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umphant Infamy : Lo, be inclines bis head to bis sacred bosom! Hark, he groans ! see, be expires! The earth trembles, the temple rends, the rocks burst, the dead arise: Which are the quick? Which are the dead ? Sure nature, all nature, is departing with her Creator.
F to inform the understanding, and
and diffusive benefit, there will not be found so useful and excellent an institution as that of the Christian Priesthood, which is now become the scorn of fools. That a numerous order of men should be confecrated to the study of the most sublime and beneficial truths, with a design to propagate them by their discourses and writings, to
inform their fellowcreatures of the Being and Attributes of the Deity, to poffess their minds with the sense of a future state, and not only to explain the nature of every virtue and moral duty, but likewise to persuade mankind to the practice of them by the most powerful and engaging motives, is a thing so excellent and necessary to the well-being of the world, that no body
but a modern Free-thinker could have the forehead or folly to turn it into ridicule.
The light in which these points should be exposed to the view of one who is prejudiced against the names, Religion, Church, Priest, and the like, is to consider the Clergy as so many Philosophers, the Churches as Schools, and their sermons as lectures, for the information and improvement of the audience. How would the heart of a Socrates or Tully have rejoiced, had they lived in a nation where the law had made provision for Philofophres, to read lectures of morality and theolo: gy every seventh day in several thousands of schools erected at the public charge throughout the whole country, at which lectures all ranks and fexes without distinction were obliged to be present for their general improvement ? And what wicked wretches would they think those men, who should endeavour to defeat the purpose of so divine an inftitution ?
It is indeed usual with that low tribe of writers, to pretend their design is only to reform the Church, and expose the vices and not the order of the Clergy. The Author of a pamphlet printed the
other day, (which without my tioning the title, will on this occasion
to the thoughts of those who have read it) hopes to infinuate by that artifice what he is afraid or ashamed openly to maintain. But there are two points which clearly shew what it is he aims at. The first is, that he conftantly uses the word Priest in such a manner, as that his reader
cannot but observe he means to throw an odium on the Clergy of the church of England, from their being called by a name which they enjoy in common with Heathens and Impostors. The other is, his raking together and exaggerating, with great spleen and industry, all those actions of church-men, which, either by their own illness or the bad light in which he places them, tend to give men an ill impression of the dispensers of the Gospel : All which he pathetically addresses to the consideration of his wife and honest countrymen of the laity. The fophiftry and ill-breeding of these proceedings are so obvious to men who have any pretence to that character, that I need say no more either of them or their author,
Dignity of the SCRIPTURE
Οι 5 πανημέριοι μολπο θεόν λάσκονης,
HERE is a certain coldness and indifference in the phrafes of our
European languages, when they are compared with the oriental forms of speech ; and it happens very luckily, that the Hebrew idioms run into the English tongue with a particular grace and beauty. Our language has received inpumerable elegancies and improvements, from that infusion of Hebraifms, which are derived to it out of the poetical passages in Holy Writ. They give a force and energy to our expressions, warm and animate our language, and convey our thoughts
in more ardent and intense phrafes, than any that are to be met with in our own tongue.
There is something so pathetic in this kind of diction, that it often sets the mind in a flame, and makes our hearts burn within us. How cold and dead does a prayer appear, that is composed in the most elegant and polite forms of speech, which are natural to our tongue, when it is not heightened by that folemnity of phrase, which may be drawn from the Sacred Writings. It has been said by some of the ancients, that if the Gods were to talk with men, they would certainly talk in Plato's stile ; but I think we may fay with justice, that when mortals converse with their Creator, they cannot do it in so proper a ftileas in that of the Holy Scriptures.
If any one would judge of the beauties of poetry that are to be met with in the Divine Writings, and examine how kindly the Hebrew. manners of speech mix and incorporate with the Englijk lans guage ; after having perused the book of Psalms, let him read a literal translation of Horace or Pindar. He will find in thefe two last such an absurdity and confusion of stile, with such a comparative poverty