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CREATION AND REDEMPTION, LAW ANI) GOSPEL, JUSTIFICATION
BY THE LATE
REV. MR. RALPH ERSKINE,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT DUNFERMLINE.
TO WHICH IS NOW PREFIXED,
THOMAS B. SMITII STEREOTYPER,
216 WILLIAM STREET, N. Y.
EDWARD O. JENKINS, PRINTER,
114 NASSAU STREET.
P R E F A CE.
POETICAL compositions, it will readily be admitted, are of a very ancient original; and very early specimens of this kind of writing are yet to be found on record, both in sacred* and profane history. Writings in poesy have many peculiar excellencies in them, and particular advantages attending them: and when men, endued with poetical talents, employ them on subjects of real importance, the sparkling and flowery images, the magnificent and lofty expressions, and the striking figures and rhetorical embellishments, add such a native grandeur, dignity, and majesty to the subject, that the mind is not only truly elevated, the attention gained, the affections moved, and devotion excited, but the memory is gradually prepared to retain and be benefited by them, on account of the beautiful and elegant manner in which the various topics are elucidated.
* See the Song of Moses at the Red Sea, Exod. xv. 1—21. This song is the most ancient and sublime piece of poetry in the world: the images are natural; the arrangement of its ideas is beautiful, and the strain of piety which breathes through the whole is truly evangelical.
No subject is more interesting, or can be a fitter theme, for those vested with a poetical genius, than those of an evangelical nature, either directly founded upon some particular portion of sacred writ, or drawn from it, by just and necessary consequence. No writings, for justness of sentiment, and sublimity of style, can equal or compare with those of divine inspiratio in and though the mysteries of Christianity, and the wonders of our holy religion, stand in no need of gay trimmings and poetical embellishments to set them off; yet such is the superior excellency of inspired poesy, that the brightest and most elevated descriptions of a mortal pen must vail to it: and therefore says a celebrated writer, “If any would attempt to be master of true eloquence, and aim at a proper elevation of style, let him read, with unremitting diligence, the ancient prophets, the inspired evangelists and apostles; for their writings are an abundant source of all the riches and ornaments of speech.”
It hath been now a long and just complaint, that poesy, which is of a divine original, should have been so much debased to the worst of purposes, in decorating vice and profaneness; and that men, endued with such a happy talent, should so much employ it, in furnishing out theatrical entertainments,
ludicrous and profane trifles. How happy would it have been for the world, what an ornament to Christianity and advantage