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Swift-darting sharks, and whales of hideous size,
Whom all the aquatic world with terror eyes!
Had I but faith immoveable and true,
I might defy the fiercest storm, like
The world, a more disturb'd and boisterous sea,
When Jesus shows a smile, affrights not me;
He hides me, and in vain the billows roar,
Break harmless at my feet, and leave the shore.
Thou azure vault, where through the gloom of night, Thick sown, we see such countless worlds of light! Thou Moon, whose car encompassing the skies, Restores lost nature to our wondering eyes, Again retiring when the brighter Sun Begins the course he seems in haste to run, Behold him where he shines! His rapid rays, Themselves unmeasured, measure all our days; Nothing impedes the race he would pursue, Nothing escapes his penetrating view, A thousand lands confess his quickening heat, And all he cheers are fruitful, fair, and sweet.
Far from enjoying what these scenes disclose,
I feel the thorn, alas! but miss the rose:
Too well I know this aching heart requires
More solid good to fill its vast desires;
In vain they represent His matchless might,
Who call'd them out of deep primeval night;
Their form and beauty but augment my woe:
I seek the Giver of those charms they show:
Nor, Him beside, throughout the world He made,
Lives there in whom I trust for cure or aid.
Infinite God, thou great unrival'd ONE! Whose glory makes a blot of yonder sun;
Compared with thine, how dim his beauty seems,
How quench'd the radiance of his golden beams!
Thou art my bliss, the light by which I move;
In Thee alone dwells all that I can love;
All darkness flies when Thou art pleased to appear,
A sudden spring renews the fading year;
Where'er I turn I see thy power and grace,
The watchful guardians of our heedless race;
Thy various creatures in one strain agree,
All, in all times and places, speak of Thee;
Even I, with trembling heart and stammering tongue,
Attempt thy praise, and join the general song.
Almighty Former of this wondrous plan,
Faintly reflected in thine image, Man,—
Holy and just, the greatness of whose name
Fills and supports this universal frame,
Diffused throughout the infinitude of space,
Who art Thyself thine own vast dwelling place;
Soul of our soul, whom yet no sense of ours
Discerns, eluding our most active powers;
Encircling shades attend thine awful throne,
That veil thy face, and keep thee still unknown,
Unknown, though dwelling in our inmost part,
Lord of the thoughts, and Sovereign of the heart!
Repeat the charming truth that never tires,
No God is like the God my soul desires!
He at whose voice heaven trembles, even He,
Great as he is, knows how to stoop to me.
Lo! there he lies,—that smiling infant said,
"Heaven, earth, and sea exist!"-and they obey'd.
Even He, whose Being swells beyond the skies,
Is born of woman, lives, and mourns, and dies;
Eternal and Immortal, seems to cast
That glory from his brows, and breathes his last. Trivial and vain the works that man has wrought, How do they shrink and vanish at the thought!
Sweet solitude, and scene of my repose!
This rustic sight assuages all my woes.-
That crib contains the Lord, whom I adore ;
And earth's a shade, that I pursue no more.
He is my firm support, my rock, my tower,
I dwell secure beneath his sheltering power,
And hold this mean retreat for ever dear,
For all I love, my soul's delight, is here.
I see the Almighty swathed in infant bands,
Tied helpless down the thunder-bearer's hands,
And, in this shed, that mystery discern,
Which Faith and Love, and they alone, can learn.
Ye tempests, spare the slumbers of your Lord!
Ye zephyrs, all your whisper'd sweets afford!
Confess the God, that guides the rolling year;
Heaven, do him homage; and thou, Earth, revere !
Ye shepherds, monarchs, sages, hither bring
Your hearts an offering, and adore your King!
Pure be those hearts, and rich in faith and love;
Join in his praise, the harmonious world above;
To Bethlehem haste, rejoice in his repose,
And praise him there for all that He bestows!
Man, busy Man, alas! can ill afford
To obey the summons, and attend the Lord;
Perverted reason revels and runs wild,
By glittering shows of pomp and wealth beguiled,
And blind to genuine excellence and grace,
Finds not her author in so mean a place.
Ye unbelieving! learn a wiser part,
Distrust your erring sense, and search your heart;
There, soon ye shall perceive a kindling flame
Glow for that infant God, from whom it came;
Resist not, quench not, that divine desire,
Melt all your adamant in heavenly fire!
Not so will I requite thee, gentle Love!
Yielding and soft this heart shall ever prove;
And every heart beneath thy power should fall,
Glad to submit, could mine contain them all.
But I am poor; oblation I have none,
None for a Saviour, but Himself alone:
Whate'er I render Thee, from Thee it came;
And, if I give my body to the flame,
My patience, love, and energy divine
Of heart and soul and spirit, all are thine.
Ah, vain attempt to expunge the mighty score!
The more I pay, I owe thee still the more.
Upon my meanness, poverty, and guilt,
The trophy of thy glory shall be built;
My self-disdain shall be the unshaken base,
And my deformity its fairest grace;
For destitute of good and rich in ill,
Must be my state and my description still.
And do I grieve at such an humbling lot?
Nay, but I cherish and enjoy the thought.
Vain pageantry and pomp of earth, adieu!
I have no wish, no memory for you;
The more I feel my misery, I adore
The sacred Inmate of my soul the more;
Rich in his love, I feel my noblest pride
Spring from the sense of having nought beside.
In Thee I find wealth, comfort, virtue, might;
My wanderings prove Thy wisdom infinite;
All that I have I give thee; and then see
All contrarieties unite in thee;
For Thou hast join'd them, taking up our woe,
And pouring out thy bliss on worms below,
By filling with thy grace and love divine
A gulf of evil in this heart of mine.
This is, indeed, to bid the valleys rise,
And the hills sink, 'tis matching Earth and Skies!
I feel my weakness, thank thee, and deplore
An aching heart, that throbs to thank thee more;
The more I love thee, I the more reprove
A soul so lifeless, and so slow to love;
Till, on a deluge of thy mercy toss'd,
I plunge into that sea, and there am lost.
GOD NEITHER KNOWN NOR LOVED BY THE WORLD.
YE Linnets, let us try, beneath this grove,
Which shall be loudest in our Maker's praise!
In quest of some forlorn retreat I rove,
For all the world is blind, and wanders from his
That God alone should prop the sinking soul,
Fills them with rage against his empire now: I traverse earth in vain from pole to pole,
To seek one simple heart, set free from all below.