“This was the education to form great statesmen, great orators, great warriors, great poets, great architects, great sculptors, great philosophers: because, once for all, it formed men, and not mere knowledge-boxes: and the men, being men, had minds, and could apply them to the work. whatever it might be. which circumstances had given them to perform. But this lasted not long: demolishing the comparatively weak attempts of their predecessors, two vast intellects arose, the one the greatest observer of his own or any age, the other the greatest dialectician, and both almost unrivaled in their powers of metaphysical analysis.–Aristotle and Plato. No sooner, by the exertions of these gigantic minds, and of others their disciples or rivals, was a considerable body of truth, or at least of opinion, got together–no sooner did it become possible by mere memory to seem to know something, and to be able for some purposes even to use that knowledge, as men use the rules of arithmetic who have not the slightest notion of the grounds of them, than men found out how much easier it is to remember than to think, and abandoned the pursuit of intellectual power itself for the attempt, without possessing it, to appropriate its results. Even the reverence which mankind had for these great men became a hindrance to following their example. Nature was studied not in nature, but in Plato or Aristotle. in Zeno or Epicurus. Discussion became the mere rehearsal of a lesson got by rote. The attempt to think for oneself fell into disuse; and, by ceasing to exercise the power, mankind ceased to possess it.
“It was in this spirit that, on the rise of Christianity, the doctrines and precepts of scripture began to be studied. For this there was somewhat greater excuse, as, where the authority was that of the Omniscient, the confirmation of fallible reason might appear less necessary. Yet the effect was fatal. The interpretation of the Gospel was handed over to grammarians and language-grinders. The words of him whose speech was in figures and parables were iron-bound and petrified into inanimate and inflexible formulae. Jesus was likened to a logician, framing a rule to meet all cases, and provide against all possible evasions, instead of a poet, orator, and vates, whose object was to purify and spiritualize the mind. so that. under the guidance of its purity, its own lights might suffice to find the law of which he only supplied the spirit, and suggested the general scope. Hence, out of the least dogmatical of books, have been generated so many dogmatical religions–each claiming to be found in the book, and none in the mind of man: they are above thought, and thought is to have nothing to do with them: until religion, instead of a spirit pervading the mind, becomes a crust encircling It, nowise penetrating the obdurate mass within, but only keeping out such rays of precious light or genial heat as might haply have come from elsewhere.”
Quoted in Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Williard