Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 10 (1837), 80–84.

The Right Use of Knowledge





Human Species, Piety, Radicalism, Utility, Scientific Practitioners, Discovery, Infidelity, Biblical Authority

    Begins: 'That knowledge is power is an axiom much in vogue at the present day; and it would be as absurd to deny its truth, as to assert that man could maintain his elevated place in creation, without the constant exercise of those faculties of reasoning and reflection with which he has been gifted by his Creator' (80). Reflects that unless the power of knowledge is exercised according to religious principles it will 'prove a lever to overturn all civil and sacred institutions'. Considers it a duty to cultivate one's faculties 'to the highest pitch of which they are susceptible' but with a view to the world 'which is to come' as well as to the 'present world'. This life is a state of probation, and anything which 'diverts out thoughts from this, is only an impediment on our heavenward journey'. Quotes from the Great Instauration of Francis Bacon (1st Viscount St Alban) a passage ending with the conclusion that 'all knowledge is to be limited by religion, and to be referred to use and action'. Thus 'consecrated by religious principle', religion is not only immensely powerful but also immensely beneficial. Relates that 'Newton, and Boyle, and Locke' were Christians whose 'science was consecrated to sacredness'. They were pious and humble, and it is 'to such men that we owe those discoveries which are of most value'. (82) Relates that all three were intensely concerned with their religious devotions and with the study of the Bible. Suggests that they should be 'our models in our enquiries after truth'. Contrasts their pious example with 'the miserable conduct of the disciples of "science falsely so called", with the tortured and feverish life, and miserable death, of the infidel', referring particularly to David Hume, Edward Gibbon, and François M A de Voltaire. (83)

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