« PreviousContinue »
buried in Sleep. The most profound Silencè reigned through the Universe. In these folemn Moments, Eliphaz alone, all wakeful and folitary, was mufing upon fublime and heavenly Subjects. When, lo! an awful Being, from the invifible Realms, burft into his Apartment*. A Spirit paffed before his Face. Aftonishment feized the Beholder. His Bones fhivered within Him; his Flesh trembled all over Him; and the Hair of his Head flood erect with Horror. Sudden and unexpected was the Appearance of the Phantom; but not fuch its Departure. It Stood Still, to prefent itself more fully to his View. It made a folemn Paufe, to prepare his Mind for fome momentous Meffage.-After which, a
C E 4
*I have given this fine Picture a modern Dress, rather for the Sake of Variety and Illuftration, than from any Apprehenfion of improving the admirable Original. Such an Attempt, I am fenfible, would be more abfurd, than to lacquer Gold, or paint the Diamond. The Defcription in Eliphaz's own Language, is awful and affecting to the last Degree. A Night-Piece, dreffed in all the Circumftances of the deepest Horror. I question, whether Shakespear himself, though fo peculiarly happy for his great Command of terrifying Images, has any Thing fuperior or comparable to this. The Judges of fine Compofition fee the masterly Strokes; and, I believe, the moft ordinary Reader feels them, chilling his Blood, and awakening Emotions of Dread in his Mind.
Voice was heard. A Voice, for the Importance of its Meaning, worthy to be had in everlasting Remembrance; for the Solemnity of its Delivery, enough to alarm a Heart of Stone. It fpoke; and this was the Purport of its Words;- Shall "Man, frail and wretched Man, be Just before
the mighty GOD? Shall even the most up❝right and accomplished of Mortals be pure in the "Sight of his Maker? Behold, and confider "it attentively. He put no fuch Truft in his "moft exalted Servants, as fhould befpeak them "altogether incapable of Defect, or authorize
them to arrogate any Honour to themselves. "And his very Angels, without the leaft Injury <to their Character, He charged with Folly; «as finking, even in the highest Perfection of "their Holiness, infinitely beneath his transcen
dent Glories; and falling, even in all the "Fidelity
There feems to be a fignificant and beautiful Gradation in the Hebrew Words and which I have endeavoured to preferve by a Sort of paraphraftic Verfion.The Reader will obferve a new Turn given to the Sentiment, and much mobler than that which our English Translation exhibits. The Paffage, thus rendered, fpeaks a Truth incomparably more weighty, and needful to be inculcated. A Truth, exactly parallel to that humbling Confeffion of the Prophet, We are all as an unclean Thing and to that folemn Declaration of the Pfalmift, In thy Sight hall no Man living be justified. Vide Schult. in loc.
Fidelity of their Obedience, inexpreffibly "fhort of the Homage due to his most adorable Majefty. And if angelic Natures must not "prefume to juftify either Themfelves, or their "Services, before immaculate, and uncreated "Purity; how much less does fuch a Carriage " become Them, that dwell in Houfes of Clay; "whofe Original is from the Duft, and whofe * State is all Imperfection?
I WOULD obferve from hence, the very fin gular Neceffity of that Poverty of Spirit, which intirely renounces its own Attainments; and, confequently, fubmits to the Righteousness of the incarnate GOD. To inculcate this Leffon, the Son of the Bleed came down from Heaven; and preffed no other Principle, with fo repeated * an Importunity, on his Hearers. To inftil the fame Doctrine, the HOLY GHOST touched the Lips of the Apostles with facred Eloquence; and made it an eminent Part of their Commiffion, "to 66 bring down every high Imagination.” That no Expedient might be wanting, to give it a deep and lasting Efficacy on the human Mind,
It is well worthy of our Obfervation, fays an excellent Commentator, That no one Sentence uttered by our LORD, is fo frequently repeated as this; Whofoever fhall exalt himself, fhall be abafed; and He that shall humble himself, fhall be exalted: Which occurs at least ten Times in the Evangelists.
a Phantom arifes from the Valley of the Shadow of Death, or a Teacher defcends from the Habitation of Spirits.-Whatever then we neglect, let us not neglect to cultivate this Grace, which has been for variously taught, fo powerfully inforced. a c ACMAX ital 2
HARK! a doleful Voice.-With fudden Starts, and hideous Screams, it difturbs the Silence of the peaceful Night. 'Tis the Screech Owl, fometimes in frantic,fometimes in difconfolate Accents, uttering her Woes*.-She flies the vocal Grove, and fhuns the Society of all the feathered Choir. The blooming Gardens, and flowery Meads, have no Charms for Her. Obfcene Shades, ragged Ruins, and Walls overgrown with Ivy, are her favourite Haunts. Above, the mouldering Precipice nods, and threatens a Fall; below, the Toad crawls, or the poisonous Adder hiffes. The fprightly Morning, which awakens other Animals into Joy, adminifter no Pleasure
*Solaque culminibus ferali carmine bubo
Sape queri, longafque in fletum ducere voces.
Thus fung that charming Genius, that Prince of the antient Poets, that moft confummate Mafter of Ele gance and Accuracy; all whofe Sentiments are Nature, whofe every Defcription is a Picture, whose whole Language is Muficingilal in those
to this gloomy Reclufe. Even the smiling Face of Day, is her Averfion; and all its lovely Scenes create nothing but Uneafinefs.
So, juft fo, would it fare with the Ungodly, were it poffible to fuppofe their Admiffion into the chafte and bright Abodes of endless Felicity. They would find nothing but Disappointment and Shame, even at the Fountain-Head of Happiness and Honour. For how could the Tongue, habituated to Profaneness, taste any Delight in joining the harmonious Adorations of Heaven? How could the Lips, cankered with Slander, relifh the Raptures of everlafting Praise? Where would be the Satisfaction of the vain Beauty, or the fupercilious Grandee? Since, in the Temple of the Skies, no Incense of Flattery would be addreffed to the one, nor any obfequious Homage paid to the other. The tranfcendent and immaculate Purity of the bleffed GoD would flash Confufion on the lafcivious Eye. And the envious Mind must be on a Rack of felf-tormenting Paffions, to obferve Millions of happy Beings, thining in all the Perfection of Glory, and folacing themselves in the Fulnefs of Joy. In fhort; the unfanctified Soul, amidst holy and triumphant Spirits ; even in the refined Regions of Blifs and Immortality; would be like this melancholy Bird, difledged from her darksome Retirement,