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THE

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

WITHOUT a devotional spirit, there is no real religion. And this spirit is in danger of enthusiasm, unless directed by the word of God.

If other books are better relished than the Bible, our devotion cannot be right.

One of the best ways of studying divinity, is to study the scriptures themselves. And one of the best means of understanding the scriptures is prayer.

"We should turn (says a pious writer) the word "of God into prayer: our hearts should echo

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If this course was more generally followed, perhaps it might lessen the number of religious controversies.

But it may be said, Why should any thing of "this kind be published? Ought not every man "to meditate and pray over the scriptures for himself?" Undoubtedly he ought. But there is ground

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to fear that many, through inconsideration or diffidence, hardly make any attempt this way. If such persons are willing to try it, 'tis pity they should not have some examples, if not to assist, yet to excite thein; at least to show them the road, that they may walk in it themselves. And this is all that the few following meditations pretend to do; to point out one of the pleasant and safe paths of true religion, which deserves to be more frequented.

Many books have been written upon the scriptures by way of exposition, harmony, criticism, &c. all which are useful in their kind. But after every help that can be obtained from men, it remains still to make our application to the Father of lights, that he would be pleased to give us, in the use of these means, such instructions and impressions as, upon the whole, he would have us to receive from his own word.

In the book of creation are passages hard to be understood. So are there in the scriptures. Yet much good may be derived from these, if they are improved in the way of meditation and prayer, for the mortification of pride and vain curiosity, and the nourishment of the amiable graces of adoration and submission due from every created mind to infinite wisdom.

There are two remarkable differences betwixt the scriptures, and all other books. First, the assistance of the Spirit of God is necessary, rightly to understand and relish them. And, in the next place, if we read them ever so often, we shall always find something new. We shall never be able fully to extract the sweetness of these flowers of paradise.

To conclude the author would beg leave humbly to recommend this exercise to Young Preachers, as a very profitable way of employing their time, because it serves at once to give them right views of the scriptures for their own salvation, and to furnish them with proper food for the flock of Christ.

He begs leave also to recommend this method of reading the scriptures with prayer, to Students of Theology, as one of the best ways to settle their principles, and to make the proper improvement of all other knowledge. He can venture to assure them that upon trial, if their hearts be in the work, they will find it the pleasantest, and, by the blessing of God, the most useful of all studies.

Lastly. He would recommend this way of meditation and prayer on the scriptures, to Christians in general, as a source of the truest wisdom, and of the most rational

and pure delight, which it is not in the power of the world to deprive them of: and as an excellent mean of promoting that temper and conduct which will ever be the best answer to the objections of Infidels, and may, by the blessing of God, serve to remove their prejudices against Christianity.

MEMOIR

OF THE

REV. JOHN GILLIES, D. D.

BIOGRAPHY is a species of history, which is pleasant,

useful, and interesting. The youth and the old man, the rustic and the citizen, the illiterate and the learned, are always pleased, and may be much profited, with narratives concerning great and good men. There are no books more proper to be put into the hands of young persons, than those which give an account of the saints and servants of the Lord.

In the good providence of God, it was my happy lot, to be the stated assistant of Dr. Gillies, for the last three years of his life, to be with him in his last sickness, and to be in his chamber when he drew his last breath.

Dr. Gillies was the son of the Rev. John Gillies, minister of Carriston, in the presbytery of Brechin, and of Mrs. Mary Watson, who was descended from a respectable family in Galloway. When a student in divinity, he was remarkable for excellent dispositions, learning, taste, and acquaintance with the best ancient and modern writers. His fondness for literary amusements continued through the whole of life; but they were not allowed to encroach on his duties as a Christian, the head of a family, or a minister of the gospel. He was successively tutor in the families of Brisbane, of Brisbane; Macdowall, of Castlesemple, and Lord Glasgow. The Doctor was ordained minister of the College church, the 29th July, 1742. For several years, besides delivering three discourses on the sabbath, he gave lectures and serious exhortations three times in the week, to a crowded audience, in his large church, which contains near two thousand people; he also, for some time, published a weekly paper, addressed to the consciences of his hearers. According to the laudable custom of the church of Scotland, the Doctor regularly visited and catechised his parish. He was remarkably attentive to the sick and dying of his charge.

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