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A CONCISE VIEW
Of the Extent of the Natural Mind of Man ;- its
Uncertainties, and Fears, without revealed Knowledge.
In taking a view of the Scriptures, the first question that naturally presents itself to the inquisitive mind is,-What knowledge are they intended to reveal that the natural mind could not obtain without them, which is essential to our welfare and comfort amidst the pains, disappointments, and cares that daily surround us, and conducive to our happiness at the end of them?
To answer this question, let us first consider the knowledge which the ancient philosophers
directed the uninstructed mind to obtain, in its rudest state, and in the infancy of the world, under the guidance of the providence of our Creator, To know Thyself! The wisdom of the precept must be evident to the enlightened mind; because, by knowing ourselves, we must necessarily know the cause of our weakness and imperfections, on the one hand; and the nature and dignity of the soul, on the other, with its constant dependance upon the will and support of Him,“ in whom we live, move, and have our being.
To attain this important knowledge, we shall have recourse to all the light, our observations upon the actions of others, and our own feelings, can furnish; together with the knowledge of the physical laws of our organization; and then bring the light of revealed knowledge to our aid, as explanatory of our nature,—that removes the mysterious veil of ignorance in which natural knowledge leaves us enveloped; and thence make it evident, that the Scriptures were necessarily We written for our learning," as they profess
to be, and that, without their light, our knowledge must have been limited to a boundary of dissatisfaction and misery.
We find, by our daily experience, that in the actions of man, there are two principles governing him: a mind possessing a reasoning power, and passions which at times suspend that power, or deprave its nature. We have, therefore, to discover the means by which we can know the mind, uninfluenced by those passions ;—what the mind is, and what those passions are;--and for what end man was placed in this world, subject to passions, which at times suspend the reasoning faculty of the soul, that places him above the brute creation ?
Of what the essential nature of the mind of man is, or what the malignant passions are, no one has attempted directly to explain. Mr. Locke, in the Introduction to his Essay on the Human Understanding, declines hazarding any opinion of what the mind is. In the same manner, Sir Isaac Newton, in the