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“ There the prisoners rest together, they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
« The small and great are there, and the servant is free from his master.”
We omit the vision so often quoted (“Then a spirit passed before my face,” &c.) and proceed to a subsequent chapter, in which there is a vague and prodigious grandeur.
“ There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen.
“ The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
“He bindeth the floods from overflowing, and the thing that is bid, bringeth he forth to light.
“ But where shall wisdom be found ? and where is the place of understanding?
“ Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
“ The depth saith, IT IS NOT IN ME; and the sea saith, It is NOT WITH ME.
" It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
*" The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
“Whence then cometh wisdom ? and where is the place of understanding ?
“ Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air ?
“ Destruction and Death say, WE HAVE HEARD THE FAME THEREOF WITH OUR EARS.
“ God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
“For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven.
“ To make the weight for the winds, and he weigheth the waters by measure.
“When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder :
“ Then did he see it, and declare it, he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
“ And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding."
His account of his own youth is touching and full of graceful confidence.
“When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me,
“ The young men saw me, and hid themselves ; and the aged arose, and stood up.
" The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
“ The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. .
“When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: ..“ Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
“My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
“My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
“Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.”
: We must make one more extract from these celebrated books before we quit them. Job, under the oppression of sickness and misfortune, complains to God :
“ Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“ Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ?
“ Gird up now thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me?"
“ Where wast thou," he inquires, “ when I laid the foundations of the earth ?”. “ Where wast thou,” he asks, “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?- Declare, if thou hast any understanding.
“ Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days ? and caused the day-spring to know his place. : “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
“ Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or bast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
“ Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth ? declare, if thou knowest it all.
“ Where is the way where light dwelleth ? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof?
“Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendred it ?
“ The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. • of Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ?
“ Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season, or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons ?.
.“ Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the duminion thereof in the earth?
į “ Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?"
: “ Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are ?"
Before we conclude our extracts, we will add one or two passages from the Apocryphal books, they being less in use than the more orthodox ones of the Old Testament. The following, taken from the Wisdom of Solomon, may give the reader a good idea of a prolonged oriental simile. It is said, that all the pride and riches of the world are passed away- ::
. “ As a ship that passeth over the waves of the water, which when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found, neither the path-way of the keel in the waves; . “ Or as when a bird hath flown through the air, there is no token of her way to be found, but the light air being beaten with the stroke of her wings, and parted with the violent noise and motion of them, is passed through, and therein afterwards no sign where she went is to be found.”
God loveth him that dwelleth with wisdom. :“For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.”
The praises of David (and many other passages) in Ecclesiasticus are worthy quotation, but we can only afford space for the following. The last verse is exceedingly musical.
“ Slew he not a giant when he was yet but young ? and did he not take away reproach from the people, when he lifted up his hand: with the stone in the sling, and beat down the boasting of Goliath? ,
“He set singers also before the altar, that by their voices they might make sweet melody, and daily sing praises in their songs.
“ He beautified their feasts, and set in order the solemn times, until the end, that they might praise his holy name, and that the temple might sound from morning.”
There are also one or two stories in the second book of Maccabees, to which we are desirous of referring the reader, more particularly that of the mother whose sons were massacred before her eyes. She endured all with a courage beyond that ascribed to Roman matrons. The sons, it is said, bore their fates like men and martyrs-. “But the mother was marvellous above all, and worthy of honourable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bare it with a good courage, because of the hope that she had in the Lord.”
There is also a good deal of calm and simple beauty, as
well as philosophic interest, in the story of Eleazar, ' an aged man’ who was constrained to eat swine's flesh.
“ But he, chusing rather to die gloriously than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment.”
The agents, however, of the oppressors endeavour to dissuade him from sacrificing himself on account of his religion :
“But he began to consider discreetly, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his gray head, whereunto he was come, and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God: therefore he answered accordingly, and willed them straightways to send him to the grave.
“ For it becometh not our age, said he, in anywise to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and ten, were now gone to a strange religion;
“ and so,” he adds, “I should get a stain to my old age and make it abominable.
“Wherefore, now manfully changing this life, I will shew myself such an one as mine age requireth,
“And leave a notable example to such as be young, to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws; and when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment.”
This article has already run, perhaps, to a sufficient length; and we shall therefore abstain from making any quotations whatever from the New Testament. We shall, most probably, return to the subject on some future occasion; when the Proverbs of Solomon, the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the acts and writings of the apostles, will afford ample materials for another article. At present, it will be sufficient to say that the tone of the New Testament differs materially from that of the Old ; although both have naturally the oriental cast and character. The Bible abounds in marvellous histories, in touching episodes, in joyful psalms, and sounding prophecies. The Testament is a simple narrative of the life of * The Son of Man ;' rich in his precepts and radiant with his actions, indeed, but otherwise (saving only the story of his death) exempt in a great measure from the excitement which belongs to the other. The first is an example, and the last a lesson. This being the case, it happens of course that the style of the later writings is less elevated than that of the earlier poetry. What may be their comparative merits, considered merely as literary performances, and what may be the comparative value of the characters offered to our notice in each, were the kings and warriors of the Old Testament opposed to
those of the New, and the patriarchs and prophets placed by the side of the apostles and martyrs, we shall not now pretend to say. Something probably might be advanced in favour of the superiority of each. At any rate, we think, the advantage, even in respect to composition, does not lie so entirely in favour of the Old Testament as is generally presumed. There is nothing finer in all the books of the Bible than the account of Saint John the Baptist, who was fed with locusts and wild honey, and lived in desarts apart from men,-'A voice crying
in the wilderness. There is nothing finer, in its way, than the · account of Saint Paul, stern and courageous, or the gentler story of the beloved disciple.
'If there be something awful in the denunciations of the prophets, something so terrible and imposing that ordinary faith and human reason must have shrank and staggered beneath their awful anathemas; there is perhaps as true and assuredly as rare a grandeur in the simple characters of the apostles. These men, chosen from the poorest classes of a despised people, to interpret the doctrines of Jesus Christ, and spread his name abroad over lands and seas, became, from the purity of their lives and their fearless devotion, respected even in the eyes of infidels and scoffers. They seem to have taken their stand round their Master, (as the angelic virtues may be supposed to linger round the throne of the Deity from whom they emanate, true ,servants, whom neither contempt could weaken nor persecution dismay. They followed him till he suffered, with undeviating patience and exemplary attachment, all (except one) untempted and faithful. And when • The Son of Man' died upon the cross, and the Heavens darkened at the darker actions of men, and the veil of the temple was rent asunder, and the oracles of the prophets accomplished; these humble followers of an aspiring cause still submitted to endure pain, and insult, and beggary, for its sake. They expatriated themselves, and went amidst distant plains and desarts, armed only with the lessons wbich they had heard, and provided only in the pity of men. They forsook the comforts of their homes, and vanquished the common feelings of their nature; and, abandoning themselves to the Providence which they believed to protect them, preached the words of their master unto hostile nations. They were beyond the heroes of history or fable ; for they were beyond the ordinary impulse which stimulates men to great actions. No garlands of laurel awaited them, no crowns of gold, no thanks of senates, no shouts of multitudes; but only peril, and disgrace, and poverty, desertion, and sickness, and scorn. They looked forward to no reward, but the reward of their own approving hearts. They were unschooled in the lessons of fame. They had no long line of illustrious fathers to