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PREFACE.

IT
T is a fine remark of Lord

Bacon, that “ As wines, 6. which, at first pressing, run

gently, yield a more pleasant " tatte than those, where the

wine-prefs is hard wrought, 66 because those somewhat relish 66 of the stone and skin of the

grape ; fo those observations " are most wholesome and sweet, " which flow from Scriptures

gently

a

“gentlyexpressed,and naturally

expounded, and are not wrest“ ed or drawn aside to common places, or controversies *."

OBSERVATIONS of this kind may certainly be made, to great advantage, on historical portions of Scripture more especially, since, as the same incomparable author tells us elsewhere,

Knowlege drawn freshly, and “ as it were in our view, out of particulars, knows the way “ best to particulars again : and “ it hath much greater life for

practice, when the discourse “ attends upon the example, * Advancement of Learning, Book IX. 5

66 than

« than when the example at“ tends upon the discourse ; as “ Machiavel handled matters of

policy and government, by “ discourses of history and ex

ample taken from Livy*. The doctrines and duties of Christianity are, in like manner, beft deduced from the facts on which it is founded. The narration furnisheth both matter and method for the discourse, which is read with pleasure, and remembered with ease.

History and biography are frequently employed in the service of error and vice. They * Advancement of Learning, Book VIII. a 2

may

may operate as effectually in the recommendation of truth and virtue. Example fhews truth as it were embodied; and while it displays the excellency of virtue, demonstrates it's

practicability. The contemplation of faith, as it discovereth itself in the lives of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and faints, inclineth us to believe as they did ; and the sight of frail mortals, like ourselves, who, by the

divine assistance, furmounted all i obstructions, and continued to

walk in the paths of righteoufness, naturally suggefteth to every beholder, the question

What

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