Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

sionally, read the Scriptures frequently. Mark the different passages which you do not understand, read them with patience, not being too anxious to understand every thing at the first reading over: but persevere, and read the Scriptures in the original a second and a third time; and, without consulting any commentator, those difficult passages will always become fewer as your knowledge increases. Read the Scriptures also with modesty, neither being too full of yourself, nor supposing that human reason can always comprehend divine mysteries; and read them always with fervent prayer to God, the source of wisdom and light, that he would assist and direct you in your researches after truth. Do not complain that you want books, when you have the Scriptures themselves in the original languages. If you have a Hebrew Bible, a Septuagint, and a Greek New Testament, you have the most necessary and the most useful of all books to a Christian divine. Read carefully all the versions which are given of disputed passages; make much use of versions, and compare them all carefully with the original. Read the Vulgate, though a translation authorised by the Romish church, as well as the versions of individuals, such as Castalio, Beza, Junius, and Tremellius; and also Houbigant, if you have access to his translation. You cannot be hurt by reading versions, and comparing them with the original. But put no confidence in commentators : consult them sparingly: never use them till the last, and then use them only as dictionaries. In this view, however, read commentators of all parties; and judge of them more from their freedom of thought, abilities, and erudition, than from considering to what party they belong."*

Dr. Beattie had also, prior to this period, published his “ Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism ;” a work exceedingly popular at that time, and still deserving of attention for its argument and most laudable object. Regarding the manner in which, as a professor, he communicated instruction to his students, his amiable biographer observes: “There is one excellence of Dr. Beattie's lectures on moral philosophy, on which I cannot but dwell with peculiar emphasis, and that is, his happy manner of fortifying his arguments from natural religion on the most important points, by the aid of revelation. While he details with precision the proofs which natural reason alone affords, he never omits any proper opportunity of appealing to revelation in support of his doctrine; sometimes in the very words of Scripture, at other times by a general reference to the subject, as it is to be learned there; thus making them mutually support and strengthen each other, as ought ever to be the study of every teacher of ethics. Dr. Beattie is, therefore, justly entitled to the most distinguished of all appellations, that of a Christian moral philosopher. In his second chapter of Natural Theology, speaking of the Divine attributes, he says, 'revelation gives such a display of the Divine goodness, as must fill us with most ardent gratitude and adoration ; for in it we find that God has put it in our power, notwithstanding our degeneracy and unworthiness, to be happy both in this world and for ever,-a hope which reason alone could never have permitted us to entertain on any ground of certainty. And here we may repeat, that although the right use of reason supplies, our first notions of the Divine nature, yet it is from revelation that we receive those distinct ideas of his attributes and providence, which are the foundation of our dearest hopes. The most enlightened of the heathen had no certain knowledge of his unity, spirituality, eternity, wisdom, justice, or mercy, and, by consequence, could never contrive a comfortable system of natural religion, as Socrates, the wisest of them, acknowledged.'

* Life of Dr. Campbell, prefixed to his Lectures on Church Ilistory, by Dr. Skene Keith.

“ Discoursing on the nature of virtue, Dr. Beattie says: 'these speculations might lead into a labyrinth of perplexity, if it were not for what revelation declares concerning the Divine government. It declares that man may expect, on the performance of certain conditions, not only pardon, but everlasting happiness, not on account of his own merit, which in the sight of God is nothing, but on account of the infinite merits of the Redeemer, who, descending from the height of glory, voluntarily underwent the punishment due to sin, and thus obtained those high privileges for as many as should comply with the terms announced by him to mankind.'

“ On the subject of public worship he says: • these considerations alone would recommend external worship as a most excellent means of improving our moral nature; but Christians know farther, that this duty is expressly commanded, and that particular blessings are promised to the devout performance of it. In us, therefore, the neglect of it must be inexcusable, and highly criminal.'

“ Such was the mode of teaching moral philosophy, as appears from his published Lectures, practised by Dr. Beattie, during the long course of upwards of thirty years, in his public lectures at Aberdeen. Let the reader compare those animating and comfortable doctrines inculcated by this excellent writer, with the cold and cheerless speculations of natural reason alone; and then let him say which method most deserves the preference, or is most likely to promote the happiness of mankind.”*

We have been the more particular in our account of these two distinguished persons, as their instructions appear to have had a most beneficial effect in elevating the subject of this memoir to that honourable eminence to which he subsequently attained as a Christian minister. Of both of them he was accustomed to speak with warm gratitude ; but particularly of Dr. Beattie, whose name he scarcely ever mentioned but with a kind of admiration bordering on enthusiasm, not solely for his intellectual powers, but chiefly for

W

* Life of Dr. Beattie, by Sir William Forbes, Bart.

the amiable temper and affections of his mind, which particularly endeared him to all who were honoured with his intimacy and friendship.

We feel deep obligations for the subjoined account of Mr. Waugh by a fellow-student at Aberdeen, who repaired to the metropolis about the same time with himself, where he has attained bonourable distinction in the literary world. The friendship thus early formed, continued, notwithstanding their different lines of pursuit, without abatement, for more than half a century,-a rare occurrence, it is to be apprehended, amidst the numerous jealousies and collisions of this anxious and ever-changing life.

“ My acquaintance with Mr. Waugh began about October 1777, when he came to Aberdeen. Previously to this he had been a student in the Burgher Secession Academy, then superintended by the well-known Rev. John Brown, of Haddington. I well remember he was much captivated, as all young men were at that time, with Blair's Sermons, one volume of which was published, and was in every body's hands, on account of the style. Mr. Waugh's object in coming to Aberdeen, was to attend the classes, in the Marischal College, of Dr. Beattie, professor of moral philosophy, and of Dr. Campbell, principal of this college and professor of divinity. He attended likewise, as was usual for students destined for the church, the divinity lectures of Dr. Gerard, King's College. According to the plan of study at Marischal College, these courses of moral philosophy and divinity were usually

OT

wer

« ZurückWeiter »