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and they have it not. We have it in our secret chambers; we have it in our families; we have it in our schools, and in all our other and higher seats of learning. Our old and our young, our rich and our poor, our learned and our unlearned read and understand it.
To what fresh expansions of intellect, to what new discoveries in art and science, to what greate. improvements in the power and refinement of men, this general diffusion of the Bible may yet lead, Time alone can reveal. But we doubt if there be a man who observes and understands the present indications of mind, its lofty aspirations, its Argus eye, its Herculean grasp, who will not own, that we are but on the threshold of those greater discoveries which are yet to unlock the still hidden powers of nature, and to subdue and apply them still farther to the comfort and improvement of mankind. The fabled fertility of a Minerva's brain is fast becoming reality and truth in the Bible. awakened intellect of man. What is new to-day becomes old to-morrow, because of some still more new discovery to which the interval has given birth. We are no longer warranted to smile with scorn,
at projects, because they are new. Too often wo have done so, creating pain and discouragement to the gifted men whose new inventions have changer the whole aspect of our age, in the rapid spread of intelligence, and wide diffusion of human comfort. Unbelief in every form, whether it relates to man's happiness in this world, or the world to come, is rebuked by the Bible. In the Bible too, it its cure; for, as we have now seen, wherever the holy book is carried, it acts like the wonder-working rod of Moses, the rod of God's strength. By it nations are redeemed from that worse than Egyptian bondage, the bondage of ignorance; and in their progress towards the promised inheritance, the Red Sea through which they pass becomes the scene of new triumphs; and the rock and sands of the desert both yield their tribute to man's welfare, when touched by this Heaven-ordained instrument of wisdom and power.
The Prejudice that extensive Learning is hostile to the
Spirit of true Piety.
Mark, viii. 24.
“ And he looked up and said, I see men, as trees,
At the dawn of day every thing is seen indistinctly. The forms and relations of objects, great and small, are not fully perceived; and the imagi. nation, acting on the shadowy outlines before it, often creates needless alarms at that which as yet is dimly comprehended. It is not easy to conceive the confusion and mischief that must ensue were men to act, through the day, on the visions thus obtained, and were they not to allow their misconceptions to be corrected by the clear light of the sun, as it brightens into perfect day. So it is in the worlds of Science and Religion. When religious truth began to emerge from the darkness that had covered it for ages; not a few of the learned at first resisted its claims, from mistaken and unjust views of what the Scriptures teach. And in like manner, while the truths of Science were as yet but partially brought to light, they have often been suspected and opposed by Christians, as subversive of revelation; while a more perfect acquaintance with them has shown their great value in developing new beauties and a richer meaning in the sacred volume. The error with both parties arises from a want of knowledge, from imperfect vision. Like the man described in the text, who “saw men, as trees, walking," they have no adequate comprehension of the true form and the mutual relations of what lies before thein.
It is to be lamented that much of this misconception and injustice still prevails with many devout men, who look upon science and philosophy as antagonistic to the Bible, who seem to tremble for the safety of the ark of God when it is touched by the hands of the learned; and are thus led to look for an enemy among those who come to act as friends and auxiliaries to the cause of truth. This dream has led to disastrous consequences to both Science and Religion; and it would be a valuable service to both, if the prejudice could be dispelled. We will devote the present lecture to
That the apprehension to which I refer is a mere prejudice, must be evident from what has been already proved respecting the number and rank of the learned, who have been, not only the advocates, but the ornaments of Christianity. We hold it as fully made out by the names placed before
in a previous Lecture, that men of profound learning, according to their number when compared with other classes of mankind, have furnished their full proportion to the ranks of Chris. tians; Christians not only in name, but in sinceri. ty and truth. As we are to judge of the tree by its fruits, this could not have been the case had learning, in its nature, been opposed to the genuine spirit of the Gospel.
It is, however, by no means surprising that this prejudice should exist. There was a time when there was not only something, but much, in the nature and spirit of learning as then pursued, which was exceedingly opposed to the Gospel, both as to its doctrines and its mode of teaching them.