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• some skill in the nature of heavenly bodies; • because, says he, his inind will become more • extensive and unconfined ; and when he de• scends to treat of human affairs, he will both 6 think and write in a more exalted and magni• ficent manner. For the same reason that ex« cellent master would have recommended the • study of those great and glorious mysteries • which revelation has discovered to us; to r which the noblest parts of this system of the < world are as much inferior as the creature is - less excellent than its Creator. The wisest 6 and most knowing among the heathens had • very poor and imperfect notions of a fu6 ture state. They had indeed some uncertain
hopes, either received by tradition, or gathersed by reason, that the existence of virtuous • men would not be determined by the separa« tion of soul and body: but they either dilbe" lieved a future state of punishment and misery; 6 or, upon the same account that Apelles paint• ed Antigonus* with one side only towards " the SPECTATOR, that the loss of his eye « might not cast a blemish upon the whole
piece: so these represented the condition of • inan in its fairest view, and endeavoured to
conceal what they thought was a deformity « to human nature. I have often observed, that « whenever the above-mentioned orator in his < philosophical discourses is led by his argument • to the mention of immortality, he seems like • one awakened out of ileep; roused and alarmed * This fine allusion is equally ingenious and just.
« with the dignity of the subject, he stretches • his imagination to conceive something uncom6 mon, and, with the greatness of his thoughts, 6 casts, as it were, a glory round the sentence. • Uncertain and unsettled as he was he seems · fired with the contemplation of it. And • nothing but such a glorious prospect could • have forced so great a lover of truth as he was • to declare his resolution never to part with ? his persuasion of immortality, though it should - be proved to be an erroneous one. But had he
lived to see all that Christianity has brought ! to light, how would he have lavished out • all the force of eloquence in those noblest o contemplations which human nature is ca
pable of, the resurrection and the judgment • that follows it! How had his breait glowed • with pleasure, when the whole compass of < futurity lay open and exposed to his view ! • How would his imagination have hurried him • on in the pursuit of the mysteries of the incar
natiou! * How would he have entered, with • the force of lightning, into the affections of • his hearers, and fixed their attention, in spite • of all the opposition of corrupt nature, upon • those glorious themes which his eloquence « hath painted in such lively and lasting colours !
6 This advantage Christians have; and it was 4 with no small pleasure I lately met with a
* Can the imagination be affected with what it cannot conceive? or the judgment with what it cann: t comprehend? Christianity may benefit the orator by its revelations, but not by its mysteries.
fragment • fragment of Longinus, which is preserved, 6 as a testimony of that critic's judgment, at • the beginning of a manuscript of the New • Testament in the Vatican library. After that • author has numbered up the most celebrated 6 orators among the Grecians, he says " add “ to these Paul of Tarsus, the patron of an “ opinion not yet fully proved.” As a Heathen, · he condemns the Christian Religion; and, as • an impartial critic, he judges in favour of the • promoter and preacher of it. To me it seems • that the latter part of his judgment adds great " weight to his opinion of St. Paul's abilities, • fince, under all the prejudice of opinions
directly opposite, he is constrained to acknow• ledge the merit of that apostle. And no doubt • such as Longinus describes St. Paul such he o appeared to the inhabitants of those countries « which he visited and blefied with those doc• trines he was divinely commissioned to preach. • Sacred story gives us, in one circumstance, a
convincing proof of his eloquence, when the • men of Lystra called him Mercury “ because “ he was the chief speaker,” and would have • paid divine worship to him, as to the God
who invented and presided over eloquence. • This one account of our apostle sets his cha6 racter, considered as an orator only, above all • the celebrated relations of the skill and influsence of Demosthenes and his contemporaries. • Their power in speaking was admired, but
still it was thought human: their 'eloquence ' warmed and ravished the hearers, but still it
I was thought the voice of man, not the voice • of God. What advantage then had St. Paul • above those of Greece or Rome? I confess I • can ascribe this excellence to nothing but the
power of the doctrines he delivered, which may • have still the same influence on his hearers, • which have still the power, when preached 6 by a skilful orator, to make us break out in • the same expressions as the disciples who < met our Saviour in their way to Emmaus ( made use of; 6. Did not our hearts burn within 66 us when he talked to us by the way, and 56 while he opened to us the scriptures?" I may • be thought bold in my judgment by fome, 6 but I must affirm that no one orator has left • us so visible marks and footsteps of his elo
quence as our apostle. It may perhaps be • wondered at that, in his reasonings upon ido6 latry at Athens, where eloquence was born 6 and flourished, he confines himself to strict 6 argument only; but my reader may remember 6 what many authors of the best credit have • assured us that all attempts upon the affec• tions and strokes of oratory were expressly • forbidden by the laws of that country in • courts of judicature. His want of eloquence " therefore here was the effect of his exact con• formity to the laws; but his discourse on the " resurrection to the Corinthians, his harangue • before Agrippa upon his own conversion, • and the necessity of that of others, are truly • great, and may serve as full examples to those excellent rules for the sublime, which the best
of 6 of critics has left us. The sum of all this dife course is, that our clergy have no farther to
look for an example of the perfection they may arrive at than to St. Paul's harangues ; that when he, under the want of several advantages • of nature, as he himself tells us, was heard, ad• mired, and made a standard to succeeding ages
by the best judges of a different persuasion in • religion; I say our clergy may learn that, how• ever instructive their fermons are, they are • capable of receiving a great addition; which St.
Paul has given them a noble example of, and • the Christian religion has furnished them with • certain means of attaining to.'*
* This paper, No 633, was published by Mr. Tickell in his edition of Addison's Works, as a Paper of ADDISON; but it was written originally by Dr. Zachary Pearce, the late venerable bishop of Rochester, who was likewise the author of N° 527 in this volume of the SPECTATOR; and of N° 221 in the GUARDIAN.
Friday, December 17, 1714.
Ofra gisan debuevo yısa W v.
Socrates apud Xen. · The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the
gods.' TT was the common boast of the heathen phi
losophers, that, by the efficacy of their several 'doctrines, they made human nature resemble the Divine. How much mistaken