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Reflections Upon “Butler’s Analogy of Religion.”


There as a likeness in all natural things,
A strict analogy, which clearly brings
Religion, and all nature to agree;
The veil withdrawn—I now distinctly see.
If first we trace each diff’rent stage of life,
We prove a future peace from present strife,
Death, no destruction of the moral power,
Which oft is brightest in our latest hour,
And even a change of nature, or pure soul,
Still leaves the active mind without control.
The body is the instrument alone,
The soul is all that we can call our own.
What though we cease to live, thought does not cease,
But bursts the prison doors at death’s release;
Waits but that moment to enlarge, expand,
Commence new life in death, eternal! grand!
And if in search of happiness we miss,
The fault is ours, not God’s, who formed for bliss,
Left us in part free will to choose our way,
Thereby our faith and patience to essay.
And it may be His holy, blessed will,
That we, the creatures of His matchless skill,
Should act accordingly to nature’s plan,
Which lies beyond our present power to scan.
To our weak sense, no doubt some actions lie
As if they lacked his moral scrutiny;
No step we take, no act so small soe’er,
But wisdom infinite, with wondrous care
Has governed, for some latent good, an end
To which His purpose wise will ever tend.
And thus remorse may be the shadow sent,
Forewarning of a future punishment;
And feelings pure, with conscience void of guile,
May be the type of Heaven’s approving smile.
And so in early youth we should begin
To shut out all the avenues of sin;
Nor this alone, but let not pass in vain
Those moments which will ne’er return again;
But like the bee, who robs the unconscious flower,
Let us enrich our minds each fleeting hour.
Nor let us e’er distrust, or be dismayed,
Be fear and hope in equal balance weighed;
Else in presumptuous gale we may be tossed,
Or down the low abyss in darkness lost.
’Tis true we cannot clearly now perceive
God’s government, all goodness to achieve;
But we are blind, the world obstructs our sight,
For this is but the dawning of that light,
The noonday is in Heaven, where we shall see,
And comprehend, what now seems mystery.

R. E. S.