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titudes in every age of the church; and that must be overcome by you. Your present comfort, as well as your everlafting welfare depend upon the victory. For your encouragement, call to mind the Saying of PYTHAGORAS, the ancient Philofopher;

"Let the beft course of life your choice invite,
"For custom foon will turn it to delight:"

And the fimilar fentiment of HESIOD, the old Poet; "The Gods have placed labour before virtue; the way to "her is at first rough and difficult, but grows more fmooth "and eafy the further you advance in it." Infinitely more encouraging and authoritative ftill is the language of the Apoftle: Work out your own falvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Various inftances might be produced of perfons who, when they approached the close of life, bitterly lamented their neglect of the Sacred Volumet. And numerous are the examples of perfons in all ages, who have spent much of their time in perufing that most unparalleled Book. Moses, ISAIAH, and MALACHIT, enjoin it upon all the Jews, and old. GOD himself commands the duty to young and old. JOSHUA. It was the conftant practice of DAVID § through life. And there is reafon to fuppofe that JESUS CHRIST spent most of his leifure in this manner. Our great Epic bard hath represented him as faying:

"When I was yet a child, no childish play
"To me was pleasing; all my mind was fet
"Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
"What might be public good; myself I thought
"Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
"All righteous things: therefore above my years
"The law of GOD I read, and found it sweet,
"Made it my whole delight, and it grew
"To fuch perfection, that ere my age

See a fine paper on this fubject in the Spectator, No. 447
See the cafes of SALMASIUS, HERVEY, and others, on the fore-

going pages.

Deut. vi. 6-9; If, viii, 20; and Mal, iv, 4.

§ Pf. xix. cxix.

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"Had measur'd twice fix years, at our great feaß
"I went into the temple, there to hear
"The teachers of our law, and to propofe
"What might improve their knowledge or my own;
"And was admir'd by all*, "

Both CHRIST and his difciple St. PAUL recommend the employ to every, Chriftian. TIMOTHY was trained from his childhood in this way. And the BEREANS are spoken of as being more noble than others, because they fearched the Scriptures daily. The primitive Chriftians were intimately acquainted with the Sacred Writings, and generally carried a Bible about them, making it their companion wherever they went. And fuch was their affection for it, that many of them have been found buried with the Gospel laying on their breasts. Women wore it hanging at their necks. Children were trained up from their infancy to repeat it by heart; fome of whom made furprizing proficiency.

"Instead of gems and filk," fays St. JEROME to LœTA, let your young daughter be enamoured with the Holy Scriptures; wherein not gold, nor fkins, or Babylonian embroideries, but a correct and beautiful variety producing faith, will recommend itself. Let her firft learn the Pfalter, and be entertained with thofe fongs, then be inftructed into life by the Proverbs of SOLOMON. Let her learn from Ecclefiaftes to defpife worldly things; tranfcribe from Job the practice of patience and virtue. Let her pafs then to the Gospels, and never let them be out of her hands; and then imbibe with all the faculties of her mind the Acts of the Apofles and Epiftles. When fhe has enriched the ftorehoufe of her breaft with thefe treasures, let her learn the Prophets, the Heptateuch, or books of Mofest, Joshua and Judges,

MILTON's Paradife Regained, b. 1.

Mr. POPE, whom we have before quoted on the fubject of the Sacred Writings, and whofe judgment few will call in queftion, in comparing the difcovery of ULYSSES to TELEMACHUS with JOSEPH's difcovery of himself to his brethren, fays, "It must be owned that HOMER falls infinitely fhort of MOSES: he must be a very wicked man, that can read the history of JOSEPH without the utmoft touches of compaffion and tranfport. There is a majeftic fimplicity in the whole relation, and fuch an affecting portrait of human nature, that it overwhelms us with viciffitudes of joy and forrow. This is a pregnant inftance how much the best


Judges, the books of Kings, and Chronicles, the volumes of Ezra and Esther, and, laftly, the Canticles-The book. of Revelation has as many myfteries as words; I faid too little in every word there is a variety of fenfes, and the. excellency of the book is above all praife."

The Monks of Egypt daily learned fome portion of Scripture, and more efpecially made it their meditation on the LORD's day, infomuch that many of them became fo. expert and well verfed in the Holy Scripture, that they could repeat it by heart; which is particularly noted of HILARION, AMMONIUS, MARCUS JUNIOR, EROS, SERAPION, SOLOMON, and others. And by this means they. were qualified to entertain their fouls with fpiritual exercifes, finging of DAVID'S pfalms, and repeating other parts of Scripture, even at their bodily labours.-At CHRIST'S little village of Bethlehem there was nothing to be heard but pfalms: one could not go into the field, but he fhould hear. the plowman finging his hallelujahs, the fweating mower. folacing himself with hymns, and the vine-dreffer tuning DAVID'S pfalms. Thus the ancient Monk's joined their bodily and fpiritual exercife together, and made their common labour become acts of devotion to GOD. Their times of eating and refreshment were managed after the fame manner. In fome places they had the Scriptures read at table. At other places, when fupper was ended, they fung an hymn and fo returned to their cells. Thus their ordinary refreshments were fanctified with the Word of GOD and prayer. It is very obfervable, that in the primitive church not only men and women, but children were encouraged and trained up from their infancy to the reading of

of Heathen writers is inferior to the divine hiftorian upon a parallel fubject, where the two authors endeavour to move the fofter paffions. The fante may with equal truth be faid in respect of fublimity; not only in the inftance produced by LONGINUS, viz. Let there be light, and there was light, let the earth be made, and the earth was made; but in neral, in the more elevated parts of Scripture, and particularly in the whole book of JOB, which, with regard both to fublimity of thought, and morality, exceeds beyond all comparison the most noble parts of HOMER." Notes on the fixteenth Odyfey.


* See Strictures on this book in the 24-34 fections of SIMPSON'S Key to the Prophecies.

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the Holy Scriptures. Of this we have undoubted evidence from many eminent inftances of their practice. EUSEBIUS remarks of the great care of LEONIDES, the Martyr, and father of ORIGEN, in the education of his fon, that he made him learn the Scriptures, before he fet him to the study of the liberal arts and polite learning. And SoCRATES makes the like obfervation upon the education of EUSEBIUS, furnamed Emifenus, who was born of noble parentage at Edeffa, a city of Ofroene in Mefopotamia, that he was firft taught the Holy Scriptures from his infancy, and then human learning. And SOZOMEN, in relating the fame ftory, fays, this was done according to the custom of the country; which fhews, that it was no fingular instance, but a general practice to bring children up from their infancy to the use of the Holy Scriptures. the Holy Scriptures. GREGORY NYSSENE notes it in the life of his fifter MACRINA, that the firft part of her inftruction in her infancy was to be taught the easy portions of Scripture, that were moft fuitable to her age; and he fays alfo, fhe did the fame for her younger brother PETER, taking him from his mother's breasts, and inftructing him in the Scriptures that he might have no time to spend upon vain ftudies. 'Tis noted by SOZOMEN and PALLADIUS of MARCUS, the Hermit, that he was fo expert in the Scriptures when he was but a youth, that he could repeat all the Old and New Teftament without book. Such was the advantage which fome hearers in those days reaped from the benefit of having the Scriptures read, that it is very remarkable what is related of one or two of them; that being men of good memories, they got the Scriptures, by heart, without any knowledge of letters, only by hearing them conftantly read in the church or elsewhere. St. AUSTIN remarks this of St. ANTHONY, the famous Egyptian Monk, that without being able to read himself, he made fuch a proficiency in the knowledge of the Scriptures, as both by hearing them read, to be able to repeat them, and by his own prudent meditation to understand them. And GREGORY the Great gives a like inftance in one SERVULUS, a poor man at Rome, who though he knew not a letter in the book, yet purchafing a Bible, and entertaining religious men, he prevailed with them to read it continually


to him, by which means he perfectly learned the Holy Scriptures. 'Tis yet a more aftonishing inftance, which EUSEBIUS gives in one of the Martyrs of Palestine, a blind man, called JoHN, who had fo happy a memory, that he could repeat any part of the Bible as readily as others could read it. And he fometimes fupplied the office of reader in the church; and he did this to fo great perfection, that' EUSEBIUS fays, when he first heard him, he was perfectly amazed, and thought he had heard one reading out of a book, till he came a little more curiously to examine him, and found that he did it only by the eyes of his understanding, having the Scriptures written not in books or tables of ftone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart. There are many fuch like instances in ancient history.*

At the time of the Reformation alfo, after the Bible had been buried under the rubbish of human ordinances for many ages, the people in this country were extremely eager to read and hear the Holy Scriptures. They were received with inexpreffible joy. Bishop RIDLEY and others could repeat large parts of them without book. The learned JOSHUA BARNES fometime afterwards, is faid to have read a small pocket Bible, that he usually carried about him a hundred and twenty times over, at leisure hours. BEZA, at upwards of eighty years of age, could repeat the whole of St. PAUL'S Epiftles, in the original Greek, and all the Pfalms in Hebrew.

Lord CROMWELL, Earl of Effex, in a journey to and from Rome, learned the whole of the New Testament by heart. The excellently learned Lady JANE GRAY, though executed at the age of fixteen, the night before she died, bequeathed to her fister a Greek Teftament, on one of the blank leaves of which fhe wrote: "I have fent you, my dear fifter, a book, which, although it be not outwardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it is more worth than all the precious mines, which the vast world can boast of. It is the book, my only beft and best beloved fifter, of the Law of the LORD. It is the teftament and laft will which he bequeathed unto us wretched finners, which fhall lead you to the path of eternal joy.-It will teach you to live,

* See BINGHAM's Antiquities of the Chriftian church.

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