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we belong not to the party who represent the valuable time of youth as wasted in the perusal of Greek and Roman writers-we are not ignorant how much the taste is refined by familiarity with these noble monuments of ancient literature ; but we feel convinced that the student for the ministry will be better prepared for its important duties by the general cultivation of his mind, and the refinement of his moral taste, in the grand encyclopædia of modern science and Christian ethics, than by confinement within the circle of ancient and profane literature, whatever charms may be supposed to be worked within it by the magic wand of Attic, or Roman genius, touched by which so many learned men, as if whatever was original in their minds had suffered a fatal paralysis, have been unable to speak powerfully in their native tongue, uttering their thoughts only in the oracular cabala of the schools, cast in a sort of Babylonish dialect, which only the initiated in the mysteries of Greek syntax and prosody could understand, and reflecting through the dim medium of a dead language only the borrowed lights of former times, darkened withal by the shadows of voluminous tomes of critical opacity and pedantic dulness. We are well aware how laboriously some modern scholars have endeavoured to show that the essential doctrines of the Gospel depend for their proof on the most minute niceties of Greek construction : but not Sharp, with all his acuteness in detecting the great critical canon, which had utterly escaped the ken of all other learned Grecians till he dragged it to light—not Middleton, with all his array of texts in defence of the Rule (scanty enow when diminished by his memorable limitations and exceptions), can induce us to believe that the grand truths of Christianity have so narrow and insignificant a basis as the little article ., , To, especially as Christianity was designed for the benefit of all mankind, very few of whom could comprehend the subtilty (might we not more justly say finesse ) of this article-failing argument; which has been sufficiently proved to have nothing to recommend it but hypothetical ingenuity, and is, indeed, entirely frittered away by the exceptions on one side, and the limitations on the other, of its most zealous supporters. Should it be granted, then, that Dissenting ministers are less able critics in the learned languages than the divines of the Church of England—though it be conceded that they can read no Greek, nay, no Latin authors, not even those which boys learn at school, as their fraternal adversary more than insinuates, without availing themselves of such pleasant aids as Smart's Horace and Duncan's Virgil—should it be admitted that, even in Dissenting colleges, in which the classics of Athens and Rome are professed to be taught, no attention is paid to the Greek and Latin metres, and the students are required only to do the original text into
English,' the tutors themselves seeing no other use in classical studies than coming at the English by any means that may most readily facilitate the arriving at this end: are the elèves of those institutions, with all the asserted classical defects in their education, not trained up efficiently to the work of the ministry, and does the voluntary system, if it has not provided for their pre-eminence in ancient literature, send them forth unprepared to be of great service to society, both in the pulpit and out of it?
Quitting this hypothetical mode of reasoning, it is time to appeal to fact; and we deny, in toto, the gross misrepresentations which it has pleased the laughter-loving Autobiographer to make, respecting the very superficial acquirements, and * very shallow learning' of Dissenting ministers. Taking them as a body, we do not hesitate to declare our conviction, that in natural talents, acquired knowledge, intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures, and the ready and skilful use of their own language in explaining and enforcing them, they are more than equal to the general run of ministers who have grown up under the wing of the Church Establishment; and that, taking them separately, we can pick out from them men of first-rate abilities, whose extensive erudition and learned works—some of them, too, replete with classic lore–need fear no comparison with those, of however high a claim, which have come from the collegiate halls of Oxford or Cambridge, or from the most splendid libraries and studies of Episcopal palaces.
The facetious author of the Autobiography' seems to have been utterly unacquainted with the Dissenting colleges of highest repute, and with the highly-talented and truly learned men who have presided over, or been brought up in them. He appears, indeed, to have been sleeping for at least half a century; and, having suddenly awaked out of his deep trance, and being utterly unconscious of its long duration, to have begun prattling about the things that were, but which a single peep out of his chamber-window would have convinced him no longer are. He speaks like one who—not yet wide awake-is dreaming of the past, and insensible to the present; he tells amusing anecdotes, with the usual privileges of a story-teller, of a by-gone world, and apostrophizes shadows that have departed. He is like Ezekiel, in the chamber of imagery,' who saw there, through a dark hole in the wall, all abominable things; but, unblessed with the prophet's clear vision, he does not see the glory of the Lord filling the court of the Temple, and his che- ; rubim, with their myriad eyes and intelligent countenances, passing through it on sounding pinions, till it echoes as with * the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. The prosy old gentleman is too fond of the sound of his own tongue
to listen to the eloquence of the mighty men amongst the Dissenters of the present day, whose powerful words are uttered from a thousand pulpits, and whose high-souled compositions are continually issuing from the press. We, moreover, shrewdly suspect, this venerable worthy of a past age is rather dull of hearing, and that his eyes are dim with years : we would advise him, therefore, to put on his ancient spectacles, and, averting his mind from the visions of former times, actually contemplate what is going on in the world around him. He will thus learn what great advances have been made in knowledge of all kinds by all classes of men since he was a youth, and if the prejudices of longevity do not obscure his sight, he will see enough to convince him that “old things have passed away,' and that all things,' if they are not already become, are fast becoming “new.'
We now take leave of our ancient worthy; and, that we may do it with all civility and good humour, we shall content ourselves with reminding him, that a man may live too long, either for his own reputation or the public's welfare-being incapacitated by dotage for duly appreciating the improvements which liberal principles are daily making in every walk of life, or prevented by antiquated prejudices from acknowledging them.
" 'Tis time the senior had left the stage,
INTEMPERANCE. Wine from grapes, if not the only intoxicating liquor with which the Israelites were acquainted, was more frequently used than any
other. When the sin of drunkenness is denounced in the Scriptures, it is generally wine in excess which is mentioned as the great temptation and the great crime. There can, however, be no reasonable doubt but that the same commands which prohibit the immoderate use of wine, equally prohibit intemperance however it may be indulged. Should any person be disposed to cavil at this circumstance, and to contend since wine alone is mentioned, therefore the drunkenness which is occasioned by wine is alone prohibited, the ground of this argument may be immediately taken away by the fact that in ancient times the name of wine was given to other liquors besides those which were made from grapes. Wine, Pliny informs us, was made from various materials,—from water and honey, * from the Lotus,f from the palm tree. The wine which was made in Egypt, a country bordering on Judea, was wine from barley.* The historian who mentions this fact himself visited Egypt 2300 years since, and accounts for the circumstance very satisfactorily, because there are no vineyards in Egypt. Not to attach too much importance to this argument, we may further remark, though in many passages of Scripture it is the immoderate use of wine which is condemned, yet there are numerous texts which decidedly condemn intemperance, however occasioned. The prophet Isaiah, (v. 22.) not only denounces woe against those that are mighty to drink wine,' but adds .woe unto them that are men of strength, to mingle strong drink. Christ himself, too, gives this most important direction to his disciples, (Luke xxi. 34.) Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness.'
* 'Fit vinum et ex aqua ac melle tantum.'-Nat. Hist. lib. xiv. e. 20.
# Reliquos vinum, ut Indos, palmis exprimere.'-Nat. Hist. lib. vi. c. 33. See also lib. xiv. c. 19; 'Vinum fit et o siliqua Syriaca, et e pyris, malorumque omnibus generibus,"
Among the strong drinks of ancient times, fermented liquor made from grain is expressly mentioned by historians, and if, as some suppose, the Egyptians distilled their intoxicating liquors from wheat or barley, something very like the ardent spirits of modern times must have been in use from the remotest antiquity. The land, it was said by the Roman Naturalist nearly 1800 years since, yields corn in abundance; but, alas ! the wonderful ingenuity of our vices ! there has been discovered a mode by which even water may be rendered intoxicating.'I Among the strong drinks of ancient times we may then reckon wine, a kind of ale, and liquor distilled from grain ;~and if we are required, in a matter of this nature, to abide by the very letter of the Scriptures, we must conclude that the liquors which the Scriptures condemn, so nearly, if not exactly, correspond with the strong drinks of modern times, that there is no essential difference between them. The true meaning of the Scriptures, however, we cannot doubt ;—they most decidedly prohibit us from the immoderate use of any kind of intoxicating liquor. Be not deceived,' says the apostle, (1 Cor. vi. 10.) neither thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.'
We should notice, that it is strong drink in excess which the Scriptures condemn, and not the moderate use. The Psalmist even enumerates among the bounties of Providence, wine that maketh glad the heart of man.' (Ps. civ. 15.) Christ himself, at a very natural season of merriment, changed water into wine: and the apostle gives an express permission to Timothy, to use
Οινο δ' εκ κριθεων πεποιημενη διαχρεωνται: ου γας σφι εισι εν τη χωρη a. tol. Herodotus ii. 77.
+ Herodotus as above, and Pliny Nat. Hist. lib. xiv.
I. At hercules illic tellus fruges parere videbatur. Heu mira vitiorum solertia, inventum est quemadmodum aqua quoque inebriarct.' Pliny Nat. llist. xiv. 29.—The various kinds of artificial drinks he computes to be onc hundred and ninety.
a little wine for his stomach's sake and his often infirmities.' (1 Tim. v. 23.) To say, therefore, that the moderate use of fermented liquors is forbidden, would be both to outrage common sense and to misrepresent the plain meaning of the Scriptures. Whatever the Deity has provided for the use of man may, without blame, be enjoyed by us, on the conditions that we keep within the limits of strict sobriety, and apply his bounties to their proper purpose.
It is temperance which the rule of human duty enjoins, and so long as we are temperate there is no law of the Scriptures or of right reason to which we can be held accountable.
The whole question respecting the use of intoxicating liquors resolves itself into a consideration of what we mean by moderation or temperance. If we can determine this point, the road is plain before us, because no reasonable man, and certainly no true Christian, will maintain the lawfulness of intemperance; it can never be right to indulge in that which is productive of injury either to the health of our bodies or to the welfare of our souls.
Out of his abundant goodness our gracious Creator has provided for the use of man, not merely the absolute necessaries of life, but a countless variety of things pleasant to the taste and good for food. On our free enjoyment of these the only restriction which he has placed is this, that we shall not use them to our injury. We are invited to the feast of nature ;the corn and the wine, the animal and the vegetable worlds are spread before us, that we may seek in moderation whatever we desire. We are not even required to show that the natural productions of which we partake are directly beneficial ; if they do us no harm, our bountiful Maker allows us to draw from them whatever enjoyment they can confer. Had it been otherwise, our food, instead of having a relish, might have been restricted, as is the case with some animals, to a particular kind of vegetable, and even that single plant might have been destitute of all taste, though as full of nourishment as the strongest concentrated essence of animal food. We are, however, placed amidst an almost infinite number of nutritious and palatable productions, and, I doubt not, the Great Master of nature's feast invites us to select from the abundant variety, whatever we believe most agreeable, or find most within our means of obtaining. Our native country may and does produce every needful article of food ;-yet this is no reason why an English child should never taste an orange; water may be, and I believe is, far better, as our usual drink, than any kind of fermented liquor, and yet, if I am temperate, I may, without the slightest blame, use the liquor which is more agreeable to my palate. In making these statements my only wish is to offer the true