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sings, as to be able to live without another man's aid.GOD, in his wisdom, has so dispensed his gifts, in various kinds and measures, as to render us helpful, and make a social intescourse indispensible. The prince depends on the labor and industry of the peasant; and the wealth and honor of the greatest persons, are fed and supported from the same source.
This the apostle hath elegantly set forth to us, by the familiar resemblance of the natural body; wherein there are many members, and all have not the same office; but the different faculties and operations of each, are for the use and benefit of the whole. The eye sees not for itself, but for the other members ;-and is set up as a light to direct them :-' -The feet serve to support and carry about the other parts; and the hands act and labor for them all. It is the same in states and kingdoms, wherein there are many members, yet each in their several functions and employments; which, if peaceably discharged,are for the harmony of the whole state.-Some are eyes and guides to the blind ;-others, feet to the lame and impotent; —some supply the place of the head, to assist with counsel and direction ;-others the hands, to be useful by their labor and industry. To make this link of dependence still stromger, there is a great portion of mutability in all human affairs, to make benignity of temper not only our duty, but our interest and wisdom. There is no condition in life so fixed and permanent as to be out of danger, or the reach of change: And we all may depend upon it, that we shall take our turns of wanting and desiring. By how ma ny unforeseen causes may riches take wing! The crowns of princes may be shaken; and the greatest that ever awed the world have experienced what the turn of the wheel can do. That which hath happened to one man, may befal another;
and, therefore, that excellent rule of our Saviour's ought to govern us in all our actions,Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise. Time and chance happens to all,-and the most affluent may be stripped of all, and find his worldly comforts like so many withered leaves dropping from him. Sure nothing can better become us, than hearts so full of our dependance, as to overflow with mercy, and pity, and good-will towards mankind.To exhort us to this, is, in other words, to exhort us to follow peace with all men :- -The first is this the fair fruit and happy product
Therefore, my beloved brethren, in the bowels of mercy, let us put away anger, and malice, and evil-speaking;let us fly all clamor and strife; ―let us be kindly affected one to another,following peace with all men, and holiness,that we may see the LORD.
Which, GOD of his infinite mercy grant, thro' the merits of his Son, our LORD and SAVIOUR.— Amen.
Search the Scriptures.
ST. JOHN V.
Search the Scriptures.
HAT things of the most inestimable use and
of due application and stu
dy laid out upon them, may be passed by unregarded, nay, even looked upon with coldness and aversion, is a truth too evident to need enlarging on -Nor is it less certain, that prejudices, contracted by an unhappy education, will sometimes so stop up all the passages to our hearts,that the most amiable objects can never find access, or bribe us by all their charms into justice and impartiality.It would be passing the tenderest reflection upon the age we live in,to say it is owing to one of these, that those inestimable books, the sacred writings, meet so often with a disrelish (what makes the accusation almost incredible) amongst persons who set up for men of taste and delicacy; who pretend to be charmed with what they call beauties and nature in classical authors,and in other things would blush not to be reckoned amongst sound and impartial critics. But so far has negligence and prepossession stopped their ears against the voice of the charmer, that they turn over those awful sacred pages with inattention and an unbecoming indifference,unaffected amidst ten thousand sublime and noble passages, which, by the rules of sound criticism and reason, may be demonstrated to be truly eloquent and beautiful.
Indeed, the opinion of false Greek and barbarous language in the Old and New Testament, had, for some ages, been a stumbling-block to another set of men, who were professedly great readers and admirers of the ancients.-The sacred writings were, by these persons, rudely attacked VOL. III. LI
on all sides Expressions which came not within the compass of their learning, were branded with barbarism and solecism; words which scarce signified any thing, but the ignorance of those who Jaid such groundless charges on them. Presumptuous man!-Shall he, who is but dust and ashes, dare to find fault with the words of that Being, who first inspired man with language, and taught his mouth to utter; who opened the lips of the dumb, and made the infant eloquent ?-These persons, as they attacked the inspired writings on the foot of critics and men of learning, accordingly have been treated as such: And though a shorter way might have been gone to work, which was,- -that as their accusations reached no farther than the bare words and phraseology of the bible, they in nowise affected the sentiments and soundness of the doctrines, which were conveyed with as much clearness and perspicuity to mankind, as they could have been, had the language been written with the utmost elegance and grammatical nicety. And even though the charge of barbarous idioms could be made out ;-yet the cause of christianity was thereby nowise affected, but remained just in the state they found it.Yet, unhappily for them, they even miscarried in their favorite point;- -there being few, if any at all, of the scripture expressions, which may not be justified by numbers of parallel medes of speaking, made use of amongst the purest and most authentic Greek authors.. -This, an able hand amongst us, not many years ago, has sufficiently made out, and thereby baffled and exposed all their presumptuous and ridiculous assertions.-These persons, bad and deceitful as they were,are yet far outgone by a third set of men.-I wish we had not too many instances of them, who, like foul stomachs, that turn the sweetest food to bitterness, upon all occasions endeavor to make
merry with sacred scripture, and turn every thing they meet with therein into banter and burlesque. But as men of this stamp, by their excess of wickedness and weakness together, have entirely disarmed us from arguing with them as reasonable creatures, it is not only making them too considerable, but likewise to no purpose to spend much time about them; they being, in the language of the apostle, creatures of no understanding, speaking evil of things they know not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.-Of these two last, the one is disqualified for being argued with, and the other has no occasion for it; they being already silenced.-Yet those that were first mentioned, may not altogether be thought unworthy of our endeavors ;-being persons, as was hinted above, who, tho' their tastes are so far vitiated that they cannot relish the sacred scriptures, yet have imaginations capable of being raised by the fancied excellencies of classical writers....And indeed, these persons claim from us some degree of pity, when, thro' the unskilfulness of preceptors in their youth, or some other unhappy circumstance in their education, they have been taught to form false and wretched notions of good writing. -When this is the case, it is no wonder they should be more touched and affected with the dressed-up trifles and empty conceits of poets and rhetoricians, than they are with that true sublimity and grandeur of sentiment which glow throughout every page of the inspired writings. By way of information, such should be instructed.
There are two sorts of eloquence; the one, indeed, scarce deserves the name of it, which consists chiefly in labored and polished periods, an over-curious and artificial arrangement of figures, tinselled over with a gaudy embelishment of words which glitter, but convey little or no light to the understanding.-This kind of writing is, for the