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Flesh. When sport, and wine, and beauty do invite, Who is it whom such baits will not incite ?
Spirit. He that perceives the hook and sees the end, Whither it is that fleshly pleasures tend. He that by faith hath seen both Heav'n and Hell, And what sin costeth at the last can tell : He that hath tried and tasted better things, And felt that love from which all pleasure springs, They that still watch, and for Christ's coming wait, Can turn away from, or despise the bait.
Flesh. Must I be made the foot-ball of disdain ? And call'd a precise fool or puritan?
Spirit. Remember him that did despise the shame, And for thy sake bore undeserved blame. Thy journey’s of small moment if thou stay Because dogs bark, or stones lie in the way. If life lay on it, would’st thou turn again, For the winds blowing or a little rain? Is this thy greatest love to thy dear Lord ? That canst not for his sake bear a foul word ? Wilt thou not bear for him a scorner's breath, That underwent for thee a cursed death? Is not Heav'n worth the bearing of a flout ? Then blame not justice when it shuts thee out. Will these deriders stand to what they say, And own their words at the great dreadful day? Then they'd be glad, when wrath shall overtake them, To eat their words, and say they never spake them.
Flesh. How, forsake all ? ne'er mention it more to me; I'll be of no religion to undo me.
Spirit. Is it not thine more in thy Father's hand,
And is that lost that's sent to Heav'n before?
Flesh. But who can willingly submit to death,
Spirit. So nature breaks and casts away the shell, Where the now beauteous singing hird did dwell: The secundine that once the infant clothed, After the birth, is cast away and loathed; Thus roses drop their sweet leaves under foot; But the spring shews that life was in the root. Souls are the roots of bodies: Christ the head Is root of both, and will revive the dead. Our sun still shineth when with us its night: When he returns, we shall shine in his light. Souls that behold and praise God with the just, Mourn not because their bodies are but dust. Graves are but beds where flesh till morning sleeps : Or chests where God awhile our garments keeps : Our folly thinks he spoils them in the keeping; Which causeth our excessive fears and weeping: But God that doth our rising day foresee, Pities not rotting flesh so much as we. The birth of nature was deform’d by sin: The birth of grace did our repair begin : The birth of glory at the resurrection Finisheth all, and brings both to perfection. Why should not fruit when it is mellow fall? Why would we linger here when God doth call?
Flesh. The things and persons in this world I see, But after death I know not what will be. [spoken?
Spirit. Know'st thou not that which God himself hath Thou hast bis promise which was never broken.
Reason proclaims that noble heav'n born souls,
Flesh. Reason not with me against sight and sense:
Spirit. And wilt thou keep it ? brutish flesh how long Wilt thou not shortly sing another song ? When conscience is awaken'd, keep thy mirth! When sickness and death comes, hold fast this earth : Live if thou canst when God saith, Come away. Try whether all thy friends can cause thy stay. Wilt thou tell death and God thou wilt not die ? And wilt thou the consuming fire defy? Art thou not sure to let go what thou hast ? And doth not reason bid thee then forecast, And value the least hope of endless joys, Before known vanities, and dying toys?
And can the Lord that is most just and wise,
LORD, charge not on me what this rebel says, That always was against me and thy ways! Now stop its mouth by grace, that shortly must Through just, but gainful death, be stopp'd with dust. The thoughts and words of flesh are none of mine : Let flesh say what it will, I will be thine. Whatever this rebellious flesh shall prate, Let me but serve thee, Lord, at any rate. Use me on earth as seemeth good to thee, So I in Heav'n thy glorious face may see. Take down my pride; let me dwell at thy feet : The humble are for earth and Heav'n most meet. Renouncing flesh, I vow myself to thee, With all the talents thou hast lent to me. Let me not stick at honour, wealth, or blood : Let all my days be spent in doing good. Let me not trifle out more precious hours; But serve thee now with all my strength and powers : If flesh should tempt me to deny my hand; Lord, these are the resolves to which I stand.
October 29, 1659.
A HEBREW MELODY.
[HOGG.) On Carmel's brow the wreathy vine
Had all its honours shed, And o'er the vales of Palestine
A sickly paleness spread;
And energy sublime,
To muse on distant time.
But sight of joy was none;
But silence reigned alone,
By wave and waterfall,
Deep unto deep did call.
The hamlets thick did lie;
No Asherite passed by :
No sportive child was seen;
Where dwellers once had been. Oh! beauteous were the palaces
On Jordan wont to be, And still they glimmered to the breeze,
Like stars beneath the sea! But vultures held their jubilee
Where harp and cymbal rung, And there as if in mockery
The baleful satyr sung.