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sologist. I can enjoy the light of the sun, whether I believe he moves or stands still. By looking in the almanac, I can tell when it will be flood tide at market street wharf, whether I can calculate the moon's situa tion in her orbit or not; and it is the easiest course; and the very one that the best astronomer in the city of Philadelphia would resort to. Go to your Bible for the rule of your faith, and leave Jesus Christ to answer for its philosophy: assure yourselves that he who is the wisdom of the Father, will, in the end, flout at the wisdom of those who impeached the philosophy of his gospel.
Jonathan Edwards had all the talents requisite to form a systematic moralist: acuteness and grasp of intellect, coolness and patience in investigation, a tho rough power of reading all that was going on in his own bosom, great acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures, great experience of the work of the holy spirit on his own heart, much experience of the ingratitude, injustice, and cruelty of men; he loved truth, he adored truth as an attribute of his God; he felt the power of investigating truth to be the peculiar talent God had given him, and was as free as any man from base ambition and vanity. Every one of these elements is essential to the composition of a systematic moralist.*
* Ought not good humour to be added to this enumeration of the elements of a good metaphysician? Thirty years ago, the great Dr. Reid was emeritus professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow: whenever he appeared on the walks of the college green, every eye was turned to him; every student gave the word, there's Dr. Reid. And yet his great talents and science were never thought of. His gentleness, his kindness, his simplicity, his amiability, made the whole impression. It was not the great man that was admired, but the good man, the good old
But he went to work too soon. In his days, the philosophy of mind was in babyhood. He laboured also under some hallucinations of mind, which have led astray many of the ablest of the human race. He went out in quest of a radical truth, a radical virtue; from which all truth, all virtue, must descend, by legitimate logical deduction. And he seems to have thought, that if we have an absolutely certain knowledge of two truths, it must be possible to trace the connecting links which bind them together. The sect which sprung out of his tomb, is celebrated for extreme logical subtlety; and use weapons so delicately pointed, that nobody but themselves can see their point, nor be absolutely certain whether they have any point at all. But their conclusions confound and terrify. Like Hobbes, the best logician ever England produced, they land you in conclusions that you are sure are wrong.
The churches are in awful troubles. Satan has great wrath, because he knows his time is short. And he manages with admirable dexterity. This is a philosophical age, and men will think, and
patriarch, the grandfather of them all, that they venerated and loved. Bishop Berkley was a most chivalrous philanthropist. John Locke was a good humoured facetious companion. Who ever saw in the christian church, an ill-natured man, who had the slightest pretensions to the name of a metaphysician? On the contrary, all the deistical and atheistical metaphysicians are ill-natured and malignant-selfish, retiring within their own shell; without friendship; their ambition, their interest, engrossing all their soul. So destitute of affection to their kind, that they cannot love even a woman :--so conscious of dishonesty, that they can trust nobody; and hence few of them ever marry. They wrote their systems for their own fame and profit, and to do evil to a race they cordially hated. They mixed their poisons because they intended to kill.
thought discovers truth, and truth is naturally prometive of piety, virtue, peace and happiness; it is his policy, therefore, to corrupt truth at its fountain. He is taking the brilliant discoveries of this age, in all sorts of philosophy, and converting them into machines to batter down the fortress of the christian faith, or to corrupt its fountains by deleterious infusions. To arms then, ye sons of the brave: but let no man rein a steed on this field who cannot establish his title to that honour, by the scars and experience of twenty campaigns. One who has the true coup d'oeil ; one who can estimate his enemies' force as well as his own; who sees at a glance the meaning of every movement, and quicker than lightning, has a counter movement to meet it; one who knows and has poised every weapon ou each side of the war. But keep back the youth, or rather let them have the discretion to keep back themselves. One of them will do more harm than a hundred of them are worth.
Willingly would I suppress what I am going to say, could I reconcile the suppression to a sense of duty. But somebody must be found to tell young preachers their duty, on the same terms that they impress duty on the consciences of their audience-eternal responsi bility to the Son of God. And I wish the application to be as extensive as the applicability of the remarks. I would tell young preachers, then, that Jesus Christ has sent them to preach his holy gospel, to gather in the travail of his soul, to feed his lambs, to visit the forsaken, to find out the forgotten, and to bind up the broken hearted. And they are to preach his gospel as his own word, sanctioned by his own authority; and not to permit themselves to be questioned why, and how, and wherefore these things can be. While you
are engaged in these holy and delightful duties, give yourselves much to meditation and prayer; to deep meditation on your own hearts, and constant searching of the holy word. Feeding on such angels' food, who can tell how great you may grow?
But I tell you what he has not sent you to do. He has not sent you to make new systems of theology or philosophy-he cannot have sent you to do what it is impossible you should be competent to perform. How many years have you spent searching the Holy Scriptures in the fear of God? How many years have you patiently toiled in examining the philosophy of your age, and testing it by the inspired word? And yet you say you have a new system already!
Don't let your youthful inexperience deceive you. Depend upon it, that all the fine systems which shine with such lustre to the enraptured imagination of youth, will not be found to be of God. Depend upon it, there hang up, like models of perpetual motions in the cabinets of the curious-there hang up in the heads of all men who have ever troubled their heads with moral speculations, a great many moral systems, and fine theories. They laboured long on them, they proportioned them curiously, filed and polished them to the utmost, and put them firmly together. And now the decisive moment being come, the artist, with palpitating bosom, puts his machine in motion, and it moves, and the inventor bounds to the ceiling.
This is true glory, for he has done what never was done before! And it will be an admirable present to mankind. It will abolish all wind-mills and watermills; watch-springs, and clock pendulums, and steam engines. And, in the coming age, nothing in this wide world will move but itself-And then begins the
millenium. Dear delusions, I love you though I laugh at you. You too have your uses.
Now all the systems which improve the christian religion are precisely these perpetual motions, issued and uttered in the moment that the enthusiasm of the inventor was in its delirium. Men more cautious let the machine stop, and try it again and again, and at last finding that it always comes to rest, place it on the shelf. Frequently the same artist lives to finish half a dozen of them. But he gives it up at last as a bad business, locks up his work shop, and puts the key in his pocket. Now he will not let a young artist into his workshop, lest he should fall in love with one of these machines, and either steal it, or go home and make something like it. But when he meets an artist who has laboured at the trade, and given it up fairly, they go in, and laugh at their folly, and wonder how like to wisdom folly can look; and how very much the follies of different men may resemble each other.
But to speak of religious systems with great seriousness. I believe that Satan is permitted to lead thoughtful minds, with the most upright and honest intentions, into these whimsical speculations; and that if they are cool and cautious they will be brought off honourably; and be brought to see a more excellent way. And even the time spent in system making will not be lost to them; they will be put on their guard respecting the tremendous cunning of that adversary with whom all must contend, but, beyond all, the ambassadors of the cross. They will, by a few such instances, learn how, and by what means Christianity is corrupted. It is (speaking respecting its doctrine) seeking after the phisophy of that doctrine: God tells us things are so ; and we go to ask how these things are so and not