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CHAPTER II

education, which ever abounds with temptations to folly, and in circumstances of peculiar exposure to such temptations: and, in the sweetness of his natural disposition in the accomplishments of his mind in the filial respect and affection with which he behaved to his parents in diligent attention to his studies in every part of his deportment, he was an amiable and hopeful youth, few perhaps more so; affording flattering presages of no common worth and estimation, when he should be more advanced in years and fully employed in professional duties. But, as yet, he was an almost utter stranger to God and religion. He had walked according to the course of this world. He still lacked one things that one thing without which all else is but vanity of transient utility at best, unconnected with any eternal beneficial results, either to its possessor or to others,

A writer of the last century [Law] has somewhere observed that "proud views and vain desires in our worldly employments are as truly vices and corruptions, as hypocrisy in prayer or vanity in alms."* The observation is certainly a correct one: and a more unequivocal proof of an unhumbled,

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CHAPTER II

unsantified heart, need not to be given, than the indulgence of such views and desires.

Mr. Livingston was actuated, when he made the above choice of a profession, by an inordinate ambition of the honours of the world; and the fact clearly evinces that he was then without hope, in a state of great spiritual blindness, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in him.

The reader must not infer, however, from this remark, that he was void of all serious impressions. Impressions of divine truth, of a powerful kind, had been early made upon his mind, which were never wholly erased, and which, when from under the watchful eyes of his parents, and mingling at pleasure with college companions and others, had a happy influence upon him. He had been instructed in those great doctrines of the gospel, the belief of which involved his present and everlasting peace. Though he could not intelligently unite in the publick worship of God, in his native place being there, at the time, conducted in the Dutch language yet he had been carefully trained up to a religious observance of the Sabbath; and afterwards, when he became a member of college, it was his privilege to hear, in a language that he did understand, the precious truths of salvation,






        
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