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outwardly, religious*. Lay afide, as much as may be, all other thoughts and concerns, and let the pardon of your fins, the juftification of your perfons, the purification of your natures, and the falvation of your fouls, be the grand bufinefs and aim of your life. Every thing within you, and every thing without you, will oppofe this great regenerating procefs of religion. Remember, however, this is your main concern in the world. One thing alone is truly needfull. Secure this, and every thing befide is fafe.
"This done, the pooreft can no wants endure;
There is need, in this time of general discontent, to call the attention of all good men to the obligations we are under, to be dutiful and loayl fubjects. The Scripture is decifive, that as we are to fear GOD, fo we are to honour the KING. But, fetting duty afide, felf-intereft, if duly confulted, would induce every man to obey the civil government of the happy country in which we live. We have much to lofe, little to gain, by any change that might take place. The ruin brought upon France may fatisfy any man, how dangerous a thing it is to embark in public contentions, and disturb the regular order of things. If the experience of our neighbours will not determine us to peaceable and temperate measures among qurfelves, we fhould do well to look back to the reign of the first CHARLES, when the three kingdoms were convulfed for seven years together from one end to another. Befides the many thousands of private men who fell in the bloody fray, the many millions of money that were spent, and the numerous families that were ruined, there were flain 17 Earls and Lords-45 Knights and Baronets— 55 Colonels-42 Lieutenant Colonels-53 Majors-138 Captains-30 Gentlemen Volunteers-with about 30 others, who were either beheaded, or died in prifon.-The fpirit of the times was much the fame as hath for thefe feveral years prevailed in France; nor were the clergy treated with much more humanity, 8 or 10,000 of them being turned out of their Livings. See WALKER's Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 198-200. And if any convulfion fhould take place again in this country, I do not conceive that we should be much more humane towards each other, than people have been in cafes of a fimilar nature. He was no inexperienced mau who faid-The beginning of ftrife is as when one letteth out water; therefore leave off contention before it be meddied with.
When the ALMIGHTY intends to punifn us effectually, he will deprive us of wisdom, and fet us at loggerheads one with another. The confequence will be, ruin to the prefent race of Englishmen. If with the above two dreadful examples before us, we fuffer a party fpirit to drive us to extremities, we shall deferve all we can fuffer. See the feventh chapter of EZEKIEL. Were we united and religious we might defy the world.
Labour not for the meat that perifbeth, but that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.-Seek ye firft the kingdom of GOD, and bis righteousness, and all neceffary things Shall be added unto you. If you are ever fo rich, great, wife, learned, honourable; if you are not at the fame time substantially and experimentally religious, you are a miserable man. Do you want proof of this? Look inward, and look forward to the close of life; or turn back, and impartially confider the experience of the feveral perfons, whose declarations we have recorded in the beginning of this Treatife. Compare them, weigh them, difcriminate their characters, reject what is base and unworthy your attention, take alarm at the warnings of the dying penitents, and refolve, by the grace of GoD, to have a name and a place among his people. Let others defpife and neglect the Sacred Writings, as the humour fhall lead, do you be much in the perufal of them. Let them dwell in you richly. They will make you happy in your own foul, and wife unto falvation. Search them, dig in them, fcrutinize them, let your daily delight be in them. It is the engrafted Word, and the Word of God's grace alone, which is able to build us up in faith and love, and fave our fouls alive. Read it, therefore, as the Word of God. Read it with religious views. Read it with conftant prayer to HEAVEN for divine illumination; and, as often as convenient, get upon your knees in fecret with the Bible spread before you, and, be affured, you shall experience fuch fublime and ravishing delights, as the moft happy and profperous worldly men are utter ftrangers to, and as you yourselves can have no proper conception of, till you have made the experiment. Could I be the happy inftrument of inducing you to make the experiment, you would blefs me for ever. And you will give me leave to fay, that if you could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and poffeffed all knowledge human and divine; if you could perform wonders like MOSES, celebrate the praises of God like DAVID,
M. De RENTY, a French nobleman, used to read three chapters a day, with his head uncovered, and on his bended knees; and this is the practice likewife of abundance of religious characters in the prefent day.
prophefy like ISAIAH, write like PAUL, preach like PETER, thunder like JAMES and JOHN, and offer up your fouls on racks and in flames like the Maccabean mother and her feven noble fons; if you had power with GoD like JACOB, and had the valour of JOSHUA, the ftrength of SAMSON, the beauty of ABSALOM, the wifdom of SOLOMON, the zeal of PHINEAS, with every other qualification natural and acquired, that ever centered in any of the fons of men; yet, without a close, intimate, experimental acquaintance with the Sacred Oracles, and the great truths therein contained, all will avail nothing; you can neither enjoy true confolation in your spirit now, nor be capable of felicity hereafter when you die. Were I, therefore, permitted to give my laft dying advice to the dearest friend I have in the world, it would be the fame which Dr. JOHNSON gave to his friend Sir JOSHUA REYNOLDS— READ YOUR BIBLE†:-I only fhould add as above-Read
* The famous Sir PHILIP SIDNEY, taking leave of his brother ROBERT, when he died of the wound he had received in the field of
battle, faid “ Love my memory ; cherish my friends;-but above all, govern your will and affections by the Will and Word of your CREATOR3 in me beholding the end of this world, with all her vanities.
Sir CHRISTOPHER HATTON, in like manner, a celebrated ftatesman, a little before his death, advised his relations to be ferious in fearching after the will of GoD in his Holy Word: "for" faid he, "it is defervedly accounted a piece of excellent knowledge to understand the laws of the land, and the cuftoms of a man's country; how much more to know the ftatutes of heaven, and the laws of eternity, thofe immutable and eternal laws of justice and righteoufnefs! To know the will and pleasure of the great MONARCH, and univerfal KING! I have seen an end of all perfection, but the commandments of GoD are exceeding broad."
This great man himself read the Bible too little, and other books too much. This, and affociating frequently with men of little or no re ligion, were the main causes of his great leanness of foul, and fear of death all through life. He was, indeed, an extrordinary man, and an admirable judge of good writing. In the fecond volume of his Lives of the Poets, p. 110, he fpeaks of DRYDEN'S Dialogue on the Drama, as one of the fineft profe compofitions in the English language: and at the 152 page of the fame volume he fays, DRYDEN's Poem on the death of Mrs. KILLIGREW, is the nobleft Ode our language has ever produced. In the third volume, p. 62, he tells us the most poetical paragraph in the whole mafs of English poetry is in CONGREVE'S Mourning Bride. And in the fourth volume, p. 181. he declares one of the finest fimilies in all
it daily upon your khees with fervent prayer for divine illumination; and reft not, till you have imbibed the spirit of it
English poetry is that of the Student's progress in the fciences in POPE'S Efay on Criticism, lines 215-232.
The more religious people read the Sacred Writings, and the lefs, in general, they trouble themfelves with the compofitions of men, the better. If, however, the reader wishes to know what books are beft calculated to advance the Spirit of religion in the foul, the following have been found fingularly ufeful: ScOUGAL's Life of GOD in the Soul of Man -BAXTER'S Saints everlasting Reft-DODDERIDGE's Rife and Progress of Religion in the Soul-WATTS on the love of GOD-Rowe's Devout Ex-. ercifes of the Heart-YOUNG's Night Thoughts-MILTON's Paradife Loft and Regained-LAW's Serious Call to a devout and holy Life-and THOMAS A KEMPIS on the Imitation of JESUS CHRIST.-KEMPIS, in particular, was a great favourite with Archbishop LEIGHTON and Bishop BURNET. And Law's Serious Call has the honor of being the means of the converfion of that Hercules in literature, the late Dr. JOHNSON; which book he used therefore much to commend, saying, "It was the "finest piece of hortatory theoligy in any language." See BoswELL'S Life, vol. 1. p. p. 29, 341.-This book has, moreover, extorted the following eulogium even from the fceptical EDWARD GIBBON, Efq. one of the firit Hiftorians of the prefent age, and an unquestionable judge of literary merit.
"Mr. Law's mafter-work, the Serious Call, is ftill read as a popular and powerful book of devotion. His precepts are rigid, but they are founded on the Gospel; his fatire is fharp, but it is drawn from the knowledge of human life; and many of his portraits are not unworthy of the pen of LA BRUYERE. If he finds a fpark of piety in his reader's mind, he will foon kindle it to a flame; and a philofopher must allow, that he expofes, with equal feverity and truth, the ftrange contradiction between the faith and practice of the Chriftian world. Under the names of FLAVIA and MIRANDA he has admirably described my two aunts-the Heathen and the Christian sister.”
Memoirs of GIBBON's Life and Writings.
This, I think, is no common praise !
To the above books fhould be added BUNYAN's Pilgrim's Progress Bishop TAYLOR's Holy Living and Dying; Archbishop LEIGHTON'S Works; and fuch other Writings as are of a lively and evangelic nature. —I remember near thirty years ago, hearing the late excellent Dr. CONYERS, of Deptford, fay, that if he were banished into a defert iland, and permitted to take with him only four books, the Life of Mr. HALYBURTON fhould be one of the four.
This ufeful Life is alfo the book which that great fcholar, Sir R1CHARD ELLYS, valued above all the books in his learned and copious library.
With refpect to the leading and most important do&rines of the Gospel, I do not know that they are any where more plainly and faithfully expounded than in the book of Homilies. I have been of this opinion many
into the very frame and conftitution of your foul, and tranfcribed the precepts and example of JESUS into every part of your daily deportment of life.
This should be the last dying advice, I fay, which I would give to the tendereft friend I have upon earth. And, if I fhould have no other opportunity permitted me, I here leave it on record, in direct oppofition to the obloquy of the irreligious, and unbelieving world, as a legacy to my friends and the people among whom I have gone preaching the Gofpel, of more real intrinfic value than thousands of gold and filver:-READ YOUR BIBLES, AND READ TILL YOU LOVE TO READ. PRAY DAILY OVER THEM, AND PRAY TILL YOU LOVE TO PRAY. When the Scriptures and Prayer become delightful, and the time spent therein seems foon expired, then may you humbly, fuppofe you have made fome proficiency in the divine life. But, if you can spend whole days together, without refreshing your foul with fome portion of the Holy Writings; if you feel yourselves cold, remifs, and negligent in private prayer; or if, when you read the Scriptures, and retire for devotion, vou have little or no tafte for the heavenly employ, but it appears irksome and difagreable, and the time spent therein tedious and wearifome, you may be affured, let your profeffions be what they may, and the fermons you hear ever fo numerous, or ever fo excellent, your soul is either wholly dead to things divine, or you are in a backfliding and dangerous condition.
If you have never been accustomed to this religious exercife, it is extremely probable, you will, for a time, find much reluctance to it, a grievous ftruggle under it, and great unprofitableness in it. Be not, however, difcouraged; but proceed in the divine employ till you have conquered every difficulty. And remember, thefe are difficulties that are common to man; that have been vanquished by mul
years, and ftill continue the fame, making allowance for the language and certain circumftances peculiar to the times in which they were writIn this opinion I find myself confirmed by Bishop HORSLEY, who fays to the Clergy in his Charge for 1790-" Thefe difcourfes," fome of the Homilies, "I would earnestly recommend to your frequent fludy, as an unexceptionable fummary of doctrine upon thefe important points, and an excellent model of compofition for popular inftruction,”.