“An Address to the Atheist”

Written in 1767, 14 years of age. The poems urge atheists to embrace Christianity.


Muse! where shall I begin the spacious feild
To tell what curses unbeleif doth yeild?
Thou who dost daily feel his hand, and rod
Darest thou deny the Essence of a God! —
If there’s no heav’n, ah! whither wilt thou go
Make thy Ilysium in the shades below?
If there’s no God from whom did all things Spring
He made the greatest and minutest Thing
Angelic ranks no less his Power display
Than the least mite scarce visible to Day
With vast astonishment my soul is struck
Have Reason’g powers thy darken’d breast forsook?
The Laws deep Graven by the hand of God,
Seal’d with Immanuel’s all-redeeming blood:
This second point thy folly dares deny
On thy devoted head for vengeance cry —
Turn then I pray thee from the dangerous road
Rise from the dust and seek the mighty God.
His is bright truth without a dark disguise
And his are wisdom’s all beholding Eyes:
With labour’d snares our Adversary great
Withholds from us the Kingdom and the seat.
Bliss weeping waits thee, in her Arms to fly
To her own regions of felicity —
Perhaps thy ignorance will ask us where?
Go to the Corner stone he will declare.
Thy heart in unbelief will harden’d grow
Tho’ much indulg’d in vicious pleasure now —
Thou tak’st unusual means; the path forbear
Unkind to others to thy self Severe —
Methinks I see the consequence thou’rt blind
Thy unbelief disturbs the peaceful Mind.
The endless scene too far for me to tread
Too great to utter from so weak a head.
That man his maker’s love divine might know
In heavens high firmament he placed his Bow
To shew his covenant for ever sure
To endless Age unchanging to endure —
He made the Heavens and earth that lasting Spring
Of admiration! To whom dost thou bring
Thy grateful tribute? Adoration pay
To heathen Gods? Can wise Apollo say
Tis I that saves thee from the deepest hell;
Minerva teach thee all thy days to tell?
Doth Pluto tell thee thou Shalt see the shade
Of fell perdition for transgression made?
Doth Cupid in thy breast that warmth inspire
To love thy Brother, which is God’s desire?
Atheist! behold the wide extended skies
And wisdom infinite shall strike thine eyes
Mark rising Sol when far he spreads his Ray
And his Commission read — To rule the Day
At night behold that silver Regent bright
And her command to lead the train of Night
Lo! how the Stars all vocal in his praise
Witness his Essence in celestial lays!