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vain disputations, and involves itself in the folds of circular reasoning; but the learning of the devout Christian always looks to an end and a consummation. He sees God expressed in all his works; and where mystery stops his progress, he turns to the great magazine of original power; the solitary source to which all mys-. teries are traceable, wherein the solution of all problems resides, and all conflicting realities are at peace.
It is further the privilege of the Christian mind, that all its learning issues in self-knowledge; in that knowledge which lights the way to the inmost area of the bosom, where the spirit of truth carries on its controversy with our inherent unfaithfulness, and the victory of prayer is achieved. As the Christian advances in this. intellectual progress, he grows in inward and outward grace, and his deportment attests the alliance of interior peace with exterior composure all is harmony, proportion, and order; the composition of the man is complete, according to the measure of his capacities.
Life is replete with examples of the dilating influence of religion on the powers of the understanding. The experience of every observing man attests this interesting truth. The pious mind perceives in it the traces of a holy
dispensation; and that in this, as in every other providential appointment, " Wisdom is justified of all her children." It is in fact the only effectual ripener of the understanding: other stimulants may produce precocity or exuberance; but that which bestows the mellow softening of mature grace, which unfolds the principle of vital growth, which makes progress proficiency, acquisition gain, and knowledge wisdom, is religion-sound, saving, authentic religion, the religion of Christianity, as it stands evangelically recorded.
Is an instance required of the simultaneous course which religion holds with the progress and development of intelligence? look at the career of that sage and sober servant of Christ, the late Reverend Thomas Scott; think of him struggling with the prejudices and depravities of nature and education; an heroic assertor of the purest liberty of research, with no auxiliary but truth, marching from conquest to conquest, and pushing forwards, by honest effort, the bounds of his acquisitions, till the whole field was won. What but the "force of truth" could have led him from the sheep-fold, where "he was following his father's ewes," to the sources of divine intelligence? and what but the learning he there found could have led him
on in a course so remote from all his habitshabits arrived at their full strength-to those profound attainments which have given him a place among the luminaries of his age and nation? We see in him a specimen of biblical culture, and of the force of sacred truth in drawing out the best part of man into its amplest and fairest proportions: a product of pure religious growth, a creature of Christianity, made for its glory; a solitary, protesting, honest man, taking his stand on God's word, and proclaiming his convictions with fearless integrity. No founder of an ancient school, no institutor of a modern sect, no reformer, no discoverer, has at any time put forth more independent thinking, or assumed a freer range of inquiry; but in the exercise of his privileges, his first resort was to that teaching which had a just right to his first attention, and it rewarded him by an improvement that might seem miraculous to those who have not been observant of the league subsisting between reason and religion.
If from this venerable sage of the Gospel, whose life has illustrated the force of religion in abbreviating study, and rescuing the understanding from the perversions of habitual error, we turn to the early maturity of Henry Kirke White, we see on the other hand the power of
religion in endowing the tenderness of youth with the vigour of ripe age, and anticipating the teaching of experience. It may be admitted that his natural capacity made him a quick recipient of the truth; but his great felicity was his bent towards religious exercises and objects; and the early introduction of religious know ledge into his mind repaid him by such an infusion of intellectual vigour, that at an age when others scarcely begin to learn, he was invested by his attainments with the privileges of a teacher. And so it will ever be, that whenever pure evangelical religion finds an entrance into the mind, however dark or uninstructed that mind may previously have been, an expansion of its general powers is the speedy consequence; the judgment is preternaturally ripened, a better taste and feeling respecting all social duties and moral proprieties are rapidly developed, and the faculties and perceptions, whether called forth on men, or books, or things, receive from an unseen source an increment of vital strength, that soon appears in all their operations. It is an invigoration of the capacity, not unlike the refreshment which nature feels from the silent and invisible drops which in the still summer night moisten and impregnate her
teeming surface, enabling her to greet the dawn with a countless increase of vegetable births.
It were easy enough to find contrasts to the above specimens in the history of our country's literature; proofs of the injury done to the best intellects by the neglect of religious culture; instances of the abortive births of genius under the deteriorating influence of profane and profligate sentiments. Turn to that great' orator and wit of his day. The few years which have elapsed since his departure have sufficed for the recovery of a cool consideration of his intellectual powers, and of the real value and merit of his performances. Observe how short his genius came of fulfilling its proper ends and answering its great capabilities, and compute how much was lost to the energies and qualities of that extraordinary mind from the absence of sound religious principles, with their correcting, elevating, and systematizing influence. Nature had furnished him with all the elements of greatness, and fitted him to be the ornament and blessing of these eventful times; but the absence of every thing restraining and regulating in the first formation of his habits, left him at large, the creature of accidental impressionsthe pupil of his own passions, and vanities, and