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The recollection of our Lord's character necessary, to
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
THE seal which God put upon man, when he made him, was nothing less than his own bright image. What a mysterious creation! The stamp of the Divinity upon a child of the dust! What noble intellectual and moral powers! What a destiny! And can this being, so 'fearfully and wonderfully made,' know himself and find out the character of his fellows? Is he capable of admiring what is great in them, and imitating what is good?
These questions do not need a formal answer-for the natural, as well as the proper study of mankind, is man.' We are instinctively prompted to examine other copies of this remarkable volume, not only to ascertain how far they agree with our own, but to note down whatever strikes us as peculiar in any of them. Especially are all eyes attracted by intellectual and moral greatness, wherever it appears.
Such men as Aristotle, Bacon, Pascal, Edwards, Milton, Howard, Washington, and Napoleon, always have had a multitude of admirers, and they always will have. It is hardly necessary to add, that the constituent elements of greatness in such extraordinary men, are capable of being exhibited in a variety of interesting lights. They are like those large bodies, which cannot be seen, on all sides, from any one station or those wide and deep waters, which
cannot be effectually sounded, by heaving the lead once, or twice, in the same place. The genius-the inspiration, I was about to say, of a great Poet, or Philosopher, or Reformer, requires much and deep reflection, to comprehend it. And in order to do justice to the master spirits of the world, the soul must be stirred by kindred impulses. Moreover, when the sublime and original conceptions of a Milton, or the indomitable daring of a Luther, or John Knox, is to be scanned, a single biography, or critique, however ably drawn up, does not satisfy us. It just awakens our admiration and curiosity. We inquire more eagerly than ever, wherein their 'great strength lay.' We dwell upon every incident of their lives, with new interest. We read their works again and again, with increased satisfaction, and eagerly catch every ray of light which is cast upon their characters and writings by their most gifted admirers.
But no mere human character, or work is perfect. The profoundest depths of man's intellect can be fathomed. In the loftiest flights of his imagination he can be followed. None of his richest mines are inexhaustible. The time must come, when all will have been said, that can be said, to exalt the character of any individual of our race, however great his talents, or illustrious his virtues. And this would have been the case had sin never entered the world. Had the men whom we most admire, been perfectly holy, it would have been a limited perfection after all-not finite, merely, but the perfection of, probably, the lowest order of God's intelligent creation. So that in due time, we might have learned every thing that could be learned about them; might have exhausted our admiration upon every thing that was worthy to be admired.
In like manner, were an angel to come down from heaven, and dwell among us, and unfold to us those sublime