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only cannot be enough admired, but it cannot be too much admired.” With the very pious and excellent Sir MATTHEW HALE we are clearly of opinion, “ There is no book like the Bible, for excellent learning, wisdom, and use. With the celebrated Boyle, we consider it as “A matchless volume," and believe that “ It is impossible we can study it too much, or esteem it too highly*.” With the incomparable Newton, “We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy.” With MILTON We are of opinion, “ There are no songs comparable to the songs of Sion, no orations equal to those of the Prophers,
and no politics like those which the Scriptures teach.” With Rousseau, every ingenuous man may say, “I must confess to you, that the majesty of the Scriptures astonishes me, and the holiness of the Evangelists speaks to my heart, and has such strong and striking characters of truth, and is moreover so perfectly inimitable, that if it had been the invention of men, the inventors would be greater than the greatest heroes.” With the justly renowned SELDON before mentioned, after having taken a deliberate survey of all the learning among the ancients, we solemnly profess, “ There is no book” in the universe, “upon which we can rest our souls, in a dying moment, but the Bible.” And we therefore boldly declare, before the face of all the unbelieving and disobedient world, in the words of the inmortal CHILLINGWORTH, “ Propose to me any thing out of the Bible, and require whether I believe it or no; and seem it never so inconprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand and heart; as knowing no demonstration can be stronger than
* This great philosopher says, “ Deists must, to maintain their ne. gative creed, swallow greater improbabilities, than Christians, to main. tain the positive creed of the Apostles. And they must think it fitter to believe, that chance, or nature, or superstition, should perform wonderful, and hardly credible things, than that the great author of nature, GOD, should be able to do so."
Works, vol. 5. p. 661. John Earl of Orrery, relation to the above Mr. Roeert Boyle; is also said to have been a lover of truth even to adoration. “He was," says his life, “a real Christian, and, as such, he used to say, he constantly hoped for a better life, there trusting to know the real causes of those effects, which here struck him with wonder, but not with doubt." R2
this—“God hath said so, therefore it is true.” And may we not, finally, exhort and admonish the sceptical ieader in the glowing language of the seraphic YOUNG?
“ Retire, and read thy Bible, to be gay.
After these declarations, the warmth of which may seem to need some apology, you cannot wonder, O MY COUNTRYMEN, if we should treat all your stale cavils, which have been a hundred times repeated, and a thousand times confuted, with the contempt they deserve, and say with the royal Psalmist (no favourite of your's by the by, but whom we Believers, esteem one of the bravest of warriors, sublimest of poets, greatest of prophets, most seraphic of musicians, and worthiest of men), The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the souil: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple : the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heari : the commandment of ihe LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes: the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether ; more to be desired are they than gold, yea than mich fine gold : sweeter also than honey, and the choice droppings of the boney-comb*.
* Other great Kings have been of the same mind. ROBERT, King of Sicily, declares of himself, “The Holy Books are dearer to me than my kingdom, and were I under any necessity of quitting one, it should be my
diadem." And even the haughty LEWIS the XIV. “sometimes read his Bible, and was of opinion it is the finest of all books."
It is recorded too of our EDWARD VI. that upon a certain occasion, paper which was called for in the council-chamber happened to lie out of reach ; the person concerned to produce it, took a Bible that lay by, and, standing upon it, reached down the Paper. The king, observing what was done, ran himself to the place, and, taking the Bible in his hands, kissed it, and laid it up again. This circumstance, though trifling in itself, implies in his Majesty great reverence for and much affection to that best of books.
More lately still, “WILLIAM III. king of England, not only believed the truth of the Christian religion very firmly, but was most
You will excuse the freedom of this address, and be as. sured it proceeds from a heart deeply concerned for the welfare of his fellow-men. We wish to be happy ourselves, and we wish You to be partakers of the same felicity. Many of you are endowed with talents of no mean account. We lament the misapplication of them. Are your spirits perfectly at rest in your present state of mind? And do you feel satisfied with your future prospects? Give me leave to answer for you, and be not offended if I say, “ No!-Far from it!--My lusts and passions lend me “ captive! I am a slave to evil desires !-Of the proper “ fear of God, which effectually restraineth from sin, I “ know but little !--To the genuine love of God I am
an utter stranger ; I scarcely know what it means ! “ The favour of God I have no reason to expect, in my
present state of moral attainments, be the Bible true or “ be it false !_With all my pretensions to virtue, in my “ coolest moments I feel condemned in my own con. “ science !-That which I do, I allow not; but whu I so would, that do I not; for what I hate, that do I*.
“My reason this, my passion that persuades :
“O wretcbed exemplarily decent and devout, in the public exercises of the worship of God. He was an attentive hearer of sermons, and was constant in his private prayers, and in reading the Scriptures.”
Burner's Own Times, vol. 5. p. 71. * Dr. DODDRIDGE, in his Life of Colonel GARDINER, informs us, “ That his fine constitution, than which perhaps there hardly ever was a better, gave him great opportunities of indulging himself in excesses; and his good spirits enabled him to pursue his pleasures of every kind, in so alert and sprightly a manner, that multitudes envied him, and called him by a dreadful kind of compliment, The happy Rake. Yet still the checks of conscience, and some remaining principles of so good an edu. cation as he had received, would break in upon his most licentious hours; and I particularly remember he told me, that when some of his dissolute companions were once congratulating him on his distinguished felicity, a dog happening at the time to come into the room, he could not forbear groaning inwardly, and saying to himself, Oh, that I were that dog ! Such was then his happiness! and such perhaps is that of hundreds more, who bear themselves highest in the contempt of Religion, and glory in that infamous Servitude which they call Liberty."-Reader ! how is it
“ O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from " the unhappiness I frequently feel, and the misery I have “ too much reason to fear?—I would gladly be a thorough“ paced Unbeliever; but for the life of me, I cannot get “ clear of the terror of death, the apprehension of a “ future reckoning, and an unaccountable foreboding of “ something terrible to come !"
No, my COUNTRYMEN ! nor will you ever find either solid consolation in life, or just confidence in the hour of death, till you shake off the chains of those sins, which have well nigh led you into the gulf of perdition, and obtain redemption in the blood of that SAVIOUR, of whom, in your present state of mind, you make so little account.
SOLOMON, you know, has the honour of being reputed the wisest of men. But, notwithstanding his extraordinary wisdom, he was, for many years, at least, guilty of extreme folly. He sought for happiness in the gratification of the body, its appetites and passions, to the neglect of God, and religion, and the care of his immortal part; but substantial happiness could no where be found. He ran through the whole circle of worldly and sensual pleasures ; happiness however, and ease of mind, still fled before him, and eluded his pursuit. And after having made a large number of experiments for a long season, and to no manner of purpose, he stops and looks back upon what he had been doing; and the book of Ecclesiastes contains his experience. Wishing to warn his fellowcreatures against the mistakes which he himself had committed in life, he turns preacher, and gives us a sermon upon the insufficiency of worldly things to make us happy. The text to the discourse seems to be: Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. ". He begins his sermon by shewing, that all human courses and pursuits are vain, and do not yield full satisfaction to the mind. All things, says he, are full of labour : with you in this respect ? Trust a prophet and a priest for once—The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose caters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked.
man cannoi utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing"; nor the ear filled with hearing.
From this general assertion the royal preacher proceeds to shew, that wisdom, and knowledge, and learning, could not make him happy.
I the preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem: and I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all thing's ihat are done under beaven : this sore travail bath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 1 have seen all the works that are done under the sun ; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotien more wisdom than all they that have been before ine in Jerusalem : yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly : I perceived, that this also is vexation of spirit.
Not finding rest for his soul in the pursuits of knowledge and learning, the wise man deserts them, to try if the pleasures of drinking, planting, building, music, and dancing could make him happy, and afford him that satisfaction which he had hitherto sought for in vain. I said in mine heart, go to now, I wvili prove thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure : and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of 'mirih, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom, and to lay hold ou folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. I made me great works; I builded me hoisses; I planted me vineyards : I made me gardens and orchards, and planted trees in them of all kind of fruits : I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants boril ini my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle, above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver ‘and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces : 1 gat me men-singers, ond zvomen-singers; and the