Page images

has a clear and distinct perception, its benefit, its plea. sure, and its powers of usefulness, will be very limited. By obtaining clear conceptions, and by being accustomed to give a clear account of the knowledge it ac quires, the mind becomes habituated to truth: at the same time that the distance between truth and falsehood becomes more obvious, and the difficulty of departing from the one to the other is considerably increased. The eye that can discern objects clearly and accurately, is of much more value, than the one which takes in, at a rapid glance, a multitude of objects, without any distinct discernment of their various distances and proportions. Just so it is with the mind, which, if destitute of the power of discrimination, will reap no advantage from the number of imperfect ideas with which it is stored; and the more we are acquainted with the nature of the Christian scheme, the more abundant reason we shall have to admire and adore the great Author of it.Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning." Rom. xv. 4.

In order to obtain the materials which compose this volume, I have in some measure imitated the bee-I have walked through the gardens of literary men, and I have not only extracted the honey, but have here and there cropt a flower that appeared pleasant to my view. I have taken them home, and arranged them agreeably to

my own taste. But none of them are mine; none but the string that ties them up.

In culling these flowers, I have not been very studious as to the peculiar views or creeds of the botanists, in whose possession I found them; but, wherever I have found what I deemed a good thing, I have plucked it, and applied it to my own use.

Neither shall I be accused of theft in this particular; for, as Nature throws off her superfluous sweets, to reward the industrious bee, but still preserves her native beauty; so does the intelligent Author throw around him his native flowers, inviting the industrious reader, which in nowise lessens the beauty or value of the original, but rather sheds a lustre upon it.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »