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the malicious feelings. Not a doctrine of theology is so taught in the scriptures as to be understood without careful and patient study. The purest mind must study for its knowledge of the gospel.
What is thus true of the particular doctrines and precepts of the Christian revelation, is equally true of Christian theology as a system. The revelations are made in detached tracts; written, most of them, on special occasions and containing only what the occasion seemed to call for. The absence of every appearance of system could not be more complete. The revelations are arranged without reference to logical relations. They do not observe so much as chronology, except in those parts which state with formality the succession of events. All these relations, logical and chronological, some of them important to the right understanding of doctrines, some of them useful in determining the application of precepts, and all of them interesting to the human mind, are to be discovered only by study. That study must be patient, earnest, profound, as discipline for the understanding; candid, submissive, devout, as discipline for the heart. Could any adaptation of means to ends be more perfect?
Now mark the effect. The science of theology has enlisted, above all other sciences, the might and industry of cultivated mind. Few intellects of note have ever lived long under the influence or within the reach of the Bible, without trying their strength upon it. And what, when viewed in this connexion, are the religious controversies which have so often absorbed the talents and zeal of Christendom? The spontaneous agitation of the human mind in its proximity to the revelations of moral truth and duty. God has dropt a sparkling gem into the midst of the darkness of this world. It has set the mass of mind in motion. See the bustle and strife of men to find and gain possession of it. It falls amidst the rubbish of opinions preconceived by perverted understandings; the uncouth and unwieldy implements of controversy bury it; one says, lo, here it is, another, lo, it is there; and while all their movements are confounded by the forces to which they are exposed in searching for it, they all betray their natural susceptibility, and show that the truth has attractions for them. The truth is among them. All know it is there. Those who have least of it in actual possession, still feel its influence. They cannot let it alone. Thousands who have little bene
fit from clear and satisfactory views of that truth, have great and lasting benefit from earnest inquiry after it; and thousands more are indirectly moved through the exertions of others for its attainment.
We must not overlook in its connexion with this exciting obscurity and splendid confusion of the divine revelations, the provision for supplying men's lack of universal zeal for knowledge of so great and universal importance. Since the mass of mankind, from dislike to retain God in their knowledge, will not search after his doctrines and precepts, they are provided for by a measure characteristic of the whole intellectual and moral system of God. It is not the measure of superseding study by divine explanations; it is not by re-modelling and systematizing the contents of the scriptures; it is by appointing a few to study for the many. The scriptures remain as they were; and men are made their interpreters; men, whose skill is imperfect in all such matters, and whose very fallibility keeps alive the jealous watchfulness of their people against error, and provokes them to search the scriptures daily whether the things preached to them be so. The substitute for the people's study, tends, by its own operation to supplant itself, since the more the people enjoy of the fruits of the study of others the more they are given to study themselves.
Nor ought we to pass without notice the congeniality of all these studies both of the works and the word of God, with the liveliest, noblest and most blissful feelings of the human heart. When these subjects of science, whether natural or revealed, gain full command of the thoughts, they charm and absorb them. The highest order of human enjoyment is that of right intellectual and moral exercise. Right thoughts and right feelings are the true life of man. Add to this the intense pleasure of advancement; the successive thrills of joy at successive discoveries of truth and beauty, and you have found the great and pure fountain of human bliss. It is one of our most common-place remarks, with what rapture an ardent and generous mind after long and wearisome search, exclaims as it grasps its prize, I have found it, I have found it.
To these remarks, already redundant, may be added a few words on the divine arrangements for the cultivation of the moral feelings. It is not without significancy that the temper most secure of success in intellectual pursuits is the temper which the gospel enjoins and produces. And as a 39
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fact equally notorious and pleasing, we cannot but notice the chastening and refining influence of scientific pursuits on the pious affections of the ardent Christian. But beyond all this, the religious affections have the means and occasions of discipline in all the natural and providential arrangements of human society. See man placed in dependence on his fellow man for a portion, and that no small portion, of his enjoyment. Behold the poor retained in poverty, not that they may suffer the want of all things, but as an apostle would say, that from the abundance of the rich they may be supplied; and thus benevolence be cultivated in the rich and gratitude in the poor. See, for the same ends ignorance to be taught by the learned; weakness to be protected by power, sickness and helplessness be nursed by watchful kindness. And as if to put the virtues to the severest test, see poverty rendered doubly wretched and revolting by moral degradation, ignorance commonly unteachable, perverse and repulsive; disease, in frightful form and with the most loathsome concomitants. Observe men placed in mutual opposition of interest to learn charity amidst the strongest temptations to selfishness, and to give virtue the advantage of energetic and invigorating conflict with vice. Good must learn and teach its own worth by contrast with evil, and its strength by contention with it. Virtue must grow by warfare and victory; and its struggles, with vice are to be at once the test and the nourishment of its power.
We consider these manifest arrangements of the Creator for the discipline of the human mind as a portion of the higher proof of his wisdom, and of the clearer indications of his design. Who that duly considers them can doubt. that God intended all men for a thorough education; that the discipline of the intellectual faculties in connexion with moral improvement is a part of the process by which the soul would reach its natural development in a healthy growth, and by which it may multiply to itself the benefits of the remedial dispensation. A pure heart joined with a refined understanding is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. The holiness without which no man shall see the Lord brightens and expands in minds which have comprehensive and refined conceptions of the Lord; and since all human minds need discipline as a preparation to exercise their best thoughts of God, the vast provisions for intellectual culture seem no less beneficent than prudential. Happy are
they whom Providence enables to obtain in some large measure the education for which such provision is made. The student, in his college course, may get exalted views of his privileges, by surveying them in the light of this discussion. Education loses its sordid aspect. The mind then moves freely in its own element, released from its carnal bonds and rejoicing in the liberty of working for its own. pure and imperishable gains. It is humiliating to any man who feels the degradation of his species to observe, first, how few seem to recognize and employ the Creator's provision for their education, and then how few of those who are trained in the paths of science have any just views or any proper estimation of their advantages.
If our remarks are just, they must awaken astonishment in any person who considers the limited extent to which these boundless means of education are applied. How few of the pupils in this school study the lessons which their teacher gives them! A part indeed of the things which God would teach mankind, all are compelled by the conditions of their present state to learn. For without some knowledge, and some prudent application of knowledge, they cannot live. They must learn where to look for food and clothing, and how to provide them. They must thereforc study in some sense the works of God. But with what perverse art do they manage to separate the means from the true end. They exercise themselves in their own way upon the lessons assigned them; feel no influence from the presence of their teacher, and refuse to give him any respectful account of their progress. We must say of the path of true science what our Saviour said of the way of life, few there be that find it. The truth is glaring, yet no more manifest than deplorable, that a most insignificant portion of all mankind are proper students of the science of nature. While one thoroughly furnished for his future station, goes out from this vast and splendid university, hundreds pass through undisciplined. Does this prove that they are not formed for learning? Does it prove that the works of God are not the proper school for them? It rather betrays a principle alien to true learning and proves that this alien principle has dominion over them. What is it? Perhaps a griping and debasing avarice stints and starves the soul. Perhaps a sluggish indolence enervates. Perhaps a blind and vulgar prejudice repels true knowledge from the mind. Some one of these, or all of them, for they are mutual as
sistants, may hold ascendancy over thousands of minds, and bind them in unnatural and shameful bondage. Except in the simplest of the useful arts, the many have always been dependant on the few for the fruits of mental labour. The discipline of one mind serves a thousand. Is this reasonable? Do the works of God suggest such an evasion of mental culture? Does the word of God enjoin it? Have not both made complete provision against it; and provision too which nothing but perverseness, can misapply? Why must hundreds, all their lifetime, look to one for the statements and demonstrations of truth? What law of nature or of revelation requires the multitude to receive the results of study in scanty dole from the hands of a more favoured few? What forbids men to think and study for themselves? This would be a matter of smaller consequence were it not, that the chief and only permanent results of education are what no one mind can acquire for another, the discipline, the refinement of the intellectual and moral powers of the soul. You may take your physician's skill in medicine instead of your own; you may go to your lawyer for your definition and defence of legal rights; you may look to your minister for the facts and arguments of theology; but for the inestimable boon of mental cultivation, for that regular, concentrated, and effectual operation of your own powers of thought, so essential to your perfection in knowledge, purity and bliss, you cannot look to another, though you see it not now, you must see hereafter, that for "the heart to be without knowledge is not good."
The increasing and intelligent zeal for general education now pervading most of the civilized world, is evidently looking towards a brighter day. That brighter day is foretold. The strong and rapid movement of Christendom is now towards an era of universal light. Science is fast preparing to lavish her treasures upon all; and Christianity, in its diffusion, will leave no need, that one should say to his neighbour, know the Lord. The world offers still new disclosures concerning its Maker. Education, less as a means of wealth, or an instrument of ambition, than as the completion of the man, is rising in the estimation of the people. We think we can say this of our own country; and we do say it with humble and patriotic joy. The work is fairly begun. The great theory of general education, though coeval with our republic, is now developing its truth and value on a scale hitherto unparalleled. May our virtue