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subsequently turned to any practical purpose, it is therefore useless. Such learning is invaluable as a disciplinary and invigorating process. Mr. Hessel doubtless meant to pro test against the acquisition of learning merely for its own sake. And thus viewed the sentence merits approval.
“The influence of a good thought is incalculable. What mighty effects have the fragments of our Saviour's ministry produced in the world! One single idea may determine a destiny.”—Yes, not one destiny but many. A religious tract was one day picked up in a barrack-yard by a soldier. That tract led to that soldier's conversion. He became an able minister of the gospel ; was elevated to a high ecclesiastical position ; wrote one of the ablest modern treatises on the evidences of Christianity; and has been instrumental in turning many to righteousness. That soldier is now the celebrated Bishop Mac Ilvaine.
The following is the Journal he mentioned in his last letter to me :- March 28th “I have been lately led to think less of formal treatises and more of those incidental remains of human thought which the great and good have left
Sacred writ consists of fragments; and though replete with beauties of every description, much of it is at the farthest remove from elaborate composition. The writers of the Elizabethan era were almost compelled to wield the
They were placed in situations which fired their spirits, and their immortal works were wrested from them by the force of circumstances. There are few ingenious minds conversant with the writers of that period who do not seek to imbibe something of their spirit. The clearness with which they viewed truth, the firmness with which they grasped it, and the manliness with which they contended for it, gave to their writings a value which places them at the head of our national literature. We live in a different age. The public mind flows in a new direction, and all who aim to be instructors must adapt themselves to present exi
THE POWER MOST TO BE COVETED,
gencies. The man who has half the eye of a philosopher must see that the metaphysical treatises of the period to which I have referred are not adapted to our age. Truth, instead of the garb of a fiery disputant, must put on a vestment of simplicity. There is no power more to be coveted than that of rendering important truths interesting to the community. You may write and speak after the most approved models-your arrangement of thought may be severely correct your discourses may be constructed upon the strictest logical principles, but after all, what advantages worth naming are secured if the people will not hear you. There is danger lest, under the idea of mental cultivation, we abandon nature. I have no doubt that many minds have been injured by such cultivation. The fair and healthy plant, which under favourable auspices might have grown to a stately tree, has been cropped into a dwarfish shrub.
“I deem it advisable never to write without some worthy object, believing that the value of our compositions will be as are the ends at which we aim. In seeking mental and moral improvement, it is not enough that we attend to the operations of our minds, we should place ourselves amid such influences as will excite our best faculties. I have found that sentiments which have begged as it were for communication, have been much more valuable than those elicited by effort."
April 5th. "I have been unusually impressed of late with the importance of serving God with all my powers. My heart has been peculiarly softened ; ambitious and unholy feelings have been subdued, and heavenly affections strengthened. I have had more ardent longings after excellence, and an unusual spirit of prayer has been imparted. I have sometimes been unable to utter my feelings, but in a silent agony of supplication have thrown myself at the feet of the Divine Majesty and wept. I need not tell you that these are tears of rich enjoyment. I have also felt the tone of my sentiments towards my fellow-men to alter. I feel a deeper interest in them, and those statements of our Saviour's strong affection for men, and he had compassion on the multitude,' &c., much affect me. I blame myself for not preaching in the villages, and am purposing to labour more in this way. These are gratifying symptoms; and though I feel great pleasure in mentioning them to you, I write with fear and trembling lest the future should evince that this is but a momentary excitement. I can tell these things to you. No being beside yourself, save one, must know them. And that one has more to do with my present state of mind than perhaps you are aware. A short time ago I ted to my dear C—some of my principal sins, temptations, and wants, and begged her to make them the subject of special prayer. I cannot but think our united petitions have been heard.
“By observation and experience I think I have formed something like a plan of study. It recognises what in most systems of education appears to be overlooked, that the organs of mind are subject to the same general law with every other part of the physical system. In developing my mental faculties I seek variety, harmony, and naturalness of operation. I propose pursuits which the mind has the fullest conviction will repay its efforts, and it wants no other stimulus. I follow one employment until I am tired, and then exchange it ; taking care to do every thing well however small the quantity, for I am convinced that it is only what the mind fairly grasps and fully enjoys which will be of ultimate value.”—It was wise in Mr. Hessel, with his disciplined mind, to "follow one employment until tired and then exchange it,” but it would be very unwise for an undisciplined youth to imitate him. Such a mind soon wearies of application, and to humour is to ruin it.
A CHARAOTERISTIC SENTIMENT.
“In general I rise between five and six,” he proceeds : "I first read a chapter in the Bible, and afterwards pray ; then a portion of the Hebrew Bible and Greek Testament alternately. Until breakfast I read some book of Biblical criticism or that class of writings, such as Horne ; at present I have Pye Smith. After breakfast one of the old divines; then I take a walk; then read a portion of History, Science, or Philosophy, &c. At present I have Mackintosh's England and Good's Book of Nature on the way. I spend a short time in devotion before dinner, which I think of great use in restoring the mind to a right tone. After dinner some work in general literature ; then biography. I have been reading Baxter's life. I take a walk again ; a Greek or Latin author; then tea. My evenings are so various that I can give no account of them, although I both write and read a great deal after tea.” The following characteristic passage
prove valuable to the plodder, who is too often wanting in enterprise. It is far from suitable to the volatile, and especially to him who, in spite of friends and foes, believes himself a genius. *“ Always think it possible to find out something new. Never suppose there is not a more excellent way. When the mind is extremely satisfied regard it with suspicion. Rather think it has brought the standard down than risen up to it. Take it for granted that some of the best things are yet undiscovered.”
April 5th. “One thing in the writings of the Apostle Paul has peculiarly struck me. He seemed to think little about places where he might labour. He was not anxious to fix his residence here or there, but wherever he went he preached the Gospel. This is just the spirit I want.”
“Action is the great means of moral improvement. This is the medium through which the Holy Spirit operates."
No sentence in this volume is more pregnant with important truth to the church of Christ than the former of these. Would that every Christian professor would test its truth for himself! From what numerous lamentations of unfruitfulness, from what oppressive hours of doubt and sadness, would he be saved ! And what an influx of joyous emotion would often be experienced! How much more favourably would religion appear in the eyes of the world! And how much greater progress would it make!
“Wake, thou that sleepest in enchanted bowers,
An angel's wing would droop if long at rest,
Shall deck thy grave with amaranthine flowers, And yield thee fruits divine in heaven's immortal bowers." 9th. "I have felt the importance of giving to life the character of business, and of making the varied pursuits of each day a matter of obligation. Let me live with this impression, that there is some one thing I ought now to be doing, and that if I omit it, it never can be done, and that consequently not only it, but all the good consequences which might result from it will be lost for ever. In deciding what I am to do in any given case, always make a deliberate appeal to reason and conscience. Consult my own interests in relation to the whole duration of my being.