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Delivered before the Wyoming Literary Institute, June 7, 1840,


In the study of man, we should not confine our attention to his body and mind merely, or to the investigation of particular traits in his physical or intellectual character; but every thing may properly be embraced in the view which sheds light upon the subject. He should not be considered as an isolated being: he stands at the head of that chain of beings formed by the Creator to inhabit this present world; while beyond him the chain still stretches onward, until lost in the infinite nature of God.

He stands in connection with all that is past. He will be connected with all that may come. His history is, and will be, interwoven with the government of the universe, from the time it was first formed to the period when God shall fold it up, and it shall be changed. With this explanation we adopt, without hesitation, the sentiment of the poet,

“The proper study of mankind is man.” Those advantages, peculiar to man, seem to have been furnished him in view of his moral and intellectual natures. Among these reli. gion and science stand forth with the greatest prominence; the first adapted to his moral, the second to his intellectual constitution. These two natures of man are intimately blended in their origin, and should keep pace with each other in their developments. He who neglects the cultivation of the moral feelings, circumscribes the exercise of his intellect. He who neglects the intellect, will be a dwarf in religion. He who cultivates both, will by this means facilitate the improvement of each, and may shine in both the moral and intellectual world. And if there is an identity in the origin of the mental and moral powers, and so mutual a dependence upon each other in their cultivation, it seems not unreasonable, to say the least, that those objects or pursuits adapted to these particular powers should also possess some sort of connection with, and dependence on each other. We shall consider religion and science the two grand subjects suited to the mental and moral constitution of man, and shall endeavor to trace the connection VOL. XI.- October, 1840.


between them, their mutual dependence, and especially the influence of Christianity on the cultivation of the mind, and the advancement of science.

The connection subsisting between religion and science is seen, first, in their origin : God is the author of both. As all our just notions of religion are derived either by direct revelation, or from that exhibition of his character and attributes given us in the mate. rial and intellectual world, so we are indebted for all we know, or can -know, of any of the branches of natural science, directly or indirectly, to the Author of nature.

But for the existence of the material world natural philosophy would not exist. Were there no intellectual world, mental science could not be. Had we no divine revelation, we should have no moral science.

As divine revelation must furnish us with our system of religion and moral science, so the works of God must furnish us with at least the first principles of all the other branches of philosophy. All the improvements in science which have reflected so much honor upon the scientific, and will encircle their names with glory to the latest generations, are but the discovery of those latent principles which before existed, and which only needed the effort of some master mind to ascertain and develop their operations.

The pure principles of religion were the same before the Jewish and Christian dispensations shed their glories upon the world that they have been since ; only they were not so fully and clearly revealed, and carried out in their practical effect upon the well-being of man; so the principles and operations brought to light by the astronomical penetration of a Newton were in existence, and in as perfect and complete a state of operation before his days as they have been since. And the same remarks may be made in reference to all the dicoveries and improvements of any one, or all of the branches of science.

But the fact, that the principles and operations of philosophy and religion can be but partially understood by us, is evidence, both that they are connected in their origin, and owe their existence to the effort of some mind vastly superior to the most exalted human intellect. That our systems of religion and moral science owe their existence to God, is evident, not only because they contain mysteries incomprehensible by man, but because, after the lapse of eighteen hundred years, the thoughts and pens of the most profound have not been able to discover one solitary new fact or principle, or make the least improvement upon those originally revealed. There are also mysteries in mental and natural philosophy. We can go but a few steps in our investigations here; after which we must either stop, or pass on in doubt and uncertainty.

Astronomy, anatomy, chimistry, and mental philosophy, have each their mysteries, which involve us in inextricable labyrinths, and compel us to acknowledge these are secrets that belong to God; and these are evidences to us that they originated in the mind of the Eternal, and are only understood by us as he gives us the mind to comprehend, and the means of knowing them. Their connection appears also from the fact, that they are blended in the Bible, where we have the most perfect display of the mental and moral character of God. The Bible being professedly given to teach man the knowledge of divine things, few study it for its literature; yet it is emphatically a scientific book. Whoever reads it with attention cannot fail to perceive its high literary character in the numberless allusions to the various branches of science, and to those principles and operations that can only be understood by the scientific.

Take for instance the book of Job. To say nothing about its style, its rhetoric, or its poetry, which rushes like the mountain torrent, leaps from rock to rock, and foaming, hurls its impetuous flood over all the plain—it contains a synopsis of the learning of the eastern world. Its allusions are so numerous to sciences the most exalted and useful, and arts the most difficult and ornamental, as almost to merit the ap. pellation of encyclopedia ; and these allusions and references are so continual, throughout the whole of the Old Testament especially, that the commentator can make but little advancement in his work unless he has drunk deeply at the fountains of oriental knowledge. Their connection is seen in their practical developments. Few absurdities are more absurd than that ignorance is the mother of devotion. That it is the fosterer of bigotry and superstition, the whole history of the world proves; and the proof is equally abundant, that enlightened and cultivated minds have given us the most commendable exhibitions of Christian liberality, and the most perfect specimens of Christian character. There may be something of science where there is nothing of religion, and something of religion where there is nothing of science. Yet go where you will, and you will find the most perfect examples of each where both are united in the same character. He whose heart is under the influence of divine grace is best prepared to cultivate his mind, and investigate the laws of nature, and rise through nature up to nature's God. And he who has made some advancement in sci. entific knowledge is best prepared to understand his obligations to his Maker, and give us the most consistent display of the attributes of the Christian. It is perfectly reasonable that this should be the case. A belief in the existence of one God lies at the foundation of all religion; therefore in proportion to the consistency and adequateness of our views of the character of God, will our religion be deep and genuine. And while the Bible gives us so glorious a display of the moral perfec. tions of the Deity, how can we better obtain a correct view of the character of God as creator and governor, and of the vast extent of his dominions, than by the study of those sciences which take in the works of creation ?

The views of many are exceedingly contracted respecting the universal kingdom of Jehovah, and the range of his operations. They enjoy the light of the sun by day, and of the moon by night; they gaze upon the scintillating fires of an evening's sky, without reflecting who kindled them into brightness, or originated the laws which govern them and the general operations of nature. And even when they do in their reflections connect the effect with its original cause, their views of the creation and of the government of God are confined to a very limited portion of his vast dominions

" Their minds fair science never taught to stray

Far as the solar worlds, or milky way.' Hence to them “the visual line that girts them round is the world's extreme.”


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