"Read and revere the sacred page; a page / Where triumphs Immortality; a page / Which not the whole creation could produce; / Which not the conflagration shall destroy; / In Nature's ruins not one letter lost: / 'Tis printed in the minds of gods for ever."
— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)
Instead of racking fancy to refute,
Reform thy manners, and the truth enjoy.--
But shall I dare confess the dire result?
Can thy proud reason brook so black a brand?
From purer manners, to sublimer faith,
Is Nature's unavoidable ascent:
An honest deist, where the gospel shines,
Matured to nobler, in the Christian ends.
When that bless'd change arrives, e'en cast aside
This song superfluous: life immortal strikes
Conviction, in a flood of light Divine.
A Christian dwells, like Uriel, in the sun.
Meridian Evidence puts Doubt to flight;
And ardent Hope anticipates the skies.
Of that bright sun, Lorenzo! scale the sphere:
'Tis easy; it invites thee; it descends
From heaven to woo, and waft thee whence it came:
Read and revere the sacred page; a page
Where triumphs Immortality; a page
Which not the whole creation could produce;
Which not the conflagration shall destroy;
In Nature's ruins not one letter lost:
'Tis printed in the minds of gods for ever.
(ll. 1342-1365, p. 213 in CUP edition)
Edward Young, Night the Seventh. Being the Second Part of the Infidel Reclaimed. Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of Immortality. (London: Printed for G. Hawkins, 1744).
Text from The Complete Works, Poetry and Prose, of the Rev. Edward Young, LL.D., 2 vols. (London: William Tegg, 1854). <Link to Google Books>
Reading Edward Young, Night Thoughts, ed. Stephen Cornford (New York: Cambridge UP, 1989).