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The origin of these Lectures on the Harmony of Learning and Revelation may be seen in the following correspondence.
New-York, 7th Feb. 1843. Rev. Dr. MATHEWS,
DEAR SIR, During your administration of the affairs of the University, and when maturing the enlarged system of instruction designed for the Institution, you introduced a Professorship of Sacred Literature. One object of the proposed Professorship was to vindicate the Sacred Scriptures from the objections often supposed to arise from various discoveries in Science and Letters. That part of the design has not yet been car. ried into effect; but we believe that it has become
pe. culiarly desirable at the present time, to afford increased opportunities of gaining information on these important questions; and as you have now released yourself from some of your former multiplied labors, we would inquire whether you
would not undertake to prepare a course of public Lectures on the prominent subjects which such a department of instruction should embrace.
your hands they might be made to assume a form which would render them interesting and instructive to your various hearers; while they would demonstrate the practicability and importance of rendering Sacred Literature more generally a prominent branch of instruction.
Several of us, and others whom we represent in this request, have enjoyed the pleasure of being associated with you in the important services you have already rendered to the cause of Learning in our city; and should you see fit to accede to the proposal we now make, it will give us much satisfaction to co-operate with you in any way which might render your labors most agreeable to yourself and most useful to the interests of Truth and Knowledge. We have the honor to be,
Yours, with great respect,
THOMAS J. OAKLEY,
WILLIAM Curtis Noyes,
WILLIAM S. WETMORE,
John C. HAMILTON,
William Mc MURRAY,
WILLIAM B. Maclay.
New-York, 14th February, 1843.
JOHN JOHNSTON, THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN, VALENTINE Mott
I have received your kind communication of the 7th instant, and have given it the more careful attention, as it comes from riends to whom my memory will al ways recur with sentiments of grateful regard.
It is very true that I have long been desirous to see the Branch of Learning, to which you refer, introduced more fully into our Literary Institutions. The aspect of the times, and opinions recently promulgated, have also greatly strengthened my convictions of its importance. An impetus has been given to the minds of men within the last thirty or forty years, which has rendered progress in Science rapid beyond example. Nature, in her whole varied extent, is fast yielding up her secrets. But the harmony and connection of these discoveries with the leading truths of the Scriptures do not yet seem to be rightly understood, or fully appreciated.
To use the words of an able reasoner on this subject: "Some men in their writings, and many in their discoveries, go so far as to suppose that they may enjoy a dualism of opinions; holding one set, which they may believe ag Christians, and another whereof they are convinced as Philosophers. One does not see how it is possible to make accordance between the Mosaic Creation and Cuvier's discoveries: another thinks the history of the dispersions incompatible with the number of dissimilar languages now existing: a third considers it extremely difficult to explain the origin of all mankind from one common parentage. So far, therefore, from considering Religion, or its Science Theology, as entitled to sisterhood with other sciences, it is supposed to move on a distinct plane, and to preserve a perpetual parallelism with them; which, though it prevents them from clashing, yet deprives them of mutual
this unwarrantable severance of Religion from ag is not the only evil suffered from some of our 1 men. Scepticism is always assuming new forms. ig men of education and refinement it now seldom ires openly and avowedly to assail Christianity. But
venom is not the less dangerous because concealed, mu the minds of educated young men are too frequently poisoned before they are aware of it, by the manner and connection in which facts and theorems in science are pre• sented to them. It is chiefly in this way that in our day learning has not only been perverted, but also subjected to unmerited suspicion in the minds of religious men. Such a reproach should be wiped away; and recent discoveries show more and more plainly how triumphantly this may be done. I am persuaded there is not one among all the sciences which have been tortured into a shape adapted to the purposes of infidelity, which may not be made to rescue itself from such an injurious per