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[1688 - 1744.]
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
FATHER of all ! in every age,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Thou great First Cause, least understood, Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that thou art good, And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark estate, To see the good from ill;
And, binding nature fast in fate, Left free the human will.
What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do,
This teach me more than hell to shun, That more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives: To enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man, When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart
If I am wrong, O, teach my heart
Save me alike from foolish pride, Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied, Oraught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
That mercy I to others show,
Mean though I am, not wholly so, Since quickened by thy breath;
Twined with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reaped in iron harvests of the field Where grows – where grows it not If vain our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil: Fixed to no spot is happiness sincere, 'T is nowhere to be found, or everywhere. Ask of the learned the way, the learned are blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind : Some place the bliss in action, some in ease; Those call it pleasure, and contentment these : Some, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain; Some, swelled to gods, confess e'en virtue vain:
'Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,— To trust in everything, or doubt of all. Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness Take nature's path, and mad opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; Obvious her goods, in no extremes they dwell; There needs but thinking right and meaning well; And mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense and common ease. Remember, man, “The Universal Cause Acts not by partial, but by general laws"; And makes what happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There 's not a blessing individuals sind,
But some way leans and hearkens to the kind;
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No caverned hermit rests self-satisfied : Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend : Abstract what others feel, what others think, All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink: Each has his share; and who would more obtain Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain. Order is Heaven's first law; and, this confessed, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise : but who infers from hence That such are happier shocks all commonsense. Heaven to mankind impartial we confess, If all are equal in their happiness: But mutual wants this on's increase : All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace. Condition, circumstance, is not the thing; Bliss is the same in subject or in king, In who obtain defence or who defend, In him who is or him who finds a friend; Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul.
So just, the life itself was there.