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notion of the terms distinctive of philosophy according to its several topics. When, therefore, it is applied abstractedly to the Divine nature, it is styled theology; when to worldly existences, it assumes the form of physics and metaphysics; and when reasoning of man, ethics and logic; but as in its full extent it comprehends all these, so in many respects it is indivisible. What a monument of human inability to arrive at truth by the unenlightened reason alone, is exhibited in the vague fallacies and contradictory perplexities of even the loftiest intellects! How imbecile and futile the endeavour to establish fixed principles whence a practical résult might be derived, the perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord !” The presumptuous disclaimer of the necessity of a Divine revelation will, it is hoped, derive a salutary lesson of humility, and heartily thank God "for his unspeakable Gift," when he has investigated the erratic failures of men who, placed on what has been termed the very “ Ida of the intellect," were yet incompetent to discover
our being's end and aim"-" were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in
the world," Eph. ii. 12. Not only were they unable to "find out God," but, when partially enlightened, proved themselves too wayward and corrupt to preserve truth; and the traditionary rays of revelation which illumined some portions of heathen philosophy were mysticised by ignorance and cunning, which rendered the word of God of none effect through tradition. “Profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called," have ever been the means by which its professors have erred; and hence it is not wonderful that the light of heathen speculation, even at its zenith, glowed with a dim and illusory lustre.
Some teachers, indeed, we find acknowledging the incapacity of mind alone to ascertain truth. Pythagoras, for instance, admitted the necessity of Divine interposition to teach man his duty; and Cicero confessed that no excellence could exist without a celestial afflation. Hierocles and Seneca tell us that but by the help of God no man can become either good or prosperous; so that he who would repudiate the necessity of a Divine revelation to lead him by the Holy Spirit into all truth, arrogates a power which the greatest reasoners of ancient time disclaimed.
“ In fact," as bishop Warburton observes, " there was a consciousness in men's minds that they wanted a revealed will for the rule of their actions, to illuminate the miserable blindness of their condition.” “If we turn to the Jew,” he
says, “ the wise and learned amongst them, we shall find the case still more desperate. In religious matters these were blinder even than the people, and in proportion too as they were less conscious of their ignorance. The most advanced in the knowledge of human nature and its dependencies were without question the ancient sages of Greece. Of these, the wisest, and far the wisest, was Socrates, for he saw and confessed his ignorance, and deplored the want of a superior direction. For the rest, who thought themselves wise, and appeared not so sensibly to feel their wants, they became fools, and, debauched by false science, affected the language of gods, before they had well emancipated themselves from the condition of brutes. The two great supports of natural religion in the world at large are the belief of a future state, and the knowledge of moral obligation. The first was rejected by all, and the true ground of the second was understood by none; the honour of this discovery was
reserved for revelation, which teaches us, in spite of unwilling hearers, that the real ground of moral obligation is the will of God.”* As to the first principles of philosophical inquiry in morals, revelation alone clearly describes them in the fact of man's fall, its results in the depravity of the will, and the true nature of the chief good, namely, a state of forgiveness and grace, with the enjoyment of God's sanctifying Spirit, through his Son. Hence intelligence, when Divinely inspired, presents infallible light by which induction may arrive at a beneficial issue; inquiry restricted to those points which God wills us to know; and the philosophy of the Christian, in its accurate analysis no less than in its purifying effects, brightly contrasts with the vagueness of the sophist or the immorality of Cynic speculation. “Descending from above,” to use the words of Ridley, "it informs the understanding, influences the will and affections, and enlightens the eyes of the heart; it recommends itself, not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, and directs us to the possession of a true faith which, built upon the
* Warburton's “ Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated." Book iv. cap. i.