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ments of knowledge, the Word and the Works of God. * Sincerely do I wish that the work I have before me was in abler hands than mine. I derive satisfaction from the hope that I shall be followed by those who will supply my deficiencies. “Every age,” says a distinguished writer, “as well as every individual, has its specific duty; and the duty of the nineteenth century is to bring science, in all its discoveries, to bear upon religion, and to corroborate, if we may so speak, the Word of God.” There seems to be a wide spread conviction of this important truth among intelligent Christians. But although the attention of able scientific men has been turned to the subject, the adequate illustration of the Scriptures by the discoveries of science is a work only just begun. Much, much remains to be done before learning shall have paid the debt which she owes to the volume of inspiration. The christian scholar should never rest satisfied till every discovery in the world of nature is laid at the foot of His altars, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Although I may be able
to do but little in carrying forward so important a service, I should feel grateful if allowed to have any part in it; nor do I know how I could be more usefully employed, than in fulfilling the task which in this view I have prescribed to myself.
The capacity of nations for self-government is one of the great questions of the age. Fresh discussions of it are prompted by events which follow each other in such rapid succession as to resemble the ever-varying figures and colors of the kaleidescope. Governments in the old world, which had endured for centuries, have fallen into a state of dilapidation; and, in some instances, their foundations have been destroyed by convulsions, which required but a single day for their entire overthrow. To an extent seldom witnessed before, we have seen the Scripture fulfilled—“Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more,
until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” In the midst of this removal of diadems and these wide-spreading revolutions, men very properly inquire as to what must be the result when the people are thus aiming to take civil power into their own hands, and claim to be governed under forms and rulers of their own choice. As may be inferred from the words of the prophet just quoted, the question is intimately connected, not only with the stability of just government, but with the spread of the Gospel; and every one who is the friend of his race and of Christianity, should be willing to contribute his aid to illustrate its importance and defend it from error and abuse. In all great changes which affect social or political organizations of long standing, there is danger of rashness and excess; and in breaking away from one set of evils, communities sometimes rush into others of an opposite character, but still more disastrous tendency. |Men always become vain in their imaginations when they turn away from the word of God, and neglect to hear it in relation to any subject on which it condescends to give us instruction. A distinguished author has of late entitled one of his best Essays “The Bible the best guide to political skill and foresight;” and it is to be viewed among the redeeming signs of the times, that public men
and profound thinkers are turning increased oftontion to the inspired volume, not only as a revelation of mercy to fallen man, but as a record of the cardinal principles of wisdom and equity which should enter into the government of nations. Happy will it be for all lands when their rulers will take increasing counsel from “the Father of Lights” “by whom princes decree justice,” both as to the source of their authority over men, and the manner in which it should be exercised. This would be another step towards the promised consummation, when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Not a few of those whe are counted among our leading statesmen have become deeply impressed with these convictions; and at their suggestion, I have endeavored in the following Lectures to illustrate
The connection between the Holy Scriptures and the Science of Civil Government.
I am far from supposing that I can do full justice to the subject. I approach it as an expositor of Scriptural truth, not as a statesman or a jurist; and I shall feel rewarded if I may be the means of leading the minds of abler and more accomplished men to develope it at greater length and to more perfection.
The tradition that Divine authority was requisite