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mankind in that age could have been drawn away from idolatry in no other way. When Christ came, the danger of idolatry was over, and he was able to establish the true worship, that of the spirit. From all these things, it is evident, at first glance, that the New Testament is addressed to a totally different state of mind from the Old, and to a condition of intellectual enlightenment, the like of which does not appear in the old dispensation.
It appears moreover in the existence of religious sects, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Men never differ in opinion till they begin to think. They never can have opinions till they examine, reflect, discuss, define and reason. We hear nothing about sects among savages, nor in a state of semi-barbarism.
From all these sources, and from others which time would fail me to enumerate, it appears that the New Testament is directed and adapted to a state of intellectual cultivation altogether above that which is supposed in the institutions of the Mosaic religion. It is the purpose of this lecture to show how this cultivation was brought about. It made a part of the preparation of the world for the advent of the Redeemer. But intellectual cultivation is a matter which does not require any supernatural interference with the ordinary laws of the human mind, though it does not fall without that universal providence of God, which rules over all and extends to every thing that takes place. God as much makes use of men, whom he has largely endowed with natural gifts, to instruct those of less capacity in human wisdom, as he does those to whom he communicates supernatural knowledge, to enlighten the world in what immediately concerns their soul's salvation. If God acknowledged such men as Cyrus and Alexander as the objects of his especial providence, by whom the political condition of the world was so widely affected, much more should we consider Socrates and Plato to have come into his great plan, men, by whose intellectual labors the condition of more of our race has been affected, than by the greatest conquerors, who have overrun the earth.
About the time when the Hebrew commonwealth was declining from the splendid reigns of David and Solomon, to the last feeble and profligate administrations of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, when the light of prophecy was about becoming extinct in Zechariah and Malachi, a people were coming into notice in the south-eastern corner of Europe, the point nearest the Holy Land, which was destined to exert as extensive an influence upon the intellectual progress of the world, as Judea has upon its spiritual and religious advancement. A few wandering tribes had settled along the shores and among the isles of Greece, which seem to have received from God the highest natural gifts that were ever bestowed on man; a phy,
sical constitution, symmetrical, firm, powerful, and elastic, senses most acute and penetrating, sensibilities deep and susceptible, intellect subtile, accurate, and profound, an imagination glowing as their own luxurious climate and rich as their magnificent scenery. With these natural endowments they formed a language of corresponding excellence and perfection, a language which excels every other in that especial quality for which each one is distinguished. It has the simple grandeur of the Hebrew, more than the dignity of the Latin, the richness of the German, the colloquial grace of the French, with a greater precision even than is possessed by our native tongue. It was all this even before it possessed an alphabet, or before one sentence had been committed to writing. The oldest book we have, next to the Bible, we owe to this wonderful people. While Elijah and Elisha, those venerable forms, were seen in Palestine upholding by the sanctity of their lives, and the force of their prophetic powers, the tottering fabric of the Mosaic religion, a blind old man was wandering over Greece, chanting from village to village a poem, which he had composed on the siege of Troy. So delighted were his countrymen with his performance, that they were not satisfied with an occasional recitation. In the absence of books his verses were transcribed into other memories, and men made it their profession to repeat the poems of Homer.
About two centuries before, an adventurer from the coast of Phænicia, from the neighborhood of the country where the Mosaic law had existed for six hundred years, had carried the alphabet used by Moses to the shores of Greece. The elements of their destiny were now complete. Grecian genius seized at once upon the results of ages of Egyptian art, and rose at one step into the intellectual supremacy of the world. The poems of Homer are the greatest literary miracle of all time, the greatest unaided achievement of the human intellect. Without a master or a guide, he reached a perfection which has never since been surpassed, and became the master and the model of all succeeding ages. The influence of his poems upon the national character was controlling and decisive. They fixed the language, the religious opinions, and moral sentiments of a powerful people. They were themselves the highest manifestation of intellect, and served in turn to awaken the intellect of others. In short, the works of Homer were the Bible of the Greeks, and exerted nearly the same influence upon them, which the Pentateuch exerted upon the Jews. Like the Bible, they have lived through all ages, have been read in all, they have gone wherever civilized man has wandered, and formed the literary taste, as the other has the religious opinions of the world. And even now, when we have accumulated the spoils of all nations and all
times, and the choice is absolutely bewildered among the multiplied productions of human genius, there is nothing which the man who wishes deeply to move, or powerfully to persuade his fellow-men, will find more profitable as an intellectual discipline, than to study the poems of Homer.
Such was the wonderful impetus given to the mind of Greece by the introduction of a written language, such the wonderful genius of that gifted people, that within two hundred years from the first collection of the poems of Homer, almost every species of literature, which has since been known was produced, every form of poetry, and every kind of prose; the rudiments of every science had been discovered, and almost every art cultivated. Orators were produced whose works are even yet studied, philosophers investigated with such depth and accuracy as to have exhausted almost the whole field of human inquiry. Their investigations, their eloquence, their science were committed to writing, and they have made the most important part of literature for all succeeding times. Their admirable language furnished ample resources for all these diversified purposes. Its graphic and pictorial beauty, its harmony and flexibility most admirably adapted it to the purposes of poetry. Its copiousness and clearness made it the apt instrument of the orator, and its accuracy and precision enabled the philosopher to grasp and define