#178 – POEM by Soame Jenyns (eighteenth century)
“Oh could mankind but make this truth their guide
And force the helm from prejudice and pride,
Were once these maxims fixed, that God’s our friend,
Virtue our good, and happiness our end.
How soon must reason o’er the world prevail,
And error, fraud and superstition fail!
None would hereafter, then, with groundless fear,
Describe the Almighty cruel and severe
Predestinating some without pretense
To Heav’n, and some to hell for no offense;
Inflicting endless pains for transient crimes,
And fav’ring sects, or nations, men or climbs.
None would fierce zeal for piety mistake,
Or malice for whatever tenets sake,
Or think salvation to a few confined
And heav’n too narrow to contain mankind!”