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scorn; as if it were of no importance to evil, puts darkness for light, and light for the well-being of society, or that it had no darkness.” Hence, he endeavours to detendency to improve the world, and regene. pise and ridicule those laws which he is rate its inhabitants. They have attempted known constantly and systematically to to represent the whole of that beautiful and violate ; and scoffs at the very truths of venerable fabric, which has so long com- religion, which, if once admitted, and al. manded the respect and secured the homage lowed to exert their drastic influence, would of the virtuous and the good, which for be in direct opposition to his conduct and ages has gained the reverence of the learned, procedure, and have an evident tendency and the plaudits of the wise, as having to convict his whole behaviour of extreme originated in the gloomy conceptions of folly and positive absurdity. fanatics and visionaries ; who delighted in Our chief business as humble inquirers extravagant hypotheses, and revelled in un- after truth should be, to search for it with substantial theories.
an untiring patience and an unremitting When men are first initiated in vice, and diligence; to emulate each other in a holy in the incipient stages of dissipation, it is competition in making discoveries of this commonly the case, that they are anxious to inestimable gem; to strive ardently, deconceal their faults, and gratify their pas- liberately, and carefully; constantly anisions in secret; to make use rather of arti- mated with the hope, if successful, of actual fice and cunning, than of undisguised im- possession, and that the efficacious power pudence and avowed effrontery. But the which it is capable of imparting, will be a arts of subterfuge and hypocrisy are in time permanent benefit
, equally to the individual found useless and unavailing, and some un- inheritor, as to a community through which toward circumstance arises, to defeat their it may be extended and diffused. To bemeasures, and baffle those plans which they lieve a thing to be true or false, merely behad cautiously laid and prepared, for pre- cause others assert it, is highly culpable ; venting a premature discovery. At length, and displays an unprecedented degree of in the progress of events, others begin to neglect, palpable and blameable in the suspect them of those practices which they extreme, in the most important concern in theinselves were wont before as undis- which it is possible for us to engage. But guisedly to abominate; till curiosity, that still let it be remembered, that the nature of restless and insatiable passion of the mind, things in themselves good, are not alterable becomes awakened, suspicion begins to by our conduct, neither do they lose their operate, and at last they are so closely pur- intrinsic excellence because our prejudices sued, that their deeds are made manifest, are opposed to them. Therefore, a proposiand their ignominious fate, which inevitably tion of eternal moment, involving human follows, is memorialized to the world as a destiny, can become neither less certain nor beacon to warn others of immediate and important, by being regarded and concertain destruction. It is then too late to sidered, or neglected and despised. think of deceiving mankind by false appear- The apostle Saint Peter, in his second ances and unbased pretexts; and nothing epistle to the Christian church, solemnly preremains but to avow and palliate what can dicted, that “there shall come in the last be no longer denied, or concealed from pub- days scoffers, walking after their own lusts ;" lic observation and public reprobation. a prediction which in our time we have too
Such is the deplorable state of a man totally often seen verified and fulfilled. As the abandoned to the indulgence of vicious in- insinuations of such men against religion, clinations and wicked practices; the enor- bave in some instances proved a stumblingmity of the deed to him loses almost all its block to the weak, and the parade of their inherent turpitude; and he is compelled by shallow objections has entrapped the unhabit to regard the dictates of uncurbed and wary, we will briefly turn our attention to capricious passion, in action and in thought, this interesting subject. as more commanding than the voice of The doctrines which Christianity inculreason and the monitions of conscience. cates are strictly rational, perfectly pure, He justifies one crime by the commission and singularly adapted to the nature, and of another, even more flagrant; cherishes precisely adequate to the wants, of man, wicked principles, in order to support as a fallen creature, in a state of probation. vicious practices ; endeavours to corrupt All that it has revealed and announced, others, rather than own himself defiled and concerning the perfections of God, bis debased; and, to avoid a confession of his moral government and laws, the certainty crimes, which would be accompanied by a of a future state, and the appointment of feeling of shame, and painful sensations of rewards and punishments hereafter, are not remorse, he calls “ evil good, and good opposed to reason, but rather corroborated
by its sanctions ; though it must be acknow- holy Being, and the compatibility of human ledged, that some of its articles, from the liberty with divine prescience. These are present limitation of our faculties, we are equally as intricate and perplexing as any of unable sufficiently to comprehend. Ques- the deep and inexplicable questions that tions which relate to the essence of the may be found in the study of Christian Godhead—the origin of evil—the fallen theology. The system of nature, animate state of mankind--and their redemption and inanimate, undoubtedly is full of
the incarnation of the Son of God-are mystery, especially the essences of those now involved in a degree of mystery, in- material bodies we inspect and handle, scrutably dark, which the developments of which possess the property of reproduction. eternity, and the superior light of another in them there is an arcanum which we sphere, can alone illuminate, unravel, and cannot enter and explore, without the re. explain. Against these, the scoffer has quisite clue; there are many cabalistic often lifted his weapons of invective, and monuments in the range of the material sported the jests of the buffoon, as if what- world, both near and remote, the hierogly. ever could not be explained by finite in phic characters inscribed on which, we are genuity, ought necessarily to be exploded now totally unable to decipher or interpret. as absurd, and regarded as a chimera. But instead of this being any objection to
It is unnecessary to rebut the objections revelation, or derogating from its value, we have above enumerated, separately; as namely, that some of the doctrines in the there is one observation, founded on ana Christian system are mysterious, it would logical reasoning, which, if duly weighed have been much more incongruous, and and properly considered, is sufficient to likewise have given to it the appearance of silence the cavils of the scoffer, and place being destitute of the least trace of cohe. the disputant in an awkward dilemma. He rence subsisting between them, if none had is compelled to admit, that the whole exceeded our comprehension, or surpassed system of material nature around him teems our knowledge; and then there might have with mysteries absolutely dark and insolva. been some propriety in supposing it had not ble. Why then does he suppose that the proceeded from God, since it would have doctrines of revelation, the offspring of the been then so dissimilar to what is presented same divine Parent, and the production of to our notice in the system of visible nathe same Almighty Author, should be solely ture. But as they are now exhibited, they divested of obscurity? All that is requisite perfectly harmonize with each other; they for the conduct of temporal life, and like- each help to elucidate the obscurities which wise for the attainment of spiritual life, gather round either, when considered sepa. both in the diversified system of nature, rately; but when viewed together, the and the ample volume of religion, divine exact correspondence which is maintained, wisdom has rendered plain and intelligible aid us to solve the difficulties in which we in all their parts. As nature has provided find them involved. us with suitable instincts and adequate in If we advert to the didactic portion of the formation, concerning what is proper for doctrines of the Christian religion, which our food, our comfort, and preservation; so the scoffer has often stigmatized and proreligion has plainly and abundantly in- nounced idle and superfluous, as the misstructed us in our duty towards God, and shapen abortions of fear, and the monobligation to our species. But when we strous progeny of enthusiasm ; we shall attempt to search into what is profoundly invariably find them distinguished for simhidden, and hermetically sealed, from the plicity and propriety, unencumbered by scrutinizing approach of beings whose extraneous matter, and lustrous in purity, powers are limited; when we fruitlessly possessing the clearest credentials that they endeavour to be “ wise above that which is are the exclusive emanations of the Divine written,” our efforts prove abortive, and Lawgiver. The scoffer considers that the darkness, even darkness that may be felt, Deity is so exalted, and resides at such an meets us on either hand.
infinite distance as to be inaccessible to his After the same manner, there are similar creatures; and, therefore, can derive no difficulties which arrest the attention in the advantage, nor receive any pleasure, from study of natural religion. Here questions our expressions of homage and prostrations arise, “ thick as autumnal leaves that strew of worship. Prayer and praise, he affirms, the brooks in Vallombrosa,” concerning the can be of no avail to that self-existent Being, creation of the world from nothing, the at whose fiat streams of ceaseless felicily subsequent state of chaos whence order spontaneously flow, and constantly meander was educed from confusion, the existence of before his own immediate dwelling-place: evil under the government of a perfect and that sacred days, and prescribed forms of
adoration, were originally dictated by temporary abode, we perceive it to be superstition, and supported by imaginary diversified with innumerable beauties, which terrors; upon which vulgar and untutored silently proclaim, that in its primitive state, minds delight to descant, but which the before sin entered Eden, it must have been liberal and refined look upon with indigna- filled with many a noble monument of the tion and scorn.
good and fair, possessing an astonishing Now, as a counteractive to the insults of fecundity of delights, and an illimitable the scoffer, if we refer to either ancient or range of the purest enjoyments,) without modern history, we shall assuredly find, in making one solitary effort to evince their the united sentiments of mankind, of every gratitude. Therefore, it is palpably useless era, and under whatever dynasty, (provid. for the scoffer to deride what the legitimate ing the one were sufficiently recondite to dictates of nature, and the loud voice of frame archives, and the other strictly im- conscience, sternly require, and invariably partial in its records,) that their aggregate applaud. testimony, when accumulated and combined, The scoffer, by his licentious ridicule contradicts his assertion, and renders his and indecorous remarks on the duties of objections baseless and nugatory. For, piety, and the institutions of religion, inthoughtless and indisposed to reflect as the curs an awful amount of guilt; he is the majority of men are, solely attracted and odious instrument of propagating a crime, mainly influenced by objects which they the extent of which is inconceivable, and see around them, either of a sensual order its magnitude incalculably great. His proor a material texture, this principle has ceedings tend to weaken the power of connever been eradicated from, nor extin. science in restraining the actions of men ; guished in, the human breast, though it may he is, in reality, essaying to remove the have been materially modified ; that to the safeguard of society, and attempting to degreat Parent of all, the creator and bene. molish the firmest rampart of public order factor of the world, not only the reverence and domestic happiness. These are priof the heart is due, but likewise external marily founded, and principally consolidated, homage is a tribute which ought voluntarily by the prevalent belief of an omniscient and cheerfully to be paid to the mighty witness, and by the profound veneration Governor of the world and the universal which the thought of an omnipotent Governor Potentate. Whether homage and worship is calculated to excite. An unshaken belief are indispensable to an independent being, in these verities constitutes the whole obligais not the question we have to investigate ; tion of an oath ; destitute of which, the inbut, that we are deeply indebted to Him tricate machinery of government could not “ in whom we live, and move, and have exert its functions, justice be impartially our being ;” and that emotions of the pro- administered, nor could private property foundest gratitude to such an exalted bene- be effectually secured from invasion. If factor, it is our bounden duty to cultivate the strong apprehension of an invisible and inspire. It is a proof of the genuine- avenger, and the dread of future punishness of the source whence virtue arises, ments in reversion for the guilty, which are when it is incessantly eager to embrace the only adequate restraints that can be every opportunity to publish and avow the imposed, were to be removed froin the grateful sentiments which it feels rising and human mind, we should have no security swelling within, and to give them utterance against the perpetration of innumerable in all the dignity of expressive animation.
successful wickedness would In accordance with this sentiment, it has triumph, and unobtrusive virtue be debeen the uniform practice, from time im- feated. memorial, of most nations on the face of the But if religion were to be universally de. globe, whether polished or rude, to assem- spised, and its institutions constantly deble and adore, in some, or every variety of rided, how would it be possible for its form, the Creator and controller of the regulating and restraining influences to be world. In this manner, the spontaneous exerted, so as to conduce to the public dictates of the heart have prompted men,
welfare? If those who assemble for the purof whatever rank and distinction, cheerfully pose of religious instruction were to be disto engage in singing songs of praise, and persed, and the holy day appropriated for uttering apostrophes of worship, to an in rest and sacred worship abolished, the visible Ruler. There are none to be found enemies of the Christian faith might glory, but the apathetic and ungrateful, who can even though it ought to be their shame, contemplate the unbounded beneficence and an indelible token of disgrace; since which the Almighty displays in the uni- the performance and strict observance of verse that he has formed; (for even in this sacred duties were originally intended to
solemn mementoes of the existence and the Those who act from purely disinterested perpetuity of the dominion of God, and to motives, and strictly philanthropic intenbe striking monitions to sinners that their tions, which lead them to disregard personal actions are amenable at his tribunal. To advantage and mere selfish aggrandizement, men of every rank and station in life, it is in order to subserve the public weal, and invaluable ; but especially to the lower advance the interests of the world at large, classes of society, the most inattentive ob. when opportunity offers, and circumstances server must have noticed that the senti concur; these, as well as the principles ments which public religion invariably which support, and the energy which susexcites, are eminently calculated to en tains them, the scoffer is unable to apprelighten, improve, and instruct their minds, in ciate, and, therefore, such conduct appears all things that appertain to the present state, to bim positively incomprehensible. They as well as in those mightier qualities that who have maintained a consistent deportstretch beyond the verge of time; for in ment in the midst of a corrupt court and a both respects its tendency is highly salutary licentious age; in the bustle of camps, or and peculiarly beneficial. Deprived of the the conflict of armies ; men who have readvantages of education, with all its refin- mained unmoved by flattery, and unintimiing and elevating blessings, generally igno- dated when conscience reproved, by the rant for the most part of the laws that have threats of power or the mandate of kings ; been enacted by the legislature of the realm ; men whom bribes could not seduce from were they to forsake the sanctuary of re the path of inflexible integrity, or proffered ligion to which they have been accustomed emoluments tempt to infringe on the just to resort, they would acquire a ferocity of rights of their brethren; these ornaments character, and assume an effrontery of man of the race-these guiding stars in the ners, which no law could restrain, no force galaxy of human intelligences—who have could mitigate, no government tame. refused to comply with prevailing manners
They, therefore, who scoff at the sacred where evil was likely to result, or be immysteries of the Christian religion, who pelled by the furious tide of popular opinemploy levity, and use sarcasm and invec- ion, when inimicable to justice and truth; tive, instead of gravity and reason, are the these upright men, who, so to speak, impests of society, and the avowed enemies of pregnate society with an ingredient like mankind. Such characters, and the injury salt to bodily substances, without which, it they do to the moral interests of the world, would speedily tend to putrefaction, and are thus figuratively delineated in the book arrive at a state of decomposition; have of Proverbs, “ They are madmen, who cast been pronounced as persons of romantic firebrands, arrows, and death; and say, are character and airy notions, Utopian schemers, not we in sport ?"
over whom imagination has usurped an That great class of duties which we owe imperative dominion. to our fellow-creatures, and by which our These great supporters, however,' of inconduct ought to be stedfastly guided, has flexible virtue and unbending integrity, been but partially vilified by the fierce instead of being objects of ridicule, are enemies of religion; because the absolute entitled to the greatest respect, and ought necessity of these to the welfare of the com to inspire universal reverence, uncourted, munity, will appear, to an unvitiated mind, unasked, and unsolicited. These intrepid almost self-evident, when it is considered supporters of the rights and liberties of that justice and truth, honesty and integrity, mankind, are in fact the bulwarks of soare the fundamental pillars on which the ciety; these illustrious patriots are the social system rests. Although the virtues mighty germs that foster those renovating above enumerated have not been attacked principles which are destined to reflect with such virulence, and to such an extent, lustre, and achieve honours for the country as the evangelical doctrines which Christian- that gave them birth; they are loved by the ity sanctions and approves, yet, considering good of their own time, and will be revered they are adjuncts or appurtenances, that by the latest posterity to whom their deeds give an additional symmetry to that beau are transmitted, teous fabric, of which they form a part;
Thos, Royce. like the ornaments placed on some majestic Leicester, Sept. 18th, 1832. building, that impart to it splendour and richness, though they add not to its stability, or materially increase its magnitude ; they have not been exempt altogether from the
Shepherds in the East. malice of the interested, and the scorn of Tue flocks were tended by servants; also by the profligate.
the sons, and frequently by the daughters, of
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE,
the owner, who himself was often employed suddenly, accompanied with violent north. in the same service. In the summer they west winds, the water pours down in torgenerally moved towards the north, or occu rents from the mountains. In one night, pied the loftier part of the mountains ; in the multitudes of these huts are frequently winter they returned to the south, or sought swept away, and the place where they stood a favourable retreat in the valleys. A shep- is, the next morning, undiscoverable.t herd was exposed to all the changes of the “It so happened, that we were to wit. season, as the flocks required to be watched ness one of the greatest calamities that have by day and by night, under the open sky. occurred in Egypt in the recollection of Thus Jacob describes his service :—“In any one living. The Nile rose this season the day the drought consumed me, and the three feet and a half above the highest mark frost by night; and my sleep departed left by the former inundation, with uncomfrom mine eyes.” So also the shepherds mon rapidity, and carried off several vilwere watching their flocks by night, when lages, and some hundreds of their inhabitthe angel of the Lord came down with the ants. I never saw any picture that could glad tidings of a Saviour's birth. The give a more correct idea of the deluge, than Hocks, however, did not give so much the valley of the Nile in this season. The trouble, as we might imagine such vast Arabs had expected an extraordinary inunnumbers would. They grew familiar with dation this year, in consequence of the the rules order, and learned to conform scarcity of water the preceding season ; but themselves to the wishes of their keeper, on they did not apprehend it would rise to such the slightest notice. They became ac a height. They generally erect fences of quainted with his voice, and, when called earth and reeds round their villages, to keep by its sound, immediately gathered around the water from their houses; but the force him. It was even common to give every of this inundation baffled all their efforts. individual of the flock its own name, to Their cottages being built of earth, could which it learned to attend, as horses and not stand one instant against the current : dogs are accustomed to do among us. If and no sooner did the water reach them, the keeper's voice was at any time not than it levelled them with the ground. The heeded, or could not reach some straggling rapid stream carried off all that was before party, he had but to tell his dog, who was it; men, women, children, cattle, corn, almost wise enough to manage the flock every thing, was washed away in an inby himself, and immediately he was seen stant, and left the place where the village bounding over the distance, and rapidly stood, without any thing to indicate that restoring all to obedience and order. When there had ever been a house on the spot." I he wanted to remove them from one place * Nieven's Biblical Antiquities. to another, he called them all together, and + Ward's View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 335. marched before them with his staff in his
I Belzoni's Researches in Egypt, p. 299. hand, and his dog by his side, like a general at the head of his army.
Such is the beautiful discipline which is often seen in the flocks of the Eastern shepherds. With The astonishing loss of population, which a knowledge of these circumstances, we can those parts of the world have sustained since better understand the language of our ancient times, is still more affecting. I Saviour, in his beautiful parable of the have wandered amidst the ruins of Ephesus, Shepherd and his flock : “The sheep hear and had ocular and auricular demonstrahis voice; and he calleth his own sheep by tion, that where once assembled thousands name, and leadeth them out. And when exclaimed, “ Great is Diana of the Ephehe putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth sians,” now the eagle screams, the jackal before them, and the sheep follow him, for moans, the echoes of Mount Prion and they know his voice. And a stranger they Mount Coryssus no longer reply to the will not follow, but will flee from him, for voice of man. I have stood on the hill of they know not the voice of strangers.” Laodicea, and I found it without a single
resident inhabitant. There was, indeed, Building on the Sand.
an inferiority in its desolations to those of "I will liken him unto a foolish man, which built Babylon. Of Babylon it was predicted, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat (Isaiah xiii. 20.) “The Arabian shall not upon that house; and it fell,” Matt. vii. 26, 27. pitch tent there.” At Laodicea, the Turco
The fishermen of Bengal build their huts, man had pitched his migratory tent in the in the dry season, on the beds of sand, area of its ancient amphitheatre; but I saw from which the river has retired. When neither church noriemple, mosque nor the rains set in, which they often do very minaret, nor a single permanent abode.
VISIT TO THE ASIATIC CHURCHES.