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due to thuman authority. Parents must teach their children the first principles of religion ; ministers must: teach their people the gospel of Christ, and children and people should hear with meekness and submission the word of truth. But Christian parents and faithful teachers will be anxious in every truth which they teach, to bring before those whom they instruct the only t sure foundation of truth, the word of God; and to tell them, “ take it not on my word, but on the word of Him who is my Teacher and my Father, as well as yours ;” this will give its just strength to religious truth, and lay a foundation that will support the soul amid all the shakings and storms of this life Too generally, however, we are leaning not on Jehovah and His truth, but on man and his opinions ; and the turning point in our minds is not the overwhelming testimony of the sacred word, after a due search of that word, but the weight of human testimony, and so human writings thrust out the divine record. Luther "expressed his fear even in his day of too great a'multiplication of books : that as fathers, councils, and doctors had superseded the apostles, so it should be again, tand he modestly said he wished his own books to last only for the age in which they were written, and which they might serve; believing that God would givě to succeeding ages their own labourers, as he had always heretofore done.' 1 : It marks a tendency to this danger when Christians are too much afraid of men of this world's literature, and pay too much court to them, and speak too highly of them, as if men greatly skilled in human learning au01198 19V
See Scott's Continuation, Vol. i. p. 242.
were, on that account alone, to have great deferencer shown to them in religion; if naționally God addressed his people, I have raised up thy sons, 0 Zion, against thy sons, 0 Greece ;, the day too will come, whens: spiritually it will be seen, that to be a member of Zionit to receive the lively oracles, to know and love God, is infinitely superior to all the acquirements of class sical literature, and all the arts and sciences of the world.
poved dess vi bus -3. IMPROPER MOTIVES FOR STUDY are very com mon. Some will read to pass away the time, others, to be able to talk of a book; others to gain admiration by criticising it; others because they shall be thought ignorant if they have not read it. There are those who will read for the very purpose of finding fault and cavilling. What spiritual profit can be expected from books which are read from these motives d how can improvement be reaped when it was not even thought. of, or sought for! The mere acquisition of knowledge, for the pleasure which it gives, or for the superiority which it confers, is not that Christian motive from which we should pursue our studies. The Mr. Adam forcibly observes, Reading is for the most part, only a more refined species of sensuality, and answers man's purpose of shuffling off his
great work with God and himself, as well as a ball orva masquerade.'1 Our chief motives should be of a far higher kind: to know that we may do the will of God : to be better fitted for serving him and our fellow creatures here; and better prepared for the everlasting state on which we are so soon to enter. tis ulydits
4. MISDIRECTION IN STUDY is a very serious
danger. When 'first a thirst for knowledge is excited in the mind, it is immensely important to be directed aright. If misdirected, or if following only accidental circumstances, a person reads that which only leads him astray, it may cost him many a wearisome step back again, and days and years of usefulness may be for 'ever lost. There have been ministers who have honestly and openly before their people felt themselves constrained to retract what before they had taught as divine truth; and infinitely safer and happier is so painful a result, than when to the end the blind lead the blind till both are lost. In general it is not safe to go wholly in the track of any human party'; we have all our partialities. But how shall we be preserved from this danger; the ignorant need a guide, and those without knowledge cannot but look to others who at least possess more learning and more information than themselves ? The chief guard is the word of God, read with fervent prayer, and practised as far as we know with holy fear. Possessing this fear, while a man only goes as far as he has clear testimonies of scripture, he will either never materially err, or will in the result be preserved from all fatal misdirec tion.' Remember, with the well-advised is wisdom. Prov. xiii. 10.
5. THE NEGLECT OF PRACTICAL PIETY is another danger of study. Those who have eagerly entered into studies have felt this. It is the remark of Huetius, 'in descibing his own experience on this point,
I was entirely carried away by the pleasure which I found in learning, and that endless variety which it affords had to taken up my thoughts, and seized all the avenues of my mind, that I was altogether incapable of any sweet and intimate communication with
God. These wanderings and indisposition of mind have ever been my grand failing, and they still break in on my prayers, and quite deprive me of all the benefit that I should reap from them. When I withdrew into religious retirement, in order to recollect my scattered thoughts, and fix them on heavenly things, I experienced a dryness and insensibility of soul, by which the holy Spirit seemed to punish this excessive bent to learning, and the indifference which I had for my spiritual advancement.'
From the intense interest which close study calls forth, and from the immense importance of the truths which we are considering, we are apt to get so abstracted in our studies as to neglect our daily duties. Hereafter we shall contemplate, admire, and enjoy ; here we are born to toil and labour. But, in fact, no studies teach more effectually, as we have shown, than a faithful practice of religion ; intercourse with the poor, visits to the sick and dying, actual conversations with persons in spiritual difficulties, give an experimental knowledge of Theology far beyond books. Never let that time be given to private studies, which positive and plain duties call for. For instance, the duties of his station in life, must not be neglected by the Christian ; the duties of visiting, instructing, and comforting the sick, the tempted, and the afflicted must not be omitted, inorder to attend to private studies. God gives different gifts. Some men are more especially qualified for leamed pursuits, and called to them, and may there fore more entirely devote themselves to them ; but might not some who have been thus occupied, who have seemed to vegetate in books, and to bring no result of real profit to the Church, have been far better employed in directly practical and beneficial
services to the church?. We must attend to t practical part of religion, if we would avoid, t dangers of merely theoretical views in the min which may be worse than useless. 19. We sometimes see the painful case, of one is fully acquainted with the theory of religion, bu ignorant of its power; having bright intellectual ligh on the subject of religion, but no spiritual perception Such an one may have very clear views of the truth and be able to state them distinctly, and to instruc and edify others, but yet be far from that meekness, humility, love, and heavenly-mindedness which mark the Christian ;-he has that carnal mind, which is death it but not that spiritual mind, which is life tend peace. Iu It is very possible to hold the truth in unrighteousness; and of all characters this is the most awful, for it takes the
that should joverthrowsin, and either locks them up, or blunts their edge, or turns them to the maintenance of that which they should destroy. wo Bishop Butler makęs, a reflection which is most awakening and important to all students and teachers, ethat, if Going over the theory of virtue in our thoughts, talking well, and drawing fine pictures of it, this is
so far from necessarily or certainly conducing to the habit of it, in him who thus employs himself, that it may harden the mind in a contrary course,
and form na habit of insensibility to all moral obligations. For ofrom our very faculty of habits, passive impressions by being repeated grow weaker, and thoughts by often passing through the mind are felt less sensibly. Let vúgo very seriously and constantly watch against this - danger, by personally and practically applying to ourselves the truths which we learn or teach, Watch