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what glory is the immortal King invested! What riches has he displayed to us! From what source do so many lights and beauties flow? Where were those treasures, that rich pomp hid, which issued out from the womb of darkness? How great must the majesty of the Creator be, if that which surrounds him imprints so great an awe and veneration! What must he himself be, when his works are so magnificent!

The same prophet, in another Psalm, coming out of a profound meditation on the works of God, and filled with admiration and gratitude, exhorts himself to praise and bless the infinite majesty and goodness, whose wonders astonish, and whose blessings oppress him. [u] Praise the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my

O God, thou art become exceeding glorious, thou art clothed with majesty and honour. . . Thou deckest thyself with light, as it were with a garment; and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain. Would not one think that the God of ages had clothed himself on a sudden with magnificence; and that, issuing from the secret part of his palace, he displayed himself in light? But all this is but his outward clothing, and as a mantle which hides him. Thy Majesty, O my God! is infinitely above the light that surrounds it. I fix my eyes on thy garments, not being able to fix them on thyself: I can discern the rich embroidery of thy purple, but I shall cease to see thee, should I dare to raise my eyes to thy face.

It will be of use to compare in this manner the simplicity of the historian, with the sublime magnificence of the prophets. These speak of the same things, but in quite a different view. The same may be observed with regard to all the circumstances of the creation. I shall present the reader with only a few of them, by which he inay form a judgment of the rest.

[x] God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also.


[u] Psal. civ. 1, 2.

[*] Gen. i. 16.



Can any thing be more simple, and at the same time more august? I shall speak only of the sun and stars, and will begin with the last.

God only is allowed to speak with indifference of the most astonishing spectacle with which he had adorned the universe: And the stars. He declares in one word, what cost him but a word; but who can fathom the vast extent of this word? Do we consider that these stars are innumerable, all infinitely greater than the earth; all, the planets excepted, an inexhaustible source of light? [y] But what order fixed their ranks? and whom does that host of heaven, all whose centinels are so watchful, obey with so much punctuality and joy? The firmament set with such a numberless multitude of stars, (-) is the first preacher who declares the glory of the Almighty; and, to make all men inexcusable, we need only that book written in characters of light.

As for the sun, who can behold it stedfastly, and bear forany length of time the splendor of its rays? [a] The sun when it appeareth, declares at its rising a marvellousinstrument, the work of the most High; at noon it parcheth the country, and who can abide the burning heat thereof? A man blowing a furnace is in works of heat, but the sun burneth the mountains three times more; breathing out

fiery vapours, and sending forth bright beams, it dimmeth the eyes. Great is the Lord that made it, and at his commandment it runneth hastily. Is this then the same sun, which is mentioned in Genesis in so plain and simple a manner: He made its light greater that it might preside over the day? How many beauties are comprehended, and, as it were, veiled under these few words? Can we conceive the pomp and profusion with which the sun begins its course; the colours with which he embellishes nature; and with what magnificence himself is arrayed at his appearing on the horizon as the spouse whom heaven and earth await, and whose delight he forms? He cometh forth out of his chamber as a (y) Baruc. iii. 345 35. [>] Psalm. xix. 1. (e] Eccl. xliii. 2, s.

bridegroom. But behold in what manner he unites the majesty and

graces of a bridegroom, with the rapid course of a giant, who is less studious to please, than to carry, throughout the world, the news of the prince who sends him, and who is less attentive to his dress than to his duty. He exulted as a giant who is torun his race. He came from the highest heaven, and his course is to its height; nor can one hide himself from his heat. His light is as strong and diffusive as at the first day, so that the perpetual deluge of fire, which spreads from all parts of it, has not diminished the incomprehensible source of so full and precipitated a profusion. The prophet has just reason to cry out, Great is the Lord who made it! How great is the majesty of the Creator, and what must he himself be, since his works are so august?

I shall add further that passage which relates to the creation of the sea: [6] God said, Let the waters. under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.

Had not the prophets assisted us in discovering the wonders concealed under the surface of these words, their depth would be more unfathomable with regard to us, than that of the sea.

This commandment, which is here but a single expression, is a dreadful menace, and a thunder, according to the prophet (c] The waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. Instead of running off gently, they fled with fear; they hasted to precipitate themselves, and to crowd one over the other, in order to leave that spacevoid which they seemed to haveusurped, since God drove them from thence.. Something like this happened when God made his people to pass through the Red Sea and the river Jordan, The Red Sea made a noise, and was dried up; whence another prophet takes occasion [d] to ask God, whether he is angry at the river and the seas. [6] Gen. i. g.

(0) Habak. ili. 8. () Psalms civ. 6, 7.

In this tumultuous obedience, where the frighted waters, one would imagine, should have swept away every thing in their course, an invisible hand governed them with as much ease as a mother governs and han. dies a child she had first swathed, and afterwards put in his cradle. It is under these images God represents to us what he did at that time. [e] Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swadling band for it; and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. There is no occasion to raise the beauty of these last words, for who is not affected with them? God marked out bounds to the sea, and it did not dare to transgress them: [/ ] that which was written on its sliores prevented it from going beyond them; and that element, which appears the most ungovernable, was equally obedient both in its flight and in its stay. This obedience has continued the same for many ages; and how tumultuous soever the waves may appear, the instant they come near the shore, God's prohibition keeps them in awe, and stops their progress. III, THE BEAUTY OF THE SCRIPTURES DOES NOT

ARISE FROM THE WORDS, BUT THE THINGS. It is well known, that the most excellent Greekand Latin authors lose most of their graces when translated literally; because a great part of their beauty consists in the expression: but as that of the Scriptures consists more in the things than the words, we find that it subsists and strikes in the most verbal translation, This will plainly appear from every part of the Scripture. I shall content myself with transcribing only two or three passages from it.

. 1. [8] Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth. In mine ears [+] Job xxxviii. 8, 10. [f] Jerem. V. 22. [$] Isa. v. 8,9.

said the Lord of hosts, of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fuir without inhabitant.

There is nothing in all the Eloquence of the heathens, comparable to the vivacity of the reproach which the prophet here makes to the wise men of his time, who, neglecting the law of God, which had assigned to every man in particular, a proportion of the promised land, with a prohibition to alienate it for ever; swallowed up in their vast parks, the vineyard,

; the field, and the house of those who were so unhappy as to live near them.

But the reflection which the prophet adds, seems to me no less eloquent, notwithstanding its great simplicity; In mine ears said the Lord of hosts. I hear the Lord; his voice is at my ear. Whilst the whole world attends to nothing but their pleasures, and that no one hears the law of God, I already hear his thunder roaring against those ambitious rich men, who think of nothing but building and establishing their abode upon the earth. God echoes in mine ear a perpetual threat against their vain enterprises, and a kind of oath more dreadful than the threat itself, because it proves the latter ready to break forth," and irrevocable: Of a truth many houses, shull be desert, fc.

2. The same prophet describes the characteristics of the Messiah in a wonderful manner. [h] For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called II onderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.

I shall consider only the following expression, and ihe goverment shall be upon his shoulder; this includes a wonderful image, and has a peculiar energy when considered with due attention.

Jesus Christ shall be born an infant, but then he shall not wait either for years or experience before he reigns. He shall not stand in need of being acknowledged by his subjects, nor of being assisted by his armies, in order to subdue rebels; for he himself will be

[] Isaiah ix. 6.
M 4


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