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his Lord's will, and yet transgressed it, who must “be beaten with many stripes.”
The last universal sentiment of human nature which I shall mention as naturally finding expression in poetry, is devotion. No nation has ever been found so ignorant, so rude, and so barbarous as to be without it. The existence of a creating and superintending Power comes so near a necessary intuition of the human mind, that it may to all practical purposes be considered as such. All that we see around us, and all that we feel within us, bears testimony to the presence and agency of an Infinite Spirit, whose perfections are equally disclosed by the greatest and the least of his works, the spangled heavens which shine upon us by night, and the insect which floats upon the breeze. That Power from the very condition of his being, sustains a near relation to every human soul. When the idea of God is once formed, it becomes in the highest degree poetic. To the Creator of all things we gradually transfer all the grandeur and beauty of the material world, and whatever of dignity and excellence there is in our spiritual being, till at length he sits enthroned amid the splendors of the universe.
And our natural conceptions of him cannot perhaps be better expressed than in the words of a modern poet.
“Thou art, O God, the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see:
Are but reflections caught from thee:
“When day with farewell beam delays,
Among the opening clouds of even,
Through golden vistas into heaven,
“When night, with wings of starry gloom,
O’ershadows all the earth and skies,
Is sparkling with a thousand eyes,
“When youthful spring around us breathes,
Thy spirit warms her fragrant sigh,
Is born beneath that kindling eye;
But it is to divine revelation that we are indebted for the sublimest strains of devotional poetry. Without supernatural aid the human mind would never have attained to those pure and elevated ideas of the Deity which give the Psalms their surpassing beauty and sublimity. The Hebrew prophets, besides being the religious instructors of mankind, stand apart and on high in the literature of the world. Like the pyramids of Egypt, they are the imperishable monuments of another age, constituting not only the wonder of all time, but the inexhaustible treasure from which their successors have drawn their richest materials, as those vast structures of Egyptian art might serve as quarries from which half a score of modern cities might be built. As they were the brightest emanations of poetic and divine inspiration united, so has their power over the human mind and heart been unapproached. In them the soul in all ages has found the most adequate expression of its highest conceptions of the Invisible, the Infinite, the Eternal, of whose greatness and glory all human language is but a whisper and a breath. Take, for instance, a description of
a thunder storm by David, and you immediately find yourself in regions of sublimity far above the flight of any profane poet.
“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty,
“The voice of the Lord is
“The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.
The Lord will give strength unto his people;
How congenial the Psalms are to the deep and universal devotional sentiments of the heart, every well read, and well worn Bible
is a witness. Next to the precious pages which contain the words of eternal life, those will bear the marks of having been most often resorted to for light, and strength, and comfort, which are written over with the sublime and fervid aspirations of the sacred poets of Judea. And they have served as models for piety in all succeeding times, as has been well said by a living poet:
"Sweet harp of Judah! shall thy sound
“Yet harp of Judah! rung thy strain,
“Though faintly swell thy notes sublime;
“Through worlds remote-the old—the new;