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MEMOIRS

Or

DOCTOR

EKa,17Lp71°S.

IT

was a custom among

the

ancient

Romans,

to preserve in wax,

the figures

of

those among

their ancestors, who

were

of

noble

birth

;

or

had been more

nobly advanced

to

the

chair of honour

by

their

personal merits.

Sallust

relates

"that

Scipio and

othergreat men, by beholding these

likenesses, found

enkindled

in

their

'breasts,

so

ardent a thirst after virtue, as could not

be

extin-

guished,

till, by the

glory

of their

own

actions,

they

had equalled

the illus-

trious

objects

of their emulation.

But it

is

the happiness of

Christians to

possess

truer

notions

of virtue,

and

to be

governed by infinitely

higher views.

We may,

however, hence

observe

the

force

of example, which

is

peculiarly

operative

in

those who sincerely

love God.

They

no

sooner reflect on

the

accounts given of such

as

have been eminent

for

their

piety and zeal,

than

they

become desirous

of

imbibing

the

same spirit

*.

The

advantages

to be derived from

theological biography,

are

too

various

to

be enumerated

;

and

of such

obvious

importance,

as to

supersede

all

studied

encomiums. The sacredscriptures

abound with relations

of extraordinary

occurrences in

the

lives

of men, who were distinguished in

their

day by

their

virtues

or

their crimes:

And, as

if

the Holy

spirit

designedto providefor

our

entertainment, and to gratify our curiosity

;

there

is

not

a beauty

in

this

spe-

cies of historicalwriting, of which we have not

some

interesting example, in

the

inspired volume.

Each

character

is drawn by

the

hand of

i

npartiality

and faithfulness

;

so

that

we

are in

no

danger

ofbeing

deceived by

the

influence

of

any

of those

-

passions, which so often

degrade other relations of

the

same kind. While

compassion

tempers the hatred

of

sin,

the

love

of truth

corrects

the

ardor

of

private gratitude, the

usual

partiality of friendship,

and

the

zeal

of

opinion.

Here

no

excellence, which evidences

them

to be

the

Sons

of

God,

is

exalted

above

its intrinsic

value;

nor

is

any failing,

common to

them as the children

of

Adam, concealed or

extenuated.

Next

to

these

divine

records, our esteem

is

claimed

by the many

valuable

literary monuments which have been raised in all succeeding

-ages,

by the

labours

of

piety

and

veneration,

to

the

remembrance of those eminent names,

whom

the unerring Judge

of true

excellence

has delighted to

honour.

The

lives

of

men who have madethemselves famous

in

the

cabinet, or in

the

field,

may instructand animate survivors

of

the

same profession

:

the in-

trigues

of

courts,the

elevation and

the

fall

of a

statesman,

the

manoeuvres

of

generalship, the

decision

of

a battle, are attended to with

a lively

avidity

by

m

Reynolds.

a