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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 ufed 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 present age, and an unquestionable judge of literary


"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 severity and truth, the ftrange contradiction between the faith and practice of the Chriftian world. Under the names of FLAVIA and MIRANDA he has admirably defcribed my two aunts-the Heathen and the Chriftian 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 ifland, 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 Ri CHARD 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

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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 PRAY DAILY OVER THEM, AND PRAY TILL YOU LOVE TO PRAY. When the Scriptures and Prayer become delightful, and the time spent therein feems 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 so numerous, or ever fo excellent, your foul 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 earneftly recommend to your frequent fludy, as an unexceptionable fummary of doctrine upon thefe important points, and an excellent model of compofition for popular inftruction,”.


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

"Let the best course of life your choice invite,
"For cuftom 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 smooth "and easy 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 Gon 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 perusing that most unparalleled Book. MOSES, ISAIAH, and MALACHIT, enjoin it upon all the Jews, young and old. God himself commands the duty to 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 Epis bard hath represented him as saying:

"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 fpoken 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 breafts. 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.

"Inftead 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 those 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 Goffels, 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 Epifiles. When she has enriched the ftorehouse of her breaft with these treasures, let her learn the Prophets, the Heptateuch, or books of Mofes†, 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 majestic fimplicity in the whole relation, and fuch an affecting portrait of human nature, that it overwhelms us with vicif fitudes 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 Efther, 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 general, in the more elevated parts of Scripture, and particularly in the whole book of Jos, 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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