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THE WELSH CALYINISTIC METHODIST RECORD. JULY, 1853. THE CHURCH A SPIRITUAL INSTITUTE. BY THE REV. L. EDWARDS, M.A.* In ali ages of the world there have been two contrary tendencies of the human mind, one towards the abstract and ideal, the other towards the concrete and actual. The object of religion is to unite the two; and accordingly we here find them both presented to us, in the form of a book and an institute. In the Bible we have the abstract standard of truth, the perfect ideal of all that is beautiful and good. Owing to the inherent weakness and unfitness of the materials, this unchangeable ideal has never yet been realized, except in the life and death of our Lord, who is the eternal and personal Word. And this of itself is a sufficient proof that the Bible is not the work of man; for the stream could not have risen higher than its source; and if the Bible had been the natural production of the church, it could not have given us, as it does, a law without any taint of human imperfection, and a Gospel without any mixture of human merit. The antagonists of the Bible are guilty of wilfully confounding the cause and the effect; and with equal consistency might they assert that in all our schools the pupils are the authors of those books over which they are pain¬ fully poring, and the first pages of which they have not yet been able fully to understand. So far from originating in the church, it is a melancholy truth that the Bible has too often been cruelly marred and maltreated by the church, so called; and many are the wounds " with which it has been wounded in the house of its friends." This is only what might be expected * An Address delivered at Liverpool, on the occasion of ordaining Mr. William Smith, Missionary at Scarisbrick.