Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A STRICTURE ON BISHOP WARBURTON'S DOCTRINE OF GRACE, by JOHN BYROM



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A STRICTURE ON BISHOP WARBURTON'S DOCTRINE OF GRACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Writing or scripture, sacred or profane
Last Line: To deify a book is bibliolatry.
Subject(s): Bible; Clergy; Holy Ghost; Religious Education; Warburton, William (1698-1779); Writing & Writers; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops; Holy Spirit; Sunday Schools; Yeshivas; Parochial Schools


WRITING or scripture, sacred or profane,
Can only render history more plain
Of what was done or said, by God or man,
Since the creation of the world began:
Tho' ev'ry word in sacred page be true,
To give account is all that it can do.

Now an account of things, as done or said,
Is not a living letter, but a dead;
A picture only, which may represent,
But cannot give us what is really meant:
He that has got a map into his hand
May use the name, but knows it is not land.

So in the Bible when we come to look,
(That is, by way of eminence, the book,)
We must not fancy that it can bestow
The things themselves, which we desire to know;
It can but yield, however true and plain,
Verbal directions how we may obtain.

Tho' a prescription be directly sure,
Upon the patient's taking it, to cure,
No one imagines that the worded bill,
Becomes, itself, the remedy for ill;
The med'cines taken, as the bill directs,
Procure the salutiferous effects.

Who, then, can place in any written code
The Holy Ghost's, the Comforter's, abode?
Constant abode—supreme illumination—
What copy can be this, or what translation?
The Spirit's dwelling, by th' attesting pen
Of all th' inspir'd, is in the hearts of men.

Were books his constant residence indeed,
What must the millions do who cannot read?
When they, who can, so vary in their sense,
What must distinguish true from false pretence?
If they must follow where the learned guide,
What diff'rent spirits in one book abide?

Genius for paradox, however bright,
Cannot well justify this oversight:
Better to own the truth, for the truth's sake,
Than to persist in such a gross mistake.
Books are but books; th' illuminating part
Depends on God's Good Spirit in the heart.

The Comforter, Christ said, will come unto,
Abide with, dwell in, (not your books, but) you:
Just as absurd an ink and paper throne
For God's abode, as one of wood or stone:
If to adore an image be idolatry,
To deify a book is bibliolatry.





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