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relatethem with simplicity, without emotion, or reflections; without breaking out into admiration or testimonies of gratitude; or discovering the least design to make their readers the disciples of Christ. It was not natural, that persons who lived so many years before Christ, should be so touched with his sufferings: nor that men who were eye-witnesses of his cross and so zealous for his glory, should speak with so much calmness of the unheard-of crime that was perpetrated against him.

The strong zeal and affection of the apostles might have been suspected, which that of the prophets could not be. But had not the evangelists and the prophets been inspired, the former would have writ with greater force and fire, and the latter with more coolness and indifference; the one would have shewn a desire to persuade, and the other such a timidity and hesitation in their conjectures as would not have affected any one. All the prophets are ardent, zealous, full of respect and veneration for the mysteries they publish; but as for the evangelists, they are calm, and have an inimitable moderation, though their zeal is as strong as that of the prophets. What man but sees the hand which guided both the one and the other? And what more sensible proof can we have of the divinity of the Scriptures than their not resembling, in any particular, such things as are written by men? But at the same time how much should such an example, and there are multitudes of the same kind, teach us to receive the august simplicity of the sacred books, which frequently conceal the inost sublime truths and the most profound mysteries?

[4] It is much in the same manner, the Scripture relates, that Isaac was laid by Abraham, on the wood which was to be his funeral pile, and was bound before he was sacrificed, without telling us one word either of the sentiments of the son, or his father's discourse to him; or preparing us for such a sacrifice by any reflections, or telling us in what manner the fa19] Gen. xxii.

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VOL. II.

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ther and son submitted to it. Josephus the historian puts a pretty long, but very beautiful and moving discourse into Abraham's mouth; but Moses describes him as silent, and is himself silent on that occasion. The reason of this is, the former wrote as a man, and as his genius prompted him; whereas the other was the pen and instrument of the Spirit of God, who dictated all his words.

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II, SIMPLICITY AND GRANDEUR. . [1] In the beginning God created the hearens and the earth. What man who was to have treated of such exalted matters, would have begun as Moses did? How majestic, and at the same tiine, how simple is this? Do we not perceive, that it is God himself who informs us of a wonder which does not astonish him, and to which he is superior? A common man would have endeavoured to suit the magnificence of his expressions to the grandeur of his subject, and would have discovered only his weakness; but eternal Wisdom, who made the world in [s] sport, relates it without emotion.

The prophets, whose aim was to make us admire the wonders of the creation, speak of it in a very different manner.

[t] "he Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel; the Lord hath put on his apparel, and girded himself with strength.

The holy king, transported in spirit at the first origin of the world, describes in the most pompous expressions, in what manner God, who hitherto had remained unknown, invisible, and hid in the impenetrable secret of his being, manifested himself on a sudden, by a crowd of incomprehensible wonders.

The Lord, savs he, at last comes forth from his solitude, He will not be alone happy, just, holy; but will reign by his goodness and bounty. But with (r] Gen. i. 1.

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C] Pl. xcü. i. L] Prov, viii. 31.

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what glory is the immortal King invested! What riches has he displayed to us! From what source do so many lights and beauties flow? Where were those treasures, that rich pomp hid, which issued out from the womb of darkness? How great must the majesty of the Creator be, if that which surrounds him imprints so great an awe and veneration! What must he himself be, when his works are so magnificent!

The same prophet, in another Psalm, coming out of a profound meditation on the works of God, and filled with admiration and gratitude, exhorts himself to praise and bless the infinite majesty and goodness, whose wonders astonish, and whose blessings oppress him. [u] Praise the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my God, thou art become exceeding glorious, thou art clothed with majesty and honour. . . Thou deckest thyself with light, as it were with a garment; and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain. Would not one think that the God of ages had clothed himself on a sudden with magnificence; and that, issuing from the secret part of his palace, he displayed himself in light? But all this is but his outward clothing, and as a mantle which hides him. Thy Majesty, O my God! is infinitely above the light that surrounds it. I fix my eyes on thy garments, not being able to fix them on thyself: I can discern the rich embroidery of thy purple, but I shall cease to see thee, should I dare to raise my eyes to thy face.

It will be of use to compare in this manner the simplicity of the historian, with the sublime magnificence of the prophets. These speak of the same things, but in quite a different view. The same may be observed with regard to all the circumstances of the creation. I shall present the reader with only a few of them, by which he inay form a judgment of the rest.

[2] God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also.

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Can any thing be more simple, and at the same time more august? I shall speak only of the sun and stars, and will begin with the last.

God only is allowed to speak with indifference of the most astonishing spectacle with which he had adorned the universe: And the stars. He declares in one word, what cost him but a word; but who can fathom the vast extent of this word? Do we consider that these stars are innumerable, all infinitely greater than the earth; all, the planets excepted, an inexhaustible source of light? [y] But what order fixed their ranks? and whom does that host of heaven, all whose centinels are so watchful, obey with so much punctuality and joy? The firmament set with such a numberless multitude of stars, [-] is the first preacher who declares the glory of the Almighty; and, to make all men inexcusable, we need only that book written in characters of light.

As for the sạn, who can behold it stedfastly, and bear forany length of time the splendor of its rays? [a] The sun when it appeareth, declares at its rising a marvellousinstrument, the work of the most High; at noonit parcheth the country, and who can abide the burning heat thereof? A man blowing a furnace is in works of heat, but the sun burneth the mountains three times more; breathing out

fiery vapours, and sending forth bright beams, it dimineth the eyes. Great is the Lord that made it, and at his commandment it runneth hastily. Is this then the same sun, which is mentioned in Genesis in so plain and simple a manner: He made its light greater that it might preside over the day? How many beauties are comprehended, and, as it were, veilad under these few words? Can we conceive the pomp and profusion with which the sun beģins its course; the colours with which he embellishes nature; and with what magnificence himself is arrayed at his appearing on the horizon as the spouse whom heaven and earth await, and whose delight he forms? He cometh forth out of his chamber as a (Y) Baruc. iii. 34, 35. [%] Psalm. xix. 1. [2] Eccl. xliii. 2, 5;

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bridegroom. But behold in what manner he unites the majesty and graces of a bridegroom, with the rapid course of a giant, who is less studious to please, than to carry, throughout the world, the news of the prince who sends him, and who is less attentive to his dress than to his duty. He exulted as a giant who is torun his race. He came from the highest heaven, and his course is to its height; nor can one hide himself from his heat. His light is as strong and diffusive as at the first day, so that the perpetual deluge of fire, which spreads from all parts of it, has not diminished the incomprehensible source of so full and precipitated a profusion. The prophet has just reason to cry out, Great is the Lord who made it! How great is the majesty of the Creator, and what must he bimself be, since his works are so august?

I shall add further that passage which relates to the creation of the sea: [6] God said, Let the waters. under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear,

Had not the prophets assisted us in discovering the wonders concealed under the surface of these words, their depth would be more unfathomable with regard to us, than that of the sea.

This commandment, which is here but a single ex-
pression, is a dreadful menace, and a thunder, accord-
ing to the prophet [c] The waters stood above the
mountains. At thy rebuke they fled: at thevoice of thy
thunder they hasted away, Instead of runningofigen-
tly, they fled with fear; they hasted to precipitate them-
selves, and to crowd one over the other, in order to
leave that space void which they seemed to haveusurp-
ed, since God drove them from thence.. Something
like this happened when God made his people to pass
through the Red Sea and the river Jordan, The Red
Sea made a noise, and was dried up; whence another
prophet takes occasion [d] to ask God, whether he
is angry at the river and the seas.
(6] Gen. i.

[11] Habak. iii. 8,
c) Psalms.civ. 6,76
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