« ForrigeFortsæt »
arts. In the Chinese, this principle is remarkably exemplífied in the equality of those two branches of human attainment.
The Chinese, endued with but an ordinary degree of mental faculty, capable only of comprehending detached particulars, and of retaining the knowledge derived from experience, never embrace a comprehensive survey of human nature, and cannot imagine how that proposition can be true, which never had the test itself, of actual experience; they therefore by never trusting to general principles in reasoning, have not yet become eminent in science; and as their whole stock of knowledge is little more, than a gradual accumulation of successive experimental facts, consequently without connection or dependence, or continued order, and regular congruity, as is palpably manifested in their actual condition, imperfection, by a natural result, appears a prominent feature in their arts; a feature that can never be effaced, without a total revolution in the prejudices, passions, and sentiments, which subsist in the mind from whence it takes its form!
PROCLUS. (To be continued.)
In the year 1767, there was published for John Bryce, in the Salt Market, at Glasgow, a book entitled CLAVIS CANTICI, or an exposition of the Song OF SOLOMON, by JAMES DURHAM, late minister of the gospel in Glasgow.
The dedication to this book, by Margaret Durham, his widow, is a specimen of religious eloquence, so honest, so earnest, so warm and zealous, so manifestly penned (if ever any thing was penned) con amore
embut withal so laboured, so quaintly metaphorical, so strangely mystical, so enveloping the associations of sense with the forms of devotion; that it well deserves to be rescued from oblivion. Quarles has nothing so quaint: Guion, Bourignon, Whitfield, Wesley, and Zinzendorf, have notbing so warm. It is an excellent commentary on Rosseau's observation, that Love is always apt to borrow the language of Devotion; or rather that the language of both are the same, when the feelings and the passions are excited to the utmost, while Reason and Judgment being discarded, are lamenting lookers on. I have no intention in sending you this, to throw any thing like ridicule upon the fair authoress, and still less upon the subject: but eloquence, under whatever garb will al
ways be interesting, and singularity wherever found will furnish food for reflection, as well as amusement.
70 the right honouruble, truly noble, and religious lady, my lady viscountess of
Many have been the helps and furtherances that the people of God, in these latter times, and more especially in these lands, have had in their christian course and way to heaven: in which respect, our blessings have not a little prevailed above the blessings of our progenitors, who, as they enjoyed not such plentiful preaching of the gospel, so were they not privileged with so many of the printed, and published labours of his servants, succinctly and clearly opening up the meaning; and by brief, plain, familiar, and edifying observations, making application of the holy scriptures in our own vulgar language, and that even to the lowest capacities: a rich treasure highly valuable above all the gold of both Indies, and the greatest external blessings of the most potent and flourishing nations; and the more to be valued, if we call to remembrance, how that not very many years ago, the christians in this same island, would have travelled far to have heard a portion of the scripture only read to them, and would very liberally and chcerfully have contributed of their substance for that end; and would withal carefully have sought out, and at high rates made purchase of a Bible, a New Testament, or any small treatise (then very rare and hard to come by) affording but the least measure of light in the scriptures (which in those dark times were to them much as a sealed book in comparison of what they have been in the late bright and glorious sun-shine of the gospel to us), though to the manifest hazard of being burnt quick for so doing. O how highly would these precious souls have prized, and how mightily would they have improved the frequent, pure, plain, and powerful preachings, and many excellent writings, wherewith Britain and Ireland, have to admiration been privileged of late years! Sure their laborious, painful, costiy, and hazardous diligence, in seeking after the knowledge of God, according to his word, will rise in the judgment against this careless, lazy, negligent, and slothful generation, who, in the use of so many various and choice helps, have so patient and easy access to know and serve him, with that which almost costs them nothing.
We have now, besides the large English Annotations, and the Dutch, lately Englished on the whole scriptures, and some notable pieces of English divines upon several parts of them, the book of Psalms, all the small Prophets, the Gospels according to Matthew and John, the cpistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Hebrews, the two epistles of Peter, the Revelation, and this Sung of Solomon, solidly explained, and, in short notes, sweetly improved by the ministers and divines of our own church, for the benefit, not only of scholars (who have many large helps in other languages); but also, yea, principally of such as cannot, on several accounts conveniently make use of the other; and yet it may be, (which is for a lamentation) there are many particular persons, and not a few whole families, that can read, and might easily come at such books, mainly designed for their edification, who concern themselves so little in these important things, that they look not after them, though in their secret and family reading of the scriptures, they might be thereby singularly profited. Oh! do we thus despise the goodness of God, and vilify the riches of his bounty? Is this to run to and fro, that scripture-knowledge may be increased; to cry after knowledge, and to lift up our voice for understanding; to seek her as silver, and to search for her as for hid treasure? or, is this to look on scripture wisdom, making wise to salvation, as the principal thing, and with all our getting to get understanding? How much, alas! have we set light by, and loathed this manna, that hath from heaven for many years fallen frequently and abundantly, as it were, about our camps? No doubt, as we begin sadly to feel already (but, ah! our stroak is above our groaning) so we have further ground to fear, that our holy and jealous God, may for this and other such provocations (whereby we have evidently manifest our detestable indifferency and great unconcernedness in things of greatest concernment) send us a famine not of bread, nor thirst of water, (these comparatively were light afllictions;) but of hearing the words of the Lord, so that we shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, and shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it; and
in his wrathful, yet spotless and just providence, order some such revolution, as it shall be accounted a crime punishable by bonds, torture, and death, to read, or have such books, yea, even thc book of God itself. O for opened eyes to see what helps and privileges we have enjoyed, and do in part yet enjoy, and grace suitable to improve them.
Amongst these many helps, what my blest husband, the author of this piece, hath according to the grace given unto him, contributed, shall not, I hope, be the least acceptable and useful to the church, he having by the good hand of his God upon him, been led to open up two books of the holy scriptures, wherein belike the Lord's people, did very much desire to know the mind of the Spirit, they being somewhat darker, and less easily understood, than many, if not than any of all the rest, the book of the Revelation, and this book of Solomon, the Song of Songs, or the most excellent Song; containing the largest and liveliest discoveries of the love -of Jesus Christ, the King, Bridegroom, and Husband of his church, to her his Queen, Bride, and Spouse; and of hers to him, with those spiritually glorious interviews, holy courtings, most superlative, but most sincere, commending and cordial entertainings of each other, those mutual praisings and valuings of fellowship;—those missings, lamentings, and bemoaning of the want thereof;—those holy impatiences to be without it, swelling to positive and peremptory determinations, not to be satisfied, nor comforted in any thing else, those diligent, painful and restless seekings after it, till it be found and enjoyed, on the one hand;—and those sweet, and easy yieldings to importunity, and gracious grantings of it, on the other; with those high delightings, solacings, complacencies, and acquicscings in, and heartsome embracings of one another's fellowship:Those failings, faultings, lyings a-bed, and lazinesses, and thereupon, when observed, those love-faintings, swarfings, swoonings, seekings, and sorrowings on the one side; and those love-followings, findings, pityings, pardonings, passings by, rouzings, revivings, supportings, strengthenings, courings, confirmings, and comfortings, with most warm and kindly compellations, on the other: (O let men and angels, wonder at the kingly condescending, the majestic meekness, the stately stoop
ings, the high humility, and the lofty lowliness that conspicuously shines forth here on the Bridegroom's part!)-Those love-languishings, feverings, sickenings, 'holy violentions, apprehendings, and resolute refusings to let go on the one part, and these love-unheartings, heart-ravishings, captivatings, and being overcome: those love-arrests, and detainments in the galleries, as if nailed to speak so with reverence) to the place, and sweetly charmed into a kind of holy impotency, to remove the eye from looking on so lovely an object on the other. Those bashful, but beautiful blushings, humble hidings, and modest thinking shame to be seen or heard speak, on the Bride's part, and those urgent callings, and in a manner compellings, to compear, with those serious professings of singular satisfaction, to hear her sweet voice, and to see her comely countenance on the Bridegroom's part:--Those frequently claimed, avouched, boasted of, and gloried in, mutual interests;- Those loverestings, and reposings on the arm, and on the bosom of one another, with these serious and solemn chargings and adjurings not unseasonably to disturb and interrupt this rest and repose:—Those mutual kind invitings, and hearty accepting of invitations; those comings and welcomings; those feastings, feedings, and banquettings on all manner of pleasant fruits, chief spices, and best wines, even the rarest and chiefest spiritual dainties and delicates:
-Those pleasant, refreshful airings and walkings together in the fragrant fields, villages, woods. orchards, gardens, arbours, umbrages, and, as it were, labyrinths of love: Those stately, magnificent and majestic describings of one another, as to stature, favour, beauty, comely proportion of parts, curious deckings and adornings, sweet-smelling odoriferous anointings, powderings, and perfumings, holding forth their respective qualifications, endowments, accomplishments, perfections, and excellencies, whereof all things in the world, bearing such names, are but dark, dull, and empty resemblances:--[In which commending descriptions the Bridegroom seems holily to hyperbolize, and the Bride, though doing her best, doth yet fall hugely below his matchless and incomparable worth, which is exalted far above all the praise of men and angels; his also of her are many more and more brightly illuminated and garnished with delectable variety of admirably