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which the human intellect cannot comprehend, nor human eloquence explain. As in the language of Job, “ there is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen;" so, in the mystery of godliness, there are heights to which the keenest vision cannot reach,-fathomless depths which man can never penetrate. Thus his faith was increased, and he learned to view the revelation of God's will as a mystery which could proceed only from the Omniscient. But when the preacher, less learned perhaps, and less philosophical, but more plain and practical, applied to the heart the truths of Scripture, Arthur would feel that the word of God was indeed a sharp sword,-a discerner of the inmost soul. And he would hasten back to his chamber, to commune with his own heart, and be still. And he would take down the Bible from its shelf and read it, not in the spirit of pride and criticism, but, as he was taught to do when a child, with a humble desire to conform his life to its precepts; and then often would he pray, and tears would start from his eyes, and chase each other down his cheeks, and he would feel his heart softened and amended.
It is to humble and earnest endeavours such as these that God gives his especial blessing. Arthur Ridley soon began to feel, more forcibly than he had hitherto done, the power of divine truth. He discerned, in its true shape, the corruption of the heart of man--the utter futility of human honour if unsanctified by religion, the worthlessness of all human acquirement if undirected to the glory of God; and he perceived more clearly the suitableness of the Divine scheme to the wants of fallen man,—the need of a Saviour to atone for his sin, and of a Sanctifier to render him acceptable to God. Often would he exclaim with fervency, “ God be merciful to me, a sinner !” “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief !” He felt his imperfection ; he wanted a guide and comforter,—one more experienced than himself in the ways of godliness, who should inform his understanding, and lead him onward in holy paths. And the mercy of God directed him to “one who should tell him what he ought to do?."
A FRIEND-THE FATHERS-THE BIBLE, AND
“My thoughts are with the dead : with them
I live in long past years :
Partake their hopes and fears.
My hopes are with the dead; anon
My place with them will be;
Through all eternity.”
THERE lived, in the same college with Ridley, a gentleman who had lately been admitted to holy orders, and was residing at the university for the purpose of studying divinity and attending the theological lectures, before engaging in parochial duties.
. Ridley was well acquainted with Mr. Herbert, the father of the latter being incumbent and
patron of the parish of Welbourne, the seat of Ridley's family. But though they often met during the vacations, the habits of the undergraduate and the divinity student did not sufficiently assimilate to admit of much intimacy between them at college. When, however, Ridley turned his mind to religious inquiries, he sought more frequently the society of Mr. Herbert, who met his advances with kindness and cordiality.
One day Ridley called at Mr. Herbert's study. It was one of those beautiful and calm retreats, consecrated to learned labour, which one seldom sees, except at the university, or at some ancient rural parsonage. It looked out upon the close-mown lawn and clipped yews of the college garden, from whose guarded precincts all things profane and riotous were carefully excluded. The ivy clung to the stone mullions of the windows, and curtailed the small portion of light which was admitted through their narrow apertures. Yet the impression, which it gave you on entering, was not of gloom, but of exact suitableness to the purposes of studious retirement for which it was used. You might imagine that generation after generation had in that place imbibed, from the same sources, the streams of sacred literature.
Herbert was sitting, as usual, in the midst of huge folios, which bore the mark of the college library— some encumbering the table, others scattered on the floor around him. Even the arm-chair—that suspicious appendage to a study —was diverted from its usual purpose, and covered with open volumes.
6 I wonder what you find to interest you in those dusty tomes,” said Ridley. “If I were studying divinity I should give my attention principally to the Scriptures, as the basis of all divine wisdom.”
“ And do you really suppose,” said Herbert earnestly, “ that I forget the Holy Scriptures ? I read them daily-I might say, hourly. Look here,” he added, taking up a small Bible much worn with use, which was lying with its face downwards on the table, “this Bible was given me by my father when I was six years old; and I may safely say that, for nearly twenty years, I have scarcely passed a day without reading a portion of it. Here again,” and he pointed to an open volume on a writing-desk which Ridley supposed to have been a common-place book, but which he now perceived was an interleaved Bible, full of manuscript annotations, “ this, too, has seen some service.”