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purpose whatsoever. The end of knowledge is action. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye “ do them.” Every article of the Creed involves ia it a correspondent duty, and it is practice alone that gives life to faith, and realizes knowledge. What is true of human wisdom with regard to things temporal, is as true of divine with relation to things spiritual: “Through wisdom is an house builded, “and by understanding it is established, and by
knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength; and by a man of understanding and knowledge the state of a land shall be prolonged.” The science that terminates where it begins, in the
intellect, what availeth it?" Or what profit is there in the learning which promoteth not, in any measure, the interest either of the church or the state of which its proprietor is a member? “ The manifestation of “the Spirit,” as that Spirit himself testifies, “is given “to every man to PROFIT withal.” Otherwise it is of no effect; and the man becomes, as St. Jude. finely describes such a character, like “a cloud "s without water,” raised aloft, as it should seem by its appearance, for the benefit of those beneath it; but how wretchedly are they disappointed! It sails along before the wind, proudly swelling in the sufficiency of its own emptiness, instead of dropping fatness and plenty on the lands over which it passes. .
Knowledge puffeth up.” And that this will always be the effect of it where charity is wanting, we may b John, xiii. 17.
ç i Cor. xii. 7.
fairly conclude from hence, that it always has been so; as shall be evinced by an induction of particulars.
But, before we consider the instances of this truth which have happened upon earth, we must ascend into heaven; and, if the lustre of the object be not too strong for our organs, there view the glories that once encircled Lucifer, the son of the morning, the bright leader of the armies above, first, as in command, so in the greatness of his knowledge. What the prophet Ezekiel says of the prince of Tyre, seems primarily applicable to him: “He sealed up “ the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. “ He was perfect in his ways from the day that he “ was created, till iniquity was found in him." Confined not, like man, within the bounds of a material creation, nor limited to ideas framed by analogy from sense, he beheld without a glass, the wonders of the kingdom of heaven, and saw, face to face, the eternal power and Godhead of him who made him. He saw, he knew; but he loved not. “ His heart was lifted up because of his beauty; and “he corrupted his wisdom by reason of his bright
ness.” Conceit of his own excellency made him disdain the thought of man, in the person of the Messiah, being exalted over him; and he became, from the beginning, an opposer of the gracious counsel of infinite love to redeem the human race. The promulgation of this counsel before the world, is assigned, by soine divines, as the time of the an
d Ezek, xxviii. 12.
gels' fall; that being most probably the ground of the war begun in heaven against the Head, and since carried on upon earth against the members . But how. ever this be, certain it is that through pride he fell: a proof to the learned of all ages, that knowledge without charity will turn a good angel into an evil one; an admonition to them not to expect that that alone should put man in possession of heaven, which, because it was alone, cast Lucifer himself out of it.
Yet this has all along been the fatal mistake; and the tree of knowledge still proved the occasion of a fall. Next to the majesty of Lucifer at the head of the angelic legions, was the glory of Adam, the lord of this lower world in Paradise. Formed in the image of his Maker to have dominion over the creation, he was replenished, for that purpose, with the treasures of wisdom from above; and the magnificence of his palace, great as it was, bore no proportion to the riches of his understanding. “He " was in Eden, the garden of God; every precious
stone was his covering, the sardius, topaz, and the “ diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; “the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and
goldf.” He had a perfect knowledge of the nature, use, properties, and operations of the creatures, expressed in the names imposed by him. Nor staid his wisdom here; but in the things that were made he beheld reflected, as in a faithful mirror, the invisible things of God, who had taught him so to do. With him he conversed frequently, as a man with his friend, in the holy sanctuary of Eden, that happy seat of instruction, contemplation, and devotion, framed, after the example of heavenly things, like the tabernacle, the temple, and the church, which have, since the fall, supplied, and are to supply, its place in the world, till all shall be fully restored at the resurrection of the just. There lived our first parent a life which we are now little able to conceive; a life not much short of angelical perfection, antedating by holiness, in the earthly copy, the felicity reserved for him in the heavenly original. But man, though placed by God in the state of honour, did not continue in it. Knowledge was the temptation; and even in Paradise it proved but too successful; it wrought destruction, we find, by pride. “The ser
e See Mr. LESLY's History of Sin and Heresy, in the first vo. lume of his Theological Works.
f Ezek. xxviii. 13.
pent," says Eve, “beguiled me;" or, as it is in the original, elated, puffed me up. He persuaded her, it was not as God had said ; she must know better. Revelation was an imposition upon the rights and liberties of the human understanding, and the command evidently contrary to the nature and reason of things; for “slie saw the tree was pleasant to the
eyes, and good for food, and a tree to be desired to “ make one wise!" Wisdom was to be acquired by a proper exertion of her faculties, and knowledge to be attained without being obliged for it to the - revelation of God. Thus was she deluded into
scepticism under the notion of a free inquiry, and induced to renounce God and heaven, as her seducer
had done before her, upon the principles of the first philosophy; hereby furnishing us with another sad proof, that knowledge without charity endeth in pride, and the destruction of the person who is possessed of it.
Were we to consider the several apostasies of mankind after their restoration by the promise of a Redeemer, and the establishment of the church
upon that promise, it might perhaps appear that all the fruits of error and vice have sprung from the same root of bitterness. But as St. Paul, concluding all under sin, has divided the world into Jew and Gentile, it may suffice to take a cursory view of each.
To begin with the Gentiles ; of whose fall the apostle gives this acccount: “When they knew God,
they glorified him not as God, neither were thank“ ful; but became vain in their imaginations, and 66 their foolish heart was darkened. Professing “ themselves to be wise, they became foolsh.” Lack of knowledge, therefore, was not their original fault;
they knew God,” for that knowlerige was universal in the family of Noah; and, though depraved, it could not be quite extinguished for many generations, But knowledge in the understanding, for want of charity in the heart, did not operate to a holy obedience:"When they knew God, they glorified him “not as God, neither were thankful.” The truth, held, or detained, in unrighteousness, and imprisoned in an unholy conscience, passed not from their minds into their actions, that God might be glorified there
h Rom. i. 21.