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Title: A Book of Christian Sonnets

Author: William Allen

Release date: December 27, 2016 [eBook #53816]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Richard Hulse, Daniel Lowe and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Transcriber's Note

The cover image was modified to remove a label, and to add the title and author text. The modified image is placed in the public domain.



Late President of Bowdoin College; Author of the American Biographical Dictionary, and of Wunnissoo or the Vale of Hoosatunnuk a Poem.


Metcalf & Company, Printers,



For some remarks on the nature and history of the Sonnet and its peculiar excellence, as exemplified by Milton, the reader is referred to the Notes at the close of this book. The Author regards it as by its fixed laws and its structure the very best form of poetry for one short, complete, meditative lesson. A collection of such distinct, separate little poems,—mostly written within a recent period,—and not mingled with other forms of poetry,—constitutes this little volume.

The notes annexed are historical and illustrative, elucidatory of what from the necessary brevity of the verse might be otherwise left obscure, or such as seemed to be required by the unevasible claims and the infinite worth of the revealed Christian truth, which makes the texture of these sonnets.

While Petrarch, the inventor of the Sonetto, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and other foreign poets have written a multitude of sonnets, it is to the author a matter of surprise, that not more than half a dozen sonnets—within his knowledge—have ever been sent forth by any one of our poets; so that this may be regarded as the first book of American Sonnets ever published.

An old man, the tenant for a year past of a sick chamber, who from early life has been a student and cultivator of poetry, has found not a little pleasure in such musings, as he now offers to the public. His meditations, it may well be supposed, have not been of fictitious scenes. Aware of his liableness at any moment to be summoned[4] away from this world,—which to his eye is filled with beauty mingled indeed with deformity,—into a world of undefaced loveliness and eternal glory, he could not have excused himself, if he had employed the precarious time lent to him in drawing idle, uninstructive, unprofitable pictures; but his mind has been filled with intense thoughts on God's pure, unchanging, soul-saving Truth; and he has endeavored to give true sketches, however faint and feeble, of divine and eternal realities not unworthy of the contemplation nor unfit to awaken the affections of rational, immortal men. The uninterrupted study of God's Word for 50 or 60 years may be his apology for declaring what in his judgment are plainly and indubitably some of the great truths of that Word. But he earnestly asks the reader to search the Scriptures with his own eyes. What God has said is true.

Northampton, Dec. 19, 1859



1.On Washington,9
2.The Stars,10
3.Last Wish of Wm. H. Prescott,10
4.On War,11
5.Truth's Testimony of Christ,11
6.Corrupted Youth,12
8.God's Omnipresence. Psalm 139,13
9.The Prometheus Chained of Aeschylus,13
10.On Tyndale, the Martyr,14
11.Miserable Old Age,14
12.Idols. Psalm 135,15
13.To four Presidents alive. 1826,15
14.The Way of Salvation,16
15.The Overthrow of Popery,16
16.The Fall of Babylon,17
17.The Scoffers at the Bible,17
19.Christ's Table,18
20.Death. Job 14,19
21.The Storm on the Lake,19
22.On Jacques Balmat,20
24.The Sabbath,21
25.The Widow's Son Raised,21
26.Thanksgiving-Day, 1859,22
27.The Lord my Shepherd,22
28.Christ's Resurrection,23
29.Darkness until Heavenly Light,23
30.Maria Malleville Allen,24
31.Prayer for Mercy,24
32.The Lost Child,25
33.Mexican Idol,25
34.God our Safety. Psalm 91,26
35.The Believer Encouraged,26
36.On Rev. Dr. John Codman,27
37.Northampton Grave-Yard,27
38.The Lord's Prayer,28
39.Praise to God. Ps. 148,28
40.On my Father, Rev. T. Allen,29
41.Time's End. Rev. 10,29
42.Written in a Thunder-Storm,30
44.On the Death of my Daughter,31
45.The Last Day of the Year,31
46.Transfiguration of Christ,32
47.Sleepers in the Grave-Yard,32
48.Song of the Redeemed. Rev. 7,33
49.Nature Reproved,33
50.Removal of Severe Illness,34
51.God Man's All-Sufficient Good,34
52.The Death of Rev. Dr. I. Nichols,35
53.The Voice of Nature to Poets,35
54.The Cross and Crown,36
55.Dying I am Blest,36
56.Compact on Board the Mayflower,37
57.To Jesus Christ, God's Son,37
58.To Dr. Thomson, Missionary,38
59.Happy Old Age,38
60.Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock,39
61.No Sorrow in Death,39
62.On John Robinson,40
63.Sudden Sickness. 1845,40
64.On Truth,41
65.Two Views of Death,41
66.God's Marvellous Works. Ps. 104,42
67.The last Words of a Minister,42
68.Plymouth Monument laid, 1859,43
69.Effect of Death on Man,43
71.New Year's Day, 1859,44
72.Donati's Comet, 1858,45
73.Execution for Murder, 1630,45
74.Oneness with God. John 17,46
75.My Birth Day, Jan. 2, 1859,46
76.God and his Son,47
77.On Martyrs,47
78.To Rev. Dr. Spring, New York,48
79.Perseverance in Christ's Service,48
80.Glorying in the Cross,49
81.Man without Revelation,49
82.God is One,50
83.What is it to die?50
84.Churches of Piedmont,51
85.The Lord's Supper,51
86.Occom, the Indian Preacher,52
87.My Sermon, July, 1851,52
88.National Convulsions,53
89.Psalm VIII.,53
90.To my Native Town,54
91.To Sarah Anna Hopkins,54
92.To Mrs. Douglass in jail,55
93.Ready for Either,55
94.To Miss Hannah Lyman, Montreal,56
95.Visit to Pontoosuc or Pittsfield,56
96.Company of Old Men,57
97.Joy in a Dying Hour,57
98.Niagara Falls,58
99.Justification by Faith,58
100.Universal Triumph of the Gospel,59



1. ON WASHINGTON. (notes)
Great Washington! Mount Vernon's shade were naught,
Except as close allied to thine own name;
And what but noblest virtues without blame
Have all the lustre of thy glory wrought?
Our country's chief in freedom's battle fought,
Thy sword laid down in triumph's loud acclaim;
Then "First in peace," our nation's good thine aim,
To Rulers many a lesson thou hast taught.
The model patriot thou, thy life unstain'd;
A rev'rent worshipper of God, we see
Thine end was peace; one noble act remain'd,—
Thy dying voice said to thy slaves, "Be Free!"—
With no dear son, each Freeman is thy Son,
And thou his Father lov'd, Great Washington!


2. THE STARS. (notes)
In the sweet silence of a cloudless night
The glory-studded firmament on high
With wonder overwhelms my gazing eye,
Lost in the wilderness of worlds of light.
Around these suns do systems wheel their flight,
All pure and spotless as the crystal sky,
Th' abodes of bliss serene without a sigh,
Where mists and clouds ne'er rise nor storms affright?
O, for an angel's wings to fly away
From this low world of sin, and woe, and care,
And gain those orbs of purity and love!
Wish not for angel's wings: thy God obey,
And soon his grace thy ransom'd soul will bear
Up to his own more glorious throne above!
Still beautiful in this thy rest so deep,
Thy final wish fulfill'd, we see thy face
Calm as in life, with not a marring trace
Of the swift blow, which calls thy friends to weep.
What hosts of mighty dead around thee keep
On these rich-loaded shelves their silent place?—
"Farewell, companions lov'd; like your's my race
Is run; tomorrow in the ground I sleep."—
What would he teach us, living, by this scene?—
Books! books! are earth's invaluable lights;
Treasures of truth, the richest gifts terrene,
Left by fled spirits in their upward flights!
And what does man demand, in age and youth,
But heav'n-descended, heav'nward-guiding Truth?


4. ON WAR. (notes)
"Thou shalt not kill,"—the Almighty God hath said.
Then, Mighty Kings! who glory in your shame
And swim in blood to gain a hero's name,
What awful doom—with all your greatness fled—
When, rising with your subjects from the dead,
Ye stand in judgment? What will then be fame?
And will not fiery courage be quite tame;—
On ev'ry side th' Almighty's terrors spread?
O, Living Monarchs! within reach of grace,
Of love and mercy from the throne of God,
Forgiveness may ye find, and faith t' embrace
The offer'd pardon through redeeming blood;
Then to the world great Benefactors prove,
Your pride exchang'd for happy subjects' love!
Truth to the earth came down from heav'n above,
Cloth'd in celestial beauty to the eye,
Willing to see; man's guide to God on high.
Her voice is voice of sweetness and of love,
Of pow'r all feelings of the soul to move.
When she but speaks, all wild'ring phantoms fly,
Each cheat, and fraud, and vile, illusive lie,
Which in our murky air around thick rove.
She speaks of Him, who ere the earth was made
Was God's own Son in heav'nly glory bright;
Yet dwelt with man in mortal flesh array'd,
Redeemer blest! of this dark world the light;—
Whose death by cruel nails our life has won,
Whose cross for us a bright, immortal crown.


I've seen the morning sweet, serene, and bright,
Cheer'd by th' effulgence of the orb of day,
And ev'ry object drest in pure array;
But soon the splendor chang'd to dismal night.
Dark clouds and raging storms spread round affright,
While lightnings gleam, and thunders bring dismay.
And such too oft is Youth: thoughtless and gay,
With ev'ry charm to bless th' admiring sight.
But soon how chang'd! The face is mark'd with care,
The furious passions cast away control,
And outrag'd conscience shakes a glist'ning dart.
Poor Youth! Would'st thou the marred scene repair,
The sway of holy laws must guide thy soul,
And love, and hope, and faith must fill thy heart.
Heard ye the anguish of that broken sigh,
Bursting from wretched sinner's smitten heart?
Or did ye mark the contrite tears, which start
In pearly drops from that uplifted eye?
Blest is that groan; 'tis heard by him on high,
Whose grace from prostrate soul will ne'er depart,
Whose tender love will soothe the mental smart,
And to Himself bring humble aliens nigh.
Blest are those tears;—with brighter ray they shine,
Than costliest gem, which tyrant's crown adorns,
When beaming on the gaze of subject throngs.
The grief of penitence wakes bliss divine
Before His throne, who bore the crown of thorns,
And Angels' harps resound with rapt'rous songs!


8. God's omnipresence. Psalm 139.
O, whither from thy Spirit shall I go?
Or whither from thine eye shall I repair?
Thou, Lord, if I ascend to heav'n, art there;
And there, if I lie down in grave below:
Or if the wings of morning on me grow,
And with the speed of light I pierce the air
And find the shores, which India's billows wear,—
Ev'n there thy presence will around me flow.—
If I should say,—"night's veil will me conceal;"
Yet in thy view the darkness shall be light,
And deepest gloom will shine like flood of day.—
Thy presence, Lord, then let me ever feel
Each budding, sinful aim and thought to blight,
And urge to deeds of holy, blest array.
'Tis piteous tale, in Grecian numbers told,—
Prometheus chain'd by Vulcan to a rock;
Expos'd aloft to ev'ry tempest's shock,
To burning sun, and winter's shiv'ring cold:
And all his woe, as minstrel doth unfold,
From love to man, whom other gods would mock.
For man his hands Jove's treasury unlock;
The stolen fire he breathes on man's dull mould.
O, could this Bard have liv'd in Christian days,
And seen our blessed Lord nail'd to the tree,
Expos'd, from love to man, to scorn and woe;
He would have sung of Jesus; and his lays
Would shame our empty, soulless minstrelsy,
Whose strains in praise of Jesus never flow!


Tyndale! Blest martyr to the truth and right,
Who in thy zeal didst cause, with labor long,
God's word to shine out in thy native tongue,
In killing thee the men, who to the light
Darkness prefer, would shroud the world in night.
Vain hope! for on the day of this great wrong
The sun of truth arose on England's throng
With not a cloud t' obscure its splendor bright.
What though the men of Rome did strangle thee,
Then burn thy body at the stake? Thy name
Is honor'd in the earth, while infamy
Attends thy foes, and bigots blush with shame.
But more than this: in the last day God's Son
Will give the glorious crown, which thou hast won!
'Tis weary through the race of life to run,
Expos'd to noon-tide heat and chilly night,
Mid storms, that well the boldest may affright,
When clouds with lightnings arm'd obscure the sun.
Our cares are vain; the good is never won;
Sweet joys are fleeting as the meteor's light;
Unfix'd as shadows are our hopes most bright;
And toil of years is toil but just begun.
Backward from long ascent we turn the eye,
If haply the review may cheer the heart:
The graves of those we love heave through the way.
Forward we gaze: thick mists obstruct the sky,
But precipice is near, from which we start;
Yet naught remains but down to slide and die!


12. Idols. Psalm 135.
The heathen gods are gods of yellow gold,
Of shining silver, or perchance of wood,—
Moulded in various shapes, as moulder would,
And for large sums to godless sinners sold.
These gods have mouths, but speak not;—that were bold:—
Eyes have they, but they see not—as eyes should;—
Ears have they, but they hear not—yet are wooed;
They breathe not through their throat—may it be told?
Nor eyes, nor ears, nor thought, nor sense have they,
Who to these idol-gods their homage give,
And pray for succor to a stubborn block.
We pity such strange folly—as we may;—
But if we worship idols, though they live,
Do we not, too, the one Jehovah mock?
13. TO 4 PRESIDENTS ALIVE. 1826. (notes)
Ye've run a race of glory here below,
Such as no rolls of hist'ry can display;—
Have held o'er Freedom's land a gentle sway,
Have seen its prosp'rous tide unceasing flow,
And now, retir'd, a welcome peace ye know.
Methinks ye calmly smile,—as well ye may,—
At those, who mingle in the public fray,
O'erwhelm'd by cares, that no repose allow.
Ye've run your race of honor, and full soon
The darkness of the grave will close the scene;
And after death your Judge will weigh your ways.
My heart desires for you the blessed boon,
That, ransom'd by the blood outpour'd for sin,
Ye run th' immortal race of heav'nly praise!


If we with conscious guilt and humble shame
Our sins confess to God and deep deplore,
Resolv'd his holy laws to break no more,
For pardon trusting in his Son's great name,
Whose wondrous love brought him to bear our blame;
Then let a rush of troubles whelm us o'er,
As stormful billows dash upon the shore,—
E'n dying, we in peace may each exclaim,—
"My spirit into life doth die away,
And my poor body shall now rest in hope,
Awaiting with the sav'd the rising day,
When at the trumpet's blast each grave shall ope,
And in the likeness of Christ's body I
Shall share in glory endless in the sky!"
An angel rais'd a stone as millstone great,
And cast it in the sea, and loudly cried—
"Thus shall great Bab'lon perish in her pride,
No fragment left of her once glorious state!"
Down sank the stone beneath the wave; when straight
The earth, by guilt o'erburden'd, heav'd her side,
And down the city fell in ruin wide,
And naught was seen of walls, that tower'd so late.
"Alas, that city great!" Cry mighty kings,
Whose sceptres had sustain'd her bigot sway,
While she by sorc'ries propp'd their tyrant throne.
While swells her smoke, as of burnt-offerings,
Standing afar, through fear, they mournful say—
"Alas! that mighty city, Babylon!"


16. THE FALL OF BABYLON. (notes)
Her shorn, and cowl'd, and mitred merchants weep,
Since perishes with her their gainful trade
Of long indulgencies, for silver weigh'd,
Pledg'd from sad purgatory souls to keep,—
Of holy water, oil, and relics cheap,
As blood, tears, rags, and bones in grave-yard laid,
Of crosses, roods, and forms for Mary made,
Of beads and bulls, and various wares a heap;
Of idols, masses, pray'rs, and souls of men,
By sale of which they liv'd in indolence,
And laugh'd while their poor cred'lous dupes did groan.
Seeing her smoke afar, they cry again,—
"Alas for all her lost magnificence!
Fall'n is that proud, great city, Babylon!"
If God is holy Governor supreme,
And star-born, earth-born subjects must obey,
Or bear the Judge's sentence as they may;—
If they, endow'd with intellect's bright gleam,
Free-will, and conscience, see God's Truth outstream,
Yet scoff, instead of trembling with dismay,
And infidels defiant prove; the day
Is nigh, when Christ will say—(it is no dream,
They'll hear the trumpet's blast, no soothing lyre—)
Unto the devil's proud, poor dupes ensnar'd,
No longer bold against God's Son t' conspire,
Their sin and all its damage unrepair'd,—
"Depart, ye cursed, into endless fire,
For Satan and his angel-hosts prepar'd!"


The humble peasant on the mountain's side
May feel th' oppressor's gripe, and seem his prey;
But in compacted state, of just array,
His country's arm will be to his allied.
Though trampled on, and justice be denied,
Yet let him in his Sov'reign's ear display
His wrongs, and quick a just and mighty sway
Shall lift him up, and check the spoiler's pride.—
The ear of God is open to our cry:
Though high his throne, beyond our feeble sight,
He hears from this far world each humble sigh;
And swift to do his will, in squadrons bright,
From heav'n to earth his mighty angels fly,
Outstripping in their course the speed of light.
The monarch's table, grac'd with golden plate,
With viands loaded, brought from ev'ry clime,
Garnish'd with beauty, cheer'd with minstrel's chime,
Is poor, compar'd with that, at which I sate.
The humble feast outvied all royal state;—
The bread from far beyond where sun doth climb,
The wine more ancient than the birth of time,—
Present the King of Kings o'er worlds elate;
The guests in purity of heart array'd,
Their songs the glad emotions of the soul,
Their faces beaming with celestial love.—
Like this no table e'er shall be display'd
Till o'er the earth the car of fate shall roll,
And bear the worthy to the feast above.


20. DEATH. Job 14. (notes)
Poor man, of woman born, is child of woe;
His days are few and fill'd with bitter grief,
With cares and pains, from which is no relief,
Till scythe of death shall lay his blossoms low.
The gen'rous tree cut down will once more grow,
And spread its branches after ruin brief
Loaded with fruits almost beyond belief;—
Such pow'r have living roots, that creep below.
But man decays, and wastes away, and dies,
His noble frame dissolving in the ground,
His spirit fled—ah, whither who can say?
Beneath the valley's clod in sleep profound
He rests, and there the sleeper quiet lies,
Till earth shall burn and heav'ns shall flee away.
The vessel floated on the inland sea,
And Jesus found repose to nature dear,
When straight the angry storm comes wing'd with fear,
And heaving billows roll tumultuously.
Asleep in undisturb'd tranquillity,
The voice of terror breaks upon his ear,
"Master! now save us, or we perish here;—
We sink, unless deliv'rance comes from Thee!"
He rose and said—"Ye tempests! cease to blow;
Ye billows! be ye calm as infant's sleep:"—
When lo, the winds are hush'd and smooth the waves.
Ye toss'd and tempted souls! to Jesus go;
In him your faith and trust unshaken keep,
And ye shall be secure, for Jesus saves!


22. On Jacques Balmat. (notes)
Mont Blanc! That he first gain'd thy snow-built height
Was his great pride and boast. Yet crevice deep
Became his sudden grave, where he doth sleep,
Slid in some icy chasm with wild affright,
Shut out from human reach and human sight.
Of man's strange pride, for which the angels weep,
From this a useful lesson let man reap,
Whatever point he gains by struggling might.
First scholar, artist, genius of the age,
First with the sword or with the tongue's debate,
Poet strong-wing'd or philosophic sage,—
However loud the trump, that calls thee great,—
Proud, boasting worm! just think of poor Balmat,
In ice-chink plung'd from all his high eclat!
23. CONTROVERSY. (notes)
I've struck the milk-white quartz with gentle blow,
And split with hammer fragment from the rock,
When lo, unquarried by the shiv'ring shock,
The precious Em'rald's crystal beauties glow!
Thus from the mine of thought, obscure and low,
Does force of argument the gem unlock,
Whose charms the beams of star-born diamond mock;—
That gem is Truth—the truth, which angels know!
Delve patient; make the stubborn barriers fly;
Though long the toil, let hope assuage thy care;
Each blow the glad and glist'ning beams may wake.
With zeal contend; the inquisition ply;
Yet in debate this needful caution bear—
Be gentle, or the crystal thou mayst break!


24. THE SABBATH. (notes)
Sweet is the dawn of tranquil holy day,
Hallow'd, e'en from the birth of time, to rest,
To purest joys, and contemplations blest;—
The cares of this vain world put far away.
God said, "Let there be light:" and straight the play
Of varied hues all nature did invest:
Creation ended,—this was God's behest;—
"Let Sabbath peace return, while earth shall stay."
Once more, near thrice the hundred thousandth time,
The blessed light upon the world is spread,
And wakes an heav'nly flame in many an eye:—
Just emblem of that Sabbath day sublime,
Whose beams in heav'n on ransom'd souls are shed
In glorious brightness through eternity!
No company of revellers is here,
But sad procession solemn moves and slow,
While sobs are heard, and tears of anguish flow;—
A widow's only son is on the bier.
But now the mighty Son of God comes near,
And stops the moving spectacle of woe,
And says—"Young man, I tell thee, rise!" When lo
The dead man lives, and speaks in accents clear!
O, what a tide of ecstasy was thine,
Blest widow, kissing that son's face once more,
Then falling at His feet, who wak'd the dead!
So, at another day, that voice divine
Shall reach all caverns of the grave with power,
And rapture through innum'rous hearts shall spread.


26. THANKSGIVING-DAY, 1859. (notes)
Thanks be to God on this Thanksgiving-Day
For all his wondrous goodness to our Land;
To mine, and me. Ah, who can understand
The myst'ries of his love? To Him I pray,
With millions whom his truth and spirit sway,
That all our people may discern his hand
In their rich blessings and in one great band
Serve Him, whom all the hosts of heav'n obey.—
Yet what is now our pride is but our shame—
"Our Country's Freedom!" 'Tis not known by all,
Though loud we cry, 'tis man's most rightful claim.
Methinks I hear in thunder tones heav'n's call,—
"Ye glorying States, that boast of Liberty,
Look on four million Slaves and make them FREE!"
The Lord my Shepherd is—the Psalmist said—
In pastures green he gives me soft repose,
And leads where living water gently flows;
Thus ev'ry want is by his bounty fed.
When from his paths I err, by pride misled,
My soul his kind restoring mercy knows;
He brings me joy, and saves from direful woes;
Then let my tongue his praises ever spread.
Yea, though I walk through death's most dreary vale,
Where unshap'd shadows glide and bring affright,
Since thou art with me naught shall wake my fear.
The path, tho' dark and fill'd with mis'ry's wail,
Guides to yon distant, growing, glorious light,
Gleaming from throne of God in heav'ns most clear.


Welcome, O Day, in dazzling glory bright,
Emblem of yet another day most blest,
When all Christ's friends with him in heav'n shall rest;
For on this day, in his recover'd might,
The sleeper wak'd to see this morning's light;—
"The Son of God!" glad angel-hosts attest:
So, when alive, most fully shown, confest,
For on this day he took his heav'n-ward flight.
When therefore our glad eyes this morning's sun
See rising on the earth, we'll lift our thought
To Him, who by his death our life hath bought,
And victor-king for us a crown hath won.
It e'er shall be a day of sweetest joy,
Till we shall see our Lord in yonder sky!
Dark is the soul of man all hist'ry shows,
Until outshines God's pure and heav'nly light;
Till then delusions play upon his sight—
Misleading ev'ry step, as on he goes,
Each vile imposture working him great woes,
Each cheat and lie, sprung up in murky night,
Withstanding ever what is true and right,
And love of gain all honesty o'erthrows.—
Reason, a flick'ring taper, is but dim,
While pride and ev'ry passion keep their sway.
Where then can help be found except in Him,
Who spake at first, and night was turn'd to day?—
God's only Son! Shine thou on us in love;
Then shall we dwell with thee in light above!


My Malleville! mature like fruitful vine
About my house, while flourishing most fair
Thou'rt smitten to the ground. Sighs fill the air,
And here no longer can I call thee mine.
But how can I against God's will repine?
He will restore thee, and my loss repair,
Sweet, growing, endless joys with thee to share,
And with the holy who in glory shine!
E'en now thy spirit lives, and joins the song,
Which breaks like torrent from the harps of gold
Resounding through heav'n's arches by the throng
Of ransom'd sinners and with joys untold,—
"Let Wisdom, Honor, Pow'r in highest strain
To thee, O Lamb, be paid, for Thou wast slain!"
I dare not, Lord, claim aught of good from thee
As in reward of virtue my just right;
Up to thy throne on high, all-glorious, bright,
I dare not lift my eyes. Humility
Befits the child of sin and misery:
Repenting tears may well bedim his sight.
Yes, Savior, on my guilty breast I smite,
And "Mercy! Mercy!" this is all my cry.
'Twas mercy, in thy vast, amazing love,
Awaking wonder in th' angelic throng,
That brought thee down from God's right hand above,
Upon the cross to die, t' atone for wrong.
Then wilt thou not my sad petition hear,
And give me peace and hope, instead of fear?


32. THE LOST CHILD. (notes)
Two days had pass'd; the anxious search was vain
The wilder'd child in forest wide to find;
But pity call'd once more the neighbors kind
Each darksome nook t' explore with care and pain.
In far-stretch'd rank, like fleet upon the main,
Well rang'd by wisdom are their toils combin'd,—
With law—"If dead, a single horn shall wind:—
Alive, let gun and horn ring merry strain!"—
"Hark!"—as the Father lay with ear to ground,
He cried;—"Alas, my wife, the single horn!—
Oh no! Gun, horn, and shout the forest shake!"—
So, when the wilder'd, sinning man is found,
By grace recover'd and to goodness born,
From angel hosts the shouts of joy outbreak.
Of giant height, carv'd from basaltic block,
Two snakes the monster bears for arms and hands;
On either side a vulture's wing expands;
The noble face of man its features mock.
Beneath, the fangs of Rattlesnake unlock;
On Tiger's claws the fearful idol stands;
Men's hearts and skull do make his necklace bands;—
Meet ornaments, that ev'ry gazer shock!
Here is the form of true idolatry!
Worship of serpent—vulture—tiger god,—
Curst Lucifer, the rebel flung to hell!
Can Christians to such idol bow the knee?
The idol War is such; thus cloth'd, thus shod,
Inwreath'd with skulls, hissing with malice fell!


34. GOD OUR SAFETY. Psalm 91.
Who in the Most High's secret place doth dwell,
Beneath th' Almighty's shadow shall abide.
God is my refuge, where I safe may hide,—
My fortress strong and inaccessible.
From thee the noisome plague he will repel,
And safe from fowler's snare, with skill applied;
Although a thousand fall down at thy side,
No evil shall approach thy house or cell.
His kind, protecting wings o'er thee shall spread;
His truth shall be to thee a brazen shield,
His promise stronger than a tow'r on high;
Of nightly terror be not then afraid,
Nor of the day's swift arrow: 'tis reveal'd,
Thy God, thy trust, shall lift thee to the sky!
Pilgrim! do thickest clouds of grief and woe
Shut from thine eye that sweet and heav'nly light,
So lately spread upon thy pathway bright?
Is a dark wing outstretch'd o'er all below?
Fear not: more glorious beams shall surely flow
From fount perennial on thy gladden'd sight.
Thy God is faithful. In his love and might
Thou'rt safe; and naught thy bliss can overthrow.
Gaze now upon the wondrous cross. There hung,—
Victim for sins, which claim'd avenging hell,—
God's own beloved Son in agony:
Then hear the strains in heav'nly arches sung.
Can He, who gave the gift unspeakable,
Deny thee strength, and hope, and light, and joy?


36. ON REV. DR. JOHN CODMAN. (notes)
Codman, in early paths of life my friend,
When we together walk'd the flow'ry way
Of science, nor from virtue went astray,
Where Charles's stream by Harvard's walls doth wend;
Then woven were the ties, no force can rend—
The ties of Christian love; from day to day
Our constant aim, our constant, firm essay,
God's Truth first known, its dictates to attend.—
Through many a year and many a changing scene
Our early bond unbroken, when at last,
As all thy earthly prospects were o'ercast,
I bid farewell to thee with anguish keen,
Then did'st thou say,—"We meet again above—
This faith I have—where sits Eternal Love!"
Thick are the branches of o'ershad'wing trees,
Of deep, unfading green: does this proclaim,
That many a sleeper here hath deathless name,
Immortal glory by God's just decrees?
These monumental stones no eye that sees—
Of whitest marble as for purest fame,
Recording deeds of high and holy aim—
But must their forms approve. Each passing breeze
Bears richest odors from these graves, where rest
The fathers and their children; men of prayer,
Of faith, and love, and ev'ry virtue blest.—
For the great rising day be it our care
To be ourselves companions of the wise;
With them to meet our Savior in the skies.


Our heav'nly Father, whom we fear and love,
Hallow'd by all thy children be thy name;
Thy kingdom come—an empire without blame;
Let men obey thee, like the blest above.
Give us this day our daily bread; remove
Our guilt, as we forgive a brother's shame;
Let not temptation urge its mighty claim,
Nor web of evil be around us wove;
For thine the kingdom is, and thine the praise;
And thine the pow'r, which no resistance knows:
To thee, O God, be endless glory given.—
Thus will I pray, while heart within me plays,
Or tongue is free my feelings to disclose,
Till I shall join the choral song in heaven.
39. PRAISE TO GOD. Psalm 148. (notes)
Praise ye the Lord. Ye Angels, give him praise
And all his hosts throughout the heav'ns on high;
Both sun and moon, and stars that fill the sky,
For his command made all your lights to blaze.
Let all earth's hosts their voices loud upraise;
Ye mountains proud that human feet defy,
And dragons which in ocean-deeps do lie;
Fire, hail, and vapors, tempests that amaze
The seaman in his barque; the drifting snow;
All lofty cedars and each fruitful tree;
The fowl that fly, and beasts that creep below;
All kings and people, old and young, come ye,
And praise God's name, all glorious, good, and great,—
God's name, in majesty o'er all elate!


40. ON MY FATHER, REV. T. ALLEN. (notes)
I give thee thanks and praise, Great God above!
That though one half a hundred years be fled
Since my dear earthly father join'd the dead,
He lives within my heart. His faith, his love,
His zeal for right, the thoughts that him did move
The foes of truth t' encounter without dread,—
All foes of Him who on the cross once bled,—
Such things for him a web of honor wove.
My years are more than his: O, could I say,
My virtues are but equal; and that, when
I reach the closing hour of my life's day,
My God would give me his strong faith; for then,
As told he could not live, he made reply—
"I'm going to live forever in the sky!"
41. TIME'S END. Rev. 10. (notes)
Cloth'd with a cloud an angel-form I see;
A beaming rainbow decks his glorious brow;
Like dazzling noon-tide sun his features glow;
One blazing foot is planted in the sea,
The other on the earth, like burning tree;
He cried aloud, as lion, roaring slow;
Seven angry thunders mutter'd their echo;
His red right arm he lifted high and free;
Then with an oath, that shook heav'ns mighty arch,
He sware by Him, that made the sea and earth,
And scattered far abroad the worlds of light,—
Whose years proceed in never-ending march,
That Time, which ow'd to his decree its birth,
Should cease fore'er to wing its rapid flight.


In that loud voice, that shakes the earth and skies,
The ancient pagan heard Jove's angry tone,
Speaking to mortals from the clouds, his throne;
In that keen light, which rapid bursts and flies,
And darts to earth, and dazzles mortal eyes,
The pagan saw Jove's vengeful jav'lin thrown,
To check man's pride, and cast presumption down,
And vindicate the god as strong and wise.
But now, since Franklin drew a spark from cloud,
And prov'd it merely electricity,—
Though, God! thou speak in thunders e'er so loud,
Our empty science makes us deaf to Thee;
And though thy lightnings glare, yet we are proud,
And blind to Thy most glorious majesty!
43. IMPIETY. (notes)
The pagan pays his worship to a block,
Or lifts his homage to the glorious sun,
Who, like a giant, in his race doth run;—
Such folly well our thinking sense may shock.
But what if Christian nam'd his God should mock,
Or wrapp'd in web, by atheist's fingers spun,
All nature's brightness seem obscure and dun,
Not deem'd His work, who guides the starry flock?
Is there not here a guilt of deeper dye,
A mind less cheer'd by rays of truth divine,
A heart more cold, enchain'd by Greenland frost?
Ah! can the wretch e'er dwell in purest sky,
Where God's perfections all in glory shine?
Is he not blinded, cheated, wilder'd, lost?


Poor man, who name of Father dost not know,
Nor e'er hast felt that bond of sweetest might,
Which binds thee to thy child; on whose glad sight
That fairest image on the earth below,—
In beauty like heav'n's various-tinted bow,—
Her Mother's picture, lovely daughter bright
Ne'er shone;—thou hast not seen joy's earthly height!—
All this I've seen, and lost to my huge woe!
And yet I do not need thy pity, friend;
For though the flow'r of seventeen summers' bloom
Was smitten, still it blossoms without end
In garden, where ne'er falls a blighting doom.
A ransom'd sinner did my Daughter die,
In Christian hope, with glory in her eye!
This day another year of life is fled,
With ev'ry change; its gloom and beaming light,
Its woes and joys all vanish'd from the sight:
Yet deeds of good and evil are not dead.
If ill, their record we shall see with dread
O'erwhelming to our sight and wild affright,
Unless through Christ our conscience is set right
And his atoning blood our peace hath bred.
If good our deeds, and Christ through faith our friend,
Then gladly may we hail life's final day,—
The heirs of glory we when time shall end.—
In the new year be our's the bliss to say,
Each truly,—"Lord, in thee my hope is strong
Of thee, the Lamb, to sing heav'n's ceaseless song!"


Nature's idolater the mount ascends
To gaze around: Jesus went up to pray;
And as he pray'd, there beam'd a tenfold day,
And brightness, that all earthly light transcends.
What company is this, that Him attends?
Celestial forms appear in pure array,
And speak of suff'rings at a future day,
His certain death, which shame and anguish blends.
But soon the light recedes; there comes a cloud,
Dark and terrific in th' apostles' eyes,
And spreads its curtains round, beneath, above;
And from that gloom a voice is heard most loud—
"This is my Son, who came from upper skies,
My Son beloved, hear ye Him and love!"
In this fair grove of thick-branch'd evergreen
How many sleepers wide are scatter'd round,
Having their quiet rest beneath the ground,
On ev'ry side their marble tablets seen?
Their sleep, now quiet, will not be, I ween,
When the archangel's trumpet loud shall sound:
Not one of all will then be heedless found
But all will spring to life; a mingled scene
Of grief, despair, and sweet and high delight.
I speak not of the bad; but sure a throng
Of loving friends will meet the judge's sight,
Skill'd in the notes of ransom'd sinners' song.—
Shall we be with these sleepers as they rise?
Say, shall we join them in yon blessed skies?


Behold, before the Lamb, before God's throne
In robes of white a countless multitude,
All bearing palms, in glorious order stood,
From ev'ry tribe and tongue by goodness won;
Their voices high are join'd, as if but one;
All cry aloud—Salvation to our God,
And to the glorious Lamb, whose precious blood
For all our deepest sins did once atone!
Then fell the angels prostrate, and they said—
While with enraptur'd hearts they God adore,
And to the Lamb of sacrifice they bend—
"Let honor, glory, blessing, thanks be paid,
All might, and wisdom, majesty, and power
Unto our God for ages without end!"
49. NATURE REPROVED. (notes)
For ages worshipp'd by the Minstrel throng,
By rippling brook, in air, and field, and wood,
On mountain top, and ridge of billowy flood,
Nature! thou dost thy Maker mighty wrong.
Hast thou no speech to check the erring song?
Glows not thy beauteous cheek with mantling blood
Thyself to take His praise, "First Fair, First Good?"
Wilt thou this wild delusion still prolong?
Vain Idol! this thy folly thou shalt rue:
A voice is swelling on the mountain breeze,
And echoes loud from yonder azure sky—
"Thy beauty's light shall turn to deadly hue;
On all thy charms the kindling flames shall seize,
And worshipper and god in ashes lie!"


Short seem'd the step down to the awful grave,
Where ev'ry vig'rous limb all stiffen'd lies,
And greedy worms in us hold revelries,
While weeds and grasses o'er my bed shall wave.
This world of ours, built up so beauteous, brave,
Must it be faded ever from my eyes?
Shall my dull ear hear no sweet symphonies?
And from this dreaded doom can naught me save?
Naught sav'd me but thy pow'r, O God of love!
I live again: to Thee be all the praise;
And let me live with heart on things above,
As one, in all things whom thy Spirit sways;
So serving Christ, as sure to me 'tis given
To see him in a brighter world—in heaven!
Although no blossom'd fig tree deck the field,
Nor fruit hangs clust'ring on the joyful vine,
To give, when press'd, the spirit-cheering wine,
Nor cultur'd ground the needful food doth yield;
Although the flocks the fold no longer shield,
Nor sheep and goats from rav'nous wolves confine;
Although no grazing herds, as once, are mine,
And all my gold to robbers is reveal'd;
Yet in Jehovah will my soul rejoice,
The God of my salvation; songs shall rise
To him, whose favor is my treasur'd gold.
His bounty forces on my better choice
The ever-gladd'ning fruits of paradise,
And heav'n's unmeasur'd good, and joys untold.


In boyhood's prime our four years' course being done
In band of numbers unsurpass'd before,
All said,—as richest gems we counted o'er,—
"The highest rank Thou, youngest, yet hast won."
Again, when now brief interval was run,
Our toils renew'd as long a time once more
In Harvard's walls, t' acquire the honey'd store.—
Since then just fifty years our lives have spun.—
A few days past I hail'd my birth-day light;
Alas, it was thy day of death, my friend,
When thy keen eyes were clos'd in deepest night:
Yet 'twas thy birth to life without an end!
Thy trust be mine—is now my sick-bed pray'r—
In God's own Son, who came our sins to bear.
Your homage has been paid me much too long,
Withheld from him, who made me fair and good,
His image to reflect from earth and flood,
And wake for him the Bard's sublimest song.—
No eagle, mounting on his pinions strong,
Nor sweetly-warbling Nightingale in wood,
No humble flow'r with tint of sky or blood,
Nor scaly fish, nor murm'ring insect throng;
No shaggy beast beneath the forest wide,
No crystal gleaming in its rocky bed,
Nor glossy shell beneath the em'rald sea;
No rippling brook, nor stream of swollen pride,
No golden cloud, nor star in silence led,
Father of all! but speaks aloud of Thee!


Bright symbols, which a daughter's hand hath wove,
What more significant before mine eyes
Or showing forth sublimer mysteries,—
The color'd Cross the suff'ring Savior's love,
The Crown of green his Father's gift above?—
Why bear these autumn leaves such crimson dyes,
Save to express his death, his agonies,
Whose hand outspread each decorated grove?
If all be, then, the purchase of his blood,—
All who repent, and love, believe, obey,
Who, now redeem'd, walk in the upward way,
Cheer'd with the hope of heav'n's eternal good,—
Let me not boast of all within my thought,
Save in Christ's Cross, by which my Crown was bought.
Great kings must leave their thrones and rule unjust,
Philosophers forget their idle schemes,
Beauty her form, and poets too their dreams,
And rich men mingle with the worthless dust.
Alas, what is the earth to poor man's trust?
How fleeting all earth's joys, like rushing streams!
Yet 'tis not dark to me: I see bright gleams,
Which from my God on high on me outburst,—
Visions of good eternal in the skies:—
My sins effac'd by blood,—redeeming love,—
God's Son, once on the cross, enthroned above,—
My long-lost ones again before my eyes,
With all the good.—I cry, "Death brings me rest;
Through thee, O Jesus, Dying I am Blest!"


56. Compact on board the Mayflower. (notes)
The wondrous "Mayflow'r," floating on the sea,
Wafting the noble Pilgrims to the west,
As yet had found no circling shore for rest,
Though land was near; 'tis now her Company
To guard against disorders, which might be,
And firm foundation lay for empire blest,
Their "Solemn Compact" made, that none might wrest,
Each pledg'd the Rule to follow cheerfully.
Freedom and Law are bound in union sweet;
For all have equal pow'r till common vote
Authority confer, to which all bow,
Its exercise restrain'd, as is most meet,
To Public Good. No acts of their's denote
A thought their Chief could private int'rest know.
O, blessed, first-born Son of God most high,
By whom the sun and all the worlds of light
Were summon'd from the gloom of deepest night,
While this low earth was shap'd before thine eye,—
Didst Thou earth's ills in human form defy,
Leaving thy glorious, heav'nly mansion bright,
To save lost man, and vindicate God's right,
And on the cross, nail'd hands and feet, didst die?—
O, wondrous truth, beyond all truths we know!
With love our trembling lips pronounce thy name;
With speechless gratitude our hearts o'erflow!
But Thou didst rise from thy sad doom of shame,
And, while angelic hosts hail Thee and greet,
At God's right hand didst find thine ancient seat.


Old Warrior, two decades of years and more
Have sped, since thou didst arm thee for the fight,
Since thou didst wield thy sword with hero's might,
Warring just where apostles fought of yore.
'Twas Charity, which o'er two oceans bore
Thee and thy fellows from this land of light
To seek God's ancient mount in error's night
And Zion's long-lost glory to restore.
Thy warfare is to last while thou hast breath;
Sure is the vict'ry which to Christ is given;
Earth shall yet bear the sun-light stamp of heaven.
And when at last thine eye shall close in death,
Thy life, we know, through Christ's atoning blood,
Shall be where God outbeams light's endless flood.
59. HAPPY OLD AGE. (notes)
'Tis good our destin'd course in life to run,
New forms of beauty bursting on the sight,
The clouds soon gone, that bring a feeble night,
Still holding on our way, like glorious sun.
What noble prize has sluggishness e'er won?
'Tis toil of day, that brings sweet rest at night,
And mingled joys make e'en our sorrows light:
The bliss we taste is bliss but just begun.
From height of age we gaze on years gone by;
The fruits of many a deed of good appear,
From which new plants are waving to the eye.
Forward we look; no terrors we descry,
But all is light, and peace, and pleasures dear:
One step will gain the glories of the sky!


The "Mayflow'r"'s anchor'd in the wintry bay;
And now the crowded boat with busy oar
Glides onward to the solitary shore,
Where, just emerging from the wave, there lay
A Rock, which trusting feet would not betray.
On this the Pilgrims land, to float no more
On angry billows, as they ceaseless roar;—
But here to fix their dwelling-place for aye.—
This scene may well the future good unfold,
Which o'er th' Atlantic wave their feet had sought—
The Liberty of Conscience, prize untold,
Each shackle broke which bigotry had wrought—
Symbol, which sure our eyes do not bemock,
Of Freedom's Empire, founded on a Rock!
As now, methinks, my fated hour draws nigh,
With all its scenes before my vision clear,
Why must I take my flight without a tear
To dim the lustre of my heav'n-lift eye?
Why leave I sweetest joys without a sigh,
As though to my blest soul not rich and dear?
Is all my love to lov'd ones insincere,
That I am calm while other spirits cry?
Oh no! I love them; but love others more—
Our common Savior, victim on the tree—
Their Mother and their Sister gone before
To heav'n, there ready now to welcome me.
Harvests of glorious Good about to reap,—
Dying to enter Life,—how can I weep?


62. ON JOHN ROBINSON. (notes)
I see thee, outcast from thy native shore,
Exile from England lov'd, to toil and die;
And ne'er didst thou behold our western sky;—
Yet in both lands what name is honor'd more
Than thine, O Robinson? We hence adore
That Providence, which thus uplifts on high
The worthy from their deep humility,
And makes them stars to shine forevermore.
The Truth thou didst discern and didst maintain—
Freedom to worship God—with courage bold,
Unaw'd by foes in pow'r and pride arrayed.
This claim the world will ne'er forget again,
Nor thee forget, its champion of old,
But breathe thy noble spirit undismayed.
As city, near volcanic mountain's brow,
When heav'd by earthquake in its strongest wall,
Trembles, and seems just tott'ring to its fall;
Such seem'd my frame of clay beneath the blow.
'Twas Wisdom's way to make the suff'rer know
The lesson oft forgot, needful for all,
That fleeting life soon flies beyond recall,—
That heav'nly bliss is nigh or endless woe.
One day death's gloom seem'd settling on my head;
The next I joyful felt God's arm of might,
And rose as one recover'd from the dead.
To whom then now belongs my life of right?
Thee, Lord, I praise, whose mercies overflow;
Thee will I serve with angel's zeal below!


64. ON TRUTH. (notes)
Of intellectual worlds Truth is the sun,
Outpouring on the mind heav'n's purest light,
Before which quickly fly all shades of night.
And as his daily course the Truth doth run,
He sheds a vivifying heat. This done,
Each plant of virtue grows up in our sight;
But ev'ry vile imposture feels a blight.—
With thee has truth, God's truth, the vict'ry won?
Alas! by ev'ry cheat and wicked lie
Man is misled, deluded to his woe;
And o'er him Satan holds dominion high,
Reigning o'er all the wretched race below,
Till God doth interpose in wondrous love,
On man his Spirit pouring from above.
O death, how dreadful is thy certain doom,
The beautiful all hidden from my eye
In the dark pit, where their stiff bodies lie!
And must I join them in the loathsome tomb?
Yet sure the spring-flow'r does not fail to bloom,
When wintry frosts give way to genial sky.
For body's happy change we need not sigh;
Nor for the spirit's flight from all earth's gloom.
Then, Death, thy presence brings me no affright,
But wakes my loud, exulting voice through grace,
A shout of glorious victor in the fight,
Or of the winner in the struggling race.
Death is quick transfer of the soul to heaven,
A boon to all Christ's friends in mercy given.


'Tis God, who made and heav'n and earth sustains:
We render homage due.—When floods arose,
The Lord did quell them to a quick repose.—
He made all springs for mountains and for plains.
T' enrich the earth he gives his plenteous rains;
The herb for man and grass for cattle grows.—
The moon for seasons made, the sun too knows
His going down, when thickest darkness reigns;
Then forest beasts creep forth, who shun the light.
To God young lions for their meat do cry;
The sun ariseth,—down in their dens they lie:
But man unto his work goes out till night.—
Thy works, O Lord, how manifold and great!
In searchless wisdom didst thou all create!
Christ and redeeming mercy,—these alone
His themes, as soon his life would cease to move;
Then hear as if his voice still with you strove:—
"My Friends! whom I would meet before Christ's throne,
And welcome where all ransom'd souls are one,
The Son of God from his high throne above
Came down to this low world in boundless love
By anguish of the cross our guilt t' atone,
Immortal life by rising bring to light,
For the deprav'd God's Spirit to procure,
For weakest Christian all his promis'd might,
And thus the failing hope to re-assure:—
Compar'd with Christ count all things then but loss,
Nor glory save in Christ and in his cross!"


68. PLYMOUTH MONUMENT LAID 1859. (notes)
This upbuilt monument, though broad and high
As tow'ring pyramid on Egypt's plain,
Our Pilgrim-Fathers' rarest worth in vain
Attempts to show forth to the kindled eye.
They said—"We'll seek a land of Liberty;
No child of ours shall wear a galling chain!"—
Such purpose bore them o'er the stormy main:
Here was their home, and here their bodies lie.
We'll build their noble virtues in our hearts,—
The love of Truth, the love of Good and Right,
The Faith which sees beyond our earthly sight,
The Zeal which love to God and man imparts:—
Such Monument we will not fail to raise,
When rock-built piles shall fall to bear their praise!
How vast the change by death in man's estate?
How silent now the orator's proud tongue,
On which so many thousands often hung?
How fled the concord of sweet sounds, which late
Drew to the songstress admiration great?
How heedless now the monarch to the throng
Of worshippers? Alas, to whom doth now belong
The rich man's gold, which yielding to his fate
He leaves behind?—Whate'er on earth ye love
Ye soon must lose; then seek with earnest heart
The proffer'd blessings near Christ's throne above:
Once gain'd, there's naught can them and you dispart
While you shall live; nor shall one joy be gone
While endless centuries of bliss roll on!


This is the day of all earth's days the best;—
This is the bright, and wondrous, glorious morn,
On which the Son of God from heav'n was born,
First offer'd to his mother's vision blest.
Think not the harps of angel-hosts could rest,
Louder than warring notes of trump and horn;
The universe was glad at that day's dawn,
For Mercy beam'd on sinners lost, unblest.
Christ dwelt as man upon this globe he built,
And, having taught the world Truth pure and bright,
Died as a sacrifice for man's great guilt,
But rose again to fill all heav'n with light!
We hail the glad return of this glad day;
Sing, O ye heav'ns; in joy sing on for aye!
71. NEW YEAR'S DAY, 1859.
Hail to the day I am allow'd to see,
Though helpless on the bed of sickness laid,—
Another year's return! All undismay'd,
I've daily thought, to me it might not be.
It has not been to millions now set free,
And this year millions more, to death betray'd,
Will reach their doom. For them I've earnest pray'd,
"Lord, give them faith in thy salvation free!"
Three quarter-centuries of years my own
Will end their flight this day in winter's cold:
Praise to my God for joys and hopes not flown!
Hasten, O Lord, the year by thee foretold,
When thou wilt all the fallen nations raise,
And earth shall be one temple to thy praise!


72. DONATI'S COMET, 1858. (notes)
Strange Comet, with thy long, curv'd tail so bright,
Hast thou before e'er visited our sphere?
From what dark depths of space dost thou draw near?
What is thy aim thus blazing on our sight?
Hast thou a charge with pestilence to smite?
Full many an eye now looks on thee with fear;
But unknown good may spring from thy career
And nigh approach to the great fount of light.
From guiding hand of God, enthron'd above,
Thou art not free; thou comest at his will,
Either to work the counsels of his love,
Or judgment on the wicked to fulfil.
Perchance on thee some, doom'd to woe, may dwell,—
Some demon-spirits, whose abode is hell!
73. EXECUTION FOR MURDER, 1630. (notes)
Alas, among the Pilgrims came there one
Not of their church nor of their heart and mind,
Who ne'er unruly passions knew to bind,
Nor ever learn'd a heav'nly race to run.
At last a brother's blood he shed, and won
A retribution just; nor could he find
A charity misguided, and so blind,
As not to see fit doom for deed he'd done.
Instructed from above, by reason led,
The Pilgrim Company disclos'd their plan:—
Intent to give to life security
Without revenge, with purpose stern they said—
As law had said e'er since the world began—
"Whoso shall shed man's blood, by man shall die!"


74. ONENESS WITH GOD. John 17.
Friends of the Son of God! How blest are ye,
That when his fated hour he saw was near,
This prayer he lifted to his Father dear,—
"O let them all be one, as thou in me
And I in thee, so give them unity."—
He meant a Oneness in the Truth, 'tis clear,
For as God's Word he low descended here
To teach the truth to all; to me and thee;—
Next, oneness of design and holy love,
Oneness of soul, of spirit, and of mind;—
For thus his friends will dwell with him above,
While never-ending ages shall unwind.
Lord! on our souls each grace and virtue trace,
So shall we see God's glory in thy face!
75. ON MY BIRTH-DAY. Written Jan. 2, 1859.
While fourscore years wanting but five have fled,
The author of my frame hath it sustain'd.
This morning's light my waiting vision gain'd
With thankful joy. What multitudes are dead,—
The earth twice emptied,—since on infant's bed
My blood began to run in circuits train'd?—
Destroying angel who but God restrain'd?
The past how doom'd hereafter will be read:
I pray the Lord from heav'n, for me who died,
Me to assist the future so to spend
Becoming one to Him by faith allied;—
So when, as He shall order, life shall end,
A new and glorious life will then begin
With God in heav'n, eternal, without sin!


There is a God the universe doth show,
By whom were form'd the countless stars on high,
Which glitter in the wide, o'erarching sky;
All angel forms above and men below.
There is a God, who reigns supreme, we know;
Yet is he not alone; his presence nigh,
In glory streaming on th' uplifted eye,
Sits one, to whom all holy angels bow.
Lo, near God's heav'nly throne, at his right hand
His only Son,—God's image true and bright,—
With various gifts divine endow'd, doth stand
To execute his Father's will with might.
By him God made and rules all worlds above;
By him unfolds to man his wondrous love.
77. ON MARTYRS. (notes)
There's no man great like him, who dares to die;
Die for the truth, reveal'd from God's own throne.
Weak is the soul of man, when left alone,
Unaided by the Spirit from on high;
But when the God of grace and pow'r is nigh,
Weakness is strength and at the stake, alone,
Taunted by madden'd foes, yet not a groan,
When kindling flames wrap him in agony,
Breaks from the lips of martyr, as he died.
John Huss, and Jerome, and a noble host
A vict'ry gain'd.—Not in the hero's pride,
But in such men,—of God sustain'd,—we boast.
Ye Bigots! When the martyrs take their crown,
Shall ye not meet with God's terrific frown?


78. TO REV. DR. SPRING, NEW YORK. (notes)
Old Soldier of the Son of God, the Lord!
For half a cent'ry hast thou kept the field,
And never didst thou to the foe yet yield;
Thine arms divine, the Spirit and the Word;
Truth, faith, and pray'r, these all in sweet accord.
Nor have thy wondrous vict'ries been conceal'd;
Some to thy Master's glory are reveal'd,
E'en now th' achievements of his flaming sword.
Be thou, my friend, yet faithful unto death;
Then, when the blood-stain'd heroes too must die,
And proudest despots yield their fleeting breath,
And all shall meet before the throne on high,
While justice drives the lost ones down to hell,
Thine endless song will just begin to swell!
My friends, be firm and faithful to the last,
That ye in Christian peace and hope may die,
Redeem'd by Him who died in agony.
Then as ye hear the trumpet's awful blast,
Ye will not with the wicked be downcast
Into unfathom'd depths of misery,
There in despair, beyond all hope to lie,
While ages never counted shall be past;
But ye shall see your great Redeemer blest,
Array'd in form most gladd'ning to your sight,
And he shall say, in majesty most bright,
"Come, my disciples, enter into rest!"
Then shall the Savior, whom ye serve and love,
Transport you to his throne, near God's, above!


Let it not be, that e'er my soul in aught
Should glory touching on delight or pride,
Save in the wondrous cross of Him, who died
A sacrifice of worth beyond all thought,
With inf'nite blessings to the guilty fraught.
Give me faith's vision—let who will deride—
O blessed Jesus! of thy pierced side:
I boast of thee and what thy love has wrought.
Beauty, and wealth, fame, dignity, and might,
A victor army dress'd in splendid show,
A throne and rev'rent crowds around that bow,—
Say, what is all that dazzles human sight,
Compar'd with glories, which in thee, God's Son,
My eyes shall see while endless years roll on?
Poor man without God's heav'nly glorious light
By ev'ry lie is cheated to his woe,—
As hist'ry of the world doth fully show,—
His reason shrouded in the thickest night.
But when the Truth beams on his purged sight,
Instant are fled all wild'ring shapes below,
Whose terrors waken'd all his spirit's throe:
Thus chang'd the scene where shines the Gospel bright.
Alas, my brother, art thou then so wise,
Thou know'st the Gospel false? And dost thou choose
To put to hazard yon, blue, blessed skies,
And all, that God can give, wilt madly lose?
Keen voice from one, now lost among the dead,
I hear,—"Ah! whither has thy Reason fled?"


That God is One by all his works is shown,
Which unity of kind design display.
Behold the distant, glorious orb of day;
Behold the moon, and stars so thickly strown;
God's goodness by their harmony is known:
One Mind, most wise and good, bears boundless sway.
Yet man deprav'd refuses to obey,
Nor gains without electing love the crown.
Thanks be to God for his redeeming love,
Announc'd by Him, who hung upon the tree,—
His Son, who left his glorious seat above
Our guilt t' atone; but who from death set free
Lives on his throne. Then let us all adore
The Father and the Lamb forevermore!
The when and how we know not, but to die
Is but one fix'd and common, mortal lot;
Yet death is wondrous to our human thought!
We quit this earth and far away we fly—
But whither? Is it to the Sun on high,
Our central light, that our freed soul is brought,
If worthy of such place, without a blot;
Or to more distant orb in yon blue sky,
To some scarce-seen but faintly-twinkling star,
Whose rays have travell'd journeys to our sight,
Unmeasur'd by our leagues, they come so far?
Yet sure at last to dwell in heav'n's own light,—
Our bodies rais'd from dust by Christ, our friend,
In his own likeness,—ages without end!


84. CHURCHES OF PIEDMONT, 1851. (notes)
Long since it was th' unrivall'd poet's prayer,
That God, who governs all things here below,
The ashes of his slaughter'd saints would sow
O'er all the fields of Italy, so fair
To sight, but desolate of truth and bare.—
But centuries with God may onward flow,
Ere man his ripen'd purposes can know:
We see the op'ning bud: the Alpine air
Not now is fill'd with moans but praise of God;
And peaceful churches meet in open day,
Where once the vallies were all red with blood.
With hopeful faith we will not cease to pray,
That from its Alpine fount truth's mighty stream
May flow, o'er all th' Italian fields to gleam!
"This do," said Christ, "in memory of me."
Yes: I will drink the wine and eat the bread,
The heav'nly gift, which vivifies the dead;
Mindful of thine unequall'd charity.
No thrall, who drops his chain, and walks forth free,
From dungeon to his home and fireside led,
E'er felt through all his frame such rapture spread,
As I do feel, O Christ, redeem'd by thee!
And thou wilt yet still greater bliss bestow,
When from the prison—barriers of the grave
My captive dust in heav'nly form shall rise.
Then shall I taste the joys, which angels know,
In regions calm, where tempests never rave,
Nor clouds e'er float across the crystal skies.


Mohegan Occom!—not a chieftain's son,—
Yet chieftain's soul hadst thou, for thou didst say,
Thy God should have thy toil from day to day,
Till heav'nly life and glory thou hadst won.
So in thy youth thou didst begin to run
The race of Christian goodness, and to pray
In humble faith and love to God alway,
Utt'ring, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done."—
To preach the gospel to thy Brethren dear
And guide their wand'ring steps to heav'n above
Was e'er thy soul's delight—though work of fear—
For close to their's thy heart was knit in love.
O blessed sight, if thou at last shalt see
The ransom'd ones the Lord hath giv'n to thee!
Of swift-wing'd years how rapid is the flight?
For half a hundred, on this day, save three
Have fled since God in his great love to me
Allow'd me to put on the armor bright,
By him supplied to fit me for the fight,
The ceaseless contest for true liberty;—
For truth alone can set the sinner free,
And bring the blind from darkness into light.
Alas, how chang'd the scene? For then were here
Full many a form of loveliness now fled,—
Father and Mother, Brothers, Sisters dear,
And many friends,—all sleeping with the dead.
What were I now, did not God's truth divine
With bright-hued hopes upon my vision shine?


The tempest rages through the earth around,
Tossing the ocean into mountain waves:
Thrones shake and totter, as the storm-wind raves,
And mightiest empires tremble at the sound:
Man has no structure on the solid ground,
Which bides the tumult, or its fury braves:
The sev'n-hill'd City, which the Tiber laves,
Though call'd eternal, shakes and is astound:
E'en its proud chief and priest, in sad affright,
Flees for his safety to a distant shore,
Lest falling temples on his head alight:
What is there stable 'mid this wild uproar?—
The Church heeds not the angry billows' shock;—
Thy Church, O Lord, is founded on a rock!
In all the earth, O Lord, thy name how great,
How glorious in the heavens doth it shine!
Sun, moon, and stars, which thou hast made, are thine,
And o'er all worlds, in majesty elate,
Thou reignest king. Then what is man's estate,
How low,—in which through pride he doth repine?
Yet thou didst give him rank almost divine,
When him with pow'r to rule thou didst create—
(Only a step beneath the angels high—)
O'er oxen, sheep, and beasts wild roving wide,
O'er all the fowl that in the air do fly,
And fish, that in the ocean-depths do glide.
O, God! who dost all praise and glory claim,
In all the earth how excellent thy name!


Pittsfield, my native town, how chang'd art thou,
Since first, in childhood's years, thy streets I trod,
And in thy single temple worshipp'd God,
My father then thine only teacher!—Now
On ev'ry side the rival temples grow,
As though upspringing from prolific sod,
With tow'r, or spire high-tap'ring to a rod;
And num'rous teachers now heav'n's pathway show:
But Truth is one, unchang'd, always the same,—
Its sempiternal source with God on high,
Whence God's own Son in wondrous mercy came,
Pure light to pour on man's dark, wild'ring eye.
May all thy pastors guide their flocks aright,
And lead them to the heav'nly pastures bright.
Sarah, my much-lov'd grandchild, thou dost bear
An ancient name of honor; on this day,
Which marks just sixteen years, quick fled away
Since first thou didst draw in the vital air;
No greeting need I give thee, but my prayer,
Utter'd with all the fervency I may,
That of her "faith in God" the pow'rful sway,
Like ancient Sarah, thou wilt keep with care.
So shall thy future years, of unknown count,
Be years of honor, usefulness, and joy,
For thou wilt drink at Christian joy's pure fount,
And hopes, like these, will thy best thoughts employ—
'A glad exchange to me will sure be given,—
For death new life, for earth a glorious heaven!'


Lady, who late didst teach the blinded slave,
And hidden truth didst open to his sight,
God's minister of his own heav'nly light,—
I honor thee, most noble, good, and brave.
Let despots of the "Old Dominion" rave,
And for this, in their chivalry and might,
A woman shut in prison! This poor spite
From dark forgetfulness thy name shall save.
So Galileo was in dungeon deep
By bigots thrust, because he dar'd to say,
Our system's centre is the orb of day,
And earth revolves by laws that never sleep.
Though him they silenc'd, still the earth turns round:
Though thee they bind, God's light shall not be bound!
93. "READY FOR EITHER." (notes)
Fit emblem of Christ's servant,—him whose love
Has borne him to his distant heathen field,
Which, if not by him reach'd, can nothing yield
But crimes, that shut men out from heav'n above:
There, heedless of fatigue, his footsteps move
In ceaseless toil; nor from his view conceal'd
Lies hid the peril, when God's truth reveal'd
The worshipper is sham'd in idol's grove.
Brave man! toil on; thou shalt not toil in vain:
Thy master's promise trust; the good seed sow;
A glorious harvest thou wilt help to gain.
And should the madmen's dagger lay thee low,
Yet from thy outpour'd blood may spring the truth,
Life's nutriment to Old men and to Youth!


I owe thee many thanks, my distant friend,
That on the broad Canadian river's shore
Thy home being gain'd with joyfulness once more
Thou didst remember me, and to me send
These clust'ring Grapes, which now on me attend
To soothe a sick man's taste. From God's rich store
They came,—from where the northern tempests roar,—
His bounty wide, his mercy without end!
They speak to faith of greater sweetness far
Denoted by the wine that Jesus gave,
The Son of God, who came from heav'n to save,—
The Blood of Him, the framer of each star,
Which purchases our life, salvation free,
High glory, honor, immortality!
Pittsfield, so nam'd from British statesman bold,
Who dar'd command the struggles of the free,
What time men forg'd the chains for liberty;
How dear art thou to my pain'd vision old?
And many a scene now past dost thou unfold,
And many a wither'd joy, as well might be,
For years have fall'n, as leaves from autumn tree,
Since first thy light I saw and bliss untold.
Swift as the shadow of a flying cloud
All earthly good departs; but as a rock,
Which heeds not ocean's waves nor tempest loud,
My faith in Jesus, Savior, bides the shock:—
The same I held, when first in early youth
I here proclaim'd the heav'n-descended truth.


96. COMPANY OF OLD MEN. (notes)
"Hail, Old Men! Quite a goodly Company!"—
True, we are old; this day assembled here
In this new mansion to partake this cheer,
Of ancient friend to wake the memory.—
Though old, yet have we undimm'd eyes to see
And ears that fail not yet the truths to hear,
Once taught by our deceased pastor dear,
Which some in life's fair morn cannot descry,
Sin's thick, delusive veil spread o'er their sight.
We see time's speed, and death to be no cheat;
To us the Sun of Righteousness shines bright,
And bright yon heav'ns, up where we hope to meet.
We see the worth of Truth, of Faith, of Love,—
Our certain guides to Endless Life above.
To change for good alone my mingled state
In this brief life, and what I have to hold
By God's firm word while endless years unfold,—
This wakens joy; and this will be my fate,
When soon shall come my final, worldly date.—
Now hear I this—"O, chosen one, behold
Wonders of love divine, by Christ unroll'd;—
Come, share our bliss unmeasurably great!"—
Not one is toss'd by tempest, all at rest;—
Not one is conscience-smitten of the throng;—
Not one a suff'rer, all I see are blest;—
All know God's truth, all lift th' eternal song.—
Thus hearing calls from ev'ry heav'nly voice—
These scenes in vision—Dying I rejoice!


98. NIAGARA FALLS. (notes)
Great are the works of God, which meet our sight.
Proud, sinful man! thyself above all fear
Of him who made the earth, come, stand but here,
And here be taught his majesty and might.
This stream from western lakes how broad and bright?
But now its waves in froth and rage appear,
And as they plunge down deep, their voice we hear,
Like thunders bursting from the clouds of night.
This river from his hand doth God outpour:
Then say, O sinner! hast thou naught to dread
From Majesty Divine, whom thou each hour
Dost treat with scorn, though soon to join the dead?
Pause in thy guilty path:—consider well—
God's wrathful flood may plunge thee down to hell!
How can a sinning man with God be just?
This grand inquiry all men need to make,
For all are guilty; and they well may quake
For flagrant evil deeds or secret lust,
For which God's law smites down their prideful trust.
Ye sleepers on the brink of woe! awake
And to the Gospel listen:—that can break
The fetters binding all the lost unjust.
Justice and love in wonderful display,
Mercy and truth in union sweet combine,
And shine forth glorious in the scheme divine.
The word reveal'd unfolds to us the way,
By which we, sinners, can be just with God;—
It is by Faith in Christ's atoning blood.


O, blessed day, when through the world below
Jesus shall reign the prince of love and peace,
For then shall men their angry contests cease,
And never more appear in hostile show;—
The sword transform'd into th' unbloody plow
And spear to pruning hook for thriving trees.
The kid lies down with leopard at his ease,
And grizzly bear feeds harmless with the cow.
The wolf and lamb together peaceful dwell,
The calf with the young lion too are led
By hand of little child. Ah, who can tell
How chang'd the scene, when, fiery passions fled,
No stain is seen on human hand of blood,
But all men live in holy Brotherhood?



In the judgment of some of the greatest poets and literary men the Sonnet is a form of poetry of very high value; in its structure a precious gem. It is of Italian origin and was invented by Petrarch in the 14th century. In his retreat at Vaucluse near Avignon he wrote the greater part of his sonnets, all devoted to the idolatry of woman—to the praise of Laura: 227 of them were written while she was living; and he continued to extol her in 90 sonnets after her death.

The laws of the sonnet are these. It has one leading subject and should end with some striking thought, or must bring to a beautiful conclusion or point the images and musings of the first lines and greater part of the poem. It has always 14 lines, falling into two unequal lobes, one of two quatrains, the other of two triplets; or in other words it is composed of four stanzas, the two first of four lines each and the two last of three lines each. Then as to the rhymes,—the first eight lines have only two rhymes, and they always in the same place,—the first, fourth, fifth and eighth lines rhyming; so also the other four. The last six lines admit of a little change, and may have either two or three rhymes; usually the four first lines have alternate rhymes, and the two last are a couplet; but even in this case the triplet form is to be preserved.

The distinction of the stanzas is made, not by a separation from each other by wider spaces, but while printed compactly by the lines 1, 5, 9, and 12, projecting to the left; as in Milton's sonnets and in the Venice edition of Petrarch in 1764. Various poets[62] however have unwisely disregarded this rule: and have variously placed their rhymes and their lines at their pleasure. Campbell has translated a few of Petrarch's sonnets, reducing the 14 lines to 12, composed of three similar quatrains, the first and last lines of which rhyme together. But this is destroying the Sonnet.

Our admiration of Petrarch should perhaps be a little moderated; for he is full of affected turns and paradoxes and smart antitheses. Speaking of love he says, "O viva morte, O dilettoso male,"—O living death, O most beloved evil! Speaking also of its effect he says in four lines of rhyme, which may be thus translated—without rhyme—

"I find no peace, and am not the subject of war;
I fear, and hope, and also burn, and freeze;
I fly above the heavens, and walk on the earth;
I grasp nothing, and hold the universe in my arms."

Addressing a river, in which Laura washed her face, he says,

"Thou hast no rock beneath thy waves, which does not burn with the same fires, that are kindled in me." He also said, "O earth, thou art not worthy to be trodden by her feet. She deserves to adorn heaven!"

His curious stanza repeating the word dolce, sweet, 9 or 10 times may be thus translated:

"Sweet sorrow, and sweet joy, and then sweet pain,
Sweet torture, zephyr, fire, and next sweet wounds;
Sweet word, which in my ear most sweetly sounds,
Sweet anger, and sweet rage, and sweet disdain."

The sonnet in the use of Petrarch did not attain its highest dignity, for it was wholly appropriated to the praise of Laura, his love for whom whether real or fictitious has not yet been settled by the literary world. He died in 1374, aged 70.—The eminent English poet Spenser followed him after an interval of more than 200 years dying in 1598: he published 87 sonnets. Then Shakespeare, who died in 1616, published 154 sonnets; all of which by these two poets are devoted to love, but with a change of the Italian rhyme and form.


The following shows the sonnet's structure by Spenser.

"Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
For that your self ye daily such do see,
But the true fair, that is, the gentle wit
And virtuous mind is much more prais'd of me;
For all the rest, however fair it be,
Shall turn to naught, and lose that glorious hue;
But only that is permanent and free
From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensew:
That is true beauty; that doth argue you
To be divine, and born of heav'nly seed,
Deriv'd from that fair Spirit from whom all true
And perfect beauty did at first proceed:
He only fair, and what he fair hath made;
All other fair, like flow'rs, untimely fade."

It will be observed, that the last couplet is always a rhyme, which is not the fixed rule of Petrarch; and then he has changed the places of the rhymes and confused them by abolishing the stanzas.

The following is a sonnet of Shakespeare.

"O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odor which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye,
As the perfumed tincture of the roses;
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But for their virtue only is their show;
They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odors made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth;
When that shall fade, my verse distils your truth."

Here also is an injurious change in the sonnet of Petrarch: the last couplet is always a rhyme, and it is separated in print from the 12 lines, which are very simple, composing three stanzas of distinct, alternate rhymes, much easier to compose than Spenser's or the Italian.

Milton wrote 5 sonnets in Italian, which were translated by Cowper. In them he followed Petrarch in his subject. It was in his 18 English sonnets, that he has given to this form of poetry its[64] true elevation and dignity. Instead of applying it, like his predecessors, to love meditations, expressive of fictitious or real affection, he made it the instrument of conveying most important moral, patriotic, and religious sentiments.

The following is a sonnet of Milton, who died in 1675. It was addressed to

"Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labor up the hill of heav'nly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they, that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends
To fill thy od'rous lamp with deeds of light,
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure
Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure."

It will be seen, that he combined with his rhymes much of the freedom and force of blank verse. He never allows the absence of good strong sense nor the presence of unmeaning or useless words in order to make out the rhyme.

By printing his sonnets compactly without separating the stanzas from each other Milton carried on his sentences, as he found desirable, from stanza to stanza, frequently without any close at the end of a stanza, sometimes just beginning near the end. In this case the separation of the stanzas by spaces would evidently be absurd. Read the last five lines of his sonnet to Cromwell:—

"Peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise
Threat'ning to bind our souls with sec'lar chains.—
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw."

Here, in the method of separating the stanzas by wider spaces in printing, the phrase "new foes arise" would have been separated from the line which follows, with which it is so intimately connected,—the head line of the last triplet.


The author may here be allowed to say, that in his judgment in the whole compass of English poetry there are no sonnets equal to a few of Milton's, numbered 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 19, 22 and 23. If any one would know, whether Milton's meditations brought out sentiments worthy of utterance, and whether he knew how to utter them with the melody of rhyme and at the same time with the unshackled freedom and energy of blank verse, I leave with him for his refreshment the following lines from his sonnet on his own Blindness:—

"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask: But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve, who only stand and wait."

More recently Wordsworth, who died in 1850, aged 80, has followed Milton in his application of this form of poetry to higher subjects than that to which it was applied by Petrarch. A very great fault however is his abolishing Milton's method of designating the stanzas and thus showing the places of the rhymes, the pleasures of which are gone if their places are not easily found. He wrote 282 sonnets: he wrote too many; and they are often diffuse and languid. The following is one of his sonnets: it is on the Pastoral Character.

"A genial hearth, a hospitable board,
And a refined rusticity belong
To the neat mansion, where, his Flock among,
The learned Pastor dwells, their watchful Lord.
Though meek and patient as a sheathed sword,
Though pride's least lurking thought appear a wrong
To human kind; though peace be on his tongue,
Gentleness in his heart; can earth afford
Such genuine state, pre-eminence so free,
As when, array'd in Christ's authority,
He from the pulpit lifts his awful hand;
Conjures, implores, and labors all he can
For re-subjecting to divine command
The stubborn spirit of rebellious man?"


The readers of poetry ought to feel much indebted to Mr. Wordsworth for his remarks in regard to the language of poetry, and in regard to the value of enkindled emotions. In his judgment, there ought not to be a distinct poetic diction, separate from the language of good prose; the poet should aim at good sense and intelligible diction, using the language of men, abandoning "a large portion of phrases and figures of speech, which from father to son have long been regarded as the common inheritance of poets," and even abstaining from many good expressions, which bad poets have so foolishly and perpetually repeated, as to render them disgusting. As illustrating his meaning, he quotes from a sonnet of Gray;

"In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
And reddening Phœbus lifts his golden fire:
The birds in vain their amorous descants join,
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
These ears, alas! for other notes repine."

Here this false diction destroys the value of every line.

The other remark of Mr. Wordsworth is this;—"all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of good feelings." Perhaps it might be also said, that in addition to sensibility and impassioned expression there should be chosen, for the highest poetry, subjects of moral dignity and religious interest, having a close bearing on human welfare not only for a moment but for perpetuity.



Sonnet 1. The name of Washington is in the heart of all Americans. Fifty years ago, that is in 1809, in the first edition of the American Biographical Dictionary, I devoted nearly 20 pages to a memoir of Washington. It may be a convenience to the reader of this little book to have here collected the dates as to the leading events of his life.—He was born at Bridges Creek, Westmoreland county, Virginia, Feb. 22, 1732; and died suddenly, after an illness of one day by an inflammation of the windpipe, Dec. 14, 1799, nearly 68 years old. He was in early life a major and colonel of the Virginia troops employed against the French on the Ohio in 1754 and 1755; and was subsequently commander in chief. About 1758 he married Mrs. Custis, a wealthy widow, whom he greatly loved. As a planter he had 9,000 acres of land under his management, and nearly 1,000 slaves in his employment, living at Mount Vernon, which was the estate of his deceased older brother Lawrence: his father's name was Augustine: his great grandfather came from the north of England about 1657.—He was appointed by congress commander in chief at the commencement of the war in 1775; and at the close resigned his commission Dec. 1783.

In 1789 he was chosen the first president of the United States for 4 years and then re-chosen, continuing in office till 1797, when he was succeeded by John Adams. By his last will he directed, that on the death of Mrs. Washington (who died May 22, 1802,) his slaves should be emancipated. As the ladies of Virginia, with the aid of ladies of other States, have purchased Mount Vernon in reverence to the name of Washington, will they not honor him if they manage it without obtruding upon it any slave labor?—Gen. Washington was a constant attendant on public worship in an episcopal church, which he principally supported. It is believed, that he every day had his hour of retirement for private devotion.


Sonnet 2. In looking from my eastern window a few evenings since (Dec. 12th,) I was struck with the magnificent appearance of the heavens,—the moon just rising in full effulgence, preceded a few degrees by the splendid planet Jupiter, while still higher and more at the south was the unequalled constellation Orion, with an uncounted multitude of stars planted thick in the sky. Jupiter is 1400 times larger than the earth, being 90,000 miles in diameter: he revolves on his axis in ten hours, so that a body on his surface flies around at the rate of 27,000 miles per hour, or 27 times faster than a body on the earth. It has four satellites. Can it be imagined, that this huge planet is not furnished with rational inhabitants, like this diminutive earth? And what reason can be assigned why all the planets and all the stars should not be inhabited by rational beings? Who can fix the limits to God's creation? As light flies 192,000 miles every second, who can say, that the light from the most distant star has yet reached the earth since the star was created? With what reverence and awe, with what love and trust and spirit of obedience should Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, be regarded?

Sonnet 3. Wm. H. Prescott, the distinguished historian, died at Boston of the paralysis after a few hours' illness Jan. 28, 1859, aged 62 years. Knowing that he was about to die, it was his remarkable request, that in his coffin he might lie for a time with his face uncovered in his library, surrounded by his cherished Books. From his library he was carried to his grave Jan. 31st. The next evening the Historical Society of Massachusetts held a meeting in honor of his memory. Mr. Winthrop, the president, Mr. Ticknor who introduced some resolutions, and others made speeches on the occasion, which were published. As a humble associate member of the society I would not neglect to mention the following apposite and interesting fact, that Petrarch, the inventor of the Italian sonetto, was found dead in his library with his head resting on a book. He died of apoplexy July 18, 1374, aged 74.—Milton's memorable words in relation to books ought never to be forgotten:—"Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, imbalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."—But the book of books is God's Book, which infinitely transcends all others in value, except as they borrow truth from its pages, for it[69] reveals to man his pathway to a blessed immortality. Never should the words of Mr. Chillingworth be forgotten: "The Bible, I say, the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants."

Sonnet 4. In the city of Paris, ten years ago, I was one of a large company of hundreds of the Friends of Peace from different nations. We presented to the Emperor,—then only a President,—an Address against War. In the present year by his inroad into Italy and conflict with Austria he has fixed upon his soul the unmeasurable guilt of several tens of thousands of murders.

Sonnet 5. After the existence of one God there is no truth so astonishing and holding such a power over the human heart, as the death of the Son of God on the cross for the sins of men. For who was the Son of God? He was indeed in the form of a man, born of the virgin Mary; but he came down from heaven to tabernacle in human flesh. Let us raise our eyes from the earth to the worlds above us, of enormous magnitude compared with this little globe of ours. Suppose now the glorious sun is inhabited by a race of intelligent beings as much exalted above man, as the sun is greater and more resplendent than the earth. If the highest of the sun's inhabitants had come to this low world and dwelt in human flesh—it might have been a most amazing event in our eyes; yet he would not have been the Son of God. Suppose among the countless worlds of light there is one world vastly transcending all others and the dwellers on it transcending in their faculties and endowments all other world-dwellers; and the first among them had come to dwell in man's form; yet he would not have been the Son of God. We read of angels and archangels in heaven—in the place of God's more especial abode. Suppose the brightest archangel had descended to this ball of earth and animated a human form, and appeared as a man; yet he would not have been the Son of God. For the Son of God is he, by whom God created the sun and moon and stars of light, with all the intelligent dwellers upon them and the dwellers in the heavenly mansions. It was this Son of God inconceivably exalted and glorious, who came down from heaven and appeared as the Son of Mary. And not only so; but he actually was subject to the evils, which man suffers; he could feel pain, and anguish, and the agonies of the cross,—and did encounter them,—if the plain language[70] of scripture is no delusion,—in order to atone for our sins and to achieve the work of our redemption. Now, did we believe this: did this most sublime and wonderful truth plant itself in our inmost persuasion,—unalloyed and unweakened or not destroyed in its influence by any of our speculative theories;—were we deeply and thoroughly convinced of this great fact;—then who of us could fail to exclaim,—"God forbid, that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world?"

Sonnet 10. John Tyndale, born in 1484, and educated at Oxford. Determined to translate the Bible for England, as he could not do it safely in London he fled to the continent. At Cologne he published the English New Testament about 1525. England was filled with light. The popish priests sent over a traitor, by whose means Tyndale was seized and martyred near Antwerp Friday, Oct. 6, 1536, being strangled at the stake and burnt. His translation of the New Testament was the foundation of our present one.

Sonnet 13. The four following ex-presidents were all living, when this sonnet was written in March, 1826.—John Adams died July 4, 1826, aged 90; president from 1797 to 1801.—Thomas Jefferson died on the same day with Mr. Adams, July 4, 1826, aged 83; president from 1801 to 1809. As a member of congress he drew up the declaration of Independence in 1776.—James Madison died in 1836, aged 85; president from 1809 to 1817.—James Monroe died July 4, 1831, aged 83; president from 1817 to 1825.

Sonnet 16. In a sonnet Mr. Wordsworth does not lament the protestant hurricane, which scattered wide

"The trumpery, that ascends in bare display,
Bulls, pardons, relics, cowls, black, white, and grey,
Upwhirl'd—and flying o'er th' ethereal plain
Fast bound for Limbo lake."

Sonnet 17. Christ's own clear, ample, minute, most decisive instruction concerning the Day of Judgment is in Matt. 25th, and ends with the words, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." He also said of the unbeliever, in John 3d, "he shall not see life; but the wrath[71] of God abideth on him:" he also said, Matt. 18, "It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Sonnet 20. Shakespeare in a sonnet says,—

"When to the sessions of sweet, silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,"

Sonnet 22. Ten years ago, in 1849, I had the satisfaction of visiting the valley of Chamouni in Switzerland at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, 15,600 or 15,673 feet or nearly 3 miles in height above the sea. Here once lived Jacques Balmat, who, having discovered a way to the top of the mountain, in his gratitude to Dr. Paccard, the physician of the village, apprized him of his discovery, and undertook to conduct him to the summit. After two days' toil the exploit was accomplished Aug. 8, 1786. The next ascent was by De Saussure, the elder, of Geneva, accompanied by his servant, by Balmat, and 17 other guides, Aug. 3, 1787. In 1808 Balmat conducted to the top 15 of the people of Chamouni, one of whom was a woman, Maria Parodis. Ascents were made by men of different countries in 1802, 1812, and 1818. Two Americans accomplished this ascent in 1819, Dr. Wm. Howard of Baltimore and Dr. Van Rensselaer, with 9 guides. They reached the top Monday, July 12th. Remaining more than an hour on the summit, they reached Chamouni in safety after an absence of 53 hours only.—Capt. Underhill of England made the ascent in the same year. The lives of three guides were lost in the attempt of Dr. Hamel in 1820. Since then there were 27 ascents, to the year 1851, when Albert Smith and other Englishmen went up with 16 guides Aug. 13th.

Sonnet 23. The Christian theologian has this ground of controversy, that the Bible is a revelation from God, which book therefore contains no error, but is filled with eternal, infallible truth. No contradiction in doctrine can possibly exist in holy scripture; and nothing can reconcile the reason, bestowed upon us, with[72] what is absurd or impossible. If controversialists may gather some expressions, which seem to conflict with each other, some patience and diligence of inquiry may be requisite in order to bring them into harmony; a knowledge of the ancient languages, in which the scriptures were written, may prove useful, as may also an acquaintance with eastern customs and manners, and an attention to the circumstances and design of the utterance which is under consideration.

Sonnet 24. In a sonnet Wordsworth speaks of the new churches in England, in which the Truth of God might be taught:—

"The wished-for Temples rise!
I hear their Sabbath bell's harmonious chime
Float on the breeze—the heavenliest of all sounds
That hill or vale prolongs or multiplies."

Sonnet 26. In the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, the Thirteen United States said unanimously—"We hold these truths to be self-evident:—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

In his last will Washington ordered the emancipation of his slaves; so also did John Randolph. Patrick Henry declared, that the principle of slavery is "as repugnant to humanity, as it is inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive to liberty." Mr. Jefferson said in his Notes on Virginia, in reference to the holding of slaves, "I tremble for my country, when I remember, that God is just!" If the leading minds of the South should adopt the sentiments of these illustrious Virginians, it will next be their proper business to devise and execute the best method for giving to their slaves the blessings of freedom.

Sonnet 27. Dr. Cotton Mather of Boston, published in Boston 141 years ago a new Version of the Psalms from the Hebrew into English blank verse,—so called from the absence of rhyme,—the measure of the lines being adapted to the music in vogue. Melancthon said of the Psalms, "It is the most elegant work extant in the world." Jewell wrote to Peter Martyr in 1560, that 6,000 people sung the Psalms together at St. Paul's Cross in London. The following is his version of the 23d Psalm:


"1.My shepherd is the Eternal God;
I shall not be in (any) want:
2.In pastures of a tender grass
He (ever) makes me to lie down:
To waters of tranquillities
He gently carries me (along.)
3.My feeble and my wandering soul
He (kindly) does fetch back again;
In the plain paths of righteousness
He does lead (and guide) me along.
Because of the regard He has
(Ever) unto his glorious name.
4.Yea when I shall walk in the vale
Of the dark (dismal) shade of Death,
I'll of no evil be afraid,
Because thou (ever) art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff, these are what
Yield (constant) comfort unto me.
5.A table thou dost furnish out
Richly (for me) before my face.
'Tis in view of mine enemies;
(And then) my head thou dost anoint
With fatt'ning and perfuming oil;
My cup it (ever) overflows.
6.Most certainly the thing that is
Good, with (most kind) benignity,
This all the days, that I do live,
Shall (still and ever) follow me;
Yea I shall dwell and Sabbatize
Even to (unknown) length of days,
Lodg'd in the house which does belong
To him who's the Eternal God."

Sonnet 29. As Christians we are under inexpressible obligations to God for his book of revealed truth, proved to be divine by the voice of prophecy, by the wonders of miracles, by the sublimity of its doctrines, and by the approval of conscience. Every man, who can read, is bound to examine this book for himself; for otherwise his faith will rest on a human not a divine teacher.—According to Mr. Chillingworth, what God requires of us is "to believe the Scripture to be God's word, to endeavor to find the true sense of it, and to live according to it." He also says—"I see plainly and with mine own eyes, that there are popes against popes, Councils against Councils, some Fathers against others, the same Fathers against themselves, a Consent of Fathers of one age against a[74] Consent of Fathers of another age, the Church of one age against the Church of another age. Traditive interpretations of Scripture are pretended, but there are few or none to be found. No tradition, but only of Scripture, can derive itself from the fountain."—"Propose me any thing out of this book, and require whether I believe it or no; and seem it never so incomprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand and heart: As knowing no demonstration can be stronger than this; God hath said so, therefore it is true." But then we ought to be well assured, that God hath said what we attribute to him; that we understand the import of the divine word; and that no prepossession, or prejudice, or passion, or mental bondage leads us into an inexcusable misapprehension.

Sonnet 30. My wife, Maria Malleville, who died very suddenly at Brunswick in Maine June 3, 1828, aged 40 years, was the only daughter and child of Dr. John Wheelock, the president of Dartmouth College. She was of Huguenot descent by her mother, Maria Suhm, the daughter of Christian Suhm, the Danish commandant and governor of the island of St. Thomas: he died in 1759, aged 40, being a native of Copenhagen. Mrs. Suhm's descent was from Thomas Bourdeau of the south or west of France, a protestant martyr after the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685, as follows. He sent his only daughter Maria at the age of ten years for safety to the island of St. Thomas. In the same vessel was a protestant emigrant from the same place, Mr. La Salle, whom she at the age of 15 married. Their daughter Maria La Salle married John Malleville of St. Thomas: their daughter, Maria Malleville, married in 1751 governor Suhm, who after his death was succeeded by her brother, Gov. Thomas Malleville. Her second marriage was to Lucas Von Beverhoudt of Beverwyck in Parsippany, New Jersey, where she was accustomed to receive Washington at her house. Their daughter, Adriana, married T. Boudinot, the descendant of another Huguenot family from France.—She died in 1798. Her daughter, Maria Suhm, married, as has been mentioned, president Wheelock.—My wife, whom I married Jan. 28, 1813, was the mother of 8 children.

Sonnet 32. About 50 years ago, when the neighborhood of Sackett's Harbor was a wilderness, a little child of one of the new settlers aged 4 years was lost in the woods. The father's house[75] was 6 miles from the Harbor. All possible aid in the search was of course called together under the regulation and with the success described in this sonnet.

Sonnet 35. As Spenser says of the Lamb;—

"His sceptre is the rod of righteousness,
With which he bruiseth all his foes to dust,
And the great Dragon strongly doth repress
Under the rigor of his judgment just;
His seat is Truth, to which the faithful trust,
From whence proceed her beams so pure and bright,
That all about him sheddeth glorious light."

Sonnet 36. Dr. John Codman died at Dorchester, where he was long the pastor of a church, Dec. 23, 1847, aged 65. Graduating at Harvard college in 1802, he pursued his theological studies in Edinburgh from 1805 to 1808, in which year he was ordained. His subsequent life was devoted to the faithful preaching of the gospel. Among his last words he said,—"I am willing to be in God's hands." His Memoirs and Sermons were published in 1853.

Sonnet 37. The grave-yard of Northampton, laid out in 1661, is one of peculiar beauty and rich in the deposit of the dead disciples of Christ; among whom were my own ancestors of several generations. Four of the earlier and eminent ministers sleep here; Eleazer Mather, who died in 1669, aged 32; Solomon Stoddard, died 1729, aged 85; John Hooker, died 1777, aged 48; Solomon Williams, died 1834, aged 82. Another tenant of this grave-yard is Rev. David Brainerd, the missionary, who died Oct. 9, 1747, aged 29.—In this year, 1859, some unknown person has erected a handsome marble monument to Rev. E. Mather, who died 190 years ago.

Sonnet 39. Spenser in his Hymn on heavenly beauty says;—

"For far above these heav'ns, which here we see,
Be others far exceeding these in light,
Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same be,
But infiniteness in largeness and in height,
Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotless bright,
That need no sun t' illuminate their spheres,
But their own native light far passing theirs."


Sonnet 40. The record of the first minister of a flourishing American town and a brave patriot of the revolution is a matter of interest. Thomas Allen was born in Northampton and was a descendant of Samuel, one of the first settlers, whose father—dying at Windsor in 1648—is supposed to have come over from the west of England with the Dorchester people in the ship Mary and John in 1630.—His grandfather, named also Samuel, was an unswerving friend of Jonathan Edwards and a deacon in his church. Mr. Allen graduated at Harvard college in 1762 in a distinguished class, among whose members were Gov. Gerry, Judge F. Dana, and Drs. Eliot and Belknap. He was ordained at Pittsfield in Berkshire county, Mass., April 18, 1764, and here passed the remainder of his life; he died after a ministry of 45 years Feb. 11, 1810, aged 67 years: I was ordained his successor Oct. 10, 1810.—He was not only a faithful and eloquent minister; but a patriot, and a chaplain in the army, and on one occasion he played the part of a soldier. He marched Aug. 15, 1777 with a company of his own people in a three days' campaign to Bennington to check the advance of Burgoyne:—the next day he shared in the assault and the victory;—and the third day he returned home to preach the gospel to his rejoicing people Aug. 18th. His trophies often delighted my eyes in subsequent years,—two large, square, white flint-glass bottles, which he captured with a Hessian surgeon's horse, and gave the wine to the wounded.

His wife was Elizabeth, the daughter of Rev. Jonathan Lee, the first minister of Salisbury, Conn.; she was descended from Gov. Bradford of Plymouth; she died in 1830, aged 82. Of their 12 children the writer of this is the only survivor.—On the death of his eldest daughter, Mrs. White in London, he went to England in 1799 in order to bring his little grand-child to his house: in London he became acquainted with the eminent ministers Newton, Haweis, Rowland Hill, and Bogue, and from them caught a pious zeal for the promotion of foreign missions. He published sermons on the death of his daughter, E. White, 1798; of Moses Allen, 1801; of his son Thomas, 1806; Massachusetts election sermon, 1808.

Sonnet 41. The sublime passage of scripture, which is here versified, may admonish us, that we are travelling rapidly to the end of time in respect to its being our period of probation for eternity. It is the solemn voice of the Gospel,—"Behold, now is the accepted time! Behold, now is the day of salvation!"


Sonnet 42. Paul teaches us, that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," and that "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." All men therefore, whose "foolish heart is darkened," are "without excuse."

Sonnet 43. In the words of Spenser,—

"Ah! wretched World! the den of wickedness,
Deform'd with filth and foul iniquity;
Ah! wretched World! the house of heaviness,
Fill'd with the wrecks of mortal misery;
Ah! wretched World! and all that is therein,
The vassals of God's wrath and slaves of sin."

Sonnet 44. My eldest daughter, Maria Malleville Allen, died Jan. 30, 1833, aged 17. Through God's great goodness this is the only instance of death, which has occurred among my children; and through his grace and infinite mercy she died in the hope of immortal life in heaven through the mediation of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. What greater blessing can I supplicate for all my descendants, than that God will give them at the hour of their death her Christian faith and hope?

Sonnet 47. On a church-yard Mr. Wordsworth has the following lines:—

"Encincture small,
But infinite its grasp of joy and woe!
Hopes, fears, in never-ending ebb and flow—
The spousal trembling—and the "dust to dust"—
The prayers—the contrite struggle—and the trust,
That to the Almighty Father looks through all!"

Sonnet 49. Even Beattie addresses Nature as follows;—

"O Nature, how in every charm supreme!
Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new!
O for the voice and fire of seraphim
To sing thy glories with devotion due!"

Sonnet 50. As it is a year since this sonnet was written, my present very ill state of health teaches me and may teach others, that a recovery from illness, though most gratefully to be acknowledged,[78] may be a transient blessing. While I was sick, others have fallen around me. Living or dying, it is my prayer, that I may acquiesce in God's will, and that I may participate with all penitent believers in the salvation purchased by the blood of his Son.

Sonnet 51. One all-important method of God's communicating good to man is described by Milton;

"God hath now sent his living oracle
Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell
In pious hearts an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know."

Sonnet 52. Our class, which graduated at Harvard college in 1802, was larger than any previous class,—consisting of 60 members, an unusual number of whom became men of distinction, and one quarter part of whom after 57 years are still living. To my esteemed surviving Brothers I bid farewell, wishing them faith in the Son of God, who is "the resurrection and the life."

Sonnet 53. From a Sonnet by Montgomery, on Nature praising God:

"The fountain purling, and the river strong,
The rocks, the trees, the mountains raise one song;
"Glory to God!" re-echoes in mine ear:—
Faithless were I, in willful error blind,
Did I not Him in all his creatures find,
His voice through heav'n, and earth, and ocean hear."

Sonnet 56. The Compact, entered into by the Pilgrims, was signed on board the Mayflower Nov. 11, 1620; on which day they anchored in Cape Cod harbor. More than a month afterwards they landed at Plymouth. They had in view "the glory of God and the advancement of the christian faith." Forty-one men signed the paper, forming themselves into "a civil body-politic," in order to enact, constitute, and frame "just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices."

Sonnet 57. When Jesus said, John 10, "I and my Father are one," the Jews accused him of blasphemy, for making himself "God." He replied, "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?"


Sonnet 58. In the providence of God I am the oldest living member in Massachusetts of the American Board for Foreign Missions, which was established by a vote of its General Association in 1810, the year of my settlement in the ministry. Multitudes of missionaries have died; and the missionaries living, scattered over the world, are 170 with 230 assistants: native laborers are 500, of whom 222 are preachers: in all 900. The churches 153, and members 23,500; free schools 313.

Sonnet 59. Milton, in a sonnet, speaks of submission to God in his blindness, when of three years' continuance:—

"Yet I argue not
Against Heav'n's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
Right onward."

Sonnet 62. Mr. Robinson, born in England in 1585 and educated at Cambridge, becoming a protestant minister, was driven by persecution with his people into Holland. His church at Leyden consisted of 300 communicants. He zealously promoted the emigration under elder Brewster to Plymouth in 1620, intending to follow; but he died in 1625. It was his memorable remark—"I am very confident the Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of his holy word."

Sonnet 64. When Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," he announced to us the infinite value of truth as the path-way to immortal life. Truth is immutable and eternal; it is most pure and purifying, the source of joy and the foundation of hope; and the denial of truth is more or less perilous and implies more or less of guilt. All falsehood is injurious. As the Bible reveals to us divine truth, how can we doubt, whether we are bound to study it with our own eyes? For otherwise we must accept for the teachings of the holy word the faith of some one of the authors of a hundred different creeds; and we may perchance have for our great teacher and master some bewildered lunatic, or some hungry impostor, or some proud and boastful promoter of the purposes of the father of lies.

The catholic may use the term mystery as a cover for absurdity and contempt of reason, or in support of a contradiction, and as an excuse for idolatry; but surely God's Bible contains nothing but truth, and that revealed in a manner adapted to the human[80] understanding. But what says archbishop Fenelon in defending transubstantiation or the imagined change of the bread in the sacrament into the body of Christ? He says of the doctrine—"in believing its mysteries one immolates his ideas [or sacrifices his common sense] out of respect to eternal truth." Thus his blunder, his misunderstanding of Christ's words, "this is my body," he represents as "eternal truth." So Bourdaloue says—"I make to God a sacrifice of the most noble part of myself, which is my reason:" and he professes to believe a mystery "although it seems to be directly repugnant to my reason;"—or one "which shocks reason itself and contradicts all its lights," referring to the received doctrine concerning God's nature. Massillon thinks it is "necessary to believe certain apparent contradictions:" he says, "it is faith and not reason, which makes us Christians." All this in my view is a pernicious error: for reason is the intellectual power, which discerns truth. God himself is perfect reason, pure intellect, infinite understanding. To him the universe is all light. But our reason is restricted: man may grow in knowledge forever; yet he never will know an absurdity or contradiction to be true. To us one great source of truth is God's testimony or revelation. Faith is the belief of God's testimony. As to the word mystery, the common meaning of it in scripture, is not something unintelligible, but a doctrine, once hidden or secret, which is now revealed and intelligible. Thus in teaching the resurrection Paul says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep," &c. 1 Cor. 15:51. See also Rom. 16:25.

It is clear beyond a question, that there cannot be two contradictory truths; for truth is one; it is but an expression of the reality of things. But some metaphysicians have lent their aid to the catholic theologians by asserting that, there are contradictory truths in philosophy; but the instances adduced are all fallacious, as Achilles walking 20 times as fast as the turtle, but never able to overtake him.

A lately deceased philosopher of Scotland, Sir W. Hamilton, seems to concur in the catholic notion of the contradiction of faith and reason. He lays down a certain new, strange, unproved, incredible principle, called "the law of the conditioned," that "the conceivable always lies between two contradictory extremes;" and then concludes as "the one true and only orthodox inference" that we must believe in the infinity of God, which by us cannot be[81] comprehended or conceived. "Faith,—Belief,—is the organ, by which we apprehend what is beyond our knowledge." But how can this be correct? When we exercise faith in God's testimony,—when we exercise belief in his word,—when we receive the very truth, which he presents to our understanding or reason and brings to our knowledge,—do we not know it? Do we thus apprehend any thing "beyond our knowledge?" When Christ prayed—"sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth;"—did he not refer to truth known? What God reveals must be revealed to our belief, to our reason. Although we pretend not to comprehend perfectly the attributes and ways of the infinite God; yet what he has disclosed we may know; and we may know the meaning of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood, of faith and unbelief, of reason and contradiction or absurdity. It cannot then be a right inference—if the author had such a meaning—that any doctrine concerning the nature of God may be true, although not conceivable, because God is infinite.

God's scheme of mercy towards sinful man is accomplished by the wide-spread power and triumphs of Truth. But what are the Truths, that bear intimately on human welfare? Surely it is not a matter of indifference what is received for truth; men are not safe, because they think they are so. No bigoted despotism; no boasted liberalism; no banded relationships of interest or honor; no infidel companionship or self-applauses can convert error into truth or render it harmless. Whatever monstrous or astounding notions, whatever wild, fanatical, profligate, misleading doctrine may be sent forth, no glozing words can render it otherwise, than that error and falsehood are God's abhorrence and a delusion of the devil.

As I have in other notes dwelt upon the character and offices of the Son of God, the Mediator and Redeemer, I desire now to advert to the all-important divine teaching concerning God's Spirit, grace, and power in renewing and sanctifying the depraved and lost soul of man. "God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy." Rom. 9th. Christ taught, John 3d, the necessity of being "born of the Spirit" in order to salvation. John the Baptist predicted of Christ, that he should baptize men "with the Holy Spirit;" and thus his coming was signalized by "the Spirit like a dove descending upon him," and God's voice from heaven said, "Thou art my beloved Son." All the powers therefore, prophetical, miraculous, renovating,[82] and sanctifying, implied in the full endowment of the Holy Spirit, were possessed by Christ.

The primitive meaning of the word Spirit is air or breath. Some of its meanings in scripture are wind; the living soul in man and animals; the mind, or man's intelligent part and also its various faculties and powers; an intelligent spirit, simple, superior to man's, not allied to matter; it is applied to angels good and evil; and also to God, as we read, "God is a spirit." It means also the divine power, given to Christ, by which he wrought miracles and fulfilled God's purposes on the earth, as Matt. 12:28, "if I cast out devils by the spirit of God," compared with Luke 11:20, "if I with the finger of God cast out devils." In the same sense is "holy spirit," with which Jesus was filled used, Luke 4:1.—"The holy spirit" and "spirit" alone relating to the same matter are found in Mark 12:36, and Matt. 22:43: "doth David in spirit call him Lord;" that is, David was under divine inspiration is the one meaning of the two expressions.

In our inquiry concerning the import of the phrase, "the holy spirit," in scripture it may be of some consequence to bear in mind, that there is one peculiarity in our English Bible, which distinguishes it from other modern European translations; that while the Greek testament has but one word for Spirit, which is translated by one word,—in German by Geist, in Dutch by Geest, in French by Esprit,—the same is rendered by our translators into English by two words at their option, namely, Spirit and Ghost. And in what cases did they choose the latter word? It would seem that they translated by Holy Ghost and not by holy spirit whenever they supposed the phrase had reference to an intelligent, divine Being and not to a gift, endowment, or power received from God. Thus it is, that the phrase has got an established meaning; which shows indeed the judgment of our old translators 250 years ago, but proves nothing as to the true meaning. It might then be well, if the old word Ghost were laid aside. Indeed they have not chosen to say, Gala. 4:6, "the Ghost of his Son," nor in v. 27, "born after the Ghost," but have used the word "Spirit." If one should take up his New Testament and read in English in Matthew's first chapter concerning Mary,—"she was found with child of the Holy Ghost," and then again, "that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Ghost," he would be likely to attach a meaning to the scripture, which he reads, different from the truth. For as the Testament was written in Greek, we may learn from that language,[83] the translation should not have been "the Holy Ghost," and not even "the Holy Spirit," but "a holy spirit," for here the word for spirit has no article before it in the Greek, as would be requisite if "the Spirit" were meant; and the meaning is, as learned critics have showed, simply, "a divine energy or power." Just so in Mark 1:8 and Luke 1:35, the same Greek phrase has no article; and the apostles do not allude to a great personage or supposed well known, mighty Being, called "the Holy Ghost," but refer only to God's miraculous power in respect to the birth of Christ. The verse in Luke 1, proves this—"a holy spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,"—both phrases referring to the same energy of almighty God.

The English translators, although they have employed the phrase, "the Holy Ghost" about 90 times in scripture, have not once in the Old Testament, although they have three times there used "the holy spirit" relating to God's gift, or endowment, or power bestowed: Ps. 51:1. Isa. 63:10, 11. The same phrase, meaning God's gift to believers, is in the New Testament: Luke 11:13. Eph. 1:13-4:30. 1st Thess. 4:8. God gave "his spirit without measure" to Christ; John 3:34; and he also gave "the spirit of his Son," "the holy spirit," to believers: Gal. 4:6. The "gifts of the Holy Ghost," in Heb. 2:4, should have been, "distributions of a holy spirit or divine power;" for the phrase has no article in the Greek, so that the verse might properly read, "God bearing them witness both with signs, and wonders, and with divers miracles, and distributions of a divine power." In like manner there is no article in Acts 11:16, and 24, and other passages, translated "the Holy Ghost." The meaning is plain, v. 24, "a good man, and full of a divine power and of faith,"—Yet for the purpose of emphasis the article is often used.

The importance of the doctrine concerning the spirit or the holy spirit in the gospel scheme, importing God's holy influence on the soul, is evident by the injunction of Christ as to baptism in the faith of it: "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, &c."

Matt. 28:19, does not indeed present a form of words to be used, nor does it relate to the authority, by which baptism is to be administered, for the Greek preposition is not en, "in the name," but eis, into; which is the same as "to baptize into Christ," Rom. 6:3, i.e. into a profession of faith in Christ, as taught by bishop Pearce. That he had himself all authority was[84] first asserted by Christ; then he enjoined baptism under a profession of belief in the three great points of his teaching,—as to the one God of Israel,—as to himself, God's Son from heaven,—and as to the Spirit, which "God gave to him without measure,"—giving it also to his disciples,—making him indeed the great teacher and Savior of the world. He finally commanded his apostles, not only thus to baptize, but also to teach all nations to observe whatever he had enjoined. A passage of similar import is at the close of II Corinth., where Paul wishes his brethren may experience the grace of Christ, and the love of God, and might have a common participation of the holy spirit, of the miraculous and sanctifying divine power.

It is worthy of remark, that while Paul begins each of his Epistles, written to brethren of very different nations on the earth, with asserting, that his authority as an apostle was derived from God and from his Son, or with wishing his brethren grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and from his Son, by whom he created, and governs, and will judge the world; yet he never in this manner connects "the holy spirit" with the name of God and of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ: no prayer is thus addressed to a holy spirit or to the holy spirit, or Holy Ghost, although we find the translation "the Holy Ghost," nearly 100 times. This is called a gift of God, and God is prayed to for it; and it is declared, that God anointed Jesus with the holy spirit, that is, with the wonderful powers expressed by the phrase. A multitude of passages speak of the Spirit as a divine power and a divine gift: the following are some of the expressions used—"the Spirit of your Father;"—"the Spirit of God;"—"God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts;"—"how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him;"—"he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;"—"renewing of the Holy Ghost (or of a holy spirit or the divine power) which he shed on us abundantly;"—"how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power;"—"upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost: John 1:33." Therefore one plain meaning of the holy spirit is a miraculous and wonderful power, communicated by God from heaven to Jesus Christ when he appeared on the earth in the form of a man, designating him to be the promised Messiah.


Concerning the Holy Spirit the creed of the ancient Council of Nice, A. D. 325, says nothing except "we believe in the Holy Spirit." Of Christ it declares, that he was "the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, God of God,—begotten, not made, &c." Soon after that council a learned father, Eunomius, who was made bishop of Cyzicum A. D. 360, advanced the doctrine, that after God had created his Son before the universe was formed, giving him divine dignity and creative power, he next created the Holy Spirit, the first and greatest of all spirits, by his own power indeed but by the immediate agency also of his Son, giving him power to sanctify and teach. Afterwards he created all things in heaven and earth. More modern creeds, which adopt much the same faith with Eunomius, use the word "proceed" instead of "create," as the New England Confession of Faith of 1680, which says, "the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son." But Milton, in his learned Treatise on the Christian doctrine, has shewn that "proceedeth" in John 15:26, relates to the mission,—the sending from God to the earth, not to the nature, of the Spirit: yet his own faith was, that "the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as he is a minister of God, and therefore a creature, was created or produced of the substance of God, not by a natural necessity, but by the free will of the agent, probably before the foundations of the world were laid, but later than the Son, and far inferior to him." Dr. Samuel Clarke of England has taught the same doctrine.—But the reader is requested to form his opinion on the chief subject of this note, not from any human creed or learned man's teaching, but from his own study of the Bible with his own endowment of reason. The practical application of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has claims to our earnest attention.

In the judgment of Dr. Cotton Mather it is through the Spirit of God, that Christians find such affections as the following working in their minds:—a flaming love towards God and men; a lively faith in God and in the Savior, the Mediator; a longing desire and hope of spiritual blessings; a mighty hatred of sin; a bitter sorrow for sin and its miseries; a noble courage; a total despair of help in creatures; a fear of the judgments of wickedness; a triumphant joy in God and in his Christ; a rapturous admiration of the Maker and Ruler of the world and of his glories. "All true piety," he says, "is begun by the enkindling of these affections in the soul:" and the Spirit, enkindling them, should be sought from God in the constancy of prayer.


Sonnet 68. The monument to the pilgrim forefathers, whose corner was laid Aug. 2d, is designed to consist of a pedestal 80 feet high, supporting a colossal female figure of Faith; her feet rest on Plymouth rock, her left hand is to hold an open Bible, and her right points to heaven. On the pedestal are to be Morality, Education, Law, and Liberty.

Sonnet 72. Since this sonnet has passed through the press, I have been glad to read a description of Donati's comet and to see a telescopic view of it in the Family Christian Almanac for 1860. The comet is named after Donati, the discoverer, who first saw it at Florence, June 2, 1858. It was seen several months in great splendor in our country until about Oct. 20th, when it disappeared. When first observed, it was 200 millions of miles distant from the sun. Its curved train extended 60 degrees or 51 millions of miles. When nearest the earth it was 52 millions of miles distant, moving at the rate of 123 thousand miles an hour. Its greatest distance from the sun is supposed to be 143 thousand millions of miles; and astronomers have calculated its period of revolution at nearly 2,000 years, so that its last previous visit to the earth was before the Christian era. Yet from the extreme point of its journey to the nearest fixed star who can measure the distance? Who will not say, "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty?"

It is worthy of remark, that in respect to the inhabitants of the various worlds, with which our skies are filled, the revealed word of God, communicated to man upon the earth, gives us no information. If beyond a doubt the sun, the moon, the stars, and the comets are inhabited by intelligent beings; yet of what rank and in what condition we know nothing. But as we are taught, that there is a world of "fire," prepared "for the devil and his angels," it may be that comets are the destined abodes of the wicked and lost.

Sonnet 73. It is a false and pernicious charity, of which some men boast, that for no crime would they touch the life of man. But God is smiting every day the life of guilty man by a thousand diseases; and in his revealed word he has commanded, that the murderer shall be put to death in the administration of public law. In this way not only the divine justice but the divine wisdom is manifested by this protecting shield of terror spread over man's life.

Sonnet 77. The name of John Hooper will ever be held in the highest honor in England. Born in 1495, and educated at Oxford,[87] he was appointed bishop of Gloucester; but was a martyr to the truth under the popish reign of queen Mary in 1555 at the age of 60. With most wonderful fortitude he endured the flames at the stake for three-quarters of an hour.

Sonnet 78. To an old man the recollection of a youthful brother preacher in the far-back period of fifty or more years, who still preaches the gospel, is replete with interest. It is attended with the memory of men, who at that period were the fathers in the ministry,—as Rogers, Livingston, Mason, and Miller of New York; Dwight of New Haven; and S. Spring, Morse, Eckley, and Griffin of Massachusetts.

Sonnet 80. The leading truth of the gospel, dear to my heart since I first began to preach it 56 years ago, is that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, by whom God made the worlds, and who came down from heaven and in human flesh was himself the sufferer on the cross for the sins of men. I use language as men of reason should use it. I dare not, on the peril of my soul, explain it away by saying, that the Son of God from heaven united himself to another spirit or intelligent being, which latter spirit or mind bore the suffering, ascribed to the Son from heaven. That Christ had two spirits is the teaching of human theory but not of divine scripture.

Every man is conscious, that he is one,—one existence, one intelligent being, one human being, or an intellect or mind now dwelling in a human body; and he acknowledges every other man to be a similar being. He also regards every angel, that comes to his knowledge by revelation, as one being. God, the Creator of the universe, we view necessarily as one being. The idea of a duplicate intellectual being is beyond our thought; it is inconceivable, an absurdity, a contradiction. Jesus Christ then was either man or the one Son of God in the form of a man.

That there is "one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" is Paul's teaching. The reason of calling Christ man is, that "God sent his son in the likeness of sinful flesh," Rom. 8:3. The Son's intelligent spirit was enough to be the tenant of one human body without a co-tenancy with a human spirit, and enough to suffer for the sins of the world.

When Paul speaks of Christ as being once "in the form of God," he did not mean, that he was God himself, in whose form or likeness he was, Phil. 2:6. Then in the next verses, by his being[88] "in the form of a servant," "in the likeness of men," "in fashion as a man," he could not mean, that Christ was a real, perfect man. But did he first live in heaven, and thence come to the earth to tabernacle in human flesh and to offer himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the race of men?

In the first chapter of John's gospel we are taught, that Christ or the Son of God, called the Word, existed in the beginning with God and that all things were made by him. At the very commencement of all created existences in the universe, he existed with God, and by him all created things in the universe were created. Here then was a high and glorious dignity in heaven, the Son of God, before he dwelt in human flesh.

In the third chapter of John we read, that Christ said to Nicodemus,—"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not; how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he, that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven." The express contrast of the words—"ascended up to heaven, came down from heaven," seems to fix the meaning beyond any possible doubt.—In the 6th chapter of John Christ said, as we read, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him, that sent me."—"Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he, which cometh from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." When the Jews murmured at his discourse, because he said, "I am the bread, which came down from heaven," Jesus repeated his plain teaching—"I am the living bread, which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread, that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." That is, he who came down from God in heaven would give his flesh, his human body to the agonies of crucifixion for the salvation of men. Many of his disciples said, "this is an hard saying: who can hear it?" What was the reply of Christ? It was this: "does this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" In the 16th chapter of John we read Christ's words—"The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed, that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." Here again the contrast of expressions shows the meaning of the phrase, "I am come into the world." I will adduce only one other passage:—In Ephesians 4th we read—"Now that he ascended, what is it but[89] that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" "He that descended is the same also, that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." I think it thus most clearly and amply established in scripture, that the Lamb of God came down to the earth from the presence of God and laying aside his high dignity dwelt in a human body, as a man dwells in a body, and died in agony on the cross. There may be various high inquiries, which may here spring up. But surely no theory can be true, which contradicts and overthrows the divine teaching. No scheme of theology can be true, which denies, that he, who came down from heaven, could die and did die as a lamb of sacrifice to God for the sins of the world,—for this is a denial of the great doctrine of the atonement, and thus withers up all the hopes of sinful men. Who can prove, that God could not have a Son derived from Him before time began, by whom he created the universe, and who in his most amazing love to us abased himself to man's condition and died in our stead on this little globe of his own creation? If we find in the Bible any plain, intelligible teaching of God, will it do to set up our reason against the teaching of Him, who is infinite reason and infinite wisdom?

If any truth is plain in the Bible, is it not that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh or in fashion as a man by his sufferings on the cross made atonement for the sins of the world? Paul says, Rom. 5:11;—"We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement; and that God hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God:" Coloss. 1:13.—Peter says, that his brethren were "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Other expressions are these, Christ "after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, [that is, for perpetuity,] sat down on the right hand of God:" Heb. 10:12, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood:" Rom. 3:25, "Unto him, that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood:" Rev. 1:5.—That the Son of God, who came down from heaven, was himself a sufferer and sacrifice on the cross for our sins is every where taught in scripture. Without believing this how can we regard Christ as a Redeemer and Savior?

Sonnet 81. In order that revealed truths may beam upon the mind of man and produce their proper effect it is necessary, that[90] God's revelation be understood and not misapprehended. If two men attach a different and contradictory meaning to the same passage of scripture, one of them is in error and fault; and if the error relates to the character of God and to some very important doctrine, it may be perilous.

For instance, two of our theologians have taught a contradictory doctrine, drawn as they thought from scripture, as follows; Jonathan Edwards maintained, that sin was "not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of the Most High;"—"it would be a reproach and blasphemy to suppose God to be the author of sin" in the sense of the agent, actor, or doer of a wicked thing. But Dr. Emmons maintained, that God "produced all the free, voluntary, moral exercises" of man; that God "creates evil when and where the good of the universe requires;" that "Satan placed certain motives before man's mind, which by a certain divine energy took hold of his heart and led him into sin." This teaching seems blasphemous, and contradictory to all notions of free, voluntary agency, as well as to the tenor of scripture. He relies for scripture proof on Exodus 4:21, where God says in respect to Pharaoh, "I will harden his heart." But this, rightly understood, is only a prediction of a certain event, that Pharaoh would harden his own heart as it is declared he did in ch. 9:34. So in respect to other quoted passages, it might be shown, that they were misunderstood and perverted from their proper meaning. We all know by common sense, by reason, and conscience, that we are free agents; therefore justly accountable to a holy, sin-hating God. But if God made, created, produced all our wicked volitions and acts; how can we regard him as just in punishing us for the very acts, which he produced? And what can such passages as James 1:13, mean, "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man?"

Sonnet 82. The following seem to be clear and prominent points of instruction in the divine Word.

1. There is one God, eternal, infinite, all-wise, perfect in goodness, the creator of the universe. Hence all the gods and idols of the heathen are vanity and a lie.—"There is one God the Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephes. 2:5.—"The Lord our God is one Lord."—"God is one."—"One God and one Mediator." Mark 12:29. Galatians 3:20. I Tim. 2:5. Thus throughout the whole scripture the unity of God is asserted or implied. The name of God occurs 500 or 600 times in[91] the Bible. "God is one;" one conscious, intelligent being and voluntary agent. No man in the exercise of his reason has any doubts as to his own oneness, or as to the oneness of any brother man or of any angel, of whom he may think or speak. If I am conscious, that I am a single intellectual being, and necessarily regard every other man as such; then it cannot enter my thoughts, that the one God is a compound being.

2. God has a Son in heaven, by whom he made the worlds, and whom he sent from heaven to earth, to tabernacle for a while in human flesh, voluntarily abased in his powers to the condition of a man, to be a Mediator and Savior. In John, chapter 1, Jesus Christ is called "the Son of God," "the only-begotten of the Father," "the Lamb of God," who was "in the beginning with God," and "by whom all things were made."

3. That the Son of God is a being distinct from God is most obvious from the whole New Testament. In Phil. I, Paul prays for grace and peace "from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." He adds, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." So throughout his epistle God and Jesus Christ are most plainly distinct beings. He says, that Christ condescended to come in fashion "as a man," on which account God highly exalted him: here are two beings: and Christ will be extolled at last to "the glory of God the Father."—He "worshipped God in the spirit and rejoiced in Christ Jesus."—Here are again two beings. Near the close of the epistle he says—"my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." How strange to Paul must have been the doctrine, that Christ was one of several beings making up one God?

But the same distinction is clearly and fully set forth by Paul in all his other epistles as well as in that to the Philippians. He begins most of them with a prayer like that in the epistle to the Romans,—"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Then he "thanks God through Jesus Christ for them all;" the God, whom he serves "in the gospel of his Son." Read also,—"the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ;"—"we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;"—"we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;"—"the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord;"—nothing can "separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord;"—Paul prays, that his brethren may "glorify God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;"—and after more of similar[92] language he ends this epistle,—"To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."

If it be asked, in what sense is Christ God's "Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds?" I answer, the word doubtless means, that he was derived from God, that he sprung from God, that he received his being from God before the creation of the universe. He is called God's "first-begotten" and "only-begotten." It is unnecessary and may be useless for us to enter into any inquiries and discussions concerning hypostasis, person, nature, being, essence, substance, and other logical and metaphysical terms employed by theologians, which do not afford a particle of light; but we must believe, that Christ was derived from God and possesses the very attributes and endured the sufferings, ascribed to him in the scriptures. If we ascribe to him a nature not ascribed to him in the Bible, one incapable of suffering, and then deny the sufferings, which are ascribed to him; what do we but contradict the word of God and reject the doctrine of the Atonement by the sufferings of Christ, which is the foundation of the sinner's hope? If a learned doctor should assert, that if Christ was the agent of God in the creation of the universe, and is his agent in its government, then he could not be derived from God; the learned man puts forth only the words of folly. As derived from God, why might not the Son be as much superior to the highest angel, as man is superior in knowledge and powers to the beetle under our foot? Why could he not derive from God and exercise under God the powers of creation?

"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him and for him:"—"it pleased the father, that in him should all fullness dwell." Col. 1:15, 16. So in Heb. 1:3, Christ is called "the express image of God's person;" where the Greek word, translated person, means nature, essence, or being, and the assertion is, that Christ is "a clear and strong image of the essence or nature of the divine majesty." It may be, that for this reason the title of god is given to him; and with very obvious propriety may we ascribe to him divinity or call him a divine being, without contending for the impossibility that he is the very being, whose image he is, or that his own is the very nature, person, hypostasis, or substance, of which he stands the express character.


According to our English Bible the Son of God under the name of the Word seems to be called God by the apostle John, ch. 1, v. 1. But it was not the purpose of John to represent the Word as the infinite, supreme, almighty God. Origen, who wrote in Greek, in the third century, and understood the language better than any modern critic, says, that John's assertion is that, "the logos, or word, was a god," using the word god in its inferior, well-known sense, as is proved by his omission of the article. If he had inserted the article, he would have said, that "the logos was the God, the supreme God, Jehovah." The plain teaching is, there is one God. With him was the logos in the beginning, an exalted, glorious being; a second, inferior God; a being derived from God; and in this sense a divine being.—Besides Origen, Philo and several other fathers of the three first centuries speak of John's omission of the article here as a proof that by the word god he did not mean the Supreme God. Consider also, that if the logos existed "with God," then he was not the very God, with whom he existed.—On the other hand, it is a matter of no weight that when the supreme God is meant, yet the article is often omitted; for it is an established principle that it may be omitted when the name of God is sufficiently definite without it. In John 1:6,—"a man sent from God:" here is an omission of it as unnecessary. So v. 12, 13, 18. Origen again says,—"Angels are called gods because they are divine; but we are not commanded to worship them in the place of God, and hence they are not really gods." He says, the article is withheld, when what is called god is a being different "from the self-existent God, having a communicated divinity, being a divine person." Such also was the opinion of Clemens Alexandrinus and Eusebius; and they were men more competent to decide a matter concerning the construction of the Greek language than any modern critic.—In several of the first centuries it was the judgment of such Fathers as Justin, Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Clemens, Origen, &c., that the word god as applied to Christ denoted a celestial nature, superior to all creatures, but inferior to the Supreme God. But the authority of Christ himself is more decisive,—"My Father is greater than I:" and the whole of scripture shows, that the one perfect God and his Son are two distinct intelligent Beings. As the word in Greek, Acts 28:6, has no article our translators have very properly said "a god." If any one will look at 2 Thess. 2:4, he will see, that the word God occurs four times and undistinguished in the English Testament, but in[94] the Greek the word for God appears once—"in the temple of God"—with the article, showing that the true Supreme God is meant,—and three times without the article, showing, that the word is used in an inferior sense, that a false god was intended. Dr. Macknight's translation is as follows,—"above every one, who is called a god or an object of worship. So that he, in the temple of God, as a god sitteth, openly shewing himself, that he is a god." It is thus, that the Word in John 1st is called a god, and not God the Supreme, the Almighty Jehovah.

When Tatian, about A. D. 165 speaks of "a god, who was born in the form of man" and of "the suffering God," he certainly did not mean, that Christ was the Supreme God, incapable of suffering. It was the doctrine of Apollinaris, two hundred years later, that Christ assumed a human body with a sentient soul like that of the inferior animals, but not assuming an intelligent or rational human spirit. He could see no reason why Christ should have two intelligent natures and two free wills. In his judgment the Son of God, who came down from heaven, was the only rational tenant of his human body, and the only rational sufferer on the cross, making a real atonement for sin. For scriptural proof he rested on John 1:14, "the Word was made flesh." His doctrine was doubtless this,—that the Son of God in his high spiritual nature, in which he came down from heaven in order to suffer, was the real sufferer on the cross: not that he was God incapable of suffering, and incapable of making any atonement.

On the distinction between Almighty God and his Son, derived from him before the creation, the Creed of the Church of England is very explicit:—"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, &c."—"Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, &c."

The doctrine of the New England Synod at Boston in 1680 was the same: "The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father." If many of our American theologians at the present day reject the doctrine of the derivation of the Son from God, they are not responsible to the Synod's Confession or Creed, but certainly they are to holy Scripture and to Reason.


Sonnet 84. In a sonnet Milton speaks of the popish massacre in Piedmont:

"Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who having learned the way
Early may fly the Babylonian woe."

Sonnet 86. Occom was a distinguished Indian preacher, the first who visited England. Born at Mohegan near Norwich, Conn., he was educated 4 years in Wheelock's Indian School at Lebanon, and was himself a school teacher of the Montauk Indians 10 or 12 years. In 1759, at the age of 36, he was ordained by a presbytery. He preached in Great Britain in 1766, 1767, and 1768, between 300 and 400 sermons, employed by Mr. Wheelock. For the remaining 24 years of his life he continued to preach; and he died at New Stockbridge, near Utica, in July 1792, aged 69. The author has prepared for the press a Memoir of Occom, drawn from the papers of Dr. Wheelock which are in his hands and from Occom's own manuscript journals.

Sonnet 93. As an old medal had on it for a device a bullock standing between a plough and an altar, with the inscription, Ready for Either, the device was thought very appropriate to express the disposition of the true Christian missionary, ready for toil and ready also to be a sacrifice, if called to die in his master's service, "not holding his life dear unto himself."

Sonnet 96. Sickness prevented me from visiting my nephew and meeting with his guests on an interesting occasion. The old house, the home of my childhood and my dwelling for seven years of my ministry,—the house built by my father, the first minister of Pittsfield, in the wilderness,—was superseded by an elegant mansion, built by his grandson bearing his own name, Thomas Allen. The event was commemorated by a select and happy company of aged men.

Sonnet 98. I first visited Niagara Falls 56 years ago. Having just been licensed by the ministers of Berkshire county to preach the gospel, I mounted my horse in Aug. 1804 and rode out more than 400 miles through the western wilderness of New York as far[96] as Lake Erie and Niagara river, preaching in various places to little assemblies in log cabins. Buffalo, now a great city, was then a village of 19 houses. Three miles below there was the ferry at Black Rock; and there I saw the famous Indian chief, Red Jacket, attending his little grand-daughter as from a rock she threw her hook into the great stream. Thence I rode down on the Canada side 15 miles to the wondrous Falls.

Besides the lesson of solemn warning and terror another of a character acceptable and gladdening was offered to my thoughts, as I stood on the river's bank at the Falls; for I beheld a rainbow of a full semi-circle or more, the ends almost under my feet, stretching over the awful chasm, deepest in color low down at each extremity, where the turmoil of mist was the thickest. This lesson I here put in rhyme, and with it, in accordance with the sentiment of the hundredth sonnet which a few days ago passed through the press, I now close this little book.

If the reader will consider, that my threatening illness has now had a continuance of many months and that to-day closes seventy-six years of my life, he will find reason to conclude, that my thoughts here expressed, although in verse, are utterances in the sincerity of faith and the honesty of truth: and so I bid him farewell, wishing him "a happy New Year" and a blessed Eternity!

Jan. 1, 1860.

I praise thee, God of love! for this Day's light,
Which leads the train of days in this new year,—
For months not seeming destin'd to me here,
But ah instead thereof a darksome night
In the low grave, of all earth's joys the blight.—
I live! And in my thoughts old scenes appear.
The mighty Falls, where gazing I stood near
In happy youth, rise up in splendor bright,
When, as I gaz'd, there met my wond'ring eye
Amid the wat'ry strife the beauteous Bow,
As if brought down from its high place, the sky,
And planted deep in the thick mist below;—
God's bow of promise to the earth beneath,—
Symbol of Peace 'mid Sin and War and Death!

Transcriber's Notes

Punctuation has been standardized.

Some alternate spellings have been retained.

This book contained an errata page at the end. The errata have been applied to the e-text by the transcriber without further note.

p. 24: "Aud" changed to "And" (And with the holy who in glory shine!)

p. 71: Missing word inserted: "an" (Remaining more than an hour)

p. 94: "shewing" changed to "showing" (showing that the true Supreme God is meant)