Rees Prichard Poems >>
Stanza's Concerning Some Persons And Things, That Are Mentioned In The Holy Scriptures

FROM Adam's lapse, this useful lesson learn,
"As the least sin, there's nothing costs so much"
Thence, too, the danger thou may'st well discern,
"All things forbidden by the Lord, to touch."

Old Eve, by her offence and fatal crime,
Has thrown a powerful warning in thy way ;
That thou shou'd'st never dare at any time,
Satan, before th' Almighty, to obey.

If Adam met with so severe a doom,
Who only did a single apple eat ;
Think thou, what they must suffer, who presume
To live entirely on forbidden meat!

How dang'rous is the fruit, whose acid juice
Corrodes the teeth of all human race?
Be thou not one of those, my son, who chuse
To feed on fruits like them, in any case.

Had not our blessed Saviour been so kind,
To suffer death for us upon the cross;
The world had, for that fault, been all confin'd
In Hell, and none cou'd have repair'd the loss.

The dragon, though so dang'rous, never dread,
But in the woman's promis'd seed confide,
Who has already bruis'd his baneful head,
Pluck'd out his sting, and low'r'd his crested pride.

If the old serpent has transfix'd thy soul
With sin's keen sting, thou'rt gone beyond resource,
Or nothing in the world can make thee whole,
'Till to the brazen One thou hast recourse.

Old Adam for a single apple lost
The blissful scenes of ancient paradise,
Take heed, lest thou the New One, to thy cost,
Shou'dst for such trifles lose, if thou art wise.

Whoe'er, like Cain, with a felonious heart,
Shall evil do: (for so the scriptures teach)
Evil shall never from his house depart,
Until God's vengeance shall the culprit reach.

Lest thou, like Cain, that murderer of yore!
Shou'dst shed a guiltless person's blood, take heed:
Whoever sheds his fellow creature's gore,
Shall surely by his fellow creatures bleed.

Commit no murder in the gloom of night;
Just Abel's murder God himself reveal'd:
He will in public all thy crimes requite;
Though by the veil of solitude conceal'd.

Thy life with Abel's innocence adorn,
Fear God, and often to his courts repair,
And offer on thy knees, both night and morn,
To Him the constant sacrifice of pray'r.

And when thy off'ring's to the altar brought,
Be it the best and choicest in its kind:
The Godhead hates, or is not plea'd with ought
That's wan and weak, or either halt or blind.

If thou an offering dost freely make,
God will as readily the same receive:
But he will never that oblation take,
Which thou dost not with real pleasure give.

Though all the world were grown reluctant quite
To serve the Omnipotent, and ceas'd to pray:
Do thou, like Enos, all the World excite
To worship God without the least delay.

Exhort them all to serve the Lord their God;
'Tis each true Christian's duty, to do so:
Proclaim his might, his praises spread abroad,
And thou to his eternal joys shalt go.

Walk thou, like Enoch, with the Lord most high,
His footsteps trace, and imitate his ways:
Remember too that his all-seeing eye
Thy ev'ry act, nay ev'ry thought, surveys.

To Enoch, what a recompence was given
For his devotion, piously observe!
Ere death he saw, he went direct to heaven:
Who wou'd not then so good a master serve?

From Enoch's story these three truths are plain —
First, that thy precious soul shall never die —
Next, that thy body shall be rais'd again —
Last, that rewards await the just on high.

Commit no sin, for though in private done,
God will soon bring the secret crime to light :
But always live, as if each act was known
To Him, and thou wert always in his sight.

Though thou wert with a giant's strength endu'd,
God, when he pleases, can thy pride subdue,
And make thee soon each creeping insect's food,
If thou wilt still the paths of vice pursue.

If from the flood the giants cou'd not run,
Nor from the wat'ry vengeance erst retire:
How can the present pigmy race e'er shun
The inundation of o'erwhelming fire?

However vile the world be all around,
However numerous the sinful crew,
In thy Creator's sight be perfect found,
And Noah's pattern all thy life pursue.

The custom of the vulgar crowd eschew,
Who rush to sin, as fast as e'er they can:
Better his steps, though single, to pursue,
Who fears his God, and has respect to man.

How odious all Adult'ry is, observe!
How hateful sin is in the sight of God!
Since nothing less, to punish it, wou'd serve
Than that wide deluge, which the world o'erflow'd.

If thou, like holy Noah, canst be pure,
And canst perfection, like that patriarch's boast :
Like Noah, thou salvation shalt secure,
While all the rest, beyond redress, are lost.

Better it is that patriarch's steps to trace,
With faith, perfection, and each virtue crown'd,
Than 'tis the world's vile maxims to embrace,
And with the vicious multitude be drown'd.

Whilst 'tis the time of grace, construct thine ark,
Ere yet the deluge covers all the strand:
It is by much too late to build a bark,
When th' inundation overwhelms the land.

Better by far it is, upon the whole,
Safely with Noah in the ark to keep,
Than in a sea of vice to plunge one's soul,
Lost with the crowd in the unfathom'd deep.

Whene'er thou dost the rainbow's curve survey,
God's sacred covenant recall to mind:
His mighty deeds its glorious beams display,
For-ever merciful, for-ever kind!

Reflect with awe upon its changeful hue!
Azure and red, are its prevailing dies:
The watry deluge, was the azure-blue,
In fi'ry-red, the future judgement lies.

When both the horns of his celestial bow
Are bent to earth, without a shaft or string,
It is design'd that happy peace to show,
Which reigns, thro' Christ, 'twixt man and heav'n's King.

Beware of Satan, and his latent nets,
When void of care, and most at ease, at home:
Thy steps, like Noah's, hourly he besets,
And slily waits the moment to o'ercome.

Tho' Noah cou'd not, to adult'ry's net,
By Satan in his youthful days be brought ;
Yet in a fatal hour success he met,
And in his toils the hoary drunkard caught.

Shou'dst thou in some Gomorrah chance to stay,
Where drunkenness and fornication reign;
Like Lot, from their vile converse haste away,
Lest their pollutions shou'd thy morals stain.

Shou'dst thou the town, where thou dost sojourn, see,
Sin against God at an enormous rate:
Like Lot from Sodom and its confines flee,
Before the storm descends upon thy pate.

Better it is upon a desert plain
To be with Lot, or in a cavern'd rock,
Than in a sinful Sodom to remain,
Expos'd, like it, to such a dreadful shock.

Who, whilst in Sodom, kept himself so well,
So free from ev'ry fault, as holy Lot?
Yet, in a cave, thro' drunkenness he fell,
And there his former principles forgot.

Tho' thou hast 'scap'd from vice's dang'rous snare,
And ne'er didst in Gomorrah's stews appear,
Of sin's assaults in thy own house beware,
When none besides thy bosom-friends are near.

If thou hast once the luck, the fire to shun,
And art unhurt from flaming Sodom come:
Take heed, lest thou a second time shou'dst run
To equal danger for thy sins at home.

If thou from Sodom hast the luck to fly,
Return not there by any means again:
Lot's wife, because she backward glanc'd her eye,
Was turn'd to salt upon th' adjacent plain.

Open thine eyes, look round, and trembling own,
That sin's severely punish'd by the Lord:
Since he upon Gomorrah's lustful town
A dreadful storm of fire and brimstone show'r'd.

Ah me! — how loud is vice's yelling noise,
Dinning the Godheads ears both night and day!
No respite knows her never-ceasing voice,
'Till God with vengeance shall her crimes repay!

How foul, how fatal, were the monstrous crimes,
Which brought perdition upon Sodom's race!
The district stinks e'en to the present times,
And smoke and sulph'rous steams still mark the place!

Never an angred father's curse deserve;
Ham and his feed cou'd ne'er wipe out the stain;
Its lasting marks the Negroes still preserve,
And in their skins it ever will remain.

Like Shem, the foibles of thy Sire conceal,
With filial piety his errors hide;
Nor when his snowy locks his years reveal,
Like Canaan the uncover'd sot deride.

With laudable respect thy mother grace,
And pay her all th' obedience that's her due;
On thy right hand the honour'd matron place,
As royal Solomon was wont to do.

Never in any work employ thy hand,
To whate'er place thou travellest abroad;
Before, like Abraham, in the foreign land
Thou rear'st an altar, to adore thy God,

Believe each Word the Lord thy God has spoke,
For it is perfect, strictly true, and pure:
The heav'ns and earth shall pass away, like smoke;
But that forever shall, each jot, endure.

Where-e'er the Lord thy God commands thee, go,
His dictates with alacrity obey,
Whate'er thou dost, like Abraham, quickly do,
And his behests perform without delay.

Offer thy Son, shou'd God that task require,
And circumcision with respect receive,
Abjure the idols of thy pagan sire,
And at God's nod thy native country leave.

From Isaac meekness and submission gain,
From him, whatever happens, learn to bear :
So shalt thou favour from mankind obtain,
And always live in thy Creator's fear.

Beware, lest thou defile thy spouse's bed,
Be pleas'd with her, that is already thine;
As Isaac erst was pleas'd with her, he wed:
For that is pleasing to the Pow'r divine.

If thou with Jacob's gentle voice art blest,
Of Esau's rough and bloody hands beware:
The Deity can ne'er enough detest
Foul deeds, tho' veil'd beneath expressions fair.

When thou resolvest first a maid to woo,
To Jacob's conduct give especial heed:
Like him, thy parents counsel still pursue;
So shall prosperity attend thy seed.

Never unto thy belly be a slave,
Esau was with the greatest shame oppress'd,
Who his own birthright unto Jacob gave
For one poor mess of pottage ready dress'd.

Fie on all waste! on all excesses fie!
Sell not heav'n's joys for either drink or meat :
Esau from Canaan was oblig'd to fly,
Who sold his birthright for a sorry treat.

If with thy mistress thou art ask'd to lie,
However private, yet refuse the joy :
Like Joseph from her hot embraces fly,
Nor for a kiss thy precious soul destroy.

Go thou to prison, ev'ry woe endure,
And lie in chains extended on the floor,
Ere thou with action lustful and impure,
Givest Christ's member to a filthy whore.

Love not a prostitute, nor e'er defile
The temple, where the Lord of hosts remains:
Joseph wou'd ne'er have done a thing so vile,
Though he was all his life to rot in chains.

Like Esau's, 'tis a bargain most unwise,
A bargain, that will make thee wail and weep,
To sell thy bright reversion in the skies,
A night perhaps with some lewd punk to sleep!

Because he wou'd not with his mistress lie,
Nor condescend her wanton heat to cool,
Joseph was rais'd by providence on high,
And Egypt rul'd, who did his passions rule.

Better it is to be with Joseph chaste,
Altho', in jail, you for your virtue be,
Than on a throne, like Herod, to be plac'd,
With an Herodias on your guilty knee.

Shou'dst thou thy father's bed with incest stain,
Though first-begotten, thou his curse sohu'dst get,
And Judah thy inheritance obtain;
Whilst thou hast nothing, but a long regret.

To sell thy brother, Simeon! is not wise;
Thou knowest not what chance may yet prevail:
Joseph, when sold, to such a height shall rise,
That he shall order Simeon to a jail.

Like Moses, sweetness of behaviour shew,
Like him, be meek, and harmless as a child,
Faithful, submissive, affable, and true,
Brave, without rashness, without softness, mild.

See! — what an army God of old employ'd,
A mighty Monarch's stubborn heart to bend!
By lice and locusts, flies and frogs annoy'd,
Pharaoh wou'd fain his wicked ways amend!

If thou a slave in Egypt wou'dst not be,
But go, where milk and honey bless the shore,
Thou must pass through the Erythr'an sea;
Tho' strong its surge, and terrible its roar!

A man with too-much manna may be cloy'd;
But who can't touch it, must be nice indeed:
Yet thou must be of taste and reason void,
If thou, before it, wou'dst on garlick feed.

Ere God will leave his faithful foll'wers need,
He'll rain a show'r of manna from on high,
Or else on quails his favourites shall feed,
At his command descending from the sky.

Never resist the pastor of thy soul,
Nor on the herald of th' Almighty jest,
Lest th' earth shou'd open and ingulph thee whole,
If thou, like Korah, shou'dst insult thy Priest.

To thy vocation or profession cleave,
And let the Clergy their own bus'ness mind;
God to their care alone his ark will leave,
Who to that sacred office were design'd.

From hence it may to all be clearly known,
How strictly we shou'd keep the sabbath day!
Since God enjoin'd the Jewish host to stone
The man, who broke it first, without delay.

The sabbath in devotion spend, and come
Unto the temple, in thy best array,
Nor, whilst thou livest here on earth, presume
To do the Devil's work on that blest day.

The pow'r of God we hence may all behold,
Who, at a man's entreaty, stopp'd the sun:
For one whole day its motion he control'd,
And stay'd its course, until his people won.

How shameful is it then, remember all,
That that vast orb shou'd God's command obey?
Whilst we, vile worms! despise his gracious call,
And will not, at his mighty bidding, stay.

Shou'dst thou e'er go, where idols are ador'd,
Boldly, like Joshua, this answer give,
"I, and my family, will serve the Lord,
"And will not own another, whilst I live."

The shining sword, O Zimri, Zimri! fear,
Hung by the God of vengeance o'er thy head!
Behold, in Phineas' hand, the pointed spear,
Lifted, to strike thee, and thy strumpet, dead!

O Balaam! Balaam! ope thine eyes, and see
The angel just descended from above!
Return, return, nor touch the venal fee,
But hear the ass, thy avarice reprove.

A harlot love no better than the fiend,
Thy bosom-secrets ne'er to her impart —
The stiffest neck she, like a twig, will bend,
Though strong as Samson, she will break thy heart.

Never encourage those that are to blame,
But from their vices studiously refrain;
Gibeah, with all her wealth, was set on flame,
Because she did not her rude sons restrain.

With heed, O Benjamin! my words attend:
Why wilt thou strive to pull the wrath divine,
(Because thou wilt thy daring youths defend
In all their vices) upon thee and thine?

From Eli's fate, take warning, and beware!
Thy children teach, and carefully correct :
Whene'er the sire is us'd the rod to spare,
God with the sword will punish the neglect.

Learn thou from Samuel, whilst yet a youth
With strict fidelity to serve thy God,
And to the last, unshaken hold the truth,
Unshock'd by injuries, unstain'd by fraud.

From that just judge these useful lessons draw,
"All in their properties alike protect,—
"Give sentence still, according unto law,
"And as the rules of justice shall direct."

What gains cou'd Joel from injustice boast,
From brib'ry and corruption, void of shame?
He lost his credit, and his office lost,
But gain'd reproach, and a detested name.

Touch not the ark, like Uzzah — but beware —
Leave to the priest, what to the priest is due —
Be thy own calling and concerns thy care :
For thou hast nothing with the ark to do.

When thou with pain and sickness art oppress'd,
Like Job thy patience silently display —
Never blaspheme, however sore distress'd:
'Tis God that gives, and God that takes away!

Though God shou'd take thy substance all away,
Or by some sickness seem to call thee hence —
"Though God shou'd kill me, yet (resignedly say)
"I still in him will place my confidence."

Like royal David from thy bed arise,
And humbly on thy knees thy God adore —
At midnight let thy pray'rs ascend the skies,
Whilst others on their downy pillows snore.

It is a meet and mighty pleasant thing,
Unto the Lord at dead of night to pray,
And for his various gifts to thank heav'n's king,
Soon as the dawn proclaims the new-born day.

Like David, that renown'd seer! repent
Of all the crimes and evil thou hast done —
Like him, with ceaseless tears thy sins lament,
'Till thou God's favour and his love hast won.

Weep, 'till thy couch with briny floods is drown'd —
'Till with thy bread thou hast thy tears devour'd —
Wear sackcloth — roll thyself along the ground —
'Till thou hast pardon for thy sins implor'd.

Although thy locks be of a lovely dye,
Yet from all pride, on that account forbear ;
Lest thou, like Absalom, shou'dst hang on high,
Caught, and entangled by thy flowing hair.

If David in the dark, and dead of night,
Shall with Uriah's charming consort sport ;
Another, in the sun's meridian height,
Shall to his wives, without disguise, resort.

How short did that precarious pleasure last,
For which his life incestuous Amnon lost?
Ah me! how bitter was it, when 'twas past?
How dear at length the transient rapture cost!

Thy precious soul in danger never leave,
Thy carnal lusts and pleasures to fulfil:
For thou, one day, most bitterly shalt grieve,
That thou, on Tamar, hast obtain'd thy will!

Thy house and thy concerns in order set,
Like Hezekiah, with convenient care:
Thyself in readiness this moment get,
And still for death, before death comes, prepare.

Thy neighbour's vineyard seek not to obtain:
Oppression daily pulls God's vengeance down:
For if thou thus shou'dst Naboth's portion gain,
Thou for that sin shalt forfeit Israel's crown.

O Ahab! Ahab! with strict justice deal,
Nor lust thy neighbour's fortune to enjoy ;
If thou, thro' perjury, his land shalt steal,
God will thy offspring to a man destroy,

How great soe'er thy toil and trouble be,
Thrice ev'ry day, like pious Daniel, fall
Before thy Maker, on thy bended knee:
For of all business that's the best of all!

Shut to thy closet door — kneel on the floor —
Lift up thine eyes — unlock thy lips to pray —
With humble attitude thy God adore
And humble heart, at least three times a day.

Though thou shou'dst to the lion's den be cast,
Omit not, even there, thy wonted pray'r :
The wildest beasts will shun their wish'd repast,
And ev'ry true believer learn to spare.

Thy knee before an image never bow,
Tho' thou wert, therefore, forc'd to quit the world,
And tho', like Shadrach, thou wert doom'd to go
Headlong, into a fi'ry furnace hurl'd.

Nought must be worshipp'd but our God alone:
An idol is a triffle, nothing more;
Whether of gold, of silver, or of stone,
'Tis but a helpless scare-crow, void of pow'r.

When to thy lip thou liftest up the bowl,
Blaspheming God, but in the banquet blest —
Beware — lest angry Death shou'd seize thy soul,
Like king Belshazzar's at his impious feast!

When, round the board, the goblet briskly flies,
Behold the hand, upon the stucco'd wall,
Writing thy dreadful doom before thy eyes,
And thy intemp'rance's certain fall!

Thy charity, like Tobit, largely deal —
To all that need, dispense around thy store,
And never with contentment eat a meal,
'Till thou some part hast given to the poor.

Support the feeble — and interr the dead —
The naked clothe — the friendless widow guide —
The orphan's cause with real ardor plead —
Nor treat the stranger with tyrannic pride.

Whene'er thou purposest to take a bride,
Beg thou of God his necessary aid:
A Raphael then thy wandring steps shall guide,
And lead thee to the most accomplish'd maid.

Before thou goest with thy spouse to rest,
Beseech the Lord thy genial bed to bless,
And hand in hand prefer your joint request,
That He may crown your nuptials with success.

Thy parents, as Tobias did, revere,
And, whilst they live, ne'er their commands oppose;
When dead, their bodies decently interr,
For that's a duty ev'ry Christian owes!

As strictly just, throughout thy life, be found,
As one who ne'er the gospel's lustre saw,
And let thy death with as much faith be crown'd,
As if thou nought hadst heard e'er of the law!

Shou'dst thou, O Christian! ask, who sung these strains,
And strove these truths in metre to comprize?
It was a Christian priest, who took the pains,
In hopes thereby to help thee to the skies.