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Enlarge and fortify the dread redoubt,
Deeply resolv'd to shut a Saviour out;
Call legions up from hell to back the deed,
And curst with conquest, finally succeed :
But souls that carry on a blest exchange,
Of joys they meet with in their heav'nly range,
And with a fearless confidence make known,
The sorrows sympathy esteems its own,
Daily derive encreasing light and force,
From such communion in their pleasant course ;
Feel less the journey's roughness and its length,
Meet their opposers with united strength,
And one in heart, in int’rest and design,
Gird up each other to the race divine.
But Conversation, chuse what theme we may,
And chiefly when religion leads the way,
Should Aow, like waters after summer show'rs,
Not as if rais’d by mere mechanic pow'rs.
The Christian in whose soul, though now distress'd,
Lives the dear thought of joys he once possessid,
When all his glowing language issued forth
With God's deep stamp upon its current worth,
Will speak without disguise, and must impart,
Sad as it is, his undissembling heart ;
Abhors constraint, and dares not feign a zeal,
Or seem to boast a fire he does not feel.
The song of Sion is a tasteless thing,
Unless, when rising on a joyful wing,
The foul can mix with the celestial bands,
And give the strain the compass it demands.
Strange tidings these, to tell a world who treat
All but their own experience as deceit !
Will they believe, though credulous enough
To swallow much upon much weaker proof,
That there are blest inhabitants of earth,
Partakers of a new æthereal birth,
Their hopes, desires, and purposes estrang'd
From things terrestrial, and divinely chang’d,
Their very language of a kind that speaks
The soul's sure int’rest in the good she seeks,
Who deal with scripture, its importance felt,
As Tully with philosophy once dealt,
And in the silent watches of the night,
And through the scenes of toil-renewing light,
The social walk, or solitary ride,
Keep still the dear companion at their side ?
No—shame upon a self-disgracing age,
God's work may serve an ape upon a stage,
With such a jelt as fill’d with hellish glee
Certain invisibles as shrewd as he,
But veneration or respect finds none,
Save from the subjects of that work alone.
The world grown old, her deep discernment shows,
Claps spectacles on her fagacious nose,
Peruses closely the true Christian's face,
And finds it a mere mask of lly grimace,
Usurps God's office, lays his bosom bare,
And finds hypocrisy close-lurking there,
And serving God herself, through mere constraint,
Concludes his unfeign'd love of him, a feint.
And yet God knows, look human nature through,
(And in due time the world shall know it too)
That since the flow'rs of Eden felt the blast,
That after man's defection laid all waste,
Sincerity towards th’heart-searching God,
Has made the new-born creature her abode,
Nor shall be found in unregen’rate souls,
Till the last fire burn all between the poles.
Sincerity! Why 'tis his only pride,
Weak and imperfect in all grace beside,
He knows that God demands his heart entire,
And gives him all his just demands require.
Without it, his pretensions were as vain,
As having it, he deems the world's disdain ;
That great defect would cost him not alone
Man's favourable judgment, but his own,
His birthright shaken and no longer clear,
Than while his conduct proves his heart sincere :
Retort the charge, and let the world be told
She boalls a confidence she does not hold,
That conscious of her crimes, she feels instead,
A cold misgiving, and a killing dread,
That while in health, the ground of her support
Is madly to forget that life is short ;
That sick, she trembles, knowing she must die,
Her hope presumption, and her faith a lie.
That while she doats and dreams that she believes,
She mocks her Maker, and herself deceives,
Her utmost reach, historical assent,
The doctrines warpt to what they never meant.
That truth itself is in her head as dull,
And useless, as a candle in a scull,
And all her love of God a groundless claim,
A trick upon the canvass, painted flame.
Tell her again the sneer upon her face,
And all her censures of the work of grace,
Are insincere, meant only to conceal
A dread she would not, yet is forc'd to feel,
That in her heart the Christian she reveres,
And while she seems to scorn him, only fears.