Page images

plicity of Scriptural theology.” Human reason is never so truly in her proper place as when she sits a learner at the feet of Christ. How can she soar on a loftier wing than when she flies so near the Sun as to veil her face and lose her vision in the brightness of his rays? It is not reason that guides the soul then, but God. It is a heavenly light-a guide from a purer and more intellectual world. It is reason, but not her own—a reason that never hesitates, never toils, and never becomes weary; a reason that is never prejudiced, partial or benighted, and that never errs.

We think it therefore, no small commendation of the Bible, that it is the only book that has opened to the world the extended field of moral science, and so marked and limited the path of human inquiry, that if the mind wanders, it can never be said that it is for want of light. Few truths come to us with such overpowering evidence, as the truths of the Bible. The cheerless gloom which broods over the understandings of men had never been chased away, but for the beams of this supernatural revelation. Men may look with an unfriendly eye on that system of truth which reproves and condemns them; while they little know the loss the world would sustain by subverting its foundation. We have tried paganism; we have tried Mahometanism; we have tried deism and philosophy; and “ we cannot look upon them even with respect.” The Scriptures contain the only system of truth which is left us. If we give up these, wę

have no other to which we can repair. We must travel back under the faint and trembling lights of reason and nature, where “ darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.” We must wander amid the regions of fancy and scepticism, where there is no argument to convince, and no oracle to decide. Every thing we see, and hear, and feel, becomes more and more the source of solicitude and apprehension, and the farther we extend our views, unless guided by this heavenly light, we behold only a vaster desert-a deeper abyss of doubt, darkness and despair. Between re flections upon ourselves, and reflections upon God; between just views of his character and our own, we see no ground for hope. We are burthened with a sense of our sin, misery, and darkness, and long in vain for some quiet resting place—some covert from the tempest—some shadow of a great rock in this weary land--something which has. “the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. We strive to break our bondage, but every struggle binds us faster in our chains, and is only the ineffectual effort of a mind separated from God to restore by its own wisdom its lost fellowship with its Maker. We counsel you therefore to cleave to this unerring word of God. And we counsel you not to be satisfied with mere intellectual attainments. A mere intellectual acquaintance with the Bible is not godliness. They know too much of religion, far too much for their future comfort, who know more

than they obey. We claim for the Bible and for the truth it inculcates, not only the submission, the admiration of your understanding, but the submission and admiration of your heart. Ah, my young friends, where else can you find a moment's repose, when you have once cast away your confidence in the instructions of God's word? Cast away this confidence, and there is a chasm before you which nothing can fill—an abyss, across which your dark, uncomforted minds throw their anxious glance, and feel that all their light and hopes are extinguished. You would wonder why you had been created with such insatiable desires after truth, such a thirst for the knowledge of God, and yet could find nothing to gratify them. Nor would this inquietude ever pass away, until you had returned to the Bible. The sundered bond would then be made whole; the separating chasm filled; the darkness dissipated; the agitated, despairing mind at peace.




We have just turned our attention to the influence of the Bible upon the extent and certainty of moral science. We advance this evening a step beyond speculations like these, how ever momentous. We look at man not as the creature of intellect and thought merely, but as the creature of feeling, of moral sensibility and affection: and we look at the Bible not merely as exerting an influence upon his intellectual, but upon his active and moral powers, and forming the only character by which he becomes fitted for the presence and enjoyment of God his Maker. We here take our leave of those happy influences which this wonderful book exerts upon the learning and literature of the world; upon its laws and liberties; upon its social institutions and moral

virtues, as well as upon the mere intellectual sphere of religious truth. And may I not hope that God will incline your hearts to accompany me with the same interest with which you have accompanied me thus far, though it be in inquiries more spiritual than those which have hitherto occupied our attention ? If the things of time alone absorb our thoughts; if the present is that alone in which we feel an interest while we are heedless of the future; then do we ourselves present melancholy proof of that moral infatuation which has not yet learned to appreciate the Holy Scriptures. What does it profit a man, though he have all knowledge,” and yet remain unacquainted with God? “What is he profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" It is THE CROWN



A moment's reflection upon the nature and destinies of the human soul, will teach us that moral rectitude alone can raise it to its true greatness. Were it possible for this great perfection to be detached from the character of God himself; were that divine nature, now so glorious, to be stripped of the beauties of holiness;" instead of being revered and loved, he would be the object of suspicion and fear, and could no longer be contemplated but with terror and dismay. The higher a being is in intellectual power, the more debased is he, and the more were he to be dreaded, were he destitute of holiness. Holiness constitutes the beauty,

« PreviousContinue »