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(unless indeed he is willing to commence anew) nor intelligently judge of the results of other men's labors.
For another illustration, take the department of language. The man who has made himself accurately acquainted with the original languages of Scripture is prepared intelligently to examine and judge of the results of the investigations of those who have devoted their lives to the subject. Otherwise these results can be of no service to him, except so far as he is willing to take the ipse dixit of the translator or commentator for truth. For the want of three years' training in the original languages of Scripture, he loses the fruit of thirty years of incessant toil and research; nay more, of the accumulated results of ages of investigation. Can any thing short of imperative necessity be admitted as an excuse for such negligence? Shall the candidate for the christian ministry be in such haste to do good that he cannot take time to qualify himself for the work? This looks to us very much like an army's leaving their artillery behind because of their haste to meet the enemy. Such a course, we admit, may in some extraordinary cases, be justifiable. There may be crises in which it is better to encounter the enemy with muskets and swords, than to lose time. So we have known cases in which it was our decided judgment that individuals should be commissioned to preach the gospel without any knowledge of the original languages of Scripture. But exceptions, be it remembered, do not constitute the rule. So far as our experience and observation go, those young men who make the most ado about losing time, most need to be kept back from the sacred office until they shall have had time to qualify themselves for its solemn responsibilities. Nor is it strange that it should be so, for it is an old adage that ignorance is the parent of self-confidence.
Here we wish to say a word respecting the Latin language as an aid to sacred literature. No part of the inspired volume is written in this language, and, for this reason, some have strenuously insisted upon banishing it, as a useless incumbrance from the circle of theological studies. To this we reply that the Latin tongue was for fifteen centuries identified with the history and literature of the church. It is the language of that people who, at the time of our Saviour's advent wielded the sceptre of the civilized world; the language of all the Western fathers; and, above all, the language of science, philosophy, and literature throughout Europe from the first introduction of
Christianity till the period of the reformation, and, to a great extent, throughout the whole of that mighty conflict of truth with error; and that, as a necessary consequence, it embodies vast stores of theological learning of every kind, and is interwoven in ways innumerable, as well with the literature of the Bible, as with the history of Christianity. But it may be maintained in opposition to this argument, that all that is valuable in the Latin language for the purposes of theological learning has been transferred to the English language. To this we reply that the student who makes himself thoroughly acquainted with the Latin tongue and with the sacred learning which it embodies, will know that the assertion is grossly incorrect. While he is yet ignorant of the language, or only a superficial smatterer in it, he may be made to believe it, but not afterwards. Moreover, how is the student in theology to assure himself that the Latin tongue has thus been rifled of the accumulated treasures of ages, and left an empty shell? When he sees year after year new and valuable translations from this into the English, it cannot be thought either strange or unreasonable that he should have some misgivings on the subject, and determine to examine and judge for himself.
It is freely conceded that many individuals, without a knowledge either of this or of any ancient language, have been eminently successful as preachers of the gospel, and that others, well versed in these languages, have been but feeble and inefficient ministers of the word. But the success of the former was attributable not to their ignorance, but to eminent ministerial qualifications in other respects, which were wanting in the latter. There is a tendency in some minds to draw unwarrantable general conclusions from two or three particular facts. They have known several instances of important enterprises commenced on Friday which terminated disastrously. They ascribe it to the day. Some of their neighbors who use alcohol have robust, others who use water, feeble constitutions. They are confident that the beverage makes all the difference.
Theological seminaries are not founded upon principles deduced from such narrow premises. The experience of eighteen centuries has shown that the efficiency of Christ's ambassadors, taken as a body, is proportioned to their piety and intelligence, and, furthermore, that nothing but intelligence can prevent even piety from degenerating into superstition and fanaticism. The demand for a thoroughly educated ministry has called these in
stitutions into existence, and so long as this demand continues, they will be sustained. Experience will undoubtedly modify some of their provisions, but, if we rightly judge the signs of the times, these modifications will not consist either in abridging or excluding any of the departments of theological learning now taught in them, but rather in the introduction of more perfect methods of intellectual investigation and moral training. The question, how shall the spirit of active piety be maintained in vigorous exercise in the bosoms of theological students during the period of their education, so that the cultivation of their moral feelings may keep pace with the development of their intellectual faculties? is one of vital importance, and is receiving, as it ought, the devout consideration of those who are called to preside over these schools of the prophets. In our Western seminaries the fields of activity which offer themselves to those who are in a course of training for the christian ministry are so many, and so accessible, that little difficulty is experienced, so far as external arrangements are concerned. Our young men can, if they will, find opportunities enough of doing good which do not interfere with the vigorous prosecution of their studies. If they suffer their christian affections to grow torpid for want of exercise, it is their own fault. What we have now said respecting the West will, we believe, upon careful inquiry, be found to hold true of all parts of the United States. If our theological students wish for humble opportunities of usefulness, they can be found every day in all places.
From these seminaries of the church, thus perfected by experience, the most cheering results may be anticipated. We may confidently hope that they will train up and send forth an army of young men thoroughly furnished to the work of the ministry, who shall know how successfully to wield the sword of the Spirit, for the demolition of Satan's empire. The present may be emphatically styled the monumental era of revelation. The record of the introduction of Christianity into this apostate world, of its mighty conflicts with the powers of darkness, and of the stupendous miracles which attested its divine origin, is now so incorporated into the history of mankind, that to efface it would be to blot out the annals of the world; so inseparably interwoven into the institutions of civilized nations, that to annihilate it would be to annihilate the whole fabric of society. It is spread out on the pages of antiquity, it is sculptured on monuments, it is impressed on coins and medals, it lifts up its
voice from the ruins of ancient cities and empires, it lives in the ordinances not only of the church, but of civil society, it speaks in tones of thunder from the progressive fulfilment of prophecy. The mountains and vallies of Palestine, its rivers, lakes and caves, its early and latter rain, its "snow and vapor and stormy wind," all bear witness to the oracles of God; and the seed of Abraham are appointed by him to be the unwilling instruments of attesting their truth in all the nations of their sojourning. It is the duty of the christian ministry to understand and fall in with the grand designs of God's providence. It has pleased him, in these "latter days," to make the evidences of our holy religion (we speak of the external evidences) monumental in their character, and we must prepare to defend and advocate it upon this basis. This species of evidence does not indeed strike the senses so forcibly as miracles, nor is it so readily apprehended by the mass of the community; but, to the candid inquirer it is not less satisfactory. At first it may appear dim and shadowy, but, in proportion as it is scrutinized, it gathers increasing brightness and force. It has nothing to fear from the light of truth; ignorance and prejudice are its only enemies.
The history of the assaults which have been made upon revelation since the reformation is replete both with instruction and consolation. It has proved itself invulnerable on every point. Have its adversaries attempted to show that its doctrines are repugnant to natural religion? God has raised up some one of his servants to demonstrate unanswerably the analogy between natural and revealed religion. Has philosophy, so called, held up to ridicule its peculiar doctrines as absurd and self contradictory? A deeper philosophy has convicted it of uttering that which it understood not, things too wonderful for it, which it Have the genuineness and authenticity of the sacred canon been assailed? The result has been to establish both upon an immovable basis. Has the future fulfilment of some one of the predictions of revelation been sneered at as a physical impossibility? Even infidels, upon considerations independent of Scripture, have been led to presage the same event. Who, for example, with the knowledge which we now possess of the structure and constitution of the earth, will venture to sneer at the idea of a literal conflagration which shall envelop her, as in the twinkling of an eye, from pole to pole, destroying every vestige of her present organization? Such has been the result of past efforts to shake the foundations of Christianity, and
VOL. XI. No. 29.
Meanwhile, as the
such will be the result of future efforts. process of investigation has been going on, one after another of the mists of error that had settled down upon her during the long night of the dark ages, has been dissipated, and she made to shine in a clearer and more resplendent light.
It has hitherto been Jehovah's plan to bring in at certain eras an overwhelming flood of light and truth to dazzle and confound his enemies. Such were the eras of the introduction of the Mosaic and of the christian dispensations; each of them bursting upon the world in all its brightness and glory at a period when the church was sunk into a state of the deepest depression. May we not hope that another such era began with the reformation and is steadily advancing towards the perfect day? an era not characterized, like the two former, by a series of stupendous interpositions of miraculous power, but by an irrepressible spirit of inquiry and research; a spirit which shall press every department of knowledge to its utmost boundaries; and which, when sanctified by the Spirit of God, and directed to the investigation of divine truth, shall under his guidance, separate from it the leaven of superstition and false philosophy, thus restoring it to its pristine sweetness and purity; and shall shed around the sacred volume such a lustre of evidence as shall sear the eye-balls of skepticism and infidelity, and drive them back to the bottomless pit whence they first ascended, leaving the everlasting gospel to the undisputed supremacy of the ransomed family of Adam.
ON THE NATURE OF INSTINCT.
By Samuel Fish, M. D. Boston.
INSTINCT is a subject upon which a great deal has been said and written, and still we know so little what it is and upon what principles it operates, that we are scarcely wiser than we should be if it had never been discussed. While some have considered it a mere impulse exerted upon animals without their being conscious of it, others have exalted it to an equality with rea