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more to be found in woods than there is in books. Trees and stones will teach thee that which is not to be learned from other masters.' The heavens, too, declare the glory of God, and all creation speaks his praise. But let us beware of resting in the mere study of outward things. Lord Bacon quotes a striking sentiment from a platonist as to the danger arising from our senses— The sense of man carries a resemblance with the sun, which as we see opens and reveals all the terrestrial globe: but then it again obscures, and conceals the stars and celestial globe, so does the sense discover natural things, but it shuts
divine.' The sorrows and afflictions of life are another school in which much is learned. • Where there is much of the cross there is much light; where there is little of the cross there is much darkness and much folly.' Afflictions make an experienced divine.
Rollock, one of the Scotch Reformers, testified, 'I am not ashamed to profess that I never reached to so high a pitch in the knowledge of God as I have attained in this sickness.'i Rivet, a French Protestant, on his dying bed asserted, “In the space of ten days since I kept my bed I have learned more and made greater progress in divinity than in the whole course of
life before.' Sickness brings us near death and eternity, dispels the glare of the world, and thus prepares us to receive in their just importance those revealed truths which we before but dimly discerned, or carelessly and with indifference 'regarded. · But especially, let us study the Saviour. The best
1 See Adami Vitæ.
result of scriptural knowledge is to know Christ. It is most beneficial to ourselves, and most useful to others. Every part of our studies should have some connexion with Him. He is THE TRUTH, the sum and substance of all truth. If we know Christ, in the experience of His grace, and by the light of His word, and the teaching of His spirit, we have the key of the mysteries of God's word.
How important to bear in mind that the true way to spiritual light is to follow Christ; (John viii. 12.) and that no learning, research, diligence, or acuteness, can avail, where this is neglected.
What a blessed world would this be, if in all Christians Christ was formed the hope of glory-if we could discern the image of Christ in all and every one around us ! Franck says, “O blessed contemplation! Would to God we might thus with a sedate mind, behold Christ in all others, and that we ourselves
be found a clear and lucid mirror of Him.' 1 12. Lastly, EVER
THAT GOD IS THE FATHER OF LIGHTS and the fountain of wisdom. When we lose sight of Him, it is not surprising that we wander into darkness and error. We should begin our reading, lifting up our hearts to Him for His blessing, and praying that He will both keep us from all error and guide into all truth. Bene precasse est bene studuisse. To have prayed well, is to have studied well. The importance of pursuing all our studies in the spirit of prayer
very great. We may otherwise be led into errors, puffed up with conceit, fancy that knowledge is all, despise our brethren, and fall
1 See Franck's Sum. p. 259.
into ten thousand evils. It is incredible what mischief has been done by unsanctified learning. The only remedy for this is much prayer for the enlightening, purifying, and humbling work of the Spirit in our hearts. Bishop Sanderson well remarks, (in a Sermon on 1 Cor. xii. 1) • It was Simon Magus' error to think that the gifts of God might be purchased with
money ; and it has a spice of his sin, and so may go for a kind of simony to think that spiritual gifts may be purchased with labour. You may rise up early and go to bed late, and study hard, and read much, and devour the marrow of the best authors; and when you have done all, unless God give a blessing to your endeavours, be as lean and meagre, in regard of true and useful learning, as Pharaoh's lean kine were, after they had eaten the fat ones. It is God that both ministereth seed to the sower, and multiplieth the seed sown; the principal and the increase are both his. If then we expect any gift or the increase of any gift from Him; neither of which we can have without him, let us not be behind either, with our best endeavours to use the means he has appointed, or with our faithful prayers to crave His blessing on those means.' He says also, Prayer without study is presumption, and study without
Luther declares, that · he profited more in the knowledge of the Scriptures in a short time by private prayer, than by a long course of application without it.' Remember, then, the unspeakable importance of fervent and daily prayer for the divine blessing on all your studies. Have a firm conviction that God alone can make you a wise and understanding Christian, or an able minister of the New Covenant. We
are not sufficient, with all our studies, plans, and efforts, of ourselves to attain true wisdom, or to make ourselves efficient instruments of His glory. Let us cherish a deep sense therefore of our own incapacity, and daily look to Him alone for divine teaching. He teacheth to profit. It was the pious Hervey's remark, towards the end of his life, Were I to enjoy Hezekiah's grant, and have fifteen years added to my days, I would be much more frequent in my supplications to a throne of grace. We sustain a mighty . loss by reading so much, and praying so little.'
The end of all just study is divine illumination to our own everlasting welfare, and that of our fellow-creatures. It was the prayer of the apostle for his beloved Ephesian converts, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. This is the highest result of all learning. If our studies do not lead us to know Christ; do not increase in us that knowledge, and do not help us in our efforts to make Him known to others, a day will come, when they will all be found worse than vain and unprofitable: but every man that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh to Christ. All-important then is prayer. An hour's prayer may
do more for the illumination of our mind than years of study. Every part of our studies should be, then, intermingled with ejaculatory prayer ; first, for right knowledge, and then for its right use.
Whatever we may have said of the value of human learning, may all be subordinate to this learning. May the great aim of the Writer of these pages,
of every reader, be to attain that knowledge, which makes the possessor himself wise, and fills him with zeal to make all others also, WISE UNTO SALVATION.
THERE is a large and important class of the community whose case, perhaps, has not been sufficiently attended to : I mean, that of young persons, destined for the most part to fill offices of trust in the church or state, and particularly at the commencement of, or during their under-graduateship in the University.
Whether we contemplate the tide poured in every year, from our public schools, or the influx from private seminaries,—the critical period itself of human life, or the consequences pending upon the issue ;it must be acknowledged, that of all classes, none presents a stronger claim to our consideration ; none more loudly calls for that Christian counsel, which it is the aim of the present chapter to administer.
While in fairness it is conceded, that the University affords many advantages for the acquirement of useful knowledge; for expanding and invigorating the intellectual powers, and fixing habits of application and thinking, which, through life, give address, solidity, and a tone to the character ; it cannot be denied, that in no situation is youth more critically placed ; in none has temptation a more attractive force,