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Old heresies condemned in ages past,
By care and time recovered from the blast.
'Tis said with ease, but never can be proved,
The church her old foundations has removed,
And built new doctrines on unstable sands :
Judge that, ye winds and rains! you proved her,
yet she stands. Those ancient doctrines charged on her for new, Show, when, and how, and from what hands they
We claim no power, when heresies grow bold,
To coin new faith, but still declare the old.
How else could that obscene disease be purged,
When controverted texts are vainly urged?
To prove tradition new, there's somewhat more
Required, than saying, 'twas not used before.
Those monumental arms are never stirred,
Till schism or heresy call down Goliah's sword.
Thus, what you call corruptions, are, in truth,
The first plantations of the gospel's youth;
Old standard faith; but cast your eyes again,
And view those errors which new sects maintain,
Or which of old disturbed the church's peaceful
And we can point each period of the time,
When they began, and who begot the crime;
Can calculate how long the eclipse endured,
Who interposed, what digits were obscured ;
Of all which are already passed away,
We know the rise, the progress, and decay.
Despair at our foundations then to strike,
Till you can prove your faith apostolic;
* Alluding to the doctrines of Wiccliff and the Lollards, condemned as heresies in their own times, but revived by the reformers.
A limpid stream drawn from the native source ;
Succession lawful in a lineal course.
Prove any church, opposed to this our head,
So one, so pure so uncontinedly spread,
Under one chief of the spiritual state,
The members all combined, and all subordinate
Show such a seamless coat, from schism so free,
In no communion joined with heresy ;
If such a one you find, let truth prevail ;
Till when, your weights will in the balance fail;
A church unprincipled kicks up the scale.
Lut it you cannot think, (nor sure you can
Suppose in God what were unjust in man,)
That tie, the fountain of eternal grace,
Should suffer falsehood for so long a space
To banish truth, and to usurp her place;
'l hat seven successive ages should be lost,
Anci preach damnation at their proper cost;
That all your erring ancestors should die,
Drowned in the abyss of deep idolatry;
If piety forbid such thoughts to rise,
Awake, and open your unwilling eyes:
God hath left nothing for each age undone,
From this to that wherein he sent his Son ;
Then think but well of him, and half your work
See how his church, adorned with every grace,
With open arms, a kind forgiving face,
Stands ready to prevent her long-lost son's em-
brace! Not more did Joseph o'er his brethren weep, Nor less bin seif could from discovery keep,
About seven hundred years elapsed between the departure of the church of Rome from the simplicity of the prinitive Christians, and the dawn of the Reformation.
When in the crowd of suppliants they were seen,
And in their crew his best-loved Benjamin.
That pious Joseph in the church behold,
To feed your famine, and refuse your gold;
The Joseph you exiled, the Joseph whom you sold.*
Thus, while with heavenly charity she spoke,
A streaming blaze the silent shadows broke;
Shot from the skies a cheerful azure light;
The birds obscene to forests winged their flight,
2 And gaping graves received the wandering guiltys
Such were the pleasing triumphs of the sky,
For James his late nocturnal victory;
The pledge of his almighty Patron's love,
The fireworks which his angels made above. †
I saw myself the lambent easy light $
Gild the brown horror, and dispel the night;
The messenger with speed the tidings bore;
News, which three labouring nations did restore;
But heaven's own Nuntius was arrived before.
By this, the Hind had reached her lonely cell,
And vapours rose, and dews unwholesome fell;
When she, by frequent observation wise,
As one who long on heaven had fixed her eyes,
Discerned a change of weather in the skies.
The western borders were with crimson spread,
The moon descending looked all-flaming red;
She thought good manners bound her to invite
The stranger dame to be her guest that night.
"Tis true, coarse diet, and a short repast,
She said, were weak inducements to the taste
Of one so nicely bred, and so unused to fast;
But what plain fare her cottage could afford,
A hearty welcome at a homely board,
Was freely hers; and, to supply the rest,
An honest meaning, and an open breast;
Last, with content of mind, the poor man's wealth,
grace-cup to their common patron's * health.
This she desired her to accept, and stay,
For fear she might be wildered in her way,
Because she wanted an unerring guide,
And then the dew drops on her silken hide
Her tender constitution did declare,
Too lady-like a long fatigue to bear,
And rough inclemencies of raw nocturnal air. †
But most she feared, that, travelling so late,
Some evil-minded beasts might sie in wait,
And without witness wreak their hidden hate.
The Panther, though she lent a listening ear,
Had more of lion in her than to fear ;
Yet wisely weighing, since she had to deal
With many foes, their numbers might prevail,
Returned her all the thanks she could afford,
And took her friendly hostess at her word;
Who, entering first her lowly roof, a shed
With hoary moss and winding ivy spread,
Honest enough to hide an humble hermit's head,
Thus graciously bespoke her welcome guest :
So might these walls, with your fair presence blest,
Become your dwelling-place of everlasting rest;
Not for a night, or quick revolving year,
Welcome an owner, not a sojourner.
This peaceful seat my poverty secures;
War seldom enters but where wealth allures :
Nor yet despise it; for this poor abode,
Has oft received, and yet receives a God;
A God, victorious of a Stygian race,
Here laid his sacred limbs, and sanctified the place.
This mean retreat did mighty Pan * contain ;
Be emulous of him, and pomp disdain,
And dare not to debase your soul to gain. I
The silent stranger stood amazed to see
Contempt of wealth, and wilful poverty;
And, though ill habits are not soon controuled,
Awhile suspended her desire of goid.
But civilly drew in her sharpened paws,
Not violating hospitable laws,
And pacified her tail
, and licked her frothy jaws. The Hind did first her country cates provide ; Then couched herself securely by her side.
* Our Saviour.
+ Ut ventum ad sedes : Hæc, inquit, limina rictor
Alcides subiit ; hæc illum regia cepit.
Aude, hospes, contemnere opes, et te quoque dignum
Finge deo ; rebusque reni non asper egenis.
Æneid. Lib. VIII.