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of religion nearly extinguished, but men began to be ASHAMED of their religion. * All this while science and human learning were progressive; but the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was passing away.p As a proof of this decay in sacred literature, we need only notice this fact. The Hebrew language, which is the source of all critical knowledge of the Bible (of the New Testament as well as of the Old), became at length, but little known even to learned men. And though there ever have been illustrious ex

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* To this fact the chief Representative of the Church at that time has recorded the following testimony:

It is a reproach, I believe peculiar to the Christians of this

age and nation, that many of them seem Ashamed of their Christianity :-and excuse their piety as others do their s vices." Secker's Sermons, vol. I. 59.

The testimony of Bishop Butler, to the prevalence of infidelity, is very remarkable. “ It is come," says he " I know " not how, to be taken for granted, by many persons, that

Christianity is not so much as a subject of inquiry: but " that it is, now at length, discovered to be fictitious : and,

accordingly, they treat it as if in the present age, this were "an agreed point among ALL PEOPLE OF DISCERNMENT ; and " that nothing remained but to set it up as a principal subject of “mirth and ridicule ; as it were, by way of reprisals for its having so long interrupted the pleasures of the world."

Preface to the Analogy, 1736. What must have been the state of the common people in general, when it was taken for granted that such were the senti, ments of all people of discernment in the nation ?

+ See Appendix.

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ceptions, it ceased at last, to form a part of the ordinary studies of youth at our seats of learning; even of those students, who were destined for the sacred office. · Out of this state of things arose a new enemy to the church; the enemy that might be expected, INFIDELITY; or the positive denial of the truth of a revelation from God. We have seen that it was Superstition which first shut the Bible. The second attempt was made by Infidelity.--But the further consideration of this subject we must reserve for the afternoon ; when we shall review the progress of Infidelity in extending its darkness ; and the Era of Light which followed.

But before I conclude this discourse, I would beg leave to direct your attention to a subject of no little consequence to the interests of religion, and to the character of our Universities in the present circumstances of the church; the notice of which arises immediately from our present discussion. I mean the importance of a critical knowledge of the ORIGINAL languages of the Holy Scriptures to the theological Student.

The original language of the New Testament has been well cultivated; and one cause of this has been its affinity to the GREEK Classics. But the acquisition of the language of the Old Testa

ment is equally necessary. It is indispensable for those who would possess a critical knowledge of the Bible ; for the New Testament is written in the idiom of the Old. It may be received as an axiom," that a knowledge of Hebrew learn

ing among the great body of the clergy, is the

mark of a flourishing church;" that is, of a church which is ardent in maintaining the true faith, and in expounding the pure word of God to the people. Among the members of the Romish communion this species of learning is almost entirely extinct.

Having thus asserted the importance of a critical knowledge of the Bible, I think it fit, nevertheless, to controvert the opinion, that without such a knowledge individuals cannot build the doctrines of Christianity, or Christianity itself, upon a solid foundation. If this were true, what must have been the state of our own church in the absence of Hebrew learning? If sacred criticism be the sole foundation and constitute the very grounds of our belief, upon what has our belief hitherto been grounded ? This opinion places the Christian Religion on the footing of the superstitions of Mahomet and Brahma; which is this, that if you commit to memory a certain number of historic facts, and can read certain languages, all of which, both

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facts and languages, may be obliterated from your memory in less than twenty years) you are a good Theologian ; but with this advantage, however, in favour of the Mahometan, in regard to many Theologians of this day, that, whereas he can read his Koran in the original Arabic, they cannot read the Old Testament in the original Hebrew.-My brethren, by this argument, (which is the saine in principle with those which, as we have seen, were uttered in a dark age from the chief seats of learning) the assisting Grace of God, and all that is peculiar to the Christian religion, seems to be very BOLDLY extinguished.

But perhaps the source of this misapprehension lies in confounding these two terms, a Theologian and a Christian. That which consti. tutes a Christian is, Faith, Hope, and Charity, these three. Much human learning is not essentially necessary to constitute a Christian. Indeed, a man MAY BE a profound Theologian and not be a Christian at all. He may be learned in the doctrines and history of Christianity, and yet be a stranger to the FRUITS of Christianity. He may be destitute of Faith, of Hope, and of Charity.

Let us not then confound the FRUITS of religion, namely, its influence on our moral conduct, its peace of mind, and hope of heaven, with the circuMSTANCES of religion, True

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religion is that which its great Author himself hath declared. It is a PRACTICAL knowledge of the Love of God the FATHER,

" who sent not his Son into the world, to condemn the “ world; but that the world, through him,

might be saved;" of the ATONEMENT of God the Son, by faith in whom we receive remis. sion of our sins, and are justified in the sight of the Father; and of the SANCTIFICATION of God the Holy Ghost, by which we are made MEET “ to become partakers of the inheritance " of the saints in light.”—The preacher who can communicate this knowledge to his hearers (and it is true, that if he possess a critical knowledge of the Bible, and of the history of Christianity, he will be likely to do it with the most success), the same is " a workman that needeth “ not to be ashamed, and a good minister of " Jesus Christ.” 1 Tim. iv. 6.

As an illustration of this truth, we may adduce the influence of the Gospel on the ignorant minds of

persons born in the heathen world.

It has been maintained by some, that civilization must always prepare the way for Christianity. But this position, like many others allied to this subject, is completely at variance with the fact. Civilization is a blessing of itself, and ought to be given, as we have opportunity,

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