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LIFE OF THE AUTHOR. 27

with the study of the Oriental languages, he closely attended
on the celebrated John Leusden, who taught those languages
with incredible dexterity, and under him he construed almost
the whole Hebrew Text, as also the commentaries of Solomon
Iarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi on Hosea, and the Chaldee
Paraphrase of Jonathan on Isaiah, and of Onkelos on a part of
the Pentateuch. Moreover, under the same master, he just
touched on the mysteries of the Masora, and the barbarous dic.

tion of the Talmud; namely, the parts published by John Coc. ,

ceius, under the title of Sanhedrim and Maccoth, and by Con-
stantine Lempereur, under that of Babha Bathrae: under the
same master he learned the elements of the Syriac and Arabic
languages, which last, however, he afterwards less cultivated
than the others. What proficiency he made in the Hebrew,
appeared from a public specimen he gave at the instigation of
Leusden, of a well written Hebrew oration about the Messias.
of the Jews and Christians, in 1654. But, though almost
quite swallowed up in those studies, he by no means neglect-
ed the study of divinity, to which he knew all the others were
only subservient; but in that sublime science, he diligently
used, as masters, the greatest men, and best seen in the sacred
scriptures, whose most laudable, memory no lapse of time
shall ever be able to obliterate; namely, Gisbert Voetius,
John Hoornbeekius, Gualterus Bruinicus, and Andrew Esse-
nius. By whose instructions, together with his own extraor-
dinary application, and true piety towards God, what profi-
ciency, he made, the reader may easily judge for himself.
However, he had a mind to see Groningen, to have the bene-
fit of hearing, the famous Samuel Maresius: 'whither he went
in 1654, after the summer vacation, chiefly applying to divi-
nity: under whose direction, he made exercises in French, by
which he gave so much satisfaction to this man, that,
notwithstanding his many avocations, he deigned to correct
and purge those declamations of Witsius from their solecisms
and other improprieties, before they were recited in the col-
lege. Having, thus spent a year at Groningen, and obtained
an honourable testimonial from the Theological faculty, he
next turned his thoughts to Leyden. But the plague then .
ing there, he resolved to return to Utrecht, in order to bui

farther on the foundation he had there so happily laid; and,
therefore, he not only carefully heard the professors in divi-
mity at this time, as before, both in public and private, but
cultivated a peculiar familiarity with the very reverend Jus-
tus van den Bogaerdt, whose piety, prudence, and admirable
endowments he had such a value for, that he imagined, per-

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haps from youthful, inexperience, no preacher equal to him.
From his sermons, conversation, and example, he learned the
deeper mysteries of the kingdom of God, and of mystical and
spiritual Christianity. From him he understood show great
the difference is between any superficial-knowledge, which
scholastic exercises, books learnedly written, and a close ap-
plication, may procure to minds quite destitute of sanctifica-
tion, and that heavenly wisdom which is acquired by medita-
tion, prayer, love, familiar converse with God, and by the
very relish and experience of spiritual things; which, proceed-
ing from the Spirit of God, internally illuminating, convin-
cing, persuading, and sealing, gloriously transforms the whole
man to the most holy image of Christ. In a word, he owns
that by meafls of this holy person, he was introduced by the
Lord Jesus to his most secret recesses, while before he too
much, and too fondly pleased himself in tarrying in the porch,
and there, at length, learned, disclaiming all vain presumption
of science, humbly to sit down at the feet of the heaven
Master, and receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child.
But that it may not be thought, he so applied to the form-
ing of his mind to piety, as to neglect for the future all aca-
demical studies, the theses he wrote on the Sacred Trinity,
against the Jews, from their own writings, may, and ought to
be, a proof to the contrary; and which he published in the
month of October, 1655, to be disputed under the moderation
of the famous Leusden; which, though warmly attacked by
the most experienced academicians, yet the moderator thought
the respondent acquitted himself so well as to supersede his
interposition on any account: and when, according to custom,
he returned solemn thanks to the moderator for his trouble,
this last very politely and truly made answer, He had stood in
no need of his help.
The time now seemed to require, that our Witsius, very fa-
mous at two universities, should be employed in the public
service of the church, and first, as usual, gave specimens of
his proficiency. Therefore, in the month of May, 1656, he
presented himself at Enkhuysen to a preparatory examination,
as it is called, together with his then fellow-student, John
Lasdragerus, with whom he had a familiarity from his youth,
and whom he afterwards had for his most intimate colleague
and faithful fellow-labourer, first in the church of Leovaarden,
and then at Utrecht. And upon this occasion he was not only
admitted to preach publicly, which he did with uncommon
applause, and gave so general satisfaction, that there was
scarce a country church in North Holland, where he then re-

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LIFE OF THE AUTHOR. 29

sided, which wanting a minister, did not put his name in the number of the three candidates, from which the election is usually made. And, at the instigation of the reverend John James le Bois, minister of the French church at Utrecht, he ventured, upon leave given, to preach publicly to the French church at Dort in their language. And from that time he often preached in French, both at Utrecht and Amsterdam; as also sometimes in the course of his ministry at Leovaarden. But because he imagined there was still something wanting to the elegance of his language, he proposed very soon to of. a tour to France, and pay his respects to the great men there, and at the same time have the pleasure of hearing them, and improving in their language.

But providence jorotherwise; for the following year, 1657, and the twenty-first of his age, being lawfully called by the church of West Wouden, he was i. there on the 8th of July. This village lies almost in the mid-way be. tween Enkhuysen and Horn, and is united with the parish of Binne-Wijsent. And here, for ... and upwards, he laboured with the greatest alacrity of a youthful mind, and with no less benefit: for, by frequent catechising, and with the greatest prudence suiting himself to the catechumens, both boys and girls, they who before were ossly ignorant, could not, only give proper answers on principal heads of our religion, but prove their assertions by suitable texts of scripture, and repeat a whole sermon distinctly, when examined on it, to the joy as well as shame of their parents and older people. The reputation of so faithful and dexterous a pastor, being thus widely spread, the church of Wormer, in the same tract of North #. sufficiently numerous and celebrated, but then too much distracted by intestine commotions, imagined they could not pitch upon a fitter guide to allay their heats, and form their minds. This call Witsius not only accepted, passing to that charge in October 1661, but spent there four years and a half, doing every thing in his power to promote Christian unanimity and the common salvation; and as he saw the extensive fruits of his labours among them, so he was universally beloved. Wherefore, he could not bear to remove from them to the people of Sluice in Flanders, who offered him great encouragement to Preach, but the people of Goese in nd succeeded in their call, and he repaired to them about Whitsuntide 1666, and was so acceptable to all by his doctrine, manners, and diligence, as to five there in the most agreeable peace and concord, with his learned, pious, and vigilant colleagues, two of whom he revered as his

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30 LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, -*

s fathers; and the third, who was younger, he loved as his bro- ther. He was much delighted with this settlement, and often wished to grow old in this peaceful retreat. But the people of Leovaarden, in West Friesland, interrupted these thoughts; who, in November 1667, called him with a remarkable affection, to that celebrated metropolis of his native country, that he might prove a shining light, not only in the church, court, and Yor senate, of that place, but to all the people of Friesland, who flocked thither from all parts to the assembly of the states; but the people of Goese doing all they could to hinder his removal, it was April 1668, before he went to Leovaarden. And it is scarcely to be expressed with what vigilance, fidelity, and prudence he conducted himself; but at a time of such difficulty, when the enemy, having made such incursions into Holland, i and made themselves masters of most of its towns, and struck a panic into all, that a man of such spirit and resolution was absolutely necessary. Nor do I know of any, before or since, whose labours were more successful, and who was more acceptable to the church, the nobility, and the court. And therefore he was for some time tutor to Henry Casimir, the most serene prince of Nassau, hereditary governor of Friesland, too j. snatched away by death; and with remarkable success he instructed, in the doctrines of religion, his most illustrious sister, Amelia, a very religious princess, afterwards married to the duke of Saxe-Eisenach; and he presided at the profession of faith which both princes publicly made, to the t edification of the church, in the presence of the princes' mother, Albertina of Orange. It is not, therefore, to be wondered, that when, through the injury of the most calamitous times, and the decease, both of the venerable and aged Christian Schotanus, and of John Melchior Steinbergius, scarce installed in the professorship, the theological interests of the university of Franequer seemed to be fallen to decay; and the extraordinary, and truly academical endowments of our Witsius were perfectly well known in Friesland, by an experience of seven whole years; that, I say, he was appointed to the *; profession of divinity, in the year 1675, in the academy of his native country, thus hapily to be restored. Which opportunity also the church of ! o: prudently laid hold on, being then without a second minister, very cheerfully to commit to him, now appointed professor, that sacred charge. Having, therefore, accepted | both these calls, he came to Franequer; and after being declared Doctor of divinity in the academical assembly, by the divine his colleague, he was, on the 15th of April, installed

LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 31

professor of o Same, so delivering a solemn oration, with the greatest applause of a concourse of le from all s in .. he . expressed the §: of a o: divine; and as such he soon after demeaned himself, together with the venerable and aged Nicolaus Arnoldus, his most intimate colleague. In the pulpit, Witsius addressed himself with so much gravity, elegance, piety, solidity, and usefulness, that the general inattention of the people was removed, and religious impressions made both on great and small. The academical chair also gained a warmth from his sacred fire, to which, from the different and most or. of Europe, the youth intended for the ministry, in great numbers. And not to be wanting in his duty, or disappoint the intention of those who . him, in any particular, he no sooner entered the university, than, notwithstanding his many daily public and rivate labours, in both his offices, he set himself to write, and, in a very little time o. besides select academical disputations, mostly tending to establish the peace of the church, and a smaller dissertation, two works pretty large and learned, which went through several editions, and were spread over Europe; being every where read with universal approbation. And besides, there was nothing of extraordinary importance to be transacted, even with the schismastic followers of Labadie, who had then fixed their principal residence in West Friesland, which both the nobility and the overseers of the church did not think proper should be dispatched by this man. - -About this time, Mr. J. Mark, on his return from his studies at Leyden, commenced his acquaintance with Witsius, who recommended him as pastor to the church of Midlumen, between Franequer and Harlingen; and afterwards procured him the degree of Doctor in divinity; and, by his interest with his serene highness, and others, Dr. Mark was appointed third ordinary professor of divinity. * But, the justly renowned character of our Witsius was such, that others, envying the happiness of the people of Friesland, wanted to have the benefit of his labours themselves. This was first attempted by the overseers of the university of Groningen, who, to procure a worthy successor to the deceased James Altingius, as well in the theological and philological chairs, as in the university church, about the close of the year 1679, sent to Franequer a reverend person, to offer the most honourable terms, in older to prevail on. Witsius. But that attempt proved unsuccessful. For, communicating

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