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propriety he fixed upon this noble panegyric, on the high priest: Simon the son of Onias, as a specimen of scriptural sublimity, in the richness of imagery, and allusion. But I cannot agree with him in thinking that sublimity arises from a profusion of those images in which the mind is so dazzled as to make it impossible to attend to that exact; coherence and agreement of the allusions, which we should require on every other occasion. With due deference to Mr. Burke, I will venture to say, that, most of the allusions are exact, and coherent. The proof is before us. Read the whole description.
*' How was he honoured in the midst ** of the people, in his coming out of the «* sanctuary! He was as the morning star «« in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon «' at the full: as the fun shining upon the *' temple of the Most High, and as the "rainbow giveth light in the bright clouds: 11 and as the flower of roses in the spring of 14 the year: as lilies by the rivers of waters,
"and as the frankincense-tree in summer; "as fire and incense in the censer; and as a "vessel of gold set with precious stones; "as a fair olive-tree budding forth fruit; and as a cypress which groweth up to "the clouds.—When he put on the robe "of honour, and was cloathed with the "perfection of glory, when he went up to "the holy altar, he made the garment of "holiness honourable. Fie himself stood "by the hearth of the altar compassed with *' his brethren round about, as a young "cedar in Libanus, and as palm-trees com"passed they him about. So were all the ** sons of Aaron in their glory, and the "oblations of the Lord in their hands, "&c.V
It was the intention of the son of Sirach, in these sentences, to set forth his object with all the advantages of language. Poetry and oratory were equaliy solicited to animate and to adorn the portrait of the priest: in consequence of which, he is attended from the sanctuary to the altar, by L 6 all all the images and instruments of the Sublime and Beautiful. Behold him thus surrounded—examine the whole scene as it passes before your eye, and you will pronounce it uniformly admirable. He is described as coming out of the sanctuary amidst the acclamations of the people. The word honoured, is a most dignified addition to the greatness of his characterLet us, for a moment, leave out this single word, and fee how the idea diminishes: "He was in the midst of the people in his «« coming out of the sanctuary." How poor] Restore to the sentence its full compliment, and the design of the writer, as well as the excellence of the object, is complete. "He was honoured in the very "midst of the people." The next allusion carries him higher still. "He was as 41 the morning star in the midst of a cloud." No sooner was he out of the sanctuary, ihan his noble and majestic figure was distinguishable from the rest of the multitude, *' as the morning star in the midst of a »« cloud." The allusion to the cloud, hath
also also the advantage of a double propriety, being, in a metaphorical sense, aptly designed to represent the thickness, anddusley appearance of the admiring multitude. Some of the succeeding allusions were admitted to give the high priest the qualities of amiablenefi) as well as grandeur. "He was as the flower of roses in the spring *' of the year: as lilies by the rivers of "waters; and as the frankincense-tree in *' summer." All these are expressive rather of loveliness than magnificence, and are connected, rather, with the Beautiful, than with the Sublime. Yet, mark how they are heightened, and what superior attractions they possess, by certain delicate strokes, not to be seen in the ordinary (ketches of common poets. These would have thought it sufficient to have compared him to roses, •lilies, and the frank incense tree. Not so the son of Sirach. He painted the son of Onias with more exquisite colouring—he drew him with a more masterly pencil. The roses to which he was compared, were the roses of
the the Jpring, a season of the year when those flowers are more particularly sweet and captivating—the lilies, which, 1n a figurative fense, resembled him, were those which derived more elegance from their situation by the rivers of waters, and, whatever perfumes belong to the frank incense-tree, our poet presented it to us, in the pride of summer, when its beauties would naturally be in blossom.. Besides this, there appears a coherence in these allusions, which may escape us at first. They seem to aim at the display of the moral character of rhe high priest. "A good name," says the scripture, " smelleth/K'^/." How proper, therefore, is Simon compared to the fragrance of roses, and other odoriferous shrubs. Lilies have ever been emblematic of innocence, and purity. The agreement of the allusion is, therefore, exact here also. Thus might I proceed to observe the moral as well as descriptive propriety of comparing him with the rest. But it is wholly unnecessary. The abrupt and animated transition from one image to another, in