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What treason to the majesty of man! Of man immortal! Here the lofty style : “ If so decreed, th’ Almighty Will be done. “ Let earth diffolve,, yon ponderous orbs descend, 745 “ And grind us into duft. The soul is safe ;, or The man emerges; mounts above the wreck, “ As towering flame from nature's funeral pyre; “ U'er devastation, as a gainer, smiles ; “ His charter, his inviolable rights,
750 Well pleas'd to learn from thunder's impotence, “ Death's pointless darts, and hell's defeated storms."
But these chimeras touch not thee, Lorenzo ! The glories of the world thy sevenfold shield. Other ambition than of crowns in air,
755 And superlunary. felicities, Thy bosom warm.
I'll cool it, if I can ;, And turn those glories that inchant, against thee. What ties thee to this life, proclaims the next. If wise, the cause that wounds thee is thy cure. 760
Come, my ambitious ! let us mount together. (To mount, Lorenzo never can refuse); And from the clouds, where pride derights to dwell, Look down on earth.—What feest thou? Wondrous.
things ! Terrestrial wonders, that eclipse the kies. 765 What lengths of labour'd lands ! what loaded seas ! Loaded by man for pleasure, wealth, or war! Seas, winds, and planets, into service brought, His art acknowledge, and promote his ends. Nor can th' eternal rocks his will withstand; 770
What level'd mountains ! and what lifted vales!
Through kingdoms channel'd deep from shore to fore; And chang'd creation takes its face from man. Beats thy brave breast for formidable scenes, Where fame and empire wait upon the sword? 790 See fields in blood; hear naval thunder's rise ; Britannia's voice ! that awes the world to peace. How yon enormous mole projecting breaks The mid-sea, furious waves ! Their roar amidit, Out-speaks the Deity, and says, “O main!
795 “ Thus far, nor farther ; new restraints obey." Earth's disembowel'd! measur'd are the kies! Stars are detected in their deep recess ! Creation widens ! vanquish'a nature yields !
Her secrets are extorted ! art prevails !
To fatter thy grand foible, I confefs,
NIGHT THE 'S EVENT H..
THE SECOND PART
THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
THE NATURE, PROOF, AND IMPORTANCE,
P R E F A C F.
.we were at war with the manners, of France. A land of levity is a land of guilt. A serious mind is the native foil of every virtue; and the single character that does true honour to mankind. The foulos immortality has been the favourite theme with the serious of all ages. Nor is it strange; it is a subject by far the most interesting, and important, that can enter the mind of man. Of higheft moment this subject always was and always will be. Yet this its highest moment seems to admit of increase, at this day; a sort of occasional importance is fuperadded to the natural weight of it ; if
that opinion which is advanced in the preface to the preceding Night, be juft. It is there supposed, that all our infidels, whatever scheme, for argument's fake, and to keep themselves in countenance, they patronize, are betrayed into their deplorable error, by some doubts of their immortality, at the bottom. And the more I consider this point, the more I am persuaded of the truth of that opinion. Though the distrust of a futurity is a strange error ; yet it is an error into which bad men may naturally be distressed. For it is impossible to bid defiance to final ruin, without some refuge in imagination, some presumption of escape. And what presumption is there? There are but two in nature ; but two, within the compass of human thought. And these are - That either God will not, or can not punish. Confidering the divine attributes, the first is too gross to be digested by our strongest wishes. And since omnipotence is as much a divine attribute as holiness, that God cannot punish, is as absurd a supposition, as the former. God certainly.can punish as long as wicked men exist. In non-existence, therefore, is their only refuge ; and, consequently, non-existence is their strongest wish. And strong wishes have a strange influence on our opinions ; they bias the judgment in a manner, almoft, incredible.
And since on this member of their alternative, there are some very
appearances in their favour, and none at all on the other, they catch at this reed, they lay hold on this chimæra, to save themselves from the shock and horror of an immediate and absolute despair.