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but how could he have found out when the world was created; and who could have afcertained the first hour or day thereof?

Divers ancient authors, it is true have given us chimerical narratives of the creation of the world; which, if duely confidered, will convince any attentive reader, that tradition had handed down to them some confused ideas of the truth; which they tranfmitted to pofterity obfcured with fo many idle conceits of their own; with fuch a variety of inconsistent fictions, that their most partial admirers could not but reject fo improbable a rhapfody, and conclude it to be the refult of human invention: but whoever reads the account that Mofes gives will be feelingly convinced, that his book contains the most fatisfactory, the best concerted relation of that fact, that history ever produced. Moreover, if he will but give himself time to weigh well the manner in which it is delivered, he will affuredly find so much of majesty and divinity in every line, as must convince him, that none but the fpirit, that could frame the world by the word of his power, could poffibly entertain fuch awful, majestic, and worthy notions of that ftupendous tranfaction.

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IN confirmation of what we in the foregoing Section have afferted, it may not be unacceptable to select some beautiful paffages from holy writ, which though they should have no other good effect, will, I am perfuaded, contribute in fome measure towards the conviction of those, who, through inattention, have entertained an idle notion, that nothing is to be found in thofe facred oracles of truth proper


for the entertainment of any other perfons than enthusiasts and divines. That this is a grofs mistake, let the following paffages witnefs, which are but few in comparison of the numbers that might be produced; and though perhaps, we have made an injudicious choice, we cannot, I think, have greatly erred; fince every page, and almost every line of thofe facred books, will afford a man of true taste and judgment inexpreffible pleasure and delight.

For instance, where will you find the Deity described with fuch folemnity as in the writings of the infpired penmen? Whenever they speak of the majesty of heaven, they do it in fuch terms, as fufficiently testify they were at that time more than men; and if fo, what reason can be given; fince in all ages of the world there have been men of surprising parts and abilities, why some of them have not equalled the inspired penmen in the elegance and fublimity of their descriptions?-But it is granted even by the adversaries of religion, that their writings, in that particular, are distinguishingly great and noble.-How fublime and energetic is the defcription which David gives in that pfalm, which he compofed in remembrance of his many wonderful deliverances from the hand of Saul!

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"The earth shook and trembled; the foundations alfo of the "hills moved and were fhaken, because he was wroth. There "went up a smoke out of his noftrils, and fire out of his mouth "devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, "and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of "the wind. He made darkness his fecret place; his pavilion round "about him were dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. At "the brightness that was before him his thick clouds paft; hail"stones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, "and the highest gave his voice; hail-ftones and coals of fire. "Yea, he fent out his arrows, and fcattered them; and he shot “out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of


"waters were feen and the foundations of the world were dif"covered; at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath "of thy noftrils." What poetry can equal this?-What aweful ideas of the Supreme Being muft we be filled with, when we confider the earth trembling, and the heavens humbled at his feet? What confufion and difcord, what horror and defpair must poffefs the fouls of the enemies of that Being, whofe very presence fhook the earth to its very foundation! Whofe voice is thunder; and lightnings the breath of his noftrils! Whofe majesty is veiled in thick darkness, and whofe vehicles are the wings of the wind !

But fublimity of language is not the only beauty of the facred writings ;—the narrative part will be found inexpreffibly elegant, though delivered with all the air of freedom and fimplicity imaginable. The creation of the world, for inftance, was such a subject, as any uninfpired writer would have dreffed up, one would imagine, in all the pomp and grandeur that the art of elocution could devise; yet, in the facred page, we find only a plain defcription of that great and important event. No reflections, no fallies of admiration; but an even uniform relation, executed with the greatest conciseness, and, at the fame time, in fo fatisfactory a manner, that infinitely more is left for the exercise of the imagination, than is expreffed in words. Had the ftory of the creation been a fubject for mere man to have exerted his talents upon, a whole volume had not been fufficient for the task; and yet we find in the book of Mofes, but one short chapter fet apart for that purpose; and this brevity will be thought the more remarkable, fince no uninspired perfon, had he been ever fo learned, or ever fo well acquainted with the various circumftances of that great work, could ever have told it with a better grace.-Longinus, one of the most justly admired ancient authors, could not help being charmed at the noble fimplicity of this description, and records it as a diftinguishing inftance of the fublime." The Jewish legifVOL. III.



"lator, fays he, a man of uncommon parts, having poffeffed his "mind with an aweful idea of the Deity, as nobly declares it."In the beginning of his law, he has this expreffion, GOD SAID;— "what?-LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT; 66 LET THERE BE EARTH, AND IT WAS SO."

The facred writings are full of this majestic fimplicity, and unaffected grandeur.-Such as that recorded by St. John.LAZARUS COME FORTH.-And that by St. Matthew-"Lord, "if thou wilt, thou canft make me clean.-I WILL, BE THOU "CLEAN." And that, again in St. Mark, where Chrift hushes the tumultuous fea into a calm, with PEACE BE STILL. The waters heard that voice which commanded univerfal nature into being.They funk at his command, who has the fole privilege of faying to that unruly element, " Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther: here fhall thy proud waves be stayed."

Though this noble fimplicity may likewise be found through all the historical parts of the facred writings; yet it is no where more confpicuous, than in the narrative of Jofeph. When that great man, in order to probe his brethren to the very quick, had restrained his feelings for them fo far, as to touch their hearts by many fevere trials; when he had artfully brought them to the very brink of despair, he extorted a plain, but pathetic relation from Judah of his father's grief, upon parting with Benjamin, which he concluded with what cannot be fo well expreffed in any words as his own.-" Now, therefore, I pray thee let thy "fervant abide inftead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren-for how fhall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? Left, peradventure, I "see the evil that fhall come on my father?" The whole fpeech is delivered in fuch a plain, and feemingly inartful manner, and at the fame time is fo affecting, that it could not fail moving the paffions of any man of a tender difpofition, and we are told


it had the desired effect. For "Jofeph could not refrain himself "before all them that stood by him; and he cried,-caufe every

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man to go out from me: and there ftood no man with him "while Jofeph made himself known to his brethren. And he wept aloud; and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. "And Jofeph faid unto his brethren-I AM JOSEPH-DOTH MY "FATHER YET LIVE?-And his brethren could not anfwer him, "for they were troubled at his prefence." What an affemblage of ideas do these few words convey to the intelligent reader? What could fo well paint Jofeph's grief as his behaviour on that occafion ?—The news of fuch a tranfaction being spread through the court of Pharaoh, is there expreffed in the most concife, and yet comprehenfive manner, that can poffibly be conceived.-AND THE HOUSE OF PHARAOH HEARD.-But what shall we fay, when we find fo important a difcovery as that which Jofeph was to make to his brethren, and the tender concern of a dutiful child delivered in two fhort fentences."1 am Jofeph :-Doth my "father yet live?"-What a fcope is here left for the imagination? We cannot but think, the reader must be in almost as great a furprise as Jofeph's brethren were, and unable to make anfwer. Every word is important and interefting, and each deserves a pause of contemplation.

We cannot help offering another inftance of this noble brevity which we imagine cannot be read but with the utmost pleasure. It is a circumstance which David relates to Saul. The occafion this. David offered himself to oppose the Philiftine giant Goliah;-Saul is furprised at the boldness of the attempt, upon the confideration both of the youth and ftature of David. But to remove all objections of that fort, David gives the following account of his combat, with a lion and a bear. 66 Thy fervant, "said he, kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock; and I went out after « him,

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