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And though my tale be somewhat longer,
I trust you'll find it vastly stronger.
I'll tell you, Daniel, of a man,
The holiest since the world began,
Who now God's favor is receiving,
For prompt obeying, not believing.
One only son this man possessed,
In whom his righteous age was blessed;
And more to mark the grace of Heaven,
This son by miracle was given.
And from this child the Word divine
Had promised an illustrious line.
When, lo! at once a voice he hears,
Which sounds like thunder in his ears.
God says Go sacrifice thy son!'
-This moment, Lord, it shall be done.'
He goes, and instantly prepares
To slay this child of many prayers.
Now, here you see the grand expedience
Of works, of actual sound obedience.
This was not faith, but act and deed :
The Lord commands—the child shall bleed.
Thus Abraham acted,” Jenny cried;
“ Thus Abraham trusted,” Dan replied.
“ Abraham!” quoth Jane, “why, that's my man;"
“No, Abraham's him I mean," says Dan.
“ He stands a monument of faith ;”
“ No, 'tis for works, the Scripture saith."
“ 'Tis for his faith that I defend him;"
“ 'Tis for obedience I commend him."
Thus he-thus she—both warmly feel,
And lose their temper in their zeal;
Too quick each other's choice to blame,
They did not see each meant the same.
At length, “Good wife," said honest Dan,
“ We're talking of the self-same man.
The works you praise, I own, indeed,
Grow from that faith for which I plead;
And Abraham, whom for faith I quote.
For works deserves especial note:
'Tis not enough of faith to talk;
A man of God with God must walk :
Our doctrines are, at last, the same;
They only differ in the name.
The faith I fight for, is the root;
The works you value, are the fruit.
How shall you know my creed's sincere,
Unless in works my faith appear?
How shall I know a tree's alive,
Unless I see it bear and thrive?
Your works not growing on my root,
Would prove they were not genuine fruit.
If faith produce no works, I see,
That faith is not a living tree.
Thus faith and works together grow;
No separate life they e'er can know:
They're soul and body, hand and heart :
What God hath joined, let no man part.”
Two gardeners once beneath an oak
Lay down to rest, when Jack thus spoke-
“ You must confess, dear Will, that Nature
Is but a blundering kind of creature;
And I—nay, why that look of terror ?
Could teach her how to mend her error."
“ Your talk," quoth Will, “is bold and odd;
What you call Nature, I call God.”
Well, call him by what name you will,"
Quoth Jack,“ he manages but ill;
Nay, from the very tree we're under,
I'll prove that Providence can blunder.”
Quoth Will, “ Through thick and thin you dash;
I shudder, Jack, at words so rash;
I trust to what the Scriptures tell-
He hath done always all things well.”
Quoth Jack, “ I'm lately grown a wit,
And think all good a lucky hit.
To prove that Providence can err,
Not words, but facts, the truth aver.
To this vast oak lift up thine eyes,
Then view that acorn's paltry size;
How foolish, on a tree so tall,
To place that tiny cup and ball !
Now look again ; yon pompion* see;
It weighs two pounds at least, nay three;
Yet this large fruit, where is it found?
Why, meanly trailing on the ground.
Had Providence asked my advice,
I would have changed it in a trice;
I would have said, at Nature's birth,
• Let acorns creep upon the earth;
But let the pompion, vast and round,
On the oak's lofty boughs be found.""
He said—and as he rashly spoke,
Lo! from the branches of the oak,
A wind, which suddenly arose,
Beat showers of acorns on his nose.
“O! O!” quoth Jack, “ I'm wrong, I see
And God is wiser far than me.
For did a shower of pompions large
Thus on my naked face discharge,
I had been bruised and blinded quite ;
What Heaven appoints I find is right;
Whene'er I'm tempted to rebel,
I'll think how light the acorns fell;
Whereas on oaks had pompions hung,
My broken skull had stopped my tongue
* A gourd.
A WORTHY squire, of sober life,
Had a conceited, boasting wife :
Of him she daily made complaint;
Herself she thought a very saint.
She loved to load mankind with blame,
And on their errors build her fame.
Her favorite subject of dispute
Was Eve and the forbidden fruit.
“ Had I been Eve," she often cried,
“ Man had not fallen, nor woman died;
I still had kept the orders given,
Nor for an apple lost my heaven;
To gratify my curious mind
I ne'er had ruined all mankind ;
Nor, from a vain desire to know,
Entailed on all my race such wo."
The squire replied, “ I fear 'tis true
The same ill spirit lives in you;
Tempted alike, I dare believe
You would have disobeyed, like Eve."
The lady stormed, and still denied
Sin, curiosity, and pride.
The squire, some future day at dinner.
Resolved to try this boastful sinner;
He grieved such vanity possessed her,
And thus in serious terms addressed her:
“Madam, the usual splended feast,
With which our wedding-day is graced,
With you I must not share to day,
For business summons me away.
Of all the dainties I've prepared,
I beg not any may be spared;
Indulge in every costly dish;
Enjoy, 'tis what I really wish;
Only observe one prohibition,
Nor think it a severe condition;
On one small dish, which covered stands,
You must not dare to lay your hands;
Go-disobey not, on your life,
Or henceforth you're no more my wife.”
The treat was served, the squire was gone,
The murmuring lady dined alone :
She saw whate'er could grace a feast,
Or charm the eye, or please the taste;
But while she ranged from this to that,
From venison haunch to turtle fat,
On one small dish she chanced to light,
By a deep cover hid from sight :
“O! here it is—yet not for me !
I must not taste, nay, dare not see;
Why place it there ? or why forbid
That I so much as lift the lid ?
Prohibited of this to eat,
I care not for the sumptuous treat;
I wonder if 'tis fowl or fish;
To know what's there I merely wish.
I'll look-O no; I lose for ever,
If I'm betrayed, my husband's favor.
I own I think it vastly hard,
Nay, tyranny, to be debarred.
John, you may go—the wine's decanted ;
I'll ring or call you when you're wanted.”
Now left alone, she waits no longer;
Temptation presses more and stronger.
“ I'll peep—the harm can ne'er be much,
For though I peep, I will not touch;
Why I'm forbid to lift this cover,
One glance will tell, and then 'tis over.
My husband's absent; so is John;
My peeping never can be known.”
Trembling, she yielded to her wish,
And raised the cover from the dish :
She starts—for, lo! an open pie,
From which six living sparrows fly.