The Relations Of Faith And Philosophy. An Address Before The Porter Rhetorical Society Of Andover Theological Seminary, At Its Anniversary, Sept.4, 1849. -- By: Henry B. Smith

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 006:24 (Nov 1849)
Article: The Relations Of Faith And Philosophy. An Address Before The Porter Rhetorical Society Of Andover Theological Seminary, At Its Anniversary, Sept.4, 1849.
Author: Henry B. Smith


The Relations Of Faith And Philosophy. An Address Before
The Porter Rhetorical Society Of Andover Theological
Seminary, At Its Anniversary, Sept.4, 1849.1

Henry B. Smith

Gentleman Of The Porter Rhetorical Society

Although the very name of your society might seem to indicate the subject of your anniversary addresses, yet I have been deterred from taking sacred rhetoric as my theme, partly by the memory of the orations of former years, and partly because I have supposed that he who advocated the claims of this art ought, in his own person, to exemplify its power. And I feel justified in adventuring upon a graver topic, because this is consistent with your own precedents; because I am convinced it is equally befitting the occasion; and because it is more congenial with my own pursuits.

We meet as believers, as students, perhaps as teachers of the Christian faith. We are rationally convinced that in Christianity is the highest truth, and that in the orthodox system, which has formed the substance of Christianity through its advancing and victorious centuries, we have the best human exposition of the divine revelation. In proportion, then, to our love for this system, and to our love of all truth, will be the depth of our interest in the assaults made on our faith, whether by depraved passions or by elevated intellects.

No man who loves the Christian faith as it ought to be loved, no man who is alive to the spirit of the times in which he lives, as every man ought to be alive, can have failed to feel, to see, or to forebode the coming of a conflict between the mightiest powers that sway the destiny of man. There may, indeed, be those to whom, through grace, it is given, in the ripeness of an impregnable conviction, or in what Milton calls the “undeflowered and unblemishable simplicity of a

guileless and unquestioning faith to live in unruffled serenity; ever to see the guiding star and never to feel the insurgent billows. Blessed are they in the repose of their faith; intolerant of the spirit of the hour, because conscious of having the truth which is eternal. But most of us, if not ourselves assailed by doubts, or if through divine love delivered from their thraldom, cannot fail to see the ravages they are making upon others, and minds, too, of noble as well as of ignoble mould and temper.

We see the orthodox system, and Christianity itself, superseded by ethical, by social, and by metaphysical systems; we see it losing not only its traditionary, but also its intellectual hold, over many a sincere mind. Its sacred language is converted to profane and philosophic use. Its venerable sy...

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