Page images
PDF

Though doomed through many a night
Of anxious care to roam,
It all is fair to me,
For I am going home.

NEW YEAR'S HYMN.

(BISHOP MIDDLETON.]

As o'er the past my memory strays,

Why heaves the secret sigh? 'Tis that I mourn departed days,

Still unprepared to die. The world, and worldly things beloved,

My anxious thoughts employed;
And time unhallowed, unimproved,

Presents a fearful void.
Yet Holy Father! wild despair,

Chase from my labouring breast;
Thy grace it is which prompts the prayer,

That grace can do the rest.
My life's brief remnant all be thine :

And when thy sure decree
Bids me this fleeting breath resign,

O speed my soul to thee!

MORALITY IN THE FIELDS.

[ADDISON.] With toilsome steps when I pursue

O'er breaking clods the ploughshare's way,
Lord, teach my mental eye to view

My native dissoluble clay.
And when with seed I strew the earth,

TO THEE all praises let me give,
Whose hand prepar'd me for the birth,

Whose breath inform’d, and bade me live. Pleas'd, I behold the stately stem

Support its bearded honour's load; Thus, Lord, sustain’d by thee I came

To manhood, through youth's dang'rous road. Purging from noxious herbs the grain,

Oh! may I learn to purge my mind From sin, rank weed of deepest stain,

Nor leave one baleful root behind. When blasts destroy the op'ning ear,

Life, thus replete with various woe, Warns me to shun, with studious care,

Pride, my most deadly latent foe.
When harvest comes, the yellow crop

Prone to the reaper's sickle yields;
And I beneath death's scythe must drop,

And soon or late forsake these fields.
When future crops, in silent hoards,

Sleep for awhile, to service dead; Thy emblem this, 0 Grave ! affords

The path to life, wbich all must tread.

SELF-DENIAL.

A Dialogue between the Flesh and the Spirit.

(BAXTER.] Flesh. What! become nothing ! ne'er persuade me God made me something; and I'll not undo it. [to it.

Spirit. Thy something is not thine, but his that gave it. Resign to him, if thou mean to save it.

Flesh. God gave me life : and shall I choose to die Before my time, or pine in misery?

Spirit. God is thy life : if then thou fearest death; Let him be all thy soul, thy pulse, and breath.

Flesh. What! must I hate myself? whenas my brother Must love me! and I may not hate another?

Spirit. Loath what is loathsome. Love God, in the rest He truly loves himself, that loves God best.

Flesh. Doth God our ease and pleasure to us grudge ? Or doth religion make a man a drudge ?

Spirit. That is thy poison which thou callest pleasure : And that thy drudgery which thou count'st thy treasure.

Flesh. Who can endure to be thus mewed up? And under laws for every bit and cup?

Spirit. God's cage is better than the wilderness. When winter comes, liberty brings distress.

Flesh. Pleasure's man's happiness: the will's not free To choose our misery : this cannot be.

Spirit. God is man's end : with him are highest joys. Sensual pleasures are but dreams and toys. Should sin seem sweet? Is Satan turn'd thy friend? Will not thy sweet prove bitter in the end ? Hast thou found sweeter pleasures than God's love? Is a fool's laughter like the joys above? Beauty surpasseth all deceitful paints : What's empty mirth to the delights of saints ? .

God would not have thee have less joy, but more :
And therefore shews thee the eternal store.

Flesh. Who can love baseness, poverty, and want! And under pining sickness be content?

Spirit. He that hath laid his treasure up above ;
And placed his portion only in God's love:
That waits for glory when his life is done.
This man will be content with God alone.

Flesh. What good will sorrow do us? Is not mirth,
Fitter to warm a cold heart here on earth?
Troubles will come whether we will or no:
I'll never banish pleasure, and choose woe.
Spirit. Then choose not sin; touch not forbidden

things :
Taste not the sweet that endless sorrow brings.
If thou love pleasure, take in God thy fill :
Look not for lasting joys in doing ill.

Flesh. Affliction's bitter: life will soon be done: Pleasure shall be my part ere all be gone.

Spirit. Prosperity is barren: all men say
The soil is best where there's the deepest way.
Life is for wo

work, and not to spend in play.
Now sow thy seed : labour while it is day.
The huntsman seeks his game in barren plains :
Dirty land answers best the ploughman's pains.
Passengers care not so the way be fair;
Husbandmen would have the best ground and air.
First think what's safe and fruitful : there's no

pleasure
Like the beholding of thy chiefest treasure.

Flesh. Nature made me a man, and gave me sense : Changing of nature is a vain pretence : It taught me to love women, honour, ease, And every thing that doth my senses please.

Spirit. Nature bath made thee rational; and reason Must rule the sense, in ends, degrees, and season.

Reason's the rider; sense is but the horse :
Which then is fittest to direct thy course ?
Give up the reins, and thou becomest a beast;
Thy fall at death will sadly end thy feast.

Flesh. Religion is a dull and heavy thing,
Whereas a merry cup will make me sing.
Love's entertainments warm both heart and brain,
And wind my fancy to the highest strain.

Spirit. Cupid hath stuck a feather in thy cap;
And lull’d thee dead asleep on Venus's lap:
Thy brains are tipled with some wanton's eyes :
Thy reason is become lust's sacrifice.
Playing a game at folly, thou hast lost
Thy wit and soul, and winnest to thy cost,
Thy soul now in a filthy channel lies,
While fancy seems to soar above the skies.
Beauty will soon be stinking, loathsome earth :
Sickness and death mar all the wanton's mirth!
It is not all the pleasure thou canst find
Will countervail the sting that's left behind.
Blind, brutish souls! that cannot love their God!
And yet can dote on a defiled clod !

Flesh. Why should I think of what will be to-morrow? An ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow. [thee?

Spirit. But where's that mirth when sorrows overtake Will it then hold when life and God forsake thee ? Forgetting death or Hell will not prevent it. Now lose thy day, thou'lt then too late repent it.

Flesh. Must I be pain's and wronged, and not feel ? As if my heart were made of fint or steel?

Spirit. Dost thou delight to feel thy hurt and smart? Would not an antidote preserve thy heart ? Impatience is but self-tormenting folly : Patience is cordial, easy, sweet, and holy. Is not that better which turns grief to peace, Than that which doth thy misery increase ?

« PreviousContinue »