« PreviousContinue »
Scriptures, a way by which he could make his peace with God.
“ It is lamentable,” said he, “ that men consider not the end they are born into the world, till they are ready to go out of it.”
John LOCKE.—Born in the year 1632, and one of the greatest men, as it is said of him, that England ever produced. His works are well known, particularly his “ Essay on the Human Understanding.” This profound reasoner was firmly attached to the Christian religion, and the Scriptures were at all times mentioned by him with the greatest reverence, and with wishes for everyone to betake themselves in earnest to the study of the way to salvation, in those holy writings, wherein God has revealed it from Heaven, and proposed it to the world.” On being asked, “ what is the shortest and surest way for a young man to attain the true knowledge of the Christian religion ?” he answered, “ let him study the Holy Scriptures, especially the New Testament. Therein are contained the words of eternal life. It has God for its author; salvation for its end ; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.” On his approaching dissolution, he
spoke with great composure, and declared to friend, that, “he was in the sentiments of perfect charity with all men ; and of a sincere union with the church of Christ, under whatever name distinguished.”
THE HONOURABLE ROBERT BOYLE.-Bishop Burnet, speaking of his piety and virtue, said, that “his zeal was unmixed with narrow notions, or a bigotted heat in favour of any particular sect; it was that spirit which is the ornament of a true Christian.” At another time he spoke of him as possessing the most profound veneration for the great God of heaven and earth that he ever observed in any man. “ The very name of God," said the Bishop, never mentioned by him without a pause and observable stop in his discourse, so as to challenge the whole tribe of libertines to come and view the usefulness, as well as the excellence, of the christian religion in a life that was entirely dedicated to it."
SIR MATTHEW HALE.—Let it be your first business (says he to his son on recovering from sickness) to consider the
of your past
life; whether you have not too much neglected religion, and its duties; and taken delight in vain, sinful, and disorderly company. I do not mention this to upbraid you ; but that upon consideration of what has been amiss, you may now set in order
your future life. Keep the fear of God con. stantly in your heart. Every day read the Holy Scriptures; for I can assure you there is no book like the Bible. Observe conscientiously the Lord's Day to keep it holy, on this day read the Scriptures: and other good books of divinity. Be frugal of time. Be diligent in your calling. Beware of gaming. Beware of lying.
SIR WILLIAM JONES.-after carefully perusiug the Holy Scriptures, wrote this in his Bible, “ I am of opinion that this volume, independently of its Divine origin, contains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language they may have been written.” Lord Lyttleton, it is said, entertained some doubt early in life of the truth of Christianity; but on applying himself seriously to the great ques
tion, he found that religion was true; and what he had learned, he endeavoured to teach by his “ Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul.” When Soame Jenyns was on his death-bed, it is said of him, that in looking over his life, he particularly rejoiced in the belief that his « View of the Internal Evidences of the Christian Religion” had been useful.
As piety predominated in the mind of Dr. Watts, so is it diffused over his works. His " Improvement of the Mind," says Dr. Johnson, is a work in the highest degree useful and pleasing: but it is difficult to read a page of any of his writings without learning, or at least wishing, to be better. The writings of Addison have been of great use to the world ; and his “ Evidences of the Christian Religion" not the least so.
Boerhaave (the great physician) asserted on all occasions the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. The excellency of the Christian Religion was the frequent subject of his conversation, Of calumny and detraction he used to say, They are sparks, which if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.”
The Earl of Rochester, after
his conviction, to use his own words, “wished his son might never be a wit”-one of those wretched creatures who pride themselves in denying the being or the providence of God, and in ridiculing religion : but that he might become an honest and a pious man, by which means only he could be the support and blessing of his family. The dying charge of a great prince to his son ought to be deeply engraved on the heart : “ Thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve him with a perfect and with a willing mind. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, he will cast thee off for ever."