Where's now the objects of thy fears,
Needless sighs, and fruitless tears?
They be all gone like idle dream
Suggested from the body's steam.
* * * * *
What's plague and prison? Loss of friends?
War, dearth, and death that all things ends?
Mere bugbears for the childish mind;
Pure panic terrors of the blind.
Collect thy soul unto one sphere
Of light, and 'bove the earth it rear;
Those wild scattered thoughts that erst
Lay loosely in the world dispersed,
Call in:--thy spirit thus knit in one
Fair lucid orb, those fears be gone
Like vain impostures of the night,
That fly before the morning bright.
Then with pure eyes thou shalt behold
How the first goodness doth infold
All things in loving tender arms;
That deeméd mischiefs are no harms,
But sovereign salves and skilful cures
Of greater woes the world endures;
That man's stout soul may win a state
Far raised above the reach of fate.
Then wilt thou say, God rules the world,
Though mountain over mountain hurled
Be pitched amid the foaming main
Which busy winds to wrath constrain;
* * * * *
Though pitchy blasts from hell up-born
Stop the outgoings of the morn,
And Nature play her fiery games
In this forced night, with fulgurant flames:
* * * * *
All this confusion cannot move
The purgéd mind, freed from the love
Of commerce with her body dear,
Cell of sad thoughts, sole spring of fear.
Whate'er I feel or hear or see
Threats but these parts that mortal be.
Nought can the honest heart dismay
Unless the love of living clay,
And long acquaintance with the light
Of this outworld, and what to sight
Those two officious beams discover
Of forms that round about us hover.
Power, wisdom, goodness, sure did frame
This universe, and still guide the same.
But thoughts from passions sprung, deceive
Vain mortals. No man can contrive
A better course than what's been run
Since the first circuit of the sun.
He that beholds all from on high
Knows better what to do than I.
I'm not mine own: should I repine
If he dispose of what's not mine?
Purge but thy soul of blind self-will,
Thou straight shall see God doth no ill.
The world he fills with the bright rays
Of his free goodness. He displays
Himself throughout. Like common air
That spirit of life through all doth fare,
Sucked in by them as vital breath
That willingly embrace not death.
But those that with that living law
Be unacquainted, cares do gnaw;
Mistrust of God's good providence
Doth daily vex their wearied sense.
Now place me on the Libyan soil,
With scorching sun and sands to toil,
Far from the view of spring or tree,
Where neither man nor house I see;
* * * * *
Commit me at my next remove
To icy Hyperborean ove;
Confine me to the arctic pole,
Where the numb'd heavens do slowly roll;
To lands where cold raw heavy mist
Sol's kindly warmth and light resists;
Where lowering clouds full fraught with snow
Do sternly scowl; where winds do blow
With bitter blasts, and pierce the skin,
Forcing the vital spirits in,
Which leave the body thus ill bested,
In this chill plight at least half-dead;
Yet by an antiperistasis
My inward heat more kindled is;
And while this flesh her breath expires,
My spirit shall suck celestial fires
By deep-fetched sighs and pure devotion.
Thus waxen hot with holy motion,
At once I'll break forth in a flame;
Above this world and worthless fame
I'll take my flight, careless that men
Know not how, where I die, or when.
Yea, though the soul should mortal prove,
So be God's life but in me move
To my last breath--I'm satisfied
A lonesome mortal God to have died.
This last paragraph is magnificent as any single passage I know in
Is it lawful, after reading this, to wonder whether Henry More, the
retired, and so far untried, student of Cambridge, would have been able
thus to meet the alternations of suffering which he imagines? It is one
thing to see reasonableness, another to be reasonable when objects have
become circumstances. Would he, then, by spiritual might, have risen
indeed above bodily torture? It is possible for a man to arrive at this
perfection; it is absolutely necessary that a man should some day or
other reach it; and I think the wise doctor would have proved the truth
of his principles. But there are many who would gladly part with their
whole bodies rather than offend, and could not yet so rise above the
invasions of the senses. Here, as in less important things, our business
is not to speculate what we would do in other circumstances, but to
perform the duty of the moment, the one true preparation for the duty to
come. Possibly, however, the right development of our human relations in
the world may be a more difficult and more important task still than this
condition of divine alienation. To find God in others is better than to
grow solely in the discovery of him in ourselves, if indeed the latter