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An evidence of things not seen,
A substance firm whereon to lean.
Go search the cottager's lone room,
The day scarce piercing thro' the gloom;
The Christian on his dying bed,
Unknown, unletter'd, hardly fed ;
No flattring witnesses attend,
To tell how glorious was his end ;
Save in the book of life, his name
Unheard, he never dreamt of fame.
No human consolation near,
No voice to soothe, no friend to cheer.
Of every earthly stay bereft,
And nothing — but his Saviour left.
Fast sinking to his kindred dust,
The Word of Life is still his trust.
The joy God's promises impart
Lies like a cordial at his heart;
Unshaken faith its strength supplies,
He loves, believes, adores, and dies !
The great Apostle ceases ; – then
To holy James resigns the pen :
James, full of faith and love, no doubt,
The practical and the devout.
Ye rich, the saint indignant cried,
Curs’d are all riches misapplied !
Abhorr'd the wealth which useless lies,
When merit claims, or hunger cries !
The wise alike with scorn behold
The hoarded as the squander'd gold.
In man opposing passions meet
The liberal feelings to defeat:
PLEASURE and AVARICE both agree
To stop the tide of charity :
Though each detests the other's deeds,
The same effect from both proceeds :
Cursd is the gold, or såv’d, or spent,
Which God for mercy's portion meant:
Chemists in transmutation bold
Attempt to make base metals gold.
Let Christians then transmute their pelf
To something nobler than itself;
On heaven their rescued wealth bestow,
And send it home before they go:
He will the blest deposit own:
Who seals the pardon, gives the crown.
PETER the bold, who perils hail'd, Who promis'd much, and much he failid; Peter the generous, rash, and warm, Who lov'd his Lord, but shrunk from harm; Peter the coward and the brave, Denying Him he wish'd to save ; O Peter, what reproachful word, What dagger keen, what two-edged sword, Could pierce thy bosom like the last, Last look thy Saviour on thee cast? That speechless eloquence divine, No pen, no pencil can define. Peter, how bitter were thy tears ! Remorse absorb’d thy guilty fears.
Still, Peter, did thy risen Lord, Conqueror of death, his grace afford; Not to the men of faith approved, Not to the saint whom Jesus loved,
It was to heal thy broken heart,
Comfort to anguish to impart :
Yes — 'twas to Peter that by name
Alone the glorious tidings came.
Now mark the wond'rous power of grace:
His character has changed its face;
The noblest attitude assumes : .
Who now on his own strength presumes ?
Where now his fears ? we only see
True Christian magnanimity.
Who now the foremost to declare
His grand commission ? who to dare
The standard of the Cross to raise,
And his ador’d Redeemer praise ?
Applause he scorn'd, however true,
But gave the glory where 'twas due.
With what majestic grace he rose,
Fearless of all surrounding foes ;
Brought the old Scriptures to apply
His argument from prophecy :
From miracles which well accord,
He prov'd that Jesus was the Lord.
When requisite in some hard case
To check deceit, unmask the base,
'Twas Peter's office : see him dare
Seize the prevaricating pair. *
One question stops the fraudful breath,
And blasts them both with instant death.
Ask you what truth he lov'd to teach,
What theme he hasten'd first to preach ?
REPENTANCE ! — What he felt he taught:
A mighty change his preaching wrought.
The fruits were equal to the zeal ;
They best can teach who deepest feel.
Crown'd were his labours : Peter died
A martyr to the CRUCIFIED.
With love his pure EPISTLES fraught, John teaches what his Gospel taught : He needs no argument to prove, Save his own heart, that God is love.
JUDE, what his letter wants in length,
Redeems by energy and strength.
Confirms the truth from revelation
Of Enoch’s marvellous translation.
Hear him in awful terms declare,
The mis’ries which the ungodly share !
Clouds without water, dark yet dry,
Spots in the feasts of charity;
Trees withering, destitute of fruit,
Exterminated branch and root.
Now in its pomp and dread array,
He summons to the judgment-day.
O, what conflicting trains of thought
Has this amazing image brought !
0, what a fire this spark has kindled,
Of terror and of transport mingled,
Spirits who lost their first estate
Retaining their immortal hate!
The bold impenitent shall hear
His doom : his sentence blank despair :
The hypocrite detected lie,
Naked, laid bare to every eye.
To crown the horrors which await,
All feel the justice of their fate.
Their fears their punishment foretell,
And conscience does the work of hell.
They as the acmé of their pain,
Acquit their Judge, themselves arraign.
No shelter now from rocks or caves,
No refuge from the fiery waves ;
What wonder, wildly if they call
The mountains on their heads to fall.
Then see the Man of Sorrows found,
The Lord of life and glory crown'd.
Jesus appears, as Enoch paints,
Surrounded by ten thousand saints.
Lo! heaven and earth their tribute bring
Of glory to the eternal king!
Angels, archangels, each degree
Of heaven's celestial hierarchy!
The noble martyrs' valiant band
Before their conqu’ring Captain stand :
T'he goodly prophets here behold
Fulfillid the scenes they once foretold :
Their Lord encircling, here we see
The Apostles' glorious company,
Heaven kindly veils from human sight
All that great day will bring to light.
Extremes of bliss, extremes of woe,
This dread tribunal shall bestow,
The crown of faith, the consummation
Of deathless, hopeless desperation.