Right Zeal. By the same Hand (as "The Safety of a low State").
No MS; 1696 Tate, 116-9.
Sure there's a Zeal that's born of heav'nly Race,
Whose Lineage in its Aspects you may trace;
The generous Fervour and admir'd Degree
Of a victorious, healthful Piety.
This quickens Souls grown stupid, and imparts
An active Ferment to devouter Hearts.
'Tis this invigorates decaying Grace,
And sheds fresh Beauty on it's sickly Face.
It works not out in Froth, nor will it vent
In angry Heats its inward Discontent.
Nor, for a Trifle, will to Blood content,
Nor all its Warmth in Noise and Censures spend.
But meek and gentle as the Sacred Dove,
'Twill on the Soul in kindly Breathings move.
It smooths rough Nature sweetens eager Blood,
Expels the vicious part, and saves the good.
Its heav'nly Birth and Nature it will prove,
By universal Charity and Love,
It will so widen a contracted Mind
To the strait Compass of a Sect confin'd,
It shall embrace those of a different Name
And find ev'n for their Enemies a Flame.
'Twill pity smaller Faults, and those that stray
Reduce with peaceful Methods to their way:
It deals not Blows and Death about on those,
Whose Errors some less useful Truth oppose;
Nor do's with Sword and Fire the Stubborn tame,
It uses none but its own harmless Flame.
In Reformations 'twill some Faults endure,
And not encrease the Wounds it seeks to cure.
It stickles most on Love's and Mercy's side,
And checks the Heat and outrages of Pride.
'Twill shed its own, not others Blood to gain
The Peace it seeks, and mutual Love maintain.
This Zeal has always most Ippatience shown,
Where our Lord's Honour's injur'd, not our own:
Unaskt it can forgive an Injury,
Still love the Author, and his Rage defy.
Without this Zeal how meanly Grace appears,
See what a sick consumptive Face it wears!
It's Beauty faded, and its Vigour lost.
It seems departed Virtue's meagre Ghost
Only this Zeal its Ruins can repair.
And render its Complexion fresh and fair.
Such Courage springs from this more active Grace,
As can the various Shapes of Terrour face;
It makes us gladly take the Martyr's Crown,
And meet the Flames, with greater of our own.
No Straits, no Death it formidable thinks,
Beneath whose force a sickly Virtue sink:
It gives the Soul the quickest, deepest Sense
Of unseen Worlds, creates such diligence
As cheerfully dispatches all the Tasks
That Heav'n prescribes, or our own safety asks.
This Zeal is wary, not enflam'd by Pride,
And walks not, but with Knowledge for its guide;
Nor will to hastily Advance, but stay
To take Advice and Reason in its way.
When it grows hot, 'tis always certain too,
And will its doubting Thoughts as calmly shew.
Blest heav'nly Zeal! how spiritful and fair
Those Souls that feel its Influence, appear!
How much such Godlike Hero's us condemn
Whom they excel, as much as Angels, them.
Let me this truly noble Zeal attain,
And those that lack'em, Wealthy and Honour gain.
My Portion's then so great, as not all the store
Of worldly Treasures can enrich me more.
Attributed to Finch as one of the above referred-to 13 poems; this another imitation of Orinda's meditative moral columns of verse; although this one directed against "false zeal" of Puritans, and is more moralistic than religious (the poet argues against the "Contracted Mind" and ends: "My Portion's then so great, as not all the store/Of worldly Treasures can enrich me more"), argument of poem is devotional (you must turn to God and His Grace for solace). One striking couplet (like others by Finch) looks forward to Pope, here his couplets on aged beauty in his "Epistle to a Lady": "Its Beauty faded, and its Vigour lost/It seems departed Virtue's meagre Ghost." Use of "zeal" in this religious and well as social sense (a narrow blind enthusiasm) occurs in Anne Finch's "Upon my Lord WINCHILSEA's converting the Mount" (1703-6 below).
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003