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Though the foundation on a rock were laid,
The church was undermin’d, and then betray'd ;
Though the apostles these events foretold,
Yet even the shepherd did devour the fold :
The fisher to convert the world began,
The pride convincing of vain-glorious man ;
But soon his followers grew a sovereign lord,
And Peter's keys exchang'd for Peter's sword,
Which still maintains for his adopted fon
Vast patrimonies, though himself had none;
Wresting the text to the old giant's fense,
That heaven, once more, must suffer violence.
Then subtle doctors, scriptures made their prize,
Casuists, like cocks, struck out each other's eyes,
Then dark distinctions reason's light disguis’d,
And into atoms truth anatomiz'd.
Then Mahomet's crescent, by our feuds encreaft,
Blasted the learn'd remainders of the east :
That project, when from Greece to Rome it came,
Made mother ignorance devotion's dame ;
Then, he whom Lucifer's own pride did swell,
His faithful emissary, rose from hell
To possess Peter's chair, that Hildebrand,
Whose foot on mitres, then on crowns did stand,
And before that exalted idol, all
(Whom we call Gods on earth) did prostrate fall.
Then darkness Europe's face did over-fpread,
From lazy cells, where superstition bred,
Which, link'd with blind obedience, fo encrcast,
That the whole world, fome ages, they opprest;

Till through those clouds the fun of knowledge brake, And Europe from her lethargy did wake; Then first our monarchs were acknowledg'd here, That they their churches nursing fathers were. When Lucifer no longer could advance His works on the false ground of ignorance, New arts he tries, and new designs he lays, Then his well study'd master-piece he plays ; Loyola, Luther, Calvin he inspires, And kindles with infernal flames their fires, Sends their fore-runner (conscious of th' event) Printing, his most pernicious instrument ! Wild controversy then, which long had slept, Into the press from ruin'd cloysters leapt ; No longer by implicit faith we err, Whilst every man's his own interpreter ; No more conducted now by Aaron's rod, Lay elders, from their ends create their God, But seven wise men the ancient world did know, We scarce know feven who think themselves not so, When man learn'd undefil'd religion, We were commanded to be all as one; Fiery disputes that union have calcin'd, Almost as many minds as men we find, And when that flame finds combustible earth, Thence fatuus fires, and meteors take their birch, Legions of sects and insects come in throngs ; To name them all would tire a hundred tongues. So were the centaurs of Ixion's race, Who a bright cloud for Juno did embrace ;


And such the monsters of Chimæra's kind,
Lions before, and dragons were behind.
Then from the clashes between popes and kings,
Debate, like sparks from flints collision, springs :
As Jove's loud thunder-bolts were forg'd by heat,
The like our Cyclops on their anvils beat ;
All the rich mincs of learning ransack'd are,
To furnish ammunition for this war :
Uncharitable zeal our reason whets,
And double edges on our passions fets ;
'Tis the most certain sign, the world's accurst,
That the best things corrupted, are the worst;
'Twas the corrupted light of knowledge, hurld
Sin, death, and ignorance, o'er all the world ;
That fun like this (from which our sight we have)
Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave ;
And when thick mists of doubts obfcure his beams,
Our guide is error, and our visions dreams;
'Twas no false heraldry, when madnefs drew
Her pedigree from those who too much knew;
Who in deep mines for hidden knowledge toils,
Like guns o'er-charg'd, breaks, misses, or recoils ;
When subtle wits have spun their thread too fine,
'Tis weak and fragile like Arachne's line :
True piety, without cessation tost
By theories, the practic part is lost,
And like a ball bandy'd 'twixt pride and wit,
Rather than yield, both sides the prize will quit;
Then whilst his foe cach gladiator foils,
The atheist looking on, enjoys the fpoils.


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Through seas of knowledge we our course advance,
Discovering still new worlds of ignorance;
And these discoveries make us all confess
That sublunary science is bụt guess,
Matters of fact to man are only known,
And what seems more is mere opinion;
The standers-by fee clearly this event,
All parties say they 're sure, yet all dissent;
With their new light our bold inspectors press
Like Cham, to shew their father's nakedness,
By whose example, after-ages may
Discover, we more naked are than they ;
All human wisdom, to divine, is folly;
This truth, the wisest man made melancholy;
Hope, or belief, or guess, gives some relief,
But to be sure we are deceiv'd, brings grief :
Who thinks his wife is virtuous, though not so,
Is pleas’d, and patient, till the truth he know.
Our God, when heaven and earth he did create,
Form'd man, who should of both participate ;
If our lives motions theirs must imitate,
Our knowledge, like our blood, must circulate.
When, like a bridegroom from the east, the sun
Sets forth, he thither, whence he came, doth run;
Into earth's spungy veins the ocean sinks,
Those rivers to replenish which he drinks;
So learning, which from reason's fountain springs,
Back to the source, fome secret channel brings.
'Tis happy when our streams of knowledge flow
To fill their banks, but not to overthrow.





SCIPIO THO 'HOUGH all the actions of your life are crown'd

With wisdom, nothing makes them more renown'd, Than that those years, which others think extreme, Nor to yourself, nor us uneasy seem; Under which weight, most like th’ old giants, groan, When Ætna on their backs by Jove was thrown.

Cato. What you urge, Scipio, from right reason flows; All parts of age seem burthensome to those Who virtue’s and true wisdom's happiness Cannot discern; but they who those possess, In what's impos’d by nature find no grief, Of which our age is (next our death) the chief, Which though all equally desire ť obtain, Yet when they have obtain’d it, they complain; Such our inconstancies and follies are, We say it steals upon us unaware : Our want of reasoning these false measures makes, Youth runs to age, as childhood youth o’ertakes. How much more grievous would our lives appear, To reach th’ eighth hundred, than the eightieth year? Of what, in that long space of time hath past, To foolith age will no remembrance last. My age's conduct when you seem t admire, (Which that it may deserve, I much desire)

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