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margin: I just go ankle deep.” This is equally applicable to religious characters. The spiritual world without, the counsels, government, and ways of the great and glorious Jehovah—the spiritual world within, the faculties of your own souls, and their mysterious workings—how little do any of us comprehend of these things, though we presume to speak of them with fluency, as if they were fully submitted to our inspection! “Ye discern less,'

says the excellent author of the Christian Exodus, “of the plans of eternal wisdom, than the insect, whose eye scarcely takes in the surface of the clod on which he stands, can see of the world around him.” When we meditate largely and deeply on the Bible, we rejoice that we know what is needful for our salvation; but we are compelled to own, that we have the greatest reason to be modest and diffident: for we see but littlewe see that little but imperfectly, partially, confusedly. How much better, safer, and wiser is humble and silent ignorance, than bold and talkative presumption. Often recollect the declaration of the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 9-12.

2. No two individuals, most probably, think exactly in the same manner on the same subject. On what are called the essential truths, serious Christians are agreed: that is, they so think and feel as to be cordially attached to each other in Christian affection. But let even these take up any topic, and enter into a minute delineation of


their views, and you will soon find that one proposes one modification of a statement, ånd a second another modification of it, and so They hold the general truth firmly: but they differ more or less in the conclusions which they deduce from it. If these persons entered into a debate, and suffered feelings to dethrone reason, it would be curious, painfully amusing, to hear their several modifications, exceptions, and distinctions. This diversity of view is probably an imperfection belonging to the present state. Education, prejudices, peculiar constitution of mind, with other causes, may lead to this diversity. The fact is unquestionable; and many practical lessons may be derived from it. 1. Be not hastily displeased with humble and teachable persons who do not think precisely as you think. 2. Do not maintain your own peculiar views of a truth in a too dogmatical manner. 3. Be diligent in endeavouring to discover truth, but be not too bold and positive in asserting that you have found it, and fully comprehend it. Let me add, It is by no means improbable, that, however dogmatical you may be at present, you will see many truths at a future period in a somewhat different light from that in which you see them at present.

3. There are many things in religion which we cannot comprehend. Many accomplished minds in all ages


“reasoned high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will and Fate,
Fixed Fate, Free Will, Foreknowledge absolute ;
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.”


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The counsels of the Infinite God, and the nature and operations of the spiritual world, have employed the intellects of the acute and the pens of the learned ; but they are not so revealed as to be grasped by the human mind, and reasonings upon them must consequently be in a great measure conjectural. The Bible is the book of Mercy, Grace, and Life, intended to make us humble and holy believers, not boasting metaphysicians. Our business is to receive the divine record, to repent, to believe, to do the will of our heavenly Father,not to fathom the counsels or explain the measures of the Moral Governour of the universe. Yet I do not say, Never direct your attention to high and mysterious themes ;-but I say, When your attention is directed to them, let it be done with humility and awe. The counsels of God are fully known only by Himself. Beware, then, of a rash spirit, which would urge you to rush with audacious curiosity into the examination of inscrutable things. Always humbly believe. Never vainly speculate.

4. Time is badly spent which is spent on improper subjects, or on proper subjects in an

improper manner. We are not born merely to amuse or perplex ourselves with bold, or ingenious, or intricate musings; but to seek our edification in substantial goodness.

What would you say of a husbandman who roved all day in the tangling mazes of a forest, or spent his hours in gazing on beautiful scenery, instead of cultivating his fields, and making preparation for an abundant harvest? You would not hesitate to admit that he acted very perversely, and in a manner highly injurious to himself and to others. But similar to this is the conduct of those who surrender themselves to a fanciful and speculating spirit in religion, instead of vitally and practically, humbly and simply, attending to plain truth and obvious duty. Nothing forbids you to take an occasional excursion into the fields of speculation: but never forget that edification is the essential thing.

“ But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Unchecked, and of her roving is no end,
Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn,
That, not to know at large of things remote
From use obscure and subtle ; but, to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom : What is more, is fume,
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence ;
And renders us, in things that most concern,
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.”


õ The adoption of determinate ideas on indeter

you that the

minable subjects, and of amusing fancies, is a melancholy abuse of Christian blessings. Wisdom, moderation, and humility are invaluable. When we forget the real design of the Gospel, which is to bring us near to God in Christ Jesus, to unite us to Christ our living Head, to make us followers of Him in faith, holiness, and obedience, we put ourselves in perilous circumstances, and become an easy prey to the lovers of novelty and vagary. Advocates of fancy, extravagance, absurdity, and ultraism, have existed in all ages: I need not tell

present age is not without them. If you mean to look back in future life with satisfaction on the past, and to anticipate what lies before in the joy of a meek and solid hope-Beware. Be stars, not comets. Move in a regular orbit round the eternal centre of attraction—the Sun of Righteousness.

6. The obscurity of Revelation on some points, the mysteries which it contains, and that diversity of view which I have already mentioned, ought never to excite in your minds a prejudice against it, or cause you to look upon it as unsatisfactory. There is no more obscurity, no more mystery, in revelation than there is in the material world, and in the course of providence. If darkness offend you in the one case, let it offend you also in the other—and then nothing remains but the awful conduct of arraigning God for the constitution which He, in infinite wisdom and goodness, has

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