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Its precious freight the guardian ark display'd, '
While Noah grateful adoration paid:
Beholding in the many-tinctur'd bow,
The promise of a fafer world below.
When wild ambition rear'd its impious head,
And rifing Babel heaven with pride survey'd ;
Thy word the mighty labour could confound,
And leave the mass to moulder with the ground.
From the mad toil, while focial order sprung
A peopled world-distinct by many a tongue.
From thee all human actions take their springs,
The rife of empires, and the fall of kings:
See the vaft theatre of time difplay'd,
While o'er the scene fucceeding heroes tread:
With pomp the fhining images fucceed,
What leaders triumph; and what monarchs bleed;
Perform the parts thy providence affign'd,
Their pride, their paffions, to thy ends inclin'd:
A while they glitter in the face of day,
Then at thy nod the phantoms pass away;
No traces left of all the bufy fcene,
But that remembrance fays,-The things have been!
While learning thro' the gloom benighted strays,
And the dim objects vanish as we gaze
"But (queftions doubt) whence fickly nature feels "The ague-fits her face fo oft reveals? [breaft? "Whence earthquakes heave the earth's aftonish'd "Whence tempefts rage? or yellow plagues infest? "Whence draws rank Afric her empoifon'd ftores? "Or liquid fires explofive Ætna pours?"
Go, fceptic mole! demand th' eternal cause,
The fecret of his all-preferving laws?
The depths of wisdom infinite explore,
And ask thy Maker?-why thou know'st no more?
Thy error's ftill in mortal things as great,
As vain to cavil at the ways of fate.
To afk why profperous vice fo oft fucceeds,
Why fuffers innocence, or virtue bleeds!
Why monsters, nature must with blushes own,
By crimes grow powerful, and difgrace a throne !
Why faints and fages, mark'd in every age,
Perish, the victims of tyrannic rage!
Why Socrates for truth and freedom fell,
While Nero reign'd, the delegate of hell!
In vain by reafon is the maze purfu'd,
Of ill triumphant, and afflicted good.
Fix'd to the hold, fo might the failor aim
To judge the pilot, and the fteerage blame;
As we direct to God what fhould belong,
Or fay that fovereign wisdom governs wrong,
Nor always vice does uncorrected go,
Nor virtue unrewarded pass below!
Oft facred juftice lifts her awful head,
And dooms the tyrant and th' ufurper dead;
Oft providence, more friendly than severe,
Arrefts the hero in his wild career;
Directs the fever, poinard, or the ball,
By which an Amnon, Charles, or Cæfar fall:
Or when the curfed Borgias brew the cup
For merit-bids the monsters drink it up;
Pope Alexander VI. and his fon. Cæfar Borgia. See Mr. Gordon's History.
On violence oft retorts the cruel spear,
Or fetters cunning in its crafty snare;
Relieves the innocent, exalts the just,
And lays the proud oppreffor in the duft!
But faft as time's fwift pinions can convey,
Haftens the pomp of that tremendous day,
When to the view of all created eyes,
God's high tribunal shall majestic rise,
When the loud trumpet shall affemble round
The dead, reviving at the piercing found!
Where men and angels shall to audit come,
And millions yet unborn receive their doom!
Then shall fair providence, to all display'd,
Appear divinely bright without a fhade;
In light triumphant all her acts be shown,
And blushing doubt eternal wisdom own!
Mean while, thou great intelligence fupreme,
Sovereign director of this mighty frame,
Whose watchful hand, and all-observing ken,
Fashions the hearts, and views the ways of men,
Whether thy hand the plenteous table spread,
Or measure sparingly the daily bread;
Whether or wealth or honours gild the scene,
Or wants deform, and wafting anguish ftain;
On thee let truth and virtue firm rely,
Blefs'd in the care of thy approving eye!
Know that thy providence, their conftant friend,
Thro' life fhall guard them, and in death attend;
With everlasting arms their cause embrace,
And crown the paths of piety with peace.
Shall thefe, thro' every tribe, his bounty own,
Of all his works, ungrateful thou alone!
Deaf when the tuneful voice of mercy cries,
And blind, when sovereign goodness charms the eyes!
Mark, even the wretch his awful name blasphemes,
His pity fpares-his clemency reclaims !
Obferve his patience with the guilty strive,
And bid the criminal repent and live;
Recal the fugitive with gracious eye,
Befeech the obftinate, he would not die!
Amazing tenderness-amazing most,
The foul on whom such mercy fhould be loft!
But would'st thou view the rays of goodness join
In one ftrong point of radiance all divine!
Behold, celeftial muse! yon eaftern light;
To Beth'lem's plain, adoring, bend thy fight!
Hear the glad meflage to the shepherds given,
"Good-will on earth to man, and peace in heaven."
Attend the fwains, pursue the ftarry road,
And hail to earth the Saviour and the God!
Redemption! oh thou beauteous mystic plan!
Thou falutary source of life to man!
What tongue can speak thy comprehenfive grace!
What thoughts thy depths unfathomable trace !
When loft in fin our ruin'd nature lay,
When awful justice claim'd her righteous pay!
See the mild Saviour bend his pitying eye,
And ftops the lightning just prepar❜d to fly!
(O ftrange effect of unexampled love!)
View him defcend the heavenly throne above;
Patient, the ills of mortal life endure,
Calm, tho' revil'd, and innocent, tho' poor!
Uncertain his abode, and coarse his food,
His life one fair continued scene of good:
For us fuftain the wrath to man decreed,
The victim of eternal justice bleed !
Look, to the cross the Lord of life is tied,
They pierce his hands, and wound his facred fide!
See, God expires! our forfeit to atone,
While nature trembles at his parting groan!
Advance, thou hopeless mortal, fteel'd in guilt,
Behold, and if thou can'ft, forbear to melt!
Shall Jefus die thy freedom to regain,
And wilt thou drag the voluntary chain?
Wilt thou refuse thy kind affent to give,
When breathlefs he looks down to bid thee live!
Perverse, wilt thou reject the proffer'd good
Bought with his life, and ftreaming in his blood!
Whofe virtue can thy deepest crimes efface,
Reheal thy nature, and confirm thy peace!
Can all the errors of thy life atone,
And raise thee from a rebel-to a fon!
O bleft Redeemer, from thy facred throne,
Where faints and angels fing thy triumphs won'
When, from the grave thou rais'd thy glorious head,
(Chain'd to thy car the powers infernal led)
From that exalted height of blifs fupreme,
Look down on those who bear thy facred name;
Reftore their ways, infpire them by thy grace
Thy laws to follow, and thy fteps to trace;