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that wander about the sun, with Phaeton's favor, would make clear conviction.
There is nothing strictly immortal, but immortality; whatever hath no beginning may be confident of no end. All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of onmipotency to • be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. But the sufficiency of christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous memory. God, who can only destroy our souls, and hath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names hath directly promised no duration; wherein there is so much of chance that the boldest expectants have found unhappy frustration, and to hold long subsistence, seems but a scape in oblivion. But man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave; solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature!
Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us. A small fire sufficeth for life; great flames seemed too little after death, while men vainly affected precious pyres, and burned like Sardanapalus ; but the wisdom of funeral laws found the folly of prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing fires unto the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few could be so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an urn.
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While some have studied monuments, others have studiously declined them; and some have been so vainly boisterous, that they durst not acknowledge their graves; wherein Alaricus seems most subtle, who had a river turned to hide his bones at the bottom. Even Sylla, that thought himself safe in his urn, could not prevent revenging tongues, and stones thrown at his monument. Happy are they whom privacy makes innocent! who deal so with men in this world, that they are not afraid to meet them in the next! who when they die, make no commotion among the dead, and are not touched with that poetical taunt of Isaiah.f
Pyramids, arches, obelisks, were but the irregularities of vainglory, and wild enormities of ancient magnanimity. But
the most magnanimous resolution rests in the christian religion, which trampleth upon pride, and sits on the neck of ambition, humbly pursuing that infallible perpetuity, unto which all others must diminish their diameters and be poorly seen in angles of contingency.*
* * * *
To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names, and predicament of chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations, and made one part of their elysiums. But all this is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief. To live indeed, is to be again ourselves, which being not only a hope, but an evidence in noble believers, it is all one to lie in St Innocent's churchyard, as in the sands ol Egypt; ready to be any thing, in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six foot as the mole of Adrian us.
False Pretences to Religion.
Among all birds that we know, there is not any that seems of so elevated, and I had almost said heavenly a nature, as the lark; scarce any give so early and so sweet a welcome to the springing day; and that which I was just now gazing on, seemed so pleased with the unclouded light, that she sang as if she came from the place she seemed going to; and during this charming song, she mounted so high, as if she meant not to stop till she had reached that sun, whose beams so cherished and transported her; and in this aspiring flight she raised herself so high, that though I will not say, she left the earth beneath her very sight, yet I may say, that she soared quite out of ours. Yet, when from this towering height she stooped to repose or solace herself upon the ground; or else, when to seize upon some worthless worm, or other wretched prey, she lighted on the ground, she seemed so like the earth that was about her, that 1 believe you could scarce discern her from its clods; whereas other birds, that fly not half so high, nor seem anything near so fond of the sun, do yet build their nests upon trees, the lark does as well build hers on the ground, as look like a part of it.
* Angulus contingently, the least of angles.
Thus I have known, in these last and worst times, manya hypocrite, that when he was conversant about sublimer objects, appeared, as well as he called himself, a saint; nothing seemed so welcome to him as new light; one might think his lips had been touched with a coal from the altar, his mouth did so sweetly show forth God's praise and sacred dispensations. In sum, take this hypocrite in his fit of devotion, and to hear him talk, you would think that if he had not already been in heaven, at least he would never leave mounting till he should get thither. But when the opportunities of advantaging his lower interests called him down to deal about his secular affairs here below, none appeared more of a piece with the earth than he; and he seemed, in providing for his family, to be of a meaner and a lower spirit than those very men whom in discourse he was wont to undervalue, as being far more earthly than himself.
Since we know, * * that the best things corrupted prove the worst, it can be no disparagement to piety, to acknowledge that hypocrisy is a vice which you cannot too much condemn; and when the pretending to religion grows to be a thing in request, many betake themselves to a form of religion, who deny the power of it; and some, perchance, have been preferred less for their Jacob's voice than for their Esau's hands.
But, * * let us not, to shun one extreme, fondly run into the other, and be afraid or ashamed to profess religion, because some hypocrites did but profess it! His course is ignoble and preposterous, that treads in the paths of piety, rather because they lead to preferment than to heaven; but yet it is more excuseable to live free from scandal, for an inferior end, than not to live so at all; and hypocrites can as little justify the profane as themselves. It may be, that all who own religion are not pious; but it is certain that he who scorns to own it must be still less so. If scoffers at piety should succeed the pretenders to it, they cannot be said, as sometimes they would be thought, to be an innocent sort of hypocrites, that are better than they seem; for scandal is a thing so criminal and contagious, that whosoever desires and endeavours to appear evil, is so.
To refuse to be religious, because some have but professed themselves to be so, is to injure God because he has already been injured. A skilful jeweller will not forbear giving great rates for necklaces of true pearl, though there may be many counterfeits for one that is not so. Nor are the right pearls a whit the less cordial to those that take them, because the artificial pearls, made at Venice, consisting of mercury and glass, for all their fair show, are rather noxious than medicinal. Indeed, our knowledge that there are hypocrites, ought rather to commend piety to us, than discredit it; since as none would take the pains to counterfeit pearls, if true ones were not of value, so men would not put themselves to the constraint of personating piety, if that itself were not a noble quality. Let us then, * * fly as far as you please from what we detest in hypocrites; but then let us consider, what it is that we detest; which being a base, and, therefore, false pretence to religion, let us only shun such a pretence, which will be best done by becoming real professors of the thing pretended to.
[The following is a specimen of 'An amended Version of the Book of Job,' made upon the basis of the one commonly received, and exhibiting the best results of modern criticism upon that admirable poem. By printing convenient portions of it in different numbers of our Journal, we once hoped to have presented the whole of it to our readers. But the Translator has concluded to publish it in another form, and, if it exhibit throughout the ability discovered in the very considerable portion of it we have examined, it will, in our judgment, do honor not only to him, but to the University with which he is connected. If our readers will compare this chapter as it here stands with the version of it in their Bibles, they must acknowledge a most striking improvement.]
THE THIRD CHAPTER OF JOB. •
1. At length Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
2 And Job exclaimed and said,
3 Perish the day in which I was born,
And the night which said, 'A man child is brought forth!'
4 Let that day be darkness;
Let not God regard it from above;
5 Let darkness and the shadow of death dishonor it;
Let a cloud dwell upon it;
Let the deadly heats of the day terrify it! f, As for that night, let darkness seize upon it;Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;Let it not come into the number of the months!
7 O let that night be solitary,
Let there be in it no voice of joy;
8 Let the sorcerers of the day curse it,
9 Let the stars of its twilight be darkened,
10 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb.
Why did I not expire when I came forth from the womb?
v. 5—' shadow of death.' By this expression nothing more than 'thick darkness' is denoted.
v. C—'rejoice.' "tne futurei by Apocope, from fnf^ 'to re
joice,' which see in tiesenius' Lexicon.
v. 7—'solitary.' Otherwise ' barren,unfruitful.' The word occurs elsewhere only in Ch. xv. 34, xxx. 3, and Is. xlix. 21.
v. 8—' Leviathan.' In all the other parts of scripture, in which the word thus rendered occurs, it denotes an animal ; most probably, the crocodile. Nearly all the ancient versions, and nearly all the modern critics, consider it as the name of an animal here. The verse refers probably to a class of persons supposed to have power to make any day fortunate or unfortunate, to control future events, and even to raise up the most terrific monsters from the deep. Balaam, whom Balak sent for to curse Israel, affords evidence of the existence of a class of persons, who were supposed to be capable of producing evil by their imprecations. Numb. xxii. 10, 11. For another explanation, sec Rosenmuller's Commentary.
v. 9—' cytlids of the morning.' This is the literal version, and contains an image too beautiful to be thrown away. It is found also in Sophocles, Antig. 1. 103.
'EQivBiir Wot', & xfvotaf
Also in Milton's Lycidas,
'ere the high lawns appeared Under the opening eyelids of the dawn, We drove afield.'