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of life, like other men, but even with a pecu. liar civility, which he fewed especially towards foreigners, by whom he was often vifited, and who never went away from him but with full satisfaction.
His temper was naturally hafty ; but he corrected this so early in his youth, that, except now and then in his countenance, it was never discerned afterwards. The sweetness of his disposition, and that meekness of mind which discovered itself in all he did, never led him into any of those faults which usually attend the excess even of those amiable qualities. He could be warm when there was a proper occasion for warmth; that is, in the cause of truth, which he always vigorously defended ; and we have an instance of his zeal for the essentials of religion, of which it would be an injury done his fame not to take notice.
As great as Mr. Boyle's moderation and charity was, in respect to all the different feets in which Christianity was divided, yet he was a constant member of the church of England, and went to no separate assemblies; but, some time before the restoration, either out of curiosity, or, perhaps, from some more weighty motive, he went to Sir Henry Vane's house in order to hear him, who, at that time, was at the head of a feet who called themselves Seekers : neither was this visit of his attended with any disappointment, for he there heard him preach, in a large thronged VOL. VIII.
room, a long lermon on the text of Dan. xii. 2. And many of them that fleep in the duft of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasing contempt.
The whole scope of Sir Henry's fermon was to fhew, that many doctrines of religion, that had long been dead and buried in the world, should, before the end of it, be awakened into life; and, that many false doctrines, being then likewise revived, should, by the power of truth, be then doomed to thame and everlasting contempt.
When Sir Henry had concluded his dis. course, Mr. Boyle spoke to this effect to him before the people : That, being informed, that, in such private meetings, it was not uncustomary for any one of the speakers or hearers, who was unsatisfied about any matters there uttered, to give in his objections against them, and to prevent any mistakes in the speakers or hearers, he thought himself obliged, for the honour of God's truth, to fay, That this place in Daniel, being the clearest one in all the Old Teftament, for the proof of the resurrection, we ought not to suffer the meaning of it to evaporate into allegory; and the rather, since that inference is made by our Saviour in the New Testament, by way of afferting the refurrection from that place of Daniel in the Old : and, that, if it Thould be denied that the plain and genuine meaning of those words in the prophet, is to
affert the resurrection of dead bodies, he was ready to prove it to be so, both out of the words of the text and context in the original language, and from the best expositors, both Christian and Jewish. But that, if this be not denied, and Sir Henry's discourse of the resurrection of doctrines true and false, was designed by him only in the way of occasional meditations from those words in Daniel, and not to enervate the literal sense as the genuine one, then he had nothing further to say.
Mr. Boyle then fitting down, Sir Henry rose up, and said, that his discourse was only in the way of such occasional meditations, which he thought edifying to the people ; and declared, that he agreed that the literal sense of the words was the resurrection of dead bodies, and so that meeting broke up.
Mr. Boyle afterwards speaking of this conference to Sir Peter Pett, observed, that Sir Henry Vane, at that time, being in the height of his authority in the state, and his auditors at that meeting, consisting chiefly of dependants on him, and expectants from him, the fear of losing his favour would, probably, have restrained them from contradicting any of his interpretations of scripture, how ridiculous soever. " But I,” said Mr. Boyle, “ having no little awes of that kind upon me, thought myself bound to enter the lists with him, as I did, that the sense of the scriptures might not be depraved."
The extensiveness of his knowledge fun pasied every thing but his modesty, and his defire of communicating it; which appears equally in all his compositions ; for in them we may discern his fear of offending, and his fear of concealing; and this, not from any timid apprehensions of oppofition, but from a bene. volent inclination to instruct without severity, and to part with wisdom as freely as he had received it.
He had the juftest conception of truth that the human mind can frame; so cautious in examining and reporting, as to avoid, in the opinion of all true judges, the least imputation of credulity; and, on the other hand, so well acquainted with the power of nature, that he never presumed to set any limits thereto, or hindered any acceffion of knowledge, by that fort of incredulity which fometimes attends fuperior learning. In a word, considered in every light, as a man, as a philofopher, as a Christian, he came as near perfection as the defects of human nature would allow ; and, though he never fought it, yet the most universal praise, both at home and abroad, waited on his labours living, and have constantly attended his memory; for it may be truly said, that never any fame was more unquestioned than that of Mr. Boyle's both was and is; and we may, with great safety, add, that, as he is the peculiar honour of his family, and the great glory of this nation, so foreigners, who
cannot contend with us in these points, endeavour to outvie us in their commendations.
In treating this subject, we have, perhaps, gone too far; but whoever considers it attentively, will
easily excuse a fault that it was almost imposible not to commit; and for which we can only atone by confefsing that all we have or could say, is so much below his merit, that it serves only to express our sense of it, and our desire of rendering him that justice, which, without abilities equal to his own, can never be performed.