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into correspondent, for the most part into equal members, which answer to one another both in sense and sound. In the first member of the period a sentiment is expressed; and in the second member, the same sentiment is amplified, or is repeated in different terms, or sometimes contrasted with its opposite; but in such a manner, that the same structure and nearly the same number of words are preserved. This is the general strain of Hebrew poetry. It did not include rhyme — the terminations of the lines, when they are most distinct, never manifesting any thing of the kind. Thus, “ Sing unto the Lord a new song-sing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, and bless his name-show forth his salvation from day to day.” It is owing, in a great measure, to this form of composition, that our version, though in prose, retains so much of a poetical cast. For the version being strictly word for word after the original, the form and order of the original sentence are preserved; which, by this artificial structure, this regular alternation and correspondence of parts, makes the ear sensible of a departure from the common style and tone of prose.
Those who desire to see to great advantage the poetical diction of even our common English version of the Bible, should procure a copy of Dr. Coit's arrange ment. His edition, also, of Townsend's Bible is beautiful, and to be highly recommended to the reader of fine taste, and to one who desires fully to appreciate the sacred writings as it is probable they were at first chronologically given — the historic and poetic portions, thus arranged, throwing great light upon each other.
QUESTIONS.-1. Are the books of the Old Testament composed in a uniform style ?
2. What examples of diversity of style are given ? 3. What various kinds of poetry do you find in the Old Testament, and what examples of each? 4. What general view is given of the construction of Hebrew poetry ?
We can not close this account of the splendid literature of the Bible without quoting from the Methodist Quarterly Review for October, 1842, what follows :
The Duke of Buckingham thus eulogizes the prince of Epic poets :
Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
And Homer will be all the books you need." This is the language of a professed friend of the Puritan reformation and faith. The Bible itself is not excepted. It was once fashionable thus to depreciate the literature of the Scriptures. The fashion still remains, and Christians are sometimes seen to bend the knee at this unholy shrine. The exclusive and fulsome praise bestowed by the ostensible friends of religion, upon the writers of classical paganism, is enough to move the pity of a heathen, or stir the indignation of a seraph. Let us make a brief comparison of Homer with Job, in describing the same objectthe favorite animal of the Greek poet—the horse—that which he most admires (loves) to describe ; and it shall be the horse of his hero.
“ The winged coursers harness'd to the car,
Xanthus and Balius, of immortal breed,
Who, like in strength, in swiftness, and in grace,
A mortal courser watch'd the immortal race." Without emphasis, without italics, without versification even, let us now listen to the majesty of the Hebrew poet.
“Hast thou given the horse strength?
Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
The author would here refer to what is said in the PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS, under the head of Preparatory Exercises, and in pursuance, recommend the following common-sense plan proposed by Whateley, in his work on Rhetoric.
SELECTION OF PROPER SUBJECTS.
There should be a most scrupulous care in the selection of such subjects for exercises as are likely to be interesting to the student, and on which he has, or may (with pleasure, and without much toil) acquire sufficient information. Such subjects will of course vary, according to the learner's age and intellectual advancement; but they had better be rather below, than much above him ; that is, they should never be such as to induce him to string together vague general expressions, conveying no distinct ideas to his own mind, and second-hand sentiments which he does not feel. He may freely transplant, indeed, from other writers such thoughts as will take root in the soil of his own mind; but he must never be tempted to collect dried sentiments. He must also be encouraged to express himself (in correct language, indeed, but) in a free, natural, and simple style ; which, of course, implies (considering who and what the writer is supposed to be) such a style as, in itself, would be open to severe criticism, and certainly very unfit to appear in a book.
Compositions on such easy subjects, and in such a style, would, by some, be disdained as puerile ; but the compositions of boys must be puerile, in one way or the other, whether by being adapted to their age and rendered intelligible, or by being made up of unmeaning, but loftier and superfluous expressions.
Subjects for composition, selected on the principle here recommended, will generally fall under one of three classes :
First': subjects drawn from the studies the learner is engaged in, relating, for instance, to the characters or incidents of any history he may be reading; and sometimes, perhaps, leading him to forestall, by conjecture, something which he will hereafter come to in the book itself.
SECONDLY, subjects drawn from any conversation he may have listened to (with interest) from his seniors, whether addressed to himself, or between each other:
THIRDLY, relating to the amusements, familiar occurrences, and every-day transactions, which are likely to have formed the topics of easy conversation among his familiar friends.
The student should not be confined too exclusively to any one of these three classes of subjects. They should be intermingled in as much variety as possible,
The teacher should frequently recall to his own mind these two considerations :
First, that since the benefit proposed does not consist in the intrinsic value of the composition, but in the exercise to the pupil's mind, it matters not how insignificant the subject may be, if it will but interest him, and thereby afford him such exercise ; and,
Secondly, the younger and more backward each student is, the more unfit he will be for abstract speculations, and the less remote must be the subjects from those individual objects and occurrences, which always form the first beginnings of the furniture of the youthful mind.
If this system be pursued, with the addition of sedulous care in correction, encouragement from the teacher, and inculcation of such general rules as each occasion calls for, then, and not otherwise, original exercises in composition will be of the most important and lasting advantage, not only in respect of the object immediately proposed, but in producing clearness of thought and in giving play to all the faculties
SUGGESTIONS TO THE STUDENT WHEN BEGINNING 'CO WRITE UPON
ANY SUBJECT. When you are to write upon any subject, the best way of enter. ing upon it is to set down what your own mind furnishes, and say all you can before you descend to consult books, and read upon it; for if you apply to books before you have laid your plan, you. own thoughts will be dissipated, and you will dwindle from a composer to a transcriber,
In thinking upon a subject, you are to consider that every prop. osition is an answer to some question; so that, if you can answer all the questions that can be put to you concerning it, you have a thorough understanding of it; and, in order to compose, you have nothing to do but to ask yourself those questions ; by which you will raise from your mind the latent matter, and having once got it, you may dispose of it, and put it into form afterward.
By this way of asking questions, a subject is drawn out, so that you may view it in all its parts, and treat it with little difficulty, provided you have acquired a competent knowledge of it by read ing or discoursing about it in time past : where no water is in the well, you may pump forever without effect.
The various kinds of ORIGINAL COMPOSITION, in which the preceding Rules and Exercises may be practiced, are Narrative, Descriptive, and Miscellaneous Essays.*
NARRATIVE ESSAYS. NARRATIVE essays relate events which should be recorded in the order of time; and facts, which should be mentioned in the order of place.
Write narrative essays from detached sentences given out by the teacher.
He slew their champion with a stone thrown from a sling, and the Phi. histines fled.t
* The teacher may occasionally vary the exercises in Original Composi tion, by making his pupils write them in the form of LETTERS, which ought io be composed in a more easy and familiar style than regular Essays.
† The teacher can be at no loss for subjects of narrative essays. After his pupils have had some practice in original composition, he may discontinue giving them detached sentences, especially when the narratives aro taken from Scripture history: