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GREATNESS Confers no exemption from the cares and sorrows of life: its share of them frequently bears a melancholy proportion to its exaltation. This the Israelitish monarch experienced. He sought in piety that peace, which he could not find in empire, and alleviated the disquietudes of state with the exercises of devotion. His invaluable Psalms convey those comforts to others, which they afforded to himself. Composed upon particular occasions, yet designed for general use; delivered out as services for Israelites under the law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the gospel: they present religion to us in the most engaging dress; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal; while history is made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation lends all its charms to paint the glories of redemption. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of Him, to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations, grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy; but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened; fresh odours are emitted, and new weets extracted from them. He who hath once
tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them yet again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best.-And now could the author flatter himself that any one would take half the pleasure in reading his work which he hath taken in writing it, he would not fear the loss of his labour. The employment detached him from the bustle and hurry of life, the din of politics, and the noise of folly; vanity and vexation flew away for a season; care and disquietude came not near his dwelling. He rose, fresh as the morning, to his task; the silence of the night invited him to pursue it; and he can truly say, that food and rest were not preferred before it. Every Psalm improved infinitely upon his acquaintance with it, and no one gave him uneasiness but the last; for then he grieved that his work was done. Happier hours than those which have been spent in these meditations on the songs of Sion, he never expects to see in this world. Very pleasantly did they pass, and moved smoothly and swiftly along; for when thus engaged, he counted no time. They are gone, but have left a relish and a fragrance upon the mind, and the remembrance of them is sweet. Horne.
Extracts from the Scriptures, to show the Beauty and Variety of their Style.
1. DAVID'S DESCRIPTION OF THE DEITY.
BLESS the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, thou art very great: thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as
with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind. Who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire. Who laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep, as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled, at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up the mountains; they go down by the valleys, unto the place which thou hast formed for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and oil to make his face to shine; and bread which strengtheneth man's heart. The trees of the Lord are fuil of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted, where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir-trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats, and the rocks for the conies. He appointeth the moon for seasons, the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night; wherein all the. VOL. I.
beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work, and to his labour until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships there is that leviathan, which thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee, that thou mayst give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die and return to the dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.
2. DEATH OF A CONQUEROR.
AND it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast
made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,' How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruleth the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir-trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, "Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.' The grave from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols; the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High.' Yet thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee, shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, 'Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did