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thors; and a great many more and stronger than any in all the most admir'd Classics.
Was ever history related with such neat plainness, such natural eloquence, and such a choice variety of circumstances, equally probable and moving, as the history of the antediluvian Patriarchs; of Abraham and his descendants; and particularly of Jofeph and his brethren? Theocri. tus and Virgil come nothing near to those lively descriptions, those proper and sweet comparisons, that native delicacy of turn, and undifsembled fervency of passion, which reign in Solomon's divine pastoral.
The prevailing passion in such poems is described above the imitation of art, and the reach and genius of all other authors. The Wise Man's Proverbs and Ecclefiastes contain a felect variety of precepts of good and happy life, derived from their true principles, by a strong genius and very elevated capacity, improv'd by a thorow knowledge of mankind, and a long course of experience. They have such a superiority in their sense and agreeable manner of expression, that any critic would wonderfully hazard his reputation, who fou'd, with Julian the Apoftate, presume to bring them into any comparison with b. Dr. Fiddes's Theologia Practica, p.537.
the dry precepts of Theognis, or the affected turns and spruceness of the morals of Isocrates.
The laws and commandments of the moft high God are deliver'd in grave and awful terms; and if compar'd either with the Attic or Roman Laws, it will immediately appear, that the first as much excel the last 'in force and softness of expression, as they do in the wisdom of their constitution, and their sure tendency to pro mote the sincere piety and happiness of mankind.
The songs of Moses and Deborah, and the Psalms, that most precious treasury of devotion and heavenly poetry, raise the foul to the highest heavens; and are infinitely more marvelous and transporting than the noblest and most happy flights of Pindar and Horacė. · There is nothing in all the tragedians, not in Euripides himfelf, lo mafterly in his mourning strokes, that is equally moving and tender with the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremy. Oh! that
head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep
. day and night! O all ye that pass by, behold and fee, if there be any forrow like mine". The complainant is so very miserable; that he has no friend or comforter left to open his grief tó; he •iş
Jer. ix. I.
d Lamen. i. 12.
forc'd to implore the pity of strangers and passengers; and then his distress is so great and visible, that he needs no words to raise compassion : he only desires them to look upon his distressed state, and then judge whether any sorrow cou'd be equal to his. Tis a piece of superlative beauty, and in one thought comprises all the eloquence of mourning., " Did we ever find, says the eloquent Dr. South, “ sorrow flowing forth “ in fuch a natural prevailing pathos, as in the “ Lamentations of Jeremy? One would think « that every letter was wrote with a tear; every “ word was the noise of a breaking heart;, that « the author was a man compacted of sorrows, disciplin’d to grief from his infancy, one who
breath'd but in sighs, nor spoke but in a groan.” Where did majesty ride in more splendor than in those descriptions of the divine power in Job? chap. xxxviii, xxxix, xl.
Can any prejudice so far biass any man of common, understanding (tho’ever so much an enemy to his own pleasure and improvement, by having a low, opinion of the sacred writers) as to
to make it a
a question with him whether Job's natural history, his description of the ostrich, the eagle, vultur, Behemoth. Leviathan, &c. do not very much excel
e Serm. Vol. IV. p. 31.
Aristotle, Pliny, and Elian, as well in the eloquence and grandeur of the language, as in the truth of the philosophy? The Greek and Latin poets have happily exerted their talents in drawing a fine horse, and yet no wonder that they all yield so much to the horse in Job; since the alınighty and infinite mind, who created that noble and useful creature, has gracioufly condescendcd to entertain us with a perfect and most transporting defcription of one of the chief pieces of his own workmanship in the animal creation.
One might with pleasure entargeupon numerous instances of the fublimity and admirable beauties of the old Testament, which are above imitation, and defy criticism and censure. But I proceed to name a few out of many vigorous Hebraisms in the new. Testament. To do things acceptable to Godis common language. To do things acceptable before, or in the presence of God, is a Hebraism: but does it not enlarge the thought, and enliven and invigorate the expression? And is it any breach of the rationale of gramniar, or does it any ways trespass upon concord or government? It places every serious reader under the inspection and all-seeing eye of the most Highest ; and
therefore is apt to inspire him with a religious awe for that immense and adorable Presence.
That God Almighty hears prayers is an expression common to all writers. That prayers ascend up to heaven as a sweet-smelling savour to God, is an Hebrew form of speech not of Jess via gour, propriety, or agreeableness
. 'Tis a beautiful allusion to the odors and fram grancies of facrifice and incense ascending into the skies; grateful to God Almighty as his own appointment; and a proper expresfion of the duty and obedience of his pious worshippers. In the Ads of the Apostles the prayers and almsdeeds of the devout Cornelius are said to be ascended as a memorial before God; that is, as an accepta able facrifice;' for in Levitigus the offering of incense is callid a memorial". St. Paul calls God to witness that he vehemently loves the Philippians in the bowels of Jesus-Christ that is with the moft affectionate tendemess' and Christian charity. But could any words in any language represent chat love and goodness with such energy and power as these, which affect both foul and body, and pierce into our inmost constitution, which rajse the tenderek, sentiments of human nature,
$ Pfal.cxli. 2. Acts xus
h Levit. ii. 2.