Almighty Lord, who from thy glorious throne

Almighty Lord, who from thy glorious throne
Seest and rulest all things ev'n as one:
The smallest ant or atom knows thy power,
Known also to each minute of an hour:
Much more do Commonweals acknowledge thee,
And wrap their policies in thy decree,
Complying with thy counsels, doing nought
Which doth not meet with an eternal thought.
But above all, thy Church and Spouse doth prove
Not the decrees of power, but bands of love.
Early didst thou arise to plant this vine,
Which might the more endear it to be thine.
Spices come from the East; so did thy Spouse,
Trim as the light, sweet as the laden boughs
Of Noah's shady vine, chaste as the dove;
Prepared and fitted to receive thy love.
The course was westward, that the sun might light
As well our understanding as our sight.
Where th' Ark did rest, there Abraham began
To bring the other Ark from Canaan.
Moses pursued this; but King Solomon
Finished and fixed the old religion.
When it grew loose, the Jews did hope in vain
By nailing Christ to fasten it again.
But to the Gentiles he bore cross and all,
Rending with earthquakes the partition-wall:
Only whereas the Ark in glory shone,
Now with the cross, as with a staff, alone,
Religion, like a pilgrim, westward bent,
Knocking at all doors, ever as she went.
Yet as the sun, though forward be his flight,
Listens behind him, and allows some light,
Till all depart: so went the Church her way,
Letting, while one foot stepped, the other stay
Among the eastern nations for a time,
Till both removed to the western clime.
To Egypt first she came, where they did prove
Wonders of anger once, but now of love.
The ten Commandments there did flourish more
Than the ten bitter plagues had done before.
Holy Macarius and great Anthony
Made Pharaoh Moses, changing th' history.
Goshen was darkness, Egypt full of lights,
Nilus for monsters brought forth Israelites.
Such power hath mighty Baptism to produce
For things misshapen, things of highest use.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare?
Religion thence fled into Greece, where arts
Gave her the highest place in all men's hearts.
Learning was posed, Philosophy was set,
Sophisters taken in a fisher's net.
Plato and Aristotle were at a loss,
And wheeled about again to spell Christ-Cross .
Prayers chased syllogisms into their den,
And Ergo was transformed into Amen .
Though Greece took horse as soon as Egypt did,
And Rome as both: yet Egypt faster rid,
And spent her period and prefixed time
Before the other. Greece being past her prime,
Religion went to Rome, subduing those,
Who, that they might subdue, made all their foes.
The Warrior his dear scars no more resounds,
But seems to yield Christ hath the greater wounds,
Wounds willingly endured to work his bliss,
Who by an ambush lost his Paradise.
The great heart stoops, and taketh from the dust
A sad repentance, not the spoils of lust:
Quitting his spear, lest it should pierce again
Him in his members, who for him was slain.
The Shepherd's hook grew to a sceptre here,
Giving new names and numbers to the year.
But th' Empire dwelt in Greece, to comfort them
Who were cut short in Alexander's stem.
In both of these Prowess and Arts did tame
And tune men's hearts against the Gospel came:
Which using, and not fearing skill in th' one,
Or strength in th' other, did erect her throne.
Many a rent and struggling th' Empire knew,
(As dying things are wont) until it flew
At length to Germany, still westward bending,
And there the Church's festival attending:
That as before Empire and Arts made way,
(For no less harbingers would serve than they)
So they might still, and point us out the place
Where first the Church should raise her downcast face.
Strength levels grounds, Art makes a garden there;
Then showers Religion, and makes all to bear.
Spain in the Empire shared with Germany,
But England in the higher victory:
Giving the Church a crown to keep her state,
And not go less than she had done of late.
Constantine's British line meant this of old,
And did this mystery wrap up and fold
Within a sheet of paper, which was rent
From time's great Chronicle, and hither sent.
Thus both the Church and Sun together ran
Unto the farthest old meridian.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare?
Much about one and the same time and place,
Both where and when the Church began her race,
Sin did set out of Eastern Babylon,
And travelled westward also: journeying on
He chid the Church away, where'er he came,
Breaking her peace, and tainting her good name.
At first he got to Egypt, and did sow
Gardens of gods, which ev'ry year did grow,
Fresh and fine deities. They were at great cost,
Who for a god clearly a sallet lost.
Ah, what a thing is man devoid of grace,
Adoring garlic with an humble face,
Begging his food of that which he may eat,
Starving the while he worshippeth his meat!
Who makes a root his god, how low is he,
If God and man be severed infinitely!
What wretchedness can give him any room,
Whose house is foul, while he adores his broom?
None will believe this now, though money be
In us the same transplanted foolery.
Thus sin in Egypt sneaked for a while;
His highest was an ox or crocodile,
And such poor game. Thence he to G oth pass,
And being craftier much than Goodn ,
He left behind him garrisons of sins
To make good that which ev'ry day he wins.
Here Sin took heart, and for a garden-bed
Rich shrines and oracles he purchased:
He grew a gallant, and would needs foretell
As well what should befall, as what befell.
Nay, he became a poet, and would serve
His pills of sublimate in that conserve.
The world came both with hands and purses full
To this great lottery, and all would pull.
But all was glorious cheating, brave deceit,
Where some poor truths were shuffled for a bait
To credit him, and to discredit those
Who after him should braver truths disclose.
From Greece he went to Rome: and as before
He was a God, now he's an Emperor.
Nero and others lodged him bravely there,
Put him in trust to rule the Roman sphere.
Glory was his chief instrument of old:
Pleasure succeeded straight, when that grew cold.
Which soon was blown to such a mighty flame,
That though our Saviour did destroy the game,
Disparking oracles, and all their treasure,
Setting affliction to encounter pleasure;
Yet did a rogue with hope of carnal joy
Cheat the most subtle nations. Who so coy,
So trim, as Greece and Egypt? yet their hearts
Are given over, for their curious arts,
To such Mahometan stupidities,
As the old heathen would deem prodigies.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare?
Only the West and Rome do keep them free
From this contagious infidelity.
And this is all the Rock, whereof they boast,
As Rome will one day find unto her cost.
Sin being not able to extirpate quite
The Churches here, bravely resolved one night
To be a Churchman too, and wear a Mitre:
This old debauched ruffian would turn writer.
I saw him in his study, where he sat
Busy in controversies sprung of late.
A gown and pen became him wondrous well:
His grave aspect had more of heav'n than hell:
Only there was a handsome picture by,
To which he lent a corner of his eye.
As Sin in Greece a Prophet was before,
And in old Rome a mighty Emperor;
So now being Priest he plainly did profess
To make a jest of Christ's three offices:
The rather since his scattered jugglings were
United now in one both time and sphere.
From Egypt he took petty deities,
From Greece oracular infallibilities,
And from old Rome the liberty of pleasure,
By free dispensings of the Church's treasure.
Then in memorial of his ancient throne
He did surname his palace, Babylon.
Yet that he might the better gain all nations,
And make that name good by their transmigrations;
From all these places, but at divers times,
He took fine vizards to conceal his crimes:
From Egypt anchorism and retiredness,
Learning from Greece, from old Rome stateliness:
And blending these he carried all men's eyes,
While Truth sat by, counting his victories:
Whereby he grew apace and scorned to use
Such force as once did captivate the Jews;
But did bewitch, and finely work each nation
Into a voluntary transmigration.
All post to Rome: Princes submit their necks
Either t' his public foot or private tricks.
It did not fit his gravity to stir,
Nor his long journey, nor his gout and fur.
Therefore he sent out able ministers,
Statesmen within, without doors cloisterers:
Who without spear, or sword, or other drum
Than what was in their tongue, did overcome;
And having conquered, did so strangely rule,
That the whole world did seem but the Pope's mule.
As new and old Rome did one Empire twist;
So both together are one Antichrist,
Yet with two faces, as their Janus was;
Being in this their old cracked looking-glass.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare?
Thus Sin triumphs in Western Babylon;
Yet not as Sin, but as Religion.
Of his two thrones he made the latter best,
And to defray his journey from the east.
Old and new Babylon are to hell and night,
As is the moon and sun to heav'n and light.
When th' one did set, the other did take place,
Confronting equally the law and grace.
They are hell's landmarks, Satan's double crest:
They are Sin's nipples, feeding th' east and west.
But as in vice the copy still exceeds
The pattern, but not so in virtuous deeds;
So though Sin made his latter seat the better,
The latter Church is to the first a debtor.
The second Temple could not reach the first:
And the late reformation never durst
Compare with ancient times and purer years;
But in the Jews and us deserveth tears.
Nay, it shall ev'ry year decrease and fade;
Till such a darkness do the world invade
At Christ's last coming, as his first did find:
Yet must there such proportions be assigned
To these diminishings, as is between
The spacious world and Jewry to be seen.
Religion stands on tip-toe in our land,
Ready to pass to the American strand.
When height of malice, and prodigious lusts,
Impudent sinning, witchcrafts, and distrusts
(The marks of future bane) shall fill our cup
Unto the brim, and make our measure up;
When Seine shall swallow Tiber, and the Thames
By letting in them both, pollutes her streams:
When Italy of us shall have her will,
And all her calendar of sins fulfil;
Whereby one may foretell, what sins next year
Shall both in France and England domineer:
Then shall Religion to America flee:
They have their times of Gospel, ev'n as we.
My God, thou dost prepare for them a way
By carrying first their gold from them away:
For gold and grace did never yet agree:
Religion always sides with poverty.
We think we rob them, but we think amiss:
We are more poor, and they more rich by this.
Thou wilt revenge their quarrel, making grace
To pay our debts, and leave our ancient place
To go to them, while that which now their nation
But lends to us, shall be our desolation.
Yet as the Church shall thither westward fly,
So Sin shall trace and dog her instantly:
They have their period also and set times
Both for their virtuous actions and their crimes.
And where of old the Empire and the Arts
Ushered the Gospel ever in men's hearts,
Spain hath done one; when Arts perform the other,
The Church shall come, and Sin the Church shall smother:
That when they have accomplished the round,
And met in th' east their first and ancient sound,
Judgement may meet them both and search them round.
Thus do both lights, as well in Church as Sun,
Light one another, and together run.
Thus also Sin and Darkness follow still
The Church and Sun with all their power and skill.
But as the Sun still goes both west and east;
So also did the Church by going west
Still eastward go; because it drew more near
To time and place, where judgement shall appear.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare?
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