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Let it be again repeated, that infidels are not accused of hostility to these highly beneficial institutions: But if they should succeed in destroying the influence of the religious system from whence they have sprung, could they answer for the consequences ? If the source were dried up, would the stream continue to flow? Would not the naturally selfish principles of men return and stop the current of benevolence ? Could the native goodness of man be, in any measure, relied on without the urgent calls and soliciting motives of the gospel ? If the tree should be cut down, could we expect long to enjoy its fruits ? A short time possibly we might; but the experience of the world, in all ages and countries, is opposed to the expectation of seeing a charity prevail a. munificent as that of Christianity ; for none such ever existed. Why then trust to what is at least uncertain), when we have in our hands that which hath been proved? The wise and prudent will certainly not hesitate in their choice between two courses so obvious in their tendency.
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
ON THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
THIS is the amiable character which the beloved disciple ascribes to God. He embraces all the other perfections of Deity in this emphatic word Love-God is Love. But how differently have the Supralapsarians represented the God of Love in their gloomy creed. Whoever seriously and impartially examines their tenets, will be convinced that the people who form such notions of God can never be good to their fellow creatures. Like the ignorant heathens who gave the most abominable attributes to their gods, and then thought that they acted rightly in imitating their imaginary deities.
What sort of obedience would you pay to a tyrant ? Not that inspired by love ; but an unwilling, slavish obedience, impelled by fear from motives of self preservation. Can the eternal majesty of heaven, a being infinitely perfect in all his attributes, make poor wretched mortals for no other purpose than to glory in their misery? I will not hesitate to declare, that such notions of the Deity are even worse than those of the pagans. Human nature, with all its imperfections, shudders at such a thought : and if man cannot bear such notions of cruelty to arise in his mind, how can that God do it, whose perfections and particularly his mercies, are infinitely
superior to any thing in this world ? But no sooner do men leave , the simplicity of truth than they fall into a multitude of errors, and
never know where to stop till they have dishonoured God as well as themselves. There is nothing which we enjoy in this life but what we owe to God as the most tender of parents. But can any sentiments of liberal love arise in the hearts of children towards a stern and rigorous tyrant, whose words and looks are all furious and passionate, who instructs them only by menaces, and corrects them like an executioner. The light we enjoy, the air we breathe, every
thing which contributes to our preservation or pleasure ; the heavens, the earth, and universal nature, all conspire to promote our happiness, and are all witnesses against the man who can represent God as a tyrant. 3!1
To ask if God loves mankind, is to ask if he is good; and if we have the least doubt of it, we call even his being in question ; for how can we possibly conceive of a Deity who is not infinitely good ? And how can he be good, while he hates and takes delight in making his creatures miserable and wretched ? A good prince loves his subjects ; a good father loves his children ; we love even the tree which we have planted, the house we have built ; and shall not God love his offspring? What mind can en'ertain a doubt, except those who conceive of God as a capricious being, who cruelly sports with the fate of mankind, dooming them irrevocably to misery even before they were born ; reserving to himself at most only one out of a niillion ; though that one has no more deserved that preference than the rest have deserved their destruction. They who thus think, would have us to hate God, by teaching that he hates us!
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE,
ON SCRIPTURE HISTORY. THE history of the Bible sets out with the beginning of time, the creation of all things, and the origin of man, and goes down with an account of God's special, and many of his ordinary dispensations, till it comes to the final completion of his plan, in sending the Messiah into the world, and the planting of his Church and true religion, in its various quarters. In the course of this narrative there are many things, many indeed, highly interesting and conducive to instruction in righteousness. What can be more so than the account of the creation of the world, and the making of man ? From this account we learn that the world did not rise up by accident; that man is not the creature of chance, casually struck out of the great msss of things, to flutter about for a time, and then to be no more seen, like the atoms of dust that float in the air. No, we behold a much more magnificent, and glorious scene of things. That Almighty power which has existed from eternity, and shall exist to eternity, at a time made choice of by his wisdom, came forth in“ his might, and all-creating word;" he spake, and it was made ; he gave the word, and it stood forth; he said, let there be light, and there was light; he commanded, and worlds sprang into being ; he lifted up his voice, and the waves retired, that the dry land might appear. The sun and moon heard his voice, and instantly began their career in the heavens, rolling from day to day, and from year to year, their bright orbs over our heads, in harmonious order and succession. He said the word, and countless numbers of animals swarmed on the uarth and in the sea ; and last of all, he formed man and breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Thus we see that this world is God's world, because he made it. It
did not rise out of the dark abyss of confusion by accident, as some ancient philosophers imagined, for want of knowing how to give a better account of its origin ; but God exercised his infinite wisdom and power in putting together its parts in harmonious order. And in a peculiar manner we find him exercising his skill in making man, and breathing into him the soul, the spirit, the immortal part, for and on account of whom all things else were made. We are then in a peculiar manner the creatures of God. From all this we .learn a most important lesson of righteousness, that we owe unto God service, homage, and obedience. · But the history goes on to give as an account of the state and condition of man after his creation ; on what terms he was to preserve the favour of God; how he forfeited that favour, and become subject to God's displeasure. Hence we learn how it has come about that there is so much evil in the world, both moral and natural, why men are so depraved in their dispositions, and corrupted in their lives ; a point which it very much concerns us to know, lest we be tempted to doubt our having sprung from a source so pure as a holy God. By this piece of history we'see that man and not God, is in fault; that God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions ; that God having made man free, he abused his liber-' ty, and so wrought ruin and misery for himself ; a lesson of the utmost importance to be learned.
The history then goes on to speak of the peopling of the earth; of the corruption and wickedness that followed ; until God saw fit to destroy them all, except Noah and his family, by a flood of waters. This speaks in the clearest manner. that God having made the world, did not throw it aside and neglect it, but that he still takes care and governs it by his Providence. That he is not unmindful or inattentive to the actions of men, but that he punishes and rewards even in this life.
Soon after the account of this important event, our attention begins to be directed tv one particular family or stock of mankind; for Abraham is called to be the progenitor of the chosen people of God. And wonderfully instructive is the history of that people which continues quite through the bible. In the history of Joseph, the head of one of the tribes, what a fine lesson have we of pious trust in God under all circumstances; of unshaken integrity in the midst of many and great temptations ; and at length we are led to see and feel this truth, that God takes care of his true servants, and will support them if they will look unto him. In the calling of the Israelites, and their journeyings in the wilderness, we have many instructive lessons, tending to manifest the mighty power, and provi. dential care of Almighty God ; and to shew how easy it is for him to bring to pass whatever he designs, as well with regard to nations as individuals. Their journeyings are an instructive figure or representation of the journey of life, through the wildernerss of the world, and their final rest in the land of promise, puts us in mind of the heavenly Canaan, the land of everlasting rest to the righteous.. And when we come to trace their history in their settled state, we find it to contain very important instruction ; for when they kept the
commandments of the Lord, they prospered, but when they rebelled and apostatized, they were made to flee before their enemies, or were given over to internal disturbances, civil wars, and divers other calamities. They were compelled to bow their necks under the iron rod of wicked rulers and cruel tyrants. Their prosperity alwaps kept pace with their obedience to God's laws, and their calamities with their disobedience ; until they were finally, for their sins, led away into captivity ; their state and nation being conquered and broken up ; though again restored in a most unexpected manner, because God had not yet accomplished the design he had in view in calling them to be his distinct people. From all this we gather lessons of national importance; since God as assuredly punishes nations for national sins now, as he did then. Here men of all degrees and stations may learn their peculiar duty. Those who rule and govern nations are here, in a peculiar manner, taught the fatal consequences of causing their people to sin ; that is, encouraging them to do so by their own evil example.
And finally, when the full time was come, according to the counsel of God, we have the history of him who was to come, and who did come, even the desire of all nations; who overcame death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life : For whom a long course of special dispensations, prophesies, and common providences, had been paving the way. We find him ushered into the world by the triamphant song of Angels-Glory to God in the highest, and on earth pedce, good will 10 men. And when he came forth with his word, preaching that peace to men, the evil spirits fled before him, diseases departed at his bidding, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dumb spake, the blind saw, and for the dead to arise, graves were opened. All these mighty works shewed forth themselves in him, and men glorified his name. At length, when he had accomplished his public ministry, he was taken, buffeted, spit upon and derided, nailed to a cross, and yielded up the ghost ; not for his own sins, but for the sins of the people-yea, for the sins of his very enemies ; that he might make one effectual atonement by his blood. While this was doing, the sun was darkened ; the earth groaned and shook, bearing testimony, that surely this was the son of God! From all this we learn how much it is our duty to forgive and pray for our enemies, and to submit to God's will without murmuring or complaint.
But the work of expiation being finished, we have a short account of the travels and voyages of the Apostles, and others who were commissioned to spread the gospel, with the planting of Churches in divers distant parts of the earth. And thus concludes the scripture history, making one connected chain of events, looking to the same great object, the establishment of the true Church of God on earth ; and all the while manifesting that he takes carc of the world by his Providence, and will finally conduct good men to a region of rest and joy. Important these things are to be known, and are profitable for doctrine, for correction, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness.
He come to learn humility, and teach. WITH kind console, affliction's frown Ay, there he lives, beneath yon to cheer ;
thicket's side, To wipe from Poverty the falling tear; Where runs in haste the riv'let's babOn wounded Virtue pour the healing bling tides balm,
Where bending beeches overarch the And lend to Misery compassion's arm; glade, His be the task, whom God ordains to And hide the cottage, a nest form'd preach,
in shade, The poor to comfort, and the rich to One wandering pathway shews the teach,
neat abode, Tocold Despair reviving hopes to give, Thro' woods meandering to the upland And bid the pale-ey'd virgin smile and road ; · live,
The casement crown'd with eglantine Such is the parish priest, his duty such,
between, Inar'd to scenes of woe and sickness Just gains a view—the village and the much ;
green; Long grown familiar with disease and And there the white-thorn, scene of
• many a feat ; And such the priest of Arno's happy The walk, the slope, the arbour, and plain.
the seat ; · His form fond memory will oft pour. No come is his with gay luxurious tray :
show, Hoary his head by many a winter's day; That far o'erlooks the modest spire His brow unfurrow'd by the touch of
below; care ;
No grating hinges, slowly mov'd, deHis breast no refuge for the fiend des. clare pair.
How much unwelcome is the trav’ller Content and calm in humble peace he there; stood,
No iron fence to keep the poor in awe, Meek, learned, kind, benevolent, and His latch accustom'd at the touch to
draw. The soft humility, the tender heart, Alike to all the hospitable door, Long us’d to take pale pity's fostering The blind, the maim'd, the friendless, part ;
and the poor ; Friend to the friendless, still relieving No surly mastiff prowls around the
gate, So you may paint an angel here below. Lets the rich enter, bids the poor to To him belongs no consequential air ; wait ; No solemn farce of mockery and pray'r; One only spanel, courteous alf to greet, No look that speaks disgust ; no set. Precedes the stranger to the fond re• tled frown; No pertness, ill mistaken for renown. Barks as he goes, and fondling all the A mind to every virtue form'd to while, cleave;
Waits to conduct him from the village Its wish, the throbs of anguish to re- stile. lieve ;
Such is the man for whom our God Its pravers, for man; its hope, in God has chose consign'd;
The care of virtue and the sick man's Its practice, charity to all mankind.
woes; To him no pomp of many a prelate To whom the afflicted never weep in proud ;
vain, No eloquence, theatrical and loud; Unheard, unsought, neglected to re. He calls not rhetoric's fastidious train main. To stagger, puzzle, and confuse the Unclose the door: On yon low tat. brain ;
ter'd bed, Hecomes in love and charity to preach; I see the sick man lay his languid head;