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Through all dry places wandering, still in quest,
Like lawless fiends, of some unhallowed rest ;—
The love of truth is genuine, when combined
With unaffected humbleness of mind.
He values most, who feels with sense acute
His own deep interest in the grand pursuit ;
Who heaven-ward spreads his undiverted wing,
Godly simplicity the moving spring.
No meaner power can regulate his flight,
Too much is staked upon his going right.
Dry, heartless speculation may succeed,
Where the sole object is to frame a creed;
The sophist's art may suit their eager quest,
Who only aim to prove their creed the best ;
But no such views his anxious search control,
Who loves the truth because he loves his soul.
Truth is but one with Heaven, in his esteem,
The sparkling spring of life's eternal stream;
And hence, with equal singleness of heart,
He traces out each less essential part :
No worldly motives can his views entice;
He parts with all to gain the pearl of price.
Why is opinion, singly as it stands,
So much inherited like house and lands?
Whence comes it that from sire to son it goes,
Like a dark eyebrow or a Roman nose?
How comes it, too, that notions, wrong or right,
Which no direct affinities unite,
On every side of party ground, one sees,
Clung close together like a swarm of bees?
Where one is held, through habit, form, or force,
The rest are all consented to of course,
As though combined by some interior plot;
Is it necessity, or chance, or what?
Where'er the undiscovered cause be sought,
No man would trace its origin to thought:
Then shall we say, with leave of Dr. Gall,
It comes to pass from thinking not at all?
Though man a thinking being is defined,
Few use the grand prerogative of mind :
How few think justly of the thinking few!
How many never think, who think they do!
Opinion, therefore,—such our mental dearth,—
Depends on mere locality or birth.
Hence, the warm tory, eloquent and big
With loyal zeal, had he been born a whig,
Would rave for liberty with equal flame,
No shadow of distinction but the name.
Hence, Christian bigots, 'neath the pagan cloud,
Had roared for "great Diana" just as loud;
Or, dropped at Rome, at Mecca, or Pekin,
For Fo, the prophet, or the man of sin.
Much of the light and soundness of our creed, Whate'er it be, depends on what we read.
How many clamor loudly for their way,
Who never heard what others have to say!
Fixed where they are, determined to be right,
They fear to be disturbed by further light;
And where the voice of argument is heard,
Away they run, and will not hear a word;
Form notions vague, and gathered up by chance,
Or mere report, of what you might advance;
Resolve the old frequented path to tread,
And still to think as they were born and bred.
Besides this blind devotion to a sect,
Custom produces much the same effect.
Our desks with piles of controversy groan;
But still, alas! each party's with its own.
Each deems his logic must conviction bring,
If people would but read, but there's the thing!
The sermons, pamphlets, papers, books, reviews,
That plead our own opinions, we peruse;
And these alone,—as though the plan had been
To rivet all our prejudices in.
'Tis really droll to see how people's shelves,
Go where you will, are labelled like themselves.
Ask if your neighbor-he whose party tone,
Polemic, or political, is known—
Sees such a publication-naming one
That takes a different side, or sides with none-
And straight, in flat, uncomfortable-wise,
That damps all further mention, he replies,
"No, sir, we do not see that work-I know
Its general views,-we take in so and so."
Thus each retains his notions, every one;
Thus they descend complete from sire to son;
And hence the blind contempt so freely shown
For every one's opinions but our own.
How oft from public or from private pique,
Conscience and truth are not allowed to speak!
Reasons might weigh that now are quite forgot,
If such a man or party urged them not;
But oh, what logic strong enough can be,
To prove that they have clearer views than we!
In times like ours, 'twere wise if people would
Well scrutinize their zeal for doing good.
A few plain questions might suffice, to prove
What flows from party, what from Christian love.
-Our prayers are heard-some Mussulman, at last,
Forsakes his prophet-some Hindoo his caste;
Accepts a Saviour, and avows the choice :—
How glad we are! how much our hearts rejoice!
The news is told and echoed, till the tale
Howe'er reviving, almost waxes stale.
-A second convert gospel grace allures—
Oh, but this time he was not ours but yours!
It came to pass we know not when or how;
-Well, are we quite as glad and thankful now?
Or can we scarce the rising wish suppress,
That we were honored with the whole success?
There is an eye that marks the ways of men
With strict, impartial, analyzing ken:
Our motley creeds, our crude opinions, lie
All, all unveiled to that omniscient eye.
He sees the softest shades by error thrown;
Marks where His truth is left to shine alone;
Decides with most exact, unerring skill,
Wherein we differ from His word and will.
No specious names nor reasonings, to His view
The false can varnish, or deform the true;
Nor vain excuses e'er avail, to plead
The right of theory for the wrong of deed.
Before that unembarrassed, just survey,
What heaps of refuse must be swept away!
How must its search from every creed remove
All but the golden grains of truth and love!
Yet with compassion for our feeble powers;
For, oh! his thoughts and ways are not as ours.
-There is a day, in flaming terrors bright,
When truth and error shall be brought to light.
But who shall rise, amid the shining throng,
To boast that he was right, and you were wrong ?
When each rejoicing saint shall veil his face,
And none may triumph, but in glorious grace!
No meaner praise shall heavenly tongues employ:
Yet they shall reap the more abundant joy,
Who sought His truth, with simple, humble aim
To do His will, and glorify His name.
Hymn for the two hundredth Anniversary of the Settlement of Charlestown, Mass.-PIERPONT.
Two hundred years!-two hundred years!-
How much of human power and pride,
What glorious hopes, what gloomy fears,
Have sunk beneath their noiseless tide!
The red man, at his horrid rite,
Seen by the stars at night's cold noon,— His bark canoe, its track of light
Left on the wave beneath the moon ;
His dance, his yell, his council fire,
The altar where his victim lay,
His death-song, and his funeral pyre,
That still, strong tide hath borne away.
And that pale pilgrim band is gone,
That, on this shore, with trembling trod, Ready to faint, yet bearing on
The ark of freedom and of God.
And war-that, since, o'er ocean came,
And thundered loud from yonder hill,
And wrapped its foot in sheets of flame,
To blast that ark-its storm is still.
Chief, sachem, sage, bards, heroes, seers, That live in story or in song,
Time, for the last two hundred years,
Has raised, and shown, and swept along.
'Tis like a dream when one awakesThis vision of the scenes of old; 'Tis like the moon when morning breaks; 'Tis like a tale round watch-fires told.
Then what are we !-then what are we! Yes, when two hundred years have rolled O'er our green graves, our names shall be A morning dream, a tale that's told.
God of our fathers,-in whose sight
The thousand years, that sweep away