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Amongst men, we call him a forgiving character, who passes over, with impunity, some petty affront, or injury, in social life: the parent is esteemed amiable, who pardons an offending child; and to resist giving blow for blow,. when the temptation to recriminate lies fairly open, is thought to be the sublimest effort of human'excellcnce. But if all things derive consequence from comparison, how do these venial virtues dwindle when we place them near thole of the Omnipotent? Notwithstanding the thousand insults that are daily directed by man against his maker, how very, very seldom his red right arm is raised to destroy: and even when impiety, with the strides of a giant, towers onward to the throne, with what superior mildness of majesty he closes his eye upon the audacity, as unwilling to fee what his justice must have punished. Amidst his greatness, he sits enshrined, continuing to dispense a blessing where a curse is frequently deserved; and in the very moment that man is murmuring at his regulations, with how much kindness does he D 2 persist persist in bestowing his bounty, till even the complainer is silenced and ashamed. Well then, indeed, may we exclaim with a universal voice of sincerity, " Blested be ** the name of the Lord, for his Mercy * "endureth for ever." *
• In treating of the subject of mercy, and the sublime and beautiful os sentiment, it were a kind of literary heresy to omit two most eloquent and divine passages, the one from the twenty-third chapter of St. Matthew, and the other from Shakespear's Merchant of Venice. They are both, beyond measure, pathetic; and, indeed, one |s di. vided whether most to admire the tenderness of our Saviour, or the argument of Portia. The passions are, either way, strongly afftcted, ar.d as the pathetic is, indisputably, a gentle stream flowing from a sublime source, we may certainly rank what follows amongst the happiest strokes of the sublime and beautiful.
«« O Jerusalem ! Jerusalem! thou that killest the pro"phets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how «« often would I have gathered thy children together, even "as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye «' would not?"
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
The The throned monarch better than his crown t
For mercy is above all scepter'd sway j
It is enthron'd in the heart of kings j
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then shew liked heavVl
When mercy seasons justice,
Story of Abraham and Isaac.
And It Came To Iass Afteh This! Things That God Did Tempt Abraham.
»r■ /NT"* HIS story of Abraham and his son
"*■ Isaac, is one of the many narratives in sacred writ, which has employed the perrs of our ablest divines, being universally allowed, one of the master strokes of the Bible. The commentators have also been remarkably diffuse upon it; and yet it still remains an inexhausted subject. Indeed, there is not a sentence in the whole chapter without its peculiar beauty; and, I am tempted to trespass somewhat upon the limits I have allowed myself in these remarks, to enter into its various elegancies, minutely.