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CONCLUSION OF A LECTURE

OF PROFESSOR WARE;

Delivered Saturday forenoon, October 2, 1813.

BEING THE FIRST OF HIS LECTURES UPON THE CRITICISM AND INTER

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After addressing those classes of the undergraduates who attend these

lectures, on the death of one of their number, (a son of Chief Jus. tice Sewall,) Dr. Ware proceeded :

TO another portion of my hearers,* still more closely connected with these studies, and exclusively devoted to their pursuit, divine providence has also, in another recent event, given an impressive lesson of instruction and admonition. A fel. low student, who had just completed the course of preparatory discipline which you are pursuing, and was entering on that of active usefulness for which it was designed, has been taken from your side. Seldom have we witnessed a more affecting instance of the early withering of human prospects.' Seldom háve we seen a brighter morning

* The resident graduates, students in divinity.

so soon covered with clouds, and close in dark. ness. Few young men have entered on theolog. ical studies with greater ardor, or pursued them with more intelligence, or better success, than Mr. Eliot. His taste, as well as his judgment, directed him to devote particular attention to the attainment of a critical knowledge of the New Testament. Without undervaluing or neglecting other studies, less immediately connected with his main and ultimate object, his chief aim was turned to a thorough knowledge of the Christian Scriptures. He pursued it with that steady and persevering resolution which is not discouraged by difficulties, nor turned aside from its purpose by slight and inadequate causes; and with that entire openness of mind which is the surest pledge of fidelity, and gives the fairest prospect of success in the search of truth.

A young man of ardent mind, and eager thirst after knowledge, who thus indulges unlimited freedom of inquiry, resolves to discuss every question without fear and without reserve, to re. ceive no opinion without evidence, and no interpretation merely on authority, may fall into mistakes; may adopt new errors in the place of the old ones he has abandoned; may even be in dan, ger of sometimes missing the truth from the very . ardor of his zeal in pursuing it, and from a too great fear of the influence of prejudice and authority. In his zeal to escape from one tyrant, he may carelessly throw himself into the hands of another. And where this happens, I know not whether he will find the latter less fatal to his real freedom than the former. The contempt of old opinions may be as real and as slavish a prejudice as the fear of new ones.

But against this danger in any considerable degree, there is an effectual security in him who comes to this freedom of inquiry with good sense, honesty, and piety. By the first, he is prevented from being imposed upon by false and specious appearances, or misled by fancy, or enthusiasm, or the love of novelty. By the second, he is se. cured against the influence of sinister motives in pursuing his inquiries, and in forming his opinions ;—and the last will guard him against that levity, which is an enemy to truth, and dispose him to that seriousness, which by giving the just weight and impression to objects presented to the mind, is the best preparation for the reception of truth.

Our late friend was, as you all know, in an unusual degree open and unreserved in all his theological inquiries. But while he pursued them with exemplary diligence and ardor, he came to them, it is believed, with an eminent share of those qualities which I have observed are so necessary to accompany the spirit of free inquiry.

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He had too clear a discernment, and too sound and correct a judgment, to pick up or lay aside opinions on slight and inadequate grounds. He knew how to exercise boldness without temeri. ty, and caution without timidity. He knew also how to hold opinions at the same time with firmness and without bigotry- to exercise a liberal spirit toward others without any sacrifice of independence.

To this liberality of mind, well directed dili. gence in study, and honesty in the pursuit of truth, he joined also, it is believed, the higher and more important attribute of practical piety. With those views of the character of God which present him to the mind in the amiable and endearing attributes of the Father and Friend of his creatures, and which inspire reverence, confidence and trust, his piety was full of cheerfulness, affection, gratitude, and hope. It gave vigor and animation to his virtues; and in his gradual, but early passage to the tomb, was a ground of support, and gave calmness and serenity.

Human examples are imperfect. They are to be offered for imitation with caution and due abatement. We are to distinguish in our departed, as well as our living friends, their virtues from their faults, their excellencies of character from their defects and failings. The latter, we may cover with forgetfulness; the former, we cannot be too faithful to remember, and cherish, and copy. Whatever you have seen that was estima- .' ble in the character of our late friend, whatever he possessed of amiableness of temper, and openness of mind, and whatever he practised of fidel. ity in the cultivation of his talents, diligence in the pursuit of knowledge, ardor in the love of truth, sobriety of manners, conscientious integrity, and piety to God—may you imitate. May you follow him in every thing that was worthy and good—except in the calm resignation of a lingering sickness, and the serene and cheerful hope of an early death.

From an opportunity for these, may God preserve you ;-and keep you for that future usefulness which was not permitted to him.

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