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Yet in the world even these abide, and we
Above the world our calling boast : Once gain the mountain top, and thou art free: Till then, who rest, presume ; who turn to look, are
SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT.
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. Gen. xxvii. 34. (Compare Hebrews xii. 17. He found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.) s
“ AND is there in God's world so drear a place
“Where the loud bitter cry is rais'd in vain ? - Where tears of penance come too late for grace,
“ As on th' uprooted flower the genial rain ?"
s The author earnestly hopes, that nothing in these stanzas will be understood to express any opinion as to the general efficacy of what is called " a death-bed repentance.” Such questions are best left in the merciful obscurity with which Scripture has enveloped them. Esau’s probation, as far as his birthright was concerned, was quite over when he uttered the cry in the text. His despondency therefore is not parallel to any thing on this side the grave.
"Tis even so : the sovereign Lord of souls
Stores in the dungeon of his boundless realm Each bolt, that o'er the sinner vainly rolls,
With gather'd wrath the reprobate to whelm.
Will the storm hear the sailor's piteous cry',
Taught to mistrust, too late, the tempting wave, When all around he sees but sea and sky,
A God in anger, a self-chosen grave ?
Or will the thorns, that strew intemperance' bed,
Turn with a wish to down? will late remorse Recall the shaft the murderer's hand has sped,
Or from the guiltless bosom turn its course ?
Then may th' unbodied soul in safety fleet
Through the dark curtains of the world above, Fresh from the stain of crime; nor fear to meet
The God, whom here she would not learn to love:
Then is there hope for such as die unblest,
That angel wings may waft them to the shore, Nor need th' unready virgin strike her breast, Nor wait desponding round the bridegroom's door.
+ Compare Bp. Butler's Analogy, p. 54–64. ed. 1736.
But where is then the stay of contrite hearts?
Of old they lean'd on thy eternal word, But with the sinner's fear their hope departs,
Fast link'd as thy great Name to Thee, O Lord :
That Name, by which thy faithful oath is past,
That we should endless be, for joy or woe;And if the treasures of thy wrath could waste,
Thy lovers must their promis'd Heaven forego.
But ask of elder days, earth's vernal hour,
When in familiar talk God's voice was heard, When at the Patriarch's call the fiery shower
Propitious o'er the turf-built shrine appear’d.
Watch by our father Isaac's pastoral door
The birthright sold, the blessing lost and' won, Tell, Heaven has wrath that can relent no more,
The Grave, dark deeds that cannot be undone.
We barter life for pottage; sell true bliss
For wealth or power, for pleasure or renown; Thus, Esau-like, our Father's blessing miss,
Then wash with fruitless tears our faded crown.
Our faded crown, despis’d and flung aside,
Shall on some brother's brow immortal bloom, No partial hand the blessing may misguide ;
No flattering fancy change our Monarch's doom :
His righteous doom, that meek true-hearted Love
The everlasting birthright should receive, The softest dews drop on her from above“,
The richest green her mountain garland weave:
Her brethren, mightiest, wisest, eldest born,
and move at her behest : Isaac's fond blessing may not fall on scorn,
Nor Balaam's curse on Love, which God hath blest.
u Genesis xxvii, 27, 28.
When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. St. Luke xi. 21, 22.
SEE Lucifer like lightning fall
Dash'd from his throne of pride ;
The Saints his spoils divide,
So when the first-born of thy foes
Dead in the darkness lay,
And cast their bonds away,