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act Ser did not chuse to propose in the lecture urged them to ask his opinion of any texts of not understand; and he explained them and particular commentators, who threw light upon e was solicitous to improve all those moments, which went with them, for their advantage. He therefore used opencv at meals to enquire of them, in order, what they had cca reading, or what texts they had, according to his general neccon, chosen for the subject of that day's pious meditation; and would make such reflections upon them, as might be serviceable to them all as students and christians.From these particulars it appears, what pains he took that they might be qualitied for usefulness in the ministry, or other stations, for which they were intended.He sometimes expressed his fears, least some of his pupils, who were intended for trade, should be so fond of books and studies, as to neglect a proper application to it; he gave them many friendly cautions upon thes head, and often suggested to them important maxims, by attending to which, they might carry on their business with honour and success, and at the same time improve in a moral and religious character*.
*As more of the young persons intended for trade enjoy an academical education now, than formerly, it may be useful to such to read some advices, which, in the year 1726, he wrote to a young man, who had a taste for reading and learning, and was entering into a merchant's compting-house, after he had left the academy.
You urge me to send you some directions about the management of your studies. I may hereafter give you some hints upon the several subjects, which I suppose you would be inclinable to touch upon. I may open to you a magician's palace, which I myself have as yet taken but a transient survey of, without visiting each of its apartments to examine the curiosities contained there. But when I consider how rich the furniture is, and how exquisite a relish you have for the entertainment which it contains, methinks I am afraid you should grow too fond of it. The business therefore of this letter shall be, to intreat you to endeavour to bring your studies under such regulations, that they may not be injurious to health, or trade, or devotion. As your constitution is not very athletic, if you should bear hard upon it by too close an attention to books or thought, the consequence would probably be, that, as soon as you had begun to adjust your ideas and fix your schemes for the future em ployment of life, you would find yourself incapable of prosecuting them, and may languish away the remainder of your days in absence from your study, when a small aequaintance with it hath made you sensible of its charms, and perhaps allured you to expect a great deal more satisfaction in it, than you would ever in fact have found. However, you would regret the loss in proportion to the expectation you had formed, whether regular or extravagant. I may add, that by impairing your health, you would become in a great measure unfit for that sphere of life, in which providence hath placed you. Let us remember, my dear and prudent friend, that we are to place our point of life, not in an attempt to know and to do every thing, which will certainly be as unsuccessful, as it is extravagant; but in a care to do that well, which providence bath assigned us, as our peculiar business. As I am a minister, I could not answer it to God or my own conscience, if I were to spend a great deal of time in studying
But his main care, and what he apprehended essential to their usefulness, was, that they might be pious and holy men. With this view the strictest regard was paid to their moral character, and their behaviour out of the hours of study and lecture was narrowly inspected. Enquiry was made both of them and his friends in the town, what houses they frequented and what company they kept. No student was permitted to be from home after ten o'clock at night, under the penalty of a considerable forfeiture. When he found any thing irregular in their behaviour, or thought they were entering into temptation, he
the depths of the law, or in the more entertaining, though less useful, pursuit of the nicest criticisms of classical writers. I would not be entirely a stranger to these; but these or twenty others, which I would just look into, would each of them alone, or indeed any single branch of them, be the employinent of a much longer life, than I can imagine that providence hath assigned to me. Should I suffer my few sheep in the wilderness to go on in ignorance of their bibles and a stupid neglect of their eternal salvation, while I am too busy to endeavour to reclaim them, God would call it but laborious idleness, and I must give up my account with great confusion. The thought with a very little variation may be applied to you. It is in the capacity of a tradesman, that you are to serve your family and country, and in that, your God. Therefore, though I would not have so fine a genius entirely discouraged from enter. taining itself with the refined pleasures of a student; yet it would be imprudence to yourself, and an injury to the world, to spend so much time in your closet, as to neglect your warehouse; and to be so much taken up with volumes of philosophy or history, poetry or even divinity, as to forget to look into your books of accounts.Above all, Sir, let it be your constant concern, that study may not interfere with devotion, nor engross that valuable time, which should be consecrated to the immediate service of your God. He is the Father of our spirits, and it is upon his sacred influences that they depend for improvement in knowledge as well as in holiness. If we are abandoned by him, our genius will flag, and all our thoughts become languid and confused. It will be in vain that we seek the assistance of books; for, when he ceaseth to act by them, the most sprightly writers will appear dull; the most perspicuous, obscure; and the most judicious, trifling. Whereas if we maintain a continued regard to him, in the constant exercises of lively devotion, we shall enjoy his assistance and blessing in our studies; and then our profiting will quickly appear to ourselves and others; the most difficult task will be easy, and we shall dispatch more in an hour, than we could otherwise have done in a day.-But, which is still more desirable, when we are conversing with God, we are preparing for that world of light, where our capacities will be most gloriously improved; where we shall be surrounded with the wisest and best company, who will be daily opening new scenes of knowledge; and where God will reveal objects by another kind of influence upon our spirits, than that which we have yet known in our brightest or serenest inoments. Let us be constant and zealous in the service of God, and we shall be excellent scholars ten thousand years hence; while those, who have made the greatest improvements in human knowledge, yet have lived in neglect of God and religion, are forgotten upon earth and consigned over to the gloom of everlasting darkness. Let us remember, that by every hour which we take from God to give to our books, we forfeit some degree of future happiness, which might have been the reward of that hour, had we spent it aright: and when we consider that knowledge is a part of the happiness of heaven, we shall certainly find, that, upon the whole, we lose a great deal more knowledge, than we get, by such sacrilegious encroachment; even though our studies should succeed more prosperously, than we have reason to expect they will."
privately admonished them in the most serious, affectionate manner; and, to enforce the admonition, prayed with and for them. If these private admonitions had not the desired effect, the offender was admonished before the whole society at family worship; and if this proved ineffectual, he was publicly expelled the society.
On one such occasion I find him thus writing; "A very melancholy scene opened this day. We had some time spent in fasting and prayer, on account of an unhappy youth, whose folly and wickedness hath obliged me to dismiss him. I pronounced the solemn sentence of expulsion upon him, before the whole academy. I thank God, I was carried through this sad work with spirit; yet greatly afflicted to see all that I had endeavoured to do for his good, thrown away upon him. I had an opportunity of seeing in him the treachery of the human heart, the necessity of keeping near to God, and the tendency of bad practices to debauch the principles. God has exercised me in this instance with great trouble and disappointment: but the disciple is not above his master. Lord, may I approve my sincerity and zeal in thy sight, though it should be in every instance unsuccessful! Let me but hear thee saying, well done good and faithful servant! and none can hinder my joy." But it pleased God so to succeed his pious care, that there were very few instances, in which he was obliged to have recourse to so painful an expedient, to secure the honour of his family, and the safety of his other pupils.
But he could not be satisfied with their external regular behaviour, except he saw in them the genuine evidences of real religion. He thought no one ought to be encouraged to undertake the christian ministry, who was not a pious man: Therefore he advised some of his pupils, of whose real character he was doubtful, to apply themselves to secular business; while he grieved that any, who had this best qualification for ministerial usefulness, should decline it. He often inculcated upon them the absolute necessity of a heart thoroughly engaged for God and holiness, in order to pursue their work with comfort, acceptance and success*. "It is my heart's desire and prayer to God, saith he, that not one may go out from me without an understanding enlightened from above, a heart sanctified by divine grace, quickened and warmed with love to a well known Jesus, and tenderly concerned for the salvation of perishing souls. What are all our studies, labours and pursuits to this?" For this purpose he endeavoured to bring them early into commu.
See his Theological Lectures, Introd. ad fin
nion with the church under his care, if they had not been admitted elsewhere; that they might renew their baptismal engagements, and publicly avow their resolution to be the Lord's. He took pains to prepare them for an intelligent devout approach to the Lord's-supper, and often reminded them of their consequent privileges and engagements.In order to preserve and increase vital religion in their hearts, all common lectures were omitted on the Saturday, preceding the Lord's-day on which the sacrament was administered; and the greatest part of that day was spent in devotional exercises. All the pupils assembled in the lecture-room, he prayed with them, and then delivered a devotional lecture, or a discourse particularly suited to their circumstances; concerning the nature, duties, difficulties, encouragements or rewards of the ministry, the nature of christian communion, their obligations to diligence, prayer, watchfulness, brotherly love; or such other topics as were most proper for such an assembly. His discourse on "the evil and danger of neglecting the souls of men," was delivered on one of these occasions. After this lecture was finished, and singing, he concluded with prayer. Never did his heart appear more strongly affected, and devoutly raised, than at these seasons. He considered of how much importance to the present and eternal interest of thousands, the temper and behaviour of so many young men, intended for the ministry, was. His heart overflowed with benevolence, and he appeared like an affectionate father addressing his children, and commending them and their concerns to the favour of heaven. Many of his pupils have acknowledged, that they reaped more advantage by these lectures, than all the other methods used to promote their improvement. The latter part of the day was spent by the pupils themselves in religious exercises, agreeable to a plan which they had laid down, with their tutor's approbation and encourage-The Lord's-day was most strictly and religiously observed in his family: And after the public and domestic services of it, he often took them separately into his study; conversed with them concerning the state of religion in their souls, and gave them suitable advice.
He endeavoured to behave to them in such a manner, as to gain their affections and engage them to open their hearts to him without reserve. He often reminded them, how much his own comfort and happiness depended upon their good behaviour, diligence in their studies, and improvements in knowledge and piety. When, in the year 1736, the two Colleges of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, had concurred in conferring
upon him the degree of Doctor in Divinity, his pupils thought it a proper piece of respect to congratulate him in a body upon the occasion. He thanked them for their compliment, and told them, that their learning, piety and zeal would be more his honour and give him ten thousand times more pleasure, than his degree, or any other token of public esteem."He heard their discourses and prayers with great candour, passed over little imperfections, which he thought growing years and experience would rectify, and encouraged them by commending what was good and pertinent. When he thought it his duty to hint to them their defects, he did it privately, and in the most soft and friendly manner. None but a pious benevolent mind can conceive the pleasure it gave him, to hear some of the first sermons of his pupils, who set out with good qualifications and right views. Concerning one of them he thus writes, in some private memorandums he kept of the state of his own soul;
This day Mr. — preached one of the best sermons I ever heard, concerning the happiness of the children of God. I had preached one on the subject some time before; but when I considered how much superior his was to mine, it shamed and humbled me, yet, I bless God, it did not grieve me. If any stirrings of envy moved, they were immediately suppressed; and, as soon as I came home, I solemnly returned my acknowledgments to God, for having raised up such a minister to his church, and honoured me with his education. I recommended him to the divine blessing with the tenderest affection; leaving myself in the hand of God; acquiescing in the thought of being eclipsed, of being neglected, if he shall so appoint; at the same time adoring him, that, with capacities inferior to a multitude of others, I have been providentially led into services superior to many of those, in comparison with whom, my knowledge and learning is but that of a child."He was tenderly careful of his pupils, when they were sick; and when some of them, who seemed qualifying for eminent usefulness, died, he felt for them and wept over them, as a father for his child: He endeavoured, from such events, to excite superior diligence and piety in their surviving brethren, and wrote many excellent letters of advice and consolation to the mourning parents and friends of the deceased.
After this account of his behaviour to his pupils, and concern for their usefulness and happiness, the reader, who knows any thing of human nature and the attractive influence of love, will not wonder to be told, that they, in general, reverenced and loved him as a father; and that his paternal advices and en