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of our constant and most serious meditation. As to the unfathomable depth of His eternal decrees, he was greatly pleased with that expression of St. Augustine, “Let others dispute, I will admire*.”
Amongst His works, the first is that vast and stupendous one, the primitive creation of all things, which, besides the infallible testimony of the inspired oracles, our Author, by a concise, but clear dissertation on the subject, proves quite consonant and agreeable to reason. He then treats of man, of his original integrity, and the most unhappy fall that soon followed. But to this most lamentable story he subjoins another, as happy and encouraging as the other is moving, I mean, the admirable scheme of Divine love for the salvation of sinners. A glorious and blessed method, that to the account of the most shocking misery subjoins the doctrine of incomparable mercy! Man, forsaking God, falls into the miserable condition of devils; God, from whom he revolted, determines to extricate him, by His powerful hand, out of this misery; and that this might be the more wonderfully effected, God himself becomes man. “ This is the glory of man, by such means raised from his woful state! this the wonder of angels, and this the sum and substance of all miracles united in one t!” The Word was made flesh! He who died as man, as God rose again, and having been seen on earth, returns to heaven, from whence he
On each of these he advances a few thoughts that are weighty and serious, but, at the same time, pleasing and agreeable.
To these lectures, I have added some exhortations by our Author, to the candidates for the degree of master of arts, delivered at the annual solemnity held in the university for that purpose; together with his meditations on some Psalms, viz., the 4th, 32d, and 130th I; because I was unwilling that any of the works of so great a man should continue in obscurity, to be devoured by moths and bookworms, especially one calculated for forming the morals of mankind, and for the direction of life. For in these meditations, he
* Alii disputent, ego mirabor.
of Hic hominis ex tanto dedecore resurgentis honos, hic angelorum stupor, hoc miraculorum omnium compendium !
These were likewise written in Latin, and have been already translated and published. [See Vol. I. of the present edition of the work.]
exhorts and excites the youth under his care, not by laboured oratory and pompous expressions, but by powerful eloquence, earnest entreaties, and solid arguments, to the love of Christ, purity of life, and contempt of the world.
But what will all this signify to thee, Reader, if thy mind is carried away with childish folly, or the wild rage of passions, or even if thou art still labouring under a stupid negligence of the means of grace, and unconcerned about eternal happiness and thy immortal soul? I doubt not, however, but these truly divine essays will fall into the hands of some, who are endued with a better disposition of mind; nor are we to despair of the rest," for the Father of spirits liveth still, and He hath His seat in heaven, who instructs the hearts of men on this earth *.” May, therefore, the Greatest and Best of Beings grant, that these academical exercises may have happy effects! And that our heavenly Father would second these means with His all-powerful grace, shall be, while he lives, the humble and ardent prayer of him, Who earnestly desires thy salvation,
* Vivit enim spirituum pater, et cathedram habet in cælo, qui corda docet in terris.
With little strength I undertake a great work, or rather, with the least abilities, I venture upon a task which is of all others the greatest and most important. Among the various undertakings of men, can an instance be given of one more sublime than an intention to form the human mind anew, after the Divine image ? Yet it will, I doubt not, be universally acknowledged, that this is the true end and design, not only of ministers in their several congregations, but also of professors of divinity in schools. And though, in most respects, the ministerial office is evidently superior to that of professors of theology in colleges, in one respect the other seems to have the preference, as it is, at least for the most part, the business of the former to instruct the common sort of men, the ignorant and illiterate; while it is the work of the latter to season with heavenly doctrine the minds of select societies of youth, who have had a learned education, and are devoted to a studious life ; many of whom, it is to be hoped, will, by the Divine blessing, become preachers of the same salutary doctrine themselves. And surely this ought to be a powerful motive with all those who, by the Divine dispensation, are employed in such a work, to exert themselves with the greater life and spirit in the discharge of their duty; especially when they consider that those Christian instructions and seeds of true piety, which they instil into the tender minds of their pupils, will by them be spread far and wide, and in due time, conveyed, as it were, by so many canals and aqueducts, to many parts of the Lord's
vineyard. Plutarch employs an argument of this kind, to prevail with the philosophers to exert themselves in the instruction of princes and great men, rather than with a haughty sullenness to avoid their company; “ For thus, (says he,) you will find a short way to be useful to many.” And, to be sure, he that conveys the principles of virtue and wisdom into the minds of the lower classes of men, or the illiterate, whatever progress his disciples may make, employs his time and talents only for the advantage of his pupils ; but he that forms the minds of magistrates and great men, or such as are intended for high and exalted stations, by improving one single person, becomes a benefactor to large and numerous societies. Every physician of generous principles, as Plutarch expresses it, [Dinorahos,] would have an uncommon ambition to cure an
intended to watch over many persons, and to convey the sense of seeing to numbers; and a musical instrument-maker would, with uncommon pleasure, exert his skill in perfecting a harp, if he knew that it was to be employed by the hands of Amphion, and, by the force of its music, to draw stones together for building the walls of Thebes. A learned and ingenious author, alluding to this fable, and applying it to our present purpose, calls professors of theology in schools, makers of harps for building the walls of a far more famed and beautiful city, meaning the Heavenly Jerusalem, in such manner, that the stones of this building being truly and, without a fable, living, and charmed by the pleasant harmony of the Gospel, come of their own accord to take their places in the wall.
I am not so little acquainted with myself, as to entertain the least hope of success in so great a work by my own strength and abilities; but, while I humbly depend upon the Divine goodness and favour, I have no reason to despair; for in the hand of Omnipotence, all instruments are alike. Nor can it be questioned that He, who made all things out of nothing, can produce any change He pleases in His creatures that are already made; He who gives Zwny, xai avonv, xai warta, life, and breath, and all things, can easily strengthen the weak, and