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the most finished productions of that celebrated people *. Moses, for instance, stands unrivalled by the best of them both as a Poes, Orator, and Iistorian.: David as a Poct. and l'usician: SOLOMON as a Moralist, Naturalist, and Pastoral writer: JEREMIA, EZEKIEL, NAHUM, JOEL, and some other of the Minor Prophets, as Orators, and Poets, or both: Homer and Virgil must yield the palm to Jobs for true sublime: Isalah excels all the world in almost every kind of composition: the four Evangelists are eminent as Orators and Historians: St. Peter and St. JAMES, ST. LUKE and St. Joun, as authors of no ordinary rank: and St. Paul as the most sublime of Writers and eloquent of Orators**. All these eulogiums upon the sacred peninen are spoken of them merely as Authors, without the least view to their higher order as inspired writers, and messengers of the LORD of Hoststt. If this last consideration be taken into the account, and added to the former, what an all-important book must the Bible be? what a blessing to mankind! Lauguage cannot express the value of it. If the exhortation of a late noble author, as improperly applied to the Grecian Ward, were applied to this inestimable volume, it would be used with the strictest propriety and decorum!
* Lowti's Pralectiones.
+ LONGINUS, the best critic of the Heathen world, speaks of Mos es as no ordinary writer, and cites his account of the creation as an instance of the true sublime.
Mr. ADDISON says, “ After perusing the book of Psalms, let a judge of the beauties of poetry read a literal translation of HorACE or PINDAR, and he will tind in these two last such an absurdity and confusion of style, with such a comparative poverty of imagination, as will make him sensible of the vast superiority of Scripture style.”
The l’ev. GEORGE COSTARD, famous for oriental learning, considers Job as an exalted and regular piece of castern poetry, of the dramatic kind, consisting of five acts. The tree first end at the 32d chapter; from the 32d to the 38th is the fourth act; from thence to the end is the fifth act.
|| Let the reader consult Bishop Lowth's Praiectiones for the character of the several prophets of the Old Testament, where he will find much useful information.
** The above LONGINUS ranks Paul of Tarsus' among the most famous orators.
++ Madame DACIER, the celerated French Critic, in the Preface to ber translation of HOMER, assures is, that “ the books of the Prophets and the Psalms even in the fulguie, are full of such passages as the greatest poet in the world coull not put into verse, without losing much of their majesty and pathos."
“ Read God's Word once, and you can read no more :
need." In short, my COUNTRYMEN, the Bible abounds with a vast variety of matter, a confused magnificence above all order; and is the fittest book in the world to be the standard of doctrines, and the model of good writing. We defy all the Sons of Infidelity to shew us any thing like it, or second to it. Where will you meet with such a number of instructive Proverbs-fervent Prayers -sublime Songs—beneficent Miracles-apposite Parables—infallible Prophecies* -affec
* A valuable Correspondent, speaking of the prophetic Scriptures, expresses himself in the following manner:~" Next to Astronomy, few subjects expand the human mind more than the view which prophecy opens to us of the government of the GREAT King. To see the vast mass of naterials, kingdoms, and centuries, in motion, only to the accomplishment of his purposes: to see refractory man employed to preserve the harmony of his designs; and the disorderly passions, while apparently working solely in their own narrow circle, ignorantly advancing the fulfilment of his determination! This is a study delightfully interesting, and which, in common with the contemplation of all the GREAT CREATOR's doings, elevates the inind above the oppression of human cares and sorrows, and seems to leave her in that serenity of admiration, which one may imagine an imperfect foretaste of part of the employment and happiness of angels.”
ABRAHAM COWLEY tells us that“ all the books of the Bible are either already most admirable and exalted pieces of poetry, or are the best materials in the world for it."
Sir RICHARD BLACKMORE says, that “ for sense, and for noble and sublime thoughts, the poetical parts of Scripture liave an infinite advantage above all others put together."
MATTHEW PRIOR, Esq. is of opinion, that “ the writings of Solomon afford subjects for finer poems in every kind, than have yet appeared in the Greek, Latin, or any modern language.”
ALEXANDER POPE, Esq. assures us, that “ the pure and noble, the graceful and dignified simplicity of language, is no where in such perfection as in the Scripture and Homer; and at the whole book of Job, with regard both to sublimity of thought and morality, exceeds beyond all comparison the most noble parts of HOMER.”
Mr. NICHOLAS Rowe too, the Poet, after having read most of the Greek and Roman histories in their original languages, and most that are written in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, was fully persuaded of the truth of Revealed Religion, expressed it upon all occasions, took great delight in divinity and ecclesiastical history, and died at last like a Christian and Philosopher, with an absolute resig, nation to the will of God.
tionate Epistles-eloquent Orations-instructive Historiespure Laws-rich Promises-awful Denunciations-useful
There are few anecdotes of our celebrated English Poets which have given me more pleasure than that of poor COLLINS, wbo, in the latter part of his mortal career," withdrew from study, and travelled with no other book than an English Testament, such as children carry to school. When a friend took it into his hand, out of curiosity to see what companion a Man of Letters had chosen - I hare only one book,” said COLLINS, " but that is the best.” -See Johnson's Lives of the Poets, vol. iv,
I must own that such an anecdote as this knits niy, heart to ColLINS more than all the excellencies of his poetry. Sick and infirm, in the spirit of Mary, he sits at the divine REDEEMER's feet, listening to the words of eternal life. In such a state of body and mind, one single promise, from his gracious and infallible lips, is of more real value and importance than all the pompous learning of the most celebrated Philosophers. This, indeed, will never be properly felt and understood till we come to be in similar circumstances. When Dr. WATȚs was almost woru out, and broken down by his infirmities, he observed in conversation with a friend, “ he remembered an aged minister used to say, that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they come to die, have only the same plain promises of the Gospel for their support, as the common and unlearned: and so, said he, I find it. It is the plain promises of the Gospel that are my support; and I bless God, they are plain promises, and do not require much labour and pains to understand tliem, for I can do nothing now, but look into my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that.”
This was likewise the case with the pious and excellent Mr. HERVEY. He writes about two months before his death:spend,” says he, “almost my whole tiwe, in reading and praying over the Bible.”—And again, near the same time to another friend :
L“ I am now reduced to a state of infant weakness, and given over by my physician. My grand consolation is to meditate on CHRIST; and I am hourly repeating those heart-reviving lines of Dr. YOUNG:
This-only this subdues the fear of death: And what is this?-Survey the wondrous cure; And at each step let higher wonders rise! 1. Pardon for infinite offence!-2. And pardon Through means that speak its value infinite!-3. A pardon bought with blood!—4. With blood divine! 5. With blood divine of him I made
" I now
Ensamples, as are set before us in this richly fraught magazine of all true excellence in matter and composition, the Holy Bible? We may say with Propertius, on another occasion,
Cedite, Romani scriptores; cedite, Graii*: And recommend to the Gentleman t, the Scholar, and the Philosopher, as well as to the illiterate Christian, the daily perusal of the Bible, with infinitely greater propriety, than ever HORACE did to the learned Romans the study of the Grecian inodels.
Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurna 1.
13. Yet for the foulest of the foul he dies !
And GODHEAD dearer, as more kind to man."
* Let both the Greek and Roman authors yield the palm to the Sacred Writings.
+ Dr. South Observes, that, " he who would not read the Scripture for fear of spoiling his style, shewed himself as much a Blockhead as an atheist, and to have as small a gust of the elegancies of expression, as of the sacredness of the matter." Sermons, vol. iv.
| Read therein by day, meditate by night.
the brutes that perish, being earthly, sensual, devilish. Let them but eat, drink, sleep, and indul e the baser passions of the hunan frame, they ask no mure, they look no lugher.To intellectual and refined enjoyments they are strafigery. Of literary gratifications they know little. For moral and religious pleasures they have no taste.
Immortal espectations, which exalt and enuoble the mind of man, they are wil. ling to forego. The language of their sensual sculs, which are bruialized with indulgence, is no other than that of the ancient Epicureans:--Let us eat and drink; for to-noti0w we die. And did they die to-morrow, the public would have do great logs of them : could they make good their hopes, that death is an eternal cessation from sensibility, they themselves would sustaiu no material incouvenience. The best they can expect is, to cease to be; a cuosumination, for such chat racters, devoutly to be u ished!
These are the men, however, who make the greatest noise, and most violently oppose the Religion of the Son of God, and the Sacred Il ritings*!
It is an honour to that Religidn, and these Writings, that such men are Intidels, and avow their Unbelief in the face of the world! May every unreasonable and immoral man do the same!
After all, my COUNTRYMEN, if every thing besides in these papers shall be despised by you, let the several examples herein recorded have their due weight upon your minds. It there be importance in any thing, it is usually found in the sentiments and behaviour of men, wben they draw near the close of their earthly existence. - Men may
live fools; but fools they cannot die.” We may, indeed, be hardened in our sins, when that event
* It is calculated, that, when trade goes pretty well, there are, upon an average, 200,000 manufacturers in this country, who constantly spend their working hours in idleness, drinking, gambling and debauchery. This large body of men may likewise be considered as infidels in principle, atheists in practice, and ripe for any wicked and desperate enterprize which may arise. They are the curse and scum of the country, and yet they are usually excessively wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own conceit. All the world are fools be-. sides, themselves. They are great politiciuns, great philosophers, great divina-over their cups !--and wisdom shall die with them!