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follow, he can only do, readily, what he often has to do in parts of the Bible itself, i.e., pass on to what is within his comprehension, and he will find he will grasp the general character of the evidence, and the beauty of the divinely-given synopsis of all science by Moses, quite as well as is needed to satisfy him, and add to his pious aspirations to reach in Christ after God.
To the man of science, the author says weigh all fairly: as to be hasty, or bigoted, is not the way to make converts. If you can shew any truth, have faith in the Truth, Work by it against aught wrong, and believe that the Armour of Light is the best and always a secure means of final success. Retaining old, or developing new and more subtle errors will be useless, for it hath been said by One who can command his will, “Every secret thing shall be brought to light."
An Historical Notice on the Attainments of the
Sacred Writers in Astronomic Law.
In no age did there ever exist so wide-spread a profession of regard for truth, or such an aspect of its eager pursuit; yet is it not to be justly feared that in neither was a greater paucity of enquirers, truly open, and above false internal and external influence? Human predisposition, as much as ever vitiating the proportion of openness of heart. If Christian truth, in results of the gospel light belonging to this administration, has, we may believe, increased the lovers of all truth, yet in the mass, the predisposition against direct Divine government by revelation, so predominates, that under such an excellent profession the greatest sceptics veil their desires, and most Christians are warped in sectarian lines of devotion. Education associated with, and assisted by the enlarged reading of the Holy Scriptures, both tends to improve the desire for intellectual pursuits by expanding the mental powers, and to stamp the grand objects they present on morals, general history, and science, even when no deeper work of converting grace is effected by the great mercy, profound theology, rich doctrine, and powerfully sublime facts therein made known. Men may thirst to improve the intellect for self pride, and yet refuse all devotion of its powers as responsible to God: thus, the printing press, in facilitating the possession of the Bible, and all its educational results, necessarily tends to great acquisition in all learning, as it is from the key to all wisdom, working it out for the glory of God.
Man is a being whose powers by their training in any direction thirsts the more for his wonted food: the acquisition and appetite acting and reacting to strengthen each other. This was a necessary law to reward and own the path of right, but involves also its associate results under false impulse. The moral dispensation of providential and judicial results could not be perfect, under God, unless action and reaction were here also just ratios.
Thus moral and educational results are ordered to become, in life agencies, an inheritance; and mingled efforts by the sexes stamp the likeness of the past, associated with the work of progress on the seed, by the law of conception. This means to the enlargement of the powers and blessings developed in mankind, of intellectual vigour, (especially as at work, above decline, in this age, through Jesus' testimony and its impression, so affecting all,) tempts many
NOTE.—The author, when in the British Navy, was acquainted with a Marine Artillery Officer, who, although he was an avowed sceptic, constantly read the Bible, because he said its poetry was so sublime. Of course this would improve his taste and judgment on its topics, even if his heart in pride was steeled against its moral claims as of God. A change in any floating medium, material or mental, is added power in all directions, if it be of mass. The author himself soon after became, for a season, a foolish sceptic.
men to rob Christ of his glory in it; and while benefitted by, and appropriating his honours, also to disavow the lost estate from Eden, and maintain the perfectibility of the race in the flesh; forgetting knowledge can only be an edge tool of greater force for the arm of a wicked infidel resolve, unless the heart-renovating power of truth awakens the graces of holiness, love, and reverential fear of God. Otherwise the Bible itself, and the deeper biographical impression made in its behalf by the cross of the good and great Redeemer, may, by the mere gregarious association of men, be turned into a leaven to aid the unsanctified systems of proud human genius and native force of hate. Truth must, at first, work on the more simple and manifest evidences, and so God began in Paradise, and we, directed by Him, ever do so for childhood, giving a mental training to obtain a good soil from his Spirit's use of things made and tangible to sense, to establish the impression of his omnipotence, omnipresence, and authority, as one God, à Spirit, in all, and through all
. Thousands, therefore, who may never even have opened or seen a Bible, are, through the attainment of those who lived before them, and others now around, educated in part, and indeed, by the floating conviction of ideas and their secondary influences, must be intellectually advanced, now that the Word of God in Christ has by the Gospel gone out to the ends of the earth. Where its direct object has again become lost, this result is still there, as a testimony against all. The subtle woman's mode of using the leaven in the seed by perverting its meaning and claims, soon, will so fill up its cup of iniquity as to the force in all its results, (Matt. xiii. 33.,) as prophesied of, by personal concentration and ability. (2 Thes. ii. 8.) Christendom, so called, is in this respect one Bible Class, as the recent scientific discussions have shewn. Hope to upset the claims of the Bible has been the chief zest of many professed scientific enquirers. Confidence to establish it, that of the faithful to Truth. The one will, and the latter, in duty to God, to check the evil, must work.
Faith can only exist in man, as God has constitutionally fitted him to receive it, by just conviction on the mind, and its alphabet is the simple and manifest. But these, as the first creature objects of desire and enjoyment, by their necessity for proper operation to shew a God of love and power, may become the all-satisfying idol; so, the pursuit of knowledge about them may be a delight, whether their sweet
blessing for leading toward the rule of God in love is attained or not. Still, for conversion, their need and value is absolute; by them alone can the first impressions respecting Jehovah in his sovereignty and Godhead claims be made known, so as to lead the heart to receive that word and work which teach doctrine and knowledge in grace to wean from things, as idols, unto God in Christ. Had not the Bible been so certain about the ancient importance of Nineveh, no cause existed sufficient to awaken the line of heavy research which brought forth its antiquarian riches for our museums.
Knowledge is also a means of power in man over his fellow, so that ambitious minds seek it, as well as a means of gain and fame. The man of immense intellectual assiduity may be no more desirous of it for the glory of God, or good to mankind, than the inventor is of the public ease, or the glutton of the publican's fortune. It often is entire selfishness.
The preaching of the Cross, as the end for which God meant all primary intellectual gain, to regene