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It has been said “ the proper study of mankind, is man.”—And certainly whilst it is rightly pursued no study can be more proper, none more interesting to an intellectual being than that, of which it is the object to render him as well acquainted as possible with his own nature and ultimate destination.—Accordingly we find, as might have been expected, that from very early times, men of the highest attainments have applied to the investigation of this subject all the powers of mind by which they were distinguished; those writers in particular who flourished in the best ages of the Christian Church, have examined it with a minuteness of research which has anticipated almost all that might otherwise have been advanced by the learned of the present day. For it is not with subjects of this nature as it is with the pursuits of science. In the latter, continual new discoveries prove the errors of earlier theories, and render necessary occasional
changes of system. In the former, nothing can be discovered by modern genius, which was not known to learned men of old times ;—for human nature still remains what it always has been ;-and most certainly we are not to expect, that the present times will produce any persons more able to examine closely and fully every question affecting the nature or interesting to the eternal welfare of the Human Race, than those great men whose works abundantly testify their able reasoning and laborious research. It is indeed one of the distinguishing features of the present day to set at nought the wisdom of past ages; yet surely in this there is more of arrogance than sound discretion; and it is justly to be feared, that they, whose overweening conceit of their own acuteness, leads them to disdain the assistance of tried and able guides, may at length discover that they have lamentably wandered out of their road; and have been turning their steps backward into the thick darkness of heathen ignorance, instead of steadily advancing into that glorious light which shall shine more and more unto the perfect day.
It has been quaintly observed, -" that many of your modern wise men seem to be running a mad race in learning ;—they hurry themselves over the first part of their course till they arrive at the limits of legitimate knowledge; and then, too high-mettled to stop, they dash forward into the wild desert