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210

Like Cæsar or like Alexander wage.
Eternal war, with unrelenting rage;
And bear from conquest all the loud acclaim, 205
Of worthless greatness, and inglorious fame;
These so obscure a benefactor scorn'd,
With riches and with splendor unadorn’d;
Yet urg'd, inflam'd, by envy and by hate,
Intent to seize, his death they meditate.
When lo a false disciple there appear'd,
To whom alone his Lord was unindeard,
(A selfish, insincere, cold-hearted man,
Whose narrow worldly prudence was his bane)
And struck a bargain for a trifling pay, 215
His friend, companion, tutor, to betray.
The love of money urg'd him, and we find.
This was the master-passion of his mind.
For when the traitor kept their little store,
He stole what charity design’d the poor.
Ó Christian, thou, who wishest happy days,
The grace of Heav'n, man's unsuborned praise,

220

225

This scoundrel passion from thy bosom wrinig,
'Tis like the Dipsas, venomous in sting;
Which gives unquenchable perpetual thirst,
And makes us having our desires accurst.
For should it ever taint thy wholesome heart,
Some mean of fell perdition 'twill impart,
Tho' not so great, to that excess supreme,
With this foul character, opprobrious theme.

230

And ah! what heart could have conceiv'd their aim:
What tongue, the horrid sequel can proclaim ?
Whom do they spurn, and load with ev'ry wrong?
Whom like a felon do they drag along?
Whom do they taunt with each reproachful word?
My Benefactor, Saviour, King, and Lord ? 236
See where they lead, their madding rage to wreak,
See where they nail (I tremble while I speak)
On yonder tree, the world's eternal King,
Through whom light, life, and all creation spring!
How his wounds blacken! and his body wreaths! 241
Yet tortur'd thus, he naught but pity breaths!

How his heart heaves with bitter agony !
Look down from thy triumphant infamy!
Omeek and spotless sufferer look down! 245
More honor'd thus than with a dazzling crown!
He leans his head upon his sacred breast,
O’erwhelm’d with sorrows, and with pain opprest.
The sun, disgusted at the sight, retires;
Hark to that groan profound! he now expires! 250

Line 248. We can prove from profane and Jewish authors that Christ was crucified. Lucian blasphemously calls him “ the crucified impostor.” The Jews in the early times of Christianity, were wont lo call the Christians “ the followers of the crucified person.” Tacitus, when speaking of the Christians who suffered under Nero, says, Auctor Nomine ejus, Christus, Tiberio imperitante, Per Procuratorem Pontum Pilatum, supplicio affectus erat. They took their name from Christ, who was brought to punishment by the governor Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius." Tacit. Annal. Lib. XV.

Line 249, &c. The miraculous darkness and the earthquake, which attended the crucifixion of our Saviour, were recorded in the public Roman regi ters. Tertullian

Eum Mundi Casum relaiu n in Arcan s vestris habetis. Tertullian: Apologet. Dr. Clarke says, "this was commonly ap

says,

The temple rends, rocks burst, and all around,
Trembles, with formidable pangs, the ground.
The

graves are open'd, and the dead arise!
Ah deed of horror! day of dire surprise!
Which are the quick? the dead? my fainting heart!
Nature with her Creator will depart!

256

pealed to by the first Christian writers, as what could not be denied by the adversaries then setves

Phlegon says that in the fourth year of the 202d Olympiad (which was at the time of our Saviour's · crucifixion) " there was the greatest eclipse of the sun that ever happened." He

says

also there was a - remarkable earthquake at the same time. See the

13th book of the Chronicles or Olympiads. The passage is quoted in Lib. III. chap. xv. in Grotius de Veritate. Line 256.

Our Saviour is here called the creator of nature in this sense; not as the original supreme Author of all things, but as the second principle or minister (for he was more than a man and a prophet) through whom mediately God himself framed every thing. For though he is called God in scripture, and when he was on earth he had a dominion over nature, though the winds and the waves obeyed him, all his power, though vast, was a delegated -power; and he, however exalted and glorious his rank may be, is yet inferior to the Almighty himself.

See

How should these thoughts dissolve the feeling mind!
To boundless love and gratitude inclin'd!
That from his pain ensues our pleasant ease,
From his imprisonment our sweet release ; 260
That from his curse a blessing we receive,
And that his stripes our healthy strength will give !
From his defeat and bitter

agony, Comes our triumphant shout of victory; Our heav'nly diadem of bright renown,

-265 Of piercing thorns from his afflictive.crown,

My mighty Master, and my Saviour blest!
Worthy in dearest love to be addrest!
O for a seraph's voice, a seraph's fire!
For all that heav'n propitious could inspire!
To the sublimest notes my harp to raise,
And sing thy glories with becoming praise !

270

See St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, chap. iii. verse 9.—Epistle to the Hebrews chap. i. verses and 2.-To the Corinthians, 1. Epistle, chap. xv. werse 28.

END OF THE FOURTH BOOK,

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