Canto Ten catalogues the Apostles and describes Christ's ministry.
LOVE to convince the World in whom to lay
The treasure of its Hopes and Confidence,
Proves by a full and glorious Display
What undeniable Omnipotence
Dwelt in his Hand, which alway shelter spread
On those who to its Sanctuary fled.
It is not Beauty, which its blush doth owe
To Pix and Pencil's almes: it is no King
Who maketh on the stage a russling show,
And thunders big imperious words which ring
With awful noise about the Scene, when he
By his next Exit must a Beggar be.
All is not Gold that in a glistering ray
Fairly conceals its foul hipocrisy.
The garish Meteors, though they display
Right-boldly-shining Proofs, will never be
Own'd by the Stars for bretheren; nor can
The Ape, with all his tricks, be genuin Man.
To Maximilian when the Almain Eagle
On her strange wings Art's stately homage bare,
The brave Dissembler only did inveagle
Spectator's faith: for though her pinions were
Tutor'd by sprightful springs the air to cut,
Alas, ev'n whilst she flew she lived not.
The heady Rebel, though all Texts he skrews
To force from Truth confession of a Lye;
Though at the bar of Nature's Laws he sues
To justify unnatural Liberty;
Though Conscience and Religion, the things
He overthrows, he for his groundwork brings;
Though from Success (a firmer Argument
For all th' Odrysian Christian-hating Race,)
He pleads the sanctity of his Intent,
And makes Heav'n Patron of his hell-bred Cause:
In vain strives to transform his hideous Sin,
Which makes him still to Lucifer akin.
The staring Wizzard never yet could by
His mumbling Charms, his heav'n-affronting Wand,
His barbarous Words and Figures, form a Lye
Able against the face of Truth to stand:
Nor can his Master Satan though all Hell
He rends or blends, atchieve a Miracle.
Oft has he ventur'd and strove hard to tread
In those almighty Steps of Heav'n; but still
The Paces were so wide, that all he did
Was but the proof of his aspiring Will.
His Wonders never reach'd above Deceits,
With which imprudent eyes and hearts he cheats.
For how can he who is himself a Part
Of Nature's empire, and must ranked stand
In his created class; by any art
His finite Orbs activity transcend!
What Power of his own can help his Pride
Over his Being's bounded head to ride!
God, God alone is King of Nature; and
Nature no Sovereign but her own will know:
Her ear no sooner drinks in His Command,
But strait her knees, and heart, and statutes bow:
For, all things must be Natural, says she,
Which my Creator's Voice injoineth me.
That Voice the Fountain was whence first she sprung,
And ever since hath been the Rule whereby
She steers her loyal course. That Voice which rung
So loud as to wake Vacuity
Into a full and mighty World, at ease
May in its Parts work Metamorphosies.
Yet seldom it unsheathes its Power, but when
Some high and singular Design's in hand,
Some Mystery of potent Love: and then
The Center dares not in its passage stand,
But must and will give way, and to the top
Of Heaven, in meek submission hasten up.
For what's the Center's close-shrunk knot; or what
All Heav'n and Earth which round about it cling,
If in an equal righteous ballance put
With Love, that little Word but mighty Thing?
Since they, themselves to Love's sole pleasure ow,
How can they to his Will refuse to bow?
Full low they bow'd to it, when from the yoke
Of cruel Pharaoh, Israel's Seed it drew:
Ten famous blows it gave, and every stroke
Some part of Nature in proud Egypt slew:
At length it roll'd the Sea upon an heap,
And op'd the Rebel's graves amidst the Deep.
This fertile made the dry-starv'd Wilderness
In Miracles: This of Heav'n-kindled flames
For Sinai's Temples wreath'd an awful Dress:
This taught th' unlikely Rock to melt in streams,
Bidding the Desert flow, as it before
Had charg'd the Sea to start from either shore.
This order'd Heav'n to rain down Angels' Bread,
And every morning faithfully fulfil
That wonderous task; whence Earth's wide board was spread
With candied Cates, which Banquet lasted till
The liquorish Sun delighted with the test
On that Ambrosia, daily broke his fast.
This made the Wind turn Caterer, and blow
The People Flesh: This gave the Cloud command
By day as usher in their front to go
With cooling shades: This built that walking, and
Bright-flaming Pillar, whose convoying Light
Commission had to banish Night from Night.
The Priest's dread feet This awed Jordan to
Forbear to touch, though through his heart they past:
This arm'd meer Sound against proud Jericho
And storm'd the City by poor Trumpet's Blast,
Whilst those huge Bulwarks which all Rams did scorn,
Fell prostrate down, and yielded to the Horn.
By This more Power to a feebler Sound,
The single Voice of Josua, was given;
Which domineer'd amidst the starry Round,
Against Day's Gyant barracadoing Heav'n,
This made the Clouds their gentle drops forget
And storms of Stones on Israel's Enemies spit.
For two and forty Months This gave the Keys
Of Rain's vast store-house to Elias' hand;
No humid Traveller durst trace the skies
Without a Pass from Him, whose stern command
Quite hardning Nature, plated all the Face
Of Earth with iron, and of Heav'n with brass.
This This impower'd Elisha to repeal
Fate's adamantine Laws, yea even when
Himself lay pris'ner under Death's cold seal
For in his Grave, Mortality's own Den,
Life's Dispensation he managed,
And by his rotten Bones awak'd the Dead.
Yet all these Wonders but Preludiums shew'd,
And glimmering Dawns of that all-dazling Day,
Which was to crown Time's happy Plenitude,
And Miracle's ripe age on Earth display:
For then the Word it self came down, and broke
From human necks the crueler Egypt's yoke.
Decorum's Law requir'd this Time should be
Time's Excellence: Those forgeries by which
The height of all Poetick Industry
Coined the Golden Age, and made it rich
With fancie's gallantry, could never rise
To match this more than Golden Age's price.
Phylax resolved this bright Truth to shew
To his indeared Charge, with whom (for she
Had now awoke) in his swift Coach he flew
High through the yielding clouds, and instantly
Reach'd Palestine's designed Zenith, where
He curb'd his Steeds, and fix'd th' obedient Air.
Psyche admir'd to see the Chariot stand
Firm on so thin a floor: But then, said He,
This Region lies not only in the hand
Of Satan's Power; No, our Authority
Is clearer far, though that Usurper here
The name of Sovereign presumes to wear.
Alas, time was (as he remembers well)
When tumbled headlong from our highest Home,
He could not stop himself, but helpless fell
Through all this Air to his infernal Doom.
Indeed he often crawleth back this way,
Yet 'tis but like a Thief, to steal his prey.
But from this lofty Prospect Thou shalt see
The Stages where thy Lord his Wonders did;
Not all: their number is too vast to be
In one Day's little volume fully read:
And yet as many as shall amply prove
That all his business in this World was Love.
That Tract is Galilee, yon little Town
The place where first his Might abroach he set,
Where he was pleas'd a Marriage Feast to crown
Both with his presence, and approve of it:
He, though a Virgin's Son, was careful to
Assert himself not to be Wedlock's foe.
No; he at first himself contrived it,
A strong and delicately-sacred Tie,
By which indissolubly he might knit
Two Bosoms in one Love's Conspiracy.
Wedlock's that reverend Knot, by which alone
Two are no longer Two, but Both are One.
A Knot thy Lord delights to imitate,
Though in a purer and more mystick way;
Concentring with his Spouse so sweetly, that
He blends his Heart with hers, till amorous they
Cleave in such unity, as makes the Creature
Strangely partaker of its Maker's Nature.
A Knot which only hard and troublous proves
When knit unequally, and to atchieve
Unworthy ends; when free and genuine Loves,
(Whose skill is here the best) may not have leave
To manage their own trade; when Lust doth wear
Affection's face, and Passion domineer.
A Knot to which, until the Protoplast
A pris'ner was, not all the Joys which grew
In blessed Paradise could dress a Feast
Of satisfaction for his Soul: his true
And proper Eden was his precious Wife,
In whom alone he liv'd his dearer Life.
A Knot of silk, yet stronger far than that
Which rais'd the fame of Gordius so high;
A Knot which to no weapon yields, but what
The World's true Conqueror weilds; a Knot which by
His uncontroulled Sithe alone is cut
Whom Fate to mow down all the Earth hath set.
A Knot which cementeth Affection close
Between the Branches and the Root, and binds
Up Families in peace; which hanging loose
By doubtful Lines, as oft as waspish Minds
By Discontent's proud itch were spurred on,
Would split, and into mischief's shivers run.
A Knot which Satan gall'd so deep, that he
Bewitch'd grave Plato's high-esteemed Pen
To preach the Doctrine of Community,
As far more proper for the Weal of Men.
But failing in the moderate Pagan's Plot,
A desperate Christian's likelier tongue he got.
His Antiochean Monster ventur'd to
Spit poison on this wholsom Mystery,
Avouching Nuptial Union to flow
From jarring Hell's invention Hell, said He,
Was that black Shop where Belzebub's own hands
First forg'd and fashion'd Matrimonial Bands.
Unhappy Saturninus, how hast thou
Proved thy self an urcheon of Damnation!
What gainst thou else by fetching from below
Thy Being's Root, which was of Heaven's Plantation?
O most adulterous Soul, whose rank offence
Deflowers the Beds of all the World at once!
But now, kind JESUS, sitting at the Feast,
And adding living Cheer to that dead Meat,
(For on his Face the Eyes of every Guest,
As on the richer Dainties all were set,)
A fit occasion him beseech'd to joyn
To that dry Banquet of his Face some Wine.
The Wine was out: when lo the Virgin Mother
In courteous pity of the Bridegroom's want
(Which she more studious was than he to smother)
Strait to her Son, the fount of all things, went,
And in a blush more lovely than the Bride
Could shew her Groom, the bus'ness signify'd.
But then her Son, (because not hers alone
But also Heaven's, and purposing to show
A token of that high Extraction,)
Waving the precious Name of Mother now
Reply'd, Woman, let the Purveyor see
To that defect, what is't to Me or Thee?
But marking then how Her abashed Eye
Begg'd pardon for her hasty Intimation,
He mollify'd his seeming sharp Reply,
By adding this serene Interpretation:
Tis not thy Charity that I repress.
But its unseasonable forwardness.
The Bus'ness noble is; for Heav'n and I,
Before thy thoughts it enter'd, plotted it:
But yet thou needst not lend us wings to flie,
Who haste enough can make when haste is fit.
The wheels of Time though speedily they run,
Mine hour as yet they have not rolled on.
Know, Psyche, that His hour is Mercy's Cue;
And at Extremity's last gasping Call,
She loves her seasonable Power to shew.
The want of Wine was yet not known to all
The company, whose Souls it did concern
By that, thy Lord's wise Potency to learn.
But when that want was grown notorious, He
With ready Goodness issued his Command,
That six capacious Water-pots should be
Fill'd with their own accustom'd Liquor, and
Drawn for the Guests: when lo, at every spout
The Miracle into the Bowl gush'd out.
He who dull Water taught, by thrilling through
The conduit of the Vine and of the Grape,
To turn to brisk and joyful Wine; did now
Teach it as much by running through the Tap.
The cool and Virgin Nymph drawn from the Pot,
All over blushed, and grew sparkling hot.
The Master of the Feast amazed at
Her looks and spirit, wonder'd whence she came.
Never had his judicious Palate yet
Discover'd such a purely-sprightful Dame.
Not knowing she was made to grace the Feast
By Him who nothing gives but what is Best.
And sure I am that in thy pious Ear
The bare narration relisheth so well,
That with thy thirsty Soul thou drink'st thy share,
And tast's the sweetness of this Miracle.
But for these Pots, that thou but turn'st thy Eye,
An Ocean of Wonders thou mayst spy.
Lo, yonder flows the Sea of Galilee,
Upon whose sandy shore, which He had set
To curb and discipline its waves, as He
Vouchsaf'd to walk, his Eyes an object met
Which mov'd his unrequested Piety
To wooe the Fisher's to a nobler Sea.
Peter and Andrew in that tiresom Main
Catching their Living with their Fish he spy'd
In whom he read the tedious state of vain
And mudling Man, who in the briney Tide
Of this unstable World, his days doth Waste,
And with his Net, Himself into it cast.
So certainly Uncertainty upon
Life's lubrick stage, has learn'd to domineer;
Proud Change in such confounding sport doth run
Here sometimes flowing, sometimes ebbing there;
That solid Earth, no less than fluid Sea
Seems at unsetled Luna's beck to be.
This made Him call aloud, Come, follow me,
And I will you embarck upon the shore,
Yet in a safer, profitabler Sea
Than you have ever fished in before.
Let those mute Things alone, and I will teach
You speaking Fishes readily to catch.
The shouts of Men which in this Age's stream,
Busily scud, as thick and fast shall flow,
Not to those frail and feeble Nets, but them
Which Heav'n's Almigty hand shall weave for you;
Immortal Nets, which know not how to break;
Nets which the universal World shall take.
Scorn, scorn that crazy Hulk of yours; for I
Am come to rig a Royal Ship, in which
You round this mighty Globe, being steered by
My watchful Providence, shall safely reach.
When Heav'n fears being shipwrack'd, then shall this
Stout Bark, which nothing but Heav'n's Kingdom is.
Hast thou not heard how Syrens' Airs have blown
Fond Fishers from their Boats into the Sea;
In whose sharp billows they their Captives drown,
Drowned before in their soft Harmony?
Well then might this strong Charme those Men invite
Into the Ocean of safe Delight.
Once more their Nets they cast, but Cast away,
Meekly ambitious to be Fishes now,
And render up themselves his joyful prey,
Who thus his Net of Love about him threw.
Never adventure had they made like this,
Where being caught themselves they catch'd their Bliss.
They catch'd their Bliss; and though their Anchors held
Their Vessel fast, yet could it not detain
Its ravish'd Owners, who made haste to yield
To this new Trade of more assured gain.
But, Psyche, yonder Place will tell thee how
Wonders by Land as well's by Sea did flow.
For there was seiz'd a fairer harder Prize,
And seized from Exaction's sturdy throne;
Where Levi sate, Lord of a strange Excise,
The heavy mark of Rome's Dominion:
A Knight was he, for none but such were held
Fitting that Legal Cruelty to weird.
That kindly called by thy lovely Lord,
Fishers were well content their Bark to leave,
Less ground to sober wonder doth afford;
Their cold and wet and dirty Trade might drive
Them to an easy Faith, their old Degree
Of Life, by any new advanc'd would be.
A faith, which in the dregs of Time, so far
Abus'd would be, that bold Mechanicks, who
In poor and painful toil ingaged were,
When Sloth and Pride make them too worthy to
Buckle to work, their tools away will throw,
And by this Call, inspir'd Men-fishers grow.
But what, what Charms can Golden Chains outvy,
And break those strong and precious Links which now
Held Levi in such dear Captivity,
That ev'n his Soul close pris'ner was: or how
Can this Poor Master such a Man persuade
To leave Great Cesar, and his thriving Trade.
A stubborn Mountain may more easily be
Convinced to resign his native place,
And heave his mouldering bulk into the Sea:
The Sun may sooner from his princely face
Be won to tear his golden Tire, and damp
With Midnight nasty foot his highnoon Lamp.
Yet, passing by the Office, He no more
Artillery, but this only Word let fly,
Come, Follow me; which forthwith overbore,
In spight of all reluctant Policy,
The startled Seat, the Profit, and the Man,
And turn'd into a Saint the Publican.
He spins out no prudential stay to clear
His busy Book, to set his Reck'nings right,
And all his parcels up to sum: for here
His dearest Total walked in his sight;
And no Account be makes but only this,
That now from Money he remov'd to Bliss.
The World's opinion he revolved not,
Nor how Tiberius this Affront might take;
He weighed not what would be lost, or what
Would not be gain'd he begs no time to seek
His Friend's advice how he his fame might keep,
Nor lingereth to look before he leap.
As from its clogging horrible Abyss,
The World at JESU's Call its bead did rear;
So from the blacker deeper mass of his
Confused Mammon Levi mounteth here,
And bravely follows Him without delay
Who was himself his Leader and his Way.
For Love like Lightning from thy Spouse's Eyes,
Shooting its active sweetness through his Heart,
Into its own obedient Sacrifice,
Whate'r it met did instantly convert.
So sublimate and so refining was
That Fire, that all the Gold it turn'd to Dross.
Doubts, Fears, and Cares, and secular Relations
It quite burnt up; and in his flaming Breast,
Left nothing but the noble Exultations
Of valiant Zeal, which, should its course be cross,
Though with the cumbrous bulk of Earth and Sea,
Would rend its way through all, and Victor be.
Love, Psyche, Love is that most Potent Thing,
To which all other Strength its head submits.
Hence 'tis, that though the Universe's King
Omnipotence's glorious Title fits,
Yet in this sweeter Name of Higher Might
(For God is Love) he takes his prime delight.
Thy Lord his Ordinary Chaplains thus
Call'd out; and Twelve their Mystick number was:
For with this Zodiack He contriv'd to dress
His Grace's Orb through which He meant to pass;
That in as many Signs Himself might run
About his World as do's the other Sun.
In which selected Twelve there wanted not
A peevish scorpion too, which daily bit
The Hand that him had foster'd; and his hot
Invidious venom at his Patron spit;
Proving at length in matchless height of Evil
Against Incarnate God, Incarnate Devil.
Yet such was JESU's most untired Love,
That still he persever'd all stones to roll,
Which might that one in Judas' Bosom move,
And mollify his most obdurate Soul.
For Heav'n forbid that Pity's Lord should fashion
A way to plunge him deeper in Damnation.
O no! may those black Mouths for ever be
Damm'd up with silence, and with shame, which dare
Father the foulest deepest Tyranny
On Love's great God; and needs will make it clear
From his own Word: thus rendring Him at once
Both Cruelty's and Contradiction's Prince.
A Prince whose mocking Law forbids, what yet
Is his eternally-resolved Will;
Who wooes and tantalizes Souls to get
Up into Heav'n, yet destines them to Hell;
Who calls them forth whom be keeps locked in;
Who damns the Sinner, yet ordains the Sin.
Right Egypt's God, the barbarous Crocodile,
Whose weeping Eye the preface drops to that
Destruction, which his own devouring will
Determin'd has. But, Psyche, never let
That thought thy bosom taint, That Heav'n contrives
Those Crimes and Punishments, for which it grieves.
When goodly Vines shall Thorns' vile Mothers be;
And glorious Titan gather of dull Plight;
When ugly Ink's obscure Nativity
Is lineally descended from the white
Womb of Sarmatian Snow; then; nay not then,
May God the Parent be of bastard Sin.
But all the rest were faithful Souls, who stood
True to their Master's Cause, and joy'd to write
Its confirmation in their dearest Blood,
As He had done in his: the sharpest fight
They counted sweetest; glorying that they
His Death might by their own in part repay.
The first of these was Zebedee's first Son,
To whom proud Herod's Sword the way cut ope,
And gave him leave that noble Race to run,
Which leadeth straight to Heav'n's illustrious top.
How little dream'd the Tyrant that he did
Put on his Crown when off he took his Head!
The next was Philip, who with zealous heat
Flew to the North, and hunted out the Ice
From those dull Hearts which ne'r with Heav'n did beat,
But in congealed stupid Ignorance freeze:
For his large scene was rudest Scythia, where
December takes his walk through all the year.
When He that Winter all on Fire had set
With Christian flames, his Fervor brake into
A Clime which warmer Tempers promis'd, but
At his Life's price he found them colder grow:
He found that more than Scythia's barbarous Ice
Bound up the Heart of Hierapolis.
Jove's Name had left no room for JESUS there
And when he tells the People, of the Shames,
The Nails, the Cross, his Lord for them did hear,
He his own Torment's test aforehand names:
Enough of JESUS now, said they, for we
Will quickly make as good a God of thee.
Then piercing, first with cruel Taunts his Ear,
And next with Nails his sacred Hands and Feet,
With acclamations up his Cross they rear;
Where being placed as their fury's Butt,
Of flints (less flinty than themselves) upon him
Pouring a tempest, into Heav'n they stone him.
Thomas, whose Doubts had fix'd his Faith so fast,
That neither Life nor Death its root could shake;
With JESUS in his Mouth through Parthia past
And charm'd what Rome could never pliant make.
Then having also rous'd the Aethiops, He
Resolv'd to reach the World's extremity.
He sadly marked how the greedy West
Into the East was drawn by thirst of Gold,
Which had the Sun's and Nature's courses crost,
And into Indus' Mouth the Ocean roll'd:
And will none venture, there said He, to win
A fairer prize than that, the Souls of Men?
Sure Indian Souls of purer metal are,
Than that which Avarice so far adores.
Thomas will thither trade, though India were
Distant more worlds than one from Jordan's shores,
For in his zealous sails God's Spirit blows,
And not to fetch but carry Gold he goes.
If Gold be not too poor a Name to print
Upon such royal Wares as Glory, Bliss,
Love, Patience, Purity, divine Content,
And every Sweet of sweetest Paradise:
For these, and more than these, inshrined die
In JESU's Name, Heav'n's best Epitomy.
With this he traded to make India rich,
And not himself, who now could not be poor,
As having more than All, though not so much
As any thing lay'd up in prudent store:
He knew his Lord was Plenty's King, and He
Counts as his own his Master's Treasury.
Close to this noble Work the Heroe fell,
And having fairly op'd his Merchandize,
Come buy, saith he, for though these Wares excel
Your glittering Ore's too much adored price,
Yet you on Trust may go for all this Bliss,
Give but your Faith, and yours the Treasure is.
A Treasure so inestimably pure
As neither moth can fret, nor rust devour:
A Treasure most invincibly secure
From pilferers' sly and robbers' open power.
Yet though so precious; 'tis not I, but He
Deserves your thanks, who sends it you by me.
The Brachmans wonder'd at the Generous Man;
So did the Sage Gymnosophists: until
Blindness with spight combined, hurried on
A barbarous Faction, to seize and kill
The wondrous Merchant; who as ready stood
To pour it forth, as they to suck his Blood.
Arm'd with their King's consent, and with their Spears,
Into his Heart they ope their murderous way:
Which wounds he with contented patience bears,
And for his doubting Hand returns this pay;
Remembring well how deep, till thus he dy'd,
It stood in debt to his Dear Master's Side.
The younger James, whose noble Pedigree
Advanc'd him to be Brother to his Lord,
Much nearer grew of kin by Piety:
No Saint with stouter fervor Him ador'd,
Nor with more resolute constancy than he;
Witness his reverend Forehead and his Knee.
His Knee; thick plated with Austerity,
Which day and night all naked dwelt upon
The Temple's floor, till it arriv'd to vie
In hardness with its cushion of stone.
There never grew on painful Camel's Knees
A stiffer Proof of Patience, than on His.
His Forehead; deeply sealed with the same
Stamp of severest zeal, whilst prostrate
He Accustom'd to his Soul's his Body's frame.
O sacred Impudence of Humility!
As wicked Foreheads arm themselves in Brass,
His pious Front in Brawn immured was.
(A Brawn, which shall hereafter check their Pride
And senseless Superstition, who in New
Devotion pertly will the Old deride,
And hold no Worship from the Body due;
Rut, in presence their Conscience tender is,
Maintain their dainty FIesh's Tenderness.
Who on the Spirit boldly score up all
Religion's work; and whilst they sit at ease,
Would have the World believe they humbly fall
On their adoring Soul's devouter knees:
Forgetting that the Tree must needs be dead,
Whose sap into no open fruit will spread.)
His dearest meat and drink was to obey
His Master's pleasure: Ne'r did Blood of Grape
Stain his abstemious Cup, and slily lay
An ambush for his Reason: mean and cheap
His liquor was, for Virgin Fountains were
His only Cellars, and his only Beer.
Ne'r could the rampant Flesh, of Birds, or Beasts
Get leave to reek upon his temperate Board:
Chaste Moderation cooked all his Feasts,
And well she knew how to content her Lord;
His highest fare were sober modest Fishes;
Where Water serv'd for Beer, the aptest Dishes.
His Skin perfumed Unguents ne'r bedew'd
With supple Flattery of delicious sweat:
Unmanly Baths his Body never stew'd,
Cheating his Vigor with effeminate heat:
His Limbs in active linen lov'd to dwell,
And ne'r were muffled up, and lost in Wool.
Nor was that Linen Robe, though coarse and plain,
Contemned in the People's Eyes, for they
On bended knees were suters to obtain
His Grace, their off'rings on its Hem to lay,
That on that Alter of Humility,
Their Lips and Kisses they might sanctify.
O how imperious is Meek Piety,
Whether it will or no, commanding all
Spectators into Love and Reverence! He
Who at true Honor reacheth, must let fall
His other Plumes, and wisely learn to dress
Body and Soul in humble Holiness.
For when did Pride and fond Ambition scape
The vengeance both of Hatred and Disdain
And when did Glory fail her self to heap
Upon his Head, who meekly could refrain
From climbing Honor's ladder, and his own
Desert by rigid Wisdom pressed down?
Nay, surly He who on the Priesthood's crest
Sits perch'd, of James his Worth convinced is;
And finding Him the higher holier Priest,
Makes free the Oracle to his access.
Thus Heav'n's abstrusest Cabinet, the Glory
Of all the Earth, became his Oratory.
James was the truer Priest indeed: for now
The ancient Priesthood with the Vail was torn;
The Diadem too was fall'n from Judah's brow,
And Salem's royal Splendor lay forlorn:
This made him there erect the sacred throne
Of his Episcopal Dominion.
Yet are the Northern Winds, and Irish Seas
More trusty things than Jews: the Jews to day
Can heap their kisses and their courtesies
On him whom they to morrow will betray:
Jews' mouths this hour upon thy Praises' text
Can fairly preach, and suck thy blood the next.
With acclamations they this Saint had set
In state upon their Temple's battlement;
And there no sooner he asserts his great
Ascended Lord, but in one mad consent
Of rage they throw him down, and from his veins;
His heart, his head, dash blood, and life, and brains.
Zelotes, and Thaddaeus, that brave Pair,
When He in Egypt preached had, and He
From Tigris to Euphrates, joined were
To reap in Persia their felicity:
This was the Crown of Martyrdom, which in
Fine Quarrel of Heav'n's King they nobley won.
Peter, the Leader of that glorious Troop,
When he had fix'd the Antiochean Seat,
His more renowned Throne set stoutly up
In Cesar's conquering City; where the great
Irradiations of his fame did call
Rome's brightest Strength to try with him a fall:
That Strength was Simon, whose Apostasy
From Truth in Magick's Deeps had plung'd him down;
But more in desperate Lies and Blasphemy
Whilst all that's God's he claimed as his own,
And left no Trinity in Heav'n, but by
Strange impudence usurp'd that Mystery.
The Father in Samaria, the Son
In Jewry, and in all the World beside
He vouch'd himself the Spirit yet alone
Pretended not ability to guide
His own creating Hand, but when he made
His Angels, granted he had Helen's aid.
He knew the surest way he had to gain
His Whore, was to exalt her to his throne,
And in his Godship let her Partner reign.
Besides, to help on his Production
Of blasphemous heretick Portents, Hell
Thought Females useful then; and always will.
And so the World will say, when once't has known
Priscilla, Maximilla, and the Pair
Of Philumens, with Elxai's double Spawn
Marthus and Marthan. For her wretched share
In such Deceits some Eve will still come in,
As Helen here did into Simon's Sin.
He woo'd his Scholars in Himself and Her
To treasure up the hopes of their Salvation;
And heedless Souls the surer to insnare,
He freely loos'd the reins to every Passion;
No matter how you live or die, said He,
If once your Faith builds on my Grace and Me.
For what, alas, are all the fairest-faced
And goodlyest-featur'd Works which men atchieve,
But hidious Sins, unrighteously graced
With Righteousnesse's Name? But they who leave
Those putrid Props, and trust in Me alone,
Ingage my Power to become their own.
This was that Champion, by whose magick skill
Him God indeed, befooled Nero thought,
And pray'd him by some signal Miracle
To dash those daring Wonders Peter wrought.
To which request his Credit bid him yield,
And set the Day when he would fight the field.
The Day is come; and Simon boldly makes
The Challenge, which was, Up to heav'n to fly.
With that, his Arms he weighs, and spreads, and takes
His unwing'd flight: but throws his scornful eye
Down upon Peter, whom into the hands
Of Nero's Justice proudly he commends.
The Clouds had gather'd thick about the sky
To guard fair Heav'n against his foul Intrusion;
Yet their battalia he broke, and by
His working arms unto his high Delusion
Forc'd ope the way. The People, as he went,
Their wonder after him, and worship sent.
But as the never-beaten fencer lets
His bold capricious Combatant grow high,
Before he will in earnest strike, and gets
A later but a nobler Victory:
So Peter suffers him to sore, till he
Might high enough for's fatal Downfal be.
Then posting after him with mighty Prayers,
His Coach of unseen Devils from him he tore:
Forthwith down headlong his aerial stayers
The Conjurer fell, and sprauled on the floor;
Where batter'd, brus'd, and in himself imbrewed,
His black blood and his blacker soul he spewed.
So when heav'n-daring Lucifer himself
Try'd in the flaming face of God to fly,
His singed wings betray'd the venturous Elf,
And down he plung'd into the Misery
Of endless Death. And may his followers all
For ever towre up to no other fall.
Strait in the People's Mouths the Devils cry,
Peter our God hath by enchantments slain:
And by this loud unreasonable Lye,
For Him who earn'd a Crown, a Cross obtain.
Unhappy Rome, who hast converted thus
Thy highest Gain into thy deepest Loss.
For thou no sooner gainst thy Freedom from
That Wizzard's cheats, but thou betray'st thine own
Deliverer: if wretched Simon, whom
Thou seest by Peter's mighty Prayers thrown
Beneath a Man, were yet a God; O why
Is Peter not the greater Deity?
Yet He cries out, This Altar is too rich
For Me, so poor and vile a Sacrifice:
Was't not the Cross, the glorious Cross, on which
My Master pay'd the World's renowned Price!
Sure were some gallant Seraph here to die,
This Engine would his Passion dignify.
Yet if I must thus high aspire; may my
Unworthiness at least have leave to show
That I desir'd not in this pomp to die:
So hang me that my reverend Head below
May pay its final kisses on the Feet
Of my most Royal Savior's dying Seat.
Nero to such Requests as these was free,
And glad besides that he had learn'd a way
To cross and double Crucifixion He
Commands his Sergeants not to disobey
The Wretch's wild desire, but, so he dy'd,
To let him any way be crucify'd.
Thus nail'd on his reversed Tree, with Eyes
Quite turn'd (as was his Heart) from things below
The Saint looks down to Heav'n, and smiling dies;
Malgre his Nails' resistance, able now
That Place, at which his Feet were aim'd, to gain;
A Footstool Simon's ventur'd at in vain.
Andrew, his Brother both in Nature's and
In Zeal's and Piety's (much straiter) knot,
Display'd through Thrace to Scythia's furthest Strand
The beams of Grace's Day, so fairly that
It startled, and surpriz'd with holy fright
The dark Barbarians in their northern Night.
Thence into Greece the restless Preacher came,
Arrogant Greece, who though she ranks her own
Quite counter to the scorn'd Barbarian Name,
Yet now more cruel was and salvage grown
Than Thrace or Scythia: O that famous Arts
Should raise Men's Wits, and yet debase their Hearts.
Achaia smil'd, and with disdainful mirth
Patrae confuted all that Andrew said;
His Beggar-god's, poor miserable Birth
And viler Death, they scoffingly upbraid.
Nor blush'd Aegeus, though Proconsul, he
Forward to spur the People's villainy.
A Cross they make him of a new-found frame,
His meek Ambition, or their wanton Spight
Projecting it, which thenceforth bare his Name,
As Him it did that day: a Cross not right
Erected and transverse, but slopingly
Thwarted into the figure of a X.
A X, the blessed Letter, which began
His Masters Title, and his own: his Cross
It self proclaims he dies a Christian:
And though the holy Omen to his gross
Yet learned Foes were unperceived, He
Rejoyced in his Cross's Mystery.
A Cross, which shall inherit such Renown,
Wearing his Name, upon it crucify'd,
That it the Scotish Heraldry shall crown,
And on the top of all its Banners ride.
What Glories then shall Saints themselves obtain,
If in such state their Suffring's Badges reign!
Nail'd fast to this strange Honor was the Saint,
Array'd in Scarlet from his own rich Veins:
Fond Grecia took it for a torturing Paint,
And thought his Cross a fertile Tree of pains;
But to a Pulpit He converts that Tree,
A Pulpit which did preach as well as He.
That preach'd his patient Magnanimity,
His meek Obedience, and his brave Content:
But more illustrious was the Homily,
Which flow'd from his own Lips; so eloquent
And so divine, that Life it self upon
His dying Tongue seem'd to have built her throne.
Long held this Sermon, for his last it was;
Two days it measur'd; yet in truth was short:
For what are two poor flitting days, alas,
To that which doth Eternity import?
He preach'd Eternity, to whose fair light
He strove his blinded Torturers to invite.
But then observing Death forbear to make
His wonted haste, it forc'd him to complain:
Not that his Pains his Patience had broke,
But that his Heart now long'd its Home to gain;
Counting himself, where-e'r he was, abroad,
Till happily arrived at his God.
And am I nail'd in vain, dear Lord, said he,
To this stout Pillar of renowned Death?
Though not poor I, yet Thou deserv'st for me,
That in this honor I may yield my Breath,
These potent Words to Heav'n with Violence flew,
Whence they of flashing Light a Convoy drew.
As in the bosom of his chariot's flames,
Blest Phebus sails through his Celestial road;
So in the arms of these officious Beams
The Saint was carry'd to his high Abode:
But yet with this most glorious difference, that
Here Andrew riseth never more to set.
On zeal's undaunted wings great Barthol'mew
To meet Day's flame where first it kindled is,
To India's remotest regions flew;
And taught the East to bless their wakening eyes
By worshiping a nobler Sun whose face
Was both the Spring of Glory and of Grace.
Then having left his goodly Picture there,
By Matthew's Pen drawn fairly in a Book:
He posted back into Armenia, where
The same illustrious Work in hand he took.
But when of Peace's King he 'gan to talk,
The Prince grew wroth and thus his Fury spake:
Bold wretch, who pretest of the idle throne
Of vainer Christ; I'l make thee know that I
In my Armenia will have but one,
And that's the Seat of my own Majesty.
If Jesus be a God, he must be fain
To seek some Realm of Beggars where to reign.
'Twere special credit for Armenia's King
To honor as a mighty Deity
A stable-born and manger-cradeled Thing,
Whose ignominious Death did justify
The vileness of Birth, because a poor
Resolved doting wretch doth him adore.
O no! the Gods by whose great blessing I
Possess my Throne and Crown, are Gods enough.
Fully enough I'm sure for me: and why
Should I go trouble heav'n with more; or throw
Away Devotion on this Jesus, who
At best but for an useless God must go.
He useless is; and so I fear art Thou
His correspondent Priest: and yet a way,
Perhaps, my Officers may think on how
To make of thy vile Nothing Something: say
Sergeants, will not this Carrion serve to flea?
Though he be naught, yet good his skin may be.
That only Word sufficient was to let
The Tigres loose; who strait the Saint undress
Both of his cloaths and skin which at the feet
Of their remorsless Lord they throw; for his
Due right it was the Martyr's skin to keep
In token that he slew the harmless sheep.
But He, though flead, now fairer than before,
As stars when strip'd from clouds, with such excess
Of lustre sparkled in his glorious Gore
As dazell'd by his sacred Nakedness
Vex'd Satan's eyes, who wish'd, — to hide the stain
Of his own shame, — the skin were on again.
In vain he wish'd; for Barthol'mew was now
Fit for the Robes of Immortality
Which Jesu's hand as ready was to throw
On his deserving back; and happy He
Might well expect an easy entrance in
At heav'n's strait gate who first put off his skin.
But Matthew into Aethiopia ran,
Ventring upon a wonderous Enterprise,
To purge the swarthy Crow into a Swan,
To candy Ink, and Pitch to crystallize,
Sables to make traluced, Shadows bright;
I mean, to wash the Pagan Negros white.
Yet this by Baptism's searching streams he did,
Which drown'd their hearts in Life and Purity.
Hence came the torrent of his Name to spread
And in the chanel of the Court grow high.
The Court soon catch'd the News, but little thought
That in the News's net it self was caught.
Caught was its dearest Gem, the virgin Heart
Of Iphigenia, daughter to the King:
And now not all the flattering frowning art
Of royal Hirtacus from her could wring
The least consent her mystick Spouse to leave,
And unto him by nuptial cement cleave.
No: though the throne of her deceased Sire
Was now become his own; for noble She
Would to no other Royalty aspire
But what she found in Christian Piety;
And in that holy Realm she reached high
To gain Perfection's sublimity.
My solemn Vow, cry'd she, is past, and I
My body to my Maker must restore
As I receiv'd it; my Virginity
Is now intirely His, and mine no more:
And such a Queen why will thy Wishes seek,
Who to thy bed through Perjury must break?
If Me you love, O then love what I am;
Love Love himself, or else you love not Me:
Be truly Royal, love the Christian Name,
And let my sacred Vow still sacred be.
For I may to no earthly Spouse be ty'd
Who to an heav'nly Bridegroom am affy'd.
With wrath and folly blind, the Tyrant saw
Not how this Match most matchless was, nor that
She had already chose a King: and though
Humanity and Courtship suffer'd not
His Rage to tear the Princess, yet he swore
Her Tutor's blood should pay his Scholar's score.
His choicest thirstiest Bloodhounds he dispatch'd
With sutable Commission to the Saint,
Whom at the mystick Table having catch'd,
The floor with his and his Lord's Blood they paint:
And at the Altar thus the Martyr dies,
Both holy Priest and willing Sacrifice.
Matthias, whom heav'n-witness'd Faith commended
To traytor Judas his escheated Place:
Persuing Matthew's great Design, contended
To Aethiopia: but his final Race
In Jewry was, where not with sweat, but Blood
Besmear'd, his Master's steps to heav'n he trod.
John was the last, but first and highest in
His dear esteem who is himself Most high:
O blessed Soul, in whose delicious shrine
Divinity so much rejoyc'd to lie!
JESUS indeed lov'd all the rest; but He
Not only lov'd, but was in love with Thee.
He was in love with thy Virginity
With blooming Graces youthfully bedeckt:
Of all his Twelve indeared Consorts, He
Did for his amorous favours Thee select:
His softest nearest Spouse wert Thou, in whose
Ingenuous eyes he lov'd his own to loose.
He was in love with that reflection
Of his own Sweetness shining in thy face;
With sympathetick joy he dwelt upon
His iterated self in that pure Glass,
Resolv'd on it all Lovers Arts to prove:
Most happy Saint with whom Love fell in love!
From off the troubled main He lured Thee
Into the calmest Sea of living Pleasures;
The bosom of supream Serenity
To which the Ocean is but poor in treasures:
His own alprecious Breast He open'd wide
And welcom'd Thee to joy's ne'r-ebbing tide.
There did'st thou lie and learn thy Soul to glow
By that dear copy of thy Pillow's heat;
A Pillow in whose soft protection Thou
Laidst all thy Cares and fears asleep, and yet
Sleep'dst not thy self; for how could any eye
Indure to close when Jesus was so nigh!
There didst thou lie all next the heart of Love,
Heav'n bowing round to shelter thee from harm;
Heav'n, not so sweetly now display'd above
As folded up in His incircling Arm:
Which forc'd all wise Spectators to conclude
Thou wert aforehand with Beatitude.
Those Stories where the Quire of Seraphs dwels
Exalted in felicity's bright sphere,
Thy dainty Habitation excels;
For at his footstool they lie prostrate there:
Amidst the sweets of whose all-balmy breast
Thine only Head injoys its glorious Nest.
How vast an Army of most strong Delight
Beleaguered thy Soul on every side,
Whilst thy inamor'd Spouse try'd all the might
Of Heav'nly tenderness on his dear Bride:
What healing wounds gave his Affection's Dart,
How many living Deaths, to thy soft heart!
How deeply sealed He himself on Thee
By those intire Expressions, which can by
No heart be understood, but such as He
Instructs in Love's profound Divinity.
On his own bosom how did he repose,
When his embraces there did Thee inclose!
How did He study to epitomize His
Incarnation's amorous Design,
And sum the best of Mercy's Mysterys
Up in thy single soul! in which divine
Experiment, it was thine only grace
To fill his universal Churche's place.
Thus while He liv'd He sweetly liv'd in Thee;
And to his Death, when he was nailed fast,
He nobly scorned that Mortality
Should seize upon his Love: for by his last
And tenderest words, while He himself did die,
To Thee He left Love's living Legacy.
Into his dearest Mother's bosom He
Commended Thee, and bid her own her Son:
What Nature could not, Love contriv'd to be,
And Mary must be Mother unto John:
Love had so closely John and Jesus ty'd,
That in their Mother they must not divide.
Mary no other Glass could find, where she
So fair an Image of her Son might read:
Nor John so pure a Mirrour meet, where He
Might on his Master's graceful picture feed
His longing eyes: thus Love though dead and gone,
Her Son to Mary leaves, his Spouse to John.
No wonder, gentlest Saint, that on thy Tongue
Love built his hive, and drop'd his honey thence,
Whilst thy soul-charming words present so strong
A relish of Heav'n's choicest Influence;
That Love from his own wing lent thee the quill
Which all thy Lines with Charity doth fill.
No wonder Thou brave Eagle soardst so high
Making the Sun thy book, in which divine
Volume thou read'st the Word's great Mystery,
Which dazeling other Eyes, refined thine.
No wonder that thy Gospel's Calculation
Thou drew'st by none but God's own elevation.
No wonder, that Port Latin saw the Oile
Scalding in vain: thou who didst live by fire
Whilst amorous streams joy'd in thy breast to boil,
Couldst feel no other flames: O no! some higher
Fervor of Love must melt thine own, and send
It to the welknown bosom of thy friend.
The languishments of never-faint Desire
Must crown thy life with correspondent Death:
Though all the Rest through blood and wounds expire
This dainty Martyrdom must end thy breath.
So Heav'n has privileg'd thy Piety,
That thou who liv'dst by love, of Love must die.
Pardon me Psyche, that I have thine ear
By this Apostrophe detain'd, since John
Was by his virgin flaming worth so near
Of kin to our Angelick Tribe: and can
We mention Him, and no salutes afford
To one thus honored by Honor's Lord.
And pardon me that I have dwelt so long
On his Apostolick Consorts; the glory
Of whose Death-scorning Valor do's no wrong,
Nor interrupts their Master's royal Story:
He, and his Heav'nly Might in them appear'd
Who o'r the vanquish'd Earth his Banner rear'd.
Thus they who paint the praises of the Beams,
Display the commendation of the Sun:
When Eloquence's tributary streams
After the Silver-thrilling Current run,
Their Panegyrick homage they no less
Unto the Mother-fountains wealth profess.
Mark now that Mount, which lifts its lofty head
Near to Bethsaida, taking thence a view
Of all the Countries round about it spread;
Nor Zebulon nor Naphtali outflew
Its prospect's jurisdiction, nor the most
Removed skirts of Trachonitis' Coast.
Acquaintance also it sublimely took
Of other Mountains; unto Hermon, Seir,
And stately Libanus it reach'd a look:
This was that noble Oratory, where
Thy Lord so oft retired, that the Place
Thenceforth the Mount of Christ surnamed was.
A Mount where liberal Nature did her best:
Witness the flowry Beauties smiling there;
But Grace far more magnificence express
Than all that awful Pomp, which dressed for
The great Law-giver's feet the flaming head
Of Sinai, mix'd with thunder, smoak, and dread.
For here no Trumpet spake the frightful Mind
Of stew Imperiousness; no rigid Law
Back'd with an everlasting Curse, enjoyn'd
All shoulders in its galling yoke to draw:
But Love himself upon his gentle throne
Gave his soft Laws of Benediction.
Eight Springs of Blessedness abroach he set,
And woo'd the weary World to bathe in them.
Their fears he cheer'd, and taught them to transmit,
And bury all Solicitude in him:
He pass'd his Word, Heav'n should their Purveyor be,
Who served in the Wars of Piety.
His Evangelical Oeconomy
He instituted here; and so improv'd
The highest pitch of Legal Sanctity,
That though incumbring burdens he remov'd,
Yet Bonds of more Perfection on be laid,
And wondrous strict his Mercy's Candor made.
His Reins were silk, but yet be held them strait,
And drove amain; providing by that Art
Of loving sharpness, that no charming Bait
Might his Disciples lure, and tempt to start
Out of the King of Heav'n's High-way, but to
His Kingdom safely and directly go.
How sternly vain and foolishly severe
Appears the solemn Stoick's Discipline,
If duly weigh'd with this enacted here!
Grant that the Porch: the Sacred and Divine
Temple itself was this: That fram'd of none
But rude, This though of hard yet polish'd Stone.
Christ's Blessed Rules, and none but his, are they
Which past the Purity of Gold refine
Cross mortal Bosoms, sublimating Clay,
Till with Angelick Claritude it shine;
Whilst by his Spirit he scours off sinful Rust,
And into Heav'n blows up the purged Dust.
Turn now, and view those desert Fields which lie
Next neighbours to the Galilean Sea:
Into the quiet of whose privacy
Devotion had withdrawn thy Spouse: but He
Had given the People too much taste of his
Sweetness, to think he long could scape their press.
For as the busy Bees who once have found
A fragrant Garden, haunt it day by day,
Hunting out every flower, and humming round
About the tops of their delicious prey:
So to that Garden (such thy Lord had by
His presence made the Desert) they did flie.
JESUS who bow'd from Heav'n poor Man to meet,
Could not refrain to entertain the Croud;
Whom with impartial respect to greet,
As fully as their Tide, his court'sy flow'd:
For he kind welcome dealt to great and small.
Who came to be the Savior of All.
Then as the wise Physician's wholsome care
Is first to make the Vitals sound within,
Before he lends relief to any sore,
Which craves his pity in the open skin:
So did his prudent tenderness to those
His numerous Patients his Receipts dispose.
By long Distempers both their Brain and Heart
Into Despair's dominion had been brought,
Had they not met with his All healing Art,
From whose sweet Lips such Cordials broke out,
Such Salves, such Balsams, that pure Health did seem
Turn'd into Physick to recover them.
Heav'n's Kingdom was the Med'cine he apply'd;
A Med'cine which its Doctor well became:
A Med'cine fit to humble down that Pride,
Whose tumor made them sick: his Home from home
To find his long lost Sheep, to Earth he brings
And is resolv'd to heal them into Kings.
Meek Kings, that so at length they might be High,
For none but such his wondrous Kingdom fits:
Since He, the God of all Sublimity,
To Lowliness's bottom thus submits,
His followers must learn by stooping down,
To raise their Heads to their Supernal Crown.
Doses of Wisdom, Power, Life and bliss
Into their ears he pour'd: and in that stream
So rarely He infus'd all Paradise,
That what did nothing but a Sermon seem,
Was liquid Heav'n: the jewel thus, unseen
Swum in the goblet of th' Egyptian Queen.
And this advanc'd the wonder, that his tongue
No help of learned Education had:
The soundest Doctor's brains were not so strong
But in his young and feeblest years He made
Them to his more oraculous Problems yield
The honor of sage Disputation's field.
For never did the Ezrahite Ethan, never
Did Heman, Chalcol, Darda, whose renown
Exalted high above the World did hover,
And plant upon their temples Wisdom's crown;
Never did Trismegistus; never did
The deepest reach of Zoroastre's head;
Never did Solomon, whose gallant wit
As high's the Heav'n, as deep as was the Sea,
Unlock'd and ransack'd every cabinet
Of darkest Nature; dive so far as He,
Or such sententious Rarities express
As sparkled in this rich Discourse of His.
Yea ev'n the Serpent, in whose wily head
All cunning reigns, when he thy Grandame Eve
With his profoundest and most studyed
Inchantments try'd, of old, and did deceive,
Less sweetly and less subtly preach'd, than now
This Sermon from thy Spouse's lips did flow.
The Serpent's Preachment aimed Man to steal
Into the snare of his own misery:
Thy Spouse's end was only to reveal
The passage to his own felicity:
And Heav'n forbid, but Truth as strong should be
As undermining lies and flattery.
It stronger was, by full authority
Shewing its own authentick worth and might;
And not in doubting sneaking jealousy
Desirous of, yet starting from the light.
The Chair which totters is the Scribe's, not His
Which surer than the World's Heart fixed is.
Amphion never by his charming Song
So civilized salvage hearts as He
Who by the sweets of his most potent Tongue
Wild Wickedness tam'd into piety.
The senseless Spheres a ravishing sound can make;
Much more His voice from whom their tune they take.
This done; thy tender God his love expresses
In outward Succours; for with Ears the Deaf,
With feet the Lame, with Eyes the Blind he blesses,
And opes more choise of Sovereign Relief
Than they of wants. O copious Savior, who
At once could heal both Soul and Body too.
The Day grown now decrepit (for the Sun
Bow'd to the West,) made his Disciples pray
Their Lord to give the crowd dismission,
That in the Desert's bordering Burroughs they
Might get their suppers: No, said bounteous He,
They are my friends, and they shall sup with me.
Before these numerous Mouths what will you set?
Cry'd they, alas! two hundred pence in bread
Will not the sorry pittance of a bit
To every one afford; and furnished
How shall this mighty Banquet be with dishes
Since here's but five poor Loaves and two small fishes?
As yet they knew not that their Lord was He
Who able made the petty spring to feed
And fill the Rivers' vast capacity:
He who the single Taper taught to breed
That fertile flame which lights a thousand more
Without diminishing its native store.
He by whose power Elijah could command
The final Handful of the wasted Meal
To grow upon the pious Widdow's hand,
From whom no scarceness could her bounty steal,
And by a springing harvest more than turn
The pined Barrel to a plenteous Barn:
He, in obedience to whose might (and though at
Elisha's word) the Pot of Oil awaked
Into a fount, whose bubling ceased not
Till want of Vessels its Abundance slaked;
But then grown wisely Thrifty, it repress
Its liberal stream, that nothing might be lost.
He, whom the same Elisha did foreshew
When he before an hundred Convives set
That simple Dinner, which in spending grew,
And being small at first, at last was great;
The Eater's teeth unlocking but the way
Unto the Much which in that Little lay.
But now they learn'd it: go, said He, and make
My Guests by fifty on a row sit down.
Which done; in his creating hands he took
The fish and bread, and lifting to his own
Fair heav'n his eyes, said grace: when lo, his sweet
And mighty Blessings swelled in the meat.
For as he brake the Bread, each fragment He
Made greater than the whole; no crum did fall
But rose into a Loaf, as readily
As when you cut a Line, whose products all
Are Lines as well as it, though you for ever
The new emergent Particles dissever.
By his Division the fishes too
Suddenly spawn'd a wondrous fulgrown fry;
Though dead, yet at his touch they started so,
That two usurped Multiplicity;
No longer Two, but now a shoal, which from
The Sea of Love out at his fingers swum.
Then his Disciples' service he commands
To be officious to this Growing Feast,
And distribute into the People's hands
The teeming Bread and Fish: strait every Guest
Fell to, admiring how that simple Meat
Made them forget all Hony to be sweet.
The Quails and Manna had been homely fare,
Which Heav'n did in the other Desert shower
When hungry Israel was a Pilgrim there,
Had This been then serv'd up: The Wine's brave power
At Cana born, excell'd the Grape's best blood;
So did this Feast to day all other Food.
A Feast, which though with Pleasure's Complement
The ravish'd Convives Tongues it courted; yet
Unto the Palates of their Souls it sent
More courteous Salutes; whose Taste did fit
Their inward Hunger so exactly, that
More with their Hearts than Mouths they feeding sate.
Satiety at length, not nauseous,
But soberly accomplish'd, put a close
To this strange Banquet: When thy generous
Yet thrifty Lord, injoyns them not to lose
His bountie's surplusage, nor scorn the Meat,
Because he gave them more than they could eat.
Straitway the fragments all collected were,
Which fifty hundred feasted Men had left.
When lo the total was exceeded far
By those remaining parts; the springing Gift
Persu'd its rare multiplication stil,
And with the Relicts stuff'd twelve baskets full.
Know, Psyche, that thy wise Redeemer by
This Wonder, to a greater op'd the way;
Fine long-design'd and precious Mystery
Of his dear Body; which He meant to lay
On every Christian Altar, there to he
The endless Feast of Catholick Piety.
A Feast which shall increase upon its Guests,
And keep intire when millions filled are:
A Feast of Miracles, a Feast of Feasts,
Not to a Desert ty'd, but every where
Dispers'd abroad, yet every where complete,
That all the World may freely come and eat.
But as that inexhausted fount of light
Which bubbles up in Titan's limpid eyes,
Sheds over all his royal robes its bright
Effusions, and his Charet glorifies,
So that about Heav'n's Circuit He is roll'd
Enthron'd and cloath'd in living sparkling Gold.
So from thy Spouse's more than sunlike face
The Lustre all about his Rayment darted:
A Lustre whose divine and gentle grace
It self with kind magnificence imparted
To that weak mortal Texture, which so pure
Immortal brightness else could not endure.
Thus when a dainty fume in Summer air
To lambent fire by nature's sporting turns,
And lightly rides on Men's Attire or Hair;
With harmless flames it plays, and never burns
Its habitation, but feeds upon
The Delicates of its own Beams alone.
As his Disciples wonder'd at the Sight
Which peeping through their fingers they beheld,
They spy'd two Strangers, whom with courteous light
The surplusage of Jesus's Beams did gild.
They wistly looked on them, musing who
The Men might be, and what they came to do.
The first ware horned beams (though something dim
In this more radiant Presence,) on his face;
Full was his beard; his countenance 'twixt grim
And pleasant breathing meek but stately Grace:
His robes were large and princely; in his hand
He held a mystick and Imperious wand.
A golden Plate both deck'd and arm'd his breast,
In which the Ten great Words inammel'd were;
A grave a goodly Man he was, and drest
In such attire, that they no longer are
In doubt about him, but conclude that He
Moses the Legislator needs must be.
The other, sagely solemn in his look,
But course and homespun in his garb appear'd;
Nor had he any mantle's help to cloke
That vileness which in his poor rayment star'd;
The serious beams which darted from his eye,
Spake eremitical severity.
Two Ravens, whose plumes taught blackness how to shine,
Upon his venerable shoulders sate:
And ravenous now no more, did freely join
Their services in purveying for his meat;
For in their faithful beaks they ready had
The one a piece of flesh, the other bread.
Behind him stood a flaming Chariot,
With steeds all of the same fierce Element;
Nor was their fire more than their Courage hot,
And much ado they had to stand content.
Which Tokens having well observ'd, they knew
Those Indications must Elias shew.
These two grand Prophets, whom thy Lord gave leave
To wear some glorious beams, though He were by,
Their reverend Discourses interwove
Of his Humanitie's Oeconomy;
With high ecstatick Words displaying how
At Salem He Death's Power should overthrow.
A Doctrine which on his Disciples' ear
(And this their Master knew,) full hard would grate;
And therefore by these glorious Preachers here
With high solemnity was witness'd, that
His Crosse's and his Nails' mysterious shame
Might not with scandal shake, forewarned Them.
His Rod then Moses at his feet laid down,
In token that He had fulfill'd his Law;
And came to give a nobler of his own
To which not only Jacob's Seed should bow,
But all the World, whose largest furthest bound
With Jesus and his Gospel was to sound.
That done; a vail he drew upon his face,
And cry'd, Bright Lord, this shade I us'd of old
Because my Count'nance too illustrious was
For those blear Eyes of Israel to behold:
But now mine own have need of it, to skreen
Them from that splendor's dint which shoots from thine.
This though refracted Vision's fuller Bliss
Than I of old beheld from Nebo's head;
How happily was I (reserv'd for this
Far fairer Privilege,) not suffered
To enter then, and feed my Wonder on
The less amazing sweets of Canaan!
But in a generous meek Expostulation
Elias argu'd with his glorious Lord:
And, Why, said he, in such triumphant fashion
Me didst Thou whirle to heav'n, and not afford
Thy servant leave to taste Death's bitter Cup,
Since Thou thy self resolv'st to drink it up!
Must Jesus, and must not Elias die?
Must God, and not a Worm? forbid it Thou
Who of all Order art the Deity,
And Death to my Mortality allow:
I'l be contented with the last to stay,
Ev'n till Time dies, if then I allso may.
O pardon my Ambition to die,
Since, dearest ford, it is for Thee alone:
If for thy Name, and in thy Quarrel I
Fine Robes of Martyrdom may once put on,
My passage up to heav'n shall brighter be
Than when my flaming Coach transported Me.
Ask me not what Reply great Jesus gave
To these Devotos, since nor James, nor John,
Nor Peter ever had their Master's leave
To ope this Secret to the World. But on
Their heads, when they had their due season staid,
He his dismissing Hand and Blessing laid.
Then having by a tripple Kiss ador'd
His sacred foot: into his Chariot
Elias leap'd, and through the Welkin scour'd
As swift as Arrow by the Tartar shot:
And closes, spreading out his ready Vail,
Homeward to Abraham's blessed Port set sail.
When lo a Cloud came rolling on and stretch'd
Its shady curtains o'r the Mountain's top:
A precious Cloud, with God's own voice inrich'd;
For as it brake, no other Rain did drop
But these dear Words, My Darling Son is This,
Hear Him, in whom my Joy triumphant is.
The faint Disciples on their faces fell,
Amaz'd that Thunder could distinctly speak:
Mean while their Lord was pleased to recall
And charge his Glory's Beams to hasten back:
His Godhead needed now no more probation,
That Glimpse being doubled by Heav'n's Attestation.
Forthwith his Raies shrunk home into his breast,
And moderate Beauty repossess'd his face:
The orient Lustre which his Cloths had drest
To their plain native hue resign'd its place;
And He return'd to his Capacity
Of, what he long'd for, shame and Misery.
But turn thee now to Salemward, and see
New Monuments of both his Power and Love,
That Hill is Sion, and that Pool where he
Wets his large foot, is Siloam; above
Its bottom lies, for in the Mountain's breast
Its Springs of Living Silver make their Nest.
Springs sober and discreet; which brake not forth
By wanton Chance, but upon Bus'ness flow'd.
Right noble is the Story; and its Worth
Beyond the knowledge of th' illiterate Crowd:
But I, dear Psyche, will unlock to thee
The bowels of this ancient Mystery.
When Virtue's Sovereign, Hezekias sate
On Judah's throne, th' Assyrian Power swell'd high,
And turned sinful Israel's florid state
Into the worst of Woes, Captivity:
For Assur then was made the iron Rod
Which Vengeance put into the hand of God.
That first Success so puff'd the Rod with Pride,
That it forgot the Hand which sway'd it then:
And now would needs it self become a guide
Unto it self, and choose its Prey: but in
Its proudest height the Rod's rash plot was cross,
And near two hundred thousand Twiggs it lost.
Whilst Rabsheka, the Foulmouth'd General,
With Horse, and Men, and Brags, and Blasphemies
Beleaguer'd Salem, on the suddain all
Their stock of Water fail'd; but that which Eyes
Sad Eyes distill'd, and which but filled up
Their vast Affliction's lamentable Cup.
And now compassionate Esay, mov'd to try
What credit he with Heav'n and Mercy had,
Tuned his Prayer by the People's Cry
Which with such violence beat the ear of God,
That strongly bounding back to Sion's foot,
And his own knees, it made the Spring leap out.
The thirsty People all came flocking in,
Their Mouths, their Bottles, and their Souls, to fill.
Th' Assyrian's wonder'd what those Crowds might mean,
Until they spy'd their buis'ness at the Well;
And then they made a Party out, to stop
The newborn Spring, or else to drink it up.
Forthwith the Citizens themselves betook
To flight; so did the Fount, and shrunk its head
Into the Hill, and called back its Brook,
Commanding every Drop to go to bed,
And not to prostitute themselves, and be
Deflour'd by Assur's lips' impurity.
The Streams obey'd, and swifter than the speed
Of those impatient Horsmen, homeward ran.
So when the prudent Dame has summoned
Her crawling frie to shun th' incursion
Of Violence, the nimble Serpents shoot
Themselves into their Mother's ready throat.
The disappointed Soldiers rav'd and swore,
To see the Fountain mock and scorn their Might;
And cry'd, these Jews have by some magick power
Broached this wiley Spring from Hell, to spight
Sennacherib's Legions, and shew that We
Cannot so strong as wretched Water be.
Thus they retreated in disdain and wrath:
When strait their Thirst the Jews brought back again,
The Spring as soon found out its former path,
And courteously met them on the Plain;
Kissing their feet, and smiling in their face,
For whose sole service He so watchful was.
Thus checkering his work, he never fails
To fail his foes, and to befriend his friends.
Full often Assur tries, but ne'r prevails,
To catch the wary nimble stream, which sends
Him always empty back; and waited still
With fresh supplies on thirsty Israel.
The fam'd Sabbatick Fount which all the week
Keeps close at home, and lets no drop spurt out.
Exactly thus attends the Seventh Day's Break;
At whose first peeping Dawn, as quick as Thought
It pours its flood, and sacrifices all
Its Plenty to that holy Festival.
A Man there was, whom from her secret Shop
Dark and retired Nature sent abroad
Into the World, yet from him shut it up
And him in's proper home an Exile made.
Compar'd with him, clear-sighted was the Owl
So was the evening Bat, and earthed Moul.
For on his brow sate an anneiled Night
Which his Birth-day could not confute; in vain
His Mother hir'd the sage Physitian's Might
To war against that Shadow, and constrain
That inbred sturdy Blackness to relent;
In vain her money and her love she spent.
Less thick that Darkness was which did revenge
The lustful Glances of wild Sodom's eyes
When those hot Lovers damped by a strange
Invasion of pitch, with oaths and cries
Tumbled and toss'd themselves from place to place
And sought Lot's Door in one another's face.
As Jesus spy'd this helpless Wight, (for He
Watch'd to surprise all Objects of Compassion,)
Speeded by his own heav'nly Charity,
To his relief he flies, This generous fashion
Love duly follows, and ne'r stays to be
Woo'd and importun'd to a Courtesy.
The groping Man perceiving one draw nigh,
Fell to the Beggar's covetous Dialect
He Money, Money crav'd: but that's not my
Largise, thy Lord reply'd, which doth infect
Those who admire it; surely thou wouldst find
What Bane thou begg'st, wert thou not double Blind.
Alas thou beggest that, which should I grant
Would make thee poorer than thou wert before,
Thou begg'st such Wealth as would but gain thee want
Of that cheap Rest thou now injoyest; for
Money is that bewitching thoughtful Curse
Which keeps the heart close Pris'ner in the Purse.
Money's that most mischievous Dust which flies
Full in the face of undiscerning Man,
Not suff'ring his abus'd and damned Eyes
To see the way to Heav'n; if thou didst scan
Thy state aright, thou mightst thy Blindness bless
Who seest not what this monstrous Money is.
A thinner Clay than that I'll temper, which
Shall far exceed the worth of Gold to thee:
They are not Money's beams which can inrich
With pure and lasting wealth; from none but Me
Flow forth those efficacious genuine Rays,
Which bless the Age with sweet and golden Days.
This said, three times he spit upon the ground,
And moulded with his hand a sovereign Clay:
No salve by deepest Art was ever found,
Which could so sure all Maladies allay:
Should Balsam's self fall sick and die, the power
Of this sole Unguent would its life restore.
This on his Patient's Eyes he spred, and yet
Although he cur'd them, gave them not their sight
First an Experiment he meant to get
Whether his inner Eyes of Faith were bright;
Then, with his Favor to reward and grace
The Pool, which long before so pious was.
Bethesda Waters swell'd with full-tide fame
Wherefore though apt occasion him invited,
Time was when he refus'd to honour them:
But fail he would not, to respect these sleighted,
Though worthy Streams, which as his partners He
In this miraculous work vouchsaf'd to be
To Siloam go, said he, and wash thine Eyes
And thou shalt see what I to thee have given;
With holy Confidence strait thither tries
The joyful Man; no Hart was ever driven
By scalding thirst more greedily to cool
Refreshing Brook, than he to find this Pool.
He went to drink, not with his Mouth, but Eyes;
Which as he wash'd behold he washed ope:
Out flew black Night, with all those dusky ties
By which his sense before was chained up
And his released sparkling Pupils show'd
Like sprightful Lightning from the broken Cloud.
He now both lives, and seeth that he lives
And Heav'n and Earth more than by hear-say knows.
No part of all the Universe but gives
Him a remembrance, unto whom he ows
His power of viewing it. O happy he
Who must in every thing his Savior see!
Since from the Darknes of the first Abyss
Fine groveling World was wakened into Light;
Ne'r was atchiev'd so strange a Cure as this,
Which on condemned Eyes bestowed Sight,
In spight of Nature, who had put them out
Before she gave them leave to look about.
Mark Psyche, now that love-renowned Town,
Great Salem's little Neighbour Bethany:
A Place of dear Remembrance, and well known
To thy great Lord: from Salem's tumults He
Would oft withdraw into that calm retreat,
And still as oft's he came he Welcome met.
For there two Sisters dwelt, an holy Pair
Who with all hospitably-pious love
To entertain this Guest ambitious were;
And by their most obsequious service strove
To let Him know They did no Owner deem
Of what they had or were, but only Him.
Industrious Martha; unto whom although
This World were something still, (in which she drove
Her practick trade of life,) yet well she knew
'Twas less than nothing unto that above,
The Cream of her Solicitude she spent
To purchase more than secular Content.
Pathetick Mary; one whom Mercy made
Her chosen triumph: this was lustful She
Who in the hottest troop of Sinners had
A leading Place; such stout Impiety
Incouraged her heart, that Hell could put
Her on no Task but she would dare to do't.
For seav'n foul Devils had themselves possess
Of all her Soul, and with imperious port
High in th' usurped palace of her breast
Their throne erected and maintain'd their court;
And all the Warrants which they issued thence
She still obey'd with desperate diligence.
But Jesus, who his Pity squared by
No Merit he in mortal Man could read,
But for his Rule took their Capacity
Of Succour, found how much this Heart did need
His potent Help; which he forthwith apply'd
And made her Live who now Seav'n times had dy'd.
For from the bottom of her pois'ned breast
Seav'n hideous deadly Sirs she vomited;
And thus from Hell's oppression releast
High toward Heav'n she rais'd her zealous head;
Flaming with purest fire of Love, as she
Before had smoak'd in Lust's impurity.
Her brave Devotion she measured now
By that large Size of Mercy she had gain'd
For as no bounds that noble Mercy knew,
So to Infinitude her Love she strain'd;
She strained hard, and would the top have reach'd
Could mortal Passion to that pitch have stretch'd.
O Psyche, hadst thou present been when she
On Love's dear errand to her Master came,
Thou mightst have seen impatient Piety
Mount in the boldness of its generous flame:
First at his feet it 'gan, and then it spread
With fair and liberal fulness to his head.
That fragrant Ointment which before she us'd
To her libidinous Skin to sacrifice;
Upon his sweeter Feet, she now diffus'd,
Adding a shower from her own melting Eyes.
Then wiping them with her late crisped Tresses,
She offer'd there her consecrated Kisses.
She minds not how spectators censure her;
Love's careless, and secure, and scorns the mean.
She vows e'r from her Lover's Feet she stir,
To oint, or wipe, or weep, or kiss them clean;
And by this amorous zeal she sanctifies
Her Locks, her Lips, her Ointment and her Eyes.
But as the sprightful flame disdains to be
Confin'd below, and with undaunted pains
Up to its lofty sphere contends: So she
To her right gallant Passion gave the reins,
And at Heav'n's highest Crest took aim; for this
I'm sure, said she, the Head of Jesus is.
A Box of Nard she had of mighty price,
Yet not so precious as her peerless Lord:
Could Earth's whole wealth meet in one sacrifice,
All this, and more she would to Him afford:
And now unbridled Love such haste did make,
That strait the Box, or her own Heart must break.
Indeed both brake, and both she pour'd on
His Head, who is of Sweets and Hearts the King.
Forthwith through Heav'n and Earth the Odors run
Which shall for ever with their Praises ring:
For now 't has lost its Alabaster Cell,
The famous Nard in all the World doth dwell.
And wheresoe'r Heav'n-breathing Trumpets sound
The Gospel's sweet Alarms, the living Glory
Of this Exploit shall certainly rebound
Through every holy Ear: in his own Story
Her Lord embroider'd her's; and there we see
None canoniz'd a Saint by Him but She.
Ill-reck'ning Thrift much grumbled at the Cost,
Which many needy Mouths might well have fed;
As if the Members had the largise lost,
Which here bestowed was upon their Head
Or any thing had been too much to give
To Him from whom we every thing receive.
But Nobleness's Lord, and Mary's, who
Thus in his Love to her excessive was,
Vouchsafed her generous Soul free leave to go
The same most princely and licentious pace:
He knows the heat of this unwieldy Passion,
And will allow it brave Immoderation.
The Law of Bounds all other eas'ly bear,
Finding their objects are in limits ty'd;
But Love alone with infinite career
Still further everlastingly doth ride.
Because let loose at God himself, in whom
Immensity affords her boundless room.
Thy easy judgment now computes how dear
Was this Seraphick Woman to thy Lord;
Well might her only brother be, for her
Sweet sake, to His love's tenderness prefer'd:
Who falling sick, she sent her sole Physitian
The doleful News, join'd with her meek Petition.
He, who had never yet his Help delay'd
When Need made Mary his Compassion wooe,
Till Phebus twice the World had compass'd, stay'd;
He stay'd indeed, but 'twas that he might go
With advantageous glory; and his stay
Might prove but ripened Love, and not Delay.
Mean while his Weakness grew so strong upon
Good Lazarus, that his Soul it chased out:
Jesus, whose eyes through all things clearly ran,
Shin'd on it as it went, and saw it brought
On Angels' wings into the blessed Nest
Of naked Peace and Quiet, Abraham's breast.
Where when it gently was repos'd; our Friend,
Our Lazarus, is fall'n asleep, said He,
But from that Fall to raise him I intend;
Come therefore, let's away for Bethany.
And Lord what needs it; if he sleep, what harm
Cry'd his Disciples, can our friend alarm!
None can, their Lord reply'd, for now he lies
Safe in the bosom of Serenity;
Yet what his Rest is, little you surmise,
Loth to believe true Sleep in Death can be,
Alas, the Grave's the only quiet Bed
In which securely Rest can lay her head.
Death, Death's the soundest Sleep, which makes amends
For all this weary World's tempestuous Cares,
And pious Souls into that Harbour sends
Where never Dangers ride, nor Griefs, nor Fears.
Our friend is dead: and glad I am that I
Was not at hand to stop his Destiny.
Glad for your sakes, whose Faith now dead, shall by
His Death revive. This said, he forward went,
Yet reach'd not his designed Bethany
Till two days more their Sun-bred lives had spent.
He could have taken on the Wind's fleet back
His coach, but that his plot was to be slack.
Yet busy Martha met him, as he drew
Near to the Town, (for her solicitous ear
Soon caught the fame of his approach, which few
Fairly before with full-mouth'd warning,) where
She threw her self upon her knees, and cry'd,
Hadst Thou been here, my Brother had not dy'd
Dear Lord of Life, hadst mighty Thou been here,
Death would have his due distance kept, if not
For love of Thee, or Us, at least for fear
Of his own Life. And yet thy Power is but
Deferr'd; for well I know thy God will still
Each syllable of thy Requests fulfil.
Nor weep, nor doubt, sweet Martha, Jesus cry'd,
Thy Brother shall again to life return.
I doubt not, blessed Master, she reply'd,
But in the ruin'd World's repairing Morn
When all things live and spring afresh, that He
Shall with his Body reinvested be.
And why not now? from Me alone, said He,
Springs that great Spring: the Resurrection, and
The Life thou thinkst far off, talks now with thee.
Nor lies there any Pris'ner in the land
Of Death, but if in Me he fixt his trust,
Shall into life leap from his mortal Dust.
Nay He who lives by steady Faith in Me
His Life eternally secur'd shall find,
And never taste that Death's deep Agony
Which never dies. Say Martha, can thy mind
Digest this Flesh-amazing Problem, and
By meek believing learn to understand?
Here dazell'd by his high Discourse, great Lord
She cry'd, my Faith adores Thee for no less
Than God's Almighty Son, who in his Word
Wert promised, this cursed World to bless.
This said, on joyous Sorrow's wings she flew
And into Mary's ear the Tidings threw.
As when the powerful Loadstone's placed near,
Th' inamored Iron leaps its Love to kiss:
So Mary, hearing that her Lord was there,
Posted to meet her dearest Happiness;
And falling at her highest throne, his feet,
Did Martha's sad Complaint again repeat.
Short were her Words, but large her Tears and full,
(Love-ravish'd Pleader's strongest Eloquence,)
For in each Eye there dwelt a fertile well,
Which by its ever-ready influence
Confirm'd her Queen of Weepers: ne'r was seen
A more bedewed thing then Magadelen.
For Love, though valiant as the Lion's heart,
Is yet as soft as mildest Turtles' Souls;
And mourns as deeply; since no other art
Knows how to slake the mighty flame which rouls
About her bosom, and would burn her up
Did not her streams of Tears that Torrent stop.
If when the Clouds lament, the hardest Stone
Under their frequent Tears relenteth: how
Will Mary's thicker showers prevail upon
The Heart of softest Softness! Jesus now
Could not but melt and yearn, and gently by
His Groans his deep Compassion testify.
Which Groans when they broke into a Demand
Where Lazarus was inter'd; both Sisters by
Turning their lamentable faces, and
Their fainting hands, made Sadnesses Reply.
At last their Tongues get strength to cry: O come,
See our Grief's Monument, and our Brother's Tomb.
He thither stepping, deign'd to broach his Eyes,
And vie with Mary's Currents: whether in
Pity of Man, whose fatal Miseries
From none but his unhappy self began;
(For neither God's nor Nature's hand, but He
Digg'd his own grave by mad Impiety;)
Or in kind grief his dearest friends to see
Distrustful still of his Omnipotence;
Or meerly in complying Sympathy
With their most piteous Tears' exuberance
Whate'r his reason were, He showred down
Those streams for Man's sole sake, not for his own.
O Tears! how precious are your beads, since He
Who is the Gem of heav'n hath brought you forth!
Now you may worthy of God's bottles be,
Who from God's radiant Eyes derive your Worth:
All holy Drops which are of kin to you,
By that Affinity must glorious grow.
Let flinty Bosoms build their foolish Pride
On their own Hardness, and the Weeping Eye
As childish and effeminate deride,
And too too soft to suit the Bravery
Of masculine Spirits: yet truly-noble Hearts
With Jesus will not scorn to Weep their parts.
But from the Tomb He now commands the Stone
Which there had sealed Lazarus's Body up:
When lo an harder Marble falling on
Poor Martha's heart, her Faith began to stop;
Corrupted was her Mind, which made her think
And talk so much of four Days, and the stink.
What's four poor Days, that their weak intervention
Should able be to raise a scruple here,
And intercept His sovereign intention
To whom Eternity submits? A year,
An Age, a World, can be no stop to Him
On whose sole Will depends the life of Time.
Stinks and Corruptions no Retardments are
To His productive Power, who derives
Through Putrefaction's pipes, and kindles there
The life his Love to all his Creatures gives.
For by his Law, which brooks no Violation,
Corruption Mother is to Generation.
The stone removed, and their Cave laid ope,
Jesus, of Life arid Death the mighty King,
With awful Majesty first lifted up
His hand, and then his Voice, whose thunder rung
In these sublime imperious Words, which Earth
And Heav'n obeyed, Lazarus come forth.
Imperious Words indeed; which reach'd and rous'd
The Soul imbosomed in Abraham's Bay;
From whence as in exultant haste it loos'd,
The complemental Patriarch, they say,
Three Kisses gave it, and intreated it
To bear those Tokens unto Jesu's feet.
But at the trembling Cave arriv'd, it found
What there those fate-controlling Words had done;
Shatter'd and scatter'd all about the ground
Lay adamantine Chains which Death had on
The Carcasse heap'd; broke was that Cloud of Lead
Which roll'd cold Night about the Eyes and Head.
Away the frighted Worms scrambled amain;
Corruption bled her self into a hole,
To sneak aside pale Ghastlyness was fain;
Stark frozen Stiffness felt its thaw, and stole
Far from the Corps; Death sate lamenting by
To see that what he slew, now must not die.
Heat, Vigor, Motion, hover'd round about,
Attending when the Soul her place would take:
And she, as quick's her own most sudden
Thought Flew strait into the Heart, and there awoke
The sleeping Blood: When lo, whilst yet the sound
Of Jesu's Voice did in the Tomb rebound.
Out Lazarus leaps: O what Amazement now
On all Spectators seiz'd! they start, they stare,
They gape, they doubt, they hope, they fear, they throw
Their arms wide open, and divided are
'Twixt wondering at Lazarus, and at Him
Whose Word Mortality's strong tide could stem.
Out Lazarus leaps, though snarl'd fast and ty'd
Up in his funeral cloths: for why should he
Be by these slender ligaments deny'd
Free passage, whom the stout Conspiracy
Of all Death's massy chains could not compel
A pris'ner in his sepulchre to dwell!
Out Lazarus leaps; and full as fresh and fair
As summer flowers spring from their winter bed,
Which at their rising, through the purest air
A daintier gale of fragrant Odours shed:
Nice jealous Martha needs not doubt but he
Is now as wholesom and as sweet as she.
But wonder not why Jesus back would call
His Friend who lay compos'd in rest and peace,
To this tumultuous World, which seems to all
Heav'n-aiming Saints the sink of Wretchedness;
Whence, till by falling to their graves they rise,
They count their Death lives, and their Life but dies.
For seeing now Himself was breathing here,
His Breath perfum'd the Earth with heav'nly Bliss;
His face was Rest's and Pleasure's fairest sphere;
Musick, his Words; his Presence, Paradise.
And where soe'r he is, his friends he warms
With dearer Joys and Peace than Abraham's arms.
Alas 'twas Abraham's proudest Wish, that he
Might see, what Lazarus freely now beheld,
Him, and his Wonders, whose Benignity
All faithful Souls with Satisfaction fill'd
Who to his Foes his tender favour spread;
With health reliev'd the sick; with life the Dead.
Such, Psyche, were those Arts and Acts, whereby
Thy Savior to his World himself indear'd;
But in so vast a multiplicity
That were they all distinctly register'd,
That World's whole bounds would not suffficient be
To find those only Books a Library.
And what meant these miraculous Dispensations
But his Affection to proclaim intire?
No royal Suter by such Demonstrations
E'r sealed to his Queen his true Desire;
As here the Prince of heav'n display'd, to prove
How with all Human Souls he was in love.
Here Phylax clos'd his ruby lips; and She
Who all this while upon his tongue attended
Both with her ears and heart, was griev'd to see
His high and sweet Discourse so quickly ended:
Yet glad for what sh' had heard, her Modesty
Paid him her maiden thanks upon her knee.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 1:183-211]