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ENCYCLOPÆDIA

BRITANNICA.

SCRIPTURE continued from last Volume.

.

cover.

Scripture.

J
EREMIAH was called to the prophetic office in the tained in the 46th and five following chapters, being Scripture.

13th year of the reign of Josiah the son of Anon, placed at the end, as in fome measure unconnected with
55
Jeremiah.

A. M. 3376, A. C. 628, and continued to prophecy the rest. But in some copies of the Septuagint these fix
upwards of 40 years, during the reigns of the degene- chapters follow immediately after the 13th verse of the
rate princes of Judah, to whom he holdly threatened 25th chapter.
those marks of the divine vengeance which their rebelli- Jeremiah, though deficient neither in elegance nor
ous conduct drew on themselves and their country. Af- sublimity, must give place in both to Isaiah. Jerome
ter the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, he feems to object againit him a sort of rufticity of lan-
was suffered by Nebuchadnezzar to remain in the deso- guage, no vestige of which Dr Lowth was able to dif-
Jate land of Judea to lament the calamities of his infatu-

His sentiments, it is true, are not always the
ated countrymen. He was afterwards, as he himself in- most elevated, nor are his periods always neat and com.
forms us, carried with his disciple Baruch into Egypt, pact; but these are faults common to those writers whose
by Johanan the son of Kareah.

principal aim is to excite the gentler affections, and to It appears from several passages that Jeremiah con- call forth the tear of sympathy or forrow. This obsermitted his prophecies to writing. In the 36th chapter vation is very strongly exemplified in the Lamentations, we are informed, that the prophet was commanded to where thele are the prevailing paflions ; it is, however, write upon a roll all the prophecies which he had ut- frequently instanced in the prophecies of this author, tered ; and when the roll was destroyed by Jehoiakim and most of all in the beginning of the book (L), which the king, Jeremiah dictated the same prophecies to Ba- is chietly poetical. The middle of it is almolt entirely ruch, who wrote them together with many additional historical. The latter part, again, consisting of the last circumstances. The works of Jeremiah extend to the fix chapters, is altogether poetical (M); it contains felaft verfe of the gift chapter ; in which we have these veral different predictions, which are distinctly marked ; words, “ Thus far the words of Jeremiah.” The 52d and in these the prophet approaches very near the fublichapter was therefore added by some other writer. It mity of Isaiah. On the whole, however, not above half is, however, a very important supplement, as it illustrates the book of Jeremiah is poetical.

57 the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecies relpecting The book of Lamentations, as we are informed in The book the fate of Zedekiah.

the title, was compoled by Jeremiah. We shall present of Lament, Chronolo- The prophecies of Jeremiah are not arranged in the to our reader an account of this elegiac poem from the gica' ar- chronological order in which they were delivered. elegant pen of Dr Lowth. rangement What has occafioned this transposition cannot now be

The Lamentations of Jeremiah (for the title is pro-
of his wri.
sings

determined. It is generally maintained, that if we con- perly and fignificantly plural) conlist of a number of
sult their dates, they ought to be thus placed :

plaintive effufions, composed on the plan of the funeral
In the reign of Josiah the first 12 chapters,

dirges, all on the same subject, and uttered without In the reign of Jehoiakim, chapters xii. xx. xxi. v. connection as they role in the mind, in a long course II, 11. ; xxii. xxiii. xxv. xxvi. xxxv. xxxvi. xlv.--xlix. of separate stanzas. These have afterwards been put 1-33.

together, and formed into a colleaion or correspondent
In the reign of Zedekiah, chap. xxi. I-10. xxiv. whole. If any reader, however, should expect to find
xxvii. xxxiv. xxxvii. xxxix. xlix. 34-39. I. and li.

in them an artificial and methodical arrangement of the
Under the government of Gedaliah, chapters xl. xliv. general lubject, a regular disposition of the parts, a per-
The prophecies which related to the Gentiles were con- feet connection and orderly fuccellion in the matter,
VOL. XIX. Part I.

A

and

56

(1.) See the whole of chap. ix. chap. xiv. 17, &c. xx. 14--18.

(M) Chap. xlvi.li. to ver. 59. Chap. lii. properly belongs to the Lamentations, to which it serves as fun exordium.

inflicted on me;

60

58

Scripture. and with all this an uninterrupted series of elegance If there be any forrow, like unto my forrow, which is Scripture.

and correctness, he will really expect what was foreign
to the prophet's design. In the character of a mourn- Which Jehovah inflicted on me in the day of the vio-
er, he celebrates in plaintive strains the obfequies of his lence of his wrath.
ruined country : whatever presented itself to his mind For these things I weep, my eyes stream with water ;
in the midst of desolation and misery, whatever struck Because the comforter is far away, that should tranqui-
him as particularly wretched and calamitous, whatever lize my soul :
the instant sentiment of sorrow dictated, he pours forth My children are desolate, because the enemy was strong.
in a kind of spontaneous effufion. He frequently pautes, But to detail its beauties would be to transcribe the
and, as it were, ruminates upon the same object; fre- entire poem.”
quently varies and illustrates the same thought with

Ezekiel was carried to Babylon as a captive, and re- Ezekiet. different imagery, and a different choice of language;

ceived the firít revelations from heaven, in the fifth

year so that the whole bears rather the appearance of an ac

of Jehoiakim's captivity, A. C. 595. The book of cumulation of corresponding sentiments, than an accu- Ezekiel is sometimes distributed under different heads. rate and connected series of different ideas, arranged in In the three firit chapters the commission of the prophet the form of a regular treatise. There is, however, no

is described. From the fourth to the thirty-fecond wild incoherency in the poem; the transitions are easy chapter inclufive, the calamities that befel the enemies of and elegant.

the Jews are predicted, viz, the Ammonites, the MoabHow dis

The work is divided into five parts : in the first, fe- ites, and Philistines. The ruin of Tyre and of Sidon, vided. cond, and fourth chapters, the prophet addresses the and the fall of Egypt, are particularly foretold ; prophepeople in his own person, or introduces Jerusalem as

cies which have been fulfilled in the most literal and alspeaking. In the third chapter a chorus of the Jews tonishing manner, as we have been often assured by is represented. In the fifth the whole captive Jews

the relation of historians and travellers. From the 32d pour forth their united complaints to Almighty God. chapter to the 49th he inveighs against the hypocrify Each of these five parts is distributed into 22 stanzas, and murmuring spirit of his countrymen, admonishing according to the number of the letters of the alphabet. them to refignation by promises of deliverance. In In the first three chapters these stanzas consist of three

the 38th and 39th chapters he undoubtedly predicts the lines. In the first four chapters the initial letter of

final return of the Jews from their dispersion in the lateach period follows the order of the alphabet; and

ter days, but in a language so obscure that it cannot be
in the third chapter cach verse of the same stanza be-

underitood till the event. take place. The nine last
gins with the same letter. In the fourth chapter all chapters of this book furnish the description of a very
The Itanzas are evidently distichs, as also in the fifth, remarkable vision of a new temple and city, of a new
which is not acrostic. The intention of the acrostic religion and polity.
was to affist the memory to retain sentences not much

• Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in elegance; Character connected. It deserves to be remarked, that the verses

in fublimity he is not even excelled by Isaiah : but his as a wriof the first four chapters are longer by almost one half fublimity is of a totally different kind. He is deep, than Hebrew verses generally are : The length of them vehement, tragical; the only sensation he affects to exseems to be on an average about 12 fyllables. The

cite is the terrible; his sentiments are elevated, fervid, prophet appears to have chosen this measure as being full of fire, indignant; his imagery is crouded, magnifolemn and melancholy.

ficent, terriic, sometimes almost to disgust: his lanLowth. “ That the fubject of the Lamentations is the destruc

guage

is
tion of the holy city and temple, the overthrow of the unpolished: he employs frequent repetitions, not for

pompous, solemn, auftere, rough, and at times
fate, the extermination of the people ; and that these

the sake of grace or elegance, but from the vehemence beauty of events are described as actually accomplished, and not

of paflion and indignation. Whatever subject he treats Lowth. it. in the style of prediction merely, mult be evident to

of, that he fedulously pursues, from that he rarely deevery reader ; though some authors of considerable re

parts, but cleaves as it were to it; whence the connec* Yosephus, putation * have imagined this poem to have been com

tion is in general evident and well preserved. In many posed on the death of King Josiah. The prophet, in- refpects he is perhaps excelled by the other prophets; Vilerius, deed, has so copiously, fo tenderly, and poetically, be

but in that species of composition to which he seems wailed the misfortunes of his country, that he seems by nature adapted, the forcible, the impetuous, the completely to have fulfilled the office and duty of a

great and folemn, not one of the sacred writers is fupe. mourner. In my opinion, there is not extant any poem rior to him. His diction is fufficiently perfpicuous; all which displays fuch'a ha py and fplendid selection of his obfcurity confifts in the nature of the fubject. Viimagery in lo concentrated a state. What can be more

fions (as for instance, among others, those of Hofea, elegant and poetical, than the description of that once

Amos, and Jeremiah) are necessarily dark and confused. fcurithing city, lately clicf among the nations, Atting The greater part of Ezekiel, towards the middle of the in the character of a female, folitary, afficted, in

a ftale

book efpecially, is poetical, whether we regard the mat. of widowhood, deserted by her friends, betraved by her

ter or the diction. His periods, however, are frequent-
dearest connections, imploring relief, and seeking.confo- ly fo rude and incompact, that I am often at a loss
lation in vain? What a beautiful personification is that

how to pronounce concerning his performance in this
of “the ways of Sion mourning because nene are come respect.
to her folemn fests?" How tender and pathetic are the

“ Ifaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, as far as relates to
following complaints ?

style, may be said to hold the same rank among the He. Chap. i. Is this nothin's to all you who pass along the way ? be. brews, as Homer, Simonides, and Æschylus among the hold and fee, Greeks."

So

61

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59 The lib.

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