Page images
PDF

polluted and oppress'd, is very exprelly foretold both by the Apostles and Prophets ; so that although this Empire has had a longer Continuance than all the four other great Monarchies, yet there is all the Reason to believe that the Mystical Babylon will fall and be no more.

I am sensible that this Attempt of comparing the Holy Scriptures may by some be thought a needless Undertaking, since there are so many References in the Margin of the greater Bibles; but many of them relate only to Words of the fame Signification; and besides, how few of those who have them, will be at the Pains of turning from one end of the Bible to the other to compare them ?

I have endeavour'd to keep the Historical Part entire, but have omitted many Chapters relating to the particular Laws and Customs of the Israelites, inserting chiefly such as are referred to in the New Testament, and other Parts of the Scripture.

The History of their Kings contained in the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are abstracted, only inserting those Chapters out of these Books where the same Matters of Facts are most fully related; in many Places the Contents only are inserted, so that the Chapters at length may be easily found and turned to. To which is added some part of the Book of Jeremiah and Daniel, which contain the Relation of Facts not express'd elsewhere.

Though the Holy Scripture instructs us in all Things necessary to our everlasting Salvation, and affords the greatest Comfort and Support in our Passage to it, yet such is the Pride and Perverseness of some Men, that they chuse to be guided by their own weak Reason, rather than submit to the Direction of the Divine Revelation. But it is no Wonder that those who are indulging their vicious Inclinations, should hate that Light, which not only reproves, but de

nounces

nounces eternal Vengeance against all Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men.

The Reasoning upon Righteousness and Judgments to come, by a Prisoner at the Bar, threw once a Roman Governor into a Fit of Trembling; it is from these Pangs that Men of vicious Lives are endeavouring to skreen themselves by Infidelity, and the Hopes that their Souls and Bodies will expire together; and this is the Opiate, upon which their fancy'd Happiness depends.

It is too apparent, that Infidelity is become the fashionable Vice of this Age; but I am persuaded nothing can more effectually tend to the putting a Stop to it, than the pious Care which you take of the Charity-Schools, where Children are taught both to believe, and do as the Gospel requires.

If the Harmony of the Holy Scriptures which I have attempted to make, and am very sensible is here imperfectly perform'd, (for I do not pretend to Criticism ;) shall by the Blessing of the Almighty be of the least Use, either in giving Encouragement to any to read the Scriptures with Attention, or shall afford them any Amistance in the right Understanding of them, so that they may take Delight in the Law of God, and meditate therein Day and Night, my Labour will be fully recompensed; for the very Searchies into these Treasures of Divine Wisdom and Knowledge, afford such Delights as are not easily to be express'd.

If it shall please the Almighty to prolong my Life, I will endeavour to pursue the same Method in Relation to the Psalms and the New Testament, in which I have made some Progress.

The Translation of the Letter from the Earl of Mirandola to his Nephew, contains so much true Piety, and such strong Reasons for the Practice of it, and so fully recommends the reading of the Holy

Scriptures

Scriptures with Diligence and Attention, that I have added it to this Eray.

Gentlemen, That the Almighty may bless and succeed your pious Endeavours in encouraging, instructing, and maintaining the Children educated in the CharitySchools, and that you may reap the Fruits of your 'Labours here, by seeing these Children become useful,

honeft, and religious ; and that you may receive the Reward of your pious Charity bereafter, is the hearty Prayer of

[ocr errors][merged small][graphic]
[ocr errors]

The Translation of a Letter from the Earl

of MIRANDOLA and CONCORDIA, to his Nephew, then an Officer in the Army, of the Emperor Charles the

Fifth. This Earl was esteemed the most beautiful Per.

son of that Age, and a Man of the most exalted Genius. He quitted all his great Employments in the Im

perial Court. He died in the Flower of his Age, about the Year 1494.

Dear Nephew,

THAT you are surrounded with Temptations to

T do Evil, and to violate the Rules of Piety you have laid down for the Conduct of your Life, ought neither to be the Subject of your Wonder, your Grief, or you Fear : For how much greater would the Wonder be, if to you the Way to Heaven was broad and easy, when all Mankind have found it narrow, and a Passage, not to be gained without much Labour and Difficulty? Can you imagine that there are now no more Allurements in the World, no Spiritual Enemies to encounter, or no carnal Affections to be overcome?

But St. James says, Rejoice, when you fall into divers Temptations, and very juftly too; for where is the Hope of Glory, if there is none of Viktory? Or how can there be a Victory, when there is nothing to conquer? Tell me, my dear Nephew, if any of the Things of this World are to be obtained without

first undergoing much Labour, and many Difficulties.

The Merchant, if he after a ten Years Voyage can e'ncrease hiş Estate, repines at none of the many Difficulties and Dangers he has passed through.

I shall not mention to you the Perils of a Soldier's Life, Experience has sufficiently instructed you in them.

How great is the Trouble, how many the Anxieties which surround the Way to the Favour of Princes, in the gaining Friends, and acquiring Honours?

These I can better learn of you, than tell you; for I am content with my Books, and I have endeavoured to retire within my self, and farther than this, I do not aim or aspire.

Shall we then labour with so much Eagerness after the uncertain fading Things of this Life, which are common both to us and Brutes ?

And shall we take so little Pains to obtain an eternal Inberitance, infinitely above all that Eye ever saw, or Ear heard, or ever entred into the Heart of Man to conceive?

Why are we thus unwillingly drawn to the Love and Service of the Almighty; as if God needed us, or that the Inhabitants of the Heavenly Mansions could not be happy without us?

Indeed, if earthly Happiness could be obtained without any Pains of ours, would any chuse this rather than the Favour and Blessings of the Almighty?

But if the way of the Ungodly is not less, nay more uneasy than the Paths of Righteousness; is it not the height of Madness not to follow that which leads to the Rewards of our Labours, rather than that wherein only the Punishment of them is to be found?

I omit the Peace, and Felicity of a Conscience void of Offence towards God and Man, which is certainly

the

« PreviousContinue »