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PREFACE.

IN In my Lectures on the Figurative Language of the Scripture, I hazarded the following assertion in favour of its usefulness: "So plain is this sort of teaching, and so effectual, that if I were "to begin with the first elements of instruction to a child, I "would teach this ideal language, in preference to all the lan

guages in the world; for this is the life and soul of all the "rest." In this little work, I have partly executed the plan which my mind then suggested to me; under an assurance, that it will raise the curiosity of young people, and prepare their understanding for the reading of those Lectures; on the matter of which my mind had been working for more than twenty years before I could persuade myself that I was fit to write upon it; and when they who learn this book shall have learned that, I shall have nothing farther to expect of them. The language of the Word of God will then be opened to their minds, and the matter of it will have fixed itself in their affections: and when they shall be advanced and settled in life, they will teach it their own children, as I have taught them; for where this sort of wisdom hath once entered, it will never be lost or neglected; and he that values it for his own use, will have delight in communicating it to others.

To the Clergy of this Church I shall not prescribe; but, as a faithful brother, I will promise them, that in teaching the younger part of their flock, they will soon see a happy effect, if they will condescend to teach according to the rule I have followed in this book. Other books teach a grammar of words: but this is the grammar of things; to be conceived by the ima

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gination, and applied by the understanding, for the improvement of the heart in divine and moral wisdom. It is all after the pattern of that plain and forcible style of preaching and reasoning, which first confounded the Jews, and enlightened the Gentiles; and which will even now raise up converts to the Christian Faith, and support them in the same, against all the seducing efforts of infidelity.

NAYLAND, May 1, 1792.

INTRODUCTION.

As the ear heareth words, so doth the mind understand things; and hence there is a language of the mind, which teaches some things from the nature of other things. While we are learning to read, we think we have got all we want when the book becomes easy: but there is still another language, by which we are to get wisdom in a higher and a shorter way.

All children are delighted with pictures: but they do not know that the whole world is a picture, and that all the things we see with our eyes speak something to the mind, to instruct and improve it.

When we know something of this language, then we may think ourselves able to read like men and Christians. It cannot be explained but by shewing what it is; and then it will speak for itself: But as neither children nor men can get wisdom without the help of God, we must pray to Him, that we may hear and understand; for the seeing eye, and the hearing ear, the Lord hath made even both of them.

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THE

BOOK OF NATURE,

PART I.

LESSON I.

THE BEASTS.

THE ass hath very long ears, and yet he hath no sense of music, but brayeth with a frightful noise. He is obstinate and unruly, and will go his own way, even though he is severely beaten. The child, who will not be taught, is but little better; he has no delight in learning, but talketh of his own folly, and disturbeth others with his noise.

The dog barketh all the night long, and thinks it no trouble to rob honest people of their rest.

The fox is a cunning thief: and men, when they do not fear God, are crafty and deceitful. The wolf is cruel and blood-thirsty. As he devoureth the lamb, so do bad men oppress and tear the innocent and helpless.

The adder is a poisonous snake, and hath a forked double tongue; so do men speak lies, and utter slander against their neighbours, when the poison of asps is under their lips. The devil, who deceiveth with lies, and would destroy all mankind, is the old serpent, L

VOL. V.

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