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to us, but the voice of revelation, and | ledge which will not profit him. You of God, to tell us of our own everlasting destiny: and it must remain wrapped in concealment and mystery, to him who rejects this teaching. He may have toiled patiently and unweariedly, and he may have been pointed at with the finger, as the wisest among the wise; but unless he has been taught in a better school, he knows nothing of eternity; and all the acquisitions by which he has been distinguished from his fellows, will have no bearing upon its weighty concernments. “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away: whether there be tongues they shall cease." He may have taken larger strides than his contemporaries, in the field of human attainments; and he may be able to illustrate his chosen subjects, with such eloquence, that rivetted attention hangs upon his words; but in spite of the admiration which he excited, he must soon go down to the quiet chamber of the grave; the tongue which spoke with such force and persuasion will be put to silence; the distinction which he earned by mental superiority must cease, and his very name will after a few generations be forgotten.

might see the sad spectacle of such an one sinking to an untimely tomb, because he followed his one object too intently and too devotedly; labouring during the day, and stealing hours from repose, that he might spend his waning strength over the nightly lamp; until the hectic colour settles upon his pale sunken cheek ; till, with wasted limbs and unstrung nerves, he bears in the aspect of his emaciated form the evidence of premature decay. And while he is sacrificing so much for intellectual distinction, he is keenly and painfully sensible of neglect. He feels himself a lonely and forsaken creature. The world is too busy to mark his doings; mankind are too much occupied by their own several engagements, to care for his success. Others there are of firmer temperament and bolder spirit, who are rising to distinction, and grasping the splendid rewards which society has to bestow: they are better suited to struggle with the world: and though they may belong to a far inferior class of minds, they have battled with the stream, and have planted their feet upon the vantage ground, on which his eye and his hope have long been vainly fixed. He goes down to his grave; and with him may be buried the bright expectations of parents, who, with the willing credulity of the heart, believed no object too high for his attainment: or the last hopes of his own home circle to whom he was the centre of affection and delight. This ardent pursuit of knowledge, this uncheered and unmitigated toil has destroyed many a life. And if there be no revelation of the truth of God to the heart; if no dawning of spiritual day hath broken upon the darkness of the soul; if the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has never come with its converting and healing power,

But there are circumstances in which sorrow more directly tracks the footprints of that wisdom, which is of the earth. The annals of human science, the history of students in human learning, might furnish forth many a heart-rending page. We might read of many an one, who having ardently pursued the object which seemed to promise most of reputation and advancement, has derived from his pursuit only the keenness of disappointment, and the bitterness of a broken heart. At this time, and within the compass of this crowded city, you might go into many a chamber, where the scholar is consuming life itself, in the acquirement of know

it is not easy to imagine a death-bed in the natural heart, and rises in demore uncheered and unhappy. The termined hostility against the humman feels, when he is dying, that a bling doctrines of the cross, will be deceived heart has turned him aside; increased by continual accessions, he sees that he has been labouring for and as we advance successfully in that which is not bread; that he has the acquirements of human knowbeen spending life, with all its ener- ledge, we shall be tempted to comgies, devoting the mind, with all its pare ourselves with those of meaner bright and powerful faculties, for attainments, from whose ranks we that which could not satisfy the soul, have stepped forward, and wanting nor comfort his spirit in the hour of the counterbalance of grace in the need. heart, we shall be further removed from the simplicity of that childlike spirit, in which it is required that we should go as learners into the school of Jesus Christ.

To be thus turned aside from Him who is the source of present blessing and eternal hope, will sooner or later be felt to be an evil and a bitter thing. It issues not unfrequently in yet more disastrous effects. The mind which has been so deeply engaged in following the discoveries of science and gathering stores of intellectual treasure, in ways which it has

Human knowledge, while it is unsanctified by grace, tends to lead us away from God. We may become so absorbed in the contemplation of the Creator's works; in tracing the various processes through which they pass, and the various laws to which they are subject, as to forget the high attributes of the Creator Himself. We may be so engrossed by the gifts which he has bestowed with a free and liberal hand, as to be altogether forgetful of the Bounteous Giver. It is a saddening proof of the ingratitude of the heart, and of the utter depra-shaped vity to which our nature has fallen, that the very faculties of mind, the lofty and noble endowments, which the Lord has bestowed, are so often made the means of widening the gulf of separation which divides us from Him. We may embark so ardently in the cause of human wisdom, that while we advance, step by step, to higher and more envied attainments, we may, in exactly the same degree, be travelling into a region of remoteness from God; and while we use His gifts for the achievement of our present purpose, we may consign to inconsideration the condition of responsibility which he has annexed, and from which we cannot finally escape, that they should be used to His glory, in the promotion of His own everlasting purposes. The effect will be to keep us far from God, since the pride which chambers itself

out independently of God, may at length, in the uncurbed pride of reason, reject the evidence for the truth of his revealed word; may deny his providential interference in the transactions of the earth; and plunging yet deeper in the abyss of unbelief, may join the fool of old, in denying his very existence. If there be a human creature whose condition might well excite profounder pity than that of others; it is he, who being a wanderer in the wilderness, has quenched in his soul the light which would have guided him on his way; who being born to an inheritance of sor


has closed against himself the only well-spring of abiding comfort. Such an one may not only present the fearful spectacle of infidelity in his own person, but with an unholy devotedness, he may use his influence and his talents, in perverting the faith of others, and making them the same

delusion of the priest; the days of unspoiled and unperverted childhood, when in the holy observances of a pious family circle, the morning and evening prayer was offered by those into whose hearts no doubt had ever entered, that the Living God was their guardian and provider, or that Jesus had clothed Himself with their nature, and had borne the burden of their sins upon the cross. There may be the remembrance of the peace which then dwelt in his bosom, and has never since been lodged there, and with this remembrance there may be a momentary stir of slumbering affections, and a gushing forth of long forgotten feelings, but the heart has been too long hardened, and the mind too much warped, to dwell on scenes and recollections like these. Yet, as he compares the present with the past, he may feel that he has made but an ill exchange. Just as we may conceive the habitual drunkard, whose pleasures have long been those of the wine-cup, and the midnight revel, prac-looking back to the days when his limbs did not totter with premature weakness, nor his pulse throb with habitual fears, when he could stoop in the midst of the pleasures, and exercises, and labours of youth, and bathe his brow and quench his thirst in the crystal stream. He remembers the past, but the power of simple and unblamed enjoyment is gone.

in their unbelief, as he has himself
become. But while he is thus doing
the work of the great enemy of man-
kind, he is also preparing the way for
consequences, which he neither ex-
pected nor desired. He may pride
himself upon the strict integrity
which is stamped upon his dealings;
the carefulness and consistency with
which he performs the offices of his
station; and the respectability and
unimpeached credit with which he
bears himself in the relations of so-
cial life; but while he is conveying
the subtle poison of his opinions to
the minds of others, he cannot predict
the effects in which they may result.
The young and intellectual, upon
whom he had taken pains to fasten his
opinions, may not be able to exercise
the same mastery over their passions,
and to restrain so successfully the
outbreak of evil propensities, when
the curb of religious principle has
been withdrawn, and the outworks of
morality have been beaten down.
Having become infidel in opinion,
they may become debauched in
tice; following out in their natural
result the principles to which they
have been proselyted, they may be-
come such as their companions learn
to pity or scorn, and such as society
desires to weed out of its pale. He
who with so much assiduity converted
them to his views, may be yet in the
fulness of his own unchecked pros-
perity; but his heart will be wrung
with anguish, as he marks the blight
and the ruin which he caused, but
which he cannot remedy. And when
his own evil day comes upon him,
when his leaf is sere and yellow, and
the blossom of his life is gone, he will
feel the full bitterness of a desolate
spirit. There may be times when
memory will call up early recollec-
tions, and go back to the days when
he had not yet learned to call the
gospel the fable of the nurse, and the

But for the man who has lived in proud defiance of God, there will come a season when he will reap a fuller harvest of disappointment and sorrow. When he is shut up in his death chamber, and is preparing to pillow his head in the sepulchre, the evidence for the existence and the interposition of Deity which he laboured so long to resist and to exclude, will rush upon him with overwhelming force. He may have lived, but he cannot die an infidel. The

thrown. And we cannot doubt that the old enemy of human souls, who made the tree of knowledge the instrument of his earliest temptation, is busily employed in helping forward plans which bid so fair for the advancement of his kingdom. If the flood shall not overwhelm us, and shall not sweep away whatever of holy and excellent yet remains; if the monuments of ancient piety, which have come down to us from a Godfearing ancestry, which the heart loves to cherish, and on which the eye loves to linger, are yet spared to us; it will be only through the undeserved interposition of Him, whom as a nation we are schooling ourselves to renounce.

But let us now pass on to consider, briefly, in the second place, some of the cases in which no application of the text can be made.

God whom he renounced, and the restraints of whose authority he set himself to cast away, will make his terrors to be felt. It is nothing, in his present extremity, that he has been distinguished among his contemporaries, and that his name has been emblazoned high in the records of learning and science. On all these things he will now see vanity inscribed. They cannot soothe the unquietness of bodily suffering, nor lift the burden from the self-accusing conscience. He will feel, at length, that, in his much wisdom hath been much grief, and in the increase of his knowledge hath been increase of sorrow. He has treasured up evil for the latter day, and has laid upon his own soul the bitterness of anguish, which found him out at the last.

And that which is true of individuals, is not less true of communities. If it be a dangerous thing for a man to cultivate intellectual accomplish-ledge of ourselves, and of the condi

It cannot be applied to the know

ments, at the expense of personal piety; no less is it hazardous, that religion should be dissociated from knowledge, in the prevailing schemes for the instruction of a people. And among all the features of the time which cause anxiety to those who are careful for future days, and who tremble for the generation who are to follow, there is none which threatens more disaster and calamity than the growing pride, which, irrespective of the claims of the Creator, would deify the intellect of the fallen creature. The men of the new philosophy are at work, who are content that the people should be of any religion, or of no religion, provided only, that stores of perishable wisdom be accumulated. With them is leagued the cold sceptic, whose weapon is sarcasm and whose ready argument lies in a sneer; who, if knowledge be but diffused, would not complain, though

tion to which our nature has fallen. No acquisition is more important, for it lies at the threshold of all spiritual advancement; none more difficult, for the heart is deceitful above all things, as well as desperately wicked. The evidences of sin are around us on every side. The wreck and ruin of creation proclaim what it has done. Its disastrous effects are visible, even to the heedless eye, in the blight and wretchedness which it has cast upon a world, which, with all its furniture and all its tenants, God, at first, pronounced very good. But it is chiefly in its consequences to our own nature, that we should seek the evidences of the deadly work which sin hath wrought. It lurks, however, so deeply in the hidden and unexplored recesses of the heart, it is so contained in its concealment, that while we are borne down by its effects, the cause escapes our observation. Even the altar should be polluted and over- when the pressure of bodily pain

wrings the groan of anguish from the bosom; or adversity makes us poor and unprovided; or bereavement makes us desolate in spirit, we often remain ignorant of the rod of bitterness from which every human sorrow has sprung. If sin be indeed such, in its character or measures, as to excite scorn and avoidance in those with whom we are bound up, in the intercourse of common life, we may feel it to be an evil thing. But, if we have earned respect by the strict moralities of a consistent course, if our words have weight in the decision of others, and our example has influ-liness turns with loathing from the guilt which Omniscience detects; justice claims its victim; and Omnipotence is ready to punish with the outpouring of irresistible vengeance. The revelation of the power of the gospel, is the only revelation of peace to the heart. It is the one blessed scheme, by which, while all the attributes have their complete, and awful vindication, the overture of free pardon is made to those whom sin has ruined, and rendered helpless. We

Lord hath published records of Himself, on many a bright and glowing page, which it is our privilege to read. He hath not, indeed, left Himself without witness. The whole world teems with God. The meanest objects on which the eye can rest, are eloquent of Him, and bear their concurrent testimony to the lines of His eternal character. But no contemplation of God out of Christ, can give comfort to the heart, which has become conscious of transgression of his law. Every divine attribute is gathered in tremendous array. Ho

ence among men of integrity and
reputation, it is hard to persuade
ourselves that there may yet lie as
wide an interval of separation be-
tween us and God as that which
divides Him from the most reprobate
and reckless of sinners. Nature
resists the admission; we can learn
its necessity, only by the teaching of
the spirit, which unfolds our moral
history and shows us to ourselves.
Such knowledge is blessed in its re-
sults, when we come in the broken-bless
ness of a self-distrusting and self-
abasing heart, to seek other help and
other merit than our own. Ere we
can attain to it, we must become fools,
in order to be wise; for, if any man
thinketh that he knoweth any thing,
he knoweth nothing yet as he ought
to know it.


The declaration of the text cannot be applied to the knowledge of God. No subject on which the intellectual faculties can spend themselves, is so elevating and ennobling as the character of Him who bestowed them. We shall never, indeed, master the mighty subject, nor hold it within the compass of our minds, nor grapple with the inconceivable magnitude of its details. Neither can angels accomplish this by the devotion of all their immortal energies. And yet the

Gop that not even the veriest outcast, not even the vilest among the children of sin and shame, can come in vain to plead their cause in Mercy's presence chamber. Not a single individual, of the human family, who shall fall under the condemnation of the great day, will be able to urge in arrest of the righteous sentence, that he desired to participate in the blood bought pardon, but was left in the hopelessness of unforgiven transgression. To know GoD, as he is revealed in the Gospel record of his love to a ruined world, is to open the inlets of comfort to the soul. A martyr in our own land, who was going to bear his testimony, amidst the flames, to the truths of the Gospel, opened his Testament for the last time, and prayed that he might be pointed to some passage, whose strong conso

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