תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

19 Lo! this is the rejoicing of his way,
. And from the dust others shall spring forth. .
20 Behold the Almighty will not abhor the perfect,

But he will not strengthen in power the unjust.
21 Votil laughter shall.fill thy Inouth,

And shouting thy lips,
22 Shame shall cloath thy enemies,

But the tent of the unjust shall be afflicted.”

19. Others shall.) Other plants shall succeed to his place; that is, his estare shall pass into another family. Thus the period closes with the same metaphor that began it.

20–22.] Here begins the inference drawn from the preceding rellections.

21. Thy mouth. &c.] He had begun the period, ver. 20. in the third person, Behold God will not cast away a perfect man, &c. Such a sudden turn of the s'ile 10 the second person is spirited and catches the attention by surprize, whether this address to Job was serious or ironical : if it was serious, it was so on supposition of his becoming a righteous inan: if ironical, it was cruel. As if he had said, “ The effect of God's regard for the upright, and detestation of the wicked, will be, undoubtedly, deliverance of thee from thy affliction; and restoration of thee to thy former prosperity."

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ALL truth will bear inquiry, and the most diligent and learned ** criticisms to be inade upon it, and after all, will be like gold tried seven times in the fire.

It is on this account, Sir, that I now transmit my thoughts to you on the word Selah; a word which is often used by the Psalmist; and being a word which few persons understand, I thought it would not be an pseless task to endeavor to explain it.

Cassiodorus thinks that the Greek word diumoanac, has the same signification in that language, as the word .750 has in the Hebrew, and points out a change of the voice or tune in the Psalms. Others, of a more modern day, say that Selah is only a note in the ancient music, and has no signification: and indeed wherever this word occurs, il do-s not, in any instance, illustrate the passage, but often only perplexes the text, and may be taken away without the least interrupting the sense. : In the third Psalm we find the word Selah made use of three times ; the second verse of which runs thus ; “ There be many which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.” The sense here is as plain, nay, would be plainer, if the word Selah was not annexed, as it is apt to perplex an English reader.

Others say, it was a wote which shewed the elevation of the voice : that when the reader came to this, he was to cry out, and make an exclamation. Others say, amongst whom is Aben-Ezra, that it answers nearly in signification to Amen, or so be it, as it is usert at the end of prayers. The Jews put it at the end of their books: abo i. e. Finis, End, or So be it. .

Although we do not always find it at the end of the sense, or the end of the canticle, yet there is not, I think, the least doubt but that Selalt intimates or signifies End, or a pause, and no doubt bur the ancient musicians put Selah in the margin of their l'salters to shew where the pause was to be made or the tune ended. Perhaps the ancient Hebrews sang the saine as the Arabians do to this day, making long pauses, eni': S, and beginning all at once; for this reason it was necessary, in public service, to make in the margin of the Psalters the place of the pause and the end, that the whole choir might rest and begin again at the saine time.

Thus, Sir, I have endeavoured to shew the meaning of the word Selah, which is so often used by the Psalmist, which at one time I was considerably perplexed about; and perhaps soine of your readers are in the like predicament with myself; if you think the foregoing thoughts elucidate the subject, they are at your service.

Yours, &c.

W. BICKNELL, Jun.

PONDER'S END.

MISCELLANEOUS
MAXIMS AND THOUGHTS.

CONTINUED.

XXI. THAT good often wears hest, and lasts longest, which is obtained by

steary and patient application.

XXII. Words are often eaay, when proof is hard : and the tongue is found ta be the ever faithful auxiliary of the determined and obstinate mind.

XXIII. Well did an ingenious writer say of solitude, that in it “ the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself : in the world it seeks or accepts a few treacherous supports ;-the feigneel compassion of one-the flattery of a second--the civilities of a third--the friendship of a fourth ; they all deceive and bring the iniud back to retirement, reflection, and books!" But though they read so many excellent maxims of wisdom, and their judgments are so fully convinced of the lasting advantages of true philosophy; how frail, how forgetful, and how much under the influence of the passions, are men of superior accomplishments found!

But they are living monitors 10 teach us wisdoin by their folly and weakness!

XXIV. Of all subjects that can possibly engage huınan attention, ihere is none which can stand in the least degree of comparison with the knowledge of God. To contemplate him as the creator and preserver of all things, and the wise and gracious benefactor of innumerable myriads of sentient and rational beings, is certainly an employment the most exalted in atself, and consequently the inost worthy of the highest of his creatures.

It must indeed be acknowledged, that to conceive of the supreme Being, as he exists in his infinite perfections, is impossible; to pise 10 a degree of comprehension adequate to any part or attribute of his glorious nature, is not to be expected. But if we attend to the evidences of his existence all around us, we are struck with incontestible proofs of his goodness as well as power; if to the language of holy writ, where his nature is spoken of in the most striking and emphatical manner, we find it pronounced to be love, and light, &c. God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. Goal is love. Under these figures the serious mind has her abundant feast of contemplation.

XXV., From the most attentive consideration of the character of the Supreme Being, can it be possible for any serious man to think otherwise, than that it must be the perfection of a created nature to attain the highest possible resemblance of the divine attributes ? And seeing we are privileged to inake some sensible, though almost infinitely distant advances, towards his glorious nature of love, and the fruit of such sensible advances is peace, which nothing else can give a true taste of, how unwise are the children of this world in their continual choice of inferior pursuits !

XXVI. “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nah. i. 3.

This prophet, though the book of his prophecy be short, and relating to one subject, viz. The judgment of God against the city of Nineveh, seems to have been inspired with a large effusion of the divine spirit, and speaks with an authority and solemnity, which, as it claimed the serious attention of the people of his time, ought likewise, to command the serious consideration of all people, at all times. And though many ages have passed away since the destruction of that city, and the particular deliverance of the Jews, there never can be an age in which the law of fear and reverence are not awful in themselves, and as they regard the infinite holiness of the Almighty.

In this age, therefore, it behoves us to be deeply thoughtful of God, by whom we have been created, by whose power we live and move ; and endeavour to have our minds raised into a suitable contemplation and feverence of him; that as we are passing away, like he ages that have

YOL, IV.

gone before us, and we know not the measure of our days, we may live suitably to the frailty of our short and uncertain life, and in all our ways be found the true worshippers of hiin that is invisible! He is indeed invisible to us, with respect to the nature of his being : but we are not without the most awful proofs and evidences of his adorable attributes!

The works of his creative and sustaining power are infinite, and none but the fool can say in his heart “ There is no God." He is, beyond all controversy, in every place, and every visible thing testifies of his presence! Well might the royal Psalmist say, “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy works. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth forth knowledge!" But though the great Creator of all things be every where, in every moment of time, there is an evidence of his tremendous presence, particularly solemn, in the movings and voices of the elements around us; in the winds of heaven, and the storms of the firinainent; “ The Lord hath his way in the wirldwind, and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet!"

[ocr errors]

In proportion as any church or body of men are removed in the terms of their association, and the principle of their union, from the obvious liberality of the doctrines and the simple examples of Jesus Christ, they are removed from Christian ground, and froin the genuine iinport of the name Christian !

XXVIII. Few distinctions or descriptions of men, I suppose none, will be found to believe that they are so removed; or, that they are not the society most in conformity to the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, and consequently most truly the church of Christ.

XXIX. Every church being partial to itself, and fully persuaded of its own superior purity of faith, if not of its own exclusive orthodoxy; it is not to be wondered at, that every church should have in it members weak enough, and zealous enough, to render it ridiculous to infidels and irreligious persons, by giving it the titles of the only true church; and the church and people of God! But the wise, to the utmost allowable degree, must learn to bear with the weak.

xxx. A religious professor should be tender of hurting the feelings of any man in religious matters: he should not only wish to guard against so

doing with respect to those in, but out of communion with himself. A · liberal thinker and writer, however, will more frequently be in danger

of offending his brother professors, than those of other communities and that for the reason above expressed.

It therefore behoves a man who writes for the reformation of a partial or bigotted disposition, so common to churches, to attempt (not hy using dogmatical assertions, which are the common aids of ignorance, and a bad cause but) by sober enquiry and argument, to induce an examination into the grounds and truth of things.

[ocr errors]

XXXI. Why should we wish for a long continuance in this world? Would ve live for the sake of old age ? - What is that but to live for second child-hood, weariness, and pain;

to be burdensome to our friends, and of little use to society? Would we live to get money for ourselves ?

What is that but to live a life of constant anxiety and servility, to procure it;-to wear out our powers of enjoyment in the attaininent of our object; and to acquire a selfishness, which must counteract all eventual satisfaction? What is it but to procure the envy of the ignorant, the blame of the wise, the rivalship of the rich, and the trouble or the curses of the poor? Would we live to grow rich for the sake of being generous ?

This may be a popular and a benevolent argument. But what better privilege do we desire by this than the lessening of the power of others to do that good, which it is altogether uncertain whether we should do better than they?

Would we live for the sake of seeing our friends haphy, and our nearest relatives provided for?

This likewise is a benevolent motive. But will our friends be less happy by being released from the trouble of our infirmities? Or, will our relatives be less under tlae protection of divine providence in our absence, than if, being present, we could watch them on our crutches? And most certainly we must be parted from them at last!

XXXII. The result seems to be, that we should endeavour to acquire more than a resignation-a readiness, and a desire, to go out of this world just as soou as it shall please infinite wisdom to order. A period to ar uncertain life, is the fixed and iminutable law of our Creator upon us

ever to be expected-ever to be waited for. And while it seems to be no part of the good of a wise man to be anxious about the possession of any outward thing, which he is not possessed of, and which may be more proper to the sphere of another, it seems to be the chiefest duty “ to do good and coinmunicate," of those mental possessions, which a real Christian finds himself privileged to acquire; for such possessions are most properly his own, and the nature of them the most resembling the divine Being.

Of these a man may impart, without diminishing his own stock of happiness: and from a free and loving communication of the best convictions and intellectual views of individuals, shall most probably result the greatest social good of the whole. The consciousness of sa

« הקודםהמשך »