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And there admit me, one short struggle o'er,
Where death, and fin, and sorrow are no more?
But, O my father! how Ihall he sustain
This load of woe, this heart-oppressing pain !
Cancell'd at once to view high heaven's decree
Of blessings to his future race in me!
His hopes all blafted, all his comforts fled,
Grief to the grave must bow his hoary head.
Him, though the op'ning scenes my thoughts employ,
Of heaven and raptures of immortal joy:
Yet him with deep anfiction I condole,
And feel his anguish in my inmoft foul.”
With just rebuke the patriarch mild replies; “ In vain, my son, thy anxious terrors rise.
Think it thou that change affects th' eternal will? Hath God once said, and shall not he fulfil? Revolving time must bring the dreadful day When heaven and earth diffolv'd shall pass away : At once the glorious universal flame Shall shrink like parchinent crackling in the fame; Ruin o'er total nature shall prevail, But not one tittle of his word can fail. Thee, the just heir of all my hopes to come, His goodness gave me from the barren womb: Thee, the same goodness, sacrific'd and lain, Can raise and quicken into life again. Or as the seed, though from the lower's hand It dies and rots beneath the furrow'd land, Soon with new strength reviv'd, eslays to rise, And seeks the genial influence of the skies;
The rip’ning ears a rich abundance yield,
And golden harvests crown the smiling field.
So from what here the hallow'd pile mult burn,
Ev’n from thy ashes sleeping in their úrn,
A new corporeal fyftem he may frame,
And re-inspire the animating flame.
Events to come, and fate by GOD design'd,
The counsels of his own omniscient mind,
Himself alone surveys; but here we rest,
That what he wills must be, and must be best.
'Tis his to man his pleasure to display:
Ours to adore, to tremble, and obey.
Yet, had it rather pleas’d the will divine
To spare my Ifaac's life, and call for mine,
In her own tenor to let nature run,
Nor bid the fire survive the slaughter'd fon;
How had I then (my course all faithful found,
My end by God's express acceptance crown'd)
How had I joy'd to hear his orders spoke?
Bow'd my old head submissive to the stroke :
In praise refign'd my last expiring breath,
And met with transport the embrace of death!"
He faid, and both the sacred rite prepare,
And both pour out their souls in ardent pray'r,
And humbly hope heaven's mightiest aid to find,
To wake each latent virtue in their mind.
And now the altar blaz’d, and now display'd
Abraham advanc'd aloft his glitt'ring blade,
With ftrenuous zeal repreft his inward woe,
And rais'd his trembling hand to ftrike the blow:
When lo! effulgent with amazing light,
A form celestial stood before his fight;
Less glorious shines, his rapid race to run
Forth issuing from his eastern goal, the sun;
The patriarch gaz'd, nor speech nor motion found,
And dropt his lifted weapon to the ground.
A sweet regard the pitying angel show'd,
And thus his folemn words complacent flow'd :
“ Sheath, Abraham, sheath the sword; in gracious part
Accepts th' Almighty thy obedient heart,
For the full forfeit takes thy service done,
And freely gives thee thy devoted fon.
Now hear, thou faithful man, whilft I unfold
Successive scenes, illustrious to behold,
Of fame to thee, and wond'rous love design'd,
In thy diftinguish'd race to human-kind.
Try if thou canst by numb’ring to explore
All the loose atoms on the sandy fhore;
Or upwards turn thy penetrating eye,
And count the radiant spangles of the sky:
Like these shall Isaac's progeny outgo
What bounds or thought can reach or number show.
From his fam'd feed, as heaven its aid supplies,
Shall states be form'd, and mighty empires rise,
And kings, ordain'd in future realms to thine,
Shall boast their royal stock deriv'd from thine.
But one fair branch God's larger love must share,
His chosen people, his peculiar care:
Himself confeft, fhall own their favor'd cause,
Conduct their counsels, and prescribe their laws.
Himself shall raise, inspir’d with matchless might,
In rule their judges, and their chiefs for fight.
How oft' for them shall his fierce wrath confound
The faithless nations gather'd all around !
How oft' shall raise his wonder-working sway,
And turn old nature from her destin'd way,
To crush whoe'er their conqu’ring arms withstand,
And plant his people in the promis’d land !
Whilst the vain world to impious rites refign'd,
To lusts abandon'd, and to reason blind,
Stray in the dark; to them, to them alone
Shall heaven's pure will and genuine truth be known:
Religion shall be theirs, her sacred ray
Shall wisdom pour to guide them in the way.
For this shall rev'rend seers, divinely taught,
God's great designs imprest upon their thought,
From age to age his gradual word display,
And shed the chearful dawning of the day;
Till in full light MESSIAH's self shall rise,
Sprung from thy feed, descending from the skies;
Stupendous union! heaven and earth combin'd!
Incarnate GOD, to rescue lost mankind !
With him, erst fled from sin's polluting stain,
Shall ancient virtue visit earth again;
Peace sent from heaven shall bless the world below,
And like the spreading fea shall knowledge flow.
Mercy divine MESSIAH shall bring down
To finful man, and mighty in renown
Shall break hell's power and death's tyrannic chain,
And end the long approach of Satan's reign.”
He said : and instant, pleas'd whilst they pursue The great ideas, vanilh'd from their view; A thousand thoughts their reas'ning powers controul, And deep amazement fills the lab'ring soul. Yet all they could to thew their just regard, A beast they bring, for sacrifice prepar'd, And, his free grace with holy vows implor’d, Burn the vicarious victim to the LORD. Then pond'ring all the wonders of the day, With hearts exulting, homeward bend their way.
WRITTEN UNDER AN HOUR GLASS,
IN A GROTTO NEAR THE SIDE OF A RIVER.
HIS bubbling stream not uninstructive flows,
Nor idly loiters to its distant main, Each flower it feeds that on its margin grows, And bids thee blush, whose days are spent in vain.
Nor void of moral, tho' unheeded, glides
Time's current stealing on with filent haste;
For lo! each falling fand his folly chides,
Who lets one precious moment run to waste.