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is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
The conclusion to which he comes in the next yerse is the right one, that God will deliver us through Jesus Christ our Lord. We must feel then humbly dependent on an influence from above. Let us come daily to our Father in heaven, praying him to draw us to the Saviour-we shall not come unless he draws us. Let us feel dependent every day for a fresh supply of divine grace to keep these hearts in a proper frame. It is not enough to express this feeling in our morning prayer. We must carry it with us into all the circumstances of the day. When we are going into temptation we must say, 66 Lord, hold thou me up, and then I shall be safe;" and we must say it with a feeling of entire moral dependence on God.
We are all very much in danger of blunting our sense of our moral dependence on God for fear of impairing our sense of guilt. I do not attempt to present any theory, by which the two may be shown to be compatible with each other. We cannot easily understand the theory, but we feel and know that both are true. We all know that we are guilty for living in sin; and we feel and know that our hearts do not change simply by our determining that they shall. Since then the two truths are clear, let us cordially admit them both. Let us, in the spirit of humility and cordial trust in God's word, believe our Maker when he says, that he has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Let us believe this cordially, however difficult it may be to understand what can, in such a case, be the guilt of the hardened one; and applying the declaration to our own case, let us come before him praying that he will turn our hearts to holiness, and at the same time let us see and feel our guilt in neglecting duty and disobeying God as we do.
This feeling of entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for moral progress is the safest and happiest feeling which the Christian can cherish. Such weakness and helplessness as ours loves protection, and if we can cordially make up our minds that there is a difficulty in this subject that no human powers can surmount, we can feel fully our own moral responsibility, and at the same time feel that our dearest moral interests are in God's care. This feeling is committing our
souls to our Saviour's keeping and care. Were our hearts entirely under our own direct control, we and we only could be their keepers; but if we have given our hearts to him, God has promised to keep us by his power. He is able to keep us. He has control, after all, in our hearts, and if we are willing to put our trust in him, he will keep us from falling, and present us at last faultless before the throne of his glory with exceeding joy.
II. INTELLECTUAL IMPROVEMENT.
It may perhaps seem strange that I should discuss the subject of intellectual progress in a book devoted to an explanation and an enforcement of the principles of piety. I should not do this, were I not firmly persuaded that a regular and uninterrupted intellectual progress is a duty which is peculiarly binding upon the Christian. Let the reader reflect a moment that those intellectual powers which God has given him are intended to exist for ever, and that if he shall be prepared at death to enter the world of happiness, they will go on expanding for ever, adding not only to his means, but to his capacities of enjoyment.
The great mass of mankind consider the intellectual powers as susceptible of a certain degree of development in childhood to prepare the individual for the active duties of life. This degree of progress they suppose to be made before the age of twenty is attained, and hence they talk of an education being finished! Now, if a parent wishes to convey the idea that his daughter has closed her studies at school, or that his son has finished his preparatory professional studies, and is ready to commence practice, there is perhaps no strong objection to his using the common phrase that the education is finished; but, in any general or proper use of language, there is no such thing as a finished education. The most successful scholar that ever left a school, or took his honorary degree at college, never arrived at a good place to stop in his intellectual course. In fact, the farther he goes the more desirous will he feel to go on; and if you wish to find an instance of the greatest eagerness and interest with which the pursuit of knowledge is prosecuted, you will find it undoubtedly in the case of the most accomplished and thorough scholar which the country can furnish, who has spent a long
life in study, and who finds that the farther he goes, the more and more widely does the boundless field of intelligence open before him.
Give up then at once all idea of finishing your education. The sole object of the course of discipline at any literary institution in our land is not to finish, but just to show you how to begin to give you an impulse and a direction upon that course, which you ought to pursue with unabated and uninterrupted ardour as long as you live.
It is unquestionably true that every person, whatever are his circumstances or condition in life, ought at all times to be making some steady efforts to enlarge his stock of knowledge, to increase his mental powers, and thus to expand the field of his intellectual vision. I suppose most of my readers are convinced of this, and are desirous, if the way can only be distinctly pointed out, of making such efforts. In fact, no inquiry is more frequently made by intelligent young persons than this," What course of reading shall I pursue? What book shall I select, and what plan in reading them shall I adopt?" These inquiries I now propose
The objects of study are of several kinds; some of the most important I shall enumerate.
1. To increase our intellectual powers. Every one knows that there is a difference of ability in different minds, but it is not so distinctly understood that every one's abilities may be increased or strengthened by a kind of culture adapted expressly to this purpose ;-I mean, a culture which is intended not to add to the stock of knowledge, but only to increase intellectual power. Suppose, for example, that when Robinson Crusoe on his desolate island had first found Friday the savage, he had said to himself as follows:
"This man looks wild and barbarous enough. He is to stay with me and help me in my various plans, but he could help me much more effectually if he was more of an intellectual being and less of a mere animal. Now I can increase his intellectual power by culture, and I will. But what shall I teach him?"
On reflecting a little farther upon the subject, he would say to himself as follows:
"I must not always teach him things necessary for him to know in order to assist me in my work, but I must try
to teach him to think for himself. Then he will be far more valuable as a servant than if he has to depend upon me for every thing he does."
Accordingly, some evening when the two, master and man, have finished the labours of the day, Robinson is walking upon the sandy beach with the wild savage by his side, and he concludes to give him his first lesson in mathematics. He picks up a slender and pointed shell, and with it draws carefully a circle upon the sand.
"What is that?" says Friday.
It is what we call a circle," says Robinson; "I want you now to come and stand here, and attentively consider what I am going to tell you about it."
Now, Friday has, we will suppose, never given his serious attention to any thing, or rather he has never made a serious mental effort upon any subject, for five minutes at a time, in his life. The simplest mathematical principle is a complete labyrinth of perplexity to him. He comes up and looks at the smooth and beautiful curve, which his master has drawn in the sand, with a gaze of stupid amazement. Now, listen carefully to what I say," says Robinson, "and see if you can understand it. Do you see this little point I make in the middle of the circle?"
Friday says he does, and wonders what is to come from the magic character which he sees before him.
"This," continues Robinson, " is a circle, and that point is the centre. Now if I draw lines from the centre in any direction to the outside, these lines will all be equal.”、
So saying, he draws several lines. He sets Friday to measuring them. Friday sees that they are equal, and is pleased, from two distinct causes; one that he has successfully exercised his thinking powers, and the other that he has learned something which he never knew before.
I wish now that the reader would understand that Robinson does not take this course with Friday because he wishes him to understand the nature of the circle. Suppose we were to say to him, "Why did you take such a course as that with your savage e? You can teach him much more useful things than the properties of the circle. What good will it do to him to know how to make circles? Do you expect him to draw geometrical diagrams for you, or to calculate and project eclipses?"
"No," Robinson would reply, "I do not care about Friday's understanding the properties of the circle. But I do want him to be a thinking being, and if I can induce him to think half an hour steadily and carefully, it is of no consequence upon what subject his thoughts are employed. I chose the circle because that seemed easy and distinct,suitable for the first lesson. I do not know that he will ever have occasion for the fact that the radii of a circle are equal, as long as he shall live,-but he will have occasion for the power of patient attention and thought, which he acquired while attempting to understand that subject.”
This would unquestionably be sound philosophy, and a savage who should study such a lesson on the beach of his own wild island, would for ever after be less of a savage before. The effect upon his mental powers of one single effort like that would last, and a series of such efforts would transform him from a fierce and ungovernable but stupid animal, to a cultivated and intellectual man.
Thus it is with all education. One great object is to increase the powers, and this is entirely distinct from the acquisition of knowledge. Scholars very often ask, when pursuing some difficult study, "What good will it do me to know this?" But that is not the question. They ought to ask, "What good will it do to me to learn it? What effect upon my habits of thinking and upon my intellectual powers will be produced by the efforts to examine and to conquer these difficulties ?"
A very fine example of this is the study of conic sections, a difficult branch of the course of mathematics pursued in college; a study which, from its difficulty, and its apparent uselessness, is often very unpopular in the class pursuing it. The question is very often asked, "What good will it ever do us in after-life to understand all these mysteries of the Parabola and the Hyperbola, and the Ordinates and Abscissas, and Asymtotes?" The answer is, that the knowledge of the facts which you acquire will probably do you no good whatever. That is not the object, and every college officer knows full well that the mathematical principles which this science demonstrates are not brought into use in after-life by one scholar in ten. But every college officer, and every intelligent student who will watch the operations of his own mind and the influence which such exercises exert upon it,