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will they not follow, but will fee from him, for they know not
the voice of strangers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
THE PHILOSOPHICAL TEMPER, FIRST ENJOINED BY
John viii. 12. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of
Few charges have been more frequently urged by unbelievers against Revealed Religion, than that it is hostile to the advance of philosophy and science. That it has discouraged the cultivation of literature can never with any plausibility be maintained, since it is evident that the studies connected with the history and interpretation of the Scriptures have, more than any others, led to inquiries into the languages, writings, and events of ancient times. Christianity has always been a learned religion ; it came into the world as the offspring of an elder system, to which it was indebted for much which it contained, and which its professors were obliged continually to consult.
The Pagan philosopher, on enrolling himself a member of the Christian Church, was invited, nay, required, to betake himself to a line of study almost unknown to the schools of Greece. The Jewish books were even written in a language which he did not understand, and opened to his view an account of manners and customs very different from those with which he was familiar. The writings of the ancients were to be collected, and their opinions examined ; and thus those studies which are peculiarly called learned would form the principal employment of one who wished to be the champion of the Christian faith. The philosopher might speculate, but the theologian must submit to learn.
It cannot, then, be maintained that Christianity has proved unfavourable to literary pursuits; yet, from the very encouragement it gives to these, an opposite objection has been drawn, as if on that very account it impeded the advancement of philosophical and scientific knowledge. It has been urged, with considerable plausibility, that the attachment which it has produced to the writings of the ancients has been prejudicial to the discovery of new truths, by creating a jealousy and dislike of whatever was contrary to received opinions. And thus Christianity has been represented as a system which stands in the way of improvement, whether in politics, education, or science; as if it were adapted to the state of knowledge, and conducive to the happiness, of the age in which it was introduced, but a positive evil