Gambar halaman



of which it is the law and the light. For instance, take the principal that you ought, to the extent of your ability, to do that which will most benefit yourself and your fellow-men. Apply this principle to all your pursuits and relations; to your business in life, and your manner of pursuing it; to the cultivation of your intellect and heart; to your social habits; to the care of your health, to the influence which you do or may exert upon the physical, intellectual, social, civil, moral and eternal interests of your fellow-beings. You will find that this principle will serve from the infancy of your moral being as a lamp to your feet, conducting you safely in the path of duty at all times, till it presents you with those whom you have blessed before the throne of God in heaven, rejoicing together in the glory of his kingdom. The same will prove true, if you carry out and apply any other of the elementary principles of moral science. I can of course only give a single example for illustration.

I have thus endeavored to show you that the universe, the great store-house of knowledge, is not a confused and chaotic jumble, as it strikes the unscientific eye ; that when you have acquired the seience and application of its elementary laws, knowledge will flow into your mind much more easily, naturally, rapidly, and delightfully than you could have at first supposed ; and that as you proceed, you will everywhere find order emerging from chaos, light from darkness, truth from error,

unity from complexity, divinity and design from atheism and chance, till your charmed and exulting spirit will see the glory of God bursting forth on all sides; and as was said of heaven, so will it begin to be said of your soul, that there is no night there."

As many young men now enjoy frequent opportunities of hearing public lectures on subjects of literature, science, history, &c., it may be well to notice here the way in which you can render them most profitable.

In the first place then, do not attend more than you can prepare for. No person can hear a lecture to advantage without some previous preparation. The mind must first possess some knowledge upon a subject, before it can well acquire knowledge upon it from a public lecture. To go to a lecture without having previously acquired some knowledge and interest respecting the subject of it, is like going to the market without any money to buy with. You will carry nothing away, unless it is forced upon you. In colleges, students are always required to study a subject before hearing lectures

upon it.

In the second place, have a wise choice of the lectures you attend. Select the best, and those upon subjects respecting which you judge it most important to acquire knowledge.

In the third place, do not attend merely to hold

[blocks in formation]

your dish and catch whatever chances to fall into it for your gratification, but attend to aid your investigation of principles and facts, to exercise your own intellect and judgment, and to incorporate with your own mind whatever of knowledge may be acquired.

In the fourth place, take at least as much time after a lecture as you spend in hearing it, to think upon it, to digest it and to write down in your notebook in a place headed with the subject of the lecture, whatever important principles or facts you may have learned.

Now all this may seem to you, at first, a hard and unwelcome task; but it will soon become easy, and its fruits will abundantly appear. You will thus acquire such a mental habit, that whatever you hear will put you to thinking and investigating; and your philosophical memory will be able to carry away from every lecture, all that is most essential and important.

You may indeed frequently hear lectures that contain but little thought, and that illogically arranged. Owing to a want of mental discipline in the speaker, there may be a confounding and misapplication of principles and a jumbling together of facts incongruous and impertinent, the effect of which you may realize in the blur and confusion - cast upon your mind, as one is conscious of the indistinctness of vision produced by

spectacles which do not bring the rays to a focal point, but the reason of which you will not perceive, till you learn what is implied in the scientific presentation of a subject; just as one will not perceive why the spectacles confuse his vision, till he learns the science of optics.

But if you attend upon lectures in the manner above indicated, an occasional exhibition of this kind will do you no injury. You will thus learn to distinguish between the wheat and the chaff; and whatever sets you to thinking and invests your mind with elementary principles clearly elucidated, will stand in profitable contrast to confusion of thought, einpty declamation, or mere common-places.

In this way you may not only derive satisfaction but may grow in valuable knowledge, as the fruit of every lecture you hear.

The same general directions are applicable to the hearing of lectures upon moral and religious subjects. If you are attending a course of Biblical lectures, it is well to know beforehand what portion of Scripture or what subject comes next, and before hearing the lecture to exhaust your own intellectual strength upon it.. Read and think upon it; let your mind feel its difficulties, so as to know what it needs to learn ; let it thus become alive to the subject; then will it sympathise with the speaker, enter in earnest into his explanations and



proofs, and gather up and use all the knowledge which he presents.

The same directions apply also to the hearing of discourses upon the Sabbath. A great deal of pulpit preaching is lost, because hearers have too little interest respecting the subjects discussed to acquire knowledge upon them. When they cry after knowledge, and lift up their voice for understanding, when they seek it as silver and search for it as for hid treasure, they cannot fail to grow in religious knowledge under the faithful preaching of the gospel. If you only give that effectual and earnest attention to religion which you must give to other grave subjects, in order to understand them; if you attend to the most important evidences for the inspiration of the Bible, and ascertain the most essential principles, doctrines and duties which it professes to teach; so as to know enough to be desirous to know more, you can scarcely listen to a religious discourse without hearing something to enlarge your knowledge, enlighten your understanding, remove your difficulties, increase your faith, and warm your heart.

Knowledge is not tantamount to piety. Men may have all knowledge" — and still have no religion. Yet is the understanding the natural avenue to the heart, and the kingdom of God is a

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »