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are discernible in its whole extent, and eveti in its remotest parts."
The preceding quotations sufficiently demonstrate the sentiments of Sir William Jones on the subject of Revelation, and they may be fairly considered as evincing an anxiety on his part to impress his own belief on others, for the very expressions which may seem to imply hesitation or indifference in his mind, are particularly adapted to enforce conviction on those, to whom they were addressed. It is worthy of remark, that the reflections in many of the passages cited, although such as would naturally occur to a believer in the Scriptures, are not necessarily called for by the subject under his discussion, and could only proceed from his zeal in the investigation and propagation of truth. This was the fixed object of his whole life, as he has himself declared in the following elegant couplets:
Before thy mystic altar, heav'nly Truth,
Then shall my soul, now lost in clouds below,
A disciple of Voltaire would have omitted the observations made by Sir William Jones, or have tortured the premises on which they are founded, into the service of infidelity; nor would he have declared that, “in order to
enlighten the minds of the ignorant, and to “ enforce the obedience of the perverse, it is “ evident à priori, that a revealed Religion
was necessary in the great system of Providencet.”
The mind of Sir William Jones was never tainted with infidelity; but there was a period, as I have already observed, before his judgment was matured, and before he had studied the Scriptures with close attention, when his belief in the truth of Revelation was tinged
* These lines were written by Sir William Jones in Berkley's Siris; they are, in fact, a beautiful version of the last sentence of the Siris, amplified and adapted to himself; “ He that would make a real progress in knowledge, “ must dedicate his age as well as youth, the latter growth " as well as the first fruits, at the altar of Truth."
+ Works, vol. iii. p. 245.
with doubts. But these were the transient clouds, which for a while obscure the dawn, and disperse with the rising fun. His heart and his judgment told him, that Religion was a subject of supreme importance, and the evidence of its truth worthy of his most serious investigation. He sat down to it without prejudice, and rose from the enquiry with a conviction, which the studies of his future life invigorated and confirmed. The completion of the prophecies relating to our Saviour, had impressed upon his youthful mind this invaluable truth, that the language of Isaiah, and of the prophets, was inspired; and in this belief, to which fresh proofs were progressively added, he closed his life. He has I trust received, through the merits of his REDEEMER, the reward of his faith.
In matters of eternal concern, the authority of the highest human opinions has no claim to be admitted, as a ground of belief, but it may with the strictest propriety be opposed to that of men of inferior learning and penetration; and, whilst the pious derive satisfaction
from the perusal of sentiments according with their own, those who doubt or disbelieve, should be induced to weigh with candour and impartiality, arguments which have produced conviction in the minds of the best, the wisest, and most learned of mankind.
Among such as have professed a steady belief in the doctrine of Christianity, where shall greater names be found, than those of Bacon and Newton? Of the former and of Locke, it may be observed, that they were both innovators in science; disdaining to follow the fages of antiquity through the beaten paths of error, they broke through prejudices, which had long obstructed the progress of found knowledge, and laid the foundation of science on solid ground, whilst the genius of Newton carried him extra flammantia menia mundi. These men, to their great praise, and we may hope to their eternal happiness, devoted much of their time to the study of the Scriptures: if the evidence of Revelation had been weak, who were better qualified to expose its unsoundness? if our national faith were a mere
fable, a political superstition, why were minds which boldly destroyed prejudices in Science, blind to those in Religion? They read, examined, weighed, and believed; and the same vigorous intellect, that dispersed the mists which concealed the temple of human knowledge, was itself illuminated with the radiant truths of Divine Revelation.
Such authorities, and let me now add to them the name of Sir William Jones, are deservedly entitled to great weight: let those, who superciliously reject them, compare their intellectual powers, their scientific attainments, and vigour of application, with those of the men whom I have named; the comparison may perhaps lead them to suspect, that their incredulity (to adopt the idea of a profound scholar) may be the result of a little smattering in learning, and great self-conceit, and that by harder study, and a humbled mind, they may regain the religion which they have left.
I shall not apologize for the extracts which I have introduced from the works of Sir Wil