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titudes in every age of the church; and that must be over-
“ Let the best course of life your choice invite,
And the similar sentiment 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 still is the language of the Apostle: 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 instances might be produced of persons who, when they approached the close of life, bitterly lamented their neglect of the Sacred Volumet. And numerous are the examples of persons 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 constant practice of David & through life. And there is reason to suppose that Jesus CHRIST spent most of his leisure in this manner. Our great Epis bard hath represented him as saying:
** When I was yet a child, no childish play
“ To such perfection, that cre my age
† See the cases of SALMASIUS, Hervey, and others, on the forç, going pages.
| Deut. vi. 6-9; II. viii, 20; and Mal, iv. 4.
« Had measur'd twice fix years, at our great feas
“ And was admir'd by all*,'' Both Christ and his disciple St. Paul recommend the employ to every, Christian. Timothy was trained from his childhood in this way. And the BEREANS are spoken of as being more noble than others, because they searched the Scriptures daily. The primitive Christians were intimately acquainted with the Sacred Writings, and generally carried a Bible about them, making it their companion wherever they went. And such 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'; some of whom made surprizing proficiency.
" Instead of gems and filk,” says St. JEROME to LaTA, 5 let your young daughter be enamoured with the Holy Scriptures ; wherein not gold, nor skins, or Babylonian embroideries, but a correct and beautiful variety producing faith, will recommend itself. Let her first learn the Pfalter, and be entertained with those songs, then be instructed into life by the Proverbs of Solomon. Let her learn from Ecclesiastes to despise worldly things; transcribe from Job the practice of patience and virtue. Let her pass then ta the Gospels, and never let them be out of her hands; and then imbibe with all the faculties of her mind the Afts of the Apostles and Epistles. When she has enriched the itorehouse of her breast with these treasures, let her learn the Prophets, the Heptateuch, or books of Mofest, Joshua and
Judges, • Milton's Paradise Regained, b. 1.
+ Mr. Pope, whom we have before quoted on the subject of the $acred Writings, and whose judgment few will call in question, in comparing the discovery of ULYSSES to TELEMACH US with Joseph's difcovery of himself to his brethren, fays, " It must be owned that HOMER falls infinitely short of Moses : he must be a very wicked man, that can read the hiitory of Joseph without the utmost touches of compassion and transport. There is a majestic fimplicity in the whole relation, and such an affecting portrait of human nature, that it overwhelms us with vicif. fitudes of joy and sorrow. This is a pregnant instance how much the belt
Fudges, the books of Kings, and Chronicles, the volumes of Ezra and Esther, and, lastly, the Canticles - The book of Revelation* has as many mysteries as words; I said too little : in every word there is a variety of senses, and the. excellency of the book is above all praise.”
The Monks of Egypt daily learned some portion of Scripture, and more efpecially made it their meditation on the Lord's day, insomuch chat many of them became fo. expert and well versed 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 souls with spiritual exercises, singing of David's psalms, 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 psalms: one could not go into the field, but he should hear , The plowman singing his hallelujahs, the sweating mower folacing himself with hymns, and the vine-dreffer tuning David's psalms. Thus the ancient Monks joined their bodily and spiritual exercise together, and made their common labour become acts of devotion to God. Their times of eating and refreshment were managed after the same manner. In some places they had the Scriptures read at table. At other places, when supper was ended, they sung an hymn and so returned to their cells. Thus their ordinary
refreshments were fanctified with the Word of God and prayer.-It is very observable, 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 historian upon a parallel fubject, where the two authors endeavour to move the softer passions. The fante may with equal truth be said in respect of sublimity; not only in the inttance 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 Scripturé, 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 sixteenth Odysey. * See Strictures on this book in the 24-34 sections of Simpson's Key to the Prophecies.
the Holy Scriptures. Of this we have undoubted evidence from many eminent instances of their practice. EUSEBIUS remarks of the great care of Leonides, the Martyr, and father of ORIGEN, in the education of his son, that he made him learn the Scriptures, before he let him to the study of the liberal arts and polite learning. And SoCRATES makes the like observation upon the edueation of EUSEBIUS, surnamed Emisenus, who was born of noble parentage at Edesa, a city of Ofroene in Mesopotamia, that he was first taught the Holy Scriptures from his infancy, and then human learning. And Sozomen, in relating the fame story, says, this was done according to the custom of the country; which shews, that it was no singular instance, but a general practice to bring children up from their infancy to the use of the Holy Scriptures. GREGORY NysSENE notes it in the life of his lifter MACRINA, that the first part of her instruction in her infancy was to be taught the easy portions of Scripture, that were most suitable to her age ; and he says also, she did the same for her younger brother PETER, taking him from his mother's breasts, and instructing him in the Scriptures that he might have no time to spend upon vain studies. 'Tis noted by Sozomen and PALLADIUS of Marcus, the Hermit, that he was fa expert in the Scriptures when he was but a youth, that he could repeat all the Old and New Testament without book. Such was the advantage which some hearers in those days rcaped 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 constantly read in the church or elfewhere. St. AUSTIN remarks this of St. ANTHONY, the famous Egyptian Monk, that without being able to read himself, he made such 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 instance in one SERVULUS, a poor man at Rome, who though he knew not a letter in the book, yet purchasing 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 astonishing instance, which Eusebius gives in one of the Martyrs of Palestine, a blind man, called John, who had so happy a memory, that he could repeat any part of the Bible as readily as others could read it. And he sometimes supplied the office of reader in the church; and he did this to so great perfection, that EUSEBIUS says, 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 such like instances in ancient history.*
At the time of the Reformation also, 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 inexpressible joy. Bishop Ridley and others could repeat large parts of them without book. The learned Joshua BARNEs sometime afterwards, is said 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 Psalms in Hebrew,
Lord CROMWELL, Earl of Esex, 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 sixteen, the night before she died, bequeathed to her sister a Greek Testament, on one of the blank leaves of which she wrote:-“ I have sent 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 best and best beloved sister, of the Law of the Lord. It is the testament and last will which he bequeathed unto us wretched sinners, which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy.--It will teach you to live, See BINGHAM's Antiquities of the Chriftian church.