St. John the Baptist
St. James the Less
St. James the Great
King Charles the Martyr
GOD, of His Abundant Mercy, having Convinc'd Me, how much Precious Time I had cast away on Airy Verses; I Resolv'd to take a Final Leave of That Sort of Poetry; And in some Degree to Repair the Unhappiness and Fault, of what was past, to Dedicate my Muse in the Future, Entirely to Sacred Subjects.
I was a while considering, How Those Intended Labours of Mine, might be least unusefully bestow'd; and having, with trouble, taken notice, with how little Reverence, and Devotion, the Holy Days in our Churches Kalendar were Celebrated, I determin'd to Write Poems on the chiefest of Them.
For I hoped, such Gross, and Sinful Stupidity, proceeded chiefly, from Men's being Ignorant of the True History of the Actions, or Martyrdoms, of those Blessed Persons; so little of both being Recorded in the Sacred Word. And it seem'd to Me no Irrational Belief, that if the Generality of the People, were Instructed in the Truth, it might Inspire in many of them, that Esteem, and Reverence, the want of which, had so long been their Fault, and ought to be their Shame.
The Young, and the Vulgar, of both Sexes, being little inclinable to attain to Information, by perusing Antient Ecclesiastical Histories, and Records: And the Writers of both, too often, and too much Disagreeing, in their Narratives of the same Actions, and Persons; and the Church of Rome also, having interwoven much Fiction with the Truth, I Flatter'd my Self with a Belief, That by Separating the History from the Fable, and by making a Short, yet as True a Relation of the Former, as I could attain unto; Divers thereby might be inclin'd to Learn, what They had been Ignorant of, and might be encouraged to preserve in their Memories, such great Exemplars of Piety; whereby if they did not Write after such Illustrious Copies, yet at least they would Value, and Esteem them.
The handling of these Subjects in Verse, and Rhime, I was perswaded, would not be unpleasing to the less Studious, (who are those who most need such Information) and since in Poetry, there is a kind of Natural Musick, I imagined, that all Those, whose Souls were not quite out of Tune, might be affected with it.
Besides; I found, That Many, who could hardly Repeat one Verse of the Sacred Scripture, would yet say without Book, intire Psalms; even in the Unhappy Verses, and Rhimes, of Mr. Hopkins, and Mr. Sternhold; which seem'd to me a Demonstration, how highly the English Genius was affected to Poetry, on Holy Subjects.
Nor is this Love to Verse, Peculiar to our Country, but is in effect diffus'd, over the whole Civiliz'd World.
The False Religion of the Gentiles, was generally taught in Verse; and the True Religion of the Primitive Jews, was much of it Writ in Poetry; as the whole Books of Job; and of the Psalms; besides lesser Sprinklings of it, in the Songs of Moses; and in that of Deborah and Barack &c.
More of Homer, and Virgil, was gotten by Heart by the Greeks, and Romans, than of the Orations of Demosthenes, and Cicero; or of the Morals of Seneca; or even of the Excellent Phedon of Plato; tho' most Conclude, These, had been more worthy to have been so Treasur'd up, than Those.
But it seems to be the Inherent Prerogative of Verse, above Prose, To be better Fancied; To be easier Learn'd by Heart; and to be Longer Retain'd in the Memory.
I must acknowledge, when I had even Resolv'd upon my Argument, I met with Two Disanimations, which were likely to have made Me Elect another.
The First was, That the Materials I was to be furnish'd with, out of the Holy Scriptures, (for such I coveted most) were so Few, except in what related to Our Blessed Lord; and to St. John the Baptist; and to St. Peter, and to St. Paul, and what further was to be known of those Holy Persons, of whose Lives, and Deaths, I design'd to Write in Epitomie; was not only, so copiously Deliver'd by Church-Historians, and fill'd with so many Improbable Relations, (to give it the softest Name I can) that to Collect so much out of the Former, as seem'd pertinent, and instructive; and to Winnow out of the Latter, so much of the Wheat from the Chaff, as was requisite, appear'd to Me, a Difficult Task to perform, tho' but Tolerably; Since indeed, where I most desired to be supply'd, I was the Least, (tho' what it wanted in Quantity, it had in Weight) and where I least desired to be Furnished with Matter, I was but too much. For most of all those Elder Histories seem'd to Me, to be like a Mine, in which several Tuns of Rubbish must be digg'd through, to attain to One Pound of Oar.
The second was; I had Experimentally found, That no Argument for Poetry, was so little Obliging to the Muse, and Invention of the Writer, as Narrative is; for it confines the Fancy, which of all things Delights in Liberty.
But at length I overcame these two Discouragements.
The Last, by remembring, that I Writ, not for Applause to my Self, but for the Instruction of Others.
And the First, Hoping that by my Readers Charity, my Faults might not be Unpardonable, since this kind of Writing was New to Me, and untrodden by any of my Education, and Quality: So that the Piety of My Design, might in some Degree Apologize, for My Errors in the Management of it.
I have in the Margent, not only marked the Places of the Word of God, to which in the POEMS I have Reference; but also, some of those Authors out of whom I have taken My Narrative; That if they have been Faulty, it might appear, I have not erred in My Own Intentions, but by the Mis-information of Elder Times
I acknowledge, it is not usual to handle any Controversies in Verse, and Rhime; especially those in Divinity; and therefore I must beg My Readers Pardon, if in some of the Succeeding Pieces, I have presumed to walk in so unusual a way; which I had not done, but that I esteem'd it a Duty to My Own Religion, to Defend it against the Restlessness of the Romish, where-ever I believ'd I had a Fit Rise to do it. And I suppos'd, since in the Present Times, all seem so justly necessitated, to maintain the Truth of Our Religion, it might not be unallowable for a Lay-Man, to draw His Poetick Pen also, in the Defence of it: And Possibly, the Few Arguments I have made use of by the By, in that Important Dispute, may be read, and kept in the Memory of Those, who any other way, would not have done either.
However, If any One of Our Church should be Offended at it, I both desire, and hope, He will for the Causes Sake, excuse the Effect.
Hail Sacred Mother! O do not Refuse
These the First Fruits of my Converted Muse
A Muse, which in vain paths too long has trod
And now do's Consecrate her self to God.
This Change O Muse Most happy is for thee
Mount Sion now shall thy Parnassus bee
Thou never yet Could'st Sore to such a height
As that, from whence thou now begin'st thy flight
The Spires of Airy Verse climb not so high
As to the Feet of Sacred Poetry.
Mother Vouchsafe, My Influence to be
Now I thy Prodigall Return to Thee
On the Day of the Anuntiation Of the Blessed Virgin.
Hail Happy Day, On which Blest Gabrie'll flew
To bring the joyfull'st News the World ere Knew
In Raptures He left Empty His High Place
When sent to Her, whom Heaven had fill'd with Grace
Blest Virgin, what might Thy Employments bee
When God's Ambassador appeard to Thee?
Who can Beleeve that thy Devotions were
Since God still Helps, not Interrupts Our Praye'r
And more Improbable it does Appear
Thou then wert thinking on The Joy so near.
Such Lofty Thoughts found in Thy Soule noe Place
For Humbleness, was one part of Thy Grace.
But since to tell it us God Judg'd not Fitt
'Twere Sin to be too Prying into It.
Yett wee may well beleeve what-ere they were
They best Prepar'd Her the great News to Heare;
She Fled not, when the Angell She Beheld
For Grace is against Terror the Best Shield
Tho She was Troubl'd, yett She did not Fear
When His Strange Salutation She did Hear.
But when the Glorious News He did Impart
O! who can tell th'Emotions of her Heart?
The Truth She doubts not in the least Degree
Yet She did humbly ask, How this shall bee
Since She had not Known Man--And this being said
A Bright Vermilion did her Face Invade.
Blushes on her great Modesty had Pow'r
Tho t'was an Angell was Her Confessour
He then did of the Myst'ry so much Show
As it was fitt, She, and the World Should Know
Saying--On Thee The Holy Ghost shall Come
And the most High shall Overshade thy Wombe
When Faith, Part of the Meaning did unfold
Of what God's wing'd Ambassador had told
She said--Behold the Hand Maid of the Lord
Bee it to Me according to Thy word.
Noe Wonder the Stupendious News he brought
Imploy'd her Faith, and entertain'd her Thought
She Ponder'd, Why? God Her, Should before All
Her Sex, to that Amazeing Glory Call.
Unshapen thoughts might have throng'd in a pace
Had not Faith told her, It was God's Free Grace.
So Gloomy Clouds Strove to Usurp the Skies
Untill the New Created Sun did Rise.
She wonder'd (yet beleev'd what GABRIEL said)
How She could be a Mother, and a Maid
More then a Miracle it did appear
That She her SAVIOUR, and the Worlds should Bear.
Yett under so much Faith She did not Bow,
She Knew it would be so,--but knew not how
Thus Abrah'am on God's Promise still Rely'd
Tho on the Altar He his Son had Ty'd,
His Stretch'd out Arm, stops at an Angells Cryed
And trembling Isaacs Place a Ram supplies.
Yet for th'Obedience which he did Intend
God gave him the vast Title of GOD'S FRIEND
And then Confirm'd to him the great Decree
That in His Seed, All Nations Blest should bee
Those still the best Rewards of Faith Receiv'd
Who even against Hope, in Hope Beleiv'd
Few o're that Precipice of Faith have trod
Unless the Mother, and the Friend of God
On the Nativity of Our Blessed LORD and SAVIOUR comonly called Christmas Day.
Hail Glorious Day which Miracles Adorn,
Since 'twas on Thee, ETERNITY was Born.
Hail Glorious Day, in which Mankind did View
The SAVIOUR of the Old World, and the New.
Hail Glorious Day; which Deifies mans Race,
Birth Day of JESUS, and through Him, of Grace
In Thy Blest Light, the World at once did See,
Proofs of His God-head, and Humanity.
To prove him Man, He did from Woman come,
To prove Him God, 'twas from a Virgins Wombe.
Man, nere could faigne, what his Strange Birth prov'd True,
For His Blest Mother was a Virgin too.
While as a Child He in the Manger Cryes
Angells Proclaim His Godhead from the Skyes,
Hee, to So vile Cradle did Submitt,
That Wee, through Faith in Him, on Thrones might Sit
O Prodigie of Mercy, which did make
The God of Gods, Our Humane Nature take!
And through Our Vaile of Flesh, His Glory Shine,
That Wee thereby, might Share in the Divine
Hail Glorious Virgin whose Tryumphant Wombe
Blesses All Ages past and All to Come.
Thou more then Heal'st the Sin by Adam's Wife;
She brought in Death, but Thou brought'st Endless Life.
Noe greater Wonder in the World could bee,
Then Thou to Live in, it, and HEAV'N in thee.
Heav'n does Thine own great Prophesy Attest,
All Generations still shall Call Thee Blest.
To Thee that Title is most Justly paid
Since by Thy Son, Wee, Sons of God are made.
On the Day of Circumcision of Our BLESSED SAVIOUR.
Hail Thou Instructive Day, on which Wee See
God in the Flesh, from God's Law was not Free
The Author of Our Faith did then Submit
To what was but the Signe and Seale of it.
How Dare wee then in Disobedience Run,
When God exempts not from His Laws, His Son?
Near whose Blest Birth, as well as Death was Spilt
That Sacred Blood, which weshes off Our Guilt.
A Double Ransome for Our Soules Hee Paid,
That from Sins Captives, Wee might Sons bee made.
Till this Illustrious Day, the World nere Saw
A Debtor, and Fulfiller of the Law.
'Twas Fitt the Law of Works should then give Place
To the more Glorious Covenant of Grace.
On the Day called Epiphany Or the Manifestation of Our Blessed SAVIOUR to the Gentiles.
Hail Glorious Day, On which the Middle wall
'Twixt Jews and Gentiles, First began to Fall
The Jews, Whom God from Egypt made Retire,
And gave for Guides, Pillars of CLOUDS and FIRE
The Jews, Whom God from Pharoahs Bondage Lead,
And whom by Daily Miracles Hee Fed.
The Jews, in whom God tooke soe much Delight
That His own Hand their Sacred Laws did Write
The Jews, whose Warrs God did with Wonders Bless
Whose Captains Pray'd their Hosts, into Success.
The Jews whose Prophets God Himself did Teach,
And who of their Messiah still did Preach.
The Jews; who yet, after False God's did Run
Wherefore the True, left them to be Undone
The Jews, enslav'd by Herod and by Rome,
And groan'd till their Deliverer was come:
Yet when He came, They, from the Inne did bring
Into a Stable, both Their God and King.
Which does their Name with Ignominy Blott,
For Beasts Admitted Him, when They would not,
When in Impiety They Ran so Farr.
God lead the Gentiles to Him, by a Starr.
To their New Faith that Glorious Guide was giv'n
To evidence, it was inspir'd by Heav'n
And that the Doubting World thereby might see
God will a Guide to those that seeke him bee.
Into what Darkness was the Gentile World?
Not Knowing of the Promis'd JESUS, Hurl'd?
Since out of its Dominion to be Freed,
The Sun Auxiliary Light did need.
That Faith which to those Magi did Declare,
The Light which did Conduct, Them, was HIS STARR,
Made them, nor be Disgusted, nor Dismayd,
Seeing Their God in a Vile Manger Layd.
To their Inlightned Soules Faith made it Clear,
That His Blest Kingdom, was Above, not Here.
Nor Fear'd They their Bright Guide had them Beguil'd,
When th' Ancient of Dayes, Seem'd but a Child;
All this to Those Wise men gave no Offence,
Their Sight of Faith, Triumph'd o're that of Sense:
For no such Faith, as That in Them did Dwell,
Was to be Found, no, not in Israel.
They therefore worship JESUS, and then bring,
Gold, Myrrhe, and Incease to their Priest and King:
And as the Gentiles Representative,
They those Mysterious Presents to Him give.
Happy Those Easterns were, as well as Wise,
Who first Paid Christ, the Gentiles Sacrifice:
In various Wayes God did his Son Dispence,
The Old World saw by Faith; the New, by Sence.
All Sacred Duties being paid by Them,
A safe way home, God taught them in a Dream:
God made, Deaths Image (sleep) teach them to shun,
The Danger They were in, to Find his Son!
Heaven did, by what suspended Reasons use,
Safety to those, who worship Christ, Produce.
While such as God does call, Their sleep doe Take
The Eye of Providence for Them does Wake.
On the Day of the Purification and the Presenting of JESUS in the Temple.
Hail Glorious Day; on which Heav'n Judg'd it fitt
The Temples God, should be brought into It.
Hail Happy Pile, in which He did Remain
Whom even the Heav'n of Heav'ns cannot Contain:
Mysterious Day, on which it may be Said,
That God was unto God, an Off'ring made.
That Lofty Temple Solomon did Build,
Must to the Glory of This Temple Yeild,
Christs Presence made This Temple, That Excell;
In Him, the God-head Bodily did Dwell.
That But in Gold, and Pollish'd Stones was Bright,
This shin'd with Him, Who is the Light of Light.
He There, and on the Crosse, did Solemnize
His Morning, and His Ev'ning Sacrifice.
Blest Virgin sure; Thou didst not stand in Need
For Bearing JESUS, to be Purify'd.
Next Thy Sons Body, Thine the Purest was,
Since Purity it self, through Thee did Passe
What is't Thy Purifying then did Mean?
Child-birth, which stain'd Thy Sex, did make Thee Clean,
Thou neededst noe more Cleansing, then Thy Son
Did stand in need, of Circumcision,
But Both Perform'd what God does Highest Prize
Obedience, is better then Sacrifice.
Parents are taught by Her, who Bore the Truth,
To Consecrate to God, their Childrens Youth.
Their Pious Gratitude with Hers should Suite
Who Offer'd up to God, both Tree, and Fruite.
Turtles, which Innocences Emblems be,
Yet could not be more Innocent; then She
The Offering She Paid, and Son She Bore,
Shew'd, She was Heav'nly Rich, and Wordly Poor.
On the Day call'd Innocents Day
Hail Mournfull Day, On which the Jews Beheld
Great Jeremie's Dire Prophesy Fulfill'd.
Sad Ramah saw those Murther'd whom She Bred,
And Rachell would not then be Comforted.
For Herod being both Enrag'd and Greiv'd,
Thinking He by the Magi was Deceiv'd,
And fearing the New Starrs unknown Event,
To Heav'n a Legion of Young Martyrs Sent.
Dreading to Misse that ONE, which He Pursu'd
Hee, in Those Infants Blood, his Hands Imbru'd.
With what Mean Fears are Tyrants Joyes Controll'd?
Fearfull They are, of Children, Two years Old;
Thus Herod Acts against His own Decree,
He makes Them more, then he did Fear They'd bee.
Mans Rage most Glory to God's Children Brings:
'Tis Greater to be Martyrs, then be Kings.
The Old vail'd Type, now Wee with Clearness Know
These through a True Red Sea, to Canaan Goe.
And Led the Van of that Blest Host, whose Rear,
Will not be Seen, till Time cease to Appear.
Our Mother therefore does Decree that They
Should in Her Kalendar, enjoy a Day.
Faith shew'd Her (which with Wonder Reason Fills)
That Martyrs might be made against Their Wills:
And what's more strange, That such to Heav'n should Come
As Dy'd, They knew not Why, nor yet, for whom.
Yet such is the Extensive Pow'r of Grace,
That little Children, have, in Heav'n a Place
Christ did therein His Will to Man Disclose,
And said, His Kingdome did Consist of Those.
Well then may such, Eternall Glory win
Who dy'd for Christ, did no Actuall Sin.
God did these Sons of Men to Glory take,
Who in effect were kil'd for His Sons sake.
On the Day of the Crucifixion of Our Blessed SAVIOUR
Wonderfull Day; That Title's due to Thee,
Above All Dayes, which have been, or shall bee.
The Day, when Order out of Chaos Broke:
The Day, when God our Human Nature took:
The Day, when Christ Ascended from the Tombe:
The Day, when All the World must hear their Doom:
Tho these Four Dayes, wee justly Great Ones call,
Yet when Alas Compar'd to Thee; are small.
For 'twas not strange, that both the Heav'ns & Earth
From God's All-Pow'rfull Word, Receiv'd their Birth:
Nor, when nought else Heav'ns Justice could Attone,
The God of Nature, put Our Nature on:
Nor that Hee should, in whose Hand onely lies
Th'Issues of Life, and Death, from Death Arise:
Nor that One Generall Assize should bee,
To Hear from God's own Mouth, his just Decree
These, but the Actings of a God Display,
But That God suffer'd, on This Signall Day;
Which Miracle Amazement did Infuse,
In Heav'n; Earth Hell; and All but in the Jews.
In whose Obdurate Soules such Rancour Dwelt,
As All the World, but They; Compunction Felt.
The Sun from His Bright Globe, His Lustre strips,
And with His Maker suffers an Ecclips.
The Moon did hide Her Face, tho fill'd with Light,
Seeing the Sun at Noon, Create a Night.
The Sacred Temple at the strange Event
Of this great Day, Her Vaile for Sorrow Rent.
The Earth, which does insensible appeare,
Yet at this Prodigie, did shake with feare:
Hells Sad Inhabitants for Anger Cry'd,
And by these Signes, Knew, the Messiah Dy'd
Th'Insatiate Grave, which the Last Day does Dread,
Thinking it now was Come, Releas'd Her Dead.
The Pale Centurion, Smote His Trembling Breast.
And that Christ was the Son of God, Confest:
But the vile Jews, their Heads at Jesus nod,
Bid Him come Down, and Then, They'll Say Hees God.
Oh Frantick Wretches, wast not More to Have
The Bodies of the Saints Forsake the Grave,
The Sun grow Dark, th' Earth in a Palsey see,
Then onely to Descend From off a Tree.
But, twas that Sacred Blood they did Despise,
And wish'd upon theire Heads, which vaild their Eyes.
Oh! who of these Obdurate Jews can Hear,
And not bee Struck, with Horrour, and with Fear,
Yet wee call'd Christians, Guiltier are then They?
They knew Him not, the Life: the Truth; the, Way;
And when the Lord of Life, They Crucify'd,
They did not know, that 'twas for Them, He Dy'd.
Mercy may Plead their Ignorance for Them,
But 'tis Our Knowledge, which may us Condemn.
Instead of Praise wee load Him, with Our Scorns
Wound him afresh, and Crown him with worse Thornes:
We say He is our Saviour; God and King,
Yet trample on his Blood, as a Vile Thing.
Iudas his Cursed part wee daily Play,
And Him wee Hail as Master, Wee Betray.
The Wonders of this Day wee Heighten thus;
Makeing it useless, that Hee Dy'd for us.
Prodigious Day; on which ev'n God did Pray
To God, to take the Bitter Cup away.
A Day in which Philosophy Descry'd,
That Nature, or the God of Nature, Dy'd.
A Day in which Mortallity may Cry,
Death Thou art Swallow'd up in Victory.
O may this Day bee in All Hearts Engrav'd;
This Day, on which GOD Dy'd, and Man was Sav'd.
On the Day of the Resurrection of Our Blessed SAVIOUR; Or Easter Day.
Hail Glorious Day; on which th'Almighty gave,
To His New World, the First Fruits of the Grave.
Hail Glorious Day; in Thy Illustrious Light,
What Faith could scarce Believe, Appear'd to Sight.
Hail Thou most Glorious Day; for 'twas on Thee
Death Lost his Sting; the Grave His Victory.
Ere the Blest Dawn of this Day did Begin,
On which God Rose from Death, and Man from Sin,
The Pious Magdalen prevents the Light;
Her steddy Soul, Darkness, nor Tombs could Fright:
She of that Pow'r to Guard Her could not Doubt,
By which Her seven Divills, had been cast out:
Her Duty's to His Corps Shee does Begin,
Assoon as She could Pay Them; without Sin.
But All those Perfumes which with her Shee Beates,
Were not so Sweet, as was Her Love and Teares;
Both which did Rise in Her to such an Heighth,
As made her Gratitude, Resemble Faith.
David would not the Love of Man Preferr,
Could Hee have known, the Love which shin'd in Her,
Argells, to whom Her matchless Griefs were known,
To ease them; From the Tomb Roll'd off the Stone.
But nor the Earth-quake, nor that Glorious Sight
Had, or the Pow'r to Please Her, or to Fright:
Nor could the Honour Shee did then Obtain
Of speaking with Blest Spirits, Ease Her Pain.
For those who JESUS seek, as Mary did,
Can but in finding HIM, be satisfy'd.
Who could Believe a Woman would Display,
More Love, then hee, who on Christs Bosome Lay.
Or that to Hers, Blest Peters Love should Yeild;
On whose Confession, Christ His Church did Build.
Yet She came Early'r to His Tombe then They,
And stay'd; and wept; after They went away.
Nothing could o're her Griefs the Conquest win;
Yet Love; made want of Faith in Her no Sin.
For when an Angells News stopt not her Tears,
Christ to Reward, them instantly appears:
Soe Apt He is to bring that Soul Releif,
Whose Trembling Faith, springs but from Love, & Grief.
Both which in her Hee did so Highly Prize,
As She First saw Him, of All mortall Eyes.
And sends Her his Apostle, ev'n to Those,
Whom He to be the Worlds Apostles Chose.
Never did Love, and Sorrow, Hers Excell;
And never Both, were Recompens'd so well.
As 'twas a Woman which Death first Brought In;
So 'twas a Woman did the Glory win
To tell the World, with Her Obligeing Breath,
The Lord of Life, had broke the Bonds of Death.
Death; which till then did valiant Men perplex,
Now should not Fright, Those of the softer Sex:
Myriads of which, through Faith in JESU'S Name,
Have run to Deaths Embraces through the Flame.
Elijah like, from Earth They did Retire,
And Climb'd to Heav'n, in Chariots made of Fire.
True Grief, does Cause Our Comforts, not Destroy:
For Those who Sow in Tears, shall Reap in joy.
And when Death comes to State us in the Face,
His Pow'r we Smile at, by the Pow'r of Grace.
Christ by His Riseing, has made Death to bee
Only the Gate, to Blest ETERNITY.
Such then as strive to gett Admittance there,
While They fear Death, to enter Heav'n They Fear
Those who like Magdalen their Saviour Love,
Now Hee is Ris'n, should seek the Things Above.
Since wee in Magdalen so well are taught,
Christ to a Soul by Love, and Tears are brought;
Still let us strive by Both, Our Souls to bring,
Where They with Hers, may Allelujahs Sing.
Hail Thou most sad, and Joyfull Day, on which
Earth grew more Poor, that Heav'n might grow more Rich.
Th'Apostles, Christs Ascention did Deplore,
Fearing They Lost, what They did but, Restore.
No wonder it Surpriz'd the Gazers Sights,
To See a Cloud Involve the Light of Lights:
To that Cloud only was the Blessing giv'n,
To be the Chariot, which bore God to Heav'n.
The Truths which David Sung, did then Appear
Darkness His Closett; Clouds his Chariots were.
In Sacred Things, How soon is Reason Lost,
Till'tis Enlighten'd by the Holy Ghost:
For They with Grief on his Ascention Look,
Tho then, Hee in Our Right Possession took
Of that Blest Kingdom, where 'till that Glad time
The Human Nature, ne're before could Climb.
The Happy Cloud on which Hee Deign'd to Ride
Approaching, Heav'n, the Gates did open wide
And Allelujahs Angells did Begin
Seeing the King of Glory, enter In.
Hells, and Deaths Powr's, Hee did before Defeat,
And Now, His Crosses Triumphs are Compleat:
For to the Blood of it the Pow'r was giv'n
To Reconcile, All, both in Earth and Heav'n,
Angells are now from fear of falling Free'd,
Captivity by Him, being Captive Led.
Since that Blest Harmony was heard on Earth,
Which Heav'n did make, at His Portentours Birth;
What Pen (but one took from an Angells wing)
Can write the Tryumphs, His Return did bring.
Angells Rejoyc'd, who Musick, are and Love,
That Those they guard Below; shall Reign Above.
And shall on those Bright Thrones for ever Dwell
From which by Pride, some of Their Order fell.
While Heav'n did thus Rejoyce, Men sink with Grief;
Two Angells therefore Fly to Their Relief;
Who told th' Apostles, while They Gaze and Mourn,
That as Christ went from thence, He should Return.
Such High Ambassadors; such Charming News,
Banish'd their Sorrows, and did Joy Infuse:
A Joy, which tho sublime, was not Compleate,
Till God indu'd them, with the Paraclete.
On the Day of Pentecost commonly call'd Whitsunday.
Hail Welcome Day; on which the World may Boast
Th'Apostles first Receiv'd the Holy Ghost.
God Usher'd in the Vast Gift, He design'd,
By a most mighty, and a Rushing wind:
To shew, the Blessed Spirit does Abhorr
To Rest in any Place, not Cleans'd before.
God a Consumeing Fire, Himself does Call,
Now, in Illuminateing Fires does fall.
The God of Nature, Natures Laws did turn,
And made that to Inspire, which us'd to Burn.
Mans Nature Christ carry'd to Heav'n; and then
Does with the Spirit of God, Enlighten Men:
The Cloven Tongues Foreshow the Joyfull News,
That Gentiles must be taught as well as Jews.
And Tongues like as of Fire, did Intimate,
The Cleansing Pow'r should on the Gospell waite,
The Gazing Multitude with joy Admire,
How Tongues on Heads, should Tongues in Mouths Inspire.
Thus taught by God, in Tongues They Criticks grew,
Of which, the Pow'r before, They nothing knew.
Now Ev'ry Nation which the Feast had brought,
Heard in their Variant Speech the Gospell taught.
Variety of Tongues in Elder Time,
Stop'd that proud Tow'r man aim'd to Heav'n should Climbe.
But now Variety of Tongues is giv'n,
As the sure means to Raise Man up to Heav'n.
Those who the Church would to One Tongue Contract,
Against this Fruit full Miracle must Act,
And while They Run in such a Guilty way,
Destroy one Blessed end of this great Day.
How Faulty against God must Those Appear,
Who Darken, what This Miracle made Clear?
And with Their Pride, or Interest, to Comply,
Would make Religion a Monopoly.
Yet some to mock the Miracle Designe,
And Drunk with Rage, Ascribe it to New Wine.
With which when men are fill'd Experience shows,
It tyes mens Tongues, but New Ones ne're Bestows
Blest Joel's Prophecy on them did Fall,
Yet Inspiration, Drunkeness, They call.
No wonder, when in Sin They flew so High,
God gave them over to Beleeve a Lye.
But they, by whom the Miracle was Priz'd,
Receiv' the Sacred Faith, and were Baptiz'd.
When the Blest Spirit mov'd the Tongue which Taught
Three thousand Soules, to life one Sermon brought.
Above all things, God's word should be Esteem'd,
It made the World, and then the World Redeem'd.
Yet the Best work does on the Gospell waite
'Tis more the World to Save then to Create,
On the Day of St. John the BAPTIST.
Hail, Thou Bright Phospher to that Glorious Day,
Which from the World, Sins Darkness Chas'd away,
Hail Sacred Voice, which from Above was Sent,
To warn Man to Beleeve and to Repent.
Never did such a Prophet Shine on Earth;
He, his Redeemer knew, before his Birth.
His joyfull Leaping in his Mothers Wombe,
When His Lords Mother, unto His, did Come,
Made it to both, That he did Know appear
The Unborn SAVIOUR of the World was there.
Phylosophy, cannot the Wayes Unfold,
How Babes Unborn, did Correspondence hold.
None can the Hidden Cause of it Dispence,
But onely the SUPREAM INTELLIGENCE.
No Wonder, since our Saint Transcended All,
That Christ should Him, more then a Prophet Call.
Judge, with what Knowledge God did him Adorne,
Who knew Wisdom it self, ere He was borne.
Reading of Him, Wonder our Soules should Seise,
His History is fill'd with Miracles.
Hee did a Sonne to Barrenness become,
His body was his Tongue within the Wombe.
In His strange Birth, The Eies of Faith might See,
The Barren Gentile World, should Fruitfull bee.
So many did for His Baptising strive,
That Enons River scarce could Waters give.
Never did man to such High Glory Rise;
This wondrous Priest did his own God Baptise.
In stead of shineing Vestments He did weare,
A Leathern Girdle, and a Robe of Haire.
Yet His Blest Ministry, most Firmly Stood,
Its Greatnes did appear in Doeing Good.
Locusts, and some Wild Hony, was His Fare,
Carthusians Meales, to His, Excesses were.
This spareing Diet, and That humble Dress,
Does practically Sentence Our Excess.
Yet the great Orders of the Pen, and Sword,
Did Throng to Hear, and Reverenc'd His Word.
No Characters by man Erected, shine
With so much Awe in Hearts, as the Divine.
Reason payes more to Piety Alone,
Then to the Guards, and Glittrings of a Throne:
What yet, of his first State, Man in him beares:
Minds him, More's due to what he Likes, then Fears.
But, All His merit did not Guard his Life,
From the Revenge of an Incestuous Wife.
Who can think Crimes, which Lust will not Comitt,
When tis to Reap, the Guilty Fruits of it?
Nature, Religion, and All Sacred Tyes,
Some will, while the Hot Frenzy Lasts, Dispise,
Herod, Sirnam'd Antipas, had been Led,
Inflam'd by Lust, his Brothers Wife to wed:
Our Sacred Baptist, whom no Pow'r could awe,
Declar'd, His Marriage was against the Law.
Th'Incestuous Queen, who thought Less bright shee Shone,
In a Chast Bed, then in a Vicious Throne,
Fearing, the Sentence past by such a Saint,
Might make the Kings Soul Firm, and Passion Faint;
Resolv'd to Act, what oft the Fierce had Try'd:
Great Crimes, by Greater, must be Justify'd,
The time She Destin'd for this Guilty Thing,
Was on the Birth Day of Her Lustfull King:
For then to Honor it, there did Resort
All that were Great, or Gay, about the Court.
When Meats Excess, Join'd with the Fumes of wine,
Clouded that Reason Temp'rance does Refine,
Herodias Daughter, by her Mother gain'd,
So well the King with Danceing Intertain'd,
That when His Justice to His Passion bow'd,
He Solemnly, in the Assembly, vow'd,
What e're She ask'd of Him, should be Her Own,
Tho twere to half the Value of His Crown.
The Cruel Maid then ask'd the Baptists Head,
No sighs She utter'd, and no Tears she Shed.
Pleas'd that Her Mothers Fury She Obey'd,
A sinfull Joy, Her wanton Looks Display'd.
Herod, to grant the Black Request, was Loath,
Yet for the sake of His great Guests, and Oath,
The Bloody Present instantly was Brought:
Ne're with such Worth, and Guilt, was Charger Fraught,
Yet All their Mirth, the Gastly sight did Break,
For tho the Tongue did not, the Head did speak,
And Cry'd to Heav'n, where the great Judge does dwell,
Who from Their Thrones th' Incestuous did Expell.
How wild is Pow'r, which made a Monarch Prone,
To slight God's Word, to Gratify his Own.
Falsly He thought, to a Rash Oath he ow'd,
More then to Justice, Nay more then to God.
His Griev'd Disciples, hearing the Sad News,
Did Their own Sins, for their great Loss, accuse.
Then, from the Prison, They, the Body take,
And a True Mourning at the Fun'rall make;
Yet to the Lookers on, it did Appear.
The Mourners, Happy'er then, the Dancers were,
O who can Read this Story with Dry Eyes?
Or will not after it, this World Despise?
When such a Head, is as a Tribute paid,
To a Loud Oath, past to a Danceing Maid.
Let us, since Lofty Stations Crimes Inspire,
Early, from all their Cheating Charmes, Retire;
When on Death Beds, we, Languishing, shall Lye,
And know Eternall Joies, or Paines are nigh,
Than who shall Grieve, tho it may be too Late,
How slightly wee, our precious Time, did Rate.
Many have Mourn'd Their Lives, They ill have spent,
But none, of well Employing them Repent.
On the Day of St. Stephen the Christian Proto-Martyr.
Hail Thou Blest Leader of the Noblest Band,
Which ever Mortall, did, or shall Comand!
The Worlds great Generalls their Follow'rs Pay
In Rusting metall, or in Fadeing Bay,
Theirs must by Killing Guilty wreaths Obtain,
But Thine, by Dying, Life and Glory gain.
Both which shall last, when Pyramids of Pride
Are shrunk to Ashes, such as now They Hide.
This shews how Different the Payments are,
In the Worlds Laufeat, and the Spirituall Warr.
The Jews, who Found They no Defence could make,
Against that Spirit by which Stephen Spake;
Resolv'd by Death to finish the Dispute,
And stop that Tongue, which They could not Confute.
Those Stones, with which his Life They batterd down,
God made the Jewells, of Our Martyrs Crown.
Our Christian Moses first this Red Sea Try'd,
And to the Heav'nly Canaan is Our Guide,
When JESUS was to Dy for Mankinds Crime,
Onely, One Angell came to Comfort Him:
But when Blest Stephen was a Martyr made,
To His Glad Eies, All Heav'n appear'd His Aide.
When God and Christ by Op'ning Heaun were shown,
Both Faith, and sight, for Him, Combin'd in One.
Thus God's unbounded Mercy did Proceed,
Giveing most Comfort, where there was most Need.
To the First Martyr was the Blessing giv'n,
To have on Earth a Reall sight of Heav'n.
Lest sailing through Deaths stormes, his Soul might Fright,
Of his wish'd Part God kept him still in Sight,
Martyrs to Come, in his Blest vision see,
Those Joyes, which to such Dead God does Decree.
No Athist e're, to loose his Life was Known,
Only to prove that After it There's none.
Annihilation, when Life does Expire,
Is less the wickeds Faith, then their desire,
But Stephen Joyfully this Life Resign'd,
Knowing He should with Christ a better find.
If after Dying nothing did Remain,
His Vision had been False, his Pray'r Vain.
What Stephen saw, would Charge God with a Lye;
If, with the Bodies Death, the Soul should Dye.
Christ then did Act what He before Decreed,
That Martyrs Blood should bee the Churches Seed
For his Last words, Proofs of Christs God-head give,
Praying that JESUS would His Soul Receive.
Since, who, in Martyrdomes Red Path has Trod,
Dying, would Leave his Spirit, but to God?
From his Last Pray'r, wee Reap this Blessed Fruit,
That Arrianisme ere born, it does Confute
True Martyrs Charity ascends so High,
They Pray for those at Death, that make Them dy.
And Such as part with Life, God's Laws to Keep,
Dying to Them, is but to fall Asleep.
On the Day of St. Peter
Hail First Apostle; Thou, whom Christ did Choose
To Preach Mose's his Saviour, to the Jews.
None of the Sacred Twelue, the Church Agree,
In various Dispensations Equal'd Thee.
Thou First didst own that Faith which ne're shall Faile,
Since against It, Hells Gates shall not Prevail.
But thou didst Deprecate the Lambs being Slain;
Without whose Death Thy Faith had been in vain,
That Rock, of which the Church should, founded bee:
Tho thousands by mistake beleev'd 'twas Thee.
For Christ did name Thee Peter; and did own
Thou in His Church, art One Chief Corner Stone:
And Christ on Thee, did the Honor showre,
Of being First in Order, not in Pow'r.
Since the Keys Pow'rs with which Thou first wer't Blest,
Hee also did Conferr on all the Rest.
His Faith to Walk on Waters, did not shrink;
But Oh! How soon it fail'd and Hee did Sink?
Hee drew his Sword, First, on His Masters side;
But then, That Hee his Master was; Deny'd.
Hee first did Promise, hee with Christ would Dy,
But when the Danger came, he then did Fly.
Christ, who his Heart better then hee did know,
Foretold his Fall, before the Cock did Crow.
No meanes are weak, which God Vouchsafes to use,
The Crowing of a Cock, His Faith Renews.
That Bird, whose voice does Usher in the Day,
Drove from his Soul the night of Sin away.
Whil'st Hee, with Oaths, and Curses, Christ Abjur'd,
Those Sins, but by One Look of His, were Cur'd.
O Pow'rfull Look! which instantly could Dart,
The Rayes of Grace into a Perjur'd Heart.
O moveing Look! which could so well Perswade,
That of a Sinner a Blest Saint It made.
Those bitter Tears, which His Repentance Spilt,
So Pow'rfull were, They wash'd off all His Guilt.
Thus Cleans'd; He did Aspire for Christ to Dy.
From whom before de did not Blush to Fly
So vast the Diff'rence is, which God does Place,
Between the strengths of Nature, and of Grace,
Now by one Sermon, hee does Thousands make
That Christ Adore, which he did once Forsake.
The Bed-rid Persons now at his Comand,
On Their Long-useless Limbs in Raptures stand.
His Shadow now, does quicker Health Impart,
Then All the substance of the physick Art.
Now tho, He could not give to Beggars Wealth,
Yet, he did give Them greater Riches; Health.
Now That All Hypocrites his word might Dread,
God strikes Sapphira, and her Husband Dead.
But Doreas, whom the Weeping Widows Praise,
Christ from the Dead, at Peters Word, does Raise.
Who then dare think, God will not at the Last,
Raise All the Dead, at the Archangells Blast?
Since, what He did to Tabitha, has show'd,
The Pow'r to doe it, God on man Bestow'd.
Reason, without the Help of Faith, doth show,
God can doe more, then He made Peter doe.
Who Doubts the Dead shall Rise at Times last How'r;
Questions at Once, God's Promise and His Pow'r
Tho These, and many Wonders more, wee see
The Sacred Word of God Records of Thee;
Yet from what Scripture, can Romes Bishops Plead,
That Thy Successors are, the Churches Head?
Antioch does seem to have a stronger Claim,
Since there the Christians first Receiv'd their Name.
And All past Ages, as the present Own,
In Antioch Thou didst Erect Thy Throne.
Rome, but the second Place was, where it stood,
Rome, whose ungratefull Earth suckd up Thy Blood.
Whilst Antioch urges, Shee was Thy First See,
First Learn'd Thy Faith, and from Thy Blood was Free
Shee seems in these Terce Blessings to Exceed,
What ever Romes best Orators can Plead.
This made the Nicene Fathers to Decree,
The pope of Antioch, a first Pope should bee:
For till Romes Church did Thirst for Pow'r and Fame,
Pope to All Bishops, was a Common Name.
But Time, which All but Truth doth Overcome,
Antioch Destroy'd, and has Exalted Rome.
Yet this alone, is the best Plea wee see,
Which Rome can urge for Her Supremacy.
Which were it Good, the World must then Confess.
That Romes Supremacy is Her Success.
Divers Popes show (who Errors did Embrace)
Faith comes not by Succession but by, Grace.
That Blest Evangelist, whose Pen did write
The Gospell which most think thou didst Indite
Lets us, thy Fall in Fowler Colours see,
Then are made use of by the Other Three.
By which wee Learn, when wee a Sin Committ
Wee should Our selves be most Severe to It.
But thy great Failing, which so Black Appears,
Faith has wash'd off both, in thy Blood and Tears
Tho trembling Fear, made thee from Jesus Fly,
Yet stable Faith, made thee for Him to Dy.
And Judge, since Christ Dy'd upright on the Tree,
His Dying Posture was too good for Thee.
This made thee beg (what th' Impious did Deride)
That thou might'st bee Revers'dly Crucify'd;
That Humble way, which thou didst Choose to Dy,
Honor'd the Cross, which Christ did Sanctify.
Hee, a sure way to Endless Life does Choose,
Who in this World, His Life for Christ does Loose.
O Happy Loss, which brings the Highest Gain;
Since those who Dy for Christ, with Him shall Raign;
Hail Great Apostle, Greatest of them All,
Since from Christ Glorify'd Thou hadst Thy Call.
A Call, which made Thee stop Thy Fierce Pursuite,
And Preach that Faith, which Thou didst Persecute.
Taught by God's Word, Thee I the Greatest Call,
Since from thy Riseing, Thou didst never Fall.
Thou with that Sacred Priviledge wer't Blest,
Which God Confer'd on none of all the Rest.
And Thou Encourag'd by the Pow'r of Grace,
Peter withstoodst, when Faulty, to the Face.
The Christian World in Sacred Records see,
The care of All the Churches Lay on Thee.
Thy Pen, in writing more of them, was blest,
Then the Inspired Pens of All the Rest,
And the Blest Spirit Testifies of Thee,
Thou more then All didst work abundantly.
Thy Tribe, of which so Few God's wrath did Scape,
While They maintain'd a Murther and a Rape:
Was yet the Tribe, from which his Hand did Choose,
The First of All the Monarchs of the Jews.
And, which did more the Fame of it Renew,
The great Apostle of the Gentiles too.
Since Jacob Lov'd his youngest Son so well,
God made His Tribe most other Tribes Excell.
To Benjamin more Glory it does bring,
To give us That Apostle, then a King.
Of all the Sacred Colledge, Thou Alone,
For OUR APOSTLE we with Justice own.
The Gentiles Teacher Heav'n does thee Declare,
And wee, of the West World, all Gentiles were.
Since Thou thine Office dost so Magnify,
My Muse delights in magnifying Thee,
As God to Thee most Mysteries did show,
So Hee made Thee most, Suff'rings undergoe.
Thy Life, Like Thy great Masters, seemes to bee,
Continuall Scenes of Vary'd Misery.
He, who most vex'd the Church, God Judg'd it Fit,
Should bee afflicted most, in Planting It.
By which his Sacred Justice has made known,
Only Great Suff'rings should great Sins Attone.
Stripes, Prisons, Dangers, and all else wee Dread,
Were, by his Providence, Thy Daily Bread.
But tho the Loads were great, which Thou didst bear,
Yet under them, Thy Comforts greater were;
For the vast Priviledge to Thee was Lent,
Of being in All States of Life Content.
To what Amazeing Raptures wer't Thou brought
When Thou wer't up, to the Third Heaven caught?
Such were the Joyes thou didst Partake of there,
Thou, but in Negatives, couldst them Declare.
Yet wee those Joyes for Worldly Trifles sell,
Which ev'n Thy pen, did want the Pow'r to Tell.
That Blest Apostle, to whose Eies was shown,
What the Church call's the Revelation.
Tho Hee to Picture Heav'n enough did see,
Yet fell in Revelation short of Thee,
For Wee, of what Hee saw Partakers are,
But thou sawst things, not Lawfull to Declare,
Those Jews, which at thy Miracles did grudge,
Brought thee to Dy before a Roman Judge,
But Felix trembl'd, and his Tongue was Dumb
Hearing thee Treat of the great Day to come,
Such Pow'r those have, which God's Cause Undertake,
That from the Barr, They make their Judges Quake,
And when to Festus and Agrippa led,
That before them, thou for the Faith shouldst Plead.
The King confest, thou didst so well Perswade,
That He was then ALMOST a Christian made,
God, with such Argu'ings, still did thee supply,
That from their Force, Reason, nor Faith could Fly.
Such Divine Logick, thou didst allwaies use,
That who Resisted was without Excuse,
When Nero had, the Bright Poppeja gain'd,
To such a Sin, as all her Beauty Stain'd.
Blest Paul, as Holy Chrisostome does write,
Converted, and thereby made her more Bright,
For after to the Faith Hee her did win,
Romes Glories, could not Tempt her to a Sin,
Which made the Tyrants Rage so blind, and High,
That, who His Mistress sav'd, Hee doom'd to Dy.
That Faith, for which Our great Apostle stood,
He did, when Call'd by Christ, Seal with his Blood,
And when Romes Pow'rs, he had by Death O'recome;
God Crown'd the Head he Lost with Martyrdome.
A Crown, which Monarchs ought to value more;
Then That which once His Murth'rer Nero, wore,
O May wee Learn from Him, to Dy to Sin;
That Wee thereby, the Crown of Life may Win
Blest Saint, whom Two Peculiar Honors Crown'd,
Thou wer't the First, that the Messiah found,
and e're the Gospell, Christ to Thee did Teach,
Thou didst the Gospell to Blest Peter Preach.
Of the First Brothers, which on Earth did Live,
The Eldest, to the youngest, Death did give:
But of those First, wee in the Gospell Read,
The younger, did to Life, the Elder Lead.
In them, the Different Maxims are Descry'd,
Twixt Those, whom Nature, and whom Grace does guide,
That Holy Zeal, Christ did on Him Bestow,
Made him into Remotest Regions goe:
Wild Scythia, which did Civill Nations Fright,
Own'd to His Piety the Gospells Light.
Those Hee set Free, whom Sin in Chains did hold,
Sin, which had more Benum'd Them, then their cold,
To Fam'd Bizantium afterwards hee Sail'd,
Where by His Pains so much the Faith Prevail'd,
As Hee, that City with a Mitre grac'd,
And in that See Pauls Belov'd Stachys plac'd,
After those Parts did Rev'rence JESUS Name,
He then to Patrae in Achaja came;
Aegeus the Pro Consulls Office bore:
who with blind Zeal, blind Idol's, did Adore,
As God, he worship'd Statues, which he made,
Thus, by Ill breeding, most men are Betray'd.
Seldome wee wipe out Prepossessions staines,
For what Our youth Receives, Our Age Reteines.
Since to False Gods, Hee thought his Zeal was Due,
How had it heightend, had he known the True?
Our Blest Apostle, being griev'd to see,
Th' Achajans bent to such Idolatry.
Shew'd them, that Adoration should bee paid,
To that God onley, which the World had made,
The Gospells Influence, as the Suns, is Felt,
The Clay it hardens, and the Wax doth melt:
For, what Our Saint taught of the Word of Life,
Inrag'd the Husband, but converts the Wife.
Fair Maximilla, when the Truth Shee heard,
Despis'd those Idols, which Her Husband Fear'd.
And wonder'd, when in Grace shee did Partake,
How men beleev'd, their Hands, Their God's could make,
In her new Faith, so Happy Shee appears,
That Shee did Court her Lord to it, with Tears,
But, tho Her Beauties He did much Adore,
Yet Hee did His Revenge, and Idolls more,
A Cross Decussate, Hee with speed does Frame,
(Which sort of Cross, still bears St. Andrews Name)
And on it did Our Martyr Crucify,
Whose Limbs, he did not Naile to it, but Ty,
Those Cords, more Cruell were by Farr, then Steel,
For they Deaths Pangs made him the Longer Feel.
During two Daies, while thus his Limbs they stretch'd,
He for His Murth'rers Pray'd, or to Them Preach'd,
The People all Astonish'd were, and mourn'd,
That Hee, his Cross had to a Pulpit Turn'd.
And could not of that Doctrine think too high,
Which for such Hate, Return'd such Charity,
Poor Maximilla, was nere Drown'd in Tears,
Yet, whom Her Lord had murther'd, Shee Interres;
There in a Privat Tomb His Corps did Rest,
Till with great Constantine the World was Blest,
Who, to His new Imperiall Seat did Bear,
His Sacred Dust, and gave it Buriall there,
Hail Thou Great Saint, whose Doubts were once so High,
As Border'd Thee, on Infidelity.
Thy Gratious Lord, Recalls Thee when Astray;
And yeilds to Conquer them, in Thy own way.
Hee offerd by Thy sences to make known,
Hee was no Spirit, having Flesh and Bone,
And But this mild Reproof, Thou didst Receive;
Bee Thou no longer Faithless but Beleive.
At this, Thy want of Faith Thou didst Detest,
And that Hee, was Thy Lord, and God Confest.
Christ when His Doubts rose to a Sinfull Heighth,
Did make him by his Senses Climbe to Faith;
His Sacred Mercy; which no Limits knows,
Blames what Hee wants, and what Hee wants bestows,
When God our Faith Requires, yet holds not fitt,
Our Senses should be us'd to Reach to it;
As in the Hypostatick Union;
A Virgin did Conceive: and Three are One,
Not to beleive of Them, but what wee See,
Is to be Sinfull to the Last Degree.
But when God does a Miracle Dispense,
And does Subject the Proof of it to Sense;
Hee, who will not his Senses then Believe,
Rejects that Proof, which God bids him Receive.
The Wedding Guests at Cana; had not known,
The only Transubstantiation;
Which ever yet on Elements has past;
Had They beleev'd, against their Sight and Tast.
Romes Church, Amazing Doctrines does Dispense:
First bids us Credit, then, not Credit, Sense:
Our Senses were must Trust, to know the Priest
Does Consecrate the Blessed Eucharist;
But must Renounce, after the Holy Rite,
Our Tast, Our Smell, Our Feeling, and our Sight.
Yet who can know Hee must not Sense believe,
If to his Senses he no Credit give.
Since, to be taught Hee must their Verdict Slight,
He either must beleeve, his Ear, or Sight.
Our Blessed Lord, did His Apostle win,
By seeing, to beleeve what was not seen;
Hee often blam'd them, that they Dsbeliev'd,
Those things, which by their Senses they Receiv'd.
And that Blest Faith, They did to Men Dispense,
Was built upon their Senses Evidence;
Their Eies, their Eares, their Hands, They did Confess,
Of what they taught, were their sure Witnesses.
And on his Soul, a Sin our Saint did Draw,
In not believing, what his Brethren Saw.
When beyond Jordan, the sad News was Spread.
That Lazarus of Bethany was Dead;
And when, at Mary, and at Marth's Pray'r,
JESUS into judea would Repair.
Which, since the Jews did there his Life pursue,
Th' Apostles were unwilling he should doe;
Thou saidst to Them, (Thy Love was then so High)
Let us goe also, and there with him Dy.
Thou, who to Dy with JESUS, didst not Dread,
Thou, who saws't Lazarus rais'd from the Dead
How couldst thou Doubt, what they ten Baethren said,
Whose Eies, the Witnesses of it were made?
How couldst Thou doubt His Riseing, who had shown
He was himself the Resurrection?
But Sin in Man, God's Image does Deface,
Till 'tis afresh, stamp'd, by the hand of Grace,
But when from want of Faith, he was Reclaimd,
His Falling with such Zeal his soul inflam'd.
That through the Eastern World, he went about,
To Plant that Faith, of which He once did Doubt,
Which shows, that into Sin the best may Fall,
And that such Sin, for greater Zeal does Call.
The Farthest Indians, he to Christ Reclaim'd,
Where still St. Thomas-Christians, They are nam'd.
More wealth He brought them by his Pious Toyle,
Then Nature yeilds them, from their Sea or Soyle.
Th' Incense of Faithfull Pray'r, is of more Price
Then All their shining Jewells, and their Spice.
At Sumatra, the Brachmans Fertile Ile,
Hee did to Christ, the People Reconcile.
At Malipur, Chief Town of Cormandell,
In which, their Sagamo or King, did dwell.
Neare which, Fam'd Ganges in the Gulf does Fall,
A Church he built, and on Christs Name did Call.
There, by his Prayr's, and Miracles he wrought,
That Savage Prince, to the Blest Faith he brought.
The Unconverted Brachmans quickly knew;
That their Feign'd God, must yeild unto the True;
And then their Pow'r, and Riches must Decline,
They, who Priz'd fordid wealth, above Divine:
Resolv'd; (to save what they did most Esteem)
To give Him Death; who had brought Life to them.
An Ambush, neer a Sacred Cell they Laid,
In which, our Blest Apostle daily Pray'd.
While There, He for his Murth'rers, praying was,
They through his Heart, their guilty Darts did Passe;
Then, lest no part of all his body whole,
And from his Earthly Prison freed, his Soul.
Th' Adventurous Portugalls, in after time,
That they, might both to wealth, and Glory Climb.
Planted this Region, which so Distant Lyes,
And which the Sun first Gilds, when he does Rise.
There, as a much Esteem'd Historian Saith,
Thousands they Found, who held the Christian Faith.
Taught first by Our Apostle, They All Sayd,
And by Tradition, was to them Convay'd.
Some Pious Prelates, the whole Flock did Guide,
And over them, an High Priest did Preside:
Their Churches, with no Gawdy Pictures shone,
To them Saints Images, were things unknown.
No Representment, but the Cross was made,
Zeal was the Ornament, their Churches had.
Beyond what's Decent, they no Rules did know;
Religion, is a Substance, not a show.
The Gospells first Simplicity they Priz'd,
Church Pageantry, they hated, or Despis'd,
Their Clergy, did, much of their Time afford,
To make the Lay Study the Sacred word,
Of which no part of it, with them Remain'd,
That is in the Old Testament contain'd.
Th'Essentialls of Faith, They all beleiv'd,
And in both Kinds, the Eucharist Receiv'd,
He, who was weary in the World to dwell,
Might when he would, Retire into a Cell.
None thence, would to the World again Repair,
Devotion, and not Vows, confin'd them there.
These, who with the Words Sincere Milk were Nurs'd,
Show us, how plain, Religion was at First.
When Sousa, did in India Govern All,
As Vice Roy to the King of Portugall,
The Indians found, digging up bury'd Stones,
A written plate of Brass, and Dead mens bones,
At Last a Bramin, then a Learned Jew,
The meaning, of th'Engraved writing knew,
First it declared; God's Son, St, Thomas sent,
To teach them to believe, and to Repent:
Next; that to build a Church, their Sagamo,
Did on Our Saint; freely that Land bestow.
The Portugueses, judging that those Stones,
Had been the Coffin, of our Martyrs bones,
The precious Relicks, bury'd with Respect,
And did o're them, a stately Church Erect,
Hail Great Apostle, who so happy prov'd,
As to be call'd th' Apostle JESUS Lov'd.
A Name, which does to thee more Glory bring,
Then wer't Thou stil'd, the Universall King,
Who well can think, Linus and Cletus were,
(Who next to Blessed Peter fill'd Romes Chair)
The onely Heads, Christ to His Church did give,
While thou, who on His Bosome Dwellst didst Live?
Thou, on whose Head, while Thousands did Admire,
The Spirit did sitt in Cloven Tongues of Fire.
Thou whom, that Spirit did Inspire to write,
The Loftiest Gospell, which it did Indite.
Thou, whose blest Tongue by God himself was Chose,
That Book to Dictate, which His Word did Close.
Thou to whom Christ, while yeilding up the Ghost,
Gave Gifts, the Like of which, none Else could boast,
Hee left His Blessed Mother to Thy Care,
And by Adoption made Thee His Joint Heir.
None could, whilst Thou on Earth mad'st Thy abode,
Bee above thee, who Brother wer't to God.
Yet this great Truth must Contradicted bee,
Or it must Ruine Romes Supremacy.
Whose Sons, alas! with too much guilt maintain,
Onely Their Bishops o're Christs Church can Raigne,
God might to Thee so Long a Life Dispence
That such Usurping might have noe Pretence.
Tho Tyrants Thee to Patmos did Condemn,
Yet there Thou saw'st the New Jerusalem.
God shew'd Thee thence, lest too Long Life might Cloy,
Those Glories, which through Faith, thou shouldst Enjoy,
Let none Admire, since Christ Lov'd Thee so well,
That Hee so Long left Thee on Earth to Dwell;
For since to serve Him here Hee did Decree,
To do His will on Earth, was Heav'n to Thee.
Thus Angells tho from God They take their Flight,
Yet finde in Their Obedience, Their Delight.
Thou onely of Thy Blest Society,
Christ did permit a Naturall Death to Dye,
Mans Fury did the Rest to Death Decree,
But Age it self to God presented Thee.
Which proves, All Those as sure to beav'n shall Climbe,
Who Dye in Christ, as those who Dy For Him.
Many might else from His Blest Doctrine Fly,
If all, who taught it, had been Doom'd to Dy.
Which sinfull Fear, that All men might Decline,
God, who Their Lives did shorten, Lengthen'd Thine.
When Cursed Judas the sad Breach had made,
By having both His Lord, and Soul Betray'd;
Peter, by Scripture Lets th' Apostles See,
They were Impowr'd to fill the Vacancie.
Which to effect, They Invocated Heaven,
And Lots did Cast, the Spirit not been given.
Our Saint, and Justus, were the Blessed Pair,
Of which, One should by Lot, fill judas Chair.
Hail Glorious Saint, who to the Honour got,
Of the Apostleship, by Sacred Lot.
Thy Blessed self wer't both the first, and Last,
Whom God, that way, in that High Office Plac'd.
And what the Lot Declar'd, the Holy Ghost,
Confirm'd, on the great Day of Pentecost.
For then, the Spirit unto Thee was given,
As God bestow'd it on the Blest Eleven.
Tho justus mist of that Supream Degree,
For which, Hee then stood Candidate with Thee,
Yet to the Second, Christ did Him admitt,
Since For the First, th' Apostles Judg'd Him Fitt.
Hee knew, their Prayr's th'unerring Lot did guide,
And it was God, did the great Doubt decide.
To which Hee did Submitt, without Appeal,
And what it gave, a Miracle did Seale.
By which, the Churches Priesthood God made known,
Shall be continued, by Election.
That Sacred Office, which so Long did shine,
In Levi's Tribe, and in High Aarons Line,
Now, was by God's Decree, to yeild the Place,
To the more Glorious Ministry of Grace.
None therefore to th' Apostolate e're gott,
Of Levi's house, either By Choice or Lott.
Christ, Calling none to it of Aarons Line,
Declar'd Hee did that Priesthoods End Designe.
After Our Saint was with the Spirit Blest,
His Soul Allow'd his Body little Rest;
Through many Regions Hee the Gospell spread,
And Those reviv'd, who in their Sins were Dead.
Authors, in Various Narratives abound,
Where twas, that Hee, with Martyrdome was Crown'd.
In Ancient Martyrologies wee Read,
The Jews first Ston'd Him, then Cutt off his Head.
But if Greek Offices may bee beleev'd,
Hee on a Cross, his Martyrdome Receiv'd.
Hellen the mother of Great Constantine,
In whom Exalted Piety did Shine,
The Relicks of Our Saint did so Esteem,
That she remov'd them from Jerusalem.
And at new-Rome, much Time, and Treasure spent,
In giving them, a Second Monument.
From thence, as Old Church Histories have said,
His bones to other Cityes were Convay'd.
And even to our Times, Triers and Rome,
Contest in which of Them, they have their Tombe.
Since, of His Dust so much Esteem is had,
Much Greater to his Doctrine should bee pai'd.
Hail Great Evangelist, whose Sacred Pen
Inspir'd by God; has taught His wayes to Men,
Before Hee did Receive His saveing Call,
Into what sad Back-slideing did Hee Fall?
Great Epiphanius has expresly showne,
That of the Guilty number, he was One,
Who, when they Literally understood,
They were to Eat Christs Flesh, and Drink His Blood,
Th' Amazeing Doctrine They did so Abhorr,
That They withdrew, and walk'd with Him no more.
Yet the like words mistaken, are become,
And made, an Article of Faith, by Rome.
Averroes pray'd, Hearing such Doctrine prest,
His Soul with the Philosophers might Rest.
Heathens have no beleif so wild, and Odd,
As both to Worship and to Eat their God.
But Peter did to Mark the Truth Dispence,
And shew'd the words, had a Spirituall Sence.
His Faith thus Fix'd, He ne're again did Fall,
But was to Peter, what Luke was, to Paul.
And after, Hee His Convert was become
Hee did Attend Him, when He went to Rome.
The Earliest Writers differ, where, and when,
The World did ow the Gospell to his Pen.
Which Peter did Review, and then Decreed,
It should bee, in Divine Assemblies, Read.
Papias, and Eusebius Declare,
'Twas writt at Rome, and at His Converts Pray'r;
But, the Venetians will not this Admitt,
They say; It was at Aquileja writt;
And that the Greek Originall's with Them
Which They, of All their treasures, must Esteem.
Blest Peter, who at Rome was in Restraint,
Egypt to Free, Thither employ'd our Saint.
True Gospell Charity in this Wee see,
While him they bind, Hee, does sett others Free.
Free from worse Chaines, then Tyrants make us bear,
Sins Fetters are, than Nero's, heavyer.
Nile to her People ne're such blessings brought,
As They enjoy'd, by the Blest Faith he taught.
Fair Alexandria was the Happy place,
Which with His Doctrine, Hee did oftnest Grace,
By which, more Fam'd by much it did become,
Then for its being Alexanders Tombe.
Or for those Pyramids, to which were given,
More heighth, then to that Tower, which threatend Heav'n
Or to those mountaines, which by Gyants paines,
Were Raisd to Scale the Skies, from Phlegra's Plaines,
Yet Hee, his Mitre did not there Confine,
Pentapolis, and Libya, saw it Shine.
Shine, with more Rayes, then Gold, or Stones can give,
Those Dead in Sin, Its Lustre did Revive.
The Life Monastick, Divers have beleiv'd,
It's Institution from our Saint Receiv'd,
From the Fam'd Philo, this beleif they Take,
Who writes that near the Meraeotick Lake,
Many Retir'd, and there Their time did give,
To Pious Rites, and Lives Contemplative.
St. Hierome and Eusebius, doe Declare,
That these Devout Recluses, Christians were.
And Learn'd Baronius, That we might Esteem,
The Cloister'd Life Rome Founded; Joines with Them.
But Those, who throughly read, what Philo writt,
Scarce can, what those Collect from thence Admitt.
For He, with the most Large Encomiums Strives,
To make his Readers, praise their Holy Lives.
Who then can think, he would Commemorate,
That Sect, which all his Nation most did hate.
Hee adds, that Order ancient was when Hee
Compos'd his (Celebrated) History.
If so, how can Those Men bee Christians thought,
Whose Faith was Newly then, in Egypt taught.
All which, does rather seem to make it Clear,
That these Strict men, Jewish Esseni were.
Serapis Priests, who Highly were Afraid,
Of the Vast Progress, which the Gospell made;
Against Our Saint Their Fiercest malice bend,
And did Resolve, his Death, their Fears should End.
The Time they Chose their Fury to Display,
Was, when Their Idolls Feast, and Easter Day.
Did happen at the selfsame Time to Light,
They then the Easy Multitude incite,
To vindicate their slighted Deity,
Whose Altars, they behold Contemn'd did Lye,
All then, the Sacred Christian Church Invade;
So much, Religion can seduce the Bad.
They knew, (such subtilty their Hearts had fill'd)
The Flock would scatter, were the Shepherd killd:
St. Mark They bind, and then with Impious Force,
Towards their Bucelus They take their Course,
Dragging his Carcasse all the way They went,
And from that Precipice 'twas their Intent,
His precius Body, in the Sea to fling:
This seem'd to Some, too mercifull a Thing:
Him therefore, in a Prison They secure,
That He their Torments, longer might Endure,
But while, much more acute ones They Contrive,
He begs of God, His Murth'rers to Forgive,
Next Day They Drag'd Him o're sharp Rocks again,
Untill he owd His Rest, unto His pain,
The Priests enrag'd (Hee did so soon Expire,)
Condemnd His Sacred Reliques, to the Fire.
His Converts Tears did quench the Flames at last,
And then His Ashes, in a Tombe they plac'd.
This precious Dust, which Egipt sert at nought,
From Alexandria, was to Venice brought.
And there Interrd, Their Duke did mourn in Cheif,
And Paid it All the Complements of Greif.
And as a Tombe, to guard it did bestow,
One of the Proudest Piles, the World can show.
Then, that Illustrious Senate did Decree,
Saint Mark, Their Tutelary Saint should bee.
Hail Great Apostle, who the First of All
With Christ continu'd, after thy blest Call.
Peter and Andrew, tho they Jesus knew,
Yet, some months after, did their Trade pursue.
Amazeing were those waies, the World must grant,
Which Christ did take, the Sacred Faith to Plant,
Hee could have Monarks, for Apostles Chose,
Yet that High Office, on mean men bestows.
His Wisdome, the Worlds Wisdom does despise,
And by the Ignorant, Converts the Wise.
To the Blest Faith, Philosophers were brought,
And, in the nets of Fisher-men, were Caught,
Nay, makes them (which more wonderfull appears)
By their own Deaths, Convert their Murtherers.
Who can Consider, and not upward Look,
That, when the mighty work was undertook,
Which in the World did Act such wondrous Things,
It's Learning to Confute, and Vanquish Kings,
Christ, only Poor, Illiterate, men did send,
And, yet by Them, attain'd His Glorious End,
Tho they Declar'd (for they abhor'd Deceit)
That Worldly Crosses on their faith did waite.
And still, the greater Wonder to Infuse,
That Galilee, which People'd was by Jews.
And was the Province, They did most Despise,
Saying, No Prophet out of it could Rise.
Was yet by Christ, whose Will does All Dispose,
The Countrey whence, He his Apostles Chose.
Nay Poor Bethsaida, a fisher Town,
He, with the birth of Three of them did Crown,
Peter, and Andrew, shining Lights on Earth,
With Our blest Phillip, there receiv'd their Birth.
Were the World therefore, equall in her Doom,
Bethsaida should be more priz'd, then Rome,
The brighter Fame is to their Birth-place due;
That, Three Apostles Rais'd, Rome Murtherd Two.
Great Phillip, did surpass in knowledge All
Th' Illustrious Twelue, whom Christ at First did Call,
The Law, and Prophets, He did early read,
The best of Books, in which youth can be bred,
By those he knew the Glorious time was neere,
In which, the Great MESSIAH should appeare,
Wereby, as soon as Christ the words had said,
Of FOLLOW MEE, he instantly Obaid.
Then, to Nathaniel does that News Impart,
Which, had with Sacred Raptures, filld his heart,
The Principles of Grace still Active are,
And in our Blessings, will make others Share,
But yet, That Isralite indeed, did Choose
Not to give Credit to the Joyfull News;
His Prepossession past this hasty Doome,
That, out of Nazareth no Good could come.
Yet our Apostle would not angry bee,
But to Convince Him, lids him, COME and SEE,
There Hee, in whom no Guile was, soon did know,
The God, to whom that Blessing he did Ow.
The Upper Asia, as some Ancients Thought,
The Province is, where He the Gospell taught.
His pious Labours there, the Spirit did Blesse,
And to Christs Fold, They brought a great Increase.
Hierapolis, in Phrygia, was the Place,
Which with His Doctrine, Hee the Last did Grace,
The People there (which Phillip did Deplore)
A monstrous Serpent dayly did Adore.
'Twere Hard to Judge, which Savager appears,
Either the Idoll, or th' Idolaters.
But Jove, having assum'd that Shape, to win
Th' Incestuous Embrace of Proserpin.
(The Daughter which to him bright Ceres bore)
The Phrygians therefore did that beast Adore.
But as it is by Metaphrastes said,
To Death, our Phillip, the Vile Monster Prayd.
The people, seeing such a Wonder done,
Did, from Idolatry, to Jesus Run.
For which their Magistrates, with sinfull Breath,
Condemn'd Our Saint to Ignominious Death.
While all his Converts, by the Tears they spilt,
Strove to wash off their Rulers bloody Guilt,
Hail Great Apostle, whom God's Sacred Word
Vouchsafes to Style, the BROTHER of the LORD,
Christ, the First Christian Mitre gave to Thee,
And made the Holy City, Thy First See.
Rome, does in vain for that High Title Strive,
Which God, but to Jerusalem did give.
There, all allow, that Thy Inspir'd Decree,
From the Jews yoak, did sett the Gentiles Free.
Thou, in that First Blest Councill didst Preside,
Whose Sacred Canons the whole Church did guide.
Tho that Fam'd Councill was in number small,
Yet none, was e're, so Oecumenicall.
For 'twas in Fact, That, for which Rome does strive,
It was, The Churches Representative.
They had in Truth, what Others had in Boast,
Th' Unnerring Guidance of the Holy Ghost.
They, in plain words did their Decrees Impart,
Others cloud Theirs, with Sophistry and Art.
None were with Their Anathemas Opprest,
Since, such as have most Right, will Threaten Lest,
The Lawfull Shepherds, most the Flocks, will spare,
And True Kings milder, then Usurpers are.
Who, but St. Paul, could have been fittest thought,
The Convert-Antioch Gentiles to have Taught.
For Hee the Gentiles great Apostle was
And His Resolves, might well for Canons pass.
Yet Him, They to Jerusalem will send,
The Circumcision Difference to End.
Yet Hee, does not to Peter only goe,
But to th' Apostles All, and Elders too:
And those Fam'd Canons, which they then did Frame,
In their Joint Title, Bore the Breth'rens Name,
To shew, that what to All had been Decreed,
The Clergy, and the Laity Agreed.
Tho to Record that Pattern, God judg'd Fitt,
Yet, How Few Councills since have, Follow'd it,
Yet, in the Canons, which at Nice were Sign'd,
Both Constantine, and His Blest Mother joyn'd.
But worthy 'tis to be Observ'd, that there,
No Pope, nor Legates for Him, did appear.
Thy Pen does Magus Gnosticks, best Confute,
And proves, Faith is the Tree, that works the Fruite.
Thy Blest Epistle cutts off all Debate,
And does unite, what they did Separate.
To Faith, Good works the Brightest Lustre gives,
And is the Highest Godlike Proofe, it Lives.
Thy Life, with Acts of Charity, was Fraught,
Thou most didst Practice, what thy Sermons taught.
Which, tho it mett, among the Good with Praise.
Yet, in the Pharisees, did Envy Raise.
Envy, which, where it Raignes, All Good Controules,
Envy, the Hurry-cane of Humane Soules.
Some of that Sect, with Faigned Joy declare,
That, By his Preaching, They his Converts were,
And therefore beg'd, that All the People might
At once be brought, from Darkness into Light.
Which to Effect, They Him with Rev'rence bring
Into an Heighth, above the Temples wing:
And under it, great Crouds of men Appear,
As if they came, Christs Laws from Him to Hear,
But, when the Sacred Faith He did Dispence,
They, in a Fury, threw Him headlong thence.
To his Blest Life, a Wond'rous End was giv'n,
Since from that Fall, God Rais'd his Soul to Heaven,
Then, that great Truth was Evidenc'd in Him,
To Fall for Christ, is the sure way to Climb,
His Foes worst malice made Him to Lay down,
A Fading Mitre, for a Deathless Crown.
Hail Sacred James; in Graces so Compleat,
That the whole Church gave Thee, the stile of Great,
Yet, till in Him, the Spirit did Reside,
Hee felt the Stormes of Dire Revenge, and Pride;
So much did Passion Him, and John Inflame,
That Christ did Both, the Sons of Thunder Name.
They in Their Mothers Proud Suite did Partake,
And twixt th' Apostles, the First strife did make.
When a Samarian Village did Refuse
To Lodge Him, and the Rest, Since They were Jews,
Had His Pow'r Equall been, to His Desire,
Hee had, Like Sodome, Ruin'd it with Fire.
Such darken'd Frailty does to men Belong,
Till Grace Enlightens Them, and makes them Strong.
He Could not See, till Christ the Vaile did Draw,
How mild the Gospell is, above the Law.
These Crimes, the Sacred Scripture does Relate,
After His Call to the Apostolate:
To shew, That in the Church the Loftiest Place,
Will not Restrain, Since nothing can, but Grace,
But Christ, who what He would bee, did Foreknow,
(Since Hee who makes us doe, Knows what wee'll Doe)
And who did Goodnes more, then Kinred Rate,
Did Choose Him, one of his Triumvirate,
While Those, who nearer were to Him Ally'd,
To share in that vast Honor, were Deny'd.
But He, and John, JESU'S First call obey'd
Leaving their Home, Their Father, and Their Trade.
Which proves, Those are unworthy of Christs Call
Who to obey it, will not give up all.
Peter, and these great Brothers, were made Blest,
With Favours not Extended to the Rest.
Twas These Three only, Jesus with Him Lead,
When He Rais'd Jairus Daughter from the Dead.
These on Mount Tabor saw the Glorious Three,
The Greatest sight, next to the Trinity.
And onely They, the Griev'd Spectators stood,
When on the Mount Hee sweat great Drops of Blood.
After Our Lords Ascention first of All,
Hee taught the Jews, disperst at Stephens Fall.
Then spread the Faith, (if Elder Times say True)
In our Great Britain, and this Island too,
Blest Patrick, whom this Isle her Saint has made,
Did build on that Foundation, which Hee Lay'd.
But of this Saint, Romes Soas such Fables write,
As Darkned, what They meant to make more Bright.
Divers are Loth, that Holiness to Prize,
Which men attempt to magnify by Lyes.
Since but too many, (as it oft does Fall)
For some untruths, Suspect the Truth of All.
But Wee, the Legends Fiction cast away,
And, to His Pious Life Due Rev'rence Pay,
When in the west Saint James much time had spent,
Back to Jerusalem again he went.
Herod Agrippa, by Decree of Rome
To the Judaick Empire being Come,
That Slavish Fawning to His Countrey brought,
Which Hee, under Caligula, was Taught;
Tho, Hee in the Jews Paths did strictly Tread,
Yet Hee, Romes Emperour a God Decreed.
By this, the Tyrant Hee did hope to gain,
And then, to wash off that Blasphemous Stain,
The Christian Church Hee did with Fury wast,
And Our Apostle into Prison Cast.
The Jews extolling this, Hee did proceed,
And his Sin Finish'd, Cutting off his Head.
How Frantick are th' Idolators of Fame?
Who fell their Soules in hope to buy a Name.
At our Saints Death, such Charming Truths Hee said,
That Hee, his Keeper a Blest Martyr, made.
Nothing can to the Spirit give Restraint,
One moment turn'd a Goaler, to a Saint.
Of All th' Illustrious Twelve, the Sacred Word
Does only Our Saints Martyrdome Record.
Angells to Heav'n His Blessed Spirit Bear,
And then, an Angell struck His Murtherer.
Cesarea saw Him, whom They did Admire,
And call a God, under God's wrath expire.
But All Spaines Empire Judge, that They are Blest,
Thinking His Bones at Compostella Rest.
Hail Glorious Saint, whose Lofty Lineage Springs,
As divers Ancients write, from Syrian Kings.
But hadst Thou been the Sove'rign of the Earth,
Yet, had Thy Office far Excell'd Thy Birth.
Thy Birth could give Thee, but a Temporall Throne,
Thy Office gave Thee, an Eternall One.
The Holy Scriptures somethings does Relate,
Of all those, call'd to the Apostolate,
Only of our blest Saint, the Sacred Word,
Does but his Office, and his Name Record.
Which made some Writers, and of no small Fame,
Think Him, and blest Nathaneel, were the Same.
Tho the best Bishop, which in Hippo Sate,
Denies His Call to the Apostolate.
But, our great Church Historians, Clearly show,
How much to Him the Christian World does ow,
Rude Lycaonia, by his Sacred Pains,
Hee from Idolatry, to Jesus Gaines.
From thence, he did the Gospell propagate,
Even in that India, stil'd, the Fortunate.
Which, by his Preaching there, might such be Held,
More, then for All the Riches, it does yield.
Spices, and those bright Stones, with which the East,
Of all parts of the World, does seem most Blest.
May Justly, but as Dung, and Dross, be thought,
Compar'd to saveing Faith, which there he Taught.
St. Mathews Gospell Hee the Indians showd;
More wealth, then Nature had on them Bestow'd.
So Bright he Shin'd, so swiftly hee did Run,
As makes Him seem, more, then a Second Sun.
His Early Beames did in the East appeare,
Then to Armenia, Hee his Light did Beare.
Astiages, who then possest that Throne,
Was Happy in his Brother Palemon.
Whom our great Saint Converted to the Faith,
Which Rais'd the Tyrants Anger to an Heighth,
That did the Royall Office mis become,
Our Saint he Doom'd to Triple Martyrdome.
First Flay'd alive, then on a Cross was Ty'd,
Where, Preaching still the Faith, for which Hee Dy'd,
His Murtherers, who did his Doctrine Dread,
To stop the Martyrs mouth, Cutt off His Head.
His Royall Blood, thus spent, more Glory gaines,
Then had it still, been Circling in his Veines,
The slighted Torments of his Triple Death,
The Truths hee Seal'd, even with his Dying breath:
Convinc'd Blest Palemon, and others too,
An Happy Life, to such a Death, was Due.
This made that Prince, Contemn a Temporall Throne,
To strive to Climbe to an Eternall One.
And to such heighth of Holynes did Soare,
As Hee the first Armenian Mitre wore,
Wearing a Mitre well, gaines more Renown,
Than only, but by Birth, to weare a Crown.
Learn'd Hereticks Observing Our Saints Fame,
A Gospell wrote, and call'd it by His Name.
Knowing, that none could any Doubts admitt,
Of what they did beleeve his Pen had writt,
But Pope Gelasius did a Synod Call,
And justly Sentenc'd it, Apocrypall.
Popes in Old times were men of High Renowne,
Shining in Faith, not in a Triple Crown.
Our Saint, in Divers Citties, had a Tombe,
In Daras, Benevent, and Last in Rome.
Where, may They be so Pious, and so Just,
As more to Prize His Faith, and Less His Dust,
Blest Saint, who from a Publicanes Loath'd Trade,
Thy self to Christ, as a Due Tribute, Paid.
Thy Gainfull Office, when the word Hee Spake,
Thou didst, with Gladness, instantly Forsake.
Thou by that Call, the Wisdome didst Obtaine,
To Know, that Goalyness was Highest Gain.
Thy Noble Dinner, where Christ was Thy Guest,
Might well bee Reckond, as thy Marriage Feast.
There, Thou wer't Joined to the Churches Head,
The World Divorc'd, and didst the Gospell Wedd.
In that great Feast, All Gallilee did See,
How Blest Thy Change of Life, Appear'd to Thee,
If such Rejoyceings might not bee Exprest,
Christ, with His Presence, had not Grac'd the Feast.
How justly may, a Sinners Second Birth,
Which causes joy in Heav'n, Cause Feasts on Earth,
Christ, the high Honor did to Thee Afford,
To bee the First, who wrote His Sacred Word.
By which, thy Countrey-men did ow to Thee,
The Light, which Them from Moses Yoke, did Free,
When with that Book, he had Judea Blest,
Hee went to Propagate it in the East.
There, Hee the Gospell to the Parthians taught,
And those Fierce men, under Christs Scepter, brought.
One man from God did Parthia more Subdue,
Then all the Roman Legions e're could doe.
For by the Holy Ghost, Hee let them See,
That, only They, who Jesus serve, are Free.
From Parthia, by God's Dictates being sent,
Hee, to the Sooty Ethiopians went
A Blackness on their Soules was caus'd by Sin,
Much worse, then that, the Sun made on their Skin.
Yet Christs Baptismall Water had such might,
As Hee by it, did wash the Ethiops white.
Inwardly white, which God does higher Prize,
Then men th' Externall, which so Courts their Eyes,
In these two Regions, Hee his Race did Run,
Which more enlighten'd Them, then did the Sun.
Authors Dispute, where he Receiv'd his Doome,
But all Agree, Hee Suffer'd Martyrdome.
And, that the Faith, Hee did to Them Reveale,
Hee with His precious Blood, at last did Seale;
His Converts were by it the Firmlyer ty'd,
And in that Truth, did Live for which Hee dy'd,
Two mighty Kingdomes, to Our Times Contest,
In which of them, His Sacred Reliques Rest.
But Citties strove, which Homers Birth should have,
But Empires strive, which has Our Martyrs Grave,
Yet Vaster Diff'rence is, in what They writt,
So much, is Inspiration, above Witt,s
Hail Great Physitian, Great without Controule,
Thy Skill, does heal the Body, and the Soule.
Rome, with Thy Antioch, might Exchange her Fame ,
It gave Thee Birth, and to the Christians Name,
The Least of Both, more Honor to Her brought,
Then All Her Schooles, in which the East was taught.
A Double Glory, thy blest Pen Contracts,
Writing Christs Gospell; and th' Apostles Acts.
Had wee, of this great Record, been bereft,
In how much Darkness had the World been Left,
And, how much greater Knowledge, might wee Win,
If Thou hadst Finish'd what Thou didst begin?
But How dare Wee Lament the want of it
Since God has Judg'd That Deprivation fitt,
And by whats Left, the Christian World may Boast,
None need for want of Knowledge, to bee Lost.
Since All our Condemnation will be Due,
To our Performing Less, then what wee Knew.
To Thee, and Us, that Influence was Kinde,
By which, to Holy Paul, thou first wer't Join'd.
Illustrious Blessings Thou Obtain'st by It,
Thy Praise, is in the Sacred Scriptures, writt,
Belov'd Physitian, Thee God's word does Call,
And the Blest Fellow-Laborer of Paul,
Who Schooles Conferr on Schollers High Degrees;
Yet, none e're gave any, so High as these.
Nor couldst thou, From thy Antioch Schooles have brought,
Such Learning, as to Thee by Paul was Taught.
Men gave to Mans Phylosophy, the Place,
Thats Due to the Philosophy of Grace.
Of that High Science, which by Time, and Care,
Men strove to Learne, God bids us to Beware.
More usefull Learning, in Christs Schoole is taught,
Then any, which meere men, to Mankind brought.
All School Philosophy we must Decline,
That may oppose attaining to Divine.
The Path, which Leads to Glory, must bee Trod,
Not in Mens Wisdome, but the Pow'r of God.
No wonder that our Saint, so great a Friend,
To Learning, did so Close, on Paul Attend:
(Whose Brest Inspir'd, was with more knowledge Crown'd,
Then in the Fam'd Pantheon could bee Found.)
And never Left Him, till in guilty Rome,
His great Instructor, Purchas'd Martyrdome,
From that Ungratefull City then He goes,
And on the World, his precious Time bestows.
In Maps, no Regions, Geographers admitt,
But are Oblig'd, by what he Taught, and writt,
The Martyrologies of Greece, and Rome,
Differ, where he enjoy'd his Martyrdome;
Rome saies, it was in Asia the Less,
Nicephorus averrs, it was in Greece,
And that, by His Vile Murtherers Decree,
Hee suffer'd Death upon an Olive Tree.
That Rage, which in their Hearts his worth had bred,
Turnd, undesign'dly, Just, to Crown his Head,
For since the Learn'd, to Learning doe allow
A wreath to Crown it, of an Olive Bow.
Our Saint, whose knowledge reach'd the Last Degree,
Was Crown'd, not with an Olive Wreath, but Tree
But Piety did to His Body give,
As Little Rest when Dead, as when Aliue,
Kingdomes, and Citties did a while Contest,
In which of them, his precious Dust shoust Rest.
All yeild at Last, to Constantines strong Claime,
Who built a temple to the Apostles Name.
Which though a Pile, of so much Art and Cost,
That of the Like, the whole World could not boast,
Yet since twas made to those great Saints a Tombe,
Whose Blood, and writings taught all Christendome,
The Famous Structure, more Renown'd does prove
For what's there Bury'd, then for all above.
Hail Sacred Cananite, whose God-like Pains,
For Thee, the Title of the Zelot, Gains.
More justly Due, if wee the Truth Respect,
From Labouring for Thy God, then from Thy Sect,
What Creature e're, so many Lands did Run,
Unless his Fellow-Traveller, the Sun.
Egypts, and Affricks heat, and Barren Sand,
Could not His Zeal, or Frighten or Withstand.
The Libian Lyons Barr'd not up his Way,
Nor the Wild People, Savager then They.
Hee did Fullfil, what was in Scripture Read,
On Lyons, and on Adders, Hee did Tread.
Against Their Venome, Antidotes he had;
The Words of Faith; that Balme of Gilead.
These wretched People, who with heat were vext,
Much in This World, but much more in the next.
Hee, by his Pious Life, and Preaching, brings,
To Rest, under the shadow of God's Wings.
Those were the Seeds of Faith, he there did Sow,
Which to great Heigth, in Future times did grow,
After He had, Asia, and Affrick taught,
Into West Europe, He the Gospell brought,
At last, into Our Brittain, He did Come,
The Guilty Scene of his Blest Martyrdome
Hee like the Sun, up in the East did gett,
Shin'd o're the South, then in the West did Sitt.
His Holy Life, his Doctrine so maintain'd,
That Many People Hee to Jesus Gain'd.
But others, who Themselves to Sin had Sold,
Did to Destroy him open Counsells hold,
And as the Greek Menologies Agree,
Those Monsters Crucify'd him on a Tree.
With Joy Hee saw, his Blood for Jesus spilt,
His Faith was on the Rock of Ages built.
There, in an Unknown Grave, his Body Lies,
Untill a Glorious Body it shall Rise.
Might not His Blood, which our Forefathers spilt,
Have helpt to Fill the Measure of that Guilt.
Which often drown'd Our Islands in a Flood,
Of Royall, Noble, and Plebejan Blood,
So that, No spott of Earth hath e're been more,
No, nor so much, moistned with Human Gore.
And even in our Fatall Dayes, we Saw,
Great Brittain made, a True Acheldama.
O, May wee from all Sinning, so Refrain,
As God may never make it One again.
When our Repentance shall his Wrath Atone,
The Inward Peace, will bring the Outward One.
Hail Blessed Judas, whose Devotion's Flame,
Hath made Atonement for that guilty Name,
The Cursed Judas, who to gaine was Ty'd,
Sold Him, for whom the Blessed Judas Dy'd.
His Question to Our Saviour does Detect,
He also did, His Temporall Raign expect.
Which Error, all his Brethren did Admitt,
Till the Blest Spirit Led them out of it.
To worldly Glories, men Aspire at, most,
Untill enlighten'd by the Holy Ghost;
But for a nobler Empire, then They Strive,
More Solid Farr, then All this World can give:
Twas Long before the Churches did admit,
His Blest Epistle into Sacred Writt.
During that guilty time, what was become,
Of the Infallibility of Rome.
Enochs Apocalyps the Church of Old,
Next to what was Canonicall did hold.
Our Saint His Prophesie did therefore Cite,
Which, Since no Pen, that was inspir'd, did Write,
Was the Cheif Reason, Divers could Afford,
Why They did doubt, twas not the Sacred word.
Yet some Epistles, written by Blest Paul,
Were still admitted, as Canonicall,
Tho Hee to Reach the Ends, which he did Press,
Aratus quotes, and Epimenides.
Who though not guided by the Heavenly Light,
Yet They, the truth in severall things did write.
Of Romes Unerringness ill Proof She makes,
By First Suspecting, what at Last she takes.
If by the Help of Study, and of Time,
She, to know what's Canonicall, does Climbe;
Others to such Infallibility,
May have at lest, as good a Right as Shee.
Either that Title she should not Admitt,
Or Shee should give us better Proofs of it.
Th' Inspiration, which our Saints Epistle beares,
Highly Instructive to Mankind appears,
Servant to Christ, and Brother to Blest James,
The weighty Titles are, which Hee Esteem's.
Tho hee might justly, by God's Sacred word,
Have stil'd himself; THE BROTHER OF THE LORD.
Yet that vast Title, Our great Saint Declines,
By which, His Humbleness the Brighter Shines.
Many Great Nations of his Teaching boast,
But Persia seems, indebted to it most.
Their Magi, who in High esteem were held,
Finding their Wisdome unto God's did yeild;
Which should have Led them into Saveing wayes,
Did only their Revenge, and Envy Raise.
Which did not Let them Rest, untill that They,
His Life did take, who taught to Life, the Way.
His Converts, when the News They understood,
Their Streames of Tears, mixt with his Streams of Blood.
But that Blest Martyrdome Hee did abide,
Confirm'd them in the Faith, for which He Dy'd.
That Sacred Head three Kingdoms did Adore,
For what it was, more then for what it wore:
That Head by worth, more then by Birth, the Best,
Which Dayly prov'd, Oracles were not Ceast,
Is not Condemn'd, as tis beleiv'd by Some,
But is with Glory Crown'd, by Martyrdome.
And tho his Rebels Power thus to Dispence,
His Fate, make Some to question Providence;
My Faith by it is Rais'd, and not Deprest,
Since the worst they could doe, did prove the Best.
For that Black Vote, which then Pronounc'd his Doome,
Serv'd to Conveigh him to a Nobler Crown.
Of whose Duration none can doubtfull be,
Since twill out-live his Murth'rers Infamy.
Glory, like time, Progression does require,
When it Advances not, it does Expire:
And his had Reach'd to such an Height before,
Nothing, but such a Death, could Raise it more.
And though Some dare alledge, 'twas but a Few,
Dud, or his Innocence, or Life Pursue,
Yet that it self does all excuse defeat,
To Let so few, Commit a Sin so Great.
All are too Guilty: they are, who did Sit,
To shed his Blood, and Those Permitted it.
With a Sublimer joy he mounted on
The Scaffold, then he did Ascend the Throne.
For Heav'n had taught him, Twas a Greater Thing,
To be a Martyr, then to be a King.
The last is Finite, and by Birth bestow'd,
The First is Infinite, and Given by God.
There none, who saw the Way in which He Dy'd,
But of his Innocence were Satisfy'd.
For, through his Soul so bright a Calmness Shone,
Every Spectator Judg'd That He was one.
And that, That Heads-man, when he gave the Stroake,
As much, as were his Judges, was mistooke
Next to the Pow'r of Over-comming Death,
Was, with Such quiet to Resigne his Breath.
This Loss alone had Pow'r to make us find,
A Greater Curse, then Warre, was yet behind:
And, that one Fatall Death could Wound us more,
Then all the Deaths, in Civill Warrs before.
And though his Raigne, this one Misfortune Brings,
That his Sonne Cannot be the Best of Kings,
Yet, it Repaires it, by Instructing how,
To make that no Misfortune, he must doe,
Afflicted Prince, Though they cast off your Crown,
Your Highest Glori's safe, being His Sonne.
No Monarch ever Liv'd upon the Earth,
But would exchange his Empire, for your Birth,
For never any was so Great, and Good;
It Springs from Martyrs, and from Royall Blood,
The Joyes above now are not all Unknown,
To see your Martyr'd Father there, is one.
Since but to thinke he went there, when from Hence,
Is Sin enough, to keepe the Doubter thence.
Then let us Strive, Since us this Blest Man Guides,
To tread those Pathes, which lead where he resides.
And make his Death, by such a Pious Strife,
A Blessing, more Transcendent, then His Life
The Reader will perhaps wonder that these Poems are placed in such an Order, as is, neither altogether agreeable with that of the Church Calender, nor with that, which others have Observ'd. To Satisfy him in which it hath beene thought Convenient to give this Following account of it.
The Noble Author of these Poems had a respect to three things, in the Publishing of them in that Order, they are Presented to the World.
First, He had a respect to the History of our Blessed Saviours Life, and Actions, and therefore esteem'd it requisite, to place all the Poems on those Feastivalls, that did any way relate thereunto, in such an Order, as that the whole History thereof, might be carryed on, and Continued in one uninterrupted Series. And therefore the Reader finds, after the Dedication, the First Poem to be, on the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, beginning there first, because that is the first account wee have of our Saviours actuall Comming into the World And then after that, On his Nativity, and Circumcision; And then, as Occasionall Attendants on these, are added those Poems on the Epiphany, Holy Innocents, and Purification. Afterwards follow those, on his Passion, Resurrection, Ascension, and sending the Holy Ghost.
Secondly, He had likewise a respect to the Eminency of Certaine of the Saints, Whose Festivals are Celebrated in the Christian Church. And therefore those, whom he Esteem'd most Eminent either for Suffering for, or Preaching of the Gospel, He thought fit to Place next. And upon this account, after the Poem on Whitsunday, Hee Order'd those On St: Stephen, the Christian proto Martyr, St: John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St: Paul, to take place before all the rest.
And then lastly, as for all the remaining Festivals, he judg'd it necessary, to have the Poemes on them to be Placed in that Order, in which they are in our Liturgy. And therefore the Reader finds the Poemes, on the Dayes of St: Andrew, St: Thomas, St. John the Divine, St: Matthias, St: Mark, St: Philip St: James the Less, St: James the Great, St: Bartholomew, St: Matthew, St: Luke, St: Simon, and St. Jude immediately to follow that of St: Paul.
As for St: Barnabas, St: Michael, & All Saints, the Author intended to have written on them but was Prevented by Death.
At the End of all, is added a Poeme on the Martyrdome of King Charles the First, which is there Placed, because it was not found till after the Authors Decease, and till all the Foregoing Poems were Sent to the Press.
The Author had likewise an intent, to have written on the 29th of May, the 23d of October, and 5th of November; But it Pleas'd God, to Call Him to an Happy Rest from these as well as all other his Labours, before he could finish what he further intended in this Kind; And upon this account it is, That the World Sees here no more of Him.