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pride and haughtiness, they make no greater resistance to rise up against the arm of God who plunges them, than a stone that sinks to the bottom of the waters.

After this, what should Moses think, what should he say? One of the most important rules of Rhetoric, and which Cicero never fails to observe, is, that, after an account of a surprising action, or even of an extraordinary circumstance, the writer must quit the calin and casy air proper to narration, and deliver himself with more or less impetuosity, according to the nature of the subject; this is commonly done by apostrophes, interrogations, exclamations, which figures enliven both the discourse and the hearer. All this Moses has done inimitably in the song before us.

Thy right-hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power; thy right-hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

There are several things to be observed here.

1. Moses might have said, God has displayed his strength by striking Pharaoh. But how faintly, in how languid a manner, would that express so great an action ! He springs toward God, and says to him in a kind of enthusiasm, Thy right-hand, O Lord, is become glorious, &c.

2. He might have said, O Lord, thou hast displayed thy strength, &c. But this is not strong enough, and does not convey a sensible idea to the mind; whereas, in the expression of Moses, we see, we distinguish as it were, the Almighty's hand, which extends itself, and crushes the Egyptians. Whence I conclude at once, that the true Eloquence is that which persuades; that it commonly persuades no other way than by moving ; that it moves by things and palpable ideas only; and that for these several reasons no Eloquence is so perfect as that of the Holy Scriptures, since the most spiritual and metaphysical things are there represented by sensible and lively images.

3. Thy right-hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. A most beautiful repetition! and very necessary to give a stronger idea of the power of God's

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arm. The first member of the period, thy right-arm has become glorious in power, having hinted only at the event in loose and general terms, the prophet thinks he has not said enough, and to denote the manner of this action, he immediately repeats, thy righthand hath dashed in pieces the enemy. It is the nature of great passions, to repeat those circumstances which foment them, as appears from all the passionate places in the best authors; and as is seen in the Sacred Writings, particularly in the Psalms.

4, In the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee. So many greạt beauties are concealed in the original text, that they merit some illustration,

1. By these words, in the greatness of thine excel. lency, the sacred writer would describe the action of a nobleman of figure, who assumes a haughty air ; who rises in proportion as an impotent inferior presumes to rise against him, and is pleased to sink him the lower for that reason. The Egyptians looked upon themselves as very great; they even attacked God himself

, and asked with a haughty tone, [s] Who is then the Lord ? But as these feeble, though insolent creatures rose, God rose also, and assumed all the

elevation of his infinite grandeur, all the height of his · supreme majesty against them : [t] The proud he

knoweth afar off And it is from thence he overthrew his enemies who were so full of themselves, and hurled them, not only against the earth, but down into the most profound abysses of the sea.

2. That rose up against THEE. It was not against Israel that the Egyptians declared war, but it is You they presumed to attack; it is You they defied. Our quarrel was Yours; it was against You they warred; against Thee. This is a delicate, affecting turn, in order to engage God himself in Israel's cause.

Ver. 7. Thou sentest forth thy wrath, which conta sumeth them as stubble.

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[s] Exod. v. 24

[1] Psal. cxxxviii. .



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Ver. 8. And with the blast of thy nostrils the wa. ters are gathered together; the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths are congealed in the heart of the seu.

Ver. 9. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil ; my lust shall be satisfied upon them, I will drace my sword, mine hand shall destroy them.

Ver. 10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them : they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

Moses returns to the narration, not as in the fourth and fifth verses by a mere description, but in continuing his apostrophe to God, which gives more passion to the relation, and from which the conduct of this song seems superior to human Eloquence. The far ther it removes from the simple proposition which serves as an exordium to it, the stronger are its amplifications.

Thou sentest forth thy urath. Ilow great is this figure! How noble the expression! The prophet gives action and life to God's anger; he transforms it into an ardent and zealous minister, whom the judge sends calmly froin the throne to execute the decrees of his vengeance. When kings would fight their enemies, they stand in need of infantry, cavalry, arms, and a long train of warlike instruments; but to God, his wrath alone can punish the guilty. Thou sentest forth thy urath. 'How many things are comprised in two or three words, which leave to the reader the pleasure of enumerating in his imagination the fires, the flashes of lightning, the thunderbolts, the storms, and all the other instruments of this wrath! The beauty of this expression is better felt than expressed: we find a certain depth in it, a something, which employs and fills the mind. Horace had this figure in view in the expression Iracunda fulmina, and Virgil hit upon it in the ingenious composition of the thunder described in the eighth book of the Æneid.

Sonitumque metumque
Miscebant operi, flammisque sequacibus iras.


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What was then the effect of this dreadful wrath? It consumed them as stubble! The Scripture only can furnish us with such images. Let us consider this thought attentively. We shall see the wrath of God consuming a prodigious army. Men, horses, chariots, all are dashed, consumed, overwhelmed; how weak are these synonymous terms ! All these are consumed, that would be saying all; but the simile which follows, finishes the picture; for the word consume gives us the idea of an action that lasts some time; but, as stubble, shews an instantaneous action. How! so mighty an army as this consumed like stubble! The reader should consider the force of these ideas.

But how was this effected? God, by a furious wind, assembled the waters, which swelled like two mountains in the midst of the sea. The children of Israel passed over it as on dry land; the Egyptians pursuing them into it were swallowed up by the waves. This is a plain and unembellished relation; but how beautiful, how majestic, is the turn which is given to it in Scripture ! I should never have done, should I examine thein particularly.

I am charmed with the whole song, but this passage transports me.

With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together. The prophet ennobles the wind by making God himself the principle of it; and animates the waters, by representing them susceptible of fear. The better to paint the divine indignation and its effects, he borrows the image of human wrath, whose lively transports are accompanied with a precipitated breathing, which causes a violent and impetuous blast. And when this wrath, in a powerful person, directs itself towards a fearful populace, it forces them, for their own security, to give way, and to fall in a tumultuous manner one upon the other. It is thus with the blast of the Lord's nostrils, the frighted waters withdrew with impetuotity from their usual bed, and crowded suddenly one upon the other, in order to give way to this wrath ; whereas the Egyptians, who caine in the way of this wrath, were consumed like stubble. ,0 4


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We often meet with such a description of divine wrath in the Scriptures : [u] The sea saw it and fled.... [x] Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered, at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. ... [y] There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured; coals were kindied at it. Are we to wonder, that a wrath like this should overthrow and swallow up every thing ?

The depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. That is, the waters were bound up, and frozen like ice. The depths give us a much more dreadful idea than waters. In the heart of the sea; this circumstance is very emphatic; it fixes the imagination, and makes us conceive to ourselves mountains of solid waters in the centre of the liquid element.

The two verses that follow are inexpressibly beautiful. Instead of barely saying, as was before observed, that the Egyptians by their pursuing the Israelites, went into the sea; the prophet himself enters into the heart of those barbarians, puts himself in their place, assumes their passions, and makes them speak; not that they had really spoke, but because a thirst of vengeance, and a strong defire of pursuing the Israelites, was the language of their hearts, which Moses made the utter, in order to vary his narra. tion, and make it the more ardent.

The enemy said, instead of the Egyptians said. This singular, the enemy, how beautiful is every word !

I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, &c. We read, and perceive a palpable vengeance in these words, as we read them. The sacred penman has not put a conjunction to any of the six words which compose the Egyptian soldier's discourse, in order to give it the greater spirit, and to express more naturally the disposition of a man whose soul is fired, who discourses with himself, and does not mind connecting his words with conjunctions, his thoughts requiring freedom and liberty. [] Psal. cxiv. 3. [x] Ibid. xviii. 15.

[y] Ibid. ver. 8.


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