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style ever continues the same, unadorned, simple, vehement, and majestic: yet never drawing the readers attention on itself, but on the divine sentiments it conveys.
To this we may further add, that these several kinds of composition are mixed and united with such propriety and force, as is scarcely to be equalled in any other writings. The poetical parts are heightened by the greatest strokes of eloquence and precept; the pathetic by the noblest imagery and strictest morals; and the preceptive is strengthened and enforced by all the aids of poetry, eloquence, and parable; calculated at once to engage the imagination, to touch the passions, and command the reason of mankind.
Rev. J. Brown.
INSTANCES OF THE ELOQUENCE OF THE SCRIP,
TURES. If we consider the nature of eloquence in general, as it is defined by Aristotle to be a faculty of persuasion, which Cicero makes to consist in three things, instructing, delighting, and moving our readers' or hearers' mind, we shall find that the Holy Scriptures have a fair claim to these several properties.
For where can we meet with such a plain representation of things, in point of history, and such cogent arguments, in point of precept, as this one volume furnishes us with? Where is there an history written more simply and naturally, and at the same time more nobly and loftily, than that of the creation of the world? Where are the great lessons of morality taught with such force and perspicuity (except in the sermons of Christ, and the writings of the apostles) as in the book of Deuteronomy? Where is the whole compass of devotion, in the several forms of confession, petition, supplication, thanksgivings, vows, and praises, so punctually taught us as in the book of Psalms ? Where are the rules of wisdom and prudence so convincingly laid down as in the Proverbs of So. lomon, and the choice sentences of Ecclesiastes? Where is vice and impiety of all kinds more justly displayed, and more fully confuted, than in the threats and admonitions of the prophets? And what do the little warmths, which may be raised in the fancy by an artificial composure and vehe. mence of style, signify, in comparison of those strong impulses and movements which the Holy Scriptures make upon good men's souls, when they represent the frightful justice of an angry God to stubborn offenders, and the bowels of his compassion, and unspeakable kindness, to all true peni. tents and faithful servants ?
The Holy Scripture indeed has none of those flashy ornaments of speech, wherewith human compositions so plentifully abound; but then it has a sufficient stock of real and peculiar beauties to recommend it. To give one instance for all out of the history of Joseph and his family: the whole relation indeed is extremely natural: but the manner of his discovering himself to his brethren is inimitable. * And Joseph could no longer refrain himself-but, lifting up his voice with tears, said—I am Joseph-doth my father yet live?
And his brethren could not answer him : for they were troubled at his presence.. And Joseph said to his brethren, come near me, I pray you: and they came near, and he said I am Joseph-your brother-whom ye sold into Egypt.' Nothing certainly can be a more lively description of Joseph's tender respect for his father, and love for his brethren : and, in like manner, when his bre.. thren returned, and told their father in what splendoor and glory his son Joseph lived, it is said, that' Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not; but when he saw the waggons which Joseph had sent for him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived; and Israel said, it is enough-Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go—and see him before I die.' Here is such a contrast of different passions, of utter despondency, dawning hope, and confirmed faith, triumphant joy, and paternal af. fection, as no orator in the world could express more movingly, in a more easy manner, or shorter compass of words.
Nay more, had I leasure to gratify the curions, I might easily show, that those very figures and schemes of speech, which are so much admired in profane authors, as their great beauties and orna. ments, are no where more conspicuous than in the sacred.
One figure, for instance, esteemed very florid among the masters of art, is, when all the members of a period begin with the same word. The figure is called anaphora; and yet (if I mistake not) the 15th Psalm affords us a very beautiful passage of this kind. 'Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill!
He that walketh uprightly; he that back-biteth not with his tongue; he that maketh much of them that fear the Lord? he that sweareth to his hurt, and changeth not: he that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that does these things shall never be moved.
The ancient orators took a great deal of pride in ranging finely their antitheta. Cicero is full of this, and uses it many times to a degree of affecta
and yet I cannot find any place wherein he has surpassed that passage of the prophet. He that killeth an ox, is as if he slew a man: he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood.' But above all other figures, that whereon poets and orators love chiefly to dwell, is the hypotyposis, or lively description; and yet we shall hardly find in the best classic authors, any thing comparable, in this regard, to the Egyptians' destruction in the Red Sea, related in the song of Moses and Miriam ; to the description of the leviathan in Job; to the descent of God, and a storm at sea, in the Psalmist; to the intrigues of an adulterous women in the Proverbs; to the pride of the Jewish ladies in Isaiah ; and to the plague of locusts in Joel; which is represented like the ravaging of a country; and storming a city by an army; A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing shall escape them. Before their face people shall be pained; all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; they shall march every one in his way, and they shall not break their ranks. They shall run to and fro in the city, they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter into the windows as a thief.' The description is more remarkable, because the analogy is carried quite throughout without straining, and the whole processes of a conquering army in the manner of their march, their destroying the provision, and burning the country, in their scaling the walls, breaking into houses, and running about the vanquished city, are fully delineated and set before our eyes.
From these few examples (for it would be endless to proceed in instances of this kind) it appears, that the Holy Bible is far from being defective in point of eloquence, and (what is a peculiar commendation of it) its style is full of a graceful variety; sometimes majestic as becomes that
high and holy one who inhabiteth eternity :' sometimes so low as to answer the other part of his character, “who dwelleth with him that is of an humble spirit:' and at all times so proper, and adapted so well to the several subjects it treats of, that whoever considers it attentively will perceive, in the narrative parts of it, a strain so simple and unaffected ; in the prophetic and devotional, something so animated and sublime ; and in the doctrinal and preceptive, such an air of dignity and authority, as seems to speak its original divine.
We allow indeed, that method is an excellent art, highly conducive to the clearness and perspicuity of discourse ; but then we affirm, that it is an art of modern invention in comparison to the times when the sacred penmen wrote, and incom.