Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon earth, and that was the institution of the holy sacrament of baptism ; which he ordained as a solemn initiation and mysterious profession of the faith upon which the church is built; making it a solemn publication of our profession, the rite of stipulation or entering covenant with our Lord, and the solemnity of the paction evangelical, in which we undertake to be disciples to the holy Jesus; that is, to believe his doctrine, to fear his threatenings, to rely upon his promises, and to obey his commandments all the days of our life.' And he for his part actually performs much, and promises more; he takes off all the guilt of our preceding days, purging our souls and making them clean as in the day of innocence; promising withal, that if we perform our undertaking, and remain in the state in which he now puts us, he will continually assist us with his Spirit, prevent and attend us with his grace; he will deliver us from the

power of the devil; he will keep our souls in merciful, joyful, and safe custody, till the great day of the Lord; he will then raise our bodies from the grave, he will make them to be spiritual and immortal, he will re-unite them to our souls, and beatify both bodies and souls in his own kingdom, admitting them into eternal and unspeakable glories. All which that he might verify and prepare respectively, in the presence of his disciples he ascended into the bosom of God, and the eternal comprehensions of celestial glory.

1 Mark, xvi. 16; Acts, ii. 38; xxii. 16; Rom. vi. 3, 4; Eph. iv. 5, &c. ; 1 Cor. xii. 13; Col. ii. 13; Gal. iii. 27; 1 Pet. iii. 21.

2 Matt. xxviii. 20.

THE PRAYER.

O holy and eternal Jesus, who hast overcome death, and triumphed over all the powers of hell, darkness, sin, and the grave, manifesting the truth of thy promises, the power of thy divinity," the majesty of thy person, the rewards of thy glory, and the mercies and excellent designs of thy evangelical kingdom, by thy glorious and powerful resurrection, preserve my soul from eternal death, and make me to rise from the death of sin, and to live the life of grace ; loving thy perfections, adoring thy mercy, pursuing the interest of thy kingdom, being united to the church under thee our head, conforming to thy holy laws, established in faith, entertained and confirmed with a modest, humble, and certain hope, and sanctified by charity ; that I, engraving thee in my heart, and submitting to thee in my spirit, and imitating thee in thy glorious example, may be partaker of thy resurrection, which is my hope and my desire, the support of my faith, the object of my joy, and the strength of my confidence. In thee, holy Jesus, do I trust : I confess thy faith, I believe all that thou hast taught; I desire to perform all thy injunctions, and my own undertaking. My soul is in thy hand, do thou support and guide it, and pity my infirmities : and when thou shalt reveal thy great day, show to me the mercies and effects of thy advocation, and intercession, and redemption. Thou shalt answer for

O Lord my God; for in thee have I trusted: let me never be confounded. Thou art just, thou art merciful, thou art gracious and compassionate, thou hast done miracles and prodigies of favour to me and all the world. Let not those great actions and sufferings be ineffective, but make me capable and receptive of thy mercies, and then I am certain to receive them. I am thine, O save me : thou art mine, O holy Jesus ; 0 dwell with me for ever ; and let me dwell with thee, adoring and praising the eternal glories of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

me,

THE END.

J. Rickerby, Printer, Sherbourn Lane.

OF

ENGLISH PROSE LITERATURE.

Joseph RICKERBY (Proprietor of the SACRED CLASSICS,) intends issuing, on the Ist of February, 1836, Vol. I. of a Series of the most celebrated Treatises on

PHILOSOPHY, MORALS, EDUCATION, ELOQUENCE, CRITICISM,

HISTORY, AND POLITICAL SCIENCE;

BY

BACON-MILTON-SIR THOMAS MORE-SIR PHILIP

SIDNEY-CLARENDON-LOCKE-DRYDEN-
SWIFT--ADDISON-COWLEY-BOLINGBROKE-ALGERNON

SIDNEY-HUME-CONYERS MIDDLETON-
BISHOP BERKELEY-SIR TEOMAS BROWNE-BURKE-
JOHNSON-SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS-STERNE-ADAM
SMITH-PAYNE KNIGHT-HOOKER, AND OTHERS.
With Preliminary Discourses and Notes,

BY J. A. ST. JOHN, ESQ.
Author of “Egypt and Mohammed Ali;” “The Hindoos;" "Residence in

Normandy ;" " Lives of celebrated Travellers," &c. &c.

PROSPECTUS. To those who thoroughly comprehend the importance and high tendency of LITERATURE, when not perverted from the original intention of its nature, an elaborate exposition of the advantages likely to accrue to the public from a revival of the best Works of our best Authors, will be altogether unnecessary. They already know that, in every art and science, those who would not rest content with a cramped mechanical knowledge, meted out to them by the peculiar measures in vogue among their Contemporaries, must turn constantly back, to consider what were the ideas and practices of Former Ages, in order to enlarge and improve their own. And this is more particularly requisite in LITERATURE—where none but those who have made themselves acquainted with the MASTERPIECES of past times, can ever hope to add to their number.

But this obvious truth, which it'is so easy to acknowledge, is seldom converted into a principle of action. The productions of our Own Age,-yielding, indeed, in many cases, to those of no preceeding

[blocks in formation]

period,--are too frequently allowed to engross us wholly; and thus is created a taste childishly fastidious, which, without examination, rejects as unpalatable the more solid, plentiful, and invigorating intellectual food of our Forefathers. Many laudable attempts have certainly already been made, and are still making, to correct the inju. rious tendency of this habit. The works of some of our greatest Writers have been reprinted, sometimes nakedly, at others accompanied by Prefaces or Introductions, intended to pave the way to a renewed intercourse between our Literary Ancestors and the Public; and in no instance so ably and successfully as in the Series of the “SACRED CLAssics.”

Perhaps, however, no single work, detached from the body of our Older Literature, and separately published, could ever hope to secure the degree of attention to which it might, by its intrinsic importance, be entitled. Like a foreigner, moving solitarily through a vast and busy crowd, it would probably be quickly eclipsed and lost to the eye amid the multitudinous throng. To produce any very striking effect, therefore, the books of past ages must be revived, so to say, in masses, and be made to support each other, like the several parts of a phalanx, in reconquering that popularity which is their just inheritance : for appearing thus, they can by no possibility be over. looked. And such is the merit of those Authors whose principal Works will compose the present Series—such the force of their reasoning--the vast reach and compass of their thoughts—the riches of their illustration—and the splendour, in many cases, of their style, that those who once discover their various excellences are won.

On this account, independently of all other considerations, we have thought it desirable to publish seriatim a collection of the PROBE MASTERPIECES of our LITERATURE, uniform in appear. ance, size, embellishments, and price—to be issued at regular intervals. And because, in most instances, we find among an Author's Works some particular Treatise or Treatises, which, treating of topics agreeable to his taste, or containing, as in the case of Mil. TON, some burst of self-love, or the defence or exposition of doctrines exactly suiting the temper of his mind, are therefore more completely impregnated with the seeds of his genius, and the quintessence of his most exquisite learning, we have considered it more expedient to make a selection of such pieces, than to reprint all he

where much the wi equal

public

Th the W little MOIE gener Style durir his eluci expa Hist

in

refo sibl tica wil

sma

may have written ; for even those who possess the happiest and most fertile intellects, are not equally happy and fertile at all times.

But it has often been said that a man's own personal appearance and manners are his best letters of recommendation :-and so it fares with books. To be received into good society they must present themselves well-dressed ; an advantage which few of our great writers, except the Poets, have hitherto enjoyed. For what modern eye has yet been rejoiced by beholding the Utopia, or the TENURE OF Kings, or that old LEVIATHAN, once so dear to our Patricians, enclosed within embossed covers, and internally adorned with all the luxurious blandishments of engraving and typography ? These elegant incitements to study are reserved for a different order of books, which without them, perhaps, might find the road to popularity more steep and thorny. However, if even inferior productions, recommended by the tastefulness and beauty of their exterior, force themselves a way into the Temple of Fame, where they sparkle and glitter for a while, it surely cannot be too much to expect that some of the most perfect compositions to which the wit of man has given birth, will, when brought forward with equal external advantages, command at least an equal share of public patronage.

The labours of the Editor may be very briefly explained. To the Works of those Writers, the events of whose lives are hitherto little known, he will prefix an ORIGINAL BIOGRAPHICAL MEMorr, containing, in addition to the history of the Author's life, a general view of his Writings, remarks on the peculiarities of his Style, an outline of the Opinions, religious and political, prevalent during the Age in which he lived, and an Account of the Fate of his Works after his death. Wherever the text appears to require elucidation, he will subjoin a Note, explaining, or, if necessary, expanding the Author's meaning, or illustrating it by Anecdotes or Historical Facts. The plan which has been so successfully pursued in reprinting the plays of Shakspeare, and the Paradise Lost, of reforming the antiquated orthography, and correcting, as far as possible, the careless punctuation of our older Authors, he will in all practicable cases adopt. And to those Treatises which now want them, will be added TABLES OF CONTENTS, and by numbering the smaller sections, or paragraphs, -as has already been done in

« PreviousContinue »