Reason, the Use of it in Divine Matters

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Reason, the Use of it in Divine Matters
by Abraham Cowley

Some blind themselves, 'cause possibly they may
          Be led by others a right way;
They build on Sands, which if unmov'd they find,
          'Tis but because there was no Wind.
Less hard 'tis, not to err our selves, than know
          If our Fore-fathers err'd or no.
When we trust Men concerning God, we then
          Trust not God concerning Men.

Visions and Inspirations some expect
          Their course here to direct,
Like senseless chymists their own wealth destroy,
          Imaginary gold t'enjoy
So Stars appear to drop to us from sky,
          And gild the passage as they fly:
But when they fall, and meet th'opposing ground,
          What but a sordid Slime is found?

Sometimes their fancies they 'bove reason set,
          And fast, that they may dream of meat.
Sometimes ill spirits their sickly souls delude,
          And bastard-forms obtrude.
So Endors wretched sorceress, although
          She Saul through his disguise did know,
Yet when the Dev'il comes up disguis'd, she cries,
          Behold, the Gods arise.

In vain, alas, these outward hopes are try'd;
          Reason within's our onely Guide.
Reason, which (God be prais'd!) still walks, for all
          It's old original fall.
And since itself the boundless Godhead join'd
          With a reasonable mind,
It plainly shows that mysteries divine
          May with our Reason join.

The holy book, like the eighth Sphere, does shine
          With thousand lights of truth divine.
So numberless the stars, that to the eye,
          It makes but all one galaxy.
Yet Reason must assist too, for in seas
          So vast and dangerous as these,
Our course by stars above we cannot know,
          Without the compass too below.

Though Reason cannot through Faiths mysteries see,
          It sees that there and such they be;
Leads to heavens door, and there does humbly keep,
          And there through chinks and key-holes peep.
Though it, like Moses, by a sad command
          Must not come in to th' Holy Land,
Yet thither it infallibly does guide,
          And from afar 'tis all descry'd.