« PreviousContinue »
Home-born and strangers cultivate the soil,
And each enjoys the profits of his toil.
Kind Providence with bounteous hand bestow'd,
Clothes on the naked, on the hungry, food;
Gave of the earth a portion to the meek;
Rest to the weary—succour to the weak.
Where late the wolves and bears in plenty bred,
Now flocks and herds of useful kinds are fed;
And on the banks of Del’ware's crystal flood,
Where shady oaks and lofty cypress stood,
A spacious city soon was seen to rise,
That fill'd beholders with a just surprise;
Where, by the wharves, or floating on the tide,
A numerous fleet of top-sail vessels ride.
The hum of business in her streets was heard,
Her wealth the merchant and the planter shar'd.
In space so short, few cities have been known,
That with prosperity so great have shone.
But now, alas! how shall my feeble quill,
In prose or verse, some slender
fill! In pointing out, among the many crimes, A part so obvious in these latter times! “All flesh is grass”—an awful herald cries; “All flesh is grass”-a solemn voice replies. “ To-day 'tis fresh, and flourishing, and gay, “ To-morrow cut, and wither'd into hay;"! Carnation late the flower, or deck'd with gold, Now dropt in dust, and mixt with common mould: So mortal man, when he aspires too high, Ere yet he learns to live, is taught that he must die.
Pride, the forerunner of destruction, here
Wantons in airy plumes, and dances there:
Here, luxury, next of kin and from her sprung,
Is on the board, and round the lodgings hung.
These lead to many more of various sorts,
Ludicrous plays, with vain and foolish sports.
Night-revelling and gaming, here are found,
Whose baneful seeds with plenteous crops abound.
Here, infidelity exalts her head;
Here, filthy ears and lustful eyes are fed;
Here, blasphemies against the sacred Name,
Too oft pronounc'd without rebuke or shame.
Not only such as act their part herein,
But their upholders share with them in sin.
For God who rules above, whose laws are pure,
Whose "ways are equal," and whose judgments sure,
Will on the abettors and the actors, pour
Distress and anguish in a certain hour:
Nor let them in their own inventions trust,
Justice Divine will hasten to be just.
Let therefore none his precious gifts abuse,
Nor slight his blessings, nor his love refuse;
Lest on such impious foes his anger burn,
And fruitful fields into a desert turn;
Or move the hedge, or take the fence away,
And leave them open to the beasts of
So Israel, his peculiar seed, were plac'd
Within the holy land—a land of rest-
A land of promise, graciously bestow'd;
Where wine and oil, and milk and honey, flow'd.
*Whilst adoration due, by them was given,
They shar'd the favours of indulgent Heaven;
Their presses full, and fill’d their threshing floors,
Thus were they bless'd in basket and in stores.
Of vineyards ready planted they partook,
And dwelt secure in towns their foes forsook.
But when they waxed fat and wanton grew,
Forsook their ancient Rock and chose a new;,
Bow'd down to lifeless images of stone,
Or wood, and brass,-inventions of their own;
They grieve the Lord, themselves they only please,
With images and groves, and shady trees;
Then were their fields with mildew smote, or blast,
Or by their despicable foes were chas'd:
Here mothers, sons-here widows, husbands mourn,
Or slain in battle, or as captives borne,
To Moab, Ashdod, Gath or Askalon,
Where the Abana or the Pharpar run;
Or tributaries made, without defence,
Or wasted by the stroke of pestilence.
But on repentance and obedience given,
They witness'd pardon-the free gift of Heav'n.
Like causes still may like effects produce,
Peace to the faithful—anguish to the loose.
For first or last these shall their portion have,
Or in this life, or else beyond the grave.
Nor blame alone is to the city due,
But villages and towns the country through;
For every class of men may share the blame,
And take a part, that bear the christian name.
But here, in softest manner, let us move,
And whilst we censure, manifest we love.
Advice and caution, when with prudence given,
Bear some resemblance to the gifts of Heaven:
For God rebukes and chastens in his love,
And often those who disobedient
With gift on gift, and call on call, invites,
Warns against vice-to virtuous acts incites;
And by his holy Spirit strives within,
To show to man the sinfulness of sin.
Mankind by one Creator have been made,
For all mankind a ransom hath been paid
By one Redeemer, in whose precious blood,
And high ascent a mediator stood
'Twixt God and man; nor ceases to repeat
The distribution of his gifts, replete
With power to those who firm believe therein,
And on the Giver, to forsake their sin:
From vilest sinners, change to sons of God,
From earth translate unto the blest abode.
But if those milder measures prove too weak
To bow the stubborn, make the haughty meek;
Make foreigners the subjects of his reign,
Or'rouse the careless, or reform the vain,-
The sovereign Power may exercise the rod,
And manifest himself that he is God;
Before whose throne ten thousands ready stand,
Ministering angels, waiting his command.
These, either join’d or singly, forth he sends,
As he sees meet, to execute his ends:
And, if commission'd from on high, declare
Peace to a kingdom, or to countries, war;
Can slay their thousands, or can thousands spare.
By one, there was, in Hezekiah's reign,
More than an hundred eighty thousand slain,
(Who lay encamp'd) in compass of a night,
The residue surpris’d, and put to flight.
War, dreadful war,* of late has sounded loud, And struck a panic in the thoughtless crowd, That for a moment check'd their fleeting joy, By brutish men, but skilful to destroy. And tho' the frontiers chiefly felt the stroke, Let none presumptuous any more provoke;
Lest the internal parts should also feel,
The force of ball, or strength of savage steel:
But in humility sincerely turn,
And kiss the Son before his anger burn;
Bow down before the awful Judge with fear,
Who is not weak to save, nor slow to hear;
But to the penitent compassion shows,
And pity takes on such as were his foes.
He condescends, in mercy, from above,
To show his banner still is matchless love,
O'er all who truly fear and firm obey,
As faithful subjects of his righteous sway:
For righteous works best demonstrations are,
That faith is orthodox, and love sincere.
Now, with attention and improvement, view Some signal warnings which do here ensue. Some well remember what a num'rous host Of crawling vermin overrun the coast; They stripp'd the forests of their summer's green; The like before in these parts ne'er was seen. Fruit-bearing trees the same disaster knew, Few leaves for spring, or fruit for autumn grew. Thus far allow'd—they take another form, Are now a fly—tho' late a crawling worm: Prudent in nature to preserve their race, They in an ample form and order place Their eggs, in size minute, in numbers vast, O’er which a clammy, slimy juice they cast. Thus, having done their short-liv'd work, they die, Are neither crawling worm nor flutt'ring fly. Their eggs, thus fenc'd from harm, securely lies, Till spring return, and Sol in Taurus rise. When buds were swell’d and first appear'd in green, Were multitudes of feeble insects seen