Some plead the Scripture’s darkness, and difference among Interpreters.
“We had thy Word,” say some, “but Lord,
wiser men than we
Could never yet interpret it,
but always disagree.
How could we fools be led by Rules
so far beyond our ken.
Which to explain did so much pain
and puzzle wisest men?“
They are confuted.
“Was all my Word abstruse and hard?”
the Judge then answeréd;
“It did contain much Truth so plain
you might have run and read.
But what was hard you never car’d
to know, or studiéd;
And things that were most plain and clear
you never practiséd.
“The Mystery of Piety
God unto Babes reveals,
When to the Wise he it denies,
and from the world conceals.
If to fulfil God’s holy Will
had seeméd good to you,
You would have sought light as you ought,
and done the good you knew.“
Others the fear of persecution.
Then came in view another crew,
and ’gan to make their pleas;
Amongst the rest, some of the best
had such poor shifts as these:
“Thou know’st right well, who all canst tell,
we liv’d amongst thy foes.
Who the Renate did sorely hate
and goodness much oppose.
“We holiness durst not profess,
fearing to be forlorn
Of all our friends, and for amends
to be the wicked’s scorn.
We knew their anger would much endanger
our lives and our estates;
Therefore, for fear, we durst appear
no better than our mates.“