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Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Mifled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the prest noftril, spectacle-bestrid.
Some, decent in demeanor while they preach,
That task perform’d, relapse into themselves,
And having spoken wisely, at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to ev'ry eye-
Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not.
Forth comes the pocket mirror. First we stroke
An eye-brow; next, compose a straggling lock ;
Then with an air, most gracefully perform’d,
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm,
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand, depending low.
The better hand more busy, gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids th' indebted eye
With op'ra glass to watch the moving scene,
And recognize the now-retiring fair.
Now this is fulsome; and offends me more
Than in a churchman Novenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. An heav'nly mind
May be indiff'rent to her house of clay,
And night the hovel as beneath her çare ;
But how a body so fantastic, trim,
And queint in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge an heav'nly mind-demands a doubt.
He that negotiates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgment and of mercy, should beware Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation ; and † address The skittish fancy with facetious tales, When fent with God's commission to the heart.
So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip
Or merry turn in all he ever wrote,
And I consent you take it for your text,
Your only one, till sides and benches fail.
No: he was serious in a serious cause;
And understood too well the weighty terms
That he had ta’en in charge. He would not stoop
To conquer those by jocular exploits,
Whom truth and soberness affail'd in vain.
Oh, popular applause! what heart of man Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms ? The wiseft and the best feel
best feel urgent need Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales; But swell'd into a gust - who then, alas ! With all his canvass fet, and inexpert, And therefore heedless, can withstand thy power? Praise from the rivel'd lips of toothless, bald Decrepitude ; and in the looks of lean And craving poverty ; and in the bow Respectful of the smutch'd artificer, Is oft too welcome, and
much disturb The bias of the purpose. How much more Pourd forth by beauty splendid and polite,
In language soft as adoration breathes?
Ah spare your idol! think him human ftill.
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too,
Doat not too much, nor spoil what ye
All truth is from the sempiternal source
Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece, and Rome,
Drew from the stream below. More favor'd, we
Drink, when we chufe it, at the fountain head.
To them it flow'd much mingled and defild
With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams
Illusive of philofophy, so call’d,
But falsely. Sages after sages strove,
In vain, to filter off a chrystal draught
Pure from the lees, which often more enhanc'd
The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred
Intoxication and delirium wild.
In vain they push'd enquiry to the birth
And spring-time of the world ; ask’d, whence is man?
Why form’d at all ? And wherefore as he is?
Where must he find his Maker ? With what rites
Adore him? Will he hear, accept, and bless ?
Or does he sit regardless of his works?
Has man within him an immortal feed?
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive
His ashes, where? and in what weal or woe?
Knots worthy of solution, which alone
A Deity could solve. Their answers vague,
And all at random, fabulous and dark,
Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life-
Defective and unsanction’d, prov'd too weak
To bind the roving appetite, and lead
Blind nature to a God not yet reveal’d.
'Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries, except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more,
Now tell me, dignified and sapient sir,
My man of morals, nurtur'd in the shades