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more pious but a more philosophic docility, to leave that book in undisturbed possession of the place which it now enjoys—where it might minister as in ages heretofore to the saintly and seraphic contemplations of the advanced Christian, who discovers that in this poem a greater than Solomon is here, whose name to him is as ointment poured forth, and who while he luxuriates with spiritual satisfaction over pages that the world has unhallowed, breathes of the ethereal purity of the third heavens as well as their ethereal fervour.
18. There are various analogies, by which the process that actually takes place, and as we have now explained it, for the Christian education of a people, might be both illustrated and vindicated. They do certain things at the telling of others; and, in virtue of so doing, they are made to behold certain truths, not with the eyes of others, but with their own eyes. From between what they take on trust, and what they are made in consequence to see for themselves, a right and rational belief emerges at the last.
19. On the authority of an almanac, all men expect with confidence the next coming eclipse. Whatever might be said of the philosophy of this general expectation, it is universally felt by us, that, not to share in it, would argue, not a soundness, but a perversity of intellect.
At all events, the greater part of men look for the predicted event as they have been told; and, in the act of looking to it, they obtain a demonstration of its reality at first hand. As they have heard so they have seen.
What the learned could predict by
one medium of proof, they, the unlearned, can now perceive by another medium of proof: and, in like manner, what the learned on the authority of one medium of proof, even the external evidence, pronounce to be scripture and of divine origin—the unlearned, by another medium of proof, might at length believe on the authority of their own observation. When once the manifestations of the internal evidence have taken effect on them, they might say with the Psalmist of old, “as we have heard so have we seen in the city of our God."*
20. There are very many who believe in the facts and objects of Astronomy, yet without any other evidence for them, than the testimony of scholars and scientific men, If told to go to an observatory, and, by means of the instruments there, to view the ring of Saturn or the satellites of Jupiter for themselves—there may be certain hypercritics, of kindred disposition with those who sustain the cause of our modern infidelity, and who might contend that ere they attained a warrantable belief in the reality of these objects, they must attain a scientific acquaintance with the medium of proof through which they are beheld. It might be easily shewn, however, that, without having mastered a single demonstration in optics, one might acquire, and on the very principles which enter into the education of the senses, the same confidence in the intimations of the telescope, that he has in the intimations of the eye. So that he who went to an observatory at the
. P's, xlviii. 8.
bidding of a friend, discovered for himself what he had previously been told of by others; and he who at the bidding of a parent or a minister, makes a Bible the object of his daily repair and daily exercise, may at length find, that what before was only probable on the likelihood of another's testimony, is now palpable to his own vision.
21. We have long thought that in the education of artists, there is a beautiful and effective illustration of the same process—an actual experience of the most eminent in that department, admitted by many of them as a fact, though we have not yet met with an adequate or philosophical explanation of it in any of their writings. What we advert to is the difficulty, which a young practitioner or student of painting would find, if, placed amid a large and indiscriminate collection of pictures, he was left to discover the works of the best masters for himself; and how much it expedites the formation both of his judgment and his taste, to be told of them beforehand, so as that he might limit his contemplations or his studies, to the specimens of first-rate excellence which have been pointed out to him. The merits which he could not perhaps have discovered through a whole lifetime, he will, in the course of a few weeks, come to discern. He at length shares in the general taste and feeling of the connoisseurs, and that, not at the bidding or on the authority of others, but with a just and well-grounded perception of his own. It is most instructive to mark the respective parts, which the external and internal evidence have in this process; and how, by acting at first at the
bidding or on the testimony of his informers, when they told him which the works were of Raphael and Rubens and Vandyke and Titian—he is landed incalculably sooner than if he had been abandoned to himself, not in a factitious, but in an honest and wellgrounded admiration of their respective beauties.* Now all we affirm is, that what has been found experimentally, both to originate and to expedite the solid education of an artist, might originate and expedite too the solid education of a Christian. If the former is better of being told beforehand, what the works are which men of a heaven-born
See Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses, in three volumes Second Edition. London, 1798. We more particularly refer to his own narrative of his own experience given in p. xiv, &c. in the account of his life prefixed to his works. In his Second Discourse, volume i. p. 38, he gives this advice to young artists —“ With respect to the pictures that you are to choose for your models, I could wish that you would take the world's opinion rather than your own. In other words, I would have you choose those of established reputation, rather than follow your own fancy. If you should not admire them at first, you will, by endeavouring to imitate them, find that the world has not been mistaken." In his twelfth discourse, volume ii. p. 95, he observes that, “the habit of contemplating and brooding over the ideas of great geniuses, till you find yourself warmed by the contact, is the true method of forming an artist-like mind; it is impossible, in the presence of those great men, to think or invent in a mean manner; a state of mind is acquired that receives those ideas only which relish of grandeur and simplicity.” Harris, the profound and philosophical author of Hermes, goes so far as to recommend, that we should “even feign a relish, till we find a relish come, and feel, that what began in fiction terminates in reality.”
If these things (and for ourselves we have no doubt of it) be in the order, and according to the real working of the human faculties--who does not see, that the actual Christian education both of families and nations, in every Protestant land where the scriptures are freely and fully taught, argumented by the learned and read by the unlearned, is of efficacy for the diffusion among all classes of a rational and rightly-grounded faith?
genius have executed—the latter is better of being told in like manner, what the books are which prophets and apostles under the guidance of heavenly inspiration have written.
It is by an external evidence, that the knowledge of both sorts of productions is transmitted from generation to generation; but it is by an internal evidence that the disciples of each generation are formedwhether in the schools of art, or in the schools of religion. There is no overbearing of the human faculties, no prostration of mind to authority or to the mandates of an earthly superior—in either of the processes.
All that authority does is, not to bid us believe; but to bid us attend and to point out the objects of attention. It is well that, in virtue of so many authentic collections, there is an external evidence by which we are enabled to point out rightly, what may be termed the canonical pictures of other days. And it is in every way as well, that, in virtue of so many Churches in Christendom, each in itself a vast repository of ecclesiastical documents, we have a most abundant external evidence-by which we are enabled to point out rightly the canonical, and to distinguish them from the apocryphal scriptures of other days. It is not, however, by force of the external but of the internal evidence, that the enamoured artist kindles into admiration of the great examples which are set before him.—Neither is it by force of the external but of the internal evidence, that the Christian peasant kindles into admiration, and his heart burns within him when the great examples and lessons of the sacred record are opened to his