« AnteriorContinuar »
to hoary hairs will I carry you : I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry and will deliver you. .
[c] As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem,
d] But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Though these comparisons are vastly tender, they yet are not enough so, to denote his tenderness and solicitude for men who so little deserve it. This sovereign of the universe does not disdain to compare himself to a hen, who has her wings perpetually extended, in order to receive her young ones under them; and he declares, that the least of his servants is as dear to him as the apple of his eye. [e] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! He himself, speaking of his people, says thus; [f] He that toucheth
toucheth the apple of my eye.
Hence come these expressions so usual in Scripture; and it is surprising, that creatures should dare to use them when they speak of God:  Keep me as the apple of thine eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings. To what man, O my God, could I speak in this manner, and to whom could I say that I am as precious as the apple of his eye? But you yourself inspire, and enjoin this confidence. Nothing can be more delicate or weaker than the apple of the eye; and in that respect it is the image of myself. Be it so, () my God, in every thing else; and multiply thy succours with regard to me, as you have multiplied the precautions with regard to that, by securing it with eyelids. Keep me as the apple of thine eye. Nine enemies
[C] Isa lxvi. 13.
[f] Zech. ii: 8.
surround me like birds of prey, and I cannot escape them, if I do not fly for shelter to thy bosom. You taught callow birds to withdraw beneath the shelter of their mother's wings; and have inspired mothers with a wonderful care and tenderness for their young ones, You have represented yourself in your own works, and have exhorted mankind to have recourse to you, by all the testimonies of your goodness, which you have diffused in the animals and over nature. Let me presume, O my God, to put a confidence in thee; proportionate to thy goodness for me. Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.
Nothing can be more afiecting than the admirable story of Joseph; and one can scarce refrain from tears, [h] when we see him obliged to turn aside in order to dry his own, because his bowels yearned at the presence of Benjamin ; or wlien, after having discovered himself, he throws himself about the neck of his dear brother, and folding him in the strictest embrace, mingles his tears with those of Benjamin, and discovers the same affectionate tenderness for the rest of his brethren, over each of whom it is said he wept. At that instant not one of them spoke, and this silence is infinitely more cloquent than any expressions he could have employed. Surprise, grief, the remembrance of what was past, joy, gratitude, stifle their words: the heart can express itself no other ways than by tears, which would, but cannot sufficiently express their thoughts.
When we read the sad [i] lamentation of Jeremiah over the ruins of Jerusalem; when we behold that city, once so populous, reduced to a dreadful solitude; the queen of nations become as a disconsolate widow; the streets of Zion weeping, because no one assists at its solemnities; her priests and virgins plun-ged in bitterness, groaning day and night; her old men, covered with sackcloth and ashes, sighing over the sad ruin of their country; her famished children [b] Gen. xliii. 30. xlv. 12, 14, [i] Lament, i. 14. ii, 10. ir.
crying for bread, but without getting any; we are ready to cry out with the prophet, [k] O that
my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people !
It was this deplorable state of Jerụsalem that made the prophet vent perpetually such warm complaints, such tender prayers as these. [l] Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness, and of thy glory: Where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies towards me? Are they restrained ? ... [m] But now, O Lord, thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are all the work of thy hand. ... Behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burnt up with fire; and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O Lord? Wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict is very sore ?
It is not surprising, that the Spirit of God should have described, in the Scriptutes, the different characters of men in such lively colours. He implanted in our hearts all the rational sentiments they have; and he knows much better than we do, such as our degeneracy has added to them.
Who does not at once see the ingenuous candour and innocent simplicity of childhood, in the[w] relation which Joseph makes to his brethren of those dreams, which were to excite their jealousy and hatred against him, and which really liad thai effect?
When Joseph discovers liimself to his family, he .spcaks a very few words, but then they are the exi [k] Jerem. ix, 1,
[m] Ibid. Ixiv. 8-12. il] Isa. Ixiii, 15.
(n] Gen. xxxvii, 8,
pression of nature itself; [o] I am Joseph : doth my father yet live? This is one of those strokes of Eloquence which are inimitable. Josephus the historian was not touched with this beauty, or, at least, did not preserve it in his relation; for the long discourse he substitutes for it, though very beautiful, does not supply its place.
There is a passage in the Acts, which paints in a wonderful, and at the same time natural manner, a sudden and impetuous joy. St. Peter had been thrown into prison, and miraculously released from it ; when he came to the house of Marv, inother to John, where the faithful were assembled in prayer, (p] having knocked at the door, a maiden named Rhoda, knowing his voice, instead of opening it, (so great were the transports of her joy) ran to the faithful, to tell them that St. Peter was at the door.
Grief, particularly that of a mother, has also a peculiar language and character. I do not know whether it would be possible to represent them better, than we find them in the admirable story of Tobias. As soon as this dear son was set out upon his journey, his mother, who loved him tenderly, was inconsolable for his absence; and being plunged in the deepest sorrow, she bewailed herself incessantly: but her aftliction was infinitely greater, when she found he did not return at the time appointed :  My son is dead, seeing he stayeih long: and she began to bewail him, and said : Now I care for nothing, my son, since I have let thee go, the light of mine eyes. My son is dead. And she went out every day into the way rehich they went, and did eat nomeat in the day-time, and ceased not whole nights to bewail her son Tobias. We may judge of the effect which Tobias's return with Raphael produced. The dog', who had followed them all the way, ran before them, and as though he had carried the news of their arrival, he seemed to testify his joy by the motion of his tail, and his ca
Tobias's father, though blind, rose up, and [•] Gen. xlv. 2, 3.
(9) Tob. X. 4, 5, 7, [p] Acts xii. 14.
began to run, though at the hazard of falling every
A word which the ambitious Haman happens to
Dans les mains des Persans jeune enfant apportés
gouverne l'empire où je fus acheté.