Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

'74 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. child I For, from our childhood, we take it in by drops; and as trifles are the matter ofchildish knowledge, sowords, and notions, and artificial forms, do make up more ofthe learning ofthe world, than is commonlyunderstood, and many such learned men know little more of any great and excellent things themselves, than rustics that are contemned by them for their ignorance. God, and the life to come, are little ,better known by them, if not much less, than by many of the unlearned. What is it but a child-game; that many logicians,, rhetoricians, grammarians, yea, metaphysi- cians, and other philosophers, in their eagerest studies and dis- . putes, are exercised in? Of how little use is it to know what is contained in many hundreds of the volumes that fill our libraries ! Yea, or to know many of the most glorious speculations in physics, mathematics, &c., which have given some the title of Virtuosi and Ingeniosi, in these times,who have little the more wit or virtue to live to God, or overcome temptations from the flesh and world, and to secure their `everlasting hopes! What pleasure or quiet doth it give to a dying man to know almost any of their trifles ? 2. Yea, it were well if much of our reading and learning did us no harm, nay, more than good. I fear lest books are to some but a more honorable kind of temptation than cards and dice, lest many a precious hour be lost in them, that should be employed on much higher matters, and lest many make such knowledge but an unholy, natural, yea, carnal pleasure, as worldlings do the thoughts of their lands and honors, and lest they be the more dangerous by how much the less suspected. But the best is, it is a pleasure so fenced from theslothful, with thorny.labor ofhard and long studies, that laziness saveth more from it than grace and holywisdom doth. But, doubtless, fancy and the natural intellect may, with as little sanctity, live in the pleasure of reading, knowing, .disputing, and writing, as others spend their time at a game at chess, or other in-, genious sport. For my own part, I know that the knowledge of natural things is valuable, and may be sanctified ; much more theological theory ; and when it is so, it is of good use ; and I have little knowledge which I find not some way useful to my highest ends. And if wishing or money could procure more, I would wish, and empty my purse for it ; but yet, if many score or hundredbooks which I have read, had been all unread, and I had that time now to layout upon higher things, I should think myselfmuch richer thannow 1 am. And I must earnestly pray, the Lord forgive me the hours that I have spent in 'reading things less profitable, for the pleasing of 'a mind that would fain know all, which I should have spent for the increase of 'holiness in myself and others ! And yet. I must thankfully 'acknowledge to God, that from my youth he taught use