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«* diacal; for Christ always keeps within the ** tropics: He goes not out of the pale of the "Church, but yet he is not always at the fame «* distance from a true Christian-, sometimes he "withdraws himself into the apogeum of doubt, "sorrow and despair, but then he comes again *« into the perigeum of joy, content, and assur«' ance; but as for Heathens and Unbelievers, "they are all arctic and antarctic reprobates?"
§ 15. It may be a very proper caution that we should not interpret Metaphors in such a manner, as if all the affections and properties of the things expressed by them might be ascribed to those things to which they are applied; or, in other words, we should not strain a Comparison, which has usually but one particular view, in order to make it agree in other respects, where it is evident there is not a similitude of ideas. Cicero calls Mark Antony the torch of the state *. The resemblance intended by Cicero between AnTony and a torch lay in this; that as a torch burns and destroys every thing within its reach, so Antony spread devastation and ruin through the Roman commonwealth. Was any person from hence to infer, that because a torch enlightens as well as burns, that therefore Cicero - designed this Metaphor as a compliment to AnTony, he could not more grossly abuse and wrest the Orator's meaning. It is said, Isaiah
* Sed quæ provincia est, ex qua ilia fax excitare non posset incendium. Phil. 7. § 1.
xl. 6. that "all flesh is grafs that is, all mastkind are liable to wither and decay, and will wither and decay like the grafs: but this Metaphor would be tortured to a meaning, which, as it is foolish and absurd, we may be sure was never intended by the inspired Writer, if we were to fay, that mankind were like the grafs, or were grafs in colour or shape. What wild, and indeed wicked abuse, would be made of the Scripture expressions concerning our Lord *, "that he will come as a thief," if we were not to confine the fense to the suddenness and surprifal of the thief, but should extend it to the temper and designs of the villain that breaks open houses in the night?
A Minister, speaking on the one side of the unfuitablenefs of sinners to the holy enjoyments of Heaven, could it be supposed that they were admitted there, and, on the other hand, of the fitness of the truly pious for the fruitions of the celestial state, compared the minds of sinners and the celestial happiness to water and fire which could not be united, while he resembled the temper of the pious to wood and fire which easily mingle together, and at length so intirely, that the first is totally penetrated and possessed by the last. After the Minister had ended his discourse, one of his audience objected against the comparison as not just, because wood was consumed by fire;i whereas the sole intention of the Minister was to avail himself of the agreement in nature between wood and fire, and" there was no design • -.. • Ey '■ to
* Rer. xvi. i j.
to represent the destruction that flames make upon fueh If persons will not limit the sense of Metaphors by the context, or what appears tot be their plain and obvious meaning, a man shall be made to speak quite different from what he really designs; So an iron heart may dehote either courage or cruelty. So a dove may stand in Metaphor either for innocence or fedr. Care therefore Ought to be taken that Metaphors should aot be wrested into meanings which were neves so much as imagioed. Draw up, when you are efcartiining a Metaphor, at once the limpid* streamy and do not, under the notion of going deepv plunge lower and tower, again and again, tilt at last you only gather up the mire from the bottom^ j^-et the first obvious idea be regarded; wed .-if there is manifestly no further similitude? let the matter rest there, and proceed no farther. Some Preachers and Writers may indeed acquire the reputation of being deep by making such Htterpretations of Scripture-Metaphors and Para* bks as. were never designed, and which it may be riheirortra fancies first conceived, but no compliments are due to them. They rather deserve to be called muddy than profound-, and may be more properly resembled to ponds or puddles, whose mire gives them the advantage of being thought deep, whereas in truth > "**ly spreads a veil over their poverty and shal'
. § 16. But at the dame ^not unwill
ing to confess, that wh^
lies admit a double or a treble resemblance, that they may in the same proportion be accounted beautiful. When God is called a sun in Scripture, methinks light and life and joy, permanent and unbounded, at once disclose themselves in the Metaphor. "There is a "double beauty in images, fays Mr Melmoth, "when they are not only Metaphors but Allu«' sions. I was much pleased with an instance "of this uncommon species in a little Poem, in"titled, the Spleen. The Author of that piece "(who has thrown together more original "thoughts than I ever read in the fame com«« pass of lines) speaking of the advantage of ** exercise in dissipating those gloomy vapours «* which are so apt to hang upon some minds, "employs the following image;
Throw but a stone, the giant dies.
«« You will observe, Drontes, that the Meta-j «* phor here is conceived with great propriety of "thought, if we consider it only in its primary *' view; but when we fee it pointing still farther* "and hinting at the story of David and Go> «* Liath, it receives a considerable improvement «* from this double application f."
Mr Addjson's comparison of the Duke of Marlborough in the heat of battle to an An* gel presiding over a storm, is a comparison that sheds a glory over his Hero, not only for his E 2 courage,
+ f Itz-osborne's Lttttn, VoLii. page 53,54.
courage, but for his wisdom; and at the same time very happily glances a compliment of the highest kind to the illustrious Princess whose forces he commanded, whose commission he bore, and whose orders he executed. We have an honourable notice and a criticism upon this passage in the Tatler f, which well merits our regard. "The highest art of man, says the Au"thor, is to possess itself with tranquillity in "imminent danger, and to have its thoughts so "free, as to act at that time without perplexity. "The ancient Authors have compared this fe"date courage to a rock that remains immove"able amidst the rage of winds and waves •, but "that is too stupid and inanimate a similitude, "and could do no credit to the Hero. At other "times they are all wonderfully obliged to a Li** byan Lion, which may indeed give very agree*' able terrors to a description, but is no com"pliment to the person to whom it is applied. ** Eagles, Tygers, and Wolves, are made use of "on the same occasion, and very often with "much beauty; but this is still an honour done "to the brute rather than the Hero. Mars, "Pallas, Bacchus, and Hercules, have each "of them furnished very good similies in their "time •, and made doubtless a greater irnpres"sion on the mind of an Heathen, than they "have on that of a modern Reader. P r the "sublime image that I am talking of' « I really think as great as ever
t N° 4J