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"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; "" 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 fhalt 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 shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? Left, peradventure, I "fee 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 defired effect. For " Jofeph could not refrain himself "before all them that stood by him; and he cried,-caufe every "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 Joseph said unto his brethren-I AM JOSEPH-DOTH MY FATHER YET LIVE?-And his brethren could not answer 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 Joseph'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 so important a discovery as that which Joseph 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 surprise as Joseph's brethren were, and unable to make answer. Every word is important and interesting, 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 Philistine giant Goliah ;-Saul is surprised 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. "Thy fervant, "faid he, kept his father's fheep, and there came a lion and a "bear, and took a lamb out of the flock; and I went out after
"him, and fmote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and "when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote "him, and flew him." This is furely the fhortest, and most lively description of fuch a dangerous enterprise as ever was made. "I caught him by his beard, and fmote him, and flew him." Whoever compares this with any paffage of the like nature in a profane writer, must be charmed with the modefty and fimplicity of it. The hiftory of David, as told in the facred books, is not only the most inftructive, but the most entertaining piece that ever was wrote; and his book of Pfalms may easily be proved to excel, in every respect, the poems of the moft celebrated ancients.
But what shall we fay, when we turn our eyes to the New Teftament, where beauty and grandeur have taken their peculiar refidence? Surely whoever reads there our Saviour's fermon on the mount; his various parables, fo well adapted to the understanding of all mankind, and, at the fame time, full of the profoundest truths; the folemn and pathetic relation of the death and paffion of the great Redeemer of the world, will be apt to think all other writings of no value, when fet in competition with these; will be ready to declare, that this is the precious pearl, which, when a man hath found, should he fell all he is worth to procure it, he would be an infinite gainer. The travels and pilgrimages of the Apostles; their courageous behaviour, when called before kings and governors, as recorded in the Acts; the epiftles to the first christian converts, efpecially thofe of St. Paul, are wrote in fuch a manner, as muft, and have extorted the highest encomiums from infidelity itself.
To conclude:-The facred fcriptures are not only the moft neceffary, but the most engaging books that ever were composed: they greatly excel all the writings of the most admired Greeks and Romans: whatever is to be found remarkably beautiful in them, is here compleatly fo; for this is the fountain from whence
they derived their most exalted ideas; and those who are beft acquainted here are fuch as will be moft admired as long as learning or the world endures.
It is with reluctance we quit fo delightful a subject, though we confess it no easy matter to procced in a manner suitable to the dignity and importance of the theme. The more inftances we produce, the more we can call to our remembrance. To felect any in particular where the choice is fo extenfive, must neceffarily prove difficult, for the study of the fcriptures is like the study of nature, the nearer and more curious we are in our refearches, the more scope we find for wonder and amazement, and we shall naturally be led upon a contemplation of either to exclaim with the Pfalmift-THIS IS THE LORD'S DOING, AND IT IS MARVEL
LOUS IN OUR EYES.