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Now, nigh an end appears the day of grace,
And judgment ripens to destroy the place;
On wings of wind, the minifters of wrath
Equip themselves, to scatter gen'ral death;
When foothing mercy thus, for patience cry'd,
Muft NINEVEH be then at once destroy'd?
True, fhe has finn'd, and merits dreadful woe; · But, does heaven always treat offenders fo?
Perhaps, 'were they inftructed in thy law,
• They'd ferve thee better, and stand more in awe ;
• Or, were they warn'd, before the woe is fent,
They'd hear thy voice, and as they hear, repent.
O let thy goodness ftill its fway maintain,
And prove the kindness of th' Almighty's reign.'
'Th' Almighty hearken'd with a gracious ear,
And had regard to the prevailing prayer;
By it o'ercome, afide his wrath he laid,
And, full of pity, threat'ning angels staid.
Then foon to Jonah, old Amittai's son,
In Judah's land, was God's commiffion known.
Hafte, prophet, hafte to Nineveh the great,
And warn the people of approaching fate;
Tell them from me, that ere the night and day
Twice twenty times, by turns, affert their sway;
Their boafted numbers, to deftruction doom'd,
• Shall fudden be, like Sodom's fons, confum'd;
Unless by speedy penitence and prayer,
They gain admittance to my gracious ear.'
The prophet's mind a sudden terror fill'd,
And, thro' his veins, a trembling horror thrill'd;
O'er all his vitals dire confufion hung,
And falt'ring accents die upon his tongue.
His limbs turn feeble, hairs as briftles rife,
Pale grows his face, and darkness strikes his eyes.
This way and that he turns his thoughtful mind,
Now loves, now flights, the purpose he design'd.
Sometimes refolves his meffage to perform;
Sometimes he dreads to plunge in such a storm.
Penfive in doubt his wayward mind remains,
Till flavish fear the government obtains.
The daftard paffion drives him blindly on,
Till fenfe of fhame and gratitude was gone.
Lo! he diftracted now attempts to fly,
And hide himself from the omniscient eye.
Vain man! to think there was a diftant land
Beyond the reach of an almighty hand :
Or he who knows the inward heart of man,
Does weigh each word, and every action scan,
Could not pursue the finner where he goes,
And overtake him with avenging woes.
In th' utmost coafts of Judah is a scene,
Where Taurus' cliffs o'erlook the spacious main,
That Dan's bless'd offspring in their portion got,
When Jacob's race did Canaan share by lot.
Hither the flying prophet came and found,
E'en to his wifh, a ship for Tarshish bound;
Diftrufting heaven, fought fafety from the sea,
And hop'd to 'scape the dangerous Nineveh.
The paffage hir'd, the fhouting fellow-train Their canvas spread, and launch into the main. R 4
Affifted by a gentle gale of wind,
They skim the deep, and hope the port affign'd,
Then from his high empyreal abode,
In ftorms and tempefts down Jehovah rode.
A dark pavilion o'er the deep he spread,
And, from the awful gloom, he threat'ning said:
• Does rebel Jonah try t2 elude my fight,
Or ward my vengeance by his speedy flight?
Tho' from the land where I am known he flies,
Hopes he to flee from my omnifcient eyes?
• And were he safely landed on the fhore,
• Could Tarsus hide him from avenging power?
But foon as I confound the fpacious main,
• He'll know that universal is my reign.'
He faid, and fudden from their noify cave,
Th' imprifon'd winds in hafty tumult rave.
Dread hurricanes and raging tempefts rise,
Embroil the deep, and dafh the distant skies.
A gloom of clouds the face of day o'erfpreads,
And wild confufion fills the oozy beds.
Now Alps of water bears the vessel high;
Then buried in th' abyss she seems to lie.
The fails are torn, the ropes afunder break,
The fides are bruis'd, and flipp'ry is the deck.
A ghaftly paleness in each face appears,
And death portended, aggravates their fears.
To their deaf gods the failors turn their eyes,
And tell their case in disregarded cries.
Some on their knees old Ocean's grace implore,
And, to appeafe him, facrifice their store.
To Leda's fons fome tell their mournful tale,
And fome with Jove endeavor to prevail.
Like Baalam's priests, they cry aloud in vain,
No fanfy'd god or knew, or cur'd their pain.
Relentless justice heightens ftill the storm,
And ruin ftares in every frightful form.
But Jonah, harden'd in his dire offence,
And thoughtless of the turn of providence ;
Altho' the cause of all the threaten'd woe,
Retir'd alone, and hid himself below.
Afleep, or ftunn'd, no dangers could awake
His fenfeless mind, 'till thus the master spake:
• Thou fluggard, who amidst our common woes Canft thus, unmov'd, thyself to death expofe; • What art thou? Where are all thy senses gone? • Haft thou no God? Or know'st thou there is one? Shake off thy flumber, and devoutly fue
For common safety to thyself and crew.
Perhaps thy guardian, for thy fake, may send
Relief to thee, that may us all befriend.'
Mean while the failors hold a long debate
About the cause of their impending fate.
One reckons murder is the fatal spring;
Another treafon 'gainst the state or king.
But all agreed fome impious wretch was there,
On whofe account the gods were so severe :
And all refolv'd to find him out by lot,
Whoe'er he was, or whatfoe'er his fault.
Now one by one their trembling hands advance! Each fore afraid the lot should prove his chance.
Each looks with terror on his actions past,
And, at the thoughts of dying, stands aghast.
Each thought the tempeft for his crimes was fent,
And all look'd pale about the dire event.
Vain were their fears; for Jonah was to come,
Jonah! the cause, the subject of the doom.
The trembling wretch no fooner fhook the urn,
Than all their eyes on him, the guilty, turn.
All curious, prefs to learn from whence he came,
What his condition was, and what his name.
Conscious of ill, he feels an inward smart,
And fad diftraction rages in his heart.
His outward form declares his fecret pain,
For looks the language of the foul explain.
O, easy task for men to murder fame!
But who can ftifle his own fenfe of fhame ?
The wretch that to an abject state is thrown,
Than mankind's favor, lofes more his own.
There is a judge in every human breast,
The fource of conftant trouble, or of rest.
This inmate friend, or foe, will still appear,
And 'reft the finner in his mad career:
Swifter than wind it flies where'er he goes,
And bears along a train of cutting woes.
No crime fo fecret, but it ponders well,
And reprehends with an interior hell.
This gueft, unfeen, now dreadfully appears,
To hollow" Rebel" thro' the prophet's ears.
Prompted by this, he frank confeffion made,
And, after filence was commanded, faid;