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In man or woman, but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers
415 And serves the altar, in my soul I loath All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn ; Object of my implacable disgust. What !—will a man play tricks, will he indulge A silly fond conceit of his fair form
420 And just proportion, fashionable mien And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the diamond on his lily hand, And play his brilliant parts before my eyes
425 When I am hungry for the bread of life? He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames His noble office, and instead of truth Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock. Therefore avaunt! all attitude and stare
430 And start theatric, practised at the glass. I seek divine simplicity in him Who handles things divine; and all beside, Though learn'd with labour, and though much admired By curious eyes and judgements ill-inform’d, 435 To me is odious as the nasal twang Heard at conventicle 20, where worthy men Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
20 In the first edition thus
At conventicle heard, where worthy men.
Hudibras, 1. ii. 438.
Dispensary, Canto iv.
Through the prest nostril, spectacle-bestrid.
460 And quaint in its deportment and attire, Can lodge an heavenly mind,-demands a doubt.
He that negotiates between God and man, As God's ambassador, the grand concerns Of judgement and of mercy, should beware 465 Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful To court a grin, when you should woo a soul; To break a jest, when pity would inspire Pathetic exhortation; and to address The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
470 S. C.-9.
When sent with God's commission to the heart.
Oh, popular applause 21 ! what heart of man
490 Respectful of the smutch'd artificer Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb The bias of the purpose. How much more Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and polite, In language soft as adoration breathes ?
495 Ah spare your idol! think him human still;
21 The love of praise, howe'er conceal'd by art,
Reigns more or less, and glows, in every heart;
Young. Satire i. 22 Another lean unwashed artificer,
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too;
505 But falsely. Sages after sages strove In vain, to filter off a chrystal draught Pure from the lees, which often more enhanced The thirst than slaked it, and not seldom bred Intoxication and delirium wild.
510 In vain they push'd enquiry to the birth And spring-time of the world, asked, whence is man? Why form’d at all? And wherefore as he is? Where must he find his Maker ? With what rites Adore him ? Will He hear, accept, and bless ? Or does he sit regardless of his works? Has man within him an immortal seed ? Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive His ashes, where ? and in what weal or woe? Knots worthy of solution, which alone
520 A Deity could solve. Their answers vague And all at random, fabulous and dark, Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life Defective and unsanction'd, proved too weak To bind the roving appetite, and lead
525 Blind Nature to a God not yet reveal'd. 'Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts, Explains all mysteries except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life
535 To Athens or to Rome for wisdom short Of man's occasions, when in Him reside Grace, knowledge, comfort, an unfathom'd store ? How oft when Paul has served us with a text, Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully preach'd !
540 Men that, if now alive, would sit content And humble learners of a Saviour's worth, Preach it who might 23. Such was their love of truth, Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too.
And thus it is. The pastor, either vain 545 By nature, or by flattery made so, taught To gaze at his own splendour, and to exalt Absurdly, not his office, but himself; Or unenlighten'd, and too proud to learn, Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach, Perverting often by the stress of lewd And loose example, whom he should instruct, Exposes and holds up to broad disgrace The noblest function, and discredits much The brightest truths that man has ever seen. For ghostly counsel, if it either fall Below the exigence, or be not back'd 23 Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure
intent Would have been held in high esteem with Paul.
Milton, Sonnet xix.