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he had any money given him, he would say to his-, mother, “ A book, a book, buy a book.” He be. gan to learn Latin at four years old. When he was about seven or eight he was desired by his mother to write her some lines, as was the custom with the other boys, after the school hours were over, for which she used to reward them with a farthing. The Doctor obeyed, and pre.. sented her with the following couplet
“I write not for a farthing, but to try
“ How Iyour farthing writers can outvie." At the age of 21 or 22, he composed great part of his hymns. The following circumstance gave rise to his making of them. While he was at his father's, at Southampton, the hymns which were sung at the dissenting meeting there,. were so little to the gust of Mr. Watts, that he could not forbear complaining of them to his father. His fa. ther bid him try what he could do to mend the matter. He did, and had such success in his first essay, that a second hymn was earnestly desired of him, and then a third, and fourth, &c. till in process of time there was such a number of them. as to make up a volunie.
Shenstone, the poet, learned to read of an old dame, whom his Poem of the Schoolmistress has delivered to posterity; and soon received such de light from books, that he was always calling for fresh entertainment, and expected that, when any of the family went to market, a new book should be brought him ;, which, when it came, was in fondness carried to bed, and laid by him. It is said, that when his request had been neglected, his mother wrapped up a piece of wood of the same form, and pacified him for the night.
The learned and pious Mr. Edmund Grindall, from his infancy, was biassed by a strong propensity to literature. When a boy, he used to make some valuable book or other the constant companion of his solitary walks. Passing one day through a field, with his coat or waistcoat buttoned half way up, and a volume resting in his bo. som, an arrow, from some unknown quarter, lighted on his breast, and must have killed him immediately, if the book had not intercepted the point of the weapon in its way to his heart.
Ecclesiastical history furnishes us with the following instance : At Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, a child named Cyril, in a time of heavy persecution, called continually on the name of Jesus Christ, and neither threats nor blows could divert him from it. Many children of his own age persecu. ted him; and his unnatural father, who was a heathen, turned him out of doors. At last they brought him before the criminal judge, who both threatened and entreated him : but he said, " I rejoice to bear your reproaches : God will receive me; I am glad that I am expelled out of our house :- I shall have a better mansion; I fear not death, because it will introduce me to a better life.” In the end he was condenined to the flames, with a full expectation that he would recant, and save his life : but he persisted, saying, “ Your fire and your sword are insignificant : I go to a better house, and more excellent riches; dispatch me presently, that I may enjoy them.” They did so: and he suffered martyrdom amidst a throng of wondering spectators.
Emelia Geddie, of Hiltonn, in Scotland, gave very early indications of uncommon quickness of
but he personificant :
parts, and more uncommon seriousness and piety. The first thing remarked in her was, her propensity to make enquiries on the various objects around her, and the improvement she made upon the answers she received. “ Ought we not (said she) to love that God who made all these things, and gave them to us?” She had an early attachment to prayer, and an extraordinary gift in it; insomuch, that at four years old she prayed in a society of experienced christians, to which her mother had introduced her, to their great astonishment and edification.
A good man speaking to her one day of prayer, she said, “When I was a child, my mother taught me to pray ; but now the Lord teaches me.” Being asked how she knew the Lord's teaching from that of her mother, her reply was, “ The Lord makes me both to rejoice and weep; he makes my heart glad, and gives me new words.”
She even raised a little society of young ones like herself, who met for religious exercises, and made her their president. She persevered in a course of extraordinary piety till her death, which was very happy and religious in her 16th year, 1681.
It is said of Dr. Conyers, that he appeared to have had serious inipressions from his infancy; and is remembered to have retired at a certain time from his playfellows, when only five years of of age, and to have run down a lane, to say his prayers. He was very fond of going to church when a little boy; nid if he happened to be at play when the bell tolled for any ordinary service le of the day, no solicitations of his juvenile companions could restrain his attendance.
Duke Hamilton, from a child, was remarkably serious, and took delight in reading his bible. When he was about nine years old, and playing about the room, the duchess told Lady C. É., a relation, that she said to him, “ Come, write me a few verses, and I'll give you a crown." He sat down, and took pen and paper, and in a few minutes produced the following lines :
As o'er the sea-beat shore I took my way,
'THE ATHEIST CONVINCED. THE famous astronomer Athanasius Kircher, having an acquaintance who denied the existence of a Supreme Being, took the following method to convince him of his error upon his own priuciples. Expecting him upon a visit, he procured a very handsome globe of the starry heavens, . which, being placed in a corner of the room in which it could not escape his friend's observation, the latter seized the first occasion to ask from whence it came, and to whom it belonged. “Not to me,” said Kircher, “ nor was it ever made by any person, but came here by mere chance." " That,” replied his sceptical friend, " is absolutely impossible : you surely jest.” Kircher, however, seriously persisting in his assertion, took occasion to reason with his friend upon his own atheistical principles. “ You will not,” said he,
“ believe that this small body originated in mere 1 chance; and yet you would contend that those
heavenly bodies, of which it is only a faint and diminutive resemblance, came into existence without order and design.” Pursuing this chain of reasoning, his friend was at first confounded, in the next place convinced, and ultimately joined in a cordial acknowledgment of the absurdity of denying the existence of a God.
The following account of the Atheist's Creed, drawn up by Archbishop Tillotson, will shew us how unreasonable, disinteresting, and uncomfortable, such a system must be. “ The atheist believes that there is no God, nor possibly can be ; and consequently that the wise as well as unwise of all ages have been mistaken, except himself and a few more. He believes that either all the world have been frighted with an apparition of their own fancy, or that they have most unnaturally conspired together to cozen themselves; or that this notion of a God is a trick of policy, though the greatest princes and politicians do not at this day know so much, nor have done time out of mind. He believes either that the heavens and the earth, and all things in them, had no original cause of their being, or else that they were made by chance, and happeued, he knows not how, to be as they are; and that in this last shuffling of matter, all things have, by great good fortune, fallen out as happily and as regularly, as if the greatest wisdom had contrived them ; but yet he is resolved to believe that there was no wisdom in the contrivance of them. He believes that matter of itself is utterly void of all sense, understanding, and liberty; but, for all that, he is of opinion that the parts of matter may now and then happen to be so conveniently disposed as to have all these qualities, and most dexterously to