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the scriptural imagery, will | preachers have always taken be more intelligible, more advantage of some such agreeable, and more edify- | analogy, after the manner ing to all sorts of hearers. of the Scripture itself, If this is the method God which gives us the pattern hath been pleased to prefer of all true preaching. for the teaching of man, it Let me shew you how must be the best when one this is by an example. Supman undertakes to teach pose a preacher would peranother. We have seen suade his audience not to how our Saviour's preach- abuse the station in life ing was in the form of to which Providence hath parables : how the Apostles appointed them ; and not in their interpretations of to presume upon the chathe Old Testament apply it racter they may sustain as a figure and shadow of amongst men for a short things to come; and how time here upon earth : he in their exhortations they reasons from the transitory reason from some parallel nature of worldly things : case in the ways of nature. and this he teaches them And still it will always be to see as in a glass, by found, that nothing has setting before them the such an effect in preaching, changeable scenery and as the skilful handling of temporary disguises of men some image or figure of the in a theatre. In the world Scripture. For truth, as at large, as upon a stage, we have often observed, there is a fashion in the does not enter into men's characters and actions of minds in its own abstract- men, which “passeth aed nature, but under the way?,” just as the scenery vehicle of some analogy, changes, and the curtain which conveys a great deal drops, in a theatre; to of sense in very few words : which the Apostle alludes. and therefore the best | The world is a great show,
I 1 Cor. vii. 31.
which presents us various stage to take himself for a scenes and fantastic cha- king, because he wears a racters ; princes, politi- crown, and walks in purple: cians, warriors, and philo- or to complain of his lot, sophers; the rich, the ho because he follows this ficnourable, the learned and titious monarch in the habit the wise : and with these, of a slave. Therefore let the servant and the beggar, us all remember, that the the poor, the weak, and the world, like
the stage, despised. Some seldom changes nothing in a man
from behind the but his outward appearscenes ; others, adorned
whatever part he with honour and power, may act, all distinctions are followed by a shouting will soon be dropped in the multitude, and fill the world grave, as the actor throws with the noise of their ac- off his disguise when his tions. But in a little time, part is over. On which the scene turns, and all consideration, it is equally these phantoms disappear. unreasonable in man, either The king of terrors clears to presume the stage of these busy plain s. actors, and strips them of One such moral lesson as their fictitious ornaments ; this, which shews us the bringing them all to a level, real state of things under and sending them down to a striking and familiar rethe grave, as all the actors semblance of it, is worth in a drama return to their volumes of dull abstracted private character when the reasonings. It captivates action is over.
the attention, and gives From this comparison, lasting information : for how easy and how striking when such a comparison is the moral. Nothing but hath once been drawn out, a disordered imagination the instruction conveyed by can tempt an actor on a , it will be revived as often
See Dunlop's Sermons, vol. i. on 1 Cor. vii. 31. “The fashion of this world passeth away."
as the image occurs to the and judge well. But it is memory.
also of eminent use for unTo the scholar, the sym- folding the religious mysbolical language of the teries of heathen antiquity. Bible is so useful, that The Grecian and Roman every candidate for litera- mythology has been much ture will be but a shallow enquired into by the learned, proficient in the wisdom and is still a great object of antiquity, till he works with them. Whoever conupon this foundation : and siders the form of religious for want of it, I have seen instruction in the Church many childish accounts of of God, will plainly see, things from men of great that the mystical or mythofigure among the learned. logical form among the In ancient times, sentiments heathens was derived from and science were expressed it, and set up against it as by wise men of all profes- a rival. It pleased God to sions under certain signs prefigure the mysteries of and symbols, of which the our faith from the beginoriginals are mostly to be ning of the world by an found in the Scripture; as emblematic ritual : this being the most ancient and manner therefore the heaauthentic of all the records thens would necessarily in the world, and shewing carry off with them; and itself to be such in the when they changed the obform of its language and ject of their worship, and expression.
departed from the Creator How nearly poetry and to the creature, they still oratory are concerned with retained the mystical form, the science of symbolical and applied it to the worexpression, has already been ship of the elements of observed. With this key, the world ; describing their a scholar may penetrate far powers and operations uninto the art of poets and der the form of fable and orators; and the next thing mystery, and serving them to composing well is to taste with a multitude of emble
matic rites and ceremonies. of life, and opens to man Because the true God taught the treasures of Divine His people by mystical re- Wisdom, which far exceed presentation, they truly all other learning, and will would have their mysteries be carried with us into antoo: and I take this to be other world, when the vathe true origin of the fa- riety of tongues shall cease, bulous style in the Greek and every other treasure mythology : though it makes shall be left behind. a wretched figure in many We study some human particulars; as the woolly writings, till we are so enheaded negro savage does, amoured with the spirit of when we consider him as a them, that it would be the
of Adam descended highest pleasure to see and from paradise. The whole converse with the person, religion of heathenism was of whose mind we have such made up of sacred tradition a picture in his works. perverted, a customary ri- Blessed are they who shall tual, and physiological fa- aspire to the sight of God ble; but the emblematic on this principle ; for their manner prevails in every hope and their affection part alike; and therefore shall be gratified. They every scholar ought to be who now see Him by faith, well acquainted with it. as He is manifested to them
Yet after all, it will be in His word, shall sit with found most valuable to the Him in the glory of His Christian believer. The kingdom : and then they knowledge of human lan- will know the value of that guages prepares us for the Wisdom, which has led reading of human authors; them through the shaand great part of our life dows and figures of temis spent in acquiring them. poral things, to that other But the interpretation of world, where all things are this sacred language takes real and eternal. off the seal from the book
It was observed in the politicians, philosophers, asforegoing lecture, that in tronomers ; all who have ancient times “sentiment made any pretensions to and science were expressed wisdom, have used the lanby wise men of all pro- guage of symbols : as if the fessions under signs and mind were turned by nature symbols.” I could not pur- to this kind of expression, sue this observation in the as the tongue is to sounds: body of the lecture, as being and indeed, this language less proper for the pulpit. of signs is properly speakBut it is pity we should ing the language of the drop a matter of so much mind; which understands curiosity and importance and reasons from the ideas, without descending to some or images of things, imexamples of what I there printed upon the imaginaadvanced.
tion. Whoever enters into All the idols in the world, the learning of antiquity, with their several insignia, or, if already learned, re- were originally emblematic collects what he has met figures, expressive of the with, will soon discover, lights of heaven and the that theologians, moralists, powers of nature. Apollo