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That touch, with charm celestial, heals the soul Diseas'd, drives pain from guilt, lights life in death, Turns Earth to Heaven, to heavenly thrones trans
forms The ghastly ruins of the mouldering tomb.
Dost ask me when ? When he who died returns; Returns, how chang'd! Where then the man of
In glory's terrours all the Godhead burns;
And all his courts, exhausted by the tide
Of deities, triumphant in his train,
Leave a stupendous solitude in Heaven;
Replenish'd soon, replenish'd with increase
Of pomp, and multitude ; a radiant band
Of angels new; of angels from the tomb.
Is this my fancy thrown remote ? and rise
Dark doubts between the promise and event?
I send thee not to volumes for thy cure;
Read Nature; Nature is a friend to truth;
Nature is Christian ; preaches to mankind;
And bids dead matter aid us in our creed.
Hast thou ne'er seen the comet's flaming flight ?
Th' illustrious stranger, passing, terrour sheds
On gazing nations; from his fiery train
Of length enormous, takes his ample round
Through depths of ether ; coasts unnumber'd worlus,
Of more than solar glory ; doubles wide
Heaven's mighty cape; and then revisits Earth,
From the long travel of a thousand years.
Thus, at the destin'd period, shall return
He, once on Earth, who bids the comet blaze:
And, with him, all our triumph o'er the tomb..
Nature is dumb on this important point ; Or hope precarious in low whisper breathes ; Faith speaks aloud, distinct ; e'en adders hear: But turn, and dart into the dark again. Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of Death, To break the shock blind Nature cannot shun, And lands thought smoothly on the further shore, Death's terrour is the mountain faith removes; That mountain barrier between man and peace. 'T is faith disarms destruction; and absolves From every clamorous charge, the guiltless tomb.
Why disbelieve? Lorenzo ! —“ Reason bids, All-sacred reason.' Hold her sacred still; Nor shalt thou want a rival in thy flame: All-sacred reason ! source, and soul, of all Demanding praise, on Earth, or Earth above ! My heart is thine : deep in its inmost folds, Live thou with life ; live dearer of the two. Wear I the blessed cross, by fortune stamp'd On passive Nature, before thought was born ? My birth’s blind bigot ! fir'd with local zeal ! No! Reason re-baptis'd me when adult; Weigh'd true, and false, in her impartial scale; My heart became the convert of my head, And made that choice, which once was but my fate. “ On argument alone my faith is built:" Reason pursu'd is faith ; and unpursued Where proof invites, 't is reason, then, no more: And such our proof, That, or our faith is right, Or Reason lies, and Heaven design'd it wrong: Absolve we this? What, then, is blasphemy?
Fond as we are, and justly fond, of faith,
Reason, we grant, demands our first regard ;
The mother honour'd, as the daughter dear.
Reason the root, fair faith is but the flower ;
The fading flower shall die; but reason lives
Immortal, as her Father in the skies.
When faith is virtue, reason makes it so.
Wrong not the Christian; think not reason yours:
'T is reason our great Master holds so dear;
'T is reason's injur'd rights his wrath resents;
'T is reason's voice obey'd his glories crown;
To give lost reason life, he pour'd his own :
Believe, and show the reason of a man ;
Believe, and taste the pleasure of a God!
Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb :
Through reason's wounds alone thy faith can die ;
Which dying, tenfold terrour gives to death,
And dips in venom his twice-mortal sting.
Learn hence what honours, what loud paans,
To those, who push our antidote aside ;
Those boasted friends to reason, and to man
Whose fatal love stabs every joy, and leaves
Death's terrour heighten'd, gnawing on his heart.
These pompous sons of reason idoliz'd
And vilified at once; of reason dead,
Then deify'd, as monarchs were of old ;
What conduct plants proud laurels on their brow?
While love of truth through all their camp resounds,
They draw Pride's curtain o'er the noon-tide ray,
Spike up their inch of reason, on the point
Of philosophic wit, callid argument;
And then, exulting in their taper, cry,
“ Behold the Sun ;” and, Indian-like, adore.
Talk they of morals? O thou bleeding Love!
Thou maker of new morals to mankind !
The grand morality is love of thee.
As wise as Socrates, if such they were,
(Nor will they 'bate of that sublime renown,)
As wise as Socrates, might justly stand
The definition of a modern fool.
A Christian is the highest style of man:
And is there, who the blessed cross wipes off,
As a foul blot from his dishonour'd brow?
If angels tremble, 't is at such a sight:
The wretch they quit, desponding of their charge,
More struck with grief or wonder, who can tell ?
Ye sold to sense! ye citizens of Earth! (For such alone the Christian banner fly) Know ye how wise your choice, how great your gain? Behold the picture of Earth's happiest man: “ He calls his wish, it comes; he sends it back, And says, he call's another ; that arrives, Meets the same welcome ; yet he still calls on; Till one calls him, who varies not his call, But holds him fast, in chains of darkness bound, Till Nature dies, and judgment sets him free; A freedom far less welcome than his chain.”
But grant man happy; grant him happy long: Add to life's highest prize her latest hour ; That hour, so late, is nimble in approach, That, like a post, comes on in full career : How swift the shuttle flies, that weaves thy shroud! Where is the fable of thy former years ? Thrown down the gulf of time; as far from thee As they had ne'er been thine; the day in hand,
Like a bird struggling to get loose, is going ;
Scarce now possess’d, so suddenly 't is gone;
And each swift moment fled, is death advanc'd
By strides as swift ; Eternity is all;
And whose Eternity ? Who triumphs there?
Bathing for ever in the font of bliss !
For ever basking in the Deity!
Lorenzo ! who ? — Thy conscience shall reply.
O give it leave to speak; 't will speak ere long,
Thy leave unask'd: Lorenzo ! hear it now,
While useful its advice, its accent mild.
By the great edict, the divine decree,
Truth is deposited with man's last hour ;
An honest hour, and faithful to her trust :
Truth, eldest daughter of the Deity;
Truth, of his council, when he made the worlds;
Nor less, when he shall judge the worlds he made;
Though silent long, and sleeping ne'er so sound,
Smother'd with errours, and opprest with toys,
That Heaven-commissioned hour no sooner calls,
But, from her cavern in the soul's abyss,
Like him they fable under Ætna whelm'd,
The goddess bursts, in thunder, and in flame;
Loudly convinces, and severely pains.
Dark demons I discharge, and hydra stings;
The keen vibration of bright truth is Hell:
Just definition ! though by schools untaught.
Ye deaf to truth! peruse this parson’d page,
And trust, for once, a prophet, and a priest ;
“ Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die."