O that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balance together!
For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up!
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit. The terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.
When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise? When will the night be gone? And I am full of tossings to and fro, unto the dawning of the day.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope— mine eye shall no more see good.
Wherefore is light given to her that is in misery; and life unto the bitter in soul?
Who longeth for death; but it cometh not; and diggeth for it more than for hid treasures?
Why is light given to one whose way is hid; and whom God hath hedged in?
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me!
I was not in safety; neither had I rest; neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
But behold God is mighty, and despiseth not any.
He giveth right to the poor—and if they be found in fetters, and holden in cords of affliction, then he showeth them their works and their transgressions.
I have a little leisure, and am in a scribbing vein: indulge me, Lovelace, a few reflections on these sacred books.
We are taught to read the Bible, when children, as a rudiment only; and, as far as I know, this may be the reason why we think ourselves above it when at a maturer age. For you know that our parents, as well as we, wisely rate our proficiency by the books we are advanced to, and not by our understanding of those we have passed through. But, in my uncle’s illness, I had the curiosity, in some of my dull hours, (lighting upon one in his closet,) to dip into it: and then I found, wherever I turned, that there were admirable things in it. I have borrowed one, on receiving from Mrs. Lovick the above meditation; for I had a mind to compare the passages contained in it by the book, hardly believing they could be so exceedingly apposite as I find they are. And one time or another, it is very likely, that I shall make a resolution to give the whole Bible a perusal, by way of course, as I may say.
This, meantime, I will venture to repeat, is certain, that the style is that truly easy, simple, and natural one, which we should admire in each other authors excessively. Then all the world join in an opinion of the antiquity, and authenticity too, of the book; and the learned are fond of strengthening their different arguments by its sanctions. Indeed, I was so much taken with it at my uncle’s, that I was half ashamed that it appeared so new to me. And yet, I cannot but say, that I have some of the Old Testament history, as it is called, in my head: but, perhaps, am more obliged for it to Josephus than to the Bible itself.