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from one person to another—" Who walketh "upon the wings of the wind," and then instantly altering the address to—" Ihou "coveredst it with a deep as with a gar"ment."
But a second example courts our admiration, and that of so high and exalted a nature, that a reader of true taste, and a real fense of religion, will hardly bear to engage his time in looking at minor or modern authors -, while some, probably, who have been prejudiced against the Bible, will be surprized to find such admirable, and unequalled writing in a book, which they have been taught to consider as a dull, uninteresting code of maxims, proverbs, and ordinary sentiments.
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? "Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? "If I ascend up into into Heaven, thou art "there: If I make my bed in Hell, be"hold, thou art there. If 1 take the wings "of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost
"most parts of the sea: even there shall "thy hand lead me, and thy right hand *' shall hold me. It' I say, surely the dark *' ness shall cover me, even the night shall *' be light about me. Yea, the darkness "hideth not from thee-, but the night "shineth as the day: the darkness and the "light are both alike to thee." In short, this, and various other portions of the sacred books, as infinitely exceed Homer, as Homer surpasses Blackmore. There is a verse or two used in the burial of the dead ^than which there never was a sublimer, more serious, or more suitable ceremony). Ossian hath also touched the same subject, but the sacred writer hath ten times the simplicity, and is abundantly mo:e correct in the metaphors; besides that, the allusions are truer to nature and familiar life.
"A thousand years in thy sight, O Lord, "are but as yesterday: seeing that is past "■as a watch in the night. As soon as "thou scatterest them, they are even as a "steep, and fade away suddenly, like the
•* grass. ** grass. In the morning it is green and *' groweth up; but in the evening it is •' cut down, dried up, and withered."
Were we to run the parallel between this passage and that quoted from Offian, the inferiority of the latter would, perhaps, not be very agreeable to the admirers of that picturesque bard. To speak impartially, it is scarcely giving any prophane writers, however popular, fair play, in comparing them with those Sublime, Beautiful, and Pathetic compositions, which are the objtcts of the present volume: on the other hand, those compositions thtmselves, have so seldom fair play shewn to them, while many flimsy, frivolous, or bombaflic* performances, run away with the huzza of the multitude, and having had the lash of justice in hand, it was but right to use it a little 5 especially as it formed an important part of my subject, to vindicate the Scriptures from negligence, and to hold them up as the patterns of purity, perspicuity, and all the sources of the true Sublime.
These sources branch out, according to l^onginus, into the following divisions:
"I. Theory? and most excellent oftheie "is a boldness and grandeur in the thoughts.
"II. The second is called the Pathetic, "or the power of raising the passions to a "violent and even enthusiastic degree; "and these two being genuine constituents "of the Sliblime, are the gifts of nature, "whereas the other s.rts depend in some "measure upon art.
"III. The third consists in a skilful ap"plication of figures, which are twofold, u of sentiment and language.
"IV. The fourth is a noble and grace■*' ful manner of expression, which is not ** only to choose out significant and elegant "words, but also to adorn and embellish *' the style, by the assistance of tropes,
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"V. The fifth source of the Sublime, "which completes all the preceding, is the "structure or composition of all the periods, "in all possible dignity and grandeur."
It hath been my endeavour in this work, to try certain passages in the Sacred WriTings, by the test: of Longinus's principles. I shall account myself singularly fortunate if such endeavours have, in any degree, done a service to compositions^which are so able to support the trial; but whose beauties and sublimities, though thickly scattered through almost every page, are so shamefully neglected, or misunderstood, merely, it is feared, because they are of a devotional, as well as of a poetical nature.