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tences, adorned with agreeable figures, and expressed in a concise style; for all this serves to make them remembered. In fine, the poetry is sublime, the descriptions lively, the metaphors bold, the expressions noble; and the figures wonderfully varied. But it would require whole books to treat of their eloquence and poetry in such a manner as they deserve.*
Though they wrote by divine inspiration, I do not think it necessary to impute all their elo. quence to it. They were only inspired to speak truth, and to make use of no word that was unfit to declare the mysterious designs of God: but for any thing more, the Holy Ghost made use of their natural manner of expression. This is plain from the different styles of the prophets, and still more so from the likeness they all beat to the most antient profane writers. Homer, Herodotus, and Hippocrates, tell a story in the same way. Hesiod's instructions are written in the like manner. The elegies of Theognis and Solon resemble the exhortations of Moses and the prophets. We see in Pindar, and the Chorusses of Tragedians, great boldness and variety of poetry, and the more antient Greek authors are, the more they resemble the Hebrews, both in the distinction of style, accord. ing to the nature of the work, and in their con. ciseness and propriety of expression. . · People may imagine that the Hebrews wrote in this manner by the pure strength of their
. . See Bishop Lowth's Dissertation, and his Preliminary Discourse to his Translation of the Prophet Isaiah. + Demosth. de fals. leg. et alibi.
genius, genius; and that the goodness of their judgment prompted them to reject what was not suitable to the design of any work, and to make use of what was fittest to instruct or affect. For my own part, when I see that they never fail to observei a difference of style, and they apply all the ornaments of true eloquence so properly, I am rather inclined to believe they had already some rules, taken from the experience of their fathers, either in writing or by tradition among the learned. We must not imagine that the Greeks invented eloquence and poetry : the greatest share they had in it was giving names to the figures, and framing all that artificial language, in which the knowledge of grammarians and rhetoricians consisted; but which alone never made either orators or poets. The rudiments of the art were discovered long before for the world was not young at that time: it had existed three thousand years before Solomon, and it is nearly three thousand since. Before his time men's lives were long, and there had been no inundations of barbarians in the countries where arts and sciences had their origin.
10 return to the common sort of the He: brews. Since they were so well instructed, and born in a country where people are naturally ingenuous, they could not fail of being polite:
for for we are not to suppose that inconsistent with a country life and bodily labour. The example of the Greeks plainly proves the contrary. I mean by politeness here, in general, whatsoever distinguishes us from barbarous nations: on one side, humanity and civility, demonstrations of friendship and respect' in the common transactions of life, and on the other, prudence in business, address, and propriety of behaviour, and ah that comes under the denomination of good conduct. !.
As to civility, the Greeks, living for the most part in commonwealths, were so jealous of their liberty that they treated one another as equals, and their compliments went no farther than shewing esteem and friendship, in which the Romans imitated them. The civilities of the eastern people came nearer to ours, and were more respectful. They called those Lords, whom they had a mind to honour, made vows of obedience to them, and bowed themselves to the earth before them, which the Scripture calls adoring.
The Hebrews did so even before, they had kings, as early as the time of the patriarchs: which proceeded, in all likelihood, from the customs of the neigbouring people, who had long been subject to masters. It was not reckoned ill manners to thou each other; all the antients spoke in that manner, and most nations still do so, It was not till about the decay of the Roman empire that the plural began to be used in speaking to one person.
It was usual to kiss in saluting and instead af uncovering, as we do, out of respect, they
pulled off their shoes when they went into sacred places, as the eastern nations do to this day. Uncovering the head was a sign of mourning.
We see examples of their compliments in those of Ruth,* Abigail,t the woman of Tekoah, I whom Joab employed to get Absalom recalled, and Judith: All these are examples of women, who are generally more complaisant than men. They liked to speak in parables and ingenious riddles. Their language was modest and chaste, but in a different way from ours. They said the water of the feet, for yrine; and to cover the feet, for easing nature ; because in that action they covered themselves with their mantle, after they had dug a hole in the ground. They said the thigh, when they meant the parts which modesty forbids to name. In other respects they have expressions that seem very harsh to us; as when they speak of conception and the birth of children, of women that are fruitful or barren, and make no scruple of naming some infirmities of both sexes which we make use of circumlocution to express.
All these differences proceed only from distance of time and place, Most of the words, which are now immodest according to the present use of our language, were not so formerly, because they .conveyed other ideas; and the eastern people, especially the Mahomedans, are ridiculously nice about certain indecencies that
have no influence upon the manners, whilst they give themselves great liberty in the most infamous pleasures. The Scripture speaks more plainly than we should do of conjugal affairs, because there was not one Israelite that renounced marriage, and they that wrote were grave and commonly old men.
As for prudence, good or bad conduct, ad, dress, complaisance, artifice, and court intrigues, the history of Saul and David furnishes us with as many examples of them as any other that I know of.
THEIR easy and quiet life, added to the beauty of the country, inclițed them to pleasures; but such as were sensible, and easy to procure. They had scarcely any but music and good cheer. Their feasts were, as I said, made of plain meat, which they had out of their own stock: and their music cost them still less, since most people knew how to sing and play: upon some instrument, Old Barzillai names only these two pleasures, when he was too far advanced in years to relish life.* The author of Ecclesiasticus compares a concert of music in a banquet of wine to a signet of carbuncle set in gold.t So Ulysses frankly owned to the Phæa,
and their ch they had as I said