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of such repentance as that of David-by you read it, therefore, it will be rather as avoiding fin, which humbled this unhap- matter of curiosity than of edification., py king to the duft- and which cost him Next follow the Prophecies; which such bitter anguilh, as it is impossible to though highly deserving the greatest atread of without being moved ! Not all tention and study, I think you had better the pleasures of the most prosperous fin. omit for some years, and then read them ners would counterbalance the hundredth with a good exposition, as they are much part of those sensations described in his pe- too difficult for you to understand without nitencial Pfalmsand which must be the assistance: Dr. Newton on the prophecieš portion of every man, who has fallen from will help you much, whenever you under. a religious state into such crimes, when take this study which you should by all once he recovers a sense of religion and means do, when your understanding is virtue, and is brought to a real hatred of ripe enough; because one of the main fin. However available such repentance proofs of our religion refts on the testimony may be to the safety and happinels of the of the prophecies; and they are very frefool after death, it is a state of such ex- quently quoted, and referred to in the New quifite suffering here, that one cannot be Teftament; besides, the sublimity of the enough surprized at the folly of those, language and sentiments, through all the who indulge sin, with the hope of living to disadvantages of antiquity and translation, make their peace with God by repentance. muft, in very many passages, strike every Happy are they who preserve their inno- person of taste; and the excellent moral cence unsullied by any great or wilful and religious precepts found in them must crimes, and who have only the common be useful to all. failings of humanity to repent of; these Though I have spoken of these books in are sufficiently mortifying to a heart deeply the order in which they ftand, I repeat, {mitten with the love of virtue, and with that they are not to be read in that order the desire of perfection. There are many

- but that the thread of the history is very striking prophecies of the Messiah in to be pursued, from Nehemiah to the firft thefe divine fongs, particularly in Psalın book of the Maccabees, in the Apocrypha; xxii-such may be found scattered up and taking care to observe the chronology redown almost throughout the Old Testa- gularly, by referring to the index, which ment. To bear testimony to him, is the supplies the deficiencies of this history from great and ultimate end for which the spirit Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews. The of prophecy was bestowed on the sacred first of Maccabees carries on the story till writers;- but this will appear more plainly within 195 years of our Lord's circumcito you, when you enter on the study of fion: the second book is the fame narraprophecy, which you are now much too tive, written by a different hand, and does young to undertake. Mrs. Chapone. not bring the history so forward as the

firft; so that it may be entirely omitted, $ 188. Of the Proverbs, Ecclefiafles, Solo- unless you have the curiosity to read some

mon's Song, the Prophecies, and Apocry. Particulars of the heroic constancy of the pba.

Jews, under the tortures inficted by their

heathen conquerors, with a few other The Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are rich things not mentioned in the first book, fores of wisdom, from which I wish you You must then connect the history by the to adopt such maxims as may be of infinite help of the index, which will give you use both to your temporal and eternal in- brief heads of the changes that happened tereft. But detached sentences are a kind in the state of the Jews, from this time till of reading not proper to be continued long the birth of the Meffiah. at a time; a few of them, well chofen and The other books of the Apocrypha, digested, will do you much more service, though not admitted as of facred authothan to read half a dozen chapters toge- rity, have many things well worth your ther. In this refpect, they are directly op- attention: particularly the admirable book pofite to the historical books, which, if not called Ecclefiafticus, and the book of tead in continuation, can hardly be under- Wifdom. But, in the course of reading food, or retained to any purpose.

which I advise, thefe must be admitted till The Song of Solomon is a fine poem- after you have gone through the Gospels but its myftical reference to religion lies and Acts, that you may not lose the hifloo deep for a common understanding: if torical thread.

Ibid. T

$189.

Mrs. Cbapone.

$189. Of the New Testament, which is Gospel is to offer us every help, diredion,

constantly to be referred to, as the Rule and motive, that can enable us to attain and Direction of our moral Conduct.

that degree of perfection on which depends

our eternal good. We come now to that part of scripture, which is the most important of all, and $ 190. Of the Example set by our Saviour, which you must make your constant study,

and bis Character. not only till you are thoroughly acquainted with it, but all your life long; because, What an example is set before us in our how often soever repeated, it is imposible blessed Mafter! How is his whole life, to read the life and death of our bielled from earlies youth, dedicated to the pirSaviour, without renewing and increasing suit of true wisdom, and to the practice of in oar hearts that love and reverence, and the most exalted virtue ! When you see gratitude towards him, which is fo justly him, at twelve years of age, in the temple due for all he did and suffered for us? amongst the doctors, hearing them, and Every word that fell from his lips is more asking them questions on the subject of reprecious than all the treasures of the earth; ligion, and astonishing them all with his for his “ are the words of eternal life !” understanding and answers—you will say, They must therefore be laid up in your perhaps, "Well might the Son of heart, and constantly referred to, on all “ God, even at those years, be far wiler occasions, as the rule and direction of all “ than the aged; but, can a mortal child your actions ; particularly those very com “ emulate such heavenly wisdom? Can prehensive moral precepts he has graci- " such a pattern be proposed to my imi. ously left with us, which can never fail to “ tation ?"-Yes, certainly ;- remember direct us aright, if fairly and honestly ap- that he has bequeathed to you his hea. plied: such as, “ whatsoever ye would venly wisdom, as far as concerns your own that men should do unto you, even so do good. He has left you such declarations unto them.”—There is no occasion, great of his will, and of the consequences of or small, on which you may not fafely ap- your actions, as you are, even now, fully ply this rule for the direction of your con- able to understand, if you will but attend duct: and, whilst your heart honestly ad. to them. If, then, you will imitate his heres to it, you can never be guilty of any zeal for knowledge, if you will delight in fort of injustice or unkindness. The two gaining information and improvement ; great commandments, which contain the you may even now become a wise unto fummary of our duty to God and man, are salvation.” – Unmoved by the praise he no less eably retained, and made a standard acquired amongst these learned men, you by which to judge our own hearts-“ To see him meekly return to the subjection of love the Lord our God, with all our hearts, a child, under those who appeared to be with all our minds, with all our strength; his parents, though he was in reality their and our neighbour (or fellow-creature) as Lord: you see him return to live with ourselves.” “ Love worketh no ill to his them, to work for them, and to be the joy neighbour.” Therefore if you have true and folace of their lives; till the time benevolence, you will never do any thing came, when he was to enter on that scene injurious to 'individuals, or to society. of public action, for which his heavenly Now, all crimes whatever are (in their Father had sent him from his own right remoter consequences at least, if not im- hand, to take upon him the form of a poor mediately and apparently) injurious to the carpenter's son. What a lesson of humisociety in which we live. It is impossible lity is this, and of obedience to parents! to love God without defiring to please him, -When, having received the glorious tes.and, as far as we are able, to resemble timony from heaven, of his being the be. bim; therefore the love of God must lead loved Son of the Most High, he enters on to every virtue in the highest degree ; and, his public ministry, what an example does we may be sure, we do not truly love him, he give us, of the most extensive and conif we content ourselves with avoiding fla stant benevolence !-- how are all his hours grant fins, and do not strive, in good ear- spent in doing good to the souls and bodies neft, to reach the greatest degree of per of men !—not the meaneit sinner is below fection we are capable of. Thus do these his notice :-to reclaim and save them, he few words direct us to the highest Christian condescends to converse familiarly with virtue. Indeed, the whole tenor of the the most corrupt, as well as the most ab

ject.

now

ject. All his miracles are wrought to be- $ 191. A comparative View of the Blefnefit mankind; not one to punish and afflict fed and Curjed at the Last Day, and the them. Instead of using the almighty power, Inference to be drawn from it. which accompanied him, to the purpose of exalting himself

, and treading down his What a tremendous scene of the last day enemies, he makes no other use of it than does the gospel place before our eyes ! to heal and to save.

of that day, when you and every one of When you come to read of his suffer us shall awake from the grave, and behold ings and death, the ignominy and reproach, the Son of God, on his glorious tribunal, the lorrow of mind, and torment of body, attended by millions of celestial beings, of which he submitted to when you consider whose superior excellence we can that it was all for our fakes that by his form no adequate idea — when, in preftripes we are healed”—and by his death sence of all mankind, of those holy angels, we are raised from destruction to everlast- and of the great Judge himself, you must ing life-what can I say, that can add any give an account of your past life, and hear thing to the sensations you must then feel? your final doom, from which there can be - VO power of language can make the no appeal, and which must determine your scene more touching than it appears in the fate to all eternity; then think-if for a plain and simple narrations of the evan moment you can bear the thought- what gelifs. The heart that is unmoved by it, will be the defolation, shame, and anguish, can be scarcely human ;-but the emotions of those wretched fouls, who shall hear of terderness and compunction, which al- these dreadful words; —" Depart from mot every one feels in reading this ac. me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, precount, will be of no avail, unless applied to pared for the devil and his angels.". the true end-unless it inspires you with a Oh!- cannot support even the idea of fincere and warm affection towards your your becoming one of those undone, loft b.etied Lord with a firm resolution to obey creatures ! -I trust in God's mercy, that his commands; - to be his faithful disci- you will make a better use of that knowple-and ever to renounce and abhor those lege of his will, which he has vouchsafed fins, which brought mankind under divine you, and of those amiable dispositions he condemnation, and from which we have has given you. Let us therefore turn from been redeemed at so dear a rate. Re- this horrid, this insupportable view-and member that the title of Chriftian, or fol- 'rather endeavour to imagine, as far as is lower of Christ, implies a more than ordi- possible, what will be the lensations of your nary degree of holiness and goodness. As soul, if you shall hear our Heavenly Judge our motives to virtue are stronger than address you in these transporting words those which are afforded to the rest of man “ Come, thou blessed of my Father, inkind, our guilt will be proportionably. herit the kingdom prepared for you, from greater, if we depart from it.

the foundation of the world.”—Think, Our Saviour appears to have had three what it must be, to become an object of great purposes, in descending from his the esteem and applausc-nct only of all glory, and dwelling amongst men. The mankind assembled together-but of all brit, to teach them true virtue, both by his the host of heaven, of our blessed Lord example and precepts. The second, to himself-nay, of his and our Almighty give them the most forcible motives to the Father:-- to find your frail Aesh changed, practice of it, by « bringing life and im- in a moment, into a glorious celestial body, mortality to light;" by ihewing them the endowed with perfect beauty, health, and certainty of a resurrection and judgment, agility:-- to find your soul cleansed from and the absolute necessity of obedience to all its faults and infirmities; exalted to the God's laws. The third, to facrifice him- purest and noblest affections; overflowing self for us, to obtain, by his death, the re

with divine love and rapturous gratitude ! mifion of our sins, upon our repentance

to have your understanding enlightened and reformation, and the power of be- and refined; your heart enlarged and pufiowing on his fincere followers the inelti- rified; and every power and disposition of mable gift of immortal happiness.

mind and body adapted to the highest Mrs. Chapone. relish of virtue and happiness! - Thus ac

complished, to be admitted into the society of amiable and happy beings, all united in T 2

the

the most perfect peace and friendship, all them a narration of the life, sayings, and breathing nothing but love to God, and to death of Chrift; yet as they are not exeach other; -with them to dwell in scenes actly alike, but fome circumstances and more delightful than the richest imagina- sayings, omitted in one, are recorded in tion can paint--free from every pain and another, you must make yourself perfectly care, and from all possibility of change or master of them all. fatiety :-but, above all, to enjoy the more The Acts of the holy Apoitles, endowed immediate prefence of God himself to be with the Holy Ghost, and authorized by able to comprehend and admire his adora- their divine Master, come next in order to ble perfections in a high degree, though be read.-Nothing can be more interest. ftill far fhort of their infinity-to be con- ing and edifying, than the history of their scious of his love and favour, and to re- actions of the piety, zeal, and courage, joice in the light of his countenance !- with which they preached the glad tidings But here all imagination fails : : -- we can of salvation; and of the various exertions, form no idea of that bliss, which may be . of the wonderful powers conferred on them communicated to us by fuch a near ap- by the Holy Spirit, for the confirmation of proach to the Source of all beauty and all their million.

Mrs. Chapore. good:-we must content ourselves with believing, " that it is what mortal eye hath

§ 192. Characler of St. Paul. pot seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it en The Character of St. Paul, and his miratered into the heart of man to conceive.” culous conversion, demand your particular The crown of all our joys will be, to know attention : most of the apostles were men that we are secure of portefling them for of low birth and education ; but St. Paul ever-what a transporting idea!

was a Roman citizen; that is, he possessed Can you reflect on all these things, and the privileges annexed to the freedom of not feel the mofi carneft longings after im- the city of Rome, which was considered mortality ?-Do not all other views and as a high distinction, in those countries desires feem mean and trifling, when com- that had been conquered by the Romans. pared with this ? - And doe

not your in- He was educated amongst the most learned most heart resolve, that this shall be the sect of the Jews, and by one of their princhief and constant object of its wishes and cipal doctors. He was a man of extrapursuit, through the whole course of your ordinary eloquence, as appears not only life ? - If you are not insensible to that de- in his writings, but in several speeches in fire of happiness which seems woven into his own defence, pronounced before goour nature, you cannot surely be unmoved vernors and courts of justice, when he by the prospect of such a transcendant de- was called to account for the doctrines he gree of it; and that continued to all eter- taught.—He seems to have been of an nity—perhaps continually increafing. You uncommonly warm temper, and zealous in cannot but dread the forfeiture of such an whatever religion he professed: this zeal, inheritance, as the most infupportable evil ! before his conversion, Thewed itself in the - Remember then-remember the con- most unjustifiable actions, by furiouly perditions on which alone it can be obtained. fecuting the innocent Christians : but, tho' God will not give to vice, to carelessness, his actions were bad, we may be sure his or iloth, the prize he has proposed to vir- intentions were good; otherwise we should tue. You have every help that can ani- not have seen a miracle employed to con mate your endeavours : You have writ- rince him of his mistake, and to bring him ten laws to direct you—the example of into the right way. This example may Christ and his disciples to encourage you allure us of the mercy of God towards -the most awakening motives to engage mistaken consciences, and ought to inspire you—and you have besides, the comfort. os with the most enlarged charity and able promise of constant asistance from the good will towards those whose erroneous Holy Spirit, if you diligently and fincerely principles mislead their conduct : instead pray for it.-0 ! let not all this mercy be of resentment and hatred against their perloft upon you but give your attention to fons, we ought only to feel an active with this your only important concern, and ac- of assisting them to find the trath; fince cept, with profound gratitude, the inesti- we know not whether, if convinced, they mable advantages that are thus affection. might not prove, like St. Paul, chosen vel ately offered you.

fels to promote the honour of God, and of Though the four Gospels are each of true religion. It is not now my intention

to enter with you into any of the argu- ways, that goodness is confined to no party ments for the truth of Christianity; other that there are wise and worthy men wise it would be impossible wholly to pass among all the feets of Christiansaand over that, which arises from this remark. that, to his own master, every one must able converfion, and which has been so stand or fall. admirably illustrated by a noble writer, I will enter no farther into the several whose tract on this subject is in every points discussed by St. Paul in his various body's hands.

Mrs. Chupone.

epiitles—most of them too intricate for

your understanding at present, and many § 193. Of the Epiftles.

of them beyond my abilities to state clearNext follow the Epistles, which make a ly. I will only again recommend to you, very important part of the New Testa

to read those passages frequently, which, ment; and you cannot be too much em- with so much fervour and energy, excite ployed in reading them. They contain the you to the practice of the most exalted moit excellent precepts and admonitions ; piety and benevolence. If the effufions and are of particular use in explaining of a heart, warmed with the tenderest af. more at large several doctrines of Chrif- fection for the whole human race--if pretianity, which we could not so fully com cept, warning, encouragement, example, prehend without them. There are, in- urged by an eloquence which such affecdeed, in the Epistles of St. Paul, many tion only could inspire, are capable of in. passages hard to be understood: such, in Auencing your mind-you cannot fail to particular, are the first eleven chapters to find, in such parts of his epistles as are the Romans; the greater part of his Epistles adapted to your understanding, the strongest to the Corinthians and Galatians; and se- perluasives to every virtue that can adorn veral chapters of that to the Hebrews. and improve your nature. Ibid. Instead of perplexing yourself with these more obscure passages of scripture, I would

§ 194. The Epifle of St. James. wish you to employ your attention chiefly The epiftle of St. James is entirely on those that are plain; and to judge of practical, and exceedingly fine; you can. the do&rines taught in the other parts, by not study it too much. It seems particucomparing them with what you find in larly designed to guard Christians against these. It is through the neglect of this misunderstanding fome things in St. Paul's role, that many have been led to draw the writings, which have been fatally pervertmof absurd doctrines from the holy scrip- ed to the encouragement of a dependance tures.—Let me particularly recommend to on faith alone, without good works. But your careful perufal the xii

. xiii. xiv. and the more rational commentators will tell xv. chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, you, that, by the works of the law, which In the xiv. chapter St. Paul has in view the the apostle afferts to be incapable of justi. difference between the Jewish and Gentile fying us, he means, not the works of moral (or Heathen) converts, at that time: the righteousness, but the ceremonial works of former were disposed to look with horror the Mosaic law; on which the Jews laid on the latter, for their impiety in not pay- the greatest stress, as necessary to falvaing the same regard to the distinctions of tion. But St. James tells us, that, “ if any days and meats that they did; and the lat. “ man among us seem to be religious, and ter, on the contrary, were inclined to look “ bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth with contempt on the former, for their “ his own heart, that man’s religion is weakness and superstition. Excellent is “ vain ;"--and that “pure religion, and the advice which the Apostle gives to both « undefiled before God and the Father, is parties : he exhorts the Jewish converts “ this, to visit the fatherless and widow in not to judge, and the Gentiles not to de “ their affliction, and to keep himself unspise ; remembering, that the kingdom of “ spotted from the world.” Faith in Chrift, Heaven is not meat and drink, but righte- if it produce not these effects, he declareth oufness and peace, and joy in the Holy is dead, or of no power.

Ibid. Ghoft.--Endeavour to conform yourself to this advice; to acquire a temper of uni- $ 195. Epiftles of St. Peter, and the firft versal candour and benevolence; and learn

of St. John. neither to despise nor condemn any per The Epifles of St. Peter are also full of fons on account of their particular modes the best instructions and acimonitions, conof faith and worship; remembering als cerning the relative duties of life ; amongst

which,

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