The Moral Progress of Man
Long ere the sun his beams had shed,
Or ere the vaulted skies were spread,
Dwelt an all sovereign God;
At whose omnisic nod,
Systems emerged from sable void profound,
And in immeasurable spheres rolled round.
Adam, placed in bliss refined,
Where creation, amply stored,
Kindly stored, to cheer the mind,
Was the world's primeval lord.
Beneath propitious bowers at rest,
The lovely fair one, in his arms,
Unfolding all her angel charms,
Kindled high raptures in his breast.
Beauty held a pleasing sway,
While Euphrates gently flowed,
Eden bloomed in fair array
And dulcet song enlivened the abode.
Happy, thrice happy state!
Blessed with his Maker's smiles,
Crowned with pleasure, free from toils,
Not a pain his bosom soils.
But hear, alas, the sequel of his fate!
From feats of joy, he fell, to realms of woe!
Just so the fall of heaven's audacious foe;
When the Dread Sovereign on his regal throne,
Swift hurled him with his impious comrades down,
Down to chaotic darkness dire!
Lightnings flashed around their heads,
Thunders forced them to their beds,
Where ceaseless vengeance feeds the raging fire.
Adam, for a selfish pleasure,
Forfeited his blissful treasure.
'Twas a foul fiend seduced him from those scenes,
An evil minded fiend, by subtle means.
Armed with a flaming sword and looks of awe,
The just avengers of a broken law,
Gabriel descended from above,
To drive him from those scenes of love,
Where music enlivened the grove.
Reluctantly and slow he moves along,
Still hears the melody of song,
Which sweetly ravishes his ears;
While fairy prospects, yet in view,
Alarm his guilty mind anew;
And, as he takes his last adieu,
He turns, dejected, with a flood of tears.
Now under pain's severe control,
Grief harrows up his sorrowing soul.
Doomed to laborious cares and toils,
To dire anxiety and woe,
Deprived of blissful Eden's smiles,
He bids adieu to happiness below.
But hark, a Savior's voice!
Mountains and hills rebound,
Let guilty man rejoice!
Woods, rocks, and valleys echo back the sound,
Behold, a God from heaven descends!
A clement God kind audience lends,
Pities the plaint of woe,
Subdues the infernal foe,
Drops a tear on human crimes,
Cheers the heart with gospel ſound,
Gladdens creation round,
And makes man heir to happier, happier climes.
Such was the goodness of redeeming love,
He parted from celestial choirs above,
Changed a heavenly throne,
For a thorny crown:
And, as on Calvary's top he stood,
See, see the gushing tears of blood!
In mourning robes the sun was veiled;
Thick darkness brooded round;
The Savior to the cross was nailed;
And nature trembled from its base profound.
Then from his inmost soul he sighed;
Rocks rent in twain;
The hills were grieved, and grieved was every plain!
He groaned! he died!
Still solemn scenes remain unsung,
Still solemn scenes employ my faltering tongue.
Swifter than a stream,
Delusive as a dream,
Time flies away,
Makes no delay,
Steals us from every stage,
And brings us to old age.
Hark, whence that woeful groan!
Ah, from the sick man's bed!
Trembling to pass through scenes unknown,
He raises his disordered head,
And stares distracted round!
Now blackest horror and surprise
Seize on his ſoul, and all his thoughts confound!
See how he gasps for breath,
And struggles on the brink of death!
Ah, faint, and pale, he dies!
Still lend an ear to my Pindaric strain,
While the muse tempts another height to gain.
Time having measured off his round of years,
For judgment Christ in majesty appears.
Lo, Gabriel takes the trumpet, swells the sound,
The undulations wave abroad,
Fill all creation's ample round,
And earth and skies rebound,
Nations, attend the bar of God!
In solemn pomp they all appear;
In solemn pomp with awful fear;
In joy or grief their final sentence hear.
Horror now seizes every guilty heart!
In wild confusion they depart;
With doleful yellings, agonizing groans,
With thousand thousand moans.
Deep plunging to the burning center,
Headlong they enter,
Hell's wide yawning doors.
A cataract of molten fire
O'er the devoted subjects pours,
And the huge gates are barred till endless time expire.
Hell rings with jarrings of discordant souls,
And dire infernal rage the will controls.
Meanwhile the saints, triumphant, wing their way
To glorious mansions of unclouded day,
Hymning high anthems while they move along;
Sweet is the concord, rapturous is the song.
Messiah leads them to the courts above,
And seals them, cordial, with eternal love.
Thus justice lives, and mercy never dies;
God shall forever reign blessed Regent of the skies.