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established.-Nor, again, is there probably more diversity in our apprehension of religious truth, than there is in our apprehension of any other sort of truth, excepting what belongs to demonstrative science. Nay, to be familiar-you put a lovely and fragrant flower before a dozen persons: but tell me, do they all see its hues and form precisely in the same manner, and so as to have precisely the same feelings excited by it? Wise scholars do not quarrel with the darkness and difficulty that belong to the subjects which are before them. They know that they are in a course of training, and that what is now abstruse and intricate will at a future period be plain and clear. This world is a school both as to the head and the heart, and is admirably adapted for disciplining them, if we rightly improve our condition. We are now in a low form—we shall even here, if we prosper in the divine life, be advanced to a higher-but the sublime form is above, where the mysteries of divine love and wisdom will be the aliment of our enlarged and purified souls.

7. Sound views in religion are not to be obtained in a few days or weeks. Fancies, feelings, prejudices, errors—these belong to man; and they cannot be rejected in a moment. The twilight, and sometimes a long misty morning, precedes the full and clear day. New ideas are apt to please the mind: and we may adopt to-day notions which we shall reject to-morrow. Young people,

you will forgive my plain declaration, are, in many cases, inclined to think that they are wiser than than they really are, and that their notions must undoubtedly be correct. But it is with the true and wise Christian, as it is with the wise and true scholar: he is always enlarging, correcting, modifying, purifying (if I may use the term,) his attainments. As you proceed in life, my young readers, it probably will happen, that you will read in a judicious book, or hear in a valuable conversation, some solid and large ideas which will materially affect the whole current of your thoughts, extend the sphere of vision, and improve your views. These are gems, not found every day, or everywhere. But, to be concise, it is by reading much, thinking much, and hearing much, that large and sound views in religion are obtained by persons who know how to distinguish between reality and fancy between knowledge and assumption. There is a wide difference between the views of a young and of a mature Christian. My admonition to you is, Be scholars; always scholars; who know that you have much to learn, and much to correct and modify.

I do not wish that my remarks should deter you from endeavouring to gain the best views of religious subjects which you can.

It becomes every Christian to be diligent with his mind in discovering truth, as well as to be diligent with his hands in performing the common duties of human


life. But if you be ardent and sanguine, and therefore impatient to enlist under the banners of some theological founder of party views, the due improvement of my remarks will lead you to check your ardour, to pause in your course, and to recollect the propriety, and even the necessity, grounded on the nature of religion, and on the nature and circumstances of man in the present state, of being modest, patient, and slow in settling your notions of profound truths. To attend to this suggestion will, I am confidently persuaded, largely contribute to your happiness and welfare, and give you true satisfaction in all those hours of holy solitude in which


will review the measures that you adopted, and the path in which you walked.



“Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of Thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." Amen.


O Father of lights, and Fountain of all truth, I bless and praise Thee for that measure of knowledge in divine things which Thou hast already given me. Increase, I beseech Thee, this knowledge more and more. Deliver me from that pride and folly which would lead me to suppose that I am altogether wise in the faith. Convince me of my ignorance; and give me the teachable disposition of a child; and may I maintain such a disposition through the whole of life. O that I

may meekly and thoughtfully search the Scriptures, hear religious instruction, listen to pious conversation, and pray that Thy Holy Spirit may lead me to the right apprehension of all those truths which relate to my spiritual welfare. Deliver me from that rashness and vain curiosity which would urge me to explore with unholy boldness those things which are too high for me. Secret things belong unto Thee, O Lord: and if at any time I meditate upon them, let me do it with adoring awe, well knowing that it does not belong to man to fathom Thy counsels. Those things which Thou hast more fully revealed are the proper subjects for my study: to these let my mind be directed; and grant that I may advance in the saving knowledge of them as I advance in years. The more I know of the saving truths of the gospel, the more may I be filled with thankfulness and humility; fully devoted to Thee and to Thy service, and happy in the possession of the blessings of an enlightened and efficient piety. May it please Thee, O Father, thus to keep and bless me, and to lead me onward to higher attainments in sound knowledge and in real goodness, until I shall be removed to that glorious world where all is light and holiness, there to be with Thee for ever, through the merits and intercession of Jesus Christ our only Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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