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his late situation had made on his mind. A bare parallel of these three hymns discovers a great resemblance both in sentiment and expression. Compare Ps. lvi. verses 5. 9. 1114, with cxvi. 8. 12, 13. 17. 14. 18. 8. 9.-and cxvi. 1-3. 11. 16, with xxxi. 23, 24. 3. 10, 11.


23. 17.


The second observation I make on the thirtyfirst and hundred and sixteenth psalm is, that they perfectly agree with the occasion of the two other psalms, and that some passages seem to refer to the supposed epileptic fit. The cause is remarked Ps. xxxi. 10, 11. 14. The effects and consequences are spoken of in the same psalm, ver. 12, 13. The condition to which the illness had reduced David is described Ps. cxvi. 11.-Ps. xxxi. 23, (22 in the English version,) "I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes. All men are liars." However the Hebrew words rendered in my haste be translated, either with the Septuagint in my ecstacy, or with Symmachus in my swoon or fainting fit, or with the old Italian version, in my great dread, or with St. Jerome in my stupefaction, either of the senses supposes and confirms my opinion. Suidas explains the word ecstacy, which the Septuagint uses here by θαυμασμός και αλλοίωσις. This last word is the same as that in the title of the thirty-fourth psalm, where David is said to have changed countenance, for so I think it should be translated.


In regard to the two psalms before mentioned, which were always understood to be composed on this occasion, they both of them furnish a great deal to establish our opinion.

In the fifty-sixth psalm, there is a verse, the seventh I mean, which modern interpreters seem not to have well understood. David there, speaking of his enemies, says, according to our version, "Shall they escape by iniquity? In thine anger cast down the people, O God." I think the words may be rendered, without violence to the original, O God, because of their iniquity spue them out, and cast down the people in thine anger;t because the Hebrew word palleth, which in the conjugation kal signifies to escape, when it is in the conjugation piel signifies to vomit, to reject; so the celebrated Rabbi David Kimchi says. Indeed the Chaldee paraphrast uses it in two places in this sense, Lev. xviii. 28. 25, "The land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants-That the land spue not you out also, as it spued out the nations before you." Jon. ii. 10, "The fish vomited out Jonah." This word is used in the Talmud, which forbids a disciple ever to vomit in the presence of his master; for, according to this Rabinnical code of law, he who spits before his master, is worthy of death. According to Mr. d'Arvieux,§ the Arabians religiously observe this custom to this day. Among them no man ever spits before his superior, it would be considered as treating them with disrespect and contempt. The Chaldee paraphrast understood this psalm in this sense, and rendered the passage thus, because of the falsehood that

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is in their hands, spit them, or vomit them out. Now, sir, would it be improper to apply this verse to my explication, and to affirm, that David here manifestly alludes to two of the symptoms of an epilepsy, which he himself had lately experienced? This holy man prays to God that his enemies might be treated in a manner which had some resemblance to the illness they had caused him; that as he had frothed and cast out his spittle, so God would spit or vomit them out of his mouth; and as he fell to the ground through their hands, so they might be degraded and cast out. former image is used by an inspired writer, Rev. iii. 16, "Because thou art lukewarm, I will spue thee out of my mouth."


Perhaps, sir, you will think another observation which I am going to make, not sufficiently solid. David says, while he is cele brating the deliverance God had granted nim, Ps. xxxiv. 20, that "the Lord keepeth all the bones of the righteous man, not one of them is broken." It is not worth while to refute the Jews on this article, for they quote these words in proof of a little bone, which they call luz, and which they place in the form of a small almond at the bottom of the back bone. They pretend that David had this bone in view; that nothing, neither fire, nor water, nor time, can destroy it, and that it is the germ of the resurrection of the body. Probably it was from this Jewish tradition that Peter Lombard,* the master of the sentences, derived his little piece of flesh, which every man inherits from the flesh of Adam, and which renders us all corrupt, and on account of which we are called the children of Adam. Much less will I pretend to dispute the application which St. John makes of this oracle to our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it was both predicted and prefigured, that not one of his bones should be broken, chap. 36; Exod. xii. 46; Numb. ix. 12. Nothing hinders our taking this verse in its literal sense. David here blesses his God for watching so marvellously to prevent him, that in spite of his violent epileptic fit, and of the fall, that might have broke all his bones, especially as he was so hurt by falling against the posts of the gate, as to receive marks or scars in his flesh, yet not one of his bones was broken.

For the rest, if any one should think proper to take occasion, from this one convulsion fit, to dispute the inspiration of the excellent psalms of David, or only to diminish our esteem for the works or the person of this prince, the following considerations may set aside such a frivolous objection.

1. As soon as the malady is over, the mind recovers its freedom and firmness, and is presently as well as before.

2. Even supposing frequent attacks to enfeeble the mind, yet this would not effect David, for he had only one fit.

3. Great men have been subject to this illness, but they have not been the less esteemed on that account; as for example a Julius Cesar, who was held by his army in more than

Pet. Lemb. lib. ii. Distinct. 30. N. p. m. 218. Transmisit adam modicum quid de substantia sua in corpore siliorum, quando eos procreavit, &c.

Plutarch in Cæsare. T. i. f. 715. Suidas in voce.

admiration; Plotinus too, that celebrated Pla- | esteemed of God, and so a Christian may reatonic philosopher, to whom, after his death, son, believing himself to be beloved of God, altars were erected in divers places. and an heir of his kingdom, though afflicted all his days with this malady, provided he imitate the zeal and piety of David. I submit, sir, all my conjectures to the penetration of your judgment, and I have the honour to be, with all imaginable respect,

4. Far from deriving from my explication a consequence so unreasonable, we ought, on the contrary, naturally to conclude, that there is a good and wise Providence, which knows how to deliver its children by means unthought of, and even when their ruin seems certain. A Christian, now afflicted with this sad disorder, may find in our sentiment a solid ground of consolation. The man after God's own heart had an epileptic fit; but he was not the less

Sir, Your most humble

And most obedient servant,

September 2, 1725.

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