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Flesh. When sport, and wine, and beauty do invite, Who is it whom such baits will not incite?
Spirit. He that perceives the hook and sees the end,
Whither it is that fleshly pleasures tend.
He that by faith hath seen both Heav'n and Hell,
And what sin costeth at the last can tell :
He that hath tried and tasted better things,
And felt that love from which all pleasure springs,
They that still watch, and for Christ's coming wait,
Can turn away from, or despise the bait.
Flesh. Must I be made the foot-ball of disdain?
And call'd a precise fool or puritan?
Spirit. Remember him that did despise the shame,
And for thy sake bore undeserved blame.
Thy journey's of small moment if thou stay
Because dogs bark, or stones lie in the way.
If life lay on it, would'st thou turn again,
For the winds blowing or a little rain?
Is this thy greatest love to thy dear Lord?
That canst not for his sake bear a foul word?
Wilt thou not bear for him a scorner's breath,
That underwent for thee a cursed death?
Is not Heav'n worth the bearing of a flout?
Then blame not justice when it shuts thee out.
Will these deriders stand to what they say,
And own their words at the great dreadful day?
Then they'd be glad, when wrath shall overtake them,
To eat their words, and say they never spake them.
Flesh. How, forsake all? ne'er mention it more to me;
I'll be of no religion to undo me.
Spirit. Is it not thine more in thy Father's hand,
Than when it is laid out at sin's command?
And is that saved that's spent upon thy lust,
Or which must be a prey to thieves or rust?
And wouldst thou have thy riches in thy way,
Where thou art passing on and canst not stay?
And is that lost that 's sent to Heav'n before?
Had'st thou not rather have thy friends and store,
Where thou may'st dwell for ever, in the light
Of that long glorious day that fears no night?
Flesh. But who can willingly submit to death,
Which will bereave us of our life and breath;
That lays our flesh to rot in loathsome graves,
Where brains and eyes were, leaves but ugly caves?
Spirit. So nature breaks and casts away the shell,
Where the now beauteous singing bird did dwell:
The secundine that once the infant clothed,
After the birth, is cast away and loathed;
Thus roses drop their sweet leaves under foot;
But the spring shews that life was in the root.
Souls are the roots of bodies: Christ the head
Is root of both, and will revive the dead.
Our sun still shineth when with us its night:
When he returns, we shall shine in his light.
Souls that behold and praise God with the just,
Mourn not because their bodies are but dust.
Graves are but beds where flesh till morning sleeps:
Or chests where God awhile our garments keeps:
Our folly thinks he spoils them in the keeping;
Which causeth our excessive fears and ping:
But God that doth our rising day foresee,
Pities not rotting flesh so much as we.
The birth of nature was deform'd by sin:
The birth of grace did our repair begin :
The birth of glory at the resurrection
Finisheth all, and brings both to perfection.
Why should not fruit when it is mellow fall?
Why would we linger here when God doth call?
Flesh. The things and persons in this world I see, But after death I know not what will be.
[spoken? Spirit. Know'st thou not that which God himself hath Thou hast his promise which was never broken.
Reason proclaims that noble heav'n born souls,
Are made for higher things than worms and moles.
God hath not made such faculties in vain,
Nor made his service a deluding pain.
But faith resolves all doubts, and hears the Lord
Telling us plainly by his holy word,
That unclothed souls shall with their Saviour dwell,
Triumphing over sin, and death, and Hell.
And by the power of almighty love,
Stars shall arise from graves to shine above.
There we shall see the glorious face of God:
His blessed presence shall be our abode :
The face that banisheth all doubts and fears,
Shuts out all sins, and drieth up all tears.
That face which dark'neth the sun's bright rays,
Shall shine us into everlasting joys.
Where saints and angels shall make up one choir,
To praise the great Jehovah evermore.
Flesh. Reason not with me against sight and sense:
I doubt all this is but a vain pretence.
Words against nature are not worth a rush;
One bird in a hand is worth two in the bush.
If God will give me Heav'n at last, I'll take it:
But for my pleasure here I'll not forsake it.
Spirit. And wilt thou keep it? brutish flesh how long Wilt thou not shortly sing another song? When conscience is awaken'd, keep thy mirth! When sickness and death comes, hold fast this earth: Live if thou canst when God saith, Come away. Try whether all thy friends can cause thy stay. Wilt thou tell death and God thou wilt not die? And wilt thou the consuming fire defy? Art thou not sure to let go what thou hast? And doth not reason bid thee then forecast, And value the least hope of endless joys, Before known vanities, and dying toys?
And can the Lord that is most just and wise,
Found all man's duty in deceit and lies?
Get thee behind me, Satan; thou dost savour
The things of flesh, and not his dearest favour,
Who is my life, and light, and love, and all,
And so shall be whatever shall befall.
It is not thou, but I that must discern,
And must resolve; it's I that hold the stern:
Be silent, flesh; speak not against my God;
Or else he'll teach thee better by the rod.
I am resolved thou shalt live and die,
A servant, or a conquer'd enemy.
LORD, charge not on me what this rebel says,
That always was against me and thy ways!
Now stop its mouth by grace, that shortly must
Through just, but gainful death, be stopp'd with dust.
The thoughts and words of flesh are none of mine:
Let flesh say what it will, I will be thine.
Whatever this rebellious flesh shall prate,
Let me but serve thee, Lord, at any rate.
Use me on earth as seemeth good to thee,
So I in Heav'n thy glorious face may see.
Take down my pride; let me dwell at thy feet :
The humble are for earth and Heav'n most meet.
Renouncing flesh, I vow myself to thee,
With all the talents thou hast lent to me.
Let me not stick at honour, wealth, or blood:
Let all my days be spent in doing good.
Let me not trifle out more precious hours;
But serve thee now with all my strength and powers:
If flesh should tempt me to deny my hand;
Lord, these are the resolves to which I stand.
October 29, 1659.
ÓN Carmel's brow the wreathy vine
Had all its honours shed,
And o'er the vales of Palestine
A sickly paleness spread; When the old seer by vision led,
And energy sublime,
Into that shadowy region sped,
To muse on distant time.
He saw the valleys far and wide,
But sight of joy was none;
He look'd o'er many a mountain side,
But silence reigned alone,
Save that a boding voice sung on,
By wave and waterfall,
As still, in harsh and heavy tone,
Deep unto deep did call.
On Kison's strand and Ephratah
The hamlets thick did lie;
No wayfarer between he saw,
No Asherite passed by:
No maiden at her task did ply,
No sportive child was seen; The lonely dog barked wearily
Where dwellers once had been. Oh! beauteous were the palaces On Jordan wont to be,
And still they glimmered to the breeze, Like stars beneath the sea!
But vultures held their jubilee
Where harp and cymbal rung,
And there as if in mockery
The baleful satyr sung.