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To scan infinity, and still reply
'Gainst the united voice of heav'n and earth ?
Presumptuous, dare she yet reject the voice
Of revelation, sacred and divine,
Whereby Jehovah condescends to make
Himself and grand designs to mortals known?
O folly in extreme! O proof of proofs !
That man, proud, reas'ning man, is sunk below
The brute, in blindness, ignorance and sin.
The ox his feeder knows, the stupid ass
His master's crib, but man, apostate man,
Denies his God !....Blush human nature, blush !
Astonish'd angels marvel at the sight,
Astonish'd devils scorn the wretched fool.
Amidst the ills of life, the thousand ills Entail'd by sin upon the sons of men ; Griefs that o'erwhelm the soul, flood after flood, And pour confusion on their brightest joys. Severe aMiction, disappointment strange, At whose dire frown hope sickens and expires : See how Lothario, arrn'd with all the pow'rs That reason and philosophy can give, Endures the storm : awhile he stands compos'd, Unmov'd he hears the distant thunders roll, And, self-sufficient, meets th' uplifted stroke With manly courage ; but anon, the waves Indignant roar, the black’ning tempest darts A thousand thunderbolts around his head; His heart, his soul, transfix'd in sore amaze, He stands confounded, all his strength of mind, Absorb'd in sorrows, (like the melting snow)
Sinks into weakness, or to stoic brass,
Hard'ned by oft repeated blows....in vain
He calls his boasted reason to his aid;
Her sober voice is drown'd amidst the roar
Of noisy passion ; passion holds the reins,
And all is tumult in his anxious mind :
Reason, too weak to sound the depths divine,
Too dim to trace the mazy paths, and scan
The secret, great designs of providence,
Affords a poor support; she faints beneath
The mighty weight, and yields the sceptre up
To discontent, proud murm’ring, sad despair ;
Black glooms of melancholy overspread
His soul ; nor can philosophy compose
His troubled spirit....dismal as the night,
Moonless and cheerless, see Lothario lean
O'er yonder brook, absorb'd in pensive thought,
He muses terror, while destruction hangs
Like a huge pile of mountains o'er his head,
And threatens, by an instantaneous fall,
To crush him into attoms....Lo! the shock,
Too rude for nature's pow'rs, sweeps him away
Hopeless, without a friend, without a God.
Hark! how soft echo on her gentle wing Wafts a sweet song to my enraptur'd ear! List! O my soul ! 'tis solemn and divine !
" Amidst a thousand storms I stand,
Guarded by an Almighty hand;
Tho' sorrows rise, and thunders roar,
I'm still preserv'd, I'm still secure;
And shall, tho' death and devils frown,
Possess a bright celestial crown.
Jesus, my God, I trust thy power
To make me more than conqu’ror ;
On thine omnipotence depend,
My glorious all-sufficient friend;
Thy smiles shall chase my griefs away,
And turn my darkness into day."
Hail! voice, well known...e'tis Theodosius sings! Long has he struggled with surrounding woes : The fiercest shafts of Satan, rudest frowns Of earth, shock after shock, wave after wave, His substance plunder'd by rapacious hands; Spoil'd of domestic joys by greedy death : Where'er he turns, affliction meets his view, And all his steps are measur'd by the cross : Yet lo! he stands compos'd and placid still, Unmoy'd, unshaken; tho' the tempest roar, He rises still superior to the storm ; Triumphs by faith ; while gentle patience breathes Sweet peace and calm serenity within. His faith built firm on the eternal rock, Jehovah Jesus, pierces through the cloud Of present things, and sees all safe beyond : His righteousness, his sacrifice, his strength; His bliss, his treasure, ererlasting all, Concenters in the ever-bless'd God-man: His joy in sorrow, life in death ; his peace Amidst the loudest thunders of the storm. No stoic, he only feels the keen attacks Of pale-ey'd grief, but when his courage droops,
His fainting heart recovers at the smile
Of his kind Saviour; his supporting hand
Upholds, his wisdom guides, his presence cheers;
And happy Theodosius travels on,
Leaning by faith on his redeeming God;
Faint, yet pursuing, sorrowful, yet with joy :
Oftimes his heart exults in glorious hope
Of that bright crown eternity presents,
With all its heav'nly splendors to his view.
Behold Orestes on the bed of pain : No storms burst o'er his head, no rude alarms Disturb’d his quiet; while the king of day, Bright Sol, with forty summers crown'd the earth ; Nurs'd in the lap of ease, he journey'd on Secure thro' life, the calm philosopher, The man of reason: well Orestes knew The paths of science ; how to weigh the air, Measure the stars, and circumscribe the sun, Of virtue much he talk'd....of God, and things Great and abstruse; himself so great, so good, So bright his virtues, and so rare his parts, That all-sufficient in himself he stood, Doubtless of heav'n....imputed righteousness, The grand atonement of a Saviour's blood, The great incarnate Saviour, God o'er all : These are the objects of Orestes' scorn, And folly in his sight, so wise is he. But death, terrific king, gloomy as night, Bends o'er his bed, and with his keenest dart, Aims at his breast an unexpected blow : The veil's withdrawn !....a sudden burst of light
Illumes his mind, a sudden voice more dire
Than the loud crash of falling mountains, rouse
His slumb'ring soul....He wakes, to sleep no more :
Conscience, deep stung by the ne'er dying worm,
Load as ten thousand thunders, on his ear
Pours her complaints ; and to his eye presents
A long, tremendous scroll....within, without,
In plainest characters inscribd with sin,
Sin unaton'd, a just and jealous God,
A dread eternity, a certain hell.
O awful sight! In vain with gentle words
The messengers of peace attempt to soothe
The anguish of his mind, and set in view
The riches of redeeming grace ; the heights
And depths, the lengths and breadths of love divine,
The blood of Jesus, all-sufficient blood,
To wash his crimson soul as white as snow;
His righteousness, sufficient to acquit
The chief of sinners, who by precious faith
Can trust a ruin'd soul on that alone.
His stormy passions kindle at the name
Of Jesus : “Ne! (with dismal voice he cries)
I cannot look that way! Is there no name
But Jesus, that can save a soul from hell?
I have renounc'd his righteousness, despis'd,
And long rejected his atoning blood.
I feel he is a God, the God supreme...
But I've deny'd his deity, deny'd
My Maker : now his wrath awak'd, like streams
Of fire, burns in my soul : behold he stands,
Like a fierce lion, ready to devour
And crush my bones to atoms.... Must I go,