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judgment, and others too much to the claims of antiquity, and others too little, and all of these may agree that the authority of our own Church has been pushed too far. It is indeed no easy matter, in our eagerness to set forth an important and perhaps neglected truth, to avoid giving to that truth, or seeming to give to it, an undue prominence. Things are magnified, and less objects hide the view of greater, when we look at them closely. He trusts, however, that the grand principles which pervade what he has written are founded upon sound reason and the word of God. And he would only repeat, for his own consideration as well as for that of others, in reference to the claims of our Church in controversies of faith, the caution which just now he felt it right to put forth with regard to the claims of antiquity in matters of order, that we take héed lest we pass from one extreme to the opposite.

The importance of the subject, at this particular season, will be readily felt. Perhaps there never was a time of greater and more general enquiry on religious questions. And never were there more causes in operation to

perplex and distress the minds of those, who are just entering upon their theological studies. Who has not wavered, when he has seen wise and good men taking opposite sides upon the same question? Who has not been in doubt, when he has heard claims advanced of which he felt himself incompetent to determine the proper value?

Some, perhaps, will be ready to question, whether, after all, the course recommended is capable of practical application. The author can only say, that he has found it so in his own experience. He has been enabled, in cases of doubt and perplexity, in cases where the support of Scripture, and, it may be, the support of the Church too, has been claimed by opposite parties, to rest himself upon what he believed to be the Church's judgment, and so, to wait in patience, without committing himself either to this party or to that, till further enquiry and increased knowledge should, under the guidance of God's good Spirit, enable him to decide for himself: and if this time should never arrive, then he did not doubt but that the course he had taken was the safest he could adopt.


might have erred, but heretic he hoped he was not.

It may be questioned, whether much of the doubt and perplexity, of which many persons are so painfully conscious, does not arise from a defect in their education; and whether this defect is not so general, as in some measure to characterize the method of training at present prevalent, in the instruction, especially of the higher classes, throughout the land. For the most part we acquire our religious knowledge as we learn our mother tongue. We live in a Christian country, among Christian men, in the midst of Christian books and Christian institutions. And never, perhaps, on this side the grave, shall we sufficiently understand how unspeakable is the blessing that we have been so circumstanced. But there is this attendant evil, though an evil which might be easily remedied, that we are inaccurate in our knowledge, or, to use an expression, which would be at once understood if applied to secular attainments, illgrounded. Nor indeed is this the whole of the case for as sound views of religion are unhappily not so prevalent, even where Chris

tianity is the professed belief of a country, as correct principles of speaking, there are more instances than the analogy would otherwise lead us to anticipate of departure from the true standard. And then, when we become

older, and begin to read more at our own discretion, instead of setting out by thoroughly studying a select few of our established authors, we suffer ourselves to rove at will through the wilderness of modern publications. And, as a necessary consequence, our judgments remain unformed, and we are without any settled principles; and we are in danger either of blindly yielding ourselves to a party, or of vacillating throughout our lives in a state of continual doubt. How much more surely and effectually should we, under God, proceed, if there were first laid, of set purpose, a careful foundation in what might be called the grammar of religious knowledge; and then, when we came to our own hands, if this were to be followed up by an accurate study of our standard authors,


In the above remarks, the writers more especially in view were those of our own country-old writers, if compared with the writers of the present day; but modern, if compared with those of the early Church. With regard


and we were to defer the reading of books of controversy, and books of more modern date and less established reputation, till we could bring to the task a riper understanding and more mature judgment".

There is, however, one corrective which we always have it in our power to apply—the stated devotional reading of the holy Scriptures. That man, be he learned or unlearned, cannot wander far astray, whose belief and whose practice are daily subjected, in the spirit of prayer and self-examination, to the standard

to the study of the last mentioned, the following observations are transcribed from the notes to the Bampton Lectures of last year. "Constant reading of the most perfect modern books, which does not go jointly on with the ancients in their turns, will, by bringing the ancients into disuse, cause the learning of the men of the next generation to sink; by reason that they, not drawing from those springs from whence those excellent moderns drew, whom they only propose to follow, nor taking those measures which these men took, must for want of that foundation, which their modern guides first carefully laid, fail in no long compass of time." Wotton's Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning, quoted in Ogilvie's Bampton Lectures, pp. 238, 239.


Sir Joshua Reynolds, in his Discourses, (Disc. 2.) has some valuable remarks to this purport. They refer to Painting. But they may of course be transferred to other studies.

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