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tent-makers and fishermen, through almost every part of the world, "by demonstration of the spirit and of power;" without the aid of eloquence or of force, and in opposition to all the authority, all the power, and all the influence of the opulent and the great.
The EPISTLES, that is, the letters addressed by the Apostles and their associates to different churches and to particular individuals, contain many amirable rules. and directions to the primitive converts; many affecting exhortations, expostulations, and reproofs; many explanations and illustrations of the doctrines delivered by our Lord; together with constant references to facts, circumstances, and events, recorded in the Gospels and the Acts; in which we perceive such striking, yet evidently such unpremeditated and undesigned coincidences and agreements between the narratives and the epistles, as form one most conclusive argument for the truth, authenticity, and genuineness of both.
The sacred volume concludes with the Revelation of St. John, which, under the form of visions and various symbolical representations, presents to us a prophetic history of the Christian religion in future times, and the various changes, vicissitudes, and revolutions it was to undergo in different ages and countries to the end of the world.
Is it possible now to conceive a nobler, a more comprehensive, a more useful scheme of instruction than this; in which the uniformity and variety, so happily blended together, give it an inexpressible beauty, and the whole composition plainly proving its Author to be divine?
"The Bible is not indeed (as a great writer ob serves) a plan of religion delineated with minute accuracy, to instruct men as in someting altogether new, or to excite a vain admiration and applause; but it is somewhat unspeakably more great and noble, comprehending (as we have seen) in the grandest and most magnificent order, along with every essential of that plan, the various dispensations of God to man
kind, from the formation of this earth to the consummation of all things. Other books may afford us much entertainment and much instruction; may gratify our curiosity, may delight our imagination, may improve our understandings, may calm our passions, may exalt our sentiments, may even improve our hearts. But they have not, they cannot have that authority in what they affirm, in what they require, in what they promise and threaten, that the Scriptures have. There is a peculiar weight and energy in them, which is not to be found in any other writings. Their denunciations are more awful, their convictions stronger, their consolations more powerful, their counsels more authentic, their warnings more alarming, their expostulations more penetrating. There are passages in them throughout so sub-lime, so pathetic, full of such energy and force upon the heart and conscience, yet without the least appearance of labor and study for that purpose; indeed the design of the whole is so noble, so well suited to the sad condition of human kind; the morals have in them such purity and dignity; the doctrines, so many of them above reason, yet so perfectly reconcileable with it; the expression is so majestic, yet. familiarized with such easy simplicity, that the more we read and study these writings with pious dispo-sitions and judicious attention, the more we shall see and feel of the hand of God in them."
But that which stamps upon them the highest value, that which renders them, strictly speaking, inestimable, and distinguishes them from all other books: in the world, is this, that they, and they only, contain the words of eternal life.". In this respect, every other book, even the noblest compositions of man, must fail us; they cannot give us that which we most want, and what is of infinitely more importance to us than all other things put together, ETERNAL LIFE.
Reflections on the commencement of the Nineteenth Century..
-Mighty years begun
From their first orb-in radiant circles run!
Nothing is lasting on the world's wide stage,
THE moralist has recommended stated times for the purposes of meditation. At such periods the fa-culties are awakened, and the soul is set in motion. Thus stimulated, the sluggish current of our thoughts becomes quickened, flowing on with an accelerated: rapidity. Such is precisely our situation. The commencement of a century, occurs not twice in our life. This is a serious consideration.-May it be rendered subservient to our moral improvement!
Standing as it were on an eminence, and looking around us, we find the new revolving century replete with important, though obvious; topics of instruc-tion.
The commencement of a century should suggest to us the inestimable value of our TIME.
Time was granted to man for his improvement. By the protraction of life opportunities are afforded> for our progress in knowledge, virtue, and piety. We were not raised into being that we might be idle spectators of the objects with which we are surrounded. The situation in which we are placed demands reiter-
ated exertion. The sphere in which we move calls for the putting forth all the ability with which we may be endowed. Enquiries therefore should be made how improvements can be best effected, either in our individual, social, or public capacities. This conduct will reflect an honour on our rationality. This train of action will elevate us in the scale of being impart a zest to our enjoyment, and prepare us for the honours of immortality It is said, that the elder Cato repented of three things-one of which was his having spent a day without improve
We cannot begin a century without being impressed with the vicissitude by which sublunary affairs are characterised.
Every thing around us in a state of constant fluctuation. Neither nature nor art continue long in one position. The heavens above us are in perpetual motion. The earth beneath us is ever changing its ex-ternal appearance. The atmosphere around us is subject to incessant variations. Individuals, families, and nations, are altering their aspect, and assu-. ming forms marked by strong traits of novelty. Not only opinions, but even long established customs at length lose their hold on the mind, and are shut out by practices of a directly opposite tendency. Thus are we whirled around in the vortex of life by incis dents the most strange, and by events the most contrary to our expectations. Change, in its endless variety of shapes, presents itself, and we observe, with surprise, the effects produced by it, both in ourselves. and in our friends with whom we are connected :. But sure to foreign climes we need not range,
Nor search the ancient records of our race,
Which, in ourselves, alas! we daily trace ;,
But spare, O TIME! whate'er of mental grace,
Whate'er of fancy's ray, or friendship's flame is mine ; :
We should enter upon the new century with the pleasing idea that the progressive series of events tends to human improvement.
The light which broke out at the era of the reformation, continues to send forth its rays, and will illuminate the most distant regions of the globe! The human faculties, which had slumbered for ages, were then roused into action, and the discovery of the art of printing facilitated the spread of truth in districts whither its beams had not before penetrated. Since that illustrious period, science has lifted up her Head-commerce has spread abroad her sails-and religion has unfolded prospects of futurity highly favourable to human felicity. Our ideas seem now to flow in channels which cannot easily be interrupted. More just views of the Supreme Being are entertained, and clearer notions indulged respecting the rights and privileges of humanity. Man will henceforward become more sensible of his advantages, and will, it is to be hoped, convey them entire and unmutilated to their posterity. The benevolent of every class rejoice in the prospect. Feeling for his species, the good man will exult in the recollection, that the night of ignorance and misery is passing away, and that it will be assuredly lost in the full blaze of perfect day.
Finally, let us, upon the commencement of the new century, realise the perfections and government of the Supreme Being, under whose superintendance every thing will be conducted to a happy conclusion.
A fatherless world! an orphan universe! are ideas agonizing to every well-constituted mind. The present system bears unequivocal marks of the wisdom. and goodness by which it was originally constituted. The parts themselves, and the relation they bear to each other, point out the ends for which they are intended. The sun, moon, and stars, perform with regularity their destined revolution. The earth vegetates at the assigned period of fertility, and pours forth its stores for the sustenance and comfort of the human race. The intellectual and moral powers of