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sures of wisdom and knowledge. And this ascription is pressed upon us for the manifest purpose of impelling us to seek a due participation of them from Him.

Saint Paul was a strenuous opposer of religious ignorance. It is not too much to say, that he places Intelligence as the ground-work of Christianity. To know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, he considers as the first rudiments taught in the divine school. This knowledge can only be acquired by a cordial love, and indefatigable study of the volume of Inspiration. All the conjectures of the brightest imagination, all the discoveries of the profoundest science, all the glorious objects of created beauty, all the attributes of angels, all the ideas of excellence we can conceive or combine, affords but faint shadows, inexpressive figures of the Divinity. The best lights we can throw upon his perfections are from his own Word, assisted by his own Spirit; the clearest sight we can obtain of them is from our faith in that word, and our only strength from our acquiescence in the offers of that Spirit.

And where shall we look in the whole sacred Record for a more consummate statement, at once, of the proper objects of knowledge, and of the duties resulting from its acquisition, than in the writings of this Apostle? No one who has devoutly studied him, can shift off the neglect of duty by the plea of ignorance. It would be vindicating one sin by committing another. He every where exhibits such luminous characters of God and Christ, such clear views of right and wrong, such living pictures of good and evil, such striking contrasts of human corruption and Christian purity, that he who would

evade the condemnation which awaits the neglect, or the violation of duty, must produce some other apology than that he did not know it. What excuse will those modern sceptics offer for their traducement of writings, which they were too shrewd either to despise or ne glect? Whatever is good in their systems, they derive from a Revelation which they affect to contemn. They are rich only from what they steal, not from that property which they may call their own. Reason, which could in no wise discover what Christianity has taught, is glad to adopt, while she disavows, what she could never have found out herself. She has, however, too little honesty, and too much pride, to acknowledge her obligation to the source from which she draws. She mixes up what she best likes with her own materials, and defies the world, by separating them, to detect the cheat. Revelation, in truth, has improved reason, as well as perfected morals.

But if the human reasoner despises Christianity, some Christians are too much disposed to vilify reason. This contempt they did not learn of Saint Paul. He never taught, that, to neglect an exact method of reasoning, would make men sounder divines. No such consequences can be deduced from his writings. Revealed religion, indeed, happily for the poor and illiterate, may be firmly believed, and vitally understood, without a very accurate judgment, or any high cultivation of the rational powers. But without both, without a thorough acquaintance with the arguments, without a knowledge of the evidences, it can never be successfully defended. Ignorance on these points would throw

such a weight into the scale of scepticism, as would weaken, if it did not betray, the cause of truth. In our days an ignorant teacher of religion is "a workman that needeth to be ashamed. He should carefully cultivate his reason, were it only to convince himself of its imperfection. The more he proceeds under the guidance of God's Spirit to improve his rational faculties, the more he will discover their insufficiency; and his humility striking its root more deeply as his knowledge shoots higher, he will become more profoundly thankful for that Divine revelation, which alone can satisfy the desires of his mind, and fill the cravings of his heart.

Some well-meaning instructors have pleaded, in justification of their low attainments, Saint Paul's exaltation of "the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." "It was," says a learned divine, " a mode not unusual with Saint Paul, to call a thing, not by a term descriptive of its real nature, but by a name expressive of the opinion formed of it by the world, and of the effects produced by it."-In calling the Gospel foolishness, therefore, he only adopted the language of the Greeks, its Pagan enemies. It was "the natural man," to whom the things of the Spirit of God were foolishness. The expression, therefore, offers no apology for nonsense, no plea for ignorance. However the humility of Paul might lead him to depreciate “the wisdom of his own words," he has left us the means of knowing that they were of the very first excellence. He depreciates, it is true, all eloquence, whether true or false, which was adopted as a substitute " for the Cross

of Christ." He would indeed reprobate the idea of loading a discourse with ornaments, which might draw the attention of the audience from the Saviour to the preacher, which by its splendour might cast into shade the object he was bound to reveal; which might throw into the back ground that Cross which should ever be the prominent figure. But though, in establishing the doctrine of the Cross, God accomplished a promise of long standing, and frequent repetition, that he would "destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent," yet there is no promise that ignorance or folly shall be erected on the ruins of wisdom; the promise runs, that the wisdom from above shall supersede the pride of human wisdom.

One of the fundamental truths which the apostle labours to establish, is, that the attainment of Divine knowledge, progress in holiness, conquest over sin, with all other spiritual gains, are only to be effected by the power of the Spirit of God. This doctrine, the importance of which he every where intimates, he more explicitly teaches in the eighth chapter of Romans. This conviction, which he felt deeply, he paints forcibly. Yet, though insisted on with such frequency and emphasis, many receive this as a speculative dogma, instead of a highly practical truth. Many distrust the reality of this power, or if they allow its existence, they disbelieve its agency.

This tenet, however, so slightly regarded, is in every part of the New Testament, not barely noticed by allusion, but incessantly either peremptorily asserted, or

constantly assumed. Would the apostle repeatedly refer us, as the only deliverer from sin, to an ideal person? Would he mock us by a bare statement of such a power, and an unmeaning promise of such a deliverance, without directing us how it is to be obtained? The fervent habitual prayer of faith is the mean suggested. It is rational to suppose that spiritual aid must be attained by a spiritual act. God is a spirit. Spirit and truth are the requisites expected in his worshippers. Though this doctrine is insisted on not less than twelve times in this chapter only, there is not one tenet of Christianity, in the adoption of which, the generality are more reluc

tant.

It is unreasonable for us to say, we disbelieve the possibility of the operation of the Holy Spirit, because we do not understand when, or in what manner it acts, while we remain in such complete ignorance how our own spirits act within ourselves. It is proof sufficient, that we see its result, that we perceive the effect of this mysterious operation, in the actual change of the human heart. Our sense of our internal weakness, must convince us, that it is not effected by any power of our own. The humble cannot but feel this truth, the ingenuous cannot but acknowledge it. Let us be assured, that Infinite Wisdom, which knows how we are constituted, and what are our wants, knows how his own spirit assists those who earnestly implore its aid.

Saint Paul powerfully inculcates that new and spiritual worship which was so condescendingly and beautifully taught by the Divine Teacher, at the well of Sychar, when he declared that the splendours of the Tem

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