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IT is a fine remark of Lord Bacon, that "As wines, "which, at firft preffing, run gently, yield a more pleasant "tatte than thofe, where the "wine-prefs is hard wrought, "because those fomewhat relish "of the ftone and fkin of the

grape; fo thofe obfervations "are most wholefome and fweet, "which flow from Scriptures "gently

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PREFACE.

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gently expreffed,and naturally expounded, and are not wreft"ed or drawn afide to common "places, or controverfies*."

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OBSERVATIONS of this kind may certainly be made, to great advantage, on hiftorical portions of Scripture more efpecially, fince, as the fame incomparable author tells us elfewhere, Knowlege drawn freshly, and as it were in our view, out of "particulars, knows the way "beft to particulars again: and "it hath much greater life for "practice, when the difcourfe "attends upon the example,

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* Advancement of Learning, Book IX.

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"than

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"than when the example at"tends upon the difcourfe; as "Machiavel handled matters of policy and government, by "difcourfes of hiftory 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 difcourfe, which is read with pleasure, and remembered with ease.

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HISTORY and biography are frequently employed in the fervice of error and vice. They

* Advancement of Learning, Book VIII.
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may

may operate as effectually in the recommendation of truth

and virtue. Example fhews

truth as it were embodied; and while it difplays the excellency of virtue, demonftrates it's practicability. The contemplation of faith, as it discovereth itself in the lives of patriarchs and prophets, apoftles and faints, inclineth us to believe as they did; and the fight of frail mortals, like ourselves, who, by the divine affiftance, furmounted all obftructions, and continued to walk in the paths of righteouf nefs, naturally fuggefteth to every beholder, the queftionWhat

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