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- Indeed, Sir Peter, I could wish, I own,
- That parsons would let politics alone;
- Plead, if they will, the customary plea,
- For such like talk, when o'er the dish of tea:
- But when they tease us with it from the pulpit,
- I own, Sir Peter, that I cannot help it.
- If on their rules a justice should intrench,
- And preach, suppose a sermon, from the bench,
- Would you not think your brother magistrate
- Was a little touched in his hinder pate?
- Now which iw worse, Sir Peter, on the total
- The lay vagary, or the sacredotal?
- In ancient times, when preachers preached indeed
- Their sermons, ere the learned learnt to read,
- Another spirit, and another life,
- Shut the church doors against all party strife:
- Since then, how often heard, from sacred rostrums,
- The lifeless din of Whig and Tory nostrums!
- 'Tis wrong, Sir Peter, I insist upon't;
- To common sense 'tis plainly an affront:
- The parson leaves the Christian in a lurch,
- Whene'er he brings his politics to church;
- His cant, on either side, if he calls preaching,
- The man's wrong-headed, and his brains want bleaching.
- Recall the time from conquering William's reign,
- And guess the fruits of such a preaching vein:
- How oft its nonsense must have veered about,
- Just as the politics were in, or out:
- The pulput governed by no gospel data,
- But new success still mending old errata.
- Were I a king (God bless me) I should hate
- My chaplains meddling with affairs of state;
- Nor would my subjects, I should think, be fond,
- Whenever theirs the Bible went beyond.
- How well, methinks, we both should live together,
- If these good folks would keep within their tether!
- John Byrom
- Christians awake, salute the happy morn,
- Whereon the saviour of the world was born;
- Rise, to adore the mystery of love,
- Which hosts of angels chanted from above:
- With them the joyful tidings first begun
- Of God incarnate, and the Virgin's son:
- Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
- Who heard the angelic herald's voice -- "Behold!
- I bring good tidings of a saviour's birth
- To you, and all the nations of the earth;
- This day hath God fulfilled his promised word;
- This day is born a saviour, Christ, the Lord:
- In David's city, shepherds, ye shall find
- The long foretold redeemer of mankind;
- Wrapped up in swaddling clothes, the babe divine
- Lies in a manger; this shall be your sign."
- He spoke, and straightway the celestial choir,
- In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire;
- The praises of redeeming love they sung,
- And heaven's whole orb with halleluhjahs rung:
- God's highest glory was their anthem still;
- Peace upon earth, and mutual good-will.
- To Bethlehem straight the enlightened shepherds ran,
- To see the wonder God had wrought for man;
- And found, with Joseph and the blessed maid,
- Her son, the saviour, in a manger laid.
- Amazed, the wondrous story they procaim;
- The first apostles of this infant fame:
- While Mary keeps, and ponders in her heart,
- The heavenly vision, which the swains impart;
- They to their flocks, still praising God, return,
- And their glad hearts within their bosoms burn.
- Let us, like these good shepherds then, employ
- Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy:
- Like Mary, let us ponder in our mind
- God's wondrous love in saving lost mankind;
- Artless, and watchful, as these favoured swains,
- While virgin meekness in the heart remains:
- Trace we the babe, who has retrieved our loss,
- From his poor manger to his bitter cross;
- Treading his steps, assisted by his grace,
- Till man's first heavenly state again takes place:
- Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among,
- To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song;
- He that was born, upon this joyful day,
- Around us all, his glory shall display;
- Saved by his love, incessant we shall sing
- Of angels, and of angel-men, the king.
- John Byrom
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