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To put forth all his ardor, all his art,
Of his idea, whose indulgent thought And give his soul her full unbounded flight, Long, long. ere chaos teem'd, plann'd human bliss. But reaching him, who gave her wings to fly.
What wealth in souls that soar, dive, range When blind ambition quite mistakes her road,
around, And downward pores, for that which shines above, Disdaining limit, or from place or time; Substantial happiness, and true renown;
And hear at once, in thought extensive, hear Then, like an idiot gazing on the brook,
Th' Almighty fiat, and the trumpet's sound ! We leap at stars, and fasten in the mud;
Bold, on creation's outside walk, and view At glory grasp, and sink in infamy.
What was, and is, and more than e'er shall be ; Ambition! powerful source of good and ill! Commanding, with omnipotence of thought, Thy strength in man, like length of wing in birds, Creations new in fancy's field to rise ! When disengag'd from Earth, with greater ease, Souls, that can grasp whate'er th’ Almighty made, And swifter flight, transports us to the skies ; And wander wild through things impossible! By toys entangled, or in gilt bemir'd,
What wealth, in faculties of endless growth, It turns a curse ; it is our chain, and scourge, In quenchless passions violent to crave, In this dark dungeon, where confin'd we lie, In liberty to choose, in power to reach, Close grated by the sordid bars of sense ;
And in duration (how thy riches rise!) All prospect of eternity shut out;
Duration to perpetuate-boundless bliss ! And, but for erecution, ne'er set free.
Ask you, what power resides in feeble man With error in ambition justly charged,
That bliss to gain ? Is virtue's, then, unknown ? Find we Lorenzo wiser in his wealth?
Virtue, our present peace, our future prize. What if thy rental I reform ? and draw
Man's unprecarious, natural estate, An inventory new to set thee right?
Improvable at will, in virtue lies; Where thy true treasure? Gold says, “ Not in me:" Its tenure sure; its income is divine. And, " Not in me," the diamond. Gold is poor ; High-built abundance, heap on heap! for what? India 's insolvent; seek it in thyself,
To breed new wants, and beggar us the more ; Seek in thy naked self, and find it there;
Then make a richer scramble for the throng? In being so descended, form'd, endow'd;
Soon as this feeble pulse, wbich leaps so long Sky-born, sky-guided, sky-returning race!
Almost by miracle, is tir'd with play, Erect, immortal, rational, divine!
Like rubbish from disploding engines thrown, In senses which inherit Earth, and Heavens ; Our magazines of hoarded trifles fly; Enjoy the various riches Nature yields ;
Fly diverse ; fly to foreigners, to foes; Far nobler! give the riches they enjoy ;
New masters court, and call the former fool Give taste to fruits; and harmony to groves ; (How justly!) for dependence on their stay. Their radiant beams to gold, and gold's bright fire; Wide scatter, first, our playthings; then, our dust. Take in, at once, the landscape of the world, Dost court abundance for the sake of peace? At a small inlet, which a grain might close, Learn, and lament thy self-defeated scheme : And half-create the wondrous world they see.
Riches enable to be richer still; Our senses, as our reason, are divine.
And, richer still, what mortal can resist? But for the magic organ's powerful charm, Thus wealth (a cruel task-maker!) enjoins Earth were a rude, uncolor'd chaos, still.
New toils, succeeding toils, an endless train Objects are but th' occasion ; ours th' exploit ; And murders peace, which taught it first to shine Ours is the cloth, the pencil, and the paint, The poor are half as wretched as the rich; Which Nature's admirable picture draws ; Whose proud and painful privilege it is, And beautifies creation's ample dome.
At once, to bear a double load of woe; Like Milton's Eve, when gazing on the lake, To feel the stings of envy, and of want, Man makes the matchless image, man admires. Outrageous want! both Indies cannot cure. Say, then, shall man, his thoughts all sent abroad, A competence is vital to content. Superior wonders in himself forgot,
Much wealth is corpulence, if not disease ; His admiration waste on objects round,
Sick, or encumber'd, is our happiness. When Heaven makes him the soul of all he sees? A competence is all we can enjoy. Absurd ! not rare! so great, so mean, is man. O be content, where Heaven can give no more! What wealth in senses such as these! What wealth More, like a flash of water from a lock, In fancy, fir'd to form a fairer scene
Quickens our spirits' movement for an hour; Than sense surveys! In memory's firm record, But soon its force is spent, nor rise our joys Which, should it perish, could this world recall Above our native temper's common stream. From the dark shadows of o'erwhelming years ! Hence disappointment lurks in every prize, In colors fresh, originally bright,
As bees in flowers; and stings us with success. Preserve its portrait, and report its fate!
The rich man, who denies it, proudly feigns ; What wealth in intellect, that sovereign power, Nor knows the wise are privy to the lie. Which sense and fancy summons to the bar; Much learning shows how little mortals know ; Interrogates, approves, or reprehends;
Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy ; And from the mass those underlings import, At best, it babies us with endless toys, From their materials sifted, and refin’d,
And keeps us children till we drop to dust. And in truth's balance accurately weigh'd, As monkeys at a mirror stand amaz'd, Forms arl, and science, government, and law ; They fail to find what they so plainly see; The solid basis, and the beauteous frame,
Thus men, in shining riches, see the face The vitals, and the grace of civil life!
Of happiness, nor know it is a shade ; And manners (sad exception !) set aside,
But gaze, and touch, and peep, and peep again Strikes out, with master-hand, a copy fair And wish, and wonder it is absent still.
How few can rescue opulence from want! Is swallow'd in Eternity's vast round. Who lives to nature, rarely can be poor;
To that stupendous view when souls awake, Who lives to fancy, never can be rich.
So large of late, so mountainous to man, Poor is the man in debt; the man of gold, Time's toys subside ; and equal all below. In debt to Forlune, trembles at her power.
Enthusiastic, this? Then all are weak, The man of reason smiles at her, and death. But rank enthusiasts. To this godlike height O what a patrimony this! A being
Some souls have soar'd; or martyrs ne'er had bled. Of such inherent strength and majesty,
And all may do, what has by man been done. Not worlds possest can raise it ; worlds destroy'd Who, beaten by these sublunary storms, Can't injure ; which holds on its glorious course, Boundless, interminable joys can weigh, When thine, O Nature! ends; too blest to mourn Unraptur'd, unexalted, uninflam'd ? Creation's obsequies. What treasure, this! What slave unblest, who from to-morrow's dawn The monarch is a beggar to the man.
Expects an empire? He forgets his chain, Immortal ! Ages past, yet nothing gone ! And, thron'd in thought, his absent sceptre waves. Morn without eve! a race without a goal!
And what a sceptre waits us! what a throne! Unshorten'd by progression infinite!
Her own immense appointments to compute, Futurity for ever future! Life
Or comprehend her high prerogatives, Beginning still where computation ends !
In this her dark minority, how toils, 'Tis the description of a Deity!
How vainly pants, the human soul divine ! 'Tis the description of the meanest slave :
Too great the bounty seems for earthly joy; The meanest slave dares then Lorenzo scorn? What heart but trembles at so strange a bliss ? The meanest slave thy sovereign glory shares. In spite of all the truths the Muse has sung, Proud youth ! fastidious of the lower world! Ne'er to be priz'd enough! enough revolv'd ! Man's lawful pride includes humility:
Are there who wrap the world so close abont them, Stoops to the lowest; is too great to find
They see no further than the clouds; and dance Inferiors; all immortal ! brothers all !
On heedless Vanity's fantastic toe, Proprietors eternal of thy love.
Till, stumbling at a straw, in their career,
(song! Immortal! What can strike the sense so strong, Headlong they plunge, where end both dance and As this the soul? It thunders to the thought; Are there, Lorenzo ? Is it possible ? Reason amazes ; gratitude o'erwhelms;
Are there on Earth (let me not call them men) No more we slumber on the brink of fate; Who lodge a soul immortal in their breasts ; Rous'd at the sound, th' exulting soul ascends, Unconscious as the mountain of its ore; And breathes her native air; an air that feeds Or rock, of its inestimable gem? Ambitions high, and fans ethereal fires ;
When rocks shall melt, and mountains vanish, these Quick kindles all that is divine within us; Shall know their treasure ; treasure, then, no more. Nor leaves one loitering thought beneath the stars. Are there (still more amazing!) who resist
Has not Lorenzo's bosom caught the fame? The rising thought? who smother, in its birth, Innmortal! Were but one immortal, how
The glorious truth? who struggle to be brutes ! Would others envy! How would thrones adore ! Who through this bosom-barrier burst their way, Because 'tis common, is the blessing lost?
And, with revers'd ambition, strive to sink? How this ties up the bounteous hand of Heaven! Who labor downwards through th' opposing powers O vain, vain, vain, all else! Eternity!
of instinct, reason, and the world against them, A glorious, and a needful refuge, thal,
To dismal hopes, and shelter in the shock From vile imprisonment, in abject views. of endless night; night darker than the grave's! "Tis immortality, 'tis that alone,
Who fight the proofs of immortality ? Amid life's pains, abasement, emptiness,
With horrid zeal, and execrable arts, The soul can comfort, elevate, and fill.
Work all their engines, level their black fires, That only, and that amply, this performs;
To blot from man this attribute divine, Lists us above life's pains, her joys above; (Than vital blood far dearer to the wise) Their terror those, and these their lustre lose ; Blasphemers, and rank atheists to themselves ? Eternity depending covers all;
To contradict them, see all Nature rise ! Eternity depending all achieves ;
What object, what event, the Moon beneath, Sets Earth at distance ; casts her into shades; But argues, or endears, an after-scene ? Blends her distinctions ; abrogates her powers; To reason proves, or weds it to desire ? The low, the lofty, joyous, and severe,
All things proclaim it needful ; some advance Fortune's dread frowns, and fascinating smiles, One precious step beyond, and prove it sure. Make one promiscuous and neglected heap, A thousand arguments swarm round my pen, The man beneath ; if I may call him man, From Heaven, and Earth, and man. Indulge a few Whom immortality's full force inspires.
By Nature, as her common habit, worn; Nothing terrestrial touches his high thought; So pressing Providence a truth to teach, Suns shine unseen, and thunders roll unheard, Which truth untaught, all other truths were vain By minds quite conscious of their high descent, Thou! whose all-providential eye surveys, Their present province, and their future prize ; Whose hand directs, whose spirit filis and warms Divinely darting upward every wish,
Creation, and holds empire far beyond!
Doubt you this truth? Why labors your belief? Of two eternities amazing Lord !
Thy glorious immortality in man :
Of moment infinite! but relish'd most
Renounce his reason, rather than renounce
Nature, thy daughter, ever-changing birth O what indignity to deathless souls !
What treason to the majesty of man!
Of man immortal! Hear the lofty style : And he who most consults her, is most wise. “ If so decreed, th’ Almighty Will be done. Lorenzo, to this heavenly Delphos haste ;
Let Earth dissolve, yon ponderous orbs descend, And come back all-immortal; all-divine :
And grind us into dust. The soul is safe ; Look Nature through, tis revolution all;
The man emerges; mounts above the wreck, All change; no death. Day follows night, and night As towering flame from Nature's funeral pyre; The dying day; stars rise, and set, and rise ; O’er devastation, as a gainer, smiles ; Earth takes th' example See, the Summer gay, His charter, his inviolable rights, With her green chaplet, and ambrosial flowers, Well pleas'd to learn from thunder's impotence, Droops into pallid Autumn: Winter grey,
Death's pointless darts, and Hell's defeated storms." Horrid with frost, and turbulent with storm,
But these chimeras touch not thee, Lorenzo! Blows Autumn, and his golden fruits, away: The glories of the world thy sevenfold shield. Then melts into the Spring : soft Spring, with breath Other ambition than of crowns in air, Favonian, from warm chambers of the south, And superlunary felicities, Recalls the first. All, to re-flourish, fades; Thy bosom warm. I'll cool it, if I can; As in a wheel, all sinks, to reascend :
And turn those glories that enchant, against thee. Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.
What ties thee to this life, proclaims the next. With this minute distinction, emblems just, If wise, the cause that wounds thee is thy cure. Nature revolves, but man advances; both
Come, my ambitious ! let us mount together, Eternal, that a circle, this a line.
(To mount, Lorenzo never can refuse); That gravitates, this soars. Th' aspiring soul, And from the clouds, where pride delights to dwell, Ardent, and tremulous, like flame, ascends,
Look down on Earth.—What see'st thou? Won. Zeal and humilily her wings, to Heaven.
drous things! The world of matter, with its various forms, Terrestrial wonders, that eclipse the skies. All dies into new life. Life born from death What lengths of labor'd lands! what loaded seas! Rolls the vast mass, and shall for ever roll. Loaded by man for pleasure, wealth, or war! No single atom, once in being, lost,
Seas, winds, and planets, into service brought, With change of counsel charges the Most High. His art acknowledge, and promote his ends. What hence infers Lorenzo ? Can it be?
Nor can th' eternal rocks his will withstand : Matter immortal? And shall spirit die ?
What level'd mountains! and what lifted vales ! Above the nobler, shall less noble rise ?
O'er vales and mountains sumptuous cities swell, Shall man alone, for whom all else revives, And gild our landscape with their glittering spires. No resurrection know? Shall man alone,
Some 'mid the wondering waves majestic rise ; Imperial man! be sown in barren ground, And Neptune holds a mirror to their charms. Less privileg'd than grain, on which he feeds? Far greater still! (what cannot mortal might ?) Is man, in whom alone is power to prize
See, wide dominions ravish'd from the deep! The bliss of being, or with previous pain
The narrow'd deep with indignation foams.
Or southward turn; to delicate and grand,
How the tall temples, as to meet their gods,
Ascend the skies! the proud triumphal arch Look Nature through, 'tis neat gradation all. Shows us half Heaven beneath its ample bend. By what minute degrees her scale ascends! High through mid-air, here, streams are taught to Each middle nature join'd at each extreme,
flow; To that above is join'd, to that beneath.
Whole rivers, there, laid by in basons, sleep. Parts, into parts reciprocally shot,
Here, plains tum oceans; there, vast oceans join Abhor divorce: what love of union reigns ! Through kingdoms channel'd deep from shore to Here, dormant matter waits a call to life;
shore! Half-life, half-death, join'd there; here life and sense; And chang'd creation takes its face from man. There, sense from reason steals a glimrnering ray; Beats thy brave breast for formidable scenes, Reason shines out in man. But how preserv'd Where fame and empire wait upon the sword ? The chain unbroken upward, to the realms See fields in blood ; hear naval thunders rise ; Of incorporeal life ? those realms of bliss
Britannia's voice! that awes the world to peace. Where death hath no dominion? Grant a make How yon enormous mole, projecting, breaks Half-inortal, half-immortal ; earthy, part,
The mid-sea, furious waves! Their roar amidst, And part ethereal; grant the soul of man Out-speaks the Deity, and says, “O main! Eternal; or in man the series ends.
Thus far, nor farther; new restraints obey." Wide yawns the gap; connexion is no more ; Earth's disembowel'd! measur'd are the skies! Check'd reason halts; her next step wants support; Stars are detected in their deep recess ! Striving to climb, she tumbles from her scheme ; Creation widens! vanquishid Nature yields ! A scheme, analogy pronounc'd so true;
Her secrets are extorted ! art prevails ! Analogy, man's surest guide below.
What monument of genius, spirit, power! Thus far, all Nalure calls on thy belief.
And now, Lorenzo! raptured at this scene, And will Lorenzo, careless of the call,
Whose glories render Heaven superfluous ! say, False attestation on all Nature charge,
Whose footsteps these ?— Immortals have been here. Rather than violate his league with death?
Could less than souls immortal this have done?
Earth's cover'd o'er with proofs of souls immortal : in their favor, and none at all on the wher, And proofs of immortality forgot.
they catch at this reed, they lay hold on this To flatter thy grand foible, I confess,
chimera, to save themselves from the shock and These are ambition's works: and these are great: horror of an immediate and absolute despair. But this, the least immortal souls can do;
On reviewing my subject, by the light which this Transcend them all. But what can these transcend ? argument, and others of like tendency, threw Dost ask me what?-One sigh for the distresl.
upon it, I was more inclined than ever to pursue What then for infidels ? A deeper sigh.
it, as it appeared to me to strike directly at the 'Tis moral grandeur makes the mighty man:
main root of all our infidelity. In the following Ilow little they, who think aught great below! pages, it is, accordingly, pursued at large; and All our ambitions Death defeats, but one;
some arguments for immortality, new at least to And that it crowns. Here cease we: but, ere long, me, are ventured on in them. There also the More powerful proof shall take the field against thee, writer has made an attempt to set the gross abStronger than death, and smiling at the tomb.
surdities and horrors of annihilation in a fuller and more affecting view, than is (I think) to be
met with elsewhere.
The gentlemen, for whose sake this attempi was NIGHT THE SEVENTH.
chiefly made, profess great admiration for the
wisdom of heathen antiquity : what pity it is they THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
are not sincere! If they were sincere, how
would it mortify them to consider, with whist Part II.
contempt and abhorrence their notions would
have been received by those whom they so much Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of admire! What degree of contempt and abhor Immorlality.
rence would fall to their share, may be conjectured by the following matter of faci (in my
opinion) extremely memorable. Of all their hea As we are at war with the power, it were well if we then worthies, Socrates (it is well known) w:
were at war with the manners, of France. A the most guarded, dispassionate, and composed: land of levity is a land of guilt. A serious mind yet this great master of temper was angry ; and is the native soil of every virtue; and the single angry at his last hour; and angry with his friend; character that does true honor to mankind. and angry for what deserved acknowledgment; The soul's immortality has been the favorite angry for a right and tender instance of true theme with the serious of all ages. Nor is it friendship towards him. Is not this surprising? strange; it is a subject by far the most interest- What could be the cause? The cause was for ing, and important, that can enter the mind of his honor; it was a truly noble, though, perhaps man. Of highest moment this subject always too punctilious regard for immortality: for, his was and always will be. Yet this its highest friend asking him, with such an affectionate cu moment seems to admit of increase, at this day; cern as became a friend, Where he should a sort of occasional importance is superadded to deposit his remains ?" it was resented by Socrates the natural weight of it; if that opinion which is as implying a dishonorable supposition, that he advanced in the preface to the preceding Night, could be so mean, as to have a regard for any be just. It is there supposed, that all our infidels, thing, even in himself, that was not inmortal. whatever scheme, for argument's sake, and to This fact, well considered, would make our infidels keep themselves in countenance, they patronize, withdraw their adıniration from Socrates; a are betrayed into their deplorable error, by some make them endeavor, by their imitation of this doubts of their immortality, at the bottom. And illustrious example, to share his glory: and corthe more I consider this point, the more I am sequently, it would incline them to peruse persuaded of the truth of that opinion. Though following pages with candor and impartiality; the distrust of a futurity is a strange error; yet which is all I desire ; and that, for their sakes: it is an error into which bad men may naturally for I am persuaded, that an unprejudiced infidel be distressed. For it is impossible to bid de. must, necessarily, receive some advantageous ille fiance to final ruin, without some refuge in pressions from them. imagination, some presumption of escape. And
July 7, 1744. what presumption there? There are but two in nature ; but two, within the compass of human thought. And these are—That either God will
Contents of the Seventh Night. not, or can not punish. Considering the divine In the Sixth Night, arguments were drawn from attributes, the first is too gross to be digested by Nature, in proof of immortality: here, others are our strongest wishes. And since omnipotence is
drawn from man: from his discontent ; from his as much a divine attribute as holiness, that God passions and powers ; from the gradual growth of cannot punish, is as absurd a supposition as the reason; from his fear of death ; from the nature former. God certainly can punish as long as of hope, and of virtue ; from knowledge and love. wicked men exist. In non-existence, therefore, as being the most essential properties of the soul; is their only refuge ; and, consequently, non- from the order of creation; from the nature of existence is their strongest wish.
ambition ; avarice ; pleasure. A digression ou the wishes have a strange influence on our opinions : grandeur of the passions. Immorlality alone renthey bias the judgment, in a manner almost ders our present state intelligible. An objection incredible. And since on this member of their from the Stoic's disbelief of immortality answered. alternative, there are some very small appearances Endless questions unresolvable, but on suppa
sition of our immortality. The natural, most The cause how obvious, when his reason wakes! melancholy, and pathetic complaint of a worthy His grief is but his grandeur in disguise ; man, under the persuasion of no futurity, The And discontent is immortality. gross absurdities and horrors of annihilation urged Shall sons of ether, shall the blood of Heaven, home on Lorenzo. The soul's vast importance ; Set up their hopes on Earth, and stable here from whence it arises. The difficulty of being With brutal acquiescence in the mire ? an infidel. The infamy, the cause, and the char. Lorenzo! no! they shall be nobly pain d ; acter of an infidel state. What true free-think. The glorious foreigners, distress'd, shall sigh ing is. The necessary punishment of the false. On thrones; and thou congratulate the sigh: Man's ruin is from himself. An infidel accuses Man's misery declares him born for bliss ; himself of guilt, and hypocrisy; and that of the His anrious heart asserts the truth I sing, worst sort. His obligation to Christians. What And gives the sceptic in his head the lie. danger he incurs by virtue. Vice recommended Our heads, our hearts, our passions, and our powers to him. His high pretences to virtue and benevo- Speak the same language; call us to the skies ; lence exploded. The conclusion, on the nature Unripen'd these in this inclement clime, of faith, reason, and hope, with an apology for this Scarce rise above conjecture and mistake ; attempt.
And for this land of trifles those too strong
Tumultuous rise, and tempest human life: HEAVEN gives the needful, but neglected, call. What prize on Earth can pay us for the storm ? What day, what hour, but knocks at human hearts, Meet objects for our passions, Heaven ordain’d, To wake the soul to sense of future scenes?
Objects that challenge all their fire, and leave Deaths stand, like Mercuries, in every way, No fault, but in defect. Blest Heaven! avert And kindly point us to our journey's end.
A bounded ardor for unbounded bliss !
But, after seeble effort here, beneath
A brighter sun, and in a nobler soil, Yes, infinite indulgence plann'd it so;
Transplanted from this sublunary bed, Through various parts our glorious story runs ; Shall flourish fair, and put forth all their bloom. Time gives the preface, endless age unrolls
Reason progressive, instinct is complete ;
The patriarch-pupil would be learning still;
Should set ere noon, in eastern oceans drown'd; Jle, whose blind thought futurity denies,
If fit, with dim, illustrious to compare, Unconscious bears, Bellerophon! like thee, The Sun's meridian with the soul of man. His own indictment; he condemns himself; To man, why, stepdame Nature ! so severe ? Who reads his bosom, reads immortal life ;
Why thrown aside thy masterpiece half-wrought, Or, Nature, there, imposing on her sons,
While meaner efforts thy last hand enjoy? Has written fables; man was made a lie.
Or, if abortively poor man must die, Why discontent for ever harbor'd there? Nor reach, what reach he might, why die in dread ? Incurable consumption of our peace!
Why curst with foresight? Wise to misery?
Why of his proud prerogative the prey ?
And lum the scale in favor of the just!
His immortality alone can solve
Hope, eager hope, th' assassin of our joy,
Hope turns us o'er to death alone for ease. Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast,
Possession, why more tasteless than pursuit ? Sighs on for something more, when most enjoy'd. Why is a wish far dearer than a crown?
Is Heaven then kinder to thy flocks than thee? That wish accomplish’d, why, the grave of bliss ? Not so; thy pasture richer, but remote ;
Because, in the great future buried deep, In part, remote ; for that remoter part
Beyond our plans of empire, and renown, Man bleats from instinct, tho' perhaps, debauch'd Lies all that man with ardor should pursue, By sense, his reason sleeps, not dreams the cause. And he who made him, bent him to the right.
Man's heart th' Almighty to the future sets, * Night the Sixth.
By secret and inviolable springs ;