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man, that every good Philosopher, whatever be the subject of his studies, may, by applying the information he acquires to the illustration of the pages of Scripture, become a Theologian, if he will; and can, therefore, have no excuse for renouncing religion as the enemy of science. Every Theologian, at the same time, if he would indeed deserve the honour of the name, must of necessity endeavour to make himself a sound Philosopher; and has, therefore, no legitimate ground for stigmatising science in the abstract as an enemy of true religion. For so admirably is the scheme of redemption compounded of clearness and obscurity in its doctrines, that whilst every ordinary believer may perceive enough of the nature of his faith and calling to guide his conduct and enliven his hopes; the divine, if he would thoroughly defend and explain the whole mystery of godliness in all its bearings, must defend and explain it by the use of knowledge and argument; since it is by knowledge and argument alone that those difficulties can be removed which either affect the evidences or obscure the contents of revelation.
Yet mistake me not, nor so misinterpret my meaning, as if I would place science upon a level with piety, or raise ability above humility of mind, or make the exertions of the understanding super
sede the influence of grace and of prayer. It is to shew the sceptic that the philosophy, of which he boasts, owes much of its necessity, and all its dignity, to that religion of meekness which his pride condemns, that I have dwelt so much upon the mutual connection and operations of science and the Gospel. But I believe, that it is still as it was in the beginning of the Gospel, and that not many rich, or noble, or wise, or mighty, after the flesh, are called into the true Church of Christ, or recognise and obey from the heart, the spirituality of its holiness. I know that " knowledge puffeth up," and that it is "charity" alone which edifieth," and therefore shew I unto you a more excellent way. If any man," says our Saviour, (and he makes no limitation to the learned and ingenious, and no exclusion of the uneducated or simple); "if any man is desirous to do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." This was the full and faithful promise of Jesus, and his words are not wont to return unto him empty. There is, in fact, a devotional contemplation of Holy Writ, which is far more precious in the sight of God, far more improving to the heart, and of far more value to the saving of the soul, than all the intellectual lucubrations of a mind, however deeply imbued with the principles of earthly philosophy, and extensively versed
a John vii. 17.
in the wisdom of the literary world. If a man would gather spiritual profit in its fullest extent from the study of God's word, he must kneel rather than sit down to search the Scriptures, and lift his eye in supplication to heaven, rather than fix it in speculation upon the phrases in which the commentators have recorded their opinions, their differences, and their errors. Thus and thus only can the most learned, or the most enlightened, be saved by what they read; and I have felt it most peculiarly a duty to enforce this caution before the present audience. In an University the very air we breathe is intellectual; the studies, the honours, the very walls of the place, are appropriated to the exercises of the head; and in such an exclusive attention to the cultivation of the mental talents, the better, but less splendid, qualifications of the disposition and feelings, are too liable to be held as comparatively insignificant and mean. The love of God waxes often dim, where the love of literary distinction has pre-occupied the altar of the heart. There too often creeps a coldness over the imagination, and a captiousness over the mind of the abstract reasoner, which so deadens the delicate sensibilities of devotional tendencies, that were we to speak with the tongue of an angel upon holy things, we should speak to unheeding ears, did we not arrange our meaning in argument, and shew as much knowledge of the myste
ries of nature and science, as of grace. There are some, it is to be feared, who assemble themselves together, to think rather than to feel, and desire to be told of the opinions they are to hold, rather than the deeds of godliness they are to perform.
But it is not merely as a caution to the intellectual that I thus speak; but also as a word of consolation and encouragement to those to whom God in his wisdom has communicated a scantier portion of the riches of the understanding and knowledge. Let such Christians know and believe, that it is not for the glory of the discoveries we make in the deep things of the Spirit, nor for the success with which we devote our literary acquisitions to the elucidation of the difficulties of Scripture, that we shall be counted amongst the excellent of the earth before the throne of God; but it is for those improvements in holiness, and in piety, which we have gathered from what we do understand. Let our learning be small or great our talents many or few, if we have done our duty in that state of life into which it has pleased God to call us, God will reward our diligence in proportion, not to our gifts, but to our increase. The Gospel therefore is still entitled to the character it assumes. Notwithstanding all its mysteries and difficulties, it is still pre-eminently the
Gospel of the poor. To the poor in wealth it is the greatest treasure; for it bequeaths to them the riches of an heavenly inheritance. To the poor in power it is the greatest strength; for it gives them the arm of the Almighty for their support. To the poor in spirit it is the greatest consolation; for it encourages them to patience, and cheers them under suffering, by the prospect of a place, and a period when all tears shall be wiped away, and sorrow and sighing shall be known no more. And, above all, to the poor in knowledge it is the greatest wisdom; because it is "able to make" the most ignorant man "wise unto salvation," notwithstanding the existence of " things hard to be understood." But this is a subject whose consideration must be reserved for the next Discourse in which I shall proceed to examine, whether the difficulties of Scripture be at all inconsistent with spiritual edification, or at all injurious to its object and character, as a religiously instructive work.