When Puritanism appeared, and strangely relied upon the Old Testament as its armory of theological warfare, the thoughts and the words of the prophets, priests and kings of Israel were the daily intellectual food of no inconsiderable part of the common people, and the air of all England was vocal with the phraseology of Job, of David, of Isaiah, and of Ezekiel. The effect of this upon the English mode of thought and expression was great and lasting; enduring even to this day.
Its value was inestimable. By reason of it English diction acquired a simplicity, a strength, a directness, a largeness of style, a capacity of grandeur  and of pathos, a richness and variety which it otherwise would not have acquired, and which has not been attained by the language of any other people. The spirit of Hebrew literature was transfused into the English mind to such a degree as to modify its mode of thought and of utterance. This took place because the diffusion of the Bible happened just at the time when the language was in a state of transition, and modern English was in course of formation.
Had it not occurred until afterward, as was the case with other European peoples, it would have been too late to produce this effect. The English of Shakspere, of Milton, of Bunyan, and their great successors would not have existed but for the translation and diffusion of the Bible among the English people. This, then, English is: a sturdy Gothic stem, largely and deeply grafted with Romanic scions, and permeated with the spirit of Hebrew sublimity and passion. These are the source elements of the supremacy of the youngest language of the Aryan stock.
The Merchant of Venice; Act ii, Sc.
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London: But by what means can a mortal man, the creature of a day form any idea of eternity? What can we find within the compass of nature to illustrate it by?
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With what comparison shall we compare it? It vanishes into nothing.
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No more than an insignificant cipher. Cyprian:  Suppose there were a ball of sand, as large as the globe of earth; suppose a grain of this sand were to be annihilated, reduced to nothing, in a thousand years; yet that whole space of duration, wherein this ball would be annihilating at the rate of one grain in a thousand years, would bear infinitely less proportion to eternity, duration without end, than a single grain would bear to all the mass!
To infix this important point the more deeply in your mind, consider another comparison: Suppose the ocean to be so enlarged as to include all the space between the earth and the starry heavens. Suppose a drop of water to be annihilated once in a thousand years; yet that whole space of duration, wherein this ocean would be annihilating at the rate of one drop in a thousand years, would be infinitely less in proportion to eternity than one drop of water to that whole ocean.
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See the spirits of the righteous that are already praising God in a happy eternity! But this is only speaking after the manner of men; for the measures of long and short are only applicable to time, which admits of bounds, and not to unbounded duration. This rolls on according to our low conceptions with unutterable, inconceivable swiftness; if one would not rather say, it does not roll or move at all, but is one still, immovable ocean.
Who allowing that absurd, impossible supposition that wickedness is happiness—a supposition utterly contrary to all reason, as well as to matter of fact prefers the happiness of a day, say a thousand years, to the happiness of eternity, in comparison of which, a thousand ages are infinitely less than a year, a day, a moment? There are some thoughts which, however old, are always new, either because they are so broad that we never learn them thoroughly, or because they are so intensely practical that their interest is always fresh. It is one of the commonest thoughts in religion, and yet so amazing that when we come to look steadily at it we come nigh to not believing it.
God does not look at us merely in the mass and multitude. As we shall stand single and alone before his judgment seat, so do we stand, so have we always stood, single and alone before the eye of his boundless love. This is what each man has to believe of himself. From all eternity God determined to create me, not simply a fresh man, not simply the son of my parents, a new inhabitant of my native country, an additional soul to do the work of the nineteenth century.
But he resolved to create me such as I am, the me by which I am myself, the me by which other people know me, a different me from any that have ever been created hitherto, and from any that will be created hereafter. Unnumbered possible creatures which God saw when he chose me, he left to remain in their nothingness.
They might have worshiped him a thousand times better than I shall ever worship him.
They might have been higher, holier, and more interesting. But there was some nameless thing about me which he preferred.
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His love fastened on something special in me. It was just me, with my individual peculiarities, the size, shape, fashion, and way of my particular, single, unmated soul, which in the calmness of his eternal predilection drew him to create me. Must I not infer, then, also, that in the sight of God I stand in some peculiar relation to the whole of his great world?
I clearly belong to a plan, and have a place to fill, and a work to do, all which are special; and only my specialty, my particular me, can fill this place or do this work. This is obvious,  and yet it is overwhelming also. I almost sink under the weight of the thought. It seems to bring God so very near. Responsibility is the definition of life.
It is the inseparable characteristic of my position as a creature.
I am constantly moving, constantly acting. I move impulsively and I work negligently. What, then, becomes of my special place and of my special work? From this point of view life looks very serious. Surely we must trust God with a huge confidence, or we shall be frightened into going and burying our talent in the earth! It can not be put into words. It is just all that which makes us ourselves, and distinguishes us from all other selves, whether created or possible. It was precisely our particularity which God so tenderly and intensely loved.
The sweetness of this thought is almost unbearable. I draw in my breath as if to convince myself that I am alive, I lay my hand on my heart to feel its beating. First I smile, and then I weep. I hardly know what to do with myself, I am so delightfully entangled in the meshes of divine love.
I am obliged to make acts of faith in God, acts of faith in all his different perfections, but the greatest act of faith in this specialty of his love of me, of such as I am, such as I know myself to be, even such as he knows me to be. Deeper and perpetually deeper, taller and perpetually taller, the shadow of my responsibilities is cast upon me. But it is not a dark shadow, not depressing, but inspiring; sobering, but not paralyzing. I must love him out of my special place, love him through my special work; and what is that place, and what is that work?
Is not this precisely the question of questions? Though violent persecution is not an event, under the present circumstances of the Christian profession in this country, within the range of probability, yet serious and faithful opposition may be expected. Vigorous attempts will be made to deprive you of your crown, at one time by an assault on your doctrinal, at another by efforts to corrupt your practical, principles.
A strong current will set in from the world to obstruct your progress, swelled by the confluence of false opinions, corrupt customs, ensnaring examples, and all the elements of vice, error and impiety, which are leagued in a perpetual confederacy against God and his Christ. While you live like the world, you may with impunity think with the church, but let the doctrines you profess descend from the head to the heart, and produce there the contrition, the humility, the purity, the separation from the world which distinguish the new creature, that world will be armed against you.
Aware of his incessant liability to be ensnared, he feels it incumbent on him to watch. The melancholy history of the falls of Noah, of David, and of Peter, is adapted and designed to teach us this lesson. Are you prepared in such a conjuncture to reject the temptation; or are you resolved at all events to make haste to get rich, though it may plunge you into the utmost spiritual danger? By the supposition with which we set out, you have solemnly renounced the indulgence of sinful pleasures. God delights in our temptations, and yet hates them; he delights in them when they drive us to prayer; he hates them when they drive us to despair.
Upright and faithful Christians ever think they are not faithful, nor believe as they ought; and therefore they constantly strive, wrestle, and are diligent to keep and to increase faith, as good workmen always see that something is wanting in their workmanship. But the botchers think that nothing is wanting in what they do, but that everything is well and complete.
Christ desires nothing more of us than that we speak of him. But thou wilt say, If I speak or preach of him, then the word freezes upon my lips. The world loves that which is its own; we must content ourselves with that which it bestows upon us, scoffing, flouting, contempt. I am sometimes glad that my scholars and friends are pleased to give me such wages; I desire neither honor nor crown here on earth, but I will have compensation from God, the just Judge, in heaven.
While the citizen prized above all things his liberty and his rights as a member of the state—a feeling which produced in many cases a citizen democracy—this principle was unknown within the household, in which he was a despot, ruling absolutely the inferior members, who had no legal grades except as distinguished into free and slaves. The laws were very cautious about interfering with his rights, and he was permitted to exercise much injustice and cruelty without being punished.
If in such a case he was murdered by his dependants, the whole household of slaves was put to death, unless the culprit was detected.