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First Line: Oh wretched world, but wretched above all
Last Line: In pennance my baptismal vows renew.
Subject(s): Churches; Life; Love; Religion; Cathedrals; Theology

Oh wretched World, but wretched above all,
Man, man's the most unhappy animal,
Not knowing to what state he shall belong,
He tuggs the heavy chain of life along.
So many ages pass, yet no experience shows,
From whence man comes, nor after where he goes.
We are instructed of a future state,
Of just rewards, and punishments in that,
But ignorant how, where, or when, or what.
I'm shew'd a book, in which such things are writ,
And by all hands assur'd all's true in it;
But in this book, such Misterys I find,
That 'stead of healing oft corrodes the mind.
Sometimes our faith must be our only guide,
Our sences and our reason layd aside.
Again to reason, we our faith submit,
This spurs, that checks, we curvet, champ the bitt,
And make our future hopes uneasie sit.
Now faith, now reason, now good works doe all,
Betwixt these opposits, our vertues fall,
Each calling each, false and Hereticall.
And after all what rule have we to show,
Whether these writings sacred be or no?
If we allege the truths that we find there,
Are to themselves a testimony clear,
By the same rule such good Romances are.
Then sure some living witness there must bee,
To hand this down to all posterity,
And with their blood avouch the verity.
Such is the Church, not that wherein I live,
For that can no such Testimony give,
But quite contrary it's new doctrins look,
Denying things affirmed in this book:
And for her to pretend to judge in this,
Is to discribe to Adam Paradice,
For he must better know, who lived there
And so must they, who the first teachers were.
For us to deem our selves the Church, to me
Seems like a feather which the bird will be,
Or a lop'd branch, which needs will be the tree.
Now from this cant I think I ought to go,
But shame and interest still whisper no.
Beside respect to my first mother due,
I'm not assur'd this other is the true.
When e'er I go, I go a poor forlorn,
Into a Church by persecutions torn,
And to my friends become a general scorn.
These thoughts perhaps are sent from Heav'n expres,
To keep me from a dangerous precipice;
But how know I, they do not come from Hell,
To stop the current of my doing well.
Thus I by doubts, and hopes, and fears am toss'd,
And in the labrinth of disputes am lost;
Unhappy, who with any doubts are curss'd,
But of all doubts, Religious doubts are worst.
Wou'd I were dead, or wou'd I had no soul,
Or ne'er been born, or els been born a fool:
Then future fears wou'd not my thoughts anoy,
But use what's truly ours, the present joy.
Ah happy brutes! I envy much your state,
Whome nature one day shall annihilate;
Compar'd to which, wretched is human fate.
But where my God, oh wither do I run!
Without thy check, I stop not till undone;
What insolence for me a thing so bad,
To quarrel why I thus or thus am made?
A pot-sherd is a better thing by far,
For it against it's maker, makes no war.
Forgive me God, forgive me but this once,
And I'll forever my whole self renounce;
In testimony here I prostrate fall
And take thee for my God, my life my all.
Now now I feell th' effect of Heav'nly love,
That nothing e'er my constancy can move.
Sure pleasant are the repasts of the just.
Since in this tast I find so great a gust.
Hence then all wordly joys I might persue,
With Benit's sons, I will go bid adue,
In pennance my baptismal vows renew.

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