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And for that cause those promises detest,
With which our Saviour did his church invest;
But strive to evade, and fear to find them true,
As conscious they were never meant to you;
All which the mother-church asserts her own,
And with unrivalled claim ascends the throne.
So, when of old the Almighty Father sate
In council, to redeem our ruined state,
Millions of millions, at a distance round,
Silent the sacred consistory crowned,
To hear what mercy, mixt with justice, could propound;
All prompt, with eager pity, to fulfil
The full extent of their Creator's will:
But when the stern conditions were declared,
A mournful whisper through the host was heard,
And the whole hierarchy, with heads hung down,
Submissively declined the ponderous proffer'd crown.
Then, not till then, the Eternal Son from high
Rose in the strength of all the Deity;
Stood forth to accept the terms, and underwent
A weight which all the frame of heaven had bent,
Nor he himself could bear, but as Omnipotent.
Now, to remove the least remaining doubt,
That even the blear-eyed sects may find her out,
Behold what heavenly rays adorn her brows,
What from his wardrobe her beloved allows,
To deck the wedding-day of his unspotted spouse!*
Behold what marks of majesty she brings,
Richer than ancient heirs of eastern kings!
Her right hand holds the sceptre and the keys,
To show whom she commands, and who obeys;
With these to bind, or set the sinner free,
With that to assert spiritual royalty.
One in herself, not rent by schism, but sound,
Entire, one solid shining diamond;
Not sparkles shattered into sects like you:
One is the church, and must be to be true;
One central principle of unity;
As undivided, so from errors free;
As one in faith, so one in sanctity.
Thus she, and none but she, the insulting rage
Of heretics opposed from age to age;
Still when the giant-brood invades her throne, She stoops from heaven, and meets them half way down,
And with paternal thunder vindicates her crown.
But like Egyptian sorcerers you stand,
And vainly lift aloft your magic wand,
To sweep away the swarms of vermin from the land; You could, like them, with like infernal force, Produce the plague, but not arrest the course. But when the boils and blotches, with disgrace And public scandal. sat upon the face,
Themselves attacked, the Magi strove no more, They saw God's finger, and their fate deplore; Themselves they could not cure of the dishonest
Thus one, thus pure, behold her largely spread,
Like the fair ocean from her mother-bed;
From east to west triumphantly she rides,
All shores are watered by her wealthy tides.
* The magicians imitated Moses in producing the frogs which infested Egypt; but they could not relieve from that, or any of the other plagues. By that of boils and blains they were afflicted themselves, like the other Egyptians. "And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians." Exod. ix. 11.
The gospel-sound, diffused from pole to pole, Where winds can carry, and where waves can roll, The self-same doctrine of the sacred page Conveyed to every clime, in every age.
Here let my sorrow give my satire place,
To raise new blushes on my British race.
Our sailing ships like common-sewers we use,
And through our distant colonies diffuse
The draught of dungeons, and the stench of stews;
Whom, when their home-bred honesty is lost,
We disembogue on some far Indian coast,
Thieves, pandars, palliards,* sins of every sort;
Those are the manufactures we export,
And these the missioners our zeal has made;
For, with my country's pardon, be it said,
Religion is the least of all our trade.
Yet some improve their traffic more than we;
For they on gain, their only god, rely,
And set a public price on piety.
Industrious of the needle and the chart,
They run full sail to their Japonian mart;
Preventing fear, and, prodigal of fame,
Sell all of Christian to the very name, †
Nor leave enough of that to hide their naked
Thus, of three marks, which in the creed we view, Not one of all can be applied to you;
Much less the fourth. În vain, alas! you seek
The ambitious title of apostolic:
God-like descent! 'tis well your blood can be
Proved noble in the third or fourth degree;
For all of ancient that you had before,
I mean what is not borrowed from our store,
Was error fulminated o'er and o'er ;
Old heresies condemned in ages past,
By care and time recovered from the blast. *
Tis said with ease, but never can be proved,
The church her old foundations has renioved,
And built new doctrines on unstable sands:
Judge that, ye winds and rains! you proved her,
yet she stands.
Those ancient doctrines charged on her for new,
Show, when, and how, and from what hands they
We claim no power, when heresies grow bold,
To coin new faith, but still declare the old.
How else could that obscene disease be purged,
When controverted texts are vainly urged?
Το prove tradition new, there's somewhat more
Required, than saying, 'twas not used before.
Those monumental arms are never stirred,
Till schism or heresy call down Goliah's sword.
Thus, what you call corruptions, are, in truth,
The first plantations of the gospel's youth;
Old standard faith; but cast your eyes again,
And view those errors which new sects maintain,
Or which of old disturbed the church's peaceful
And we can point each period of the time,
When they began, and who begot the crime;
Can calculate how long the eclipse endured,
Who interposed, what digits were obscured;
Of all which are already passed away,
We know the rise, the progress, and decay.
Despair at our foundations then to strike,
Till you can prove your faith apostolic;
* Alluding to the doctrines of Wiccliff and the Lollards, condemned as heresies in their own times, but revived by the reformers.
A limpid stream drawn from the native source;
Succession lawful in a lineal course.
Prove any church, opposed to this our head,
So one, so pure, so unconfinedly spread,
Under one chief of the spiritual state,
The members all combined, and all subordinate
Show such a seamless coat, from schism so free,
In no communion joined with heresy ;-
If such a one you find, let truth prevail ;
Till when, your weights will in the balance fail;
A church unprincipled kicks up the scale.
But if you cannot think, (nor sure you can
Suppose in God what were unjust in man,)
That He, the fountain of eternal grace,
Should suffer falsehood for so long a space
To banish truth, and to usurp her place;
That seven successive ages should be lost,
And preach damnation at their proper cost;
That all your erring ancestors should die,
Drowned in the abyss of deep idolatry;
If piety forbid such thoughts to rise,
Awake, and open your unwilling eyes:
God hath left nothing for each age undone,
From this to that wherein he sent his Son;
Then think but well of him, and half your work
See how his church, adorned with every grace,
With open arms, a kind forgiving face,
Stands ready to prevent her long-lost son's embrace!
Not more did Joseph o'er his brethren weep,
Nor less himself could from discovery keep,
* About seven hundred years elapsed between the departure of the church of Rome from the simplicity of the primitive Christians, and the dawn of the Reformation.