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Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind.
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
And many a holy text around she strews,
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate;
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
One morn I missed him on the accustomed hill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
The next, with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne: Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.
CHARLES WESLEY, the author of hymns of which some are unsurpassed by any in the language, was the younger brother of the famous John Wesley, and born at Epworth, in Lincolnshire, December 18, 1708. For many years he shared his brother's labours, voyages, and travels. "For the space of ten years," says a Wesleyan biographer, "we must admit that his ministry was like a flame of fire." He died March 29, 1788, almost in the act of poetical composition :
"In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a helpless worm redeem ?
Strength of my fainting flesh and heart.
The following hymns are fairly representative of his impassioned and fervid muse.
The one entitled "Wrest
ling Jacob," exhibits a certain startling but sublime audacity of faith.
Jesu, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none,
With the shadow of thy wing.
Wilt Thou not regard my call ? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer? Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall!
Lo! on Thee I cast my care! Reach me out thy gracious hand! While I of thy strength receive, Hoping against hope I stand, Dying, and behold I live!
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
LONGING FOR A RENEWED HEART.
O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
A humble, lowly, contrite heart,
Which neither life nor death can part
A heart in every thought renewed,
Perfect, and right, and pure, and good,
Thy tender heart is still the same,
Jesus, for Thee distressed I am,
I want thy love to know.
My heart, Thou knowest, can never rest,
Till Thou create my peace;
Till, of my Eden re-possest,
From every sin I cease.
Fruit of thy gracious lips, on me
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Write thy new name upon my heart,