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The characteristic difference between the discipline of the ancient philosophers and the dispensation of the Gospel.

By undeceiving, enlarging, and informing the intellect, philosophy sought to purify and to elevate the moral character. Of course, those alone could receive the latter and incomparably greater benefit, who by natural capacity and favorable contingencies of fortune were fit 140 recipients of the former. How small the number, we scarcely need the evidence of history to assure us. Across the night of Paganism, philosophy flitted on, like the lantern-fly of the Tropics, a light to itself, and an ornament, but alas! no more than an ornament, of the surrounding darkness.

Christianity reversed the order. By means accessible to all, by inducements operative on all, and by convictions, the grounds and materials of which all men might find in themselves, her first step was to cleanse the heart. But the benefit did not stop here. In preventing the rank vapours that steam up from the corrupt heart, Christianity restores the intellect likewise to its natural clearness. By relieving the mind from the distractions and importunities of the unruly passions, she improves the quality of the understanding: while at the same time she presents for its contemplations objects so great and so bright as cannot but enlarge the organ, by which they are contemplated. The fears, the hopes, the remembrances, the anticipations, the inward and outward experience, the belief and the faith, of a Christian, form of themselves a philosophy and a sum of knowledge, which a life spent in the Grove of Academus, or the "painted Porch," could not have attained or collected. The result is contained in the fact of a wide and still widening Christendom.

Yet I dare not say, that the effects have been proportionate to the divine wisdom of the scheme. Too soon did the Doctors of the Church forget that the heart, the moral nature, was the beginning and the end; and that truth, knowledge, and insight were comprehended in its expansion. This was the true and first apostacy--when in council and synod the divine humanities of the Gospel gave way to speculative systems, and religion became a 141 science of shadows under the name of theology, or at best a bare skeleton of truth, without life or interest, alike inaccessible and unintelligible to the majority of Christians. For these therefore there remained only rites and ceremonies and spectacles, shows and semblances. Thus among the learned the substance of things hoped for (Heb. xi, 1,) passed off into notions; and for the unlearned the surfaces of things became** substance. The Christian world was for centuries divided into the many, that did not think at all, and the few who did nothing but think--both alike unreflecting, the one from defect of the act, the other from the absence of an object.

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