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“ intrusion into the things which we have not seen,” and can-erful writer remarks) «he opens the Scriptures, that same not see, is the unhallowed indulgence of a fleshly mind."' light that discovers the meaning, will not fail to affect and The extent and precise boundaries of revelation are determi- make our hearts burn within us with the sense of Divine light, ned by infinite wisdom; and could we discern them with a authority, and power. Of this the experience of the people single eye, they would be found equally illustrative of a high of God, as they grow in knowledge, furnishes them daily regard to the happiness of man. A more expanded view un- with new instances; and therefore they do not stumble at der present circumstances would only increase instead of the want of the present sense of that light, but are quickened clearing up our difficulties. The eye would wander over the to diligence, excited to frequent cries for opening of their field of infinite space with a disproportioned power of percep- eyes, that they may understand the wonders, that by the tion. The objects, therefore, would be less distinctly appre- knowledge of other parts of the Word, they are induced hended ; and the result would leave us more restless and dis- to believe couched in those parts, which yet they knew satisfied, while the happy influence of humility, simplicity, not.' and faith had been wholly disregarded. If we have not the One further remark suggests itself from this interesting whole view before us, let it suffice, that we have all that is record to avoid unnecessary distress and misconception. Let needful for our happiness and present duty. The attempt to not Miss Graham's vivid portraiture of her own feelings and supply what we conceive to be wanting by the conjectural views be considered as a general standard, as if the same ineffort of reason, would be to subject “ vain man” to his Ma- tensity of mental exercise, and clearness of spiritual perker's merited rebuke—“Who is this that darkeneth counsel ception were the exclusive evidences of a sound conversion by words without knowledge ?” Every step of advance be- of heart to God. Self-renunciation, diligent investigation of yond the Divine record is fraught with danger and uncer- Divine truth, and a conscientious improvement of the light tainty. “ In God's light” alone can we see light.” The vouchsafed, are indeed indispensable marks of Christian sin. intellectual “ light that is in us,” when applied by the pride cerity. Yet while the enjoyment of our high privileges will of man to the contents of revelation—" is darkness; and how vary in proportion to the energy of these holy principles, the great is that darkness !” Simple faith, therefore, however measure of their influence is almost indefinitely diversified mistaken or despised, may justly be deemed the highest act within the precincts of the true church of God. It may also of reason ; while rational religion, “falsely so called,' may be important to observe, that many of Miss Graham's most easily be proved to be of all schemes the most irrational.* painful trials (such as her intellectual pride) arose out of the
We would add a few words upon the connexion of infidelity peculiar form of her natural character. No sympathy therewith the state of the heart. We are not exclusively intellect- fore can be expected or need be desired in minds cast in a ual beings. The affections so materially influence the judg- different mould; and any effort to excite or encourage it, for ment, as often to incapacitate it for the accurate discernment the purpose of establishing an ideal connexion with this obof truth. The natural bias of the heart is to sin, and conse-ject of attraction, (which would probably be unaccompanied quently to infidelity, the excuse and covering for sin. The with a desire to imitate the spiritual excellences of the propoint át issue is, whether men shall remain the servants of posed inodel) can only originate in deceit, and tend to selfsin, or become the servants of God; whether they shall be delusion. degraded as sensual beings, or raised to the elevation of intelligent or spiritual existence. Now, as the Gospel stands in the way of natural indulgence, it must be removed. So that if a course of infidel reading, or intercourse with scoffers, has not furnished the necessary arguments, they must be invented from the man's own heart. The danger of infidelity is not, therefore, confined to the ungodly and profane. Every
CHAPTER III. unconverted man must secretly wish the Bible to be untrue; and under this bias he will (except restrained by an Almighty General sketch of Miss Graham's life; her views of study; power) endeavour to prove it untrue. A wrong state of
extensive attainments; and uctive devotedness to God. heart, as with Miss Graham, gives the power and advantage to this active and malignant principle. In her early state of Miss Graham continued to reside in London for some time child-like simplicity she would have been safe. But the after her deliverance from that awful delusion, into which "fulfilment of the desires of the mind,” probably more than she had been permitted to fall. The remembrance, however, of “ the flesh,” combined with ignorance “ of Satan's de- of this temporary apostacy was “ever before her" with all vices,” brought her into his snare; and she was “ taken that holy shame and self-abasement, which attaches to the captive by him at his will." Depending upon the teaching - purified” conscience of the pardoned sinner; humbling her of the Spirit of God, our "path" in Divine knowledge will in the dust, while yet faith, hope, love, peace, and joy, were be “as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the dominant principles in her soul. Deeply also did she the perfect day.” And whenever' (as an original and pow- feel the constraint of the command given by anticipation to a
backsliding apostle ; " When thou art converted, strengthen The writer cannot forbear to add some admirable remarks from thy brethren.' It was the great object of her • Test of Truth,' an unpublished manuscript of Miss Graham's shortly to be noticed. to set forth her own case as a beacon of warning, an example • It is true that faith compels our assent to many things beyond the of encouragement, and a monument of Divine grace, for the reach of reason, even of the renewed reason. But this implicit cre- special use of those who might be brought into the same dence is itself the highest and noblest exercise of the understanding. seductive atmosphere of temptation. There is reason to beIt is a reasonable assent to the testimony of One, in whom we repose lieve, that her work in its original form produced its measure unlimited confidence, because we have reasonable grounds for con- of conviction upon her principal correspondent; and we may the reason is presupposed, whereby we are assured that the Bible is confidently expect, that, in a wider circulation, an answer to God's testimony ; and an act of the Understanding, whereby, having her prayers for a Divine blessing upon it will be abundantly obtained this assurance, we infer, that every word of the Bible must manifested. During her residence in London, the ministry be true. The Divine philosophy of faith, then, sets out upon these of the Rev. Watts Wilkinson, and a deep study of the sacred two propositions. The first-an assurance, founded in reason, that volume, were the ordained means of advancing her knowledge the Bible is the revelation of God. The second an inference, and experience of Scriptural truth. Her intellectual habits equally founded in reason, that every word of the Bible is true ; and must therefore be taken in preference to all the deductions of our were a source of much gratification to her; and mainly conown reason, which may or may not be true. Neither of these pro-tributed, under the blessing of God, to form her character into positions is shaken by the fact, that the Bible contains many things a inould of solid and permanent usefulness. It is however which we do not understand ; or in other words, that God may know delightful to observe her Christian simplicity and watchfulmany things which we do not know; that many things may appear ness, to subordinate these valuable enjoyments to the primary ent light, from that in which they are viewed by our narrow and object of the glory of God. Of this the following prayer, prejudiced minds. When the first proposition is once proved to the found among her papers, will furnish an interesting and edifyentire satisfaction of the mind, the second must follow of course. ing illustration. Then faith, an implicit, childlike faith, becomes the only rational • Before study of any kind, remember that it is but lost mode of proceeding. Every departure from this faith is a departure labour, except the Lord bless it. from reason ; an insult to the understanding ; a violation of com
And that we do make such departures, only tends to prove, that while the renewed understanding “consents to the law
Summary of things to be sought of God before study. of God that it is holy, just, and good ;”> “ the law of sin,” which is
• I desire to thank Thee, my God and Father in Christ yet working“ in our members, » occasionally beclouds and perverts Jesus, for this and every other opportunity of improvement it.
Thou hast given me. May the opportunity Thou hast given
me be blest of Thee! Enable me to receive it with thanks- But we will here give some large extracts from an unpubgiving, and sanctify it to me by the Word of God and prayer. lished Treatise on the Intellectual, Moral, and Religious Ö let me know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified; uses of Mathematical Science,' as conveying her full and and other things just so far as may be for my good and thy matured views upon this important subject. * glory, and no further. I would mourn before Thee the base Speaking of study generally, she marks with accurate disingratitude with which I have hitherto abused my time and crimination the different principles of the worldly and the talents, by loving thy gifts more than Thee, and seeking Christian student. myself, not Thee, in them. Now I bring all my things to • Many and varied are the motives by which the worldly Thee; for they are not mine, but thine own. Take that ac- student is actuated. But his views all centre in some way cursed thing, self, out of them all
, and condescend to use them or other in his own person. Self-gratification, self-advancefor thy glory. I thank Thee, that the meanest employment ment, self-interest, are mingled with them all. The Chrisis acceptable in thy sight, when done in the name of the tian student is also variously influenced. But he has learned Lord Jesus. May I set about this, in His name, and in His to transfer all his actions to another centre. The glory of his strength, and to His glory! May I not once seek my own reconciled God is the point on which they all turn, the comthings in it, but the things that are Jesus Christ's! Let me pass by which they are all directed. The outward conduct no longer lean to my own understanding; but may I so ac- of the two characters may present many points of similarity. knowledge Thee in all my ways, that Thou mayest establish Their inward intentions are totally and irreconcilably differmy thoughts, and direct my paths! Suffer me not to be wise ent. The intrinsic excellence of science, its ennobling influin my own conceit, nor vainly puffed up in my fleshly mind. ence upon the mind, the delights that are to be enjoyed in the Make me to lean froin mine own wisdom. Be Thou my pursuit of it, and the benefits that are to be reaped in its atwisdom. Holy Lord God the Spirit! who dividest unto tainment;—these are objects common to the man of the world, every man severally as Thou wilt, bless such of my studies, and to the religious man. But mark wherein the difference and in such a degree as may be most to thy glory. If it be consists. With the former they are primary objects of conthy will, prepare me by them for the work to which I desire sideration ; the latter beholds them only in a secondary point thou wouldst call and separate me.* I commit this work, to of view. The Christian student is far from despising the adwhich I would devote myself, into thy hands. Prosper it or vantages of study. He has felt what it is to thirst after not as Thou seest good. Thy will be done respecting it, knowledge, and possesses a keen relish for the pleasures of only take all self-seeking out of it; get thyself glory, Lord, in intellect. But he puts all these considerations away from all that I do; and keep me from ever wishing to rob Thee of him, till he has answered a question of higher importance. thy glory. Lord, if thou wilt bless me abundantly, grant His first inquiry is— How shall I study for God? How that in whatever Thou givest me, I may remember I have shall I render my acquirements subservient to his glory?' received it, and not glory as if I had not received it. I set If he cannot answer the question to his complete satisfaction, myself to this employment in the name of Jesus : may I have the uneasy recurrence of it will prove a continual drawback fellowship with Him in it! Let it not become a snare to to the spirited and successful prosecution of his studies.' me; but may the Lord who is my confidence, preserve my Upon a very prevalent misconception upon this subject, foot from being taken in this net, which has so often en-she gives the following just remarks,tangled me!
• It has been too much the practice with a well-meaning O Thou Glorifier of Jesus! take of the things that are but injudicious portion of the religious world, to decry human His, and show them unto me, and unto all Thy people, with learning, as if it were a thing absolutely unchristian and persuch light and power, that our wills, desires, and affections niçious. They attack it in the gross, and apply to it all that may be quite swallowed up in His love. Let us have no will the Scripture has said concerning the wisdom of this world.” but Thy most holy will. Convince us that all things else are They appear to forget that these censures apply not to the mere dross and dung, in comparison with that most excellent use, but to the abuse, of human learning. Those who “lean knowledge of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which to their own understanding,” who are “wise in their own condo thou give us every day more abundantly, making us to ceits,” who set human wisdom in the place of the Holy know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Even Ghost's teaching—these are the wise and learned, of whom so, Holy Spirit, for the sake of thy great mercies in Christ the Scripture affirms, that the things of the kingdom are hid Jesus, to whom with Thee and the Father, be all the honour, from their eyes. But the description was never meant for the all the praise, and all the glory, now and for ever. Amen.' In the same spirit, an extract from a letter to a young view of the extent, general accuracy, and spiritual character of Miss
* We subjoin an analysis of this manuscript, which will give some friend
engaged in the work of tuition, gives the following Graham's mind. Introduction. CHAPTER I. The Usefulness of Mathsensible advice, with a modest reference to her own case.
ematics in learning to Reason ; Groundwork of Mathematical Sci
ences; Art of Stating a Question ; Modes of Demonstration ; An
March 22, 1827. alysis; Connexion ; Art of Simplifying Processes; Intermediate You ask me whether I think study is wrong. I think, on Principles. CHAPTER II. The Beneficial infl ence of Mathematics the contrary, if we study with a view to the glory of God, it upon some parts of the Intellectual and Moral Character ; Attenbecomes a duty to do so. If we study merely to please our-Moral Habits of Mind. CHAPTER III. The Disadvantages of Mathselves, I think it is wrong. Your situation seems to render ematical Studies ; Engrossing attention of the Pursuit
; Contempt study necessary; and when we reflect, how few of those who or Mistrust of other Evidence ; Effect on the Imaginative Faculties. are engaged in teaching are truly pious, it ought to stir us up Chapter IV. The Advantages of Mathematical Science, and of the to the best improvement of our time and talents. The love of Cultivation of Reason in general, considered in a religious point of study and mental amusements has been my great snare, and view. CHAPTER V. A review of the Disadvantages and Temptahas so very often led me astray, that I have been tempted to tions to which the Religious Student is Exposed. In the Introducgive it up altogether. I feel thankful to God, that whenever who, in the ardour of their pursuit after human learning, are not unI have begun to make some progress in my favourite study, mindful of its immeasurable inferiority to “ the wisdom which is he has thwarted my attempt to excel by some seasonable in- from above.” To them,' she remarks, í study of every kind preterruption, a fit of illness or some domestic trial. But when sents considerations of higher import than even the intellectual benI think how very useful a moderate degree of mental cultiva-efits that are reaped from it. The introduction of religion into secution may make me, and particularly that it seems the way of lar matters is too often censured as impertinent and unseasonable ; usefulness most suitable to me, if I should recover my science. I can only reply, she adds, Í by the simple confession,
and many will think it wholly out of place in a work professedly on strength, I mean to resume it as soon as I can ; and I hope in that I should grieve to be acquainted with that science, which might Christ, through whose goodness every opportunity of im-not, under God, forward in some way or other the grand object of provement is given, that he will not suffer these opportunities my existence. “ Thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, to become hindrances to my advancement in the knowledge of and shalt talk of them, .when thou sittest in thine house, and when him. Let us pray to be taught to feel, that all earthly know-thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou ledge is mere dross and dung, in comparison with the most
risest up." (Deut. vi. 7.) These are the commands of God concern
ing the momentous truths of Scripture. They leave us very little excellent knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; time for science, independent of religion. Every believer in the Bible and then I trust we may pursue, without abusing it, only tak- will endeavour to act in the spirit of these words. He will consider ing care never to neglect any present duty, or any spiritual that time as lost, which is spent without regard to eternity ; and that duty for it.'
learning as useless, which he cannot employ in subservience to hea
venly knowledge. This valuable manuscript was written about two This was a plan, which lay very near her heart, for the gratui- years before her death. She had'intended, during her last illness, to tous instruction of the children of Missionaries, and of Christians in jave revised it for publication. But increasing weakness, and the reduced circumstances, with a view to qualify them for the situation overwhelming impression of the near prospect of eternity, compelled of teachers.
her to relinquish her design.
discouragement of those who pursue human study in a simple, of human learning ? If so many things, which we possess in child-like dependence upon God. It sometimes happens, that common with unbelievers, may yet be legitimately improved the young convert, full of religious zeal, and possessed with to the glory of God, why is the understanding to be excepted! some vague and ill-defined notions of the worthless ensnar-Why must that best and fairest of God's common gifts be sufing nature of human learning, is led by a mistaken sense offered to lie waste, only because it is a common one! None duty either entirely to abandon it, or greatly to slacken his can deprecate more earnestly than I do the idea, that the onefforts in the attainment of it, and so to shut himself out from assisted light of human reason can ever make us wise unto a wide field of future usefulness.'
salvation. Bat shall we therefore say, that the reason takes Upon the lawfulness of study she draws the line with great no part whatever in our reception of truth ? Remember, that precision and Christian simplicity.
he who gives you spiritual teaching is the very same, who • Does the time'—she asks-- you now devote to study, gave you this human understanding. He gave you not the break in upon any known and immediate call of duty ? If it former to supersede and overpower, but to guide and enlighten, does, your way is clearly pointed out. No prospect of future the latter. Both are alike his gifts; and though the one is good can justify you in the neglect of present duty. Your stu- inferior to the other, and useless without its aid, yet we must dies must, according to circumstances, be wholly abandoned, neither neglect nor despise it. Nothing that he gives can be or laid aside, till you can resume them without feeling that worthless. So much for reason itself. And as for those parts conscience is drawing you another way. Perhaps you are of human learning, which contribute to strengthen and imready to exclaim, that “this is a hard saying.' You cannot prove this faculty, they also are given by God; means which contentedly resign or postpone your hopes of mental improve- he has adapted to the fulfilment of no ignoble purpose. We ment. Still less can you consent to hazard the loss of all are just as much bound to use those instruments, which Prothat you have already acquired. Suffer me to remind you of vidence has placed within our reach for the cultivation of our two points of view, in which it imports you to consider this understandings, as we are bound to attend to the culture of question.
our fields. Nay, unless we deny that our minds are better • I readily admit, that the studies of worldly men may be things than our fields, we are more called upon to encourage successful, notwithstanding the evil spirit in which they are the growth of the former than of the latter. If God has given prosecuted. “ They have their reward.” But nothing that you you superior faculties, and the means of improving them, there do can prosper, without the divine blessing. This must be cannot be a more manifest token, that he intends they should the crown of your undertakings, or you labour in vain. If you be improved. The parable of the talents is never more fairly know any thing of the spirit of prayer, you make it your con- exemplified, than when, in the way of duty, we go and trade stant request, that all your doings inay prosper, as far as they with the natural abilities which our Divine Master has distriwill promote the glory of God, and no further. In answer buted to us, till we can bring them back to him with the grateful then, to your own petition, God must withhold his blessing acknowledgment, “ Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. from your most laudable employments, if they do not lie in • If then you are possessed of superior powers of mind, rethe direct path of duty. On this account you have no rational member, that the source from whence they emanate is divine. prospect of success. If you do succeed, be assured that some Wateem the gift very highly for the Giver's sake; and seek root of bitterness will spring up from the very accomplish- wybring it to that perfection, of which he has made it sus. ment of your purposes. To continue your studies, therefore, ceptible. Use your talents, as not abusing them. Keep them under existing circumstances, would be to subject yourself to in the dependent, subordinate station which they are intended certain vexation and disappointment.
to otcapy. Expect not from them more than they are capa"On the other hand, I would remind you, that if you simply ble ut performing. But expect something from them. Do attend to your duty, and resolutely forego the most beloved something with them. Cannot you find any use for them? pursuits the moment they come into competition with it, there Take them to God. He has large fields for their employment. is no fear that you should lose any thing by such conduct. There is ample room in his vineyard. Pray that he would He who made and who preserves your intellectual faculties, send you forth to labour in some way or other in that plentecan surely enable them to retain anything that will be really ous harvest, whose labourers are so few. There is nothing so useful to you. Your small stock of knowledge will, with his sweet as this simple committal of your way to one, who is blessing, carry you further than the acquisition of the whole infinitely able to guide and protect you in it. “In all thy circle of human science could do without it. We may affirm ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. of intellectual gains, no less than of those which are gross and Then they become paths of usefulness indeed. The most tangible, that a little that a righteous man hath is better brilliant fancy, the profoundest judgment, clearest understandthan the riches of many wicked.' We are commanded to ing, the most extensive learning, are in themselves less than “ be careful for nothing, but in every thing to make our re- nothing. But intreat the blessing of God upon them; and you quests known unto God.”. You may therefore, in faith, com- shall find they will be worth just so much as he pleases. The mit your studies and acquirements to Him. You may freely infidel exerts the whole force of his understanding, blinded as ask, and confidently expect, that wi ake care of them for it is by the god of this world, in opposing the doctrine of the you, and return them to you, whenever they shall be wanted cross. Let yours, illumined by a beam from the fountain of for his service.'
light, be no less unequivocally devoted to the service of the The lawfulness of study being proved, its expediency, im- cross. Think not the time lost that you spend in study, if portance, and responsibility, are next considered.
you are studying in and for God. Do not say; I will lay • But perhaps the contrary to all this is your case. You aside the vanity of human learning, and trust only to the difeel that you can devote a certain portion of your time to study, vine teaching for powers of sound argument and appropriate without infringing upon any prior and more imperious de- expression. You might with equal justice say, I will abanmand of duty. If it be thus with you, your studies are un- don the superfluous toil of ploughing my lands, and confide in doubtedly lawful. It only remains to inquire, how far they Providence for a plentiful crop.' It is irue in both these cases may be expedient for you.
that the increase cometh from God only ; but it is no less true, • Of this, you must yourself be the best judge. It must de- that he will have the planting and the watering to be ours. pend on a variety of circumstances, the particular bent of God will not help you, if you refuse to help yourself. The your talent ; the opportunities of improvement which lie with- trust of the slothful is an impious and a foolhardy trust. His in your reach ; your present situation, or your future pros- mind, like his vineyard, shall be grown over with weeds. pects in life. Let us suppose that all or any of these combine • In intellectual, as well as in spiritual gifts, “ the Spirit in such a degree, as to give you reason to hope that your divideth unto every man severally as he will." 'Thus we read, studies may open a door of usefulness. I shall endeavour to that “Bezaleel was filled with the Spirit of God, in all manconvince you, that no fancied dread of the snares and tempta- ner of workmanship, to work all manner of work, of the entions attendant upon human learning ought to deter you from graver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer.” the pursuit of it. In your case the acquisition of knowledge And if these meaner talents come directly from him, how much is not merely a permitted employment, but a positive duty. more the nobler properties of the understanding! Are you inGod has made nothing in vain. He has given us nothing, debted to his bounty for the possession of a piercing and comwhich we may not use to his glory. This we admit without manding intellect, and strong powers of reason? I am sure he reluctance in reference to every minor blessing, with which did not give them to you for nothing? Why fold that napkin his bounty has enriched us. We acknowledge, that our health, round them? It is your Lord's treasure. What possible right time, riches, influence, are all entrusted to us for God's ser-have you to "bury it in the earth ?" Do what you will with vice, and capable of being used to his glory. But do not they your own, if indeed you can find any thing which is your own. make a strange exception to this general admission, who so But beware how you trifle with what is his. He is coming, soundly assert the utier inefficiency of human reasoning, and and will expect to “receive it with usury."
Consider, had those powers of mind belonged to you as But if you are seeking to cultivate your understanding with a the bondman of Satan, how would you have toiled to perfect single eye to God's glory, you may so conduct each one of them for his service ! How much mischief would you have your literary employments as to enjoy his presence all the contrived to do with them! And shall “the Lord's freeman” time you are engaged in it. You may draw near to God, take no pains to improve his talents in his Redeemer's cause! even in your studious hours. He will not despise any thing Shall no good be done with them, now that they are Christ's ? that you do for him. His love accepts your worthless serIt is in truth a strange doctrine, that they must lie dormant, vices with as much complacency as the princely obedience of because Satan has no longer any claim upon their exertion. an angel. I repeat it; to study in faith, in a humble, simple,
Why is it, that we have such a dread of calling in the aid child-like faith, removes every perplexity and temptation inciof our reasoning powers ? Is it not, because we look upon rea- dent to its pursuit. Your employments will then cease to son as something of our own? If we reason in faith, is it not appear altogether secular. Cultivating your reason as God's the Spirit of our Father speaking within us, just as much as gift, and assured, that he beholds not with indifference your in any other mode of addressing the unconverted? If we em-feeble attempts to glorify him in this greatest wonder of his ploy human means only so far as we have the warrant of creative power; its commonest exercises will become in a Scripture, of past experience, and of present providences; if measure sacred as the exercises of religion. Spiritual imwe cultivate our faculties in the humblest and simplest de-provement, with no lingering step, will accompany your pendence upon God; surely this is neither making flesh our intellectual progress. “Holiness to the Lord” will be written arm, nor " leaning to our own understanding.'
upon the most trivial of your studies.' Some difficulties connected with study are then discussed The influence of a vain-glorious spirit, as the canker upon in interesting connexion with Christian principles.
this holy principle of faith, is pointedly illustrated. • I cannot but attribute many of the difficulties which per- • When once the thought of what men will say of us is plex and obstruct the Christian student, to his not studying permitted to mingle with our studies, all spiritual comfort in sufficiently in faith. We do not pursue our intellectual con- them is at an end. Our faith must necessarily languish. It templations in the same simple, child-like dependence, which can no longer be a living faith, an active principle. " How we are sometimes enabled to carry into our other duties. We can ye believe, which receive honour one of another?" was make study an employment tno entirely secular. We are apt the severe rebuke of Jesus to the vain-glorious Pharisees. to consider it as something wholly apart from religion. It is When I observe a Christian delighted with the homage that one of those subjects, upon which we do not permit ourselves is paid to his eloquence, his judgment, or his taste, should to converse freely with our heavenly Father. To apply to he tell me, that his “ love is not waxing cold,” that his faith him at every step for counsel and assistance, would convey is as strong as when none but God cared for his obscure to us an idea of presumption. We are afraid to trifle with the name, I should be beyond measure astonished at such a cirmajesty of God, by expecting that he will take an interest in cumstance, if indeed I could credit its reality. But in truth, the mere earthly improvement of the intellect. That he both the assertion only proves that the man's heart must be algave us this intellect, and bestowed on us the means of its ready "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;" or that cultivation, is admitted by us beyond the possibility of a he has never known what true faith is, for “ how can he bedonbt. We adore the bounty which has adorned and enrich- lieve," so long as he is "receiving honour from men ?" ! ed us. But we hesitate to believe in a condescension, which The snare of self-indulgence connected with study, is most shall stoop to notice the petty progress of each minute portion profitably treated. of this intellect, and make its daily and hourly advancement • I have all along supposed, that you are studying with a the object of benevolent concern. I would not, my beloved view to the benefit of others, rather than to your own gratififellow Christians, utter one single expression, which might cation. Yet even in this case self-indulgence may insinuate impair your veneration for the Divine Majesty. But in this itself into your pursuits. If you possess a talent for them, timid reserve I perceive no marks of genuine veneration. they will prove so attractive to you, that you will become Your privilege is to draw near to God with the tender rever- attached to them for their own sake. You will be tempted ence, the sacred familiarity, of a beloved child. To shrink to prolong your pleasing employments, and suffer them gradfrom his presence with the retiring fearfulness of a slave, is ually to steal something from the time appointed for other to dishonour the scripture representation of his attributes. duties. We have already touched upon the absorbing nature And in which of your earthly affairs can you hope that the be- of our mathematical studies, and the intellectual disadvantages nevolence of your Father will be interested, if not in the cul- which ensue froin giving way to their silent encroachments. tivation of your reason? It is the gift, by which he has These, however, are of small moment, when compared with distinguished you from the rest of his earthly creation. It is their corroding influence upon our spiritual enjoyment. An that, which stamps you with the impress of Divinity, which excessive fondness for these abstruse meditations, a habit of tells you, you are born to immortality. The immensity of indulging in them for their own sake, will be as a worm at condescension by which the Most High bends his regard to the root of our communion with God. A lamentable declenany of our paltry concerns, is indeed beyond conception, as it sion from his ways, will be the probable consequence. By is beyond praise. But if, where all is so unworthy, I might insensible degrees the thoughts of our literary pursuits will dare to mention one thing as less unworthy of his notice, it begin to mingle with our serious meditations. Then the would be the progress of the mind. We are fearfully and hour of study will break in upon the hour of prayer, and perwonderfully made.” But our intellectual faculties are the haps in time may totally interrupt or supersede it
. Who can surpassing wonder, the crowning excellence of God's creation. tell the train of evils which will follow such an intermission The countless worlds that are scattered over the infinity of of our spiritual watchfulness? When prayer is omitted, study space, declare the glory of God. The magnificence which is unsanctified. Every selfish motive has free permission to created, the strength which upholds, the wisdom which gov- enter; nay, is invited, as it were, to take possession of the erns the mighty system, afford inexhaustible matter of won-heart, whose sentinel has thus deserted his post. And with der and adoration. But the intellect, which is able to reflect what impertinent excuses do we entertain conscience all the upon all this, is something far more admirable, in which the time! I am just now so occupied, that I am scarcely in glory of God is more greatly conspicuous. The original for- frame for prayer. Were I to attempt it, I should find it immation of reason is not, however, more wonderful, than the possible to disengage my thoughts from the busy, perplexing improvement of which it is capable. A man of a highly cul- reflections which have taken fast hold of them. When I have tivated understanding appears altogether a being of a different followed out these investigations to some satisfactory conorder from one wholly destitute of the advantages of educa-clusion; when I have considered this or that point a little tion. Reason, as it is the noblest of our faculties, so it is the more fully; when I have conquered this difficulty, or corrected most capable of being conducted to a high degree of perfection that mistake, then my mind will be in a placid uninterrupted And God is glorified in the perfection of his works. When frame. Then shall be my hour of prayer. I shall then betherefore you cannot confidently look for communion with take myself to my spiritual duties with tranquillity and deGod in the exercises of your understanding; when you are light; whereas now they would be a weariness, a formality.' afraid to expect his co-operation in the use of the meanest of Thus the hour of prayer is put off to a more convenient those human aids which he has given you for its improvement, season.” Our contemplations detain us longer than we had it can only be accounted for in two ways. This hesitation anticipated. The evening shades thicken round us; still we proceeds either from the absence of a religious motive, or from are deeply engaged in our inquiry; still unsatisfied with the an infirmity of faith. If you have no decidedly religious mo- result.' Midnight surprises us at our labours; and at last the tive for your studies, I do not see how, with any colour of lateness of the hour warns us to repose, before we have found propriety, you can devote yourself to them at all. I am not time to pray. A sense of languor and drowsiness, the natural surprised to hear, that doubts and difficulties throng your path. result of our intense mental exertions, either quite prevents our devotions, or compels us to insult God with a prayer of our own. Then, when all is God's, we can neither confide from which the heart is absent. We retire to rest with the too much, nor expect too largely. Thus David acted. He painful feeling that we have lost a day. For every Christian said, “I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword must be sensible, that he cannot rob God of his portion of the save me.” Did he therefore resign the use of the sword and day, without robbing himself of the whole. Still the deceit- of the bow? No: but he ascribed the strength which moved fulness of sin will follow us with a lying consolation. It is his arm in wielding them to God; “It is God that girdetli but one day; to-morrow I shall awake refreshed, and my first me with strength ;" * He teacheth my hands to war, and my thoughts shall be with God.' Let us not silence conscience fingers to fight." There is nothing so reasonable or so delightwith this deceitful plea. If I am not greatly mistaken, this ful as this unreserved ascription of all our intellectual powers one lost day is the forerunner of many more. Our foot has to “ God our Maker, who teacheth us more than the beasts begun to slide, our steps to decline. To a heart prone to of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven." depart from God, this retrograde motion is natural and easy, He who thus realizes the property of God in his reasoning while the effort to regain a forward progress is immensely faculties, may without arrogance indulge in anticipation of difficult. The sin to which we have yielded to-day, will their usefulness, which to a weaker faith, would seem the revisit us to-morrow with more urgent solicitations. Self, height of presumption. It is not that he esteems the instruhaving obtained the indulgence of one day, will plead hard ment too highly; but that, viewing it as God's instrument, he for another. To make no more than one deviation from the can set no bounds to its efficiency. He does not imagine straight path, is infinitely more difficult than not to deviate that his own arm can bring victory. But through God he from it at all. “The backslider in heart shall be filled with knows he shall do valiantly. He enters deeply into the his own ways." Perhaps the very circumstance of having prophet's feelings; " I cannot speak, for I am a child.” But a religious motive for study, may then be used by us as a the answer of the Lord is graven upon his memory; “Whatcloak to hide our defection. All my pursuits are designed sover I command thee thou shalt speak.” He is ready to to fit me for engaging in God's service. I cannot therefore exclaim with Moses, “Who am I, that I should go upon the go very much out of the way of duty, by devoting to them a Lord's errand ? I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” little more time than prudence might otherwise have dictated. But his diffidence vanishes before the firm assurance that My present diligence will one day be turned to account in the God “will be with his mouth, and teach him what to say." cause of religion; it cannot therefore be wholly misplaced.' To cultivate our reasoning powers with this absolute hopeThus, in the plenitude of self-indulgence, we can talk to our-lessness of their single efficacy, and these large expectations selves about our zeal for the Lord Hosts. Our conduct re- from them as instruments in the hand of God, is to bring a sembles that of the priests, who offered polluted bread upon certain blessing upon all that we do with them. Hope the altar, and then said, 'Wherein have we polluted thee?!” nothing from yourself. Think nothing too great to hope If we would offer any acceptable service to God, it must not from the bounty of your God. A firm adherence to this simple be thus defiled with self. “ Hath the Lord as great delight rule would enable you to bring your reason to the highest in” our worthiest pursuits, “as in obeying the voice of the degree of perfection; for God will honour those who thus Lord ?" We are told that “ to obey is better than sacrifice, honour him. “Cease then from your own wisdom.” “Trust and to hearken than the fat of rams.' Our poor worthless in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own unattempts in the cause of our Redeemer can be of no value, but derstanding." Sure I am that if your trust be thus in the as they are accepted by God through his intercession. How Lord, he will teach you “ excellent things in counsels and foolish then to imagine that we can succeed, while we ne- knowledge." You shall both " know the certainty of the glect thus offering them to God in frequent and faithful words of truth,” and be able to answer the words of truth prayers! If we will work in our own strength, we must expect to them that send unto you. Again, · It is the perfection of to he left to such success as our own strength is able to intellectual enjoyment to receive reason entirely as the gift
of our God, and every improvement of it, as a fresh token of Do you, upon serious reflection, perceive that you are now his love. Every thing is good, must be good, if we view it yielding in any way to this self-indulgent temper?. Let me in this light. How shall it not be good, if it comes directly earnestly recommend a temporary cessation, if possible, from from our Father's hand? How shall it not be very good, if the employments that have ensnared you. A month, a week, sanctioned by our Father's blessing? You know that * a gift in some cases even a day, rescued from your too fondly cher- is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it; whitherished occupations, and devoted to earnest prayer for future soever it turneth, it prospereth." And then, “the blessing preservation and direction, may enable you to resume them of the Lord, it maketh rich; and he addeth no sorrow with without danger. But, as you value your peace and spiritu-it.” The poorest trifle becomes valuable, if it be the gift of ality of mind, beware of returning to them, till you experience love. But reason is itself a precious stone, a costly gem. so much sweetness in heavenly things, as to make the very When received as a gift it becomes a charmed stone, a talisbest of earthly things appear trifling and insipid in the com- man to shield from harm, and to ensure prosperity. Only parison. The memory of I'enry Martyn is sacred to every acknowledge all your earthly acquirements in this light, and Christian student. The rule by which he regulated his lite- you shall find, that, whichever way you turn them, success rary pursuits, deserves to be called the golden rule of study. shall attend your endeavours. Regard every one of your Let us carry it into all the parts of human learning. It will mental faculties as given to you by creating love. Rejoice strip them of every excessive and ensnaring attraction. "So in the gift, because redeeming love has restored it to you deep,' says his biographer, was his veneration for the word with a seven-fold blessing. Here is a shield of love, if the of God, that when a suspicion arose in his mind, that any shield of faith appear insufficient for your defence. For will other book he might be studying was about to gain an undue not you earnestly guard against the abuse of a thing so given influence over his mind, he instantly laid it aside; nor would and so blessed ? he resume it, till he had felt and realized the paramount ex- Her encouragement and advice in the resistance of self-incellence of the Divine oracles.'
dulgent temptations is truly excellent. She adverts to what she had said above, as suggesting a It is encouraging to reflect, that if "you are Christ's, all safe-guard against some temptations of self-sufficiency and things are yours. Whatever talents he has given you are self-dependence.
yours, freely to use and improve. They are also His; therefore The only effectual remedy I have met with, is to consider you may confidently expect, that he will get glory to himself out human reason and spiritual teaching in one respect exactly in of them. And this, if I mistake not, is your wish. Your acthe same point of view: I mean, as both freely bestowed by quirements are of no value in your eyes, except as you can God, to be increased, continued, or suspended, at his plea- use them for Christ. Begin then and end all your studies with
I would consider every little improvement in my stu- him. Seek to find communion with God in every one of them. dies; the smallest extension of my intellectual powers; the “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, and to the glory of least ray of light that shines in upon my natural reason, when God.” The curse which clings to the best of earthly things, engaged in the commonest earthly speculations; all these 1 and which once shed its baneful influence on all your intelwould consider as coming just as directly and absolutely from lectual faculties, is now taken away in Christ Jesus. Once the Spirit of my God, as I do those sacred influences which perhaps your talents might have made you a splendid misinform and comfort my spiritual existence. Ceasing to look chief, a brilliant pest to society. Now if you use them in upon reason as our own, we should cease to lean upon it with faith, they shall be an instrument of healing and of blessing.' a misplaced confidence. What we expect from it would be The following closing remarks place the balance between expected from the God to whom it belongs, not from our intellectual and Christian wisdom with admirable clearness selves, who have no right in it. The only way to preclude and beauty. all glorying and trusting in our own things, is, to have nothing ‘On the whole, in attempting to decide upon the true mer