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if it had not its hold in the very seat of thought and feeling and action,-if it did not originate with man's existence, grow with his growth, and strengthen with his strength, why then, perhaps, some agency might be relied on for effecting a cure, short of that which is absolutely divine ; but as it is, rely on it, unless God works, the sinner will never be saved. Ministers may preach ever so eloquently, and pray ever so fervently, and converse ever so faithfully; and experience proves--the Bible proves, that it will all be to no purpose, unless God put forth his almighty energy. The sinner must indeed work out his salvation; but God must work within him, bothi to will and to do.
4. The history of Judas strikingly shows the strength of the besetting sin, or of the ruling passion. In his case, as we have seen, the passion which prevailed above all others, was covetousness——the love of money: and to the operation of this, we may refer, either directly or indirectly, every action that is attributed to him. Wherefore was it that lie objected to the affectionate expression of Mary towards her Lord, in pouring the ointment upon his head ? It was that he wished the ointment to be sold, and to appropriate the avails of it in some way to himself. Wherefore was it that he formed the horrid purpose of betraying his Master; that he went to the Jews and covenanted with them to deliver him up; that he actually headed the murderous rabble that apprehended him in the garden, and led him off to the high priest's palace ? Ah, it was the prospect of getting the thirty pieces of silver, that enchained his heart, and made the crime of murder appear to bim as lighter than nothing. And when goaded by his conscience until he could sustain the anguish no longer, he went out and hanged himself,—this too was all to be referred to the love of money; for it was this that led him to the act wbich set conscience against him, until he was thrown into that state of desperation which made him choose strangling rather than life. In short, every thing that he did, every thing that he suffered, was to be traced to the operation of this ruling passicn.
Nor is this a solitary or a peculiar case. What was the ruling passion of that wonderful man whose name was so lately a terror among the nations, and who was at last exiled to a far distant speck of land on the wide ocean? Undoubtedly, it was ambition-the glory of earthly conquest. Now if you read the history of his life, you will find that this passion came out every where, and in every thing. It was this that brought his won
powers into exercise in framing so many malignant plans for subjugating his fellow-men, It was this that made bim re
gardless of the rights of nations; that made him fearless of all personal danger; that made his eye rest with delight on burning cities; and made the groans of the dying fall like music upon his ear; and enable him to forget, amid the danger of arms and the shouts of victory, that he was filling the world with an ocean of blood. If, in estimating his character, you leave out of view his ruling passion, his whole conduct is a mystery; but his boundless ambition furnishes a solution of every thing that he did; of every thing that he suffered; of the cruelty and the glory of his career on the one hand, and the deep degradation in which it terminated on the other. And you may take the case of any other man, distinguished in the annals of crime, and you will discover, that to some one passion he has made himself a slave, and has sacrificed every thing. Nay, you may look around you, or, what
be more satisfactory still, you may refer to your own experience, and you will find that the ruling propensity controls your whole conduct, and gives a complexion to your whole character. Perhaps you may never have thought of inquiring what your ruling passion is ; much less of observing its prodigious influence; but both these are points fairly within your reach. Perhaps it is with some of you as it was with Judas,—the love of money. If you observe your feelings and your conduct, you will find that they take their complexion from this; and that most of the evils into which you run are somehow or other connected with the desire to be rich. Or, is the love of learning, or the love of influence, or the love of pleasure, or the love of ease, your ruling passion ? In each of these cases, the train of your thoughıs, the current of your desires, the course of your actions, will be deterrnined accordingly. In most persons, there is some one passion or propensity which greatly preponderates above the rest ; and in some, as in the particular cases already referred to, it is so powerful as to break through all restraints, and subordinate every influence which it can command, to the accomplishment of its purposes. To mention here only a single case ;-how the ruling passion of the drunkard operates, to make him regardless of character, of fortune, of friends, of health, of life, of his immortal soul! Who has not seen him plunge into the abyss of destruction in obedience to this damning appetite, when there was every consideration that could be drawn, both from the present and the future, to make him pause, and retreat, ard reform, and live?
If such is the strength of the ruling passion, there is a lesson to be learned from it, both by the good and the bad. Sinners should learn how strong are the cords of iniquity by which they
suffer themselves to be bound. You flatter yourselves, perhaps, that you are voluntary in your wickedness, and therefore you can desist from it whenever you will; and hence you resolve that repentance and reformation shall be the work of a future day. But you greatly mistake, if you imagine that your evil habits-habits which have grown with the growth and strengthened with the strength,-are so pliable as to yield to the force of a mere volition. That ruling passion which subordinates to its ends every other passion, and which is the central point of all action in the world within you, has a degree of strength which you have never imagined belonged to it; and though you are guilty in indulging it, you will never break its power without aid from on high. It is here especially that the depravity of your nature centres; and to this point ought your efforts to be especially directed. Seck the aid of the Spirit of God without delay; and co-operate with him in delivering yourself from this wretched, spiritual thraldom. Rely on it, it will be a fearful thing to find yourself, on your death bed, with the ruling sinful propensity of your nature in its full strength. I dare not say that it cannot be broken even then ; for we have no right to fix a limit to God's sovereign grace; but I may say, with ny eye upon God's word, and upon the whole record of human experience, that there is every probability, that he that is then filthy will be filthy still.
And there is an important lesson here, too, for professing Christians;--each one of you has a besetting sin. Admit that the power of sin has been broken in your hearts, and that you are delivered from its habitual dominion, as you certainly have been, if you have a good bope through grace, still you are, in a greater or less degree, the subject of depravity : and there is some one natural passion, or propensity, in which your depravity operates more than in any other. At that point, then, place a double guard. If you find yourself easily tempted by the wealth of the world, or its honors, or its levities, or any of its empty fascinations, there oppose the most resolute resistance; and in this way, while you will gradually gain the victory over your besetting sin, your whole character will rise, beautiful and lovely, towards the perfection of holiness.
[To be continued.]
LETTERS TO A YOUNG STUDENT IN THE FIRST STAGE
OF A LIBERAL EDUCATION. Boston: Perkins & Marvin. 1832. pp. 174.
Loud and frequent complaint of the quackery of what is called a "liberal education," has been justly made, by the friends of sound learning and of the literary honor of our country. Professors in our schools of theology and medicine and law, have long deplored the unripe and partial scholarship, of the great mass of students who resort io them. Now and then, an individual mind of a peculiar original constitution, or that has enjoyed peculiar facilities for developement, may be found possessed of something that may be called mental discipline ; but in very many cases the teacher in these higher schools, has the sad fate of finding that his pupils, 'when for the time they ought to be teachers, have need that one teach them again which be the first principles; and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat.
Visit one of our theological seminaries, -(for we wish to speak of these particularly, though our remarks will apply with equal force to schools of medicine and law,)-inspect narrowly the mental character of its students,--test their habits of analysis and association,--examine them in the details even of language and of science;—and it will be found that a very large proportion of them, have no practical power of abstraction, or combination, above many plain and sensible men, in ordinary life : that they associate almost entirely according to local and arbitrary laws ;-nay more, (and what is the more unpardonable, as being the result of sheer indolence,) that their knowledge of particalars even, is exceedingly meagre. Professor Stuart has feelingly, and in sufficiently glowing colors, set forth the deficiency of students in a knowledge of Greek ;* but his exposé might, with equal reason, have been extended to everything else, relating to a complete and thorough education. Indeed, if the fact be so in regard to lunguage, which any one of ordinary capacity may learn, and which makes comparatively small demands on the higher faculties, which are called into exercise in Mathematics and Philosophy, a fortiori,
• See Biblical Repository, No. 6.
what must be the fact in relation to these last ? And it is just here, in respect to the analytical and discursive faculties, that the glaring deficiency of public education is seen.
A very large proportion of students have no habits of philosophical analysis; they nake no distinction between casual and fixed relations, they do not investigate the “ doctrines of things ;" a few facts, loosely and chaotically thrown together in their minds, constitute the sum of their knowledge; and these they associate as arbitrarily, as Mrs. Quickly in the play,—“ Thou didst swear to me on a parcel gilt goblet, sitting in my dolphin chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun week, when the prince broke thy head for likening hiin to a singing man of Windsor, &c.”
Dur picture may, perhaps, be highly drawn; but we speak advisedly, when we give it as our opinion, that one half of our educated men, would find themselves sadly pushed in an argument, with many a man of no learning, but possessed of plain common-sense ; unless, forsooth, they should take refuge behind the hard names of science, and entrench themselves in learned gibberi h.
But seriously, the cause of learning and the church, is suffering on these accounts. Our colleges send send out too many, who are neither scholars, nor students. Many young men go to them, not so much to lay a foundation, broad and deep, for future acquisition and eminence, as to obtain a parchment, purporting to be an admittatur, “PRO MERITIS," to all the immunities and privileges and honors of the degree of Bachelor of Arts; but which is, in reality, a mere "trick of the trade," and the reward, as much of him who does not know how to decline "penna," or is ignorant of the first law of simple suggestion, as of the man who has mastered the sublimest theorems of fluxions, or "soared, with Plato, to the empyreal sphere."
We do not mean, in these remarks, to criminate the gentlemen who have the management of these institutions. Many of them have long felt, and lamented these evils, and have labored, in various ways, to provide a remedy. They have appealed to their pupils ;—have portrayed before them the pleasantness and peace of the paths of wisdom ;-but their advice has been unheeded ;-the young men having never tasted the fruits of thorough study, unaccustomed to patient analysis, bound in the chains of indolence, and as the natural consequence, like the sluggard, “ wiser in their own conceit than seven men that can render a reason,” have disregarded all their admonitions, and vainly imagined that they had found "a more