Excerpt from Education: A Discourse, Preached by Rev. J. H. Linebaugh, Rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. James, Baton Rouge, La, on the 20th October, A. D., 1850
We think it an error to View man simply as a finite being. That man has been thus viewed, we think a popular and prevailing falla cy - a fallacy which has injured, if not corrupted the speculations of philosophy, which has controlled, if not perverted the efforts of phi lanthr0py, and given a false character to our systems of education. That man, materially, is finite, cannot be questioned. There is a limit to his physical powers. There is a limit to his sight, to his hearing, indeed, to his being, so far as it is connected with sensible Objects; but to his intellect and soul there is no limit these are the tokens of man's resemblance to God - these are the Special evidences of that likeness to himself wherewith God has impressed him - these are the noble insignia and prerogatives of that sublime image of Himself, which God has stamped upon him; and unless you will call God finite - unless you will set bounds to His eternal Wisdom, goodness and power - unless you will say to His eternal attributes, in the pride of an impious superciliousness - thus far shall you come and no farther, presume not to say of these that they are finite. When the universe becomes finite, when immortality becomes finite, then say of man that he is simply a finite being. Who that has marked the sublime dis coveries of Newton, or read the celestial pages of Milton, or observed and measured the inﬂuence of Plato, Aristotle and Bacon, upon the mind of all subsequent ages, will declare that the human mind is finite. Or will any one who looks forward through the telescope of faith, to the progress of the soul through the unwasting ages Ofeter nity, as it labors with unceasing effort to compass that truth which eye hath not yet seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart conceived, and say of the soul that it is finite? If he does, then let him tear asunder the chain which binds him to the throne of the Eternal - let him oblit erate the bright image which radiates from his face - let him extin guish the glorious light of the soul's immortality - let him blot out Heaven, and mate himself with beasts bound by the prescribed limits of appetite which soars no higher than themselves, and when dead, left to moulder untombed upon the bosom of the earth which bore him. We discard the idea of man's being simply finite, as a popular fallacy, and claim for him capacities more exalted, and destinies more sublime than belong to the earth; we claim for him a high and holy destiny, which claims affinity with the attributes of God, and compasses eternity itself in duration.
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