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May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul; And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol.
Then homeward all take off their several way;
Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,
But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside.
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad :
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings;
What is a lordling's pomp? A cumbrous load,
O Scotia, my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent! Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content! And, oh! may Heaven their simple lives prevent From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved isle.
O Thou! who poured the patriotic tide
That streamed through Wallace's undaunted heart, Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part
(The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
Union of Piety and Learning in the Christian Ministry.— ROBERT HALL.
At this period, no apology can be necessary for attempting to assist young men, designed for the ministry, in the acquisition of such branches of knowledge as may qualify them more completely for the successful discharge of that sacred function; since, whatever prejudices unfavorable to learning may have formerly prevailed in serious minds, they appear to have subsided, and Christians in general admit the propriety of enlisting literature in the service of religion. From the recent multiplication of theological seminaries among Protestant dissenters, such an inference may be fairly deduced.
While we assert the absolute sufficiency of the Scripture for every saving purpose, it is impossible to deny the usefulness of the knowledge derived from books, in unfolding many of its obscurities, explaining many of its allusions, and producing more fully to the view the invaluable treasure it contains.
The primary truths of revelation, it is acknowledged, offer themselves, at first view, in the sacred volume; but there are latent riches, and gems of inestimable value, which can be brought to light only by a deeper and more laborious research. There are numberless exquisite harmonies and retired beauties in the scheme of revelation, which are rarely discovered, without the union of great
industry with cultivated talent. A collection of writings, composed on various occasions, and at remote intervals of time, including detached portions of history the most ancient, and of poetry awfully sublime, but often obscure, -a book containing continual allusions to manners unknown in this part of the world, and to institutions which have long ceased to exist, must demand all the aid that ingenuity and learning can bring towards its elucidation.
The light of revelation, it should be remembered, is not opposite to the light of reason; the former presupposes the latter; they are both emanations from the same source; and the discoveries of the Bible, however supernatural, are addressed to the understanding, the only medium of information, whether human or divine. Revealed religion is not a cloud which overshadows reason; it is a superior illumination designed to perfect its exercise, and supply its deficiencies. Since truth is always consistent with itself, it can never suffer from the most enlarged exertion of the intellectual powers, provided those powers be regulated by a spirit of dutiful submission to the oracles of God. The evidences of Christianity challenge the most rigorous examination; the more accurate and extensive the inquiry, the more convincing will they appear. Unexpected coincidences between inspired history and the most undisputed remains of antiquity will present themselves, and striking analogies be perceived between the course of Providence and the supreme economy of grace.
The gradual developement of the plan of revelation, together with the dependence of its several parts on each other, and the perfect consistency of the whole, will employ and reward the deepest investigation. In proof of the assistance religion may derive from learning, rightly directed, we appeal to the writings of an Usher, a Newton and a Bryant; to the ancient apologists of Christianity, who, by means of it, unmasked the deformities of polytheism; to the reformers, whom it taught to
remove the sacred volume from the dust and obscurity of cloisters, and exhibit it in the dialects of Europe; and to the victorious impugners of infidelity in modern times. Such are the spoils which sanctified learning has won from superstition and impiety, the common enemies of God and man.
Nor must we forget to notice, among the most precious fruits of cultivated reason, that consciousness of its own deficiencies, and sense of its own weakness, which prompts it to bow to the authority of revelation, and depose its honors at the cross; since its incapacity to solve the most important questions, and to satisfy the most distressing doubts, will be felt with the truest conviction, and attested with the best grace, by such as have made the largest essay of its powers.
An unconverted ministry we look upon as the greatest calamity that can befall the church; nor would we be disposed to insinuate, by the preceding observations, that education can ever be a proper substitute for native talent, much less for real piety; all we mean to assert is, that the union of both will much enlarge the capacity of doing good.
Without descending to particulars, we must be allowed to remark, for example, that the art of arranging ideas in their proper order, and of investigating the nature of different sorts of evidence, as well as an acquaintance with the fundamental rules of composition and rhetoric, are of essential service to a public speaker.
The existing state of society supplies additional reasons for extending the advantages of academical education. If former periods have given birth to more renowned scholars, none ever produced so many men of reading and reflection as the present; never was there a time when books were so multiplied, knowledge so diffused, and when, consequently, the exercise of cultivated talents in all departments was in such demand. When the general level of mental improvement is so much raised, it becomes
necessary for the teachers of religion to possess their full share of these advantages, if they would secure from neglect the exercise of a function the most important to the interests of mankind. If, in the days of inspiration, there were schools of the prophets, and if miraculous infusions of wisdom did not supersede human means of instruction, much less are they to be neglected in the present times, when no such communications are expected. To this we must add, that perverted literature is one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of the enemies of divine truth, who leave no effort untried to recommend their cause by the lustre of superior acquisitions, and to form in the public mind the dangerous association between irreligion and talents, weakness and piety.
Thomas Simpson, a self-educated Man.-LIBRARY OF ENTERTAINING KNOWLEDGE.
THOMAS SIMPSON was born in the town of MarketBosworth, in Leicestershire, England, in the year 1710. His father was a working stuff-weaver, and was either so poor, or so insensible to the importance of education, that, after keeping his son at school only so long as to enable him to make a very slight progress in reading, he took him home, with the view of bringing him up to his own trade. Thomas, however, had already acquired a passionate love of books, and was resolved at all hazards to make himself a scholar. So, besides contriving to teach himself writing, he read with the greatest eagerness every volume that came in his way, or that he could by any means procure; and spent in this manner not only all his leisure, but even occasionally a portion of the time which his father thought he ought to have employed at his work.