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'Tis immortality, — 'tis that alone,

Amidst Life's pains, abasements, emptiness,

The soul can comfort, elevate, and fill. — Young.





LiNDLEY Murray, tlie author of this work, in his last
will, bequeathed certain funds to Trustees in America,
his native country, for several benevolent objects, among
which is the gratuitous distribution of '' Books calculated
to promote piety and virtue and the truth of Christianity"
— and of which books he desired that " The Power of
Religion on the Mind" might form a considerable part.

New York, 1836.

Tho Life of James Gardiner has been omitted in this edition.

'•' ^>" " '^ -J , J I,


To excite serious reflections on the unsatisfying and
transitory nature of temporal enjoyments ; and to pro-
mote a lively concern for the attainment of that feli-
city, which will be complete and permanent ; are the
objects of the present publication.

Piety and virtue, abstractedly considered, are truly
amiable, and appear worthy of our earnest pursuit.
But when recommended by the lives and testimonies
of eminent persons, who have known the w^orld, and
experienced the emptiness of its honors, wealth, and
pleasures, they derive additional importance ; and con-
strain us to acknowledge, that the greatest happiness
of man is to be found in religion.

Among the most important blessings, which the Di-
vine Being has conferred upon mankind, may be num-
bered, the happy display of good and pious examples.
^ In every age and country, perhaps in almost every
little district throughout the earth, he has placed some
of his faithful servants, or returning prodigals, to bear
witness of his power and goodness, and to encourage
others to a life of purity, piety, and beneficence.

The following pages exhibit a few of those striking


examples. In the quiet hour of reflection, they may
contribute to arrest the careless and wandering ; to
animate the sincere and virtuous ; and to alarm those
who have rejected the most important truths, and who
contemn the restraints of religion and virtue.

A number of our fellow-creatures, of different pe-
riods, countries, and conditions in life, standing on the
confines of mortality, and bearing a uniform and un-
disguised testimony to the power and excellence of re-
ligion, presents a solemn and interesting spectacle.
With the prospect of immortality before them, and
no longer influenced by those concerns and passions
which obscure the understanding and harden the heart,
they must be supposed to view their objects through a
proper medium, and to speak the language of truth
and soberness.

May the important testimonies of these preachers
of righteousness, lead us to just and seasonable reflec-
tions on the state of our own minds ; and produce a
reverent application to our heavenly Father, for the aid
of his Holy Spirit, to enlighten and strengthen us, and
to conduct us safely through the paths of life ! May
his gracious protection be aff"orded at the close of our
day, when the shadows of the evening shall approach,
the glittering vanities of the world be obscured, and
all its friendships and resources be found unavailing !

Trials and discouragements may, indeed, be expected
to assail us, in this state of being. — On surveying our
past lives, we must all be conscious, that, in numerous
instances, we have violated the Divine Law, and in-


curred the penalty due to our disobedience. And tliis
view of our condition often occasions deep regret ; and
is sometimes apt to overwhelm the drooping and diffi-
dent mind.

But whatever may have been our deviations from
the paths of rectitude, we are encouraged to ask, and
to hope for mercy. The goodness of God has freely
offered to pardon all our sins, and receive us into favor,
if we sincerely repent, and unfeignedly believe in Jesus
Christ the Saviour of the world. In the Revelation of
his will to mankind, the great design, conspicuous
throughout, is, to manifest his love and compassion
towards our fallen race, and to accomplish our salva-
tion. "His tender mercies are over all his works."
" He taketh pleasure in those who hope in his mercy."
"As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth
them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame : he
remembereth that we are dust." The blessed Re-
deemer " came into the world to save sinners — to
seek and to save that which was lost." And, to in-
crease our gratitude and trust, he has graciously as-
sured us, that "there is joy in the presence of the
angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth." — These,
and many other passages in the Holy Scriptures, afford
an abundant source of consolation and encouragement,
to the truly humble and penitent believer in Christ.
And when applied to the heart by Divine Grace, they
produce in us a holy confidence and joy.

Though the love and mercies of God are great be-
yond expression, yet, for wise purposes, his children


are not equally favored by him, on tlie bed of languisb- •^,
ing and death. But they are all permitted to hope,-:,'; ;
that, when this awful period approaches, He will pre- ; -y
serve them from being distressed with mournful retro-
spects on the past, or with gloomy apprehensions of ' i^^Av
the fiiture : that redeeming love will calm their fears- ' - v-;^,?
and disquietudes; sustain them under every conflict;/.'.. ?
and animate them with the prospect of being soon ad- : '.
mitted into the mansions of eternal felicity. • • •.'.;. '1 ;

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In tlie latter editions of tliis work, the author has
been solicitous to make it acceptable, not only to per-
sons of mature years, but also to many in younger
life. As the characters which it contains, exhibit a
great variety of striking and animating views of piety
and virtue, and strongly recommend the Christian reli-
gion in particular ; he indulges a hope, that instructors
of youth will deem it a suitable book to be read, occa-
sionally, by the higher classes of their pupils. It is of
great importance to impress young minds with favor-
able sentiments of virtue and goodness ; and to con-
vince them, by practical evidence, that religion affords
the best support and enjoyment, in this life, and the
only sure ground of happiness in the world to come.

To render the performance more instructive, as well
as more interesting, the author has introduced into it
many important moral sentiments, and many reflections
of a relio-ious nature, as well as a considerable portion
of usefuC biographical information. The introductory
narratives relative to the subjects of the work, will, he
presumes, be found intimately connected with its chief
design. They gratify curiosity, respecting the general
character of the persons whose solemn sentiments are
exhibited; they confer additional importance on the
testimonies in favor of religion ; and they relieve the
mind from the effect, which a succession of deeply
serious matter would occasion.




Job — Solomon — Cyrus — Confucius — Socrates — Ste-
phen, THE Protomartyr — The Apostle Paul — Igna-
tius — PoLYCARP — The Venerable Bede — Lours IX.
King of France — Pope Eugenius — Cardinal Beau-
fort — C^SAR Borgia 11


Cardinal Wolsey — Sir John Mason — Emperor Charles
Y. — Sir Thomas Smith — Bernard Gilpin — Jane,
Queen of Navarre — Sir Francis "Walsingham — La-
dy Jane Grey — Sir "Walter Raleigh — Richard
Hooker 57


Sir Philip Sidney — Sir Christopher Hatton — Lord
Bacon — Sir Henry Wotton — Peter Du Moulin —
Doctor Donne — Philip III. King of Spain — Catha-

— Hugo Grotius — John Selden — Cardinal Richelieu
— Lord Harrington — Salmasius 100


Cardinal Mazarine — Bulstrode Whitelocke — Anna
Maria Schurman — Sir Matthew Hale — Du Eenti —
Princess Elizabeth — William Mompesson — Admiral

Penn 133





Pascal — Egbert Boyle — John Locke — John Janewat
— ^Earl of Marlborough 162


Lady Rachel Russel — Jane Ratcliffe — Sir Isaac
Newton — ^Bishop Burnet — John, Earl of Rochester, 185


Queen Mary — Herman Boerhaave — Joseph Addison —
Ann Baynard — Elizabeth Rowe — Doctor "Watts . . 216


Lady Elizabeth Hastings — H. Housman — Doctor Dod-
dridge 242


Louis, Duke op Orleans — Soame Jenyns — Lord Lyt-
telton — Jonas Hanway — Anthony Benezet — James
Heryey — Altamont, or the Death of the Libertine, 257


Baron Haller — John Howard — Newton's Letters —
Margaret M. Althens — Zimmerman — James Hay
Beattie — Elizabeth Smith — Elizabeth Carter — Sir
William Jones 296

Conclusion 363

Alphabetical Index 36*7


■»• ^ »♦


Job — Solomon — Cyrus — Confucius — Socrates — Stephen
THE Protomartyr — The Apostle Paul — Ignatius — Poly-
carp— Louis IX. King of France — Pope Eugenius — Car-
dinal Beaufort — C^sar Borgia.


This venerable patriarch was so eminent an
instance of the power of religion on the mind,
under the most trying afflictions, that a short
account of him may proj^erly introduce these

In the first part of his days, this distinguished
person was "the greatest of all the men of the
East." His possessions were large ; his family
was numerous and flourishing; his own character
was fair and blameless : yet this person it pleased
God to visit with extraordinary reverses of for-
tune. He was robbed of his whole substance.


His sons and daugliters all perished ; and he him-
self, fallen from his high estate, childless and re-
duced to poverty, was smitten with sore disease.
His friends came about him, seemingly with the
purpose of administering comfort ; but, from a
harsh and ill-founded construction of the intention
of Providence, in his disasters, they only added
to his sorrows, by unjust upbraiding.

In distress so poignant, what was the temper
of this good man ? Fully persuaded that all bless-
ings come from God, who has a right to with-
hold or disti'ibute them, as he sees best, he pious-
ly exclaims: "The Lord gave, and the Lord
hath taken away; blessed be the name of the
Lord !"

To his other calamities, this domestic affliction
was added, that his wife, who ought to have
soothed and alleviated his sorrows, provoked his
indignation, by an impious speech. What firm-
ness and resignatipn are marked in his answer to
her ! " Thou sjDeakest as one of the foolish wo-
men speaketh. What ! shall we receive good at
the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?"
Though he forcibly felt the deplorable condition
to which he was reduced, and most pathetically
described and bewailed it, yet no doubt of divine
goodness, no murmur against Providence, was
suffered to rise in his mind. "In all this
Job sinned not with his lips, nor charged God


At length, the goodness of that God -whom he
served, and who had secretly supported him
under all his suii'ermgs, broke forth upon him
with increased energy ; and, like a cheering sun
dispersing the surrounding gloom, again glad-
dened his heart with returning peace and pros-
perity. His riches were restored to him twofold.
The loss of his former children was repaired by a
new offspring. His name became again renowned
in the East ; " and the latter end of Job was more
blessed than the beginning."



SoLOifON is one of the most interesting and
extraordinary cliaracters mentioned in tLe sacred
Scriptures. Tiie advice which this j)rince received
from his father David, a short time before his de-
cease, is very remarkable; and doubtless made a
deep impression on his mind: "Thou, Solomon,
my son, know thou the God of thy father; and
serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing
mind : for the Lord searcheth all hearts. If thou
seek him he will be found of thee : but if thou
forsake him, he will cast thee oiFfor ever."

This king having made a great and solemn
offering to God, soon after his accession to the
throne, the Lord was well pleased- with his piety
and zeal ; and desired him to " ask what he
should give him." Humbled under the sense of
the goodness of God to him, and of his incapa-
city to govern so numerous a people, he de-
clared that " he was but a little child :" and,
instead of riches and honor, and length of
days, he desired that God would bestow upon
him wisdom and knowledge, that he might pru-


dently and happily rule the nation over which
he had placed him. This choice was so much
approved by the Almighty, that he gave him a
wise and understanding heart, and added riches
and honor to the gift.

Solomon was directed by God to build him a
temple at Jerusalem : and this order he faithfully
executed. The prayer which he made at the
dedication of this grand edifice, breathes the most
devout and humble disposition, and the most
ardent desire for the real happiness of his people.
One can scarcely ever peruse it, without feeling
a degree of the same pious ardor which pervaded
and animated the breast of the royal supplicant
on that solemn occasion. At this moment, he
shone in his highest lustre: nor can we conceive
any thing upon earth more dignified and majestic,
than his deportment on the dedication of this
sacred structure. We are comiDelled to revere
the character of the monarch, who with such
uncommon zeal, stood before his nobles, his
princes, and his peoj^le, as a preacher of right-
eousness, and as a priest of the most high God.

This illustrious prince, however, at one period
of his life, so far mistook the source of true hap-
piness, as to flatter himself with the hope of great
enjoyments from the world. He sought for and
obtained all the means of pleasure ; but found him-
self, in the end, greatly disappointed. The result
of this search and experiment, he gives us, in these


memorable lines: "I said to my heart, I will prove
tliee with mirth ; therefore enjoy pleasure : and,
ifc>chold ! this also is vanity. I made great works,
built houses, planted vineyards, made gardens
rttid orchards, and planted trees in them of all
kinds of fruits. I procured servants and maidens ;
I gathered silver and gold, and the peculiar
treasure of kings. I obtained men and women
gingers, and the delights of the sons of men, as
musical instruments, and those of all sorts. So I
was great, and increased more than all that were
before me in Jerusalem: and w^hatever my eyes
desired, I kept not from them ; I withheld not my
heart from any joy. Then I looked on the works
which my hands had wrought ; and, behold ! all
was vanity and vexation of spirit."

After this full persuasion, that real haj^piness
was not to be found m sensual pleasure or worldly
honors, he concludes wdth solemnly recommend-
ing piety and virtue, as the great objects for which
we were brought into being; and which will not
only yield the best enjoyments of life, but will sup-
port us in that day, when we must make up our
final account. " Fear God, and keep his command-
ments. This is the whole duty of man. For God
will bring every work into judgment, whether it
be good or whether it be evil."

"When we reflect," says Dr. Blair, "on the
character of him who delivered these sentiments,
we cannot but admit that they deserve a serious


and attentive examination. For they are not the
declarations of a pedant, who, from an obscure
retirement, declaims against pleasm-es which he
never knew. They are not the invectives of a
discontented man, who takes revenge upon the
world by satirizing those enjoyments which he
sought in vain to obtain. They are the conclu-
sions of a great and prosperons prince, who had
once given full scope to his desires; who was
thoroughly acquainted with life in its most flatter-
ing scenes: and who now, reviewing all that he
had enjoyed, delivers to us the result of long ex-
perience and tried wisdom.


Cteus may justly be considered as the most
accomplished prince that we read of in profane
history. He was possessed of wisdom, moderation,
magnanimity ; a genius for forming, and prudence
for executing, the greatest designs. Of this ex-
traordinary person,* the Almighty said: "He is
my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure :"
and he was accordingly made use of as an eminent
instrument to punish wicked nations, and to pro-
mote the Divine will respecting the children of

When this great prince perceived the approach
of death, he ordered his children, and the chief
officers of state, to be assembled around him. On
this occasion, the influence of religion on his heart
was very conspicuous. He solemnly thanked the
Supreme Being for all the favors he had con-
ferred upon him, through the course of his Ufe ;
implored the same care and protection for his
children, his country, and his friends; and de-
clared his elder son, Cambyses, his successor,
leaving the other several very considerable gov-
ernments. He gave excellent instructions to both


of tliem. He observed, that the chief strength
and support of the throne, were not vast extent of
country, number of forces, nor immense riches, but
just veneration toward God, good understanding
between brethren, and the acquisition of true and
faithful friends.

"I conjure you, therefore," said he, "my dear
children, in the name of Heaven, to respect and
love one another, if you retain any desire to please
me for the future. For I do not think you will
judge me to have no existence, because you will
not see me after my death. You have never yet
seen my soul : you must, however, have known by
its actions, that it really existed. Can you believe,
that honors would still be paid to persons, whose
bodies are now but ashes, if their souls had no
longer any being or power ? No, no, my sons ; I
could never believe that the soul Jived only while
in a mortal body, and died, when separated from it.
But if I mistake, and nothing of me shall remain
after death, fear the Deity, who never dies, who
sees all things, and whose power is infinite. Fear
him; and let that fear prevent you from ever
doing, or deliberating to do, anything contrary to
religion and virtue. Next to him, fear mankind,
and the ao-es to come. You cannot be buried in
obscurity : you are exposed upon a grand theatre
to the view of the world. If your actions are up-
right and benevolent, be assured they will augment
your power and glory. With regard to my body,


my sons, when life has forsaken it, inclose it neither
in gold nor silver, nor in any other matter what-
ever. Restore it immediately to the earth."

Perceiving himself to be at the point of death,
be concluded with these words : " Adieu, dear
children ! May your lives be happy ! Carry my
last remembrance to your mother. And you, my
faithful friends, those absent as well as those that
are present, receive this last farewell! May you
live in peace !" After he had said this, he covered
his face and died, greatly lamented by the nations
over whom he had reigned.



Confucius, the celebrated Chinese philosophei;
was born in the kingdom of Lou, 551 years before
the Christian era. When a child, he had a grave
and serious deportment, which gained him respect,
and plainly foretold what he would one day be.
But he was most distinguished by his unexampled
and exalted piety. He honored his relations; he
endeavored in all things to imitate his grandfather,
who was then ahve in China, and a very pious man:
and it was observable that he never eat anything,
but he prostrated himself npon the ground, and
offered it first to the Supreme Lord of heaven.

One day, while he was a child, he heard his
grandfather fetch a deep sigh; and going up to
him with much reverence, " May I presume," said
he, " without losing the respect I owe you, to in-
quire into the occasion of your grief? Perhaps
you fear that your posterity will degenerate from
your virtue, and dishonor you by their vices."

" What put this thought into your head," said
the old man to him ; "and where have you learned
to speak after this manner?"


" From yourself," replied Confucius : " I attend
diligently to you every time you speak ; and I have
often heard you say, that a son, who does not by
his virtues support the glory of his ancestors, does
not deserve to bear their name."

At twenty-three years of age, when he had
gained a considerable knowledge of antiquity, and
acquainted himself with the laws and customs of
his country, he projected a scheme for a general
reformation of manners. Wisely persuaded that
the people could not be happy, so long as avarice,
ambition, voluptuousness, and false policy, reigned
among them, he thought it incumbent upon him
to recommend a severe morality ; and accordingly,
he began to enforce temperance, justice, and
other virtues; to inspire a contempt of riches,
parade, and splendor ; and to excite such an
elevation of mind as would render men incapable
of dissimulation and insincerity. In short, he
used all the means he could think of, to redeem
his countrymen from a life of pleasure to a life of

He was everywhere known, and as universally
beloved : his extensive learning and great w^isdom,
soon made him known ; his integrity, and the
splendor of his virtues, made him beloved. Kings
were governed by his counsels, and the peoj^le
reverenced him as a saint. The good effects of
his example and admonitions were, however, but
temporary. He lived in times when rebellion,


wars, and tumults, raged throughout the empire.
Men had little leisure, and less inclination, to listen
to his philosophy ; for, as we have observed, they
were ambitious, avaricious, and voluptuous. Hence
he often met with ill treatment and reproachful
language ; and it is said that conspiracies were
formed against his life : to which may be added,
that his neglect of his own pecuniary interest had
reduced him to extreme poverty.

Some philosophers among his contemporaries
were so affected with this sad state of things, that
they retired into the mountains and deserts, think-
ing that happiness could nowhere be found but in
seclusion from society. In vain they endeavored to
persuade Confucius to follow their example : — ■*' I
am a man," said he, "and cannot separate myself
from the society of men, and consort with beasts.
Bad as the times are, I shall do all I can to recall
men to virtue ; for in virtue are all things. If
mankind would but embrace it, and submit them-
selves to its discipline and laws, they would not
want me or anybody else to instruct them. It is
the duty of a teacher first to perfect himself, and
then to perfect others. Human nature came to us
fj-ora Heaven pure and without defect; but in pro-
cess of time, ignorance, the passions, and evil exam-
ples corrupted it. Reformation consists in restoring
it to its primitive beauties : to be perfect, we must
reascend to the point from which we have fallen.
Let us obey Heaven. Let our reason, and not our


senses, be the rule of our conduct : for reason will
teach us to think wisely, to speak prudently, and
to behave ourselves worthily upon all occasions."

Confncius did not cease to travel about, and do
all the good in his power. He gained many dis-
ciples, who became strongly attached both to his
person and his doctrine. These he sent into differ-
ent parts of the empire, to promote reformation of

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