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God is in heaven, and we upon earth, that our thoughts are not God's thoughts, and that the great cure of doubt is an humble mind.
Origin Al Letter, from Bishop Maddox* to Dr. » Zachary Grey.t
THE dangerous illness, and since that the death of a very near relation, has prevented my acknowledging sooner the favour of your letter and very obliging congratulations. I have always thought Mr. Neale's an unnecessary and injurious attack upon the great instruments of the blessed reformation in this kingdom: and cannot but be somewhat surprized, that Mr. Jennings § fliould adventure to avow in
* Dr. Isaac Maddox was originally intended for trade, but discovering a serious turn, he was sent to Queen's College, Oxford, after which he entered into orders. In 1729, he was made clerk of the closet to queen Caroline; in 173J, promoted to the deanry Of Wells, and in 1736, raised to the see of St. Asaph, from whence he was translated in 1743, to Worcester. He died in 1759. He published "a Vindication of the Church of England in reply to Neal's History of the Puritans," in one vol. 8vo. 1733.
t Dr. Zachary Grey was a native of Yorkshire, and educated at Cambridge. He obtained the living of Houghton Conquest, in Bedfordshire, where he died in 1766, aged 79. He published 1. A Defence of our antient and modern Historians against the Cavils of a late pretended Critical History, in two parts. 8vo. 2. An Appendix to the Defence of our antient and modern Historians, ■Svo. 1725. 3. An Impartial Examination of Neal's History of the Puritans, 3 vols. Svo. 4. Critical Notes on Shakspeare, 2 vols.8vo. j. An edition of Hudi bras with notes. 2 vols. Svo.
§ Dr. David Jennings, minister of a congregation of Protestant Dissenters in Old Gravel Lane, Wapping. He preached and published a Funeral Sermon, on the death of Mr. Daniel Neal, which is the piece alluded to in this letter, Mr. Neal died in 1743, and Dr. Jennings in 1762.
print such an assertion with regard to Mr. Neale's historical performances, which by evidence, and by evidence only, you have convicted of so many gross, I wish (especially as be is now dead, and cannot defend himself) there were less ground to believe them wilful mistakes. You are pleased to mention "a Review of the History of the Puritans," and likewise "a Design of my Vindication, Sec." I suppose you intend these to go together as one performance, which may be very proper, to give the world at one view, a just notion of the whole History of the Puritans.
I do not recollect (for I have not the books here) that Mr. Nealehas charged me with one raise quotation; and therefore cannot imagine upon what evidence Mr. Jennings can hope to support his assertions, since the proof of the several propositions in my book stand wholly unimpeached; and the exact care and fidelity, asmwell as an extensive knowledge in history, which appear uncontradicted in your several volumes, must give full conviction of the impartiality and truth to be found in the " History of the Puritans."
I shall be very glad to see your Review, which I dare say will be composed with the utmost candour and fidelity, and give just satisfaction to your readers, and in particular to,
Wejirop, affectionate Brother,
July, 20, 1743. ISA. ASAPH.
THE PICTURE OF OLD AGE.
JOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
THE royal preacher, in the seven preceding verses of this chapter, enforces the duty of early religion, by arguments principally drawn from the decay of the intellectual and corporeal powers in advanced age. The evils induced
upon upon the mental system are little more than cursorily spoken of. The inconveniences resulting to (he bodily structure from a long series of years, are more particularly expatiated upon. Whence it is evident that Solomon chiefly designed the reader's conviction to arise from an anatomical survey os the human fabric. But the description here exhibited of the various organs of the body is somewhat obscured by an allegorical phraseology. In order to explain the meaning of the words, and the conne6tion of the author's sentiments, let us view them in the form of a didactic essay.
Ver.1. In the earliest part of thy life meditate frequently upon thy Great Creator. Remember likewise, .that thou art not indebted to him only for thy existence, but for thy continued preservation, and for the repeated comforts vouchsafed unto thee daily. Be sure therefore to testify thy gratitude for such high obligations, by consecrating the bloom of thy youth to Almighty God. This is assured by the period of thy most acceptable services. Do not postpone the discharge of religious duties to more advanced years, because infirmities, pains and sorrows will then imbitter thy days, and render life an insupportable bun hen.
Ver. e. Consider further, that not only the body is enervated by age, but that the intellectual faculties, those luminaries of the microcosm are likewise impaired. The understanding is darkened, the memory debilitated, and the will become cold, languid, and enfeebled; or perverse, restive, and reluctant to the exercises of religion. The judgment is the light of man. It is that which irradiates, guides, and directs his steps. If this fun of the mental world is obseured by old age, how great is our darkness! and how incapable are we hereby rendered of all religious puYsuits!
Let me add also, that besides these natural obstacles arising from deficient powers of body and mind, there are very many contingent impediments to our duty: I mean those outward troubles and afflictions, which accompany human life, and which are usually multiplied, in proportion to the number of years which a man sojourns upon earth. Hence it is, that towards the close of our days, we find disappointments and sorrows arise in a quick succession, like returning clouds in a wet season.
Ver. 3. But as the early surrender of our hearts to God, and the steady application of our minds to his service, are -matters of such vast consequence, it may not be amiss to examine with greater precision, those particular letts and hindrances to our duty, which arc the effects of age. Now,
these these impediments will appear evident from a scrutiny into those evils which advanced years bring upon the human system.
Those Luuls, which should frequently be l:s;ed up in prayer to God, being weakened by age, hang down and tremble. They are disabled from earning provision for the body, or defending it against external injuries. At the (ame time, the ribs and the stronger bones of the thighs and legs, which formerly conciliated strength, rectitude, and flabilky to the whole fabric ; which likewise, in conjunction with the back-bones, connected and held together the several parts of the edifice: these strong and mighty supports, I fay, are all relaxed, or bowed down by age, and foretel the approaching fall of the superstructure.
The teeth also, in advanced life, become incapable of discharging their office, by a decay of their substance, or loss of their number. Hence the aliment is not properly broken, and divided and prepared for the stomach. From which cause a multitude of ills arise to the syilem in general; because the food being imperfectly acted upon by the teeth, is likewise imperfectly acted upon afterwards by the stomach. Whence proceed indigestion, obstructions, and a default of nourishment thro' the various parts and members of the body.
The defect of vision is another concomitant evil of old age. The eyes, those valuable organs so essentially necessary not only to the comforts and pleasures of life, but also to "the security and preservation ot man, are incapacitated from performing their important functions-. Those windows of the building are darkened by films or defluxions ; and the foul is, as it were, precluded from looking out at these obstructed casements. Whence it follows, that as from the decay of our strength we are disqualified for the active duties of religion; so likewise from the diminution of our fight, we can make no fresh acquisitions to our knowledge by reading, or thereby recall or quicken past ideas and notices of our duty.
Verse 4. But to return once more to those instruments, which first prepare and dispose the food for its advantageous reception in the stomach ; because, since our very being depends upon the sustenance we receive, and its due distribution through all the parts of the body, we can easily infer, that the entire loss or destruction of our teeth must cause a great failure of strength and vigour to the whole system.
That old age deprives us of these smaller bones, is too Obvious a truth to be insisted upon. But, besides the unhappy consequences already enumerated, an additional difficulty presents itself to our view. The gums at this period are to personate the province of the teeth. Nevertheless the smoothness of their surfaces render them very unfit for this •work. Hence what pains and labour are aged men obliged to take, before they can bruise and soften their food sufficiently for the purposes of the stomach. It is also observable, that the lips, those portals of' the mouth, are kept constantly Ihut during the action of the jaws, lest the morsel, thro' the loss of teeth to with-hold it, should be protruded, and fall out of the mouth.
Another melancholy effect of old age, is a deficiency of Jleep, whereby the strength and spirits are further impaired. The old man frequently awakes at the crowing of the cock, and is incapable of renewing his slumbers; whereas the youth, and man of middle age, can perpetuate their sleep almost at will.
Notice hath already been taken of defective vision: but the organs of hearing are likewise great sufferers by age. Those daughters of music, who by their exquisite delicacy of sensation and skill in melodious principles, formerly reduced sounds into harmony, for the entertainment of themselves and others, are now brought into the lowest estate, and are no longer in a capacity of answering the ordinary purposes of their structure.
Verse 5. But however material and weighty all these evils may be, there is still an heavier and longer train of calamities, which associate themselves with advanced years.
Whereas youth is bold, valiant, and regardless of danger, age is quite the reverse of this character. The ancient man discovers.in every action, diffidence, irresolution, and timidity, In all his short excursions abroad< he treads with circumspection, wariness and distrust. After painfully ascending an eminence, he is seized with a temporary giddiness ; and in his descent he trembles at every pebble in the path, lest his strength should prove disproportionable to such little obstacles, and a fall ensueThus fears and terrors are attendants upon the steps of that man, whose grey hairs resemble the whitening blossoms of the almond-tree; and to whom, from the decline of his strength, even the grasshopper, that light and inconsiderable insect, becomes a burthen. Add to all these particulars, a disrelish of every scene around him, from the failure of desire and the