1 TO speak for GOD, to sound Religion's Praise,
2 Of sacred Passions the wise Warmth to raise;
3 T' infuse the Contrite wish to Conquest nigh,
4 And point the Steps mysterious as they lie;
5 To seize the Wretch in full Career of Lust,
6 And sooth the silent Sorrows of the Just:[Page 59]
7 Who would not bless for This the Gift of Speech,
8 And in the Tongue's Beneficence be rich?
9 But who must talk? Not the mere modern Sage
10 Who suits the soften'd Gospel to the Age;
11 Who ne'er to raise degen'rate Practice strives,
12 But brings the Precept down to Christian's Lives.
13 Not He, who Maxims from cold Reading took,
14 And never saw Himself but thro' a Book:
15 Not He, who Hasty in the Morn of Grace,
16 Soon sinks extinguish'd as a Comet's Blaze.
17 Not He, who strains in Scripture-phrase t' abound
18 Deaf to the Sense, who stuns us with the Sound:
19 But He, who Silence loves; and never dealt
20 In the false Commerce of a Truth Unfelt.
21 Guilty you speak, if subtle from within
22 Blows on your Words the Self-admiring Sin:
23 If unresolv'd to choose the Better Part,
24 Your forward Tongue belies your languid Heart,
25 But then speak safely, when your peaceful Mind
26 Above Self-seeking blest, on GOD reclin'd,
27 Feels Him at once suggest unlabour'd Sense,
28 And ope a Sluce of sweet Benevolence.
29 Some high Behasts of Heav'n you then fulfil,
30 Sprung from his Light your Words, and issuing by his Will.
31 Nor yet expect so Mystically long,
32 Till Certain Inspiration loose your Tongue:
33 Express the Precept runs, "Do good to all;"
34 Nor adds, "Whene'er you find an inward Call."
35 'Tis GOD commands: no farther Motive seek,
36 Speak or without, or with Reluctance speak:
37 To Love's Habitual Sense by Acts aspire,
38 And kindle, till you catch the Gospel-Fire.
39 Discoveries immature of Truth decline,
40 Nor prostitute the Gospel Pearl to Swine.
41 Beware, too rashly how you speak the whole,
42 The Vileness, or the Treasures of your Soul.
43 If spurn'd by some, where weak on Earth you lie,
44 If judg'd a Cheat or Dreamer, where you fly;
45 Here the Sublimer Strain, th' exerted Air
46 Forego; you're at the Bar, not in the Chair.
47 To the pert Reas'ner if you speak at all,
48 Speak what within his Cognizance may fall:
49 Expose not Truths Divine to Reason's Rack,
50 Give him his own belov'd Ideas back,
51 Your Notions till they look like His, dilute;
52 Blind he must be — but save him from Dispute!
53 But when we're turn'd of Reason's noontide Glare,
54 And Things begin to shew us what they are,
55 More free to such your true Conceptions tell;
56 Yet graft them on the Arts where they excel.
57 If springhtly Sentiments detain their Taste;
58 If Paths of various Learning they have trac'd;
59 If their cool Judgment longs, yet fears to fix:
60 Fire, Erudition, Hesitation mix.
61 All Rules are dead: 'tis from the Heart you draw
62 The living Lustre, and unerring Law.
63 A State of Thinking in your Manner show,
64 Nor fiercely soaring, nor supinely low:
65 Others their Lightness and each inward Fault
66 Quench in the Stilness of your deeper Thought,
67 Let all your Gestures fixt Attention draw,
68 And wide around diffuse infectious Awe;
69 Present with GOD by Recollection seem,
70 Yet present, by your Chearfulness, with Them.
71 Without Elation Christian Glories paint,
72 Nor by fond am'rous Phrase assume the Saint.
73 Greet not frail Men with Compliments untrue,
74 With smiles to Peace confirm'd and Conquest due,
75 There are who watch t' adore the Dawn of Grace,
76 And pamper the young Proselyte with Praise:
77 Kind, humble Souls! They with a right good Will
78 Admire his Progress — till he stands stock still.
79 Speak but to Thirsty Minds of things Divine,
80 Who strong for Thought, are free in yours to join.
81 The Busy from his Channel parts with Pain,
82 The Lanquid loaths an Elevated Strain:
83 With these you aim but at good-natur'd Chat,
84 Where all, except the Love, is low and flat.
85 Not one Address will diff'rent Tempers fit.
86 The Grave and Gay, the Heavy and the Wit.
87 Wits will sift you; and most Conviction find
88 Where least 'tis urg'd, and seems the least design'd.
89 Slow Minds are merely passive; and forget
90 Truths not inculcated: to these repeat,
91 Avow your Counsel, nor abstain from Heat.
92 Some gentle Souls, to gay Indiff'rence true,
93 Nor hope, nor fear, nor think the more for you.
94 Let Love turn Babbler here, and Caution sleep,
95 Blush not for shallow Speech, nor muse for deep;
96 These to your Humour, not your Sense attend,
97 'Tis not th' Advice that sways them, but the Friend.
98 Others have large Recesses in their Breast,
99 With pensive Process all they hear digest:
100 Here well-weigh'd Words with wary Foresight sow,
101 For all you say will sink, and ev'ry Seed will grow.
102 At first Acquaintance press each Truth severe,
103 Stir the whole Odium of your Character:
104 Let harshest Doctrines all your Words engross,
105 And Nature bleeding on the Daily Cross.
106 Then to yourself th' Ascetic Rule enjoin,
107 To others stoop surprizingly benign;
108 Pitying, if from Themselves with Pain they Part,
109 If stubborn Nature long holds out the Heart.
110 Their Outworks now are gain'd; forbear to press
111 The more you urge them, you prevail the less;
112 Let Speech lay by its Roughness to oblige,
113 Your speaking Life will carry on the Siege:
114 By your Example struck, to GOD they strive
115 To live, no longer to Themselves alive.
116 To positive Adepts insidious yield,
117 T' ensure the Conquest, seem to quit the Field:
118 Large in your Grants; be their Opinion shown:
119 Approve, amend — and wind it to your own.
120 Couch in your Hints, if more resign'd they hear,
121 Both what they will be soon, and what they are:
122 Pleasing These Words now to their conscious Breast,
123 Th' anticipating Voice hereafter blest.
124 In Souls just wak'd the Paths of Light to choose,
125 Convictions keen, and Zeal of Pray'r infuse.
126 Let them love Rules; till freed from Passion's Reign,
127 Till blameless Moral Rectitude they gain.
128 But lest reform'd from each Extremer Ill,
129 They should but Civilize old Nature still,
130 The loftier Charms and Energy display
131 Of Virtue model'd by the Godhead's Ray;
132 The Lineaments Divine, Perfection's Plan,
133 And all the Grandeur of the Inner Man. [Page 63]
134 Commences thus the Agonizing Strife
135 Previous to Nature's Death, and second Life:
136 Struck by their own inclement piercing Eye,
137 Their feeble Virtues blush, subside and die;
138 They view the Scheme that mimick Nature made,
139 A fancy'd Goodness, and Religion's Shade;
140 With angry Scorn they now reject the whole,
141 Unchang'd their Heart, undeify'd their Soul;
142 Till Indignation sleeps away to Faith,
143 And GOD's own Pow'r and Peace take root in sacred Wrath.
144 Aim less to Teach than Love. The Work begun
145 In Words, is crown'd by artless Warmth alone.
146 Love to your Friend a Second Office owes,
147 Yourself and Him before Heav'ns Footstool throws:
148 You place his Form as Suppliant by your Side,
149 (A helpless Worm, for whom the Saviour dy'd)
150 Into his Soul call down th' Eternal Beam,
151 And longing ask to spend, and to be spent for Him.