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LXXVI. THE ABSOLVED SINNER. THINK'st thou the Church, to give the sinner rest,

Has dar'd assume a more than human sway?

What by her Lord's high will she justly may, She does. To ease the soul, its sin confest, Which humbly sues relief, her Lord's behest

She names, his promis'd boon, the appointed way,

The absolving words ; nor fails of God to pray,
To seal the sentence in his name exprest.
Deems she that thus is purgd the sinner's spot,

If faithless, unrepentant; or to her
Heaven's empery belongs ?-Believe it not!

Full well she knows, to pardon and to spare Is God's prerogative: well knows she, what

The heaven-ward road, and what the passport there.

:

LXXVII. THE SICK RESTORED. On thy dim eye, how many a cheerless day,

And many a weary night, hath nature frown'd!

Day was 10 thee as night: for sickness round
Thy pillow clung, and darkness the glad ray
Of light obscur'd. Now forth thou wendest gay

With life renew'd: now teems the unwonted ground

For thee with flowers of Eden; and each sound
Is to thine ear a spring-time roundelay.
Quaff from the air its music! from the flower

Its sweetness quaff! But fail not thanks to yield
To Him who made them, and to thee the power

Restores to taste their beauties! He repeal'd The impending sentence: He affliction's hour

Has chang’d to joy: He smote and He has heal'd. raging in the town. The unexpected sight produced in me a solemn feeling, which vented itself as above.

LXXVIII. FRUITS OF SICKNESS. And wilt thou now that God hath rais'd thee up,

The vows, the promises, thy conscience made,

What time beneath God's chastening rod afraid
Thou drank'st submissive of affliction's cup,
Wilt thou in health perform ? Or wilt thou stoop

Again to sin, as if thou wouldst upbraid

God for his kindness, all thy debt unpaid
Of gratitude, foregone thy Christian hope,
Thy tears, and pray’rs for pardon?-If misus'd

God's grace, bethink thee lest thy end be worse
Than thy beginning! Mercy's boon refus'd

Shall fall in judgment on the soul perverse That slights the gift; and goodness long abus'd

Convert the intended blessing to a curse.

LXXIX.* TIMELY PREPARATION. Who, when the pilot warns, would lose the tide

By casting pebbles on the glassy sea ?

Who to weave garlands in the flowery lea Would far from home the waning hours abide ? What racer from his course would turn aside

To pick up apples from Hesperian tree!

What soldier, striving for the mastery,
Waste in Campanian sloth his manhood's pride ?
CHRISTIAN, be wise! The tide is at its height, ,

Which now may waft thee to the wish’d-for shore : Thy home's away, and swift the moments' flight:

The goal, the crown's right on, thine eyes before : The trumpet calls to gird thee for the fight;

Hark! now it sounds, but soon shall sound no more ! LXXX. THE DEATH-BED. Full of deep learning is the bed of death!

When this lov'd world is fading from the sense,

And the soul feels the body's impotence; And things, which lurk'd disguis’d, self-love beneath Take their own shape : and what remains of breath

Is spent in pray'r, and sighs of penitence

For life's misdoings; and the next step hence Leads to the demon's flames, or angel's wreath : Who would not then the paths of sin disclaim ?

Who would not then to God for mercy fly,
And plead the bulwark of a Saviour's name?
Oh, on that name in health may

I rely;
On that my faith, by that my practice, frame;
And live to Christ, that I in Christ

may

die !

LXXXI.* THE SUDDEN DEATH. He was an alien from the House of God!

Admonish'd oft, his grief he oft exprest,

And better things for time to come profest, For time to come he hoped for! yet untrod The church-ward path still left he, till the rod

Smote him, what time amid the drunken feast

His unnerv'd throat the unswallow'd morsel prest, And now he lies beneath the church yard sod ! What's now his place, and whither he is gone,

Who rashly dares pronounce ? But who can hear His fate, nor breathe a wish that he had known

To tread with reverence and holy fear God's courts, or ere before God's judgment throne

The accusing Angel bade his soul appear?

LXXXII. THE DYING CRIMINAL. His life was spent in sin, and, often owed,

Was paid the law's just forfeit. But at last

Ere from the death-doom'd frame the spirit past The outward marks of penitence he showed; With faith, 'twas said, with love, with transport glowed;

Nor want there some, by whom he's surely class’d

With God's elect in glory. Who would blast Hope's opening bud for him, the heavenward road Who seems e'en thus to seek ?-Yet who

may

dare Pronounce him blest, for who can rightly weigh His fate and late repentance ?—Leave him where

God's word has left him. Thou meanwhile obey The calls of palpable duty; nor forbear

Till night's approach the labor of the day!

LXXXIII. THE OBEDIENT DISCIPLE. MORE sure we deem the obedient Christian's meed,

Who near his end by duty's pathway draws !

His the prompt zeal, to serve his Father's cause;
The lowly heart, to feel and own its need;
The faith, the Saviour's righteousness to plead,

And use his means of grace; the love, his laws

To keep; with hope, not heedless of the applause
To heavenly thoughts and holy deeds decreed.
Peace be to those, who on God's altar lay

Their life's late gleanings, scant thro' lengthen'd crime, But glean’d in shame and sorrow? Happier they,

Who sow to God in nature's genial prime; And to the Harvest's LORD their fulness pay,

The strength and glory of the golden time!

LXXXIV. THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS. Wouldst thou the Christian's death triumphant die,

Live thou the Christian's life!—To fight the fight

Of God, supported by the Spirit's might, And in the Saviour's name; to fix the eye Fast on the prize, and strive for mastery;

To keep the faith's rich Jewel, whole and bright:

Such aim accomplish'd was the heart's delight 1
Of dying Paul: such aim be thine to try!
So move thou duly on to reach the goal!
So

may God's Spirit with thine own attest Thy heavenly sonship, and his peace control

Earth's anxious thoughts ! So, meet to join the blest, His gentle breath shed comfort on thy soul,

The pledge and earnest of eternal rest.

a

LXXXV. THE PASSING BELL. That sound upon my ears falls heavily !

It is the PASSING Bell, the deep slow toll

Which speaks the transit of a deathless soul,
Call'd from its mortal tenement to fly,
And of the unseen world the secrets try.

A few hours more, wrapt in its funeral stole,

Death's winding sheet, that bell again shall knoll
The body hence, in its long home to lie,
Till the angel's trump arouse it. Do not say,

'Tis a vain sound, that passing spirit's sign! But warn'd, awhile thy heart withdraw away

From this world's toys; to heavenly themes incline; And think, “ The solemn knell, which sounds to-day

A brother's fate, to-morrow may be mine!”

1 2 Tim. iv. 6, 7.

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