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The wretched Panther cries aloud for aid
Survey'd her part by part, and sought to find
Such as the Wolf and Panther had design'd.
Their guide in faith: but nearer when they drew,
Some, who before her fellowship disdain'd,
Scarce, and but scarce, from inborn rage restrain'd,
Of all the savage nation show'd respect.
Yet could not howl; the Hind had seen him first:
But what he durst not speak, the Panther durst. Where no submission to a judge is due;
For when the herd, suffic'd, did late repair
To ferney heaths, and to their forest lare,
That, since the sky was clear, an hour of talk
To chat a while on their adventures pass'd: Eternal house not built with mortal bands !
Nor had the grateful Hind so soon forgot O sure defence against th' infernal gate,
Her friend and fellow-sufierer in the plot. A patent during pleasure of the state!
Yet wondering how of late she grew estrang'd,
She thought this hour th' occasion would present
Which, well she hop'd, might be with ease redress'd,
After some common talk what rumours ran,
The lady of the spotted-muff began.
The toils were pitch'd, a spacious tract of ground
With expert huntsmen was encompass'd round; Alone she walk'd, and look'd around in vain, Th’ enclosure narrow'd; the sagacious power With rueful visage, for her vanish'd train :
Of hounds and death drew nearer every hour. None of her sylvan subjects made their court; 'Tis true, the younger Lion scap'd the snare, levées and couchées pass'd without resort. But all your priestly calves lay struggling there; So hardly can usurpers mana ze well
As sacrifices on their altars laid; Those whom they first instructed to rebel.
While you, their careful mother, wisely fled, More liberty begets desire of more;
Nor trusting Destiny to save your head.
For whate'er promises you have apply'd
Yet, saving reverence of the miracle,
“As I remember," said the sober Hind,
Howe'er you take it now, the common cry Encourag'd thus she brought her younglings Then ran you down for your rank loyalty. nigh,
Besides, in popery they thought you purst,
As evil tongues will ever speak the worst,
Dumb you were born indeed; but thinking long, That no disputes about the doubtful text
New councils must be call'd, to make the meaning After long fencing push'd against a wall,
Because in them the power supreme resides; Your salvo comes, that he 's not there at all : And all the promises are to the guides. There chang'd your faith, and what may change This may be taught with sound and safe defence:
But mark how sandy is your own pretence, Who can believe what varies every day,
Who, setting councils, pope, and church aside, Nor ever was, nor will be, at a stay?"
Are every man his own presuming guide. “ Tortures may force the tongue untruths to tell, The sacred books, you say, are full and plain, And I ne'er own'd myself infallible,”
And every needful point of truth contain: Reply'd the Panther: “grant such presence were, All who can read interpreters may be: Yet in your sense I never own'd it there.
Thus, though your several churches disagree, A real virtue we by faith receive,
Yet every saint has to himself alone And that we in the sacrament believe."
The secret of this philosophic stone. “Then,” said the Hind," as you the matter state, These principles your jarring sects unite, Not only Jesuits can equivocate;
When differing doctors and disciples fight For real, as you now the word expound,
Though Luther, Zuinglius, Calvin, holy chiefs, From solid substance dwindles to a sound.
Have made a battle-royal of beliefs; Methinks an Esop's fable you repeat;
Or, like wild horses, several ways have whirld You know who took the shadow for the meat: The tortur'd text about the Christian world; Your church's substance thus you change at will, Each Jehu lashing on with furious force, And yet retain your former figure still.
That Turk or Jew could not have us'd it worse; I freely grant you spoke to save your life; No matter what dissension leaders make, For then you lay beneath the butcher's knife. Where every private man may save a stake: Long time you fought, redoubled battery bore, Rul'd by the scripture and his own advice, But, after all, against yourself you swore ; Each has a blind by-path to Paradise ; Your former self: for every hour your form Where, driving in a circle slow or fast, Is chopp'd and chang'd, like winds before a storm. Opposing sects are sure to meet at last. Thus fear and interest will prevail with some; A wondrous charity you have in store For all have not the gift of inartyrdom."
For all reform'd to pass the narrow door : The Panther grinn'd at this, and thus reply'd: So much, that Mahomet had scarcely more. " That men may err was never yet deny'd. For he, kind prophet, was for damning none; But, if that common principle be true,
But Christ and Moses were to save their own: The canon, dame, is levell’d full at yoni.
Himself was to secure his chosen race,
And he allow'd to be the better man,
“ True,” said the Panther, “ I shall ne'er deny First, seat him somewhere, and derive his race, My brethren may be sav'd as well as 1 : Or else conclude that nothing has no place.” Though Huguenots condemn our ordination,
“Suppose, though I disown it," said the Hind, Succession, ministerial vocation; • The certain mansion were not yet assign'd: And Luther, more mistaking what he read, The doubtful residence no proof can bring
Misjoins the sacred body with the bread: Against the plain existence of the thing.
Yet, lady, still remember I maintain, Because philosophers may disagree,
The word in needful points is only plain.” If sight emission or reception be,
“Needless, or needful, I not now contend, Shall it be thence inferr'd, I do not see?
For still you have a loop-hole for a friend," But you require an answer positive,
Rejoin'd the matron: “but the rule you lay Which yet, when I demand, you dare not give; Has led whole flocks, and leads them still astray, For fallacies in universals live.
In weighty points, and full damnation's way. I then affirm that this unfailing guide
For did not Arius first, Socinus now, In pope and general councils must reside;
The Son's eternal Godhead disavow? Both lawful, both combin'd: what one decrees And did not these by gospel texts alone By numerous votes, the other ratifies :
Condemn our doctrine, and maintain their own On this undoubted sense the church relies. Have not all heretics the same pretence 'Tis true, some doctors in a scantier space, To plead the scriptures in their own defence? I mean, in each apart, contract the place.
How did the Nicene council then decide Some, who to greater length extend the line, That strong debate? was it by scripture try'd? The church's after-acceptation join.
No, sure; to that the rebel would not yield; This last circumference appears too wide;
Squadrons of texts he marshall'd in the field: The church diffus'd is by the council ty'd; That was but civil war, an equal set, As members, by their representatives
Where piles with piles, and eagles eagles met Oblig'd to laws, which prince and senate gives. With texts point-blank and plain be fàc'd the foc, Thus some contract, and some enlarge the space: And did not Satan tempt our Saviour so? In pope and council whu denies the place,
The good old bishops took a simpler way; Assisted from above with God's unfailing grace? Each ask'd but what he heard his father say, Those canons all the needful points contain; Or how he was instructed in his youth, Their sense so obvious, and their words so plain, And by tradition's force upheld the truth."
The Panther smil'd at this; “And when," said she, Till when 'tis not sufficient to defame: “ Were those first councils disallow'd by me? An old possession stands, till elder quits the claim. Or where did I at sure tradition strike,
Then for our interest, which is nam'd alone Provided still it were apostolic ?”
To load with envy, we retort your own. “ Friend,” said the Hind, “ you quit your former For when traditions in your faces fly, ground,
Resolving not to yield, you must decry. Where all your faith you did on scripture found : As, when the cause goes hard, the guilty man Now 'tis tradition join'd with holy writ;
Excepts, and thins his jury all he can; But thus your memory betrays your wit."
So, when you stand of other aid bereft, “ No,” said the Panther; « for in that I view, You to the twelve apostles would be left. When your tradition's forg’d, and when 'tis true. Your friend the Wolf did with more craft provide I set them by the rule, and, as they square, To set those toys, traditions, quite aside; Or deviate from undoubted doctrine there,
And fathers too, unless when, reason spent, This oral fiction, that old faith declare.
He cites them but sometimes for ornament. Hind. “The council steer'd, it seems, a different But, madam Panther, you, though more sincere, course;
Are not so wise as your adulterer: They try'd the scripture by tradition's force: The private spirit is a better blind, But you tradition by the scripture try;
Than all the dodging tricks your authors find. Pursued by sects, from this to that you fly, For they, who left the scripture to the crowd, Nor dare on one foundation to rely.
Each for his own peculiar judge allow'd, The word is then depos'd, and in this view
The way to please them was to make them proud You rule the scripture, not the scripture yon." Thus with full sails they ran upon the shelf; Thus said the dame, and, smiling, thus pursu'd : Who could suspect a cozenage from himself? “ I see, tradition then is disallow'd,
On his own reason safer 'tis to stand, When not evincd by scripture to be true,
Than be deceiv'd, and damn'd at second-hand. And scripture, as interpreted by you.
But you, who fathers and traditions take, But here you tread upon unfaithful ground; And garble some, and some you quite forsake, Unless you could infallibly expound:
Pretending church-authority to fix, Which you reject as odious popery,
And yet some grains of private spirit mix, And throw that doctrine back with scorn on me. Are like a mule made up of differing seed, Suppose we on things traditive divide,
And that's the reason why you never breed; And both appeal to scripture to decide ;
At least not propagate your kind abroad, By various texts we both uphold our claim, For home dissenters are by statutes aw'd. Nay, often, ground our titles on the same:
And yet they grow upon you every day, After long labour lost, and time's expense,
While you, to speak the best, are at a stay, Both grant the words, and quarrel for the sense. For sects, that are extremes, abhor a middle Thus all disputes for ever must depend;
way. For no dumb rule can controversies end.
Like tricks of state, to stop a raging flood,
If we must fix on church authority,
Best on the best, the fountain, not the flood;
Shall she command who has herself rebellid! The rule is far from plain, where all dissent.” Is antichrist by antichrist expellid ?
“ If not by scriptures, how can we be sure,” Did we a lawful tyranny displace, Reply'd the Panther, “ what tradition's pure ? To set aloft a bastard of the race ? For you may palm upon us new for old:
Why all these wars to win the book, if we All, as they say, that glitters is not gold.”
Must not interpret for ourselves, but she ? “ How but by following her,” reply'd the dame, Either be wholly slaves, or wholly free. * To whom deriv'd from sire to son they came; For purging fires traditions must not fight; Where every age does on another move,
But they must prove episcopacy's right. And trusts no further than the next above; Thus those led horses are from service freed; Where all the rounds like Jacob's ladder rise, You never mount them but in time of need, The lowest hid in Earth, the topmost in the skies." Like mercenaries, bird for home defence,
Sternly the savage did her answer mark, They will not serve against their native prince Her glowing eye-balls glittering in the dark, Against domestic foes of hierarchy And said but this : “ Since lucre was your trade, These are drawn forth, to make fanatics fly; Succeeding times such dreadful gaps have made, But, when they see their countrymen at hand, "Tis dangerous climbing: to your sons and you Marching against them under church-command, I leave the ladder, and its omen too." (sweet; Straight they forsake their colours, and disband.”
Hixd. “The Panther's breath was ever fam'd for Thus she, nor could the Panther well enlarge But from the Wolf such wishes oft I meet:
With weak defence against so strong a charge; You learn'd this language from the blatant beast, But said: “ For what did Christ his word provide, Or rather did not speak, but were possess'd. If still his church must want a living guide? As for your answer, 'tis but barely urg'd:
And if all-saving doctrines are not there, You must evince tradition to be forg'd;
Or sacred penmen could not make them clear, Produce plain proofs ; unblemish'd authors use, From after-ages we should hope in vain As ancient as those ages they accuse ;
For truths, which men inspir'd could not explain,"
“ Before the word was written," said the Hind, Bequeath'd by some legator's last intent; “ Our Saviour preach'd his faith to human kind : (Such is our dying Saviour's testament) From his apostles the first age receiv'd
The will is prov'd, is open'd, and is read; Eternal truth, and what they taught believ'd. The doubtful heirs their differing titles plead: Thus by tradition faith was planted first;
All vonch the words their interest to maintain, Succeeding flocks succeeding pastors nurs'd. And each pretends by those his cause is plain. This was the way our wise Redeemer chose, Shall then the testament award the right? (Who sure could all things for the best dispose) No, that's the Hungary for which they fight; To fence his fold from their encroaching foes. The field of battle, subject of debate; He could have writ himself, but well foresaw The thing contended for, the fair estate. Th’ event would be like that of Moses' law; The sense is intricate, 'tis only clear Some difference would arise, some doubts remain, What vowels and what consonants are there. Like those which yet the jarring Jews maintain. Therefore 'tis plain, its meaning must be try'd No written laws can be so plain, so pure,
Before some judge appointed to decide.” But wit may gloss, and malice may obscure;
,” the fair apostate said, “ I grant, Not those indited by his first command,
The faithful lock some living guide should want, A prophet grav'd the text, an angel held his hand. Your arguments an endless chase pursue: Thus faith was, ere the written word appear'd, Produce this vaunted leader to our view, And men believ'd not what they read but heard. This mighty Moses of the chosen crew." But since th' apostles could not be confin'd The dame, who saw her fainting foe retir'd, To these, or those, but severally design'd
With force renew'd, to victory aspir'd; Their large commission round the world to blow; And, looking upward to her kindred sky, To spread their faith, they spread their labours too. As once our Saviour own'd his Deity, Yet still their absent fock their pains did share; Pronounc'd his words -“ she whom ye seek They hearken'd still, for love produces care. And as mistakes arose, or discords fell,
Nor less amaz'd this voice the Panther heard, Or bold seducers taught them to rebel,
Than were those Jews to hear a God declar'd. As charity grew cold, or faction hot,
Then thus the matron modestly renew'd : Or long neglect their lessons had forgot,
* Let all your profits and their sects be view'd, For all their wants they wisely did provide, And see to which of them yourselves think fit And preaching by epistles was supply'd :
The conduct of your conscience to submit:
Each proselyte would vote his doctor best,
Thus would your Polish diet disagree,
And end, as it began, in anarchy: Their absent sermons; nor if they contain
Yourself the fairest for election stand, All needful doctrines, are those doctrines plain. Because you seem crown-general of the land: Clearness by frequent preaching must be wrought; | But soon against your superstitious lawn They writ but seldom, but they daily taught. Some presbyterian sabre would be drawn: And what one saint has said of holy Paul,
In your establish'd laws of sovereignty • He darkly writ,' is true apply'd to all.
The rest some fundamental flaw would see, For this obscurity could Heaven provide
And call rebellion, gospel-liberty. More prudently than by a living guide,
To church-decrees your articles require
Submission mollify'd, if not entire.
But when Curtana will not do the deed,
Those prying varlets hit the blots you make, That following ages, leaning on the past,
Because some ancient friends of yours declare May rest upon the primitive at last.
Your only rule of faith the scriptures are, Nor would I thence the word no rule infer,
Interpreted by men of judgment sound, But none without the church-interpreter.
Which every sect will for themselves expound; Because, as I have urg'd before, 'tis mute,
Nor think less reverence to their doctors due And is itself the subject of dispute.
For sound interpretation, than to you. But what th' apostles their successors taught, If then, by able heads, are understood They to the next, from them to us is brought, Your brother prophets, who reform'd abroad; Th' undoubted sense which is in scripture sought. Those able heads expound a wiser way, From hence the church is arm'd, when errours rise, That their own sheep their shepherd should obey. To stop their entrance, and prevent surprise ; But if you mean yourselves are only sound, And, safe entrench'd within, her foes without defies, That doctrine turns the Reformation round, By these all festering sores her councils heal; And all the rest are false reformers found; Which time or has disclos'd, or shall reveal; Because in sundry points you stand alone, For discord cannot end without a last appeal, Not in communion join'd with any one; Nor can a council national decide,
And therefore must be all the church, or none. But with subordination to her guide:
Then, till you have agreed whose judge is best, (I wish the cause were on that issue try'd.) Against this fore'd submission they protest: Much less the scripture; for suppose debate While sound and sound a different sense explains, Betwixt pretenders to a fair estate,
Both play at liardhead till they break their brains; And from their chairs each other's force defy, Stood forth t' accept the terms, and underwent While unregarded thunders vainly fly.
A weight, which all the frame of Heaven had bent, I pass the rest, because your church alone
Nor he hiinself could bear, but as Omnipotent. Of all usurpers best could fill the throne.
Now, to remove the least remaining doubt, But neither you, nor any sect beside,
That ev'n the blear-ey'd sects may find her out, For this high office can be qualify'd,
Behold what hearenly rays adorn her brows, With necessary gifts requir'd in such a guide. What from his wardrobe her belov'd allows For that, which must direct the whole, must be To deck the wedding day of his unspotted spouse. Bound in one bond of faith and unity :
Behold what marks of majesty she brings; But all your several churches disagree.
Richer than ancient heirs of eastern kings : The consubstantiating church and priest
Her right hand holds the sceptre and the keys, Refuse communion to the Calvinist :
To show whom she commands, and who obeys : The French reform'd froin preaching you restrain, With these to bind, or set the sinner free, Because you judge their ordination vain ;
With that to assert spiritual royalty. And so they judge of yours, but donors must ordain. “ One in herself, not rent by schism, but sound, In short, in doctrine, or in discipline,
Entire, one solid shining diamond ; Not one reform'd can with another join:
Not sparkles shatter'd into sects like you :
One central principle of unity,
Thus she, and none but she, th' insulting rage
She stoops from leaven, and meets them half way All in their turns accusers, and accus'd :
down, Babel was never half so much confus'd:
And with paternal thunder vindicates her crown. What one can plead, the rest can plead as well; But like Egyptian sorcerers you stand, For amongst equals lies no last appeal,
And vainly lift aloft your magic wand, And all confess themselves are fallible.
To sweep away the swarms of vermin from the land: Now since you grant some necessary guide, You could, like them, with like infernal force, All who can err are justly laid aside:
Produce the plague, but not arrest the course. Because a trust so sacred to confer
But when the boils and blotches, with disgrace Shows want of such a sure interpreter;
And public scandal, sat upon the face, And how can be be needful who can err?
Themselves attack'd, the Magi strove no more, Then granting that unerring guide we want, They saw God's finger, and their fate deplore; That such there is you stare oblig'd to grant: Themselves they could not cure of the dishonest sore. Our Saviour else were wanting, to supply
Thus one, thus pure, behold her largely spread, Our needs, and obviate that necessity.
Like the fair Ocean from her mother-bed; It then remains, that church can only be
From east to west triumphantly she rides, The guide, which owns unfailing certainty ; All shores are water'd by her wealthy tides. Or else you slip your hold, and change your side, The gospel-sound, diffus'd from pole to pole, Relapsing from a necessary guide.
Where winds can carry, and where waves can roll, But this annex'd condition of the crown,
The self-same doctrine of the sacred page Immunity from errours, you disown;
Convey'd to every clime, in every age. Here then you shrink, and lay your weak pretensions “ Here let my sorrow give my satire place, For petty rovalties you raise debate; [down. To raise new blushes on my British race; But this unfa ling universal state
Our sailing ships like common-sewers we use, You shun; nor dare succeed to such a glorious And through our distant colonies diffuse 1 weight;
The draught of dungeons, and the stench of stews. And for that cause those promises detest,
Whom, when their homebred honesty is lost, With which our Saviour did his church invest; We disembogue on some far Indian coast : But strive t'evade, and fear to find them true, Thieves, panders, paillards, sins of every sort ; As couscious they were never meant to you: Those are the manufactures we export; All which the mother-church asserts her own, And these the missioners our zeal has made: And with unrivalld claim ascends the throne. For, with my country's pardon be it said, So when of old th' almighty Father sate
Religion is the least of all our trade, In council, to redeem our ruin'd state,
“ Yet some improve their traffic more than we; Millions of millions, at a distance round,
For they on gain, their only god, rely, Silent the sacred consistory crown'd,
And set a public price on piety. To hear what mercy, mixt with justice, could pro- Industrious of the needle and the chart, pound:
They run full sail to their Japonian mart; All prompt with eager pity, to fulfil
Prevention fear, and, ptodigal of fame, The full extent of their Creator's will.
Sell all of Christian to the very name; But when the stern conditions were declar'd, Nor leave enough of that, to hide their naked A mournful whisper through the host was heard,
shame. And the whole hierarchy, with heads hung down, “Thus, of three marks, which in the creed we view, Submissively declin'd the ponderous proffer'd crown. Not one of all can be apply'd to you: Then, not till then, th' eternal Son from high Much less the fourth ; in vain, alas! you seek Rose in the strength of all the Deity;
Th' ainbitious title of apostolic :