Washbourne, Thomas, 1606-1687:
Upon Jonas his anger at Gods sparing of Niniveh, and destroying the
Gourd. [from Divine Poems (1654)]
1 Art angry
Jonah 'cause God gracious is
2 And merciful to Niniveh? is this
3 Thy charity, that thou hast rather see
4 Thousands of people perish, then to be
5 Deem'd a false Prophet? wouldst thou have thy Lord
6 Deny himself to justifie thy word?
7 Not spare the Penitent, since thou hast said,
8 Yet forty dayes and Niniveh's destroid?
9 Not so; forbear thy passion, curb thine ire,
10 Let God be true, and every man a lyar.
11 It cruelty, not Justice were, if them
12 VVho have repented once God should condemn.
13 God is as just as merciful when he
14 Forgives the sinner his iniquity
15 Upon his true Conversion. Nor may we
16 Think God is mutable in his decree,
17 But man the Changeling is, tis his contrition
18 That makes him capable of Gods remission.
19 The judgment thou denouncedst did suppose
20 This tacite limitation, if that those
21 'Gainst whom 'twas past, continued obstinate
22 VVithout returning from their wicked state.
23 But they repenting God, revokes his doom,
24 And th' objects of his pity they become;
25 Yet thou art angry still, and needs wilt dye,
26 Before that God shall shew his clemency
27 On them, whiles thou art guilty of the same
28 For which thou dost thy God so boldly blame.
29 Thou but a mortal man dost pity take
30 Upon a gourd which God made for thy sake;
31 And shal not the immortal God have pity
32 On Niniveh, that is so great a City?
33 A City he for his own glory made,
34 And must that City perish whiles thy shade
35 Remains untouch't? This gourd no fruit doth bear,
36 Yet flourish must, whiles men for whose use were
37 All things created, must dest oyed be,
38 Only to please thy froward phantasie;
39 This gourd, because thy covering, thou wouldst spare
40 Though it grew up without thy cost and care;
41 But Niniveh must down, which God did frame,
42 And to that height of honour brought the same,
43 That tis th' imperial City of the East,
44 Within whose walls resteth both man and beast;
45 It is a shade to thousand, yet must down,
46 Or else thy Lord shal now incurre thy frown.
47 This gourd came up and vanish't in a night,
48 Yet such thy love's to it, and such thy spight
49 To Niniveh, that though it was not built
50 In many ages, must in one be spilt,
51 Yea, thou wouldst have one hour to deface
52 And ruinate this stately towring place
53 Of three dayes journey, th'wonder of the world,
54 Into a strange confused Chaos hurl'd.
55 O Lord, how far thy thoughts above mans are,
56 Thy waies 'bove his! 'twixt them there's no compare.
57 Mans mercies cruel be, if weigh'd with thine;
58 Thy judgments, mercies be, mercies divine
59 And infinite. Such vast and mighty odds
60 There is 'twixt our affections and Gods;
61 If he were not more merciful then we,
62 One of a thousand would not saved be;
63 Whom God thinks fit to spare, we damne to hel,
64 And think in doing so that we do wel:
65 All that dissent from us we curse and banne,
66 As if they were worse then a Publican.
67 Cease, cease rash man, who dust and ashes art,
68 To contradict thy Maker, and to thwart
69 His righteous Judgments, which are so profound
70 A deepe, that thy short line can never sound
71 The bottome of them; thou may'st in thy span
72 As soon contain the Earth and Ocean,
73 As comprehend them in thy shallow brain;
74 The thought's blasphemous as th'attempt is vaine.
75 Seek not above thy reasons reach t'aspire,
76 And what thou canst not comprehend admire.
77 Submit thy Judgment unto Gods, so shall
78 Thy feet stand firmly, whereas others fal;
79 Thou shalt like th' Israelites, walk on dry ground
80 Whiles others like the Egyptians are drownd
81 In the red sea of their owne censures; so
82 By judging others, they themselves judge too.
83 Do not conceit thy faith to be the lesse
84 'Cause it abounds in charitablenesse;
85 Without all question his faith is the best,
86 Whose charity flames highest in his brest;
87 And his religion is most Christian,
88 That saves a world rather then damns a man.
89 Let then God mercy shew to Niniveh,
90 I wil not with the Prophet angry be;
91 But wish to all the same repentant minde,
92 And pray they may the like forgiveness find.