« PreviousContinue »
And is he then so near! so kind !
How little then, and great,
At wonders in his fate;
A worm from darkness deep,
A turf, to-morrow sleep.
His mighty Master's call,
Is deem'd a boon too small:
For emmets in the dust:
My song is bold, yet just.
No period can destroy
To suffer, or enjoy.
He's beggar'd, and undone !
Benighted by the sun t.
That man fhould be imprisoned in unbounded Space, or that he should be benighted by the sun, the undecaying fountain of light, feems a palpable contradiction; but yet it is certain the soul of man cannot enjoy itself, but would be held, as in the miserable captivity of a prisoner, and would be involved in the horrors of a spiritual
of Young's Works, vol. i. p. 144. Ottavo editions.
night, if it was destitute of an interest in the favour of its Father and its God, though it had the illimitable space for its range, and the fun to spread around it its unclouded and perpetual lustre : nay, it might be said to be benighted by the sun, as the sun might only serve to put the foul in mind of what a greater glory it was de prived, by the loss of the beatific sight and fruis tion of Him who is to the foul, what the fun is to the body, the source of light and joy; or, as the Psalmist juftly expresses himself, 'ss whofe for loving-kindness is better than life,ss Psalm lxiii. 3.
To these instances of the Oxymoron, we may add that expression of HORACE, where he stiles the Epicurean philofophy mad wisdom :
I, who forsook the Gods, to stray
$ 4. Instances of this Figure may be met with in the facred Writings. Prov. xi. 24. " There is ss that scattereth, and yet increaseth ; and there ss is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it ss tendeth to poverty.ss So Asts v. 41. $ And they," that is, the Apostles, ss departed from R 3
85 the * Parcus Deorum cultor, & infrequens
Infanientis dum sapientiæ
$s the presence of the council, rejoicing that they 85. were counted worthy to suffer shame for the s name of CHRIST." Glory, and fhame seem to be contradictions, but it is the highest honour to be used with indignity for the cause of Christ and his testimony. In like manner, Gal. ii. 20. $ I am crucified with Christ, says the Apostle, s nevertheless I live.s And Col. iii. 3. ss For ye $5 are dead, and your life is hid with CHRIST in $5 GOD. And, to mention no more passages to our present purpose, 1 Tim. v. 6. it is said, that s she that lives in pleasure, is dead while she lives.s Life and death are opposed to one another ; but life is used in this place concerning temporal life, or the life of the body; and death intends a spiritual death, or the death of the soul in trespasses and sins,
§ 5. This Figure, well canducted, mạy shew a bold and superior genius, that can make its way through the midst of dangers, and pass on secure, in its own strength, on the very edge of a precipice. This Figure may fill the minds of an audience with pleasing surprise, charm them with novelty, and raise a great idea of the taļents of the orator ; while they find upon reflexion, that what at first appeared contradictory is sterling sense, and see it breaking out in its force and beauty, even from an expression or sentence, which they for a moinent were ready to condemn as foolish and absurd. But let me .caution persons that would make use of it, not
to be too free with this Figure, left they should seem too much to delight in conceits and riddles, and disgust by an affectation of wit. Perhaps no Figure should be more fparinglý employed, and no Figure may require more skill for a right conftrụction. And let me also add, that when we intend an Oxymoron, we should take. heed that we do not fall into a downright, pal-, pable contradiction: there is but a very fmall remove between the finest and the most exquisite, beauty, and the rankest and most insufferable nonsense. Without a due care concerning our Oxymorons, we may expect to hear of liquid rocks, solid fountains, cold conflagrations, and the like heterogeneous mixtures, to the no small aftonishment and detestation of every man of understanding
$ 1. The Enantiosis defined. § 2. Instances from
VIRGIL, Prior, Pope, SHERLOCK, and STRADA. $ 3.. Examples of this Figure from Scripture. $ 4. Observations concerning it.
Q1. F Nantiosis * is a Figure, by which things
I very different or contrary are compared or placed together, and by which they mutually set off and enhance each other.
§ 2. What a charming instance have we of this kind in the following pafsage of Virgil, in which we have the different scenes of a Court and Country Life, admirably drawn and contrasted with each other?
Happy, too happy for the world below,
The countryman, did he his bliss but know: *Who far from war his easy food obtains
From the tillid earth, that well rewards his pains:
No costly shells his swelling columns hide
Fresh bubbling springs, and valleys thick with shade, * Oxen rebellowing thro' the greensword glade,
And sleep beneath the waving foliage bless
From evarlowers, an oppofition, or contrariety.