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who substituted dreams of imagination and wild hypotheses for sober inquiry into God's works, and who knew comparatively nothing of nature or the human mind. The present age has a quite different illumination from that, in which ancient philosophy prided itself. It is marked by great and obvious improvements in the methods of reasoning and inquiry, and by the consequent discovery and diffusion of a great mass of physical and moral truth, wholly unknown in the time of Christ. Now we affirm, that such an age demands an enlightened ministry. We want teachers, who will be able to discern and unfold the consistency of revealed religion with the new lights which are breaking in from nature; and who will be able to draw, from all men's discoveries in the outward world and in their own souls, illustrations, analogies, and arguments for Christianity. We have reason to believe, that God, the author of nature and revelation, has established a harmony between them, and that their beams are intended to mingle and shed a joint radiance; and consequently, other things being equal, that teacher is best fitted to dispense Christianity, whose compass of mind enables him to compare what God is teaching in his works and in his word, and to present the truths of religion with those modifications and restraints which other acknowledged truths require. Christianity now needs dispensers, who will make history, nature, and the improvements of society, tributary to its elucidation and support; who will show its adaptation to man as an ever progressive being; who will be able to meet the objec-. tions to its truth, which will naturally be started in an

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active, stirring, enquiring age; and, though last not least, who will have enough of mental and moral courage to detect and renounce the errors in the Church, on which such objections are generally built. In such an age a ministry is wanted, which will furnish discussions of religious topicks, not inferior at least in intelligence to those, which people are accustomed to read and hear on other subjects. Christianity will suffer, if at a time, when vigour and acuteness of thinking are carried into all other departments, the pulpit should send forth nothing but wild declamation, positive assertion, or dull common places, with which even childhood is satiated. Religion must be seen to be the friend and quickener of intellect. It must be exhibited with clearness of reasoning and variety of illustration; nor ought it to be deprived of the benefits of a pure and felicitous diction and of rich and glowing imagery, where these gifts fall to the lot of the teacher. It is not meant that every minister must be a man of genius; for genius is one of God's rarest inspirations; and of all the beamings and breathings of genius, perhaps the rarest is eloquence. I mean only to say, that the age demands of those, who devote themselves to the administration of Christianity, that they should feel themselves called upon for the highest cultivation and fullest development of the intellectual nature. Instead of thinking, that the ministry is a refuge for dulness, and that whoever can escape from the plough is fit for God's spiritual husbandry, we ought to feel that no profession demands more enlarged thinking and more various acquisitions of truth.

In proportion as society becomes enlightened, talent acquires influence. In rude ages bodily strength is the most honourable distinction, and in subsequent times military prowess and skill confer mastery and eminence. But as society advances, mind, thought, becomes the sovereign of the world; and accordingly, at the present moment, profound and glowing thought, though breathing only from the silent page, exerts a kind of omnipotent and omnipresent energy. It crosses oceans and spreads through nations; and at one and the same moment, the conceptions of a single mind are electrifying and kindling multitudes, through wider regions than the Roman Eagle overshadowed: This agency of mind on mind, I repeat it, is the true soyereignty of the world, and kings and heroes are becoming impotent by the side of men of deep and fervent thought. In such a state of things, Religion would wage a very unequal war, if divorced from talent and cultivated intellect, if committed to weak and untaught minds. God plainly intends, that it should be advanced by human agency; and does he not then intend, to summon to its aid the mightiest and noblest power with which man is gifted?

Let it not be said, that Christianity has an intrinsick glory, a native beauty, which no art or talent of man can heighten; that Christianity is one and the same, by whatever lips it is communicated; and that it needs nothing but the most naked exposition of its truths, to accomplish its saving purposes. Who does not know, that all truth takes a hue and form from the soul through which it passes, that in every mind it is invested with peculiar associations, and that conse


quently the same truth is quite a different thing, when exhibited by men of different habits of thought and feeling? Who does not know, that the sublimest doctrines lose in some hands all their grandeur, and the loveliest all their attractiveness? Who does not know, how much the diffusion and power of any system, whether physical, moral, or political, depend on the order according to which it is arranged, on the broad and consistent views which are given of it, on the connections which it is shown to hold with other truth, on the analogies by which it is illustrated, adorned, and enforced, and, though last not least, on the clearness and energy of the style in which it is conveyed? "Nothing is needed in religion," some say, "but the naked truth." But I apprehend, that there is no such thing as naked truth, at least as far as moral subjects are concerned. Truth, which relates to God, and duty, and happiness, and a future state, is always humanized, if I may so use the word, by passing through a human mind; and when communicated powerfully, it will always be found to come to us in drapery, thrown round it by the imagination, reason, and moral feelings of the teacher. It comes to us warm and living with the impressions and affections, which it has produced in the soul from which it issues; and it ought so to come; for the highest evidence of moral truth is found in the moral principles and feelings of our nature, and therefore it fails of its best support, unless it is seen to accord with and to act upon these. The evidence of Christianity, which operates most universally, is not history nor miracles, but its correspondence to the highest capacities, deepest wants; and purest

aspirations of our nature, to the cravings of an immortal spirit; and when it comes to us from a mind, in which it has discovered nothing of this adaptation, and has touched none of these springs, it wants one of its chief signatures of divinity. Christianity is not then to be exhibited nakedly. It owes much of its power to the mind, which communicates it; and the greater the enlargement and development of the mind of which it has possessed itself, and from which it flows, the wider and deeper will be its action on the soul.

It may be said without censoriousness, that the ordinary mode, in which Christianity has been exhibited in past times, does not suit the illumination of the present. That mode has been too narrow, technical, pedantick. Religion has been made a separate business, and a dull, unsocial, melancholy business too, instead of being manifested as a truth, which bears on and touches every thing human, as a universal spirit, which ought to breathe through and modify all our desires and pursuits, all our trains of thought and emotion. And this narrow, forbidding mode of exhibiting Christianity is easily explained by its early history. Monks shut up in cells; a priesthood cut off by celibacy from the sympathies and most interesting relations of life; and universities enslaved to a scholastick logick, and taught to place wisdom in verbal subtleties and unintelligible definitions; these took Christianity into their keeping; and at their chilling touch this generous religion, so full of life and affection, became a dry, frigid, abstract system. Christianity, as it came from their hands, and has been transmitted by a majority of protestant divines, reminds us of the human form, compressed by swathing bands, until every joint


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