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"moted our mutual Edification, and been fubfer"vient to our CREATOR's Glory, all loft in "Merriment and Whim; or worfe than loft, in "Flattery and Detraction. A Blank, or a Blot!"
Ther. Venus, we find, has her zealous KnightErrants, and Bacchus his profeffed Votarics, in almost every Company. Is it not fhameful and deplorable, that the GOD of Nature alone, has none to affert his Honour, none to celebrate his Perfections? Though He is the Original of all Beauty, and the Parent of all Good.
When I have taken my Morning Walk, amidst Dews and Flowers; with the Sun fhedding Luftre round Him, and unveiling the happy Landscape; how has my Eye been charmed, with the lovely Profpect How has my Ear been ravifhed, with the Mufic of the Grove! Methought, every Note was a Tribute of Harmony; and all Nature feemed one grand Chorus, fwelling with the CREATOR's Praife. But, how has the Scene been reverfed; when, leaving my rural Elyfium, I entered the Haunts of Men! Where I faw Faculties divine, meanly engaged in Trifles. Where I heard the Tongue, prompt to utter, and fluent to exprefs, every Thing but its MAKER's Glǝry.
I affure you, I have often been chagrined on this Occafion and fometimes faid within myself
What! Shall Trifles be regarded, and the MAJESTY of Heaven neglected? Shall every "Friend, fhall every Vifitant, receive his Share of "Refpect And no Acknowledgments be paid to. "that incomprehenfibly glorious BEING, who "is worthy, more than worthy, of all our Vene"ration ?"
Afp. This will be ftill more afflictive to an ingenuous Mind, if we confider, That the infinite and eternal GOD is prefent at all our Interviews: vouchfafes to exprefs his Satisfaction, and acknowledge Himself magnified; when, with Admiration and Love, We talk of his tranfcendent Excellencies.Nay: We are affured, that the LORD of all Lords, not only hearkens, but keeps a Book of Remembrance; and will distinguish such Persons, at the Day of univerfal Retribution. When the loose Train of licentious Talkers, are driven away as the defpicable Chaff; these fhall be selected for his peculiar Treasure, and -numbered among the Jewels of JÉHOVÄH *.:
Ther. If the Gentlemen, who make high Pretenfions to Reason, think themfelves difcharged from thefe Doctrines of Revelation; they should not forget their own Scriptures.-A Philofopher will tell them the Duty of employing their Time, as in the awful Prefence, and under the immediate Infpection, of the Supreme BEING +-An Orator will fhew them the egregious Impropriety, of wafting their friendly Interviews, in the Fumes of Drollery, or the Froth of Impertinence .
Mal. iii. 16, 17. This is a Paffage much to be obferved. A moft emphatical Recommendation of religious Difcourfe! Perhaps, the most emphatical, that ever was ufed; and the moft endearing, that can poffibly 'be conceived.
↑ Sic certe vivendum eft, tanquam in Confpectu vivamus : fic cogitandum, tanquam aliquis in Peus mum infpicere poffit: & poteft. Quid enim profit ab Homine aliquid effe fecretsim? Nihil Deo claufum eft. Interest Animis noftris, & Cogitationibus mediis intervenit. SENEC. Epift. 83..
Cicero fays, with an Air of graceful Indignation; Quafi vero clarorum Virorum aut tacitos Congreffus effe oporteat, aut ludicrös Sermones, aut Rerum Colloquia leviorum. Academ. Quæft. Lib. IV.
Afp. Who then, that is wife, would not habituate Himself to a Practice; which comes recommended by the Voice of Reason, and is enforced by the Authority of GOD? A Practice, which will adminifter prefent Good-will afford pleafing Reviews and terminate in everlasting Honour ?
Ther. 'Tis ftrange, that Subjects, which deserve to be received, as the universal Topic, are almost univerfally banished from our Discourse.-Was this Cabinet enriched, with a Series of antique Medals, or a Collection of the finest Gems; my Friends would naturally expect to be entertained, with a Sight of thofe Rarities, and an Explanation of their Meaning. Why fhould we not as naturally expect, and as conftantly agree, to entertain each other with Remarks on those admirable Curiofities, which are depofited in the boundless Museum of the Universe?
When a General has won fome important Victory, or an Admiral has destroyed the Enemy's Fleet ; every Company resounds with their Achievements; every Tongue is the Trumpet of their Fame. And why should We not celebrate, with equal Delight and Ardour, that ALMIGHTY Hand; which formed the Structure, and furnished the Regions, of this ftupendous System?
Afp. Efpecially, if to his immenfely glorious, We add his fupremely amiable Perfections.-When the victorious Commander is our moft cordial Friend: when He has profeffed the tendereft Love; done Us
Mufaum-Alluding to a remarkable Edifice in the City of Oxford, diftinguifhed by this Name; and appropriated to the Reception of Curiofities, both natural and artificial.
the most fignal Good; and promifed Us a perpetual Enjoyment of his Favours; it will be impoffible to neglect fuch an illuftrious and generous Perfon. His Name must be engraven upon our Hearts; must flide infenfibly into our Tongues ; and be as Mufic to our Ears.
Is not all this true, and in the most fupereminent Degree, with regard to the bleffed GOD?-Can greater Kindness be exercised, or greater Love be conceived; than to deliver up his own SON to Torments and Death, for the Expiation of our Sins?— Can Benefits, more defirable, be granted; than to adopt Us for his Children, and fanctify Us by kis SPIRIT? Can Promifes, more invaluable, be made; than thofe, which infure to Us the Preferments of Heaven, and the Riches of Eternity?
All this is attefted, concerning the Almighty MAJESTY, in the Scriptures of Truth. What a Fund, therefore, for pleafing and delicate Converfation, are the Scriptures!at
Ther. Here alfo I have the Pleasure of concurring with my Afpafio. Though I believe, He fufpects me to be somewhat wavering or defective, in my Veneration for the Scriptures.
Afp. No, Theron: I have a better Opinion of your Taste and Difcernment, than to harbour any fuch Sufpicion.
Ther. The Scriptures are certainly an inexhauftible Fund of Materials, for the moft delightful and ennobling Difcourfe. When we confider the Author of those facred Books-that they came originally from Heaven-were dictated by divine Wif dom-have the fame confummate Excellency, as the most finished Works of Creation-It is really fur3
prifing, that We are not always fearching, by Study, by Meditation, or Converfe, into one or other of thofe grand Volumes.
Afp. When Secker preaches, or Murray pleads; the Church is crouded, and the Bar thronged. When Spence produces the Refinements of Criticism, or Young difplays the Graces of Poetry; the Prefs toils, yet is fcarce able to fupply the Demands of the Public.— Are We eager to hear, and impatient to purchase, what proceeds from fuch eloquent Tongues, and -masterly Pens? And can We be coldly indifferent, when not the most accomplished of Mankind-not the most exalted of Creatures but the Adorable AUTHOR of all Wisdom, speaks in his revealed Word? Strange! that our Attention does not hang * upon the venerable Accents, and our Talk dwell upon the incomparable Truths!
Ther. I admire, I must confefs, the very Language of the Bible. In this, methinks, I difcern a Conformity, between the Book of Nature, and the Book of Scripture..
In the Book of Nature, the Divine TEACHER fpeaks not barely to our Ears, but to all our Senfes. And it is very remarkable, how He varies his Addrefs-Obferve his grander Works. In thefe, He uses the Style of Majefty. We may call it, t the true Sublime. It ftrikes with Awe, and tranfports the Mind.
St. Luke, in his evangelical Hiftory, ufes this beau tiful Image, expeμalo. The People hung upon the Lips of their all-wife TEACHER. Luke xix. 48. Which implies two very ftrong Ideas-an Attention, that nothing could interrupt-and an Eagerness, fcarce ever to be fatisfied.
Pendetque loquentis ab Ore.