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Though doomed through many a night
NEW YEAR'S HYMN.
As o'er the past my memory strays,
Why heaves the secret sigh? 'Tis that I mourn departed days,
Still unprepared to die. The world, and worldly things beloved,
My anxious thoughts employed;
Presents a fearful void.
Chase from my labouring breast;
grace can do the rest.
And when thy sure decree
O speed my soul to thee!
With toilsome steps when I pursue
O'er breaking clods the ploughshare's way,
My native dissoluble clay.
TO THEE all praises let me give,
Whose breath inform’d, and bade me live. Pleas'd, I behold the stately stem
Support its bearded honour's load; Thus, Lord, sustain'd by thee I came
To manhood, through youth's dang’rous road. Purging from noxious herbs the grain,
Oh! may I learn to purge my mind From sin, rank weed of deepest stain,
Nor leave one baleful root behind. When blasts destroy the op’ning ear,
Life, thus replete with various woe, Warns me to shun, with studious care,
Pride, my most deadly latent foe. When harvest comes, the yellow crop
Prone to the reaper's sickle yields; And I beneath death's scythe must drop,
And soon or late forsake these fields.
in silent hoards, Sleep for awhile, to service dead; Thy emblem this, 0 Grave ! affords
The path to life, which all must tread.
A Dialogue between the Flesh and the Spirit.
[BAXTER.] Flesh. What! become nothing ! ne'er persuade me God made me something; and I'll not undo it. [to it.
Spirit. Thy something is not thine, but his that gave it. Resign to him, if thou mean to save it.
Flesh. God gave me life: and shall I choose to die Before my time, or pine in misery?
Spirit. God is thy life : if then thou fearest death; Let him be all thy soul, thy pulse, and breath.
Flesh. What! must I hate myself? whenas my brother Must love me! and I may not hate another?
Spirit. Loath what is loathsome. Love God, in the rest He truly loves himself, that loves God best.
Flesh. Doth God our ease and pleasure to us grudge ? Or doth religion make a man a drudge ?
Spirit. That is thy poison which thou callest pleasure : And that thy. drudgery which thou count'st thy treasure.
Flesh. Who can endure to be thus mewed up? And under laws for every bit and cup?
Spirit. God's cage is better than the wilderness. When winter comes, liberty brings distress.
Flesh. Pleasure's man's happiness: the will's not free To choose our misery : this cannot be.
Spirit. God is man's end : with him are highest joys. Sensual pleasures are but dreams and toys. Should sin seem sweet? Is Satan turn'd thy friend ? Will not thy sweet prove bitter in the end ? Hast thou found sweeter pleasures than God's love? Is a fool's laughter like the joys above? Beauty surpasseth all deceitful paints : What's empty mirth to the delights of saints ?
God would not have thee bave less joy, but more :
Flesh. Who can love baseness, poverty, and want?
Spirit. He that hath laid his treasure up above ;
Flesh. What good will sorrow do us ? Is not mirth,
Flesh. Affliction's bitter: life will soon be done:
Spirit. Prosperity is barren: all men say
Flesh. Nature made me a man, and gave me sense :
Spirit. Nature bath made thee rational; and reason
Reason's the rider; sense is but the horse :
Flesh. Religion is a dull and heavy thing,
Spirit. Cupid bath stuck a feather in thy cap;
Flesh. Why should I think of what will be to-morrow? An ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow. [thee?
Spirit. But where's that mirth when sorrows overtake Will it then hold when life and God forsake thee? Forgetting death or Hell will not prevent it. Now lose thy day, thou'lt then too late repent it.
Flesh. Must I be pain's and wronged, and not feel? As if my heart were made of Aint or steel?
Spirit. Dost thou delight to feel thy hurt and smart? Would not an antidote preserve thy heart ? Impatience is but self-tormenting folly : Patience is cordial, easy, sweet, and holy. Is not that better wbich turns grief to peace, Than that which doth thy misery increase ?