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The Bards, or Poets, are enumerated by the SON OF SIRACH, among the wise and illustrious men of former times :

• Wise and eloquent in their instructions,
Such as found out musical tunes,
And recited written verses.'

Ecclus. xliv. 4.

Observe also, whether those four, whose wisdom is so much celebrated, 1 Kings, iv. 31. Beni Machol, be not Sons of the Choir; that is, musicians or poets : for they were (not Sons of Mahol, as our translators render it; taking an appellative for a proper name, but) sons of Zerach, as appears from 1 Chron. ii. 6. • Whence the eldest of them, Ethan, was also called Ha-Ezrachi, 1 Kings, iv. 31. where the Targum expressly has it Bar Zerach, son of Zerach. H. Among the Greeks also the poets were anciently called wise men, or sophists:

• Rosy Venus, queen of all!
So the wise bright Venus call.'

ANACREON.

That is, the Poets. So also Pindar :

Sung by the wise,
And honoured by the will of Jove.'

Ist. V. 36.

Upon which passage the Scholiast : The Poets are commonly called Wise Men, and Sophists.' • The Poets preceded these (the Philosophers) by some ages; and before the name of Philosopher was known were called Wise Men.' LACTANTIUS, Lib. V. 5." See note, Lowth's Lectures, vol. I. p. 81.

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Of Balaam's poetic genius we may speak with greater certainty, He was a Mesopotamian and cotemporary with Moses. His prophecies display the true spirit of poetry.

THE PARABLES OF BALAAM.

“ And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob; and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed ? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied ? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him : lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his !”- Num. xxiii. 7–10.

“And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent : hath he said, and shall be not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? Behold, I have received commandment to bless : and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord bis God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them ont of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath Goa wrought! Behold, the people shall rise

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up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion ; he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain." Numbers, xxiii. 18-24.

THE PROPHECY OF BALAAM.

“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations bis enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down ás a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee." Numbers, xxiv. 5-9,

Page 38. Mysterious Job with rich description," 8c. “The most splendid examples of every beauty and elegance of sentiment, of imagery, and of diction, meet the eye of the attentive reader in every part of the Poem. Let it suffice to say, that the dignity of the style is answerable to that of the subject; its force and energy to the greatness of those passions which it describes : and as this production excels all the other remains of the Hebrew Poetry in economy and arrangement, so it yields to

none in sublimity of style, and in every grace and excellence of composition. Among the principal of these may be accounted the accurate and perfectly poetical conformation of the sentences, which is, indeed, generally most observable in the most ancient of the poetical compositions of the Hebrews. Here, however, as is natural and proper in a poem of so great length and sublimity, the writer's skill is displayed in the proper adjustment of the period, and in the accurate distribution of the members, rather than in the antithesis of words, or in any laboured adapation of the parallelisms.”---See Lowth, vol. ii. p. 430, 431.

EXTRACTS.

“And Job spake and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary; let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.”—Job, iii. 2-10.

“Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and

by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad. Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: it stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof : an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly : how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth ?"- Job, iv. 8–19.

“ In famine he shall redeem thee from death; and in war from the power

of the sword. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue; neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh; neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. Thou shalt.

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