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lament that you are pious-only that you are not sufficiently so. You will always own, whatever you have, or have not, that God has given you the best treasure in giving you the pearl of great price.
“O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto Thy people, that they may love the thing which Thou commandest, and desire that which Thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,”.
O Blessed and Gracious God, I thank and praise Thee for having translated me into the kingdom of Thy dear Son, so that I am no longer in darkness, the slave of sin and of the world, but am made acquainted with Thy holy word, and in some measure, I trust, a partaker of the blessedness which it imparts to those who rightly receive it. Great, I know, is the peace of those who love Thy law. Unspeakably blessed are those who are contrite and humble, believing and obedient. I acknowledge with unfeigned gratitude Thy great goodness towards me: and I beseech Thee to give me grace, that I may live in agreement with Thy
word, more abundantly experience the blessedness of true piety, and be faithful unto death.
All things, O Lord, are in Thy hands. In prosperity be Thou my Preserver: in adversity be Thou my Comforter: and in all the circumstances of life, let my happiness be that which is derived from Thee, and which is found by cleaving to Thee with full purpose of heart. Keep me, I pray Thee, from ever seeking happiness in the broken cisterns of the world. Thou art the fountain of living waters: to Thee may I look; and from Thee may I daily receive all that is needful for my happiness and welfare. Ogrant that I may be always found faithful in Thy ways, acting with diligence, enjoying with thankfulness, enduring with patience, and persevering with circumspection, until mortality is exchanged for immortality, and I am made perfect in bliss in Thy everlasting kingdom: and to Thee, O Father, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one glorious and ever-blessed Jehovah, be all honour and praise both now and for evermore. Amen.
“O how unlike the complex works of man
“How many thousand souls miscarry with the presumptuous affectation of forbidden knowledge! 0 God, Thou hast revealed more than we can know, enough to make us happy: teach me a sober knowledge, and a contented ignorance.-Bp. Hall.
“Surely the man who fears God, and trembles at His word, must observe with pain the careless levity with which so many approach the secrets of His throne, and the profane familiarity with which they explore the depths of His hidden counsels.”
Buddicom's Christian Exodus.
Being now possessors of a calm and fixed piety, (for this, my young readers, is my supposition respecting you,) you will probably read various books, hear various statements, and enter into various conversations. Religion will become, more or less, a subject of mental examination. You will wish to understand many doctrines more minutely, niot receiving them in a general form, but studying them in their relations and dependencies. Allow me, then, to offer you a few remarks on the subject of Accurate Notions, as much, I confess, for the sake of caution as of direction.
“ It is an evil incident to man,
The examination of revealed doctrines, when it is conducted in a proper manner, and in a right spirit, is a most important and beneficial employment of the human mind. But a cold, rash, disputing, and hair-splitting theologian, who employs himself on abstractions, subtilties, distinctions, and refinements, is a character that I cannot admire. If you be naturally cool, logical, and acute, you will be liable to plunge into abstract speculation. If, again, you be naturally ardent, with an active imagination, you will be liable to be captivated with splendid fancies, and striking novelties, and the gay vagaries that folly suggests and ignorance defends. Here is the danger. Where is your security? I answer-in attending to this scriptural rule. “ STAND YE IN THE WAYS, AND SEE, AND ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS, WHERE IS THE GOOD WAY, AND WALK THEREIN, AND YE SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." Jer. vi. 16.
I am very far from saying, Do not think, examine, and compare statements: on the contrary, I would say, Make religion the subject of close and thoughtful study according to your ability. Endeavour to obtain solid scriptural views of all leading truths. Be able to assign a reason for what you believe. Have solid arguments and clear texts, to vindicate your sentiments and proceedings.But suffer me here to advance a few remarks--not perhaps altogether pleasing to your sanguine feelings, but the truth of which you will learn in the course of time and experience.
1. We know but little. Is this a startling position? The longer you live, the more fully you will be persuaded that it is true, if you do not mistake your scantling of ideas for the universality of knowledge. If you converse with a sciolist in human knowledge, he may speak as if he knew almost every thing: but if you converse with a sound scholar, he will tell you—"A boundless and unfathomable ocean is before me: I walk along its