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been broáched by the pretended philosophers of our own times.
These considerations, therefore, should teach us to mix with our best attainments a large portion of Christian humility; and, more especially, when any thing comes under the cognisance of the human mind, that respects our duty to God: for if reason, in the exercise of her discursive powers, is bounded by the nature of every science, or when wandering too far, is in danger of perpetual errors ;- much more is she so, when, unassisted by divine revelation, she presumes to teach the doctrines, and prescribe the duties of religion.
This is not mere conjecture, or gratuitous assertion ; for here, also, we can appeal to experience, and the authentic records of history. We shall have our inquiries farther aided, and our opinions confirmed, by many existing monuments of antiquity, which have escaped the ravages of time. If we direct our attention to Egypt, Greece, or Rome, it will appear from evidence, scarcely to be disputed, that these nations excelled all succeeding ages in such arts and sciences as depend on industry and judgment, on native genius, and cultivated taste. Accordingly, the architecture and sculpture, the poetry and eloquence of the Greeks remain unrivalled.
In conceding this, we must, by fair ipference allow, also, that many of the sister arts, such as painting and music, were advanced by them to the same degree of excellence. But if we inquire what these “mighty minds” produced, on the most interesting and momentous of all sub jects, that of Religion, we shall have the most striking instance of the weakness and inadequacy of human reason. Not to notice the presumptuous folly of pretending to discover the events of futurity from the flight of birds, the drawing of lots, the inspection of the viscera of animals, and other silly expedients ;-so fanciful and absurd were their tenets, so superstitious, foolish, and impure was their worship, and so shamefully profane, and corrupt, were many of their festivals, rites, and ceremonies, that there is scarcely an untutored peasant, who has only seen a slight glimmering of the glorious light of the Gospel, that would not condemn the whole accumulated mass of their follies and superstitions, as totally unworthy of the practice and belief of rational creatures.
Here let us pause for a moment, and ask if he would not form the same opinion, were he to
contemplate the actions and the creed of those wretched and abandoned men, who, even now, forgetting the God that created and redeemed them, endeavour to set up idols of their own, and labor, with frantic zeal, to propagate the miserable tenets of atheism and infidelity ?
Sensible of these evils, but unable to correct them, that distinguished Sage in the annals of antiquity, who is said to have “ wooed philosophy from heaven, to dwell with men, and form their manners, not inflame their pride,” told his disciples, that some supernatural communication, and divine authority, were necessary to teach men the essential doctrines, and duties of religion : because, when, from the habit of tracing effects to their causes, by the exercise of reason, and contemplating the wonderful works, of creation," they knew God," as the apostle observes, “they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”.
In the fulness of time, therefore, our merciful Creator, “ who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.". The books of the Old Testament, written for the most part by Moses, and the prophets,
from the dictates of divine inspiration, together with the books of the New Testament, as composed by the evangelists, and the holy apostles, form that sacred and invaluable treasure of divine truth, which we call the Bible; and which we might well regard as “ the wisdom of God, and the power of God.”
These, then, are “ the things written afore. time for our learning,” or “ instruction ;” and when we consider the authority from which they emanate, their intrinsic excellence, and remem. ber that they alone “ can make us wise unto sal. vation," not to “ read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them," must betray the most sinful negligence, and the most stupid insensibility.
Let us, therefore, as a subject not unsuitable for our meditations, at this holy season, comply in some measure with that devotional course, which our excellent Liturgy points out, and briefly consider some of the treasures, which the divine wisdom and mercy have disclosed to us. We shall then be more fully convinced, that “ All scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, and thoroughly. furnished unto all good works."
The book of Genesis is the oldest in the world; and reveals to us many things, which otherwise we could have never known. If opened, for the first time, without any reference to religious opinions, by the cosmogonist, or philosopher, the geologist, or historian, it would be deemed, of all others, the most interesting and valuable, as well as the most curious, instructive, and authentic. It gives the only credible account of the creation, and origin of the human race.
It states the fact of the primeval innocence of our first parents, and gives an account of their probation and their fall, in a narrative wisely contrived to throw à sacred veil over the mysterious subject of moral evil, as connected with the prescience of God, and the free-agency of man ;-a subject that may we!! be regarded as one of the numerous things, which the powers of the human mind are at present utterly unable to comprehend.
The history of the patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, when the world was destroyed, in consequence of the wickedness of mankind, by the universal deluge ;-the renovation of the human race from Noah's family, the cause of the confusion or diversity of languages, and the dispersion of his family, from whom the ancient king