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The unambiguous footsteps of the God
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds.
Much conversant with heav'n, she often holds
With thofe fair ministers of light to man,
That fill the skies nightly with silent pomp,
Sweet conference. Enquires what ftrains were they
With which heav'n rang, when ev'ry fear, in hafte
To gratulate the new-created earth,
Sent forth a voice, and all the fons of God
Shouted for joy.—“Tell me, ye shining hosts
“ That navigate a sea that knows no storms,
« Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud,
“ If from your elevation, whence ye view
Distinctly, scenes invisible to man,
« And systems of whose birth no tidings yet
“ Have reach'd this nether world, ye spy a race
"Favor'd as our's, transgressors from the womb,
" And hasting to a grave, yet doom'd to rise,
"And to possess a brighter heav'n than yours?
“As one who long detain’d on foreign shores “ Pants to return, and when he sees afar " His country's weather-bleach'd and batter'd rocks, “ From the green wave emerging, darts an eye “ Radiant with joy towards the happy land ; « So I with animated hopes behold, “ And many an aching wish, your beamy fires, " That shew like beacons in the blue abyss, « Ordain'd to guide th' embodied spirit home, « From toilsome life to never-ending rest. “ Love kindles as I gaze. I feel desires “ That give assurance of their own success, « And that infus'd from heav'n must thither tend."
So reads he nature whom the lamp of truth
Illuminates. Thy lamp, mysterious word !
Which whoso fees, no longer wanders loft,
With intellects bemaz'd in endless doubt,
But runs the road of wisdom. Thou hast built,
With means that were not 'till by thee employ'd,
Worlds that had never been hadst thou in strength
Been less, or less benevolent than strong.
They are thy witnesses, who speak thy pow's
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears
That hear not, or receive not their report.
In vain thy creatures testify of thee
'Till thou proclaim thyself. Their’s is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for its use.
'Till thou art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart, and fables false as hell;
Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death
The uninform’d and heedless souls of men.
We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind,
The glory of thy work, which yet appears
Perfect and unimpeachable of blame,
Challenging human scrutiny, and provid
Then skilful most when most severely judg'd.
But chance is not; or is not where thou reign'ft:
Thy providence forbids that fickle pow'r
(If pow'r she be that works but to confound)
To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws.
Yet thus we doat, refusing while we can
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
Gods such as guilt makes welcome, Gods that seep,
Or disregard our follies, or that sit
Amus'd spectators of this bustling stage,
Thee we reject, unable to abide
Thy purity, 'till pure as thou art pure,
Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause
For which we fhunn'd and hated thee before.
Then we are free. Then liberty like day
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from heav'n
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.
A voice is heard that mortal ears hear not
'Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song,
A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works,
Which he that hears it with a shout repeats,
And adds his rapture to the gen’ral praise.
In that blest moment, nature throwing wide
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile
The Author of her beauties, who, retir'd
Behind his own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears his pow'r deny'd.
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, eternal Word !
From thee departing, they are lost and rove
At random, without honor, hope, or peace.
From thee is all that sooths the life of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer and his will to serve.
But oh thou bounteous giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou can'st, without thee we are poor;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.