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it, driven away by the spirit of the gospel and of liberty; and if we are to expect its entire banishment, we must look for it in the operation of the same gentle, yet not less effectual causes which have hitherto lightened the sorrows of the captive, and led the north to free herself from this stain. We would remedy the evil by the light of truth, by the ardour of love, by the soft mercies that distil from the olive branch of peace, by the balm of Gilead. The recklessness of dissention, the disunion of our body politic, and its consequent horrors will be disastrous both to the master and the slave. Desperate haste and inconsiderate heedlessness will but defeat their object. And where do we find the authority and encouragement to such a course? In the wishes, but not in the judgment; in the unthinking, and I fear at times designing fanaticism of a few modern reformers, but not in past experience; not in calm, foreseeing benevolence; and above all, we find it not in the word of God. Believe me, my young friends, there is a more excellent way.” You may shut out the light of truth from the master and the slave; you may give birth to unsleeping jealousies and bitter animosity which a century cannot assuage; you may divide the land which is otherwise destined to be the glory of the church and the world; and you will have only bound faster the chains which would have relaxed and fallen off, and have paralyzed the hands of Ethiopia just as she was “stretching them out unto God." Hesitate then, ere you throw your
selves into a stream, which, as passion and bitter animosity shall swell its current, will launch you on an ocean of dissension and civil strife. Pause, ere you put your hands to a mighty engine, which, when in motion, you will have no power to guide or restrain—perhaps an engine of destruction, the effects of which inay be felt through coming centuries, crushing the dearest interests of yourselves and your posterity. And while you pause, will you not listen to the dictates of an unbiassed judgment; to the best and most enlightened feelings of your hearts; will you not consult that Book which, while it refrains from rudely interfering with the existing institutions of society, is destined, by the mild diffusion of its light and influence, to banish the evils of slavery from the world.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON THE EXTENT
AND CERTAINTY OF MORAL SCIENCE.
That which gives value and excellency to the religion of the Bible is its truth—its undeniable, undoubted truth. Our belief of it does not make it true, nor does our unbelief of it make it false. The great Author of our nature has so constituted the mind, that where its moral bias is not corrupted and perverted, there is nothing it more delights in than truth. Even in the meaner and less useful sciences, it has no such luxury as in the pursuit of truth. It is narrated of Archimedes, the celebrated mathematician of Syracuse, that during the war which raged between Hiero and the Romans, he was not diverted from his contemplations even by the sacking of his native city, but was killed by a common soldier, while he was in the very act of meditating a mathematical theorem. I doubt not
you have often sympathized with the solicitude of this philosopher, and in some degree at least, participated in his ecstacy, in that intense pleasure which you have, almost insensibly as it were, derived from the pursuit and acquisition of truth. The thirsty clod, or drooping flower, is not more really refreshed, when it drinks the long-wished-for rain, than the eager and panting mind is refreshed and rejoices as she drinks her fill at some pure fountain of knowledge. It were grateful to know, did the acquisition only exalt and expand the mind; but it is still more grateful when we recollect, that truth opens so many other sources of enjoyment-enjoyment that is valuable, because it is pure and enduring, that never palls on the intellectual appetite, and which, the oftener it is repeated, is the more sure to be repeated without satiety.
It is not every man who has the opportunity of augmenting these sources of enjoyment. Nature perhaps has denied him the talents, or the providence of God has withheld from him the means of extensive intellectual acquisition. And therefore his mind is narrow, his faculties are degraded, his taste for pleasure is uncultivated and coarse, and he is too apt to be dependant upon the gratifications of sense, Especially have these remarks force, as they relate to the various branches of moral science. Men may be ignorant in very many departments of human knowledge with comparative impunity; but there are subjects of intellectual re
search in which every man, without distinction of rank and condition, has a deep and everlasting interest. A being who is the creature of account, and destined to immortality, whatever else he may forego, may not be ignorant of moral and religious truth.
We have seen in the progress of these lectures, that the world is not a little indebted to the Bible for its advancement in various departments of human knowledge. But we should have very inadequate impressions of what we owe to this sacred volume, did we limit them by the information it communicates in the departments of human knowledge merely. The knowledge which most deeply interests us is that which relates to the destinies of man as the creature of God and the heir of immortality. Other knowledge has principal reference to the present world, and terminates with the present life; this refers to the soul, and is lasting as eternity
We are scarcely aware how little the world knows, or ever has known of religious truth, for which it is not altogether indebted to this sacred Book. We cannot indeed form any distinct and just conception of the intellectual condition of our race, had the light of a supernatural revelation never shone upon our doubt and darkness. The present actual condition of those portions of the human family who are destitute of the Scriptures, degraded and dark as they are, does not furnish a faithful developement of the still deeper and more