« 上一頁繼續 »
Unskill'd my two-fold nature to divide,
One nursed my pleasure, and one nursed my pride:
Those jarring truths which human art beguile,
Thy sacred page thus bids me reconcile."
Offspring of God, no less thy pedigree,
What thou once wert, art now, and still may be,
Thy God alone can tell, alone decree;
Faultless thou dropt from his unerring skill,
With the bare power to sin, since free of will:
Yet charge not with thy guilt his bounteous love,
For who has power to walk, has power to rove:
Who acts by force impell'd, can naught deserve;
And wisdom short of infinite may swerve.
Borne on thy new-imp'd wings, thou took'st thy flight,
LclV thy Creator, and the realms of light;
Disdnin'd his gentle precept to fulfil;
And thought to grow a god by doing ill:
Though by foul guilt thy heavenly form defaced,
In nature chang'd, from happy mansions chased,
Thou still retain'st some sparks of heavenly fire,
Too faint to mount, yet restless to aspire;
Angel enough to seek thy bliss again,
And brute enough to make thy search in vain.
The creatures now withdraw their kindly use,
Some fly thee, some torment, and some seduce;
Repast ill suited to such different guests,
For what thy sense desires, thy soul distastes;
Thy lust, thy curiosity, thy pride,
Curb'd, or deferr'd, or balk'd, or gratified,
Rage on, and make thee equally unbless'd,
In what thou want'st, and what thou hast possess'o.
In vain thou hopest for bliss on this poor clod,
Return, and seek thy Father, and thy God:
Yet think not to regain thy native sky,
Borne on the wings of vain philosophy;
Mysterious passage! hid from human eyes;
Soaring youUl sink, and sinking you will rise:
Let humble thoughts thy wary footsteps guide,
Regain by meekness what you lost by pride.
ELIZABETH ROWE. 1674—1737.
Elizabeth Rowe, distinguished for her piety, literature, and poetical talents, was the daughter of Mr. Walter Singer, a clergyman of Ilchester. She early evinced a very decided taste for reading and poetry, and in her twenty-second year she published a volume of " Poems on Several Occasions, by Philomela." In 1710 she married Mr. Thomas Rowe, a gentleman of considerable literary attainments, who was some years her junior, but who, to ner groat grief, died of consumption but a few years after their marriage, at the early age of twenty-eight After his death she retired to Frome, in the neighborhood of which she possessed a paternal estate, and there composed her once celebrated work, « Letters from the Dead to the Living." She died in 1737.
« The poems of Mrs. Rowo," says Southey, "show much sjjirit and cultivation, and are chiefly characterized by their devotion. They are at times s little more enthusiastic than is allowable even for poetry, and are sometimes distorted by metaphysics, but generally their beauties prevail over their faults."
Ye pure inhabitants of light,
Ye virgin minds above,
And mighty force of love:
Your love to human kind,
My absent Lord to find.
And climb'd the hills around;
Among the swains have found.
By every stream and rock;
My vain industry mock.
I traced the city's noisy streets,
And told my cares aloud j
Among the thoughtless crowd.
He oft has blest my sight,
Disclosed the heavenly light
But with these glorious views, no more
I feast my ravish'd eyes,
My eager search he flies.
His sacred footsteps trace,
And bless the happy place.
Or where perpetual snow
To find my Lord, I'd go.
Nor unfrequented shore,
Where hungry lions roar.
To his embrace I'd fly,
Would be content to die.
HENRY GROVE. 1G83—1738.
HuriT Grove, a « dissenting" clergyman of great literature and piety, was born at Taunton, Somersetshire, 1083. He was early impressed by his parents with an ardent love for religion and morality, and at school and at the academy' he acquired a taste for the elegant authors of Greece and Rome, which he cultivated through life with unwearied fondness and assiduity, and which gave uncommon grace and beauty to his style. At the age of twentytwo he entered the ministry, for which he was eminently qualified by his piety and learning; and he became a very popular preacher. On the decease of Mr. Warren, the preceptor of the academy at Taunton, Mr. Grove was elected to fill his place, and his first publication was an essay drawn up for the use of his pupils, entitled, "The Regulation of Diversions," designed to call off the attention of youth from the too eager pursuit of pleasure, and to infuse into them a thirst for the acquisition of knowledge and virtue.2 His
- "Dissenters" bad not the privilege of Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1 "If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of dream* stances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against Its ills, however things might go amiss, and the world frown upon mo, It would be j> Tastk For Kxad>ko. I speak of It only as a worldly advantage, and not In the slightest degree as superseding or derogating from Uie higher ofllce and surer and stronger panoply of religious principles—but as a taste, an instrument, and a mode of pleasurable graUfleation. Give a man this taste, and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly tall of making a happy man; unless, indeed, you rut into his next writings for the public were contributions for the Spectator. Numbers 588, 601, 626, and 635 (the last number) are from his pen. He also published many treatises of a strictly religious character. Of these, " A Discourse on Secret Prayer," " The Evidence of our Saviour's Resurrection Considered," » Some Thoughts concerning the Proof of a Future State from Reason," and •» Discourses on the Lord's Supper," and on « Saving Faith," are best known.
"In all his writings, Mr. Grove, taking the Scripture solely for his guide, adhered to the result of his own inquiries; his mind was biased by no systems or creeds, and his theology, therefore, was purely practical, and, as far as the fallibility of men will allow in judging of the text, perfectly conformable to the tenor of the Gospel."1 After living a life of great benevolence and practical piety, he died on the 27th of February, 1738, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. The following extracts from one of his letters to a friend, draw a true picture of his own character, in his directions for
THE TRUE ART OF ENJOYING LIFE.
It will not be altogether out of character, if I write down a few reflections on the art of improving human life, so as to pass it in peace and tranquillity, and make it yield the noblest pleasures it is capable of affording us. The first rule, and in a manner comprehensive of all the rest, is always to consider human life in its connection, as a state of trial, with an everlasting existence. How does this single thought at once raise and sink the value of every thing under the sun? sink it as a part of our worldly portion; raise it as a means and opportunity of promoting the glory of the great Author of all good, and the happiness, present and future, of our fellow-creatures as well as our own ?—In the next place, we are to lay down this for a certain maxim, and constantly attend to it, that our happiness must arise from our own temper and actions, not immedaitely from any external circumstances. These, at best, are only considerable, as they supply a larger field to the exercise of our virtue, and more leisure for the improvements and entertainments of the mind: whereas, the chief delights of a reasonable being must result from its own operations, and reflections upon them as consonant to its nature, and the order it holds in the universe. How do I feel myself within? Am I in my natural state? Do I put my faculties to their right use ?—To require less from others than is commonly done, in order to be pleased, and to be more studious to please them, not from a meanness of spirit, not from artful views, but from an unaffected benevolence, is another rule of greater importance than is easily imagined; and more ef
hnnds a most perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society In every period of history—with the wisest, the wittiest—with the tenderest, and the purest characters that have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all naUona—a contemporary of all ages. Too world has been created for htm. It is hardly possible but the character should take a higher and better tone from the constant habit of associating In thought with a class of tluakers, to say the least of It. above the average of humanity.** From Sir John Herschel's "Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy." 1 Drake's Essays, vol. Ul. p. II*.
fectually reaches all that is aimed at by self-love, without designing it. To this add, that though we should be impartial, yet not severe in the judgment we pass, and the demands we make upon ourselves; watchful against the infirmities and errors too incident to human nature, but not supposing that we shall be entirely free from them, nor afflicting ourselves beyond measure to find that we are not. Such an overstrained severity breaks the force of the mind, and hinders its progress towards perfection. In the choice of conditions, or making any steps in life, it is a dictate of wisdom to prefer reality to appearance, and to follow Providence as our guide: to be more indifferent to life, and all things in it, which the less we value the more we shall enjoy. And, lastly, to consider that the happiness of the present state consists more in repose than pleasure; and in those pleasures that are pure and calm (which are likewise the most lasting) rather than in those which violently agitate the passions. Happy are we, when our pleasures flow from the regularity of our passions, and even course of piety and goodness, an humble confidence in the mercy of God, and from the hope of immortality! Not to be contented without a perpetual succession of other pleasures besides these, is the way never to know contentment.
One advantage of our inclination for novelty is, that it annihilates all the boasted distinctions among mankind. Look not up with envy to those above thee! Sounding titles, stately buildings, fine gardens, gilded chariots, rich equipages, what are they? They dazzle every one but the possessor; to him that is accustomed to them they are cheap and regardless things; they supply him not with brighter images or more sublime satisfactions, than the plain man may have, whose small estate will just enable him to support the charge of a simple, unencumbered life. He enters heedless into his rooms of state, as you or I do under our poor sheds. The noble paintings and costly furniture are lost on him; he sees them not; as how can it be otherwise, when by custom a fabric infinitely more grand and finished, that of the universe, stands unobserved by the inhabitants, and the everlasting lamps of heaven are lighted up in vain, for any notice that mortals take of them? Thanks to indulgent nature, which not only placed her children originally upon a level, but still, by the strength of this principle, in. a great measure preserves it, in spite of all the care of man to introduce artificial distinctions.
To add no more—is not this fondness for novelty, which makes us out of conceit with all we already have, a convincing proof of a future state? Either man was made in vain, or this is not the only world he was made for: for there cannot be a greater in