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But ills of every shape and every name,
Transform'd to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.
Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste !
No shepherds' tent within thy view appear,
But the chief shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine
So once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.
THANKLESS for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon;
Though 'tis his privilege to die.
Would he improve the boon.
But he, not wise enough to scan
His bless'd concerns aright,
Would gladly stretch life's little span
To ages, if he might.
To ages in a world of pain,
To ages where he goes
Gall’d by affliction's heavy chain,
And hopeless of repose.
Strange fondness of the human heart,
Enamour'd of its harm !
Strange world, that cost it so much smart,
And still has power to charm.
Whence has the world her magic power?
Why deem we death a foe?
Recoil from weary life's best hour,
And covet longer woe?
The cause is conscience-conscience oft
Her tale of guilt renews :
Her voice is terrible though soft,
And dread of death ensues.
Then, anxious to be longer spared,
Man mourns his fleeting breath : All evils then seem light, compared
With the approach of death. 'Tis judgment shakes him; there's the fear,
That prompts the wish to stay :
He has incurr'd a long arrear,
And must despair to pay.
Pay!—follow Christ, and all is paid ;
His death your peace ensures ;
Think on the grave where he was laid,
And calm descend to your's.
He lives, who lives to God alone,
And all are dead beside;
For other source than God is none
Whence life can be supplied.
To live to God is to requite
His love as best we may;
To make his precepts our delight,
His promises our stay.
But life, within a narrow ring,
Of giddy joys comprised,
Is falsely named, and no such thing,
But rather death disguised.
Can life in them deserve the name,
Who only live to prove,
For what poor toys they can disclaim
An endless life above?
Who much diseased, yet nothing feel;
Much menaced, nothing dread;
Have wounds which only God can heal,
Yet never ask his aid?
Who deem his house a useless place,
Faith, want of common sense;
And ardour in the Christian race,
A hypocrite's pretence ?
Who trample order; and the day,
Which God asserts his own,
Dishonour with unhallow'd play,
And worship chance alone?
If scorn of God's commands, impress'd
On word and deed, imply
The better part of man unbless'd
With life that cannot die;
Such want it, and that want, uncured
'Till man resigns his breath, Speaks him a criminal, assured
Of everlasting death.
Sad period to a pleasant course !
Yet so will God repay,
Sabbaths profaned without remorse,
And mercy cast away.
Pause here, and think : a monitory rhyme
Demands one moment of thy fleeting time.
Consult life's silent clock, thy bounding vein;
Seem it to say—Health here has long to reign?'
Hast thou the vigour of thy youth? an eye
That beams delight? a heart untaught to sigh?
Yet fear. Youth, oft-times healthful and at ease,
Anticipates a day it never sees ;
And many a tomb, like Hamilton's, aloud,
Exclaims, ‘Prepare thee for an earthly shroud.'-
The Lord will happiness divine,
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine
A contrite heart or no?
I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, 'tis only pain
To find I cannot feel.
I sometimes think myself inclin'd
To love thee, if I could ;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that's good.
My best desires are faint and few,
Í fain would strive for more ;
But when I cry,“ my strength renew,”
Seem weaker than before.
Thy saints are comforted, I know,
And love thy house of prayer;
I sometimes go where others go,
But find no comfort there.
O make this heart rejoice or ache,
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break; .
And heal it if it be.