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TO HIS GRACE
THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH AND QUEENSBERRY, K.G.,
D.C.L., F.R.S., F.L.S.,
PRESIDENT OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR
THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE,
This Sermon is,
WITH HIS GRACE'S PERMISSION,
THE ANALOGY OF INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS TO
LUKE XIX. 26.
I say unto you, Unto every one that hath shall be given.
TWELVE months ago, on an occasion and before an audience similar to this, I endeavoured to show that the main principles divinely implanted in man for the maintenance and discharge of his social relations, are of a like kind with those which in the Holy Scriptures are declared necessary to save him from the consequences and the power of sin, and restore him to the favour and the image of God.
In the Redemption of Mankind, for instance, by a suffering Redeemer, I trace the highest and the noblest form,—the divine climax in fact,—of that human, friendly help, which it is necessary for one man to extend to his brother; sometimes in order to place that brother in the station that becomes him, and at other times to save him from temporal ruin : and I observe, moreover, that this friendly, necessary help is commonly bestowed not without great difficulty and suffering and loss to the interposer
himself. The very constitution of society in fact is cemented and maintained by one grand scheme of Natural Mediation.
Faith, also, in a personal and ever-living Saviour, I showed was no new or mysterious principle unknown to the natural sympathies of man, but rather is the old and abiding principle of that trustfulness of one man in another, which alone gives cohesion to our daily life. It is the old principle indeed, but then the old principle of trustfulness in man is heightened and intensified and sanctified by the Spirit of God, redirected also and applied henceforth to Him who, though now the Christian "sees Him not, yet in whom believing he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
And, lastly, I endeavoured to show that the sanctification, the improvement of the moral character, the building up of the man within the heart, in the main through the agency of meditation and prayer, is a divine appointment, all of a piece and in continuity with that other appointment equally divine, whereby man, through an innate principle of imitation, becomes assimilated in his moral character to those who are the objects of his habitual association and constant thought.
Thus the Laws-and here lay the whole scope and tenour of the discourse-thus the Laws after which we see by experience God has fashioned man's nature in relation to his social temporal life,
are in harmony and continuity with those other laws, by the operation of which Revelation declares it is God's good pleasure to fit his now sinful children, for their sinless, eternal inheritance in the society of the redeemed.
The scope of my remarks to-day will, in some sense, be the supplement, and form the conclusion, of that other discourse. For I shall endeavour to show you, or to remind you, that the processes which in the Bible are declared to accompany and to promote the Christian's growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ,-the processes, that is, which accompany the sanctification, the development of our moral nature, are in strict analogy with those which we find accompany growth in the knowledge of the natural things around us. That is to say, I shall endeavour to show how the education of the religious principle as proposed and provided for in the Bible, is all of a piece with what experience teaches us regarding the education of the intellectual faculties. In other words, the processes by which the Bible tells us a man can alone become morally good, are pretty much the same as those by which, when applied to another part of his nature, he becomes intellectually great. Both combined render him in the language of the noblest of our poets, Dear to God, and famous to all ages. Now I cannot but think that the false and fatal prejudice, which, like the poisoned robe of Nessus, still clings
to the minds of some good men, viz. the suspicion that growth in human knowledge is unfriendly to the Christian's growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ,-I say this suspicion may be corrected or removed by the consideration of such analogies as these. For the existence of such analogies is sufficient to show that the means by which natural knowledge is to be acquired, have been as much the object of the Divine Pre-arrangement, as have been the means provided for our moral advancement.
To secure to man as much of the knowledge of the divine nature, and of the divine will, as his capacities admit, it has pleased God to give a Revelation contained in the pages of a Book. To secure to man the knowledge of material things, Chrysostom said long ago, with a prophetic sagacity, "God has given the UNIVERSE in the place of a Book." It is the duty of the Christian to read and to reverence each. On the other hand, Pascal spoke as a true philosopher when he said, "Nature after all is only another form of Grace." It is the wisdom of the natural philosopher neither to ignore nor neglect the analogy.
Thoughts of this kind at the present day can scarcely be out of place before any congregation of educated Christians, but they seem to me to be unavoidably suggested by the circumstances under which we meet. For in the assemblage of gifted