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Days is come, the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in his wings: who dwelleth in the hearts of all true believers.
Alone by the sea-shore my soul was delightfully exercised with the works and the promises of the
Lord, to the faithful. “Unto Abraham, after that Lot · was separated from him," he saith, “ Lift up now
thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward, eastward and westward : for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed al. 80 be numbered.” (Gen. xiii. 15, 16.) And to the true Israel"As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.” (Jer. xxxiii. 22.)
O the glorious state and increase of the faithful and true spiritual Israel, the spiritual throne of David, and the true levites, ministering servants of Jesus Christ! when all true believers shall be kings and priests unto God. “The wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice, even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God!" (Isaiah xxxv. 1, 2.) “Comfort ye my people saith the Lord ! speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins!" (ibid. xl. 1, 2.) “ Awake, awake; put on thy strength, 0 Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, 0 Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusasalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion!" (ibid. lii. 1, 2.) Here Ossian's poems must shrink into the dust! What comparison will Armin's lamentations bear here? and what consolation had he like this ? Reader, I request thee to turn to thy bible, and see the “sublimity and tenderness” which breathe through the whole of these inspired poems.
. I have a remark or two to make on the poems of Ossian, before I can take my leave of these subjects. Some have endeavoured to show that the poems aro spurious, and of no historical authority.* Some, on the other hand, (Henry Grattan, e. g.), have said that they are calculated to inspire “ valour, wisdom, and virtue," &c.f While others vindicate them on the ground that “ had the poet brought down gods as often as Homer has done to assist his heroes, his works had not consisted in eulogiums on men, but of hymns to superior beings. (Dissertation on the æra of Ossian, prefixed to this work, p. 21.) But further,
Alas! that a “ minister of the high church" should · step forward to bring up the rear, in lavished enco
* Laing, in Critical and Historical Dissertation, &c. + Vide a preliminary Discourse to the above Poems, p. 20...92.
miums; and command “the harp to be struck," in praise of the above poems; assuring the reader that Ossian “moves perpetually in the high region of the grand and the pathetic! One key-note is struck at the beginning, and supported to the end.” “His poetry, more perhaps than that of any other writer, deserves to be styled the poetry of the heart.” “ It is (is it?) a heart penetrated with noble sentiments, and with sublime and tender passions !” That this style of writing, as well as the subjects, may please those who are fond of rhetorical flourishes, metaphors, and strong figures of the passions, and those of the corrupted and cruel sort, I do not doubt; but that a minister of the church should be found displaying all his talents in favour of such a work, none surely, but a “ Doctor of Divinity,” a “ Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres,” Hugh Blair! (See his Critical Dissertation also, to the above poems, p. 64, 65.)
It is said also, “ the two grand characteristics of Ossian's poetry are, tenderness and sublimity. It breathes nothing of the gay and cheerful kind," “but to recall the affecting incidents of life; to dwell upon his past wars, loves, and friendships; till, as he expresses it himself, there comes a voice to Ossian, and awakes his soul! It is the voice of years · that are gone!'” (ibid. p. 65.) How “tenderness and sublimity” can be coupled with revenge and war: “ Their chiefs were before them. Each strove to lead the war. Their swords were often half un. sheathed. Red rolled their eyes of rage. Separate they stood, and hummed their surly songs,- Why
should they yield to each other ?!"* I say, if this is beautiful and grand, my mind is too obtuse to understand what is “ tenderness and sublimity!" But that this learned critic (H. B.) should compare the , metaphors, the feintappearances “half-formed ghosts" : and imagery of Ossian with that beautiful and grand description of “the night vision of Job;" or, indeed, with any other visions and spirits in the holy scriptures, is no promising mark of acute judgment of the spirituality, “the tenderness and sublimity” of the inspired poets and prophets. Neither is such imagery and appearance any great recommendation to these ancient poems; particularly so, as the learned divine observes that “the want of an acknowledgment of the Supreme Being, is a consi. derable disadvantage to the work.” (ibid. p. 85.)
Referring my reader to the contrast of Ossian in the foregoing pages, on “the voice of years," with the true “ Ancient of Days,” the works of God, by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and “ tenderness” towards lost mankind; as quoted from the inspired poets and prophets; I shall only make one observa. tion or two as it respects “ Ossian not like Homer ;" being superior to him, as this Professor of Rhetoric seems to insinuate. To elucidate a little this matter, I will premise first, in the Professor's own words, that “we may expect to find poems among the antiquities of all nations. It is probable too, that an extensive search would discover a certain degree of resemblances among all the most ancient poetical productions, from whatever country they have pro
* Ossian's Poems. Cath Loda, Duan 2. page 149.
ceeded.” (p. 50.) Whether of the East, or of the Greeks and Romans, matters not. To say nothing here of the warlike poems of the Goths, under which name are usually comprehended all the Scandinavian tribes (the name given by the ancients to the inha. bitants of Sweden, Norway, Lapland, and Finmark) “ a people altogether fierce and martial, and noted, to a proverb, for their ignorance of the liberal arts," as they are called, “yet they too, from the earliest times, had their poets and their songs. Their poets were distinguished by the title of scalders, and their songs were termed vyses.” (ibid. p. 51.)
Now for the likeness or difference between the Caledonian Ossian and the Greek Homer.--In his representation of Ossian's times, he thus criticises : “ The circle of ideas and transactions is no wider than suits such an age; nor is any greater diversity introduced into characters, than the events of that period would naturally display. Valour, and bodily strength are the admired qualities. Contentions arise, as is usual among savage nations, froin the slightest causes. To be affronted at a tournament, or to be omitted in the invitation of a feast, kindles a war. Women are often carried away by force; and the wbole tribe, as in the Homeric time, rise to avenge the wrong. The heroes show refinement of sentiment indeed on several occasions, but none of manners. They speak of their past actions with freedom, boast of their exploits, and sing their own praise.” (ibid. p. 51.)
Admit that of " military discipline or skill, they appear to have been destitute;" their “ battles dis