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of the clew they furnish to Mr. Henry's studies, are of peculiar value.* This, he acknowledges, has sometimes influenced him in these citations,—that the reader may be induced to study such compositions more at large. They commonly receive, it is admitted, a quaint designation, —“Old Dyuynes,” | - as if, by inculcating a ceremonious reverence, to obstruct intimacy; - but familiarity, instead of producing its ordinary effects, will excite attachment, and perpetuate esteem. I Inquire of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers. For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow.
It is not, however, intended, that the passages so given, or referred to, should be regarded as a selection, either complete, or preclusive. Quotations from the Fathers, not to mention almost innumerable later theologians, and others, unnoticed in the following pages, would have furnished notes, perhaps, equally apt and useful. But the design was to avoid diffusiveness, and, by a reference to publications of comparatively easy access, to meet general convenience. The diligent admirer of antiquity ☆ will easily trace, in the more remote
* See a Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, by William Wilberforce, Esq. M. P. chap. vi. pp. 379, 383. oct. 1797.
4 The Dore of Holy Scripture, 1540, oct. Ames and Herbert's Typographical Antiquities, by the Rev. T. F. Dibdin, vol. 3, p. 410.
When a young man, a little too forward, had, in presence of many, said, that he could conceive no reason, in the reading of the old authors, why men should so greatly admire them ;—“No marvel, indeed, (quoth Master Fox,) for, if you could conceive the reason, you would theu admire them yourself.” Life of Fox, prefixed to the Martyrology, vol. 1. fol. 1684.
Blessed be God, for the monuments of antiquity, and the primitive church. Matthew Henry. Orig. MS.
lights of the church,” not a few of the sentiments and phrases here used, together with many illustrative parallels, which, for the reasons before mentioned, have been omitted.
Nor do the opinions, thus expressed, result from such love to the olden time as is implied in the perverse dotings of indiscriminate veneration ;* nor yet in “a critical desire,” as Dr. Johnson expresses it, “ to find the faults of the moderns, and the beauties of the ancients.” Non vetera extollimus recentium incuriosi. Such opinions cannot, therefore, be justly considered as disparaging to later compositions, particularly those, and they are various, whose prominent features display, “profound scholarship, disciplined and vigorous reason, masculine eloquence, and genius-breathing enchantment.”+ Productions, so exquisitely ornate, render comparisons invidious, and would aggravate detraction. The editor, because of their illustrious eminency, and without seeking to lessen their deserved influence, aims only to dissuade those who “ seek and intermeddle with wisdom, from such a regard, as, from its exclusiveness, might prove injurious. Not only will the neglect of much “ fruitful erudition” be thus effectually prevented, but, in the assiduous use of means so excellent, a kindly impulse will be given to the whole process of edification;
* See Caryl on Job, v. 1, p. 705, fol. 1676. And, Baxter's Practical Works, vol. 5, p. 586, oct, ed.
+ Essay on Popular Ignorance, by John Foster, p. 89, 2d edit. See Dr. Parr's Spital Sermon, pp. 63, 64, 4to. 1801. Some curious remarks upon “ bokes,” and their "stile,” occur in “ Nicholas Udall's Preface to the Translation of the Paraphrase of Erasmus upon Luke," the three last pages, fol. 1548.
“For, though old wrytynges apere to be rude;
The pythe of a matter most fructuously."*
It furnishes an opportunity for congratulation, too congenial to be omitted, that, at a time when the capabilities of the English tongue, for elegant combination, have been so signally manifested, and so many invaluable productions have raised our national literature to an unprecedented elevation, sufficient encouragement should have been afforded to the enterprising spirit of typography, not only to reprint the remains of many early Reformers, and other Protestant Divines, but to give to the voluminous labours of Archbishop Leighton, Bishops Hall, Hopkins, Taylor, and Beveridge, Doctors Lightfoot, Barrow, Owen, Watts, and Doddridge; John Howe, Charnock, Baxter, Matthew Henry, and President Edwards, permanent external respectability. The omen is favourable; and the impulse, it is hoped, will not become extinct, nor even feeble.
But, while so much, in the signs of the times, is calculated to cheer, by a conviction of increasing intelligence and liberality, there still remains enough to render too apposite, in a spirit of mild accommodation, the caustick remark of Milton ;--" Things of highest praise and imitation, under a right name, are mis-called, to make them infamous and hateful.”+ To those who follow the things which make for peace, it cannot be otherwise than grievous, that such an attestation is not exclusively applicable to those times of perilous disquietude which
• Ames's Typographical Antiquities, by Herbert, vol. 3, p. 1756.
prompted the complaint. And, still more so, that, of late, especially, and among the literati too, the originating cause of that complaint should have furnished new evidence of undecaying vigour. There needs but a slight acquaintance with the republick of letters, and particularly the history and biography of the last thirty years, both original and edited, to notice many confirmatory instances; instances which would have warranted, in the following annotations, a system widely different from that pursued. How much might be adduced,—to hold no inquest upon motives,—which is adapted to produce party-prejudice, and anti-christian temper! Has not the power of truth, by zeal for preferences, merely secular or ritual, been lamentably obstructed, and the censures of deists thus disgracefully countenanced? Has not godliness itself been so misrepresented, and caricatured, by attacks upon puritans, nonconformists, and calvinists, and so identified with alleged imbecility, or extravagance, as to inspire, in not a few cases, contempt and aversion? How irrational, to say the least, is such a course! As if the exhortations to love and good-will, which abound in the sacred oracles, and which are enforced by tremendous sanctions, were to be measured by human fancy; as if they respected only those whose thoughts run harmoniously about trifles, who congregate as one party, or rally under one visible standard ! Not more incongruous would be the assertion,—that the cause of truth is best promoted by ignorance and error; or, that the enmity against God, (including his image, as impressed upon the saints, which constitutes a carnal mind, would be most effectually counteracted by the infusions of hatred, the “moroseness of bigotry," and the workings of bitter disaffection.
For the better avoidance of evils, like those referred to, the original design of the Life, the elevated spirit of catholicism which it breathes, and the sweet fragrancy * which is uniformly associated with Mr. Henry's name, have been kept habitually in view.
The animadversions on some of Dr. Wordsworth's statements will appear to the reader, it is believed, in no wise inconsistent with this profession. Sincerely regretting the existence of those statements, the writer would have passed them by, had it been warranted by a conviction of their accuracy, or been consistent with official fidelity.
It is hoped that the introduction of the fac-similes and portraits will be deemed an improvement. Mrs. Henry's picture has not before been engraved. The print conveys the exact expression.
The engraving of Mr. Henry, by White, prefixed to the early editions of the Life, is a performance but ill evincing the justness of the character usually given of that once popular artist. Nor can any thing better be said of a subsequent attempt by Trotter.f A comparison of the three engravings, which are from the same painting, I will demonstrate the superiority of the one now published.
The late Mrs. Brett, of West Bromwich, informed the editor, that Mrs. Savage, her near relation, and the eldest
• Mr. Dorney's Account of the Rev. Joseph Caryl. Divine Contemplations, p. 314, duod. 1684.
+ In Middleton's Biog. Evan, vol. 4, p. 76, oct. 1786.
Thus dated, “Ann. ät. 60, Aug. 21, 1691." The portrait illustrating Mr. Orton's Abridgment of the Life, ut supru, is a memorial of younger days.