Billeder på siden

Take the representation of the Bible. Benevolence is a work and a labor. It often calls for the severest efforts of vigilance and industry-a habit of action, not to be acquired in the school of fine sentiment, but in the walks of business, in the dark and dismal receptacles of misery—in the hospitals of disease-in the putrid lanes of great cities, where poverty dwells in lank and ragged wretchedness, agonized with pain, faint with hunger, and shivering in a frail and unsheltered tenement.

You are not to conceive yourself a real lover of your species, and entitled to the praise or the reward of benevolence, because you weep over a fictitious representation of human misery. A man may weep in the indolence of a studious and contemplative retirement; he may breathe all the tender aspirations of humanity; but what avails all this warm and diffusive benevolence, if it is never exerted—if it never rise to execution-if it never carry him to the accomplishment of a single benevolent purpose—if it shrink from activity, and sicken at the pain of fatigue?

It is easy, indeed, to come forward with the cant and hypocrisy of fine sentiment—to have a heart trained to the emotions of benevolence, while the hand refuses the labors of discharging its offices—to weep for amusement, and to have nothing to spare for human suffering, but the tribute of an indolent and unmeaning sympathy.


The Unbeliever.-CHALMERS.

I PITY the unbeliever-one who can gaze upon the grandeur, and glory, and beauty of the natural universe, and behold not the touches of His finger, who is over, and with, and above all; from my very heart I do commiserate his condition.

The unbeliever! one whose intellect the light of revelation never penetrated; who can gaze upon the sun, and moon, and stars, and upon the unfading and imperishable sky, spread out so magnificently above him, and say all this is the work of chance. The heart of such a being is a drear and cheerless void. In him, mind-the god-like gift of in

tellect, is debased-destroyed; all is dark-a fearful chaotic labyrinth-rayless-cheerless—hopeless!

No gleam of light from heaven, penetrates the blackness of the horrible delusion; no voice from the Eternal bids the desponding heart rejoice. No fancied tones from the harps of seraphim arouse the dull spirit from its lethargy, or allay the consuming fever of the brain. The wreck of mind is utterly remediless; reason is prostrate; and passion, prejudice, and superstition, have reared their temple on the ruins of his intellect.

I pity the unbeliever. What to him is the revelation from on high, but a sealed book? He sees nothing above, or around, or beneath him, that evinces the existence of a God; and he denies-yea, while standing on the footstool of Omnipotence, and gazing upon the dazzling throne of Jehovah, he shuts his intellect to the light of reason, and DENIES THERE IS A Gop:


Recollections of Palestine.-N. A. Review.

The Hebrew muse has been called the denizen of nature; with equal propriety may she be termed the denizen of history.

Shę draws much of her sublimest inspiration from the instructive record of God's dealings with his people. Even the Psalms are full of the finest imagery gathered from historical events; but the prophetic poetry is by far the most copious in its sublime and beautiful allusions. The history of the Hebrews in its spirit is all poetry; their poetry is almost a history, both of the past and the future. It was the pride of a Hebrew, as well as his duty, to have the law and the testimony inscribed upon his heart.

A Jew, well instructed, could almost repeat the contents of the sacred books from memory. On their study the utmost expenditure of wealth and labor was lavished. They were copied with the richest penmanship; they were encased in jewels; they were deposited in golden arks. How striking was the last charge of Moses to the people—And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up—thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand!

Powerful indeed must have been the influence of such familiarity with those sublime compositions. The unceasing frequency with which their remarkable passages are referred to by the sacred poets, show with what prevailing power they dwelt in the popular imagination. How could it be otherwise? Almost every rite in the ceremonial of the Hebrews, was founded u on, or in some way connected with the remembrance of supernatural interposition.

Almost every spot in the land of the Israelites, was associated with the history of those glorious events. Three times a year, the whole Jewish multitude went up to the tabernacle or to Jerusalem at the feasts. Did they pass through the valley of Hebron? There lay the bones of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Did they stand on the plains of Mamre? There Abraham erected' an altar to Jehovah, and entertained the angels. Did they visit the borders of the Dead Sea? Its sluggish waves rolled over the cities of the plain, and they traced the ruins of the fire-storm from heaver.

If they looked towards Nebo, it was the sacred and mys terious burial-place of Moses. If they passed near Gilgal, there the sun and moon stood still at the command of Joshua. If they rode on the mountains of Gilboa, there the glory of Israel was slain upon their high places. Such thrilling recollections must have met them at'every step, besides being often mingled in the memory with some vivid burst of poetry. An event, like that of the passage of the Red Sea, commemorated in a song such as that of Moses, was a treasure in the annals of the nation, whose worth, in the formation of the national spirit, we cannot adequately appreciate. Nor can we conceive the depth of emotion, which must have dilated the frame of a devout Jewish patriot, every time he remembered that sublime composition.


Character of Jesus contrasted with that of Mahomet.-WHITE.

CONSIDERED in all its circumstances, the history of Christ shrinks not from comparison with the most partial and lofty representation of the prophet of Arabia.

Of both we find that the earlier part of life, before the

publication of their respective missions, passed away in silence, private and undistinguished. The first years of Mahomet were busied in the cares of merchandise; till returning to his native city, he devoted to solitude and retirement the leisure which his opulence had procured.

The youth of Jesus was spent in domestic privacy, and was remarkable only for affectionate and dutiful submission to his parents; unless, indeed, when in the temple, he, by his ready answers to the questions of the Rabbins, and his skilful exposition of the Scriptures, astonished those that heard him, and gave an omen of his future greatness.

The designs of Mahomet were gradually and cautiously unfolded, and in order to prepare the minds of his countrymen for the reception of his faith, he first artfully persuaded his own relations and domestics, and drew to his side the most powerful of his neighbors.

Jesus walked forth by the sea of Galilee, and saw fishers casting their nets; these were his first converts and disciples. Though they were destitute of riches and power, he found in them what his ministry required, an honest and a willing spirit. He won them neither by subtle arguments nor crafty persuasions; but bade them forsake their nets and follow him, to see his humble dwelling, to hear his heavenly discourses to the people, and witness the wonders he was going to perform.

Jesus called his hearers to repentance, but Mahomet to conquest.

At their first appearance they were both compelled to avoid the rage of the multitude, who would have destroyed them: but Mahomet escaped by a secret, ignominious flight, and Jesus by a public miracle.

The revelation of the Arabian prophet was inconsistent; a system of contradiction, continually shifting with the views of his policy, and the necessities of his imposture; now looking towards Mecca, and now to Jerusalem.

Widely different was the conduct of Christ. He did not seek to accommodate his doctrine to fortuitous changes in his external circumstances; he did not at one time revoke what he had asserted, or contradict what he had enjoined at another. Every part of his teaching was regular and consistent in the objects to which it was directed, and the language in which it was conveyed.

Mahomet allured his followers with the glories of a visible monarchy, and the splendor of temporal dominion. In him

we behold the lord of war, and the destroyer of mankind, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands who fell by his desolating sword; laying cities in flames; carrying misery and bloodshed through the earth; and pursued in his victorious career by the lamentations and curses of its inhabitants.

In Jesus we see the adorable Prince of peace, the friend and Savior of the world, riding meekly to the holy city, hailed with the acclamations and blessings of much people, whom he had rescued from sin and death, wiping the tears from all eyes, and healing every sickness and every disease.

And here the comparison must cease. The events that followed in our Savior's life are too august to be placed in competition with any mortal power, and can be comprehended only by minds habituated to the contemplation of heavenly objects. Let us consider the Passion of our Lord, and the magnificent scenes of his resurrection and ascension; and then ask in what part of all the history of Mahometanism, any parallel or resemblance can be found?

Let us, in imagination, hear and see the blessed Jesus, when he gives his apostles authority to go forth and baptize all nations, and preach in his name repentance and remission of sins; when he empowers them to cast out evil spirits, to speak with new tongues, and to work wonders; when he holds up to them the promise of the Comforter, and power from on high, and when, having blessed them, he ascends into heaven, where he is forever seated in glory on the right hand of God.

But chiefly what raises Christ and his religion far above all the fictions of Mahomet, is that awful alternative of hopes and fears, that looking for of judgment, which our Christian faith sets before us.

At that day when time, the great arbiter of truth and falsehood, shall bring to pass the accomplishment of the ages, and the Son of God shall make his enemies his footstool, then shall the deluded followers of the great impostor, disappointed of the expected intercession of their prophet, stand trembling and dismayed at the approach of the glorified Messiah.

Then shall they say, yonder cometh in the clouds that Jesus, whose religion we labored to destroy, whose temples we profaned, whose servants and followers we cruelly oppressed! Behold he cometh: but no longer the humble son of Mary, no longer a mere mortal prophet, the equal of Abraham and of Moses, as that deceiver taught us; but

« ForrigeFortsæt »