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PART FIRST.

THE TRUE ORIGIN OF OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD,

AND OUR DUTIES TO HIM,

INASMUCH as men, for nearly six thousand years, have become virtuous and happy, in the exact ratio of their knowledge of their Creator, and his will concerning them, it is a question of very deep interest to ascertain the proper mode of acquiring this inestimable information. There are three ways, in which it is supposed this knowledge is gained ; yet, there can be but one correct source of Divine wisdom. These demand a brief, yet careful examination, at our hands.

FIRST. It is supposed that Nature affords full information concerning our Father who is in heaven.

The word Nature is employed; first, to denote the outward world--the heavens with their starry hosts, and the earth, with her ten thousand tongues ; and, secondly, it is

used to express the supposed world of spontaneous light within—that which is imagined to be natural to the soul.

Wise men, in the different ages of the world, and even christian philosophers, have maintained that, the study of external nature not only affords correct knowledge with regard to the invisible God, but also, furnishes all needful information relative to our duties to our Creator, and to each other. It would be proper to state, in reply, that nature is not a bridge from the visible to the invisible world. The dull matter of the heavens and the earth, with their whole machinery, is insufficient to suggest either the existence or perfections of that God who is Spirit. The leap from the visible to the invisible, is not only too great for the philosophy of man, but it is also far above his loftiest imagination. A few plain reasons will justify these conclusions.

When man was first created, his Father and his God, though invisible to us, spoke to him face to face; and it is unreasonable to suppose, that his posterity could entirely lose such information. We, moreover, have heard of no nation acknowledging God, whose information cannot be traced to direct communications, which are as high above nature as God is above man.

Were we to admit that, nature reveals spiritual light, we would be compelled to maintain the sufficiency of this light, to guide us in the path of life.

But facts contradict such a conclusion. They show that those who have been without the Bible, though wise in the things of the world, have known but little of God or his ways, and this little, can be clearly traced to a source different from nature.

When we look into the Scriptures, we find the whole theory contradicted. We are told, “The world by wisdom," philosophy, or the study of nature, “knew not God.” " It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

To the enlightened, we rejoice to believe, that, the heavens and the earth, beautifully “declare," impress and confirm, "the glory of God;" but as previously urged, they have no voice to tell of the unseen hand which launched them forth.

Those who plead for the inborn light of the soul, to reveal the person and power of our Heavenly Father, must, to be consistent, also maintain the competency of this light, “To lighten every man that comes into the world.” Many do so, and further assert, in the style of an old philosopher, that, “This soul of ours, is the divinity within," and is able to guide us into all truth.

Some go even further than this; and tell us, that the soul is either God, or a part of God, and its immortality is its own natural "outgrowth.” This theory may seem pretty; but it is not only deceptious, but most dangerous. When we place our highest knowledge in human nature, and declare that eternal happiness, is the legitimate and necessary offspring of the soul, we deny that this wisdom comes through the Bible, and much worse, we virtually say, that redemption is not by Christ, and that he did not really “ Bring life and immortality to light in the Gospel.” To such, there is no meaning in the death of Christ, and the Bible is worse than a useless book. Indeed, we are sorry to admit, that most, if not all this class of teachers, deny that the Scriptures really reveal anything. It is not uncharitable to pronounce them, a sect of deceitful and dangerous speculators.

This pernicious system is now prevailing in Germany, under the head of “Transcendentalism," and wherever it gains footing, God's blessed word is crushed before it.

In France, it speaks out in what is denominated “ Social Philosophy.” It rejects, everywhere, the authority of the “Written oracles," and calls these pranks before high Heaven, "struggles for liberty;" and even conceals the deadly poison beneath, by throwing over it the mantle of “ Charity."

But more need not be said to give the young or old reader, disposed to think, and draw conclusions, a pretty comprehensive idea of the system which claims Nature as a sufficient rule in morality and spirituality.

SECOND. Many zealous religionists maintain that, all the light from the unseen world, comes in direct revelation of the spirit to each individual.

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