BACK

[9] See Macleane's Answer to Jenyns, &c. p. 52 BACK

[10] Spring: See my Poem on the Epiphany, ver. 131, &c. I would have that Poem considered, in dependence with this, as my Serious Thoughts on these awful subjects, in an early period of my life; and which, in this last and dreadful one, I find no reason to alter. BACK

[11] See Mr. Hume's Life, written by himself; with a Letter by Dr. Smith, giving an account of his Death. BACK

[12] Alluding to his celebrated Wish of Divine Illumination from some superior Power. BACK

[13] Ισαγγελοι. BACK

[14] See Psalm xiv. 12. BACK

[15] There must be Sympathy in the Future State, to render it uniformly complete and perfect. We can have no pleasure in God, or God in Us, but from that sympathy arising from similitude. We must be made like God to enjoy beatific vision. Bring a bad man to Heaven, with a soul encrusted and sensualized, he would have no pleasure in it, nor could he endure the sight; any more than reptiles, that grovel in a cave amidst filth and darkness, could endure the spendours of the mid-day Sun. Shakespeare's description is, in this view, highly animated:

For Vice, tho' to a radiant Angel link'd,
"Would sate itself in a celestial bed,
"And prey on garbage."
BACK

[16] See Macleane's Answer to Jenyns, p. 72. BACK

[17] See Hamlet. BACK

[18] See Thoughts on the Epiphany, ver. 331, &c. BACK

[19] The following is a striking Instance; and an alarming proof, that Calumny and Slander will one day grievously afflict the conscious mind.--A Clergyman, with whom I had lived in much Friendship, always ready to show him every proof of civility, and for whom I had much esteem; after an absence of a twelve-month or more, sent me a line, that he was then in a dangerous state, apprehensive of speedy death. I flew to my Friend with all zeal and speed; and found him, as it seemed, in a very dangerous way. Almost as soon as he saw me, he burst into tears, and clasping my hands vehemently, said, "Oh my dear Doctor! I could not die in peace without seeing you, and earnestly imploring your pardon. For amidst all the seeming friendship I shewed, I have been your bitter Enemy! I have done all I could on every occasion to traduce and lessen you! Envy, base envy alone, being my motive; for I could not bear the brilliancy of your reputation, and the splendour of your abilities. Can you forgive me?"
I was shocked; but with great truth told him to be perfectly at peace; that he had my most sincere forgiveness;--I did all I could to soothe his mind. He recovered; and surely must ever be my Friend! Would to God what he then suffered may be a warning to him, and to all, how they indulge such diabolical passions; which, as being most opposite to the God who is Love, cannot but sooner or later woefully distract the Heart! BACK

[20]

Principiis obsta: sero medicina paratur,
Cum mala per longas convaluere moras.
Sed propera; nec te venturas differ in horas.
Qui non est hodie, eras minus aptus erit.
Qv. R. A. Lib. 1. L. 91.
BACK

Published @ RC

October 2010