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with slaughter; and after having executed its master's commands, returns to its place. The prophet Jeremiah unites almost all these ideas in one place, and adds others more animated to them. [1] O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet?" Put up thyself into thy scabbard; rest and be still. How can it be quiet, replies the prophet, seeing the Lord hath giren it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.

VI. SUBLIME PASSAGES. [i] God said, let there be light, and there was light : It is in the original, God said, Let light be, and light was.

Where was it a moment before? How could it spring from the very womb of darkness ? At the same instant with light, the several colours which spring from it, embellished all nature. The world, that had been hitherto plunged in darkness, seemed to issue a second time out of nothing; and every thing by being enlightened, was beautified.

[k] This was produced by a single word, the majesty of which even struck the heathens, who admired Moses's making God speak as a sovereign; and that instead of employing expressions, which a little genius would have thought magnificent, he contented himself with only, God said, let there be light, and there was light.

And indeed, nothing can be greater or more elevated than this way of thinking. To create light (and it is the same here with regard to the universe) God needed only to speak: it would be too much to say, he needed only to have willed it, [?] for the voice of God is will; he speaks as a commander, and commands by his decrees. by Jer. xlvii. 6,7.

Naturæ opifex lucem locutus est. [i] Gen. i. 3:

& creavit. Sermo Dei, voluntas Al Longin.

est: opus Dei, natura est. $. AmDicere Lei, voluisse est. S. brose. Lucher.


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The vulgate has a little lessened the vivacity of the expression : God said, let the light be made, and the light was made. For the word made, which has different progressions among men, and supposes a succession of times, seems in some sort to retard the work of God, which was performed at the very moment he willed it, and received its perfection in an instant.

The prophet Isaiah makes God deliver himself, with the same sublimity, when he foretels the taking of Babylon. [m] I am the Lord that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself ;

myself ; . . That suith to the deep [n], be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers; That saith of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all

my pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built ; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be

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The kings of Syria and Israel had sworn the destruction of Judah, and the measures they had taken for that purpose, seemed to make its ruin unavoidable. A single word baffles their design, [0] Thus saith the Lord God, it shall not stand, neither shall

it come to pass.

The same thought is amplified in another place; and the prophet who knows that God has promised to prolong the race of David, till the time of the Messiah who was to spring from hin, defies, with a holy pride, the vain efforts of the princes and nations who conspired to destroy the family and throne of David. {p] Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear all ye of far countries : gird yourselves, and ye shull be broken in pieces ; gird yourselves, and ye shull be broken in pieces

. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand : for God is with us

Isaiah here prophesies in words suitable to the infinite power of God, that though all men should unite together, they yet should not [m] Isa. xliv. 24, 27, 28.

take Babylon.
[n] He names the Euphrates, [0] Isa. vii. 7.
which Cyrus dried up in order to (1) Isa, viii. 9, 10.


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retard, one instant, immutable promises ; that confederacies, conspiracies, secret designs, powerful armics should have no effect; that all those who attack the weak kingdom of Judah, should be overcome; that the whole universe united should not be able to effect any thing against it: and that the circuinstance which would render it invincible, was, God's being with it, or, which is the same thing, because Emanuel was his protector and his king, and that his interest was the present concern, rather than that of the princes he was to spring from.

Numberless obstacles opposed Zerubbabel's design of causing the temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt; and these obstacles, like so many mountains, seemed to defy all human efforts. God only speaks, but with the voice of a sovereign, and the mountain vanishes: Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.

Every one knows with what energy the Scriptures
make the impious man vanish, who a moment before
seemed, like the cedar, to raise his proud head to the
skies. [9] I have seen the wicked in great power;
and spreading himself like a green bay-tree: yet he
passed away, and lo, he was not: yea I sought him,
but he could not be found. He is so completely an-
nihilated, that the very place where he stood was de-
stroyed. M. Racine has translated this passage as
follow's :
J'ai vu l'impie adoré sur la terre,
Pareil au cédre, il cachoit dans les cieux

Son front audacieux.
Il sembloit à son gré gouverner le tonnerre,

Fouloit aux piés ses ennemis vaincus,
Je n'ai fait que passer, il n'étoit déja plus [r].

I've seen the impious wretch ador'd'on cartlı,
* And, like the cedar, hide his daring front
High in the heavens. He seem'd to rule at will
[9] Psal. xxxvii. 35, 36.

[r] Esther, Act v. scène derniere.

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" The forked thunder, and to crush his captives. "I only past, and lo! he was no more.

Such is the grandeur of the most formidable princes, when they do not fear God; a smoke, a vapour, a shadow, a dream, a vain image: [s] Men walketh in a vain shadowo.

But, on the other side, what a noble idea do the Scriptures give us of the greatness of God! [t] He is He who is. His name is The Eternal; the whole world is his work. The heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool. All nations are before him but as a drop of water, and the earth they inhabit but as a particle of dust. The whole universe is before the Almighty as though it were not.


power and wisdom conduct it, and regulate all the motions of it with as much ease as an hand holds a light weight, with which it sports rather than bears it. [u] He disposes of kingdoms as the absolute sovereign of them, and gives them to whom he pleases; but both his empire and power are infinite.

All this appears to us great and sublime, and is indeed so when compared to us. But when we speak to men in words they are capable of understanding, what can we say that is worthy of God? The Scriptures themselves sink under the weight of his majesty, and the expressions they use, how magnificent soever they may be, bear no proportion to the greatness, which alone deserves that name.

This, Job observes in a wonderful manner. After having related the wonders of the creation, he concludes with a very simple, but, at the same time, a very sublime reflection : [w] Lo, these are parts of his

ways : but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand ? The little he discovers to us of his infinite grandeur, bears no proportion to what lie is, and nevertheless surpasses our understanding. He stoops, and we [:] Psalm xxxix. 6.

[u] Dan. vi. 14, 31. [t] Exod. iii. 14. Isa. Ixvi. 1. (x) Job xxvi. 14.

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xl. 12, 15, 17

N 2


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cannot rise to him, at the time that he descends to us. He is constrained to employ our thoughts and expressions in order to make himself intelligible; and even then, we are rather dazzled with his brightness, than truly enlightened. But how would it be, should he reveal himself in all his majesty ? Should he lift up the veil which softens its rays? Should he tell us who he is, what ear could resist the thunder of his voice? What eye would not be blinded by a light so disproportioned to their weakness? But the thunder power

zcho can understand ?

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VII. TENDER AND AFFECTING PASSAGES. One would not believe, that such great majesty would descend so low as to speak to man, if the Scripture did not give us some proofs of it in every page. The most lively, the most tender things in nature, are. all too faint to express his love.

[y] I have nourished and brought up children, says he by the mouth of Isaiah, and they have rebelled against me. The or knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

[2] And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and ту

vineyard. IVhat could have been done more to my vineyad, that I have not done in it? Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?

[a] They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted ? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord.

[b] Hearken unto me, 0 house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me, from the belly, which are carried from the womb. And even to your old age I am he, and even [y] Isa. i. 2, 3.

[a] Jer. iii. 1. (z) Ibid. v. 3, 4.

[b] İsa. xlvi. 3, 5

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