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traveller, after telling how may eruptions sometimes happen in the course of a month, goes on to narrate the following history:
“Our landlord at Nicolasi,” he says, "gave us an account of the singular fate of the beautiful country near Hybla, at no great distance from hence. It was so celebrated for its fertility, and particularly for its honey, that it was called Mel Passi, (the Honey Land,) till it was overwhelmed by the lava of Etna; and having then become totally barren, by a kind of pun its name was changed to Mal Passi, (the Mean Land.) In a second eruption, by a shower of ashes from the mountain, it soon re-assumed its ancient beauty and fertility, and for many years was called Bel Passi, (the Beautiful Land.) Last of all, the unfortunate era of 1669, it was again laid under an ocean of fire, and reduced to the most wretched sterility, since which time it is known again by its second appellation of Mal Passi."
The lawyer was asked if his difficulties were in any way obviated by this rapidity of change from soil to nakedness, and from nudity to soil again, .narrated by the same original discoverer of the whole theory. He answered in the negative, and continued obstinately to cast away the book of God! Thousands of cases happen continually, where the individual is as readily and as speedily turned into the path of infidelity, and when once there, continues to trace it with invincible pertinacity, Men (without knowing it). love darkness rather than light.
EXAMPLE II. - When some travellers in Asia wrote
back that the Chinese record made the world many thousand years older than the Mosaic history does, how it rejoiced a host of listeners ! Oh, how they clapped their hands! We thought, said they, that the Bible was a fabrication, unworthy of belief. If any wrote, or said to those who were thus becoming scoffers at Re. velation—" Do not be too hasty in your conclusions : how can you tell but that national vanity may have had some share in exciting those who speak of their Celes. tial Empire, to claim a spurious antiquity ?” they turned away, or closed their ears with satisfied confidence. They seemed to wish for no farther information. Af. ter a time, some additional items were published from Chinese history, such as the following : They tell the name of their first king, which would sound in the ear of some as a corruption of the word Noah. The time they assign for his reign corresponds with the age of Noah. They speak of this king as being without fa. ther ; of his mother being encircled with the rainbow ; of his preserving seven clean animals to sacrifice to the Great Spirit; that, in his day, the sky fell on the earth, and destroyed the race of men, &c. &c. When we remember that the waters of the sky did this in the days of Noah; that Noah was the first of the post diluvi. an race, and thus without father ; that the rainbow is in. terestingly connected with his history ; that he did take into the ark clean animals by sevens, part of which were offered in sacrifice: we begin to discover, that the Chinese account is nothing, more nor less, than a blotted
copy of the truth. See Stackhouse's History of the Bible.
We gather from Moses that, between the creation and the deluge, there were ten generations of men, surpass. ing us greatly in longevity. It would be no tortured in.
ference to suppose themi vastly our superiors, both in strength and stature. This kind of men, the heathen, in ages past, were in the habit of calling gods, after their death. The Chinese account speaks of ten dynasties of superior beings, who ruled in their country a thousand years each, before the sky fell on the earth. It is not hard to see that this is only a different, and a singular manner of relating the same facts. But why did (and do now) many of the seemingly learned, choose to suppose that each father ended his race before the son began to live? It was for the purpose of stretching out the time, between the deluge and the creation, to ten thousand years. Moses informs us that each of these ten generations did extend near a thousand years ; but he lets us know that a son and his father, walked much of their earthly race together. The journey of each was long; but it was a simultaneous travel. For the purpose (if possible) of extending the earth's chronology be. yond the dates of Revelation, multitudes have taken par. tial extracts from hearsay records ; and then, to prevent these fragments from agreeing with, or upholding the history they hate, have twisted them with labour and in. genuity; failing even then, to construct a passable cavil against the truth! What is the reason of this strange hungering and thirsting after mean falsehood, rather than the wonders of glorious truth? It is because men love darkness rather than light. Those who had cast away
all reverence for Holy writ, as soon as some one said in their hearing that the Chinese Record contradict. ed Moses, never seemed to inquire further. They asked not after any additional account ; or if they we shown that all these heathen traditions were simply the truth, preserved in a dress more or less awkward, they were
silent; but they did not return to the place where they once stood. They continued scoffers at Christianity,
The author has been in the habit of conversing with unbelievers whenever he could obtain the privilege, during the last eighteen years. Having once been of their number, he has since felt for them a kindly solicitude (as he hopes, moving him, at a prudent opportunity, to speak of heavenly things, although, at times, even at the risk of their displeasure. He has found that certain items of history or tradition, such as might seem to militate against Holy Writ, they receive readily, and remember long. Out of the ten thousand facts of a dif. ferent description, they treasure none. They seem either not to hear, or they understand slowly, or forget very soon. We have been naming some of the kind which secure their attention and their recollection. We will now notice a few out of the mass of items, such as they either do not learn, or do not hold,
FACTS, SUCH AS UNBELIEVERS DO NOT LEARN.
UNDER this head it matters not where we begin:There is no necessity that we should quit the Record already before us. If you will go to that opposer of Christianity, who appeals loudly to the part of Chinese chronology already discussed, and ask him a few ques. tions, you will find that part of Asiatic history with which he is utterly unacquainted. Ask him what he thinks, when the Chinese history speaks of Yao, their king, declaring, that in his reign, the sun stood so long
above the horizon that it was feared the world would have been set on fire; and fixes the reign of Yao at a given date, which corresponds with the age of Joshua, the son of Nun?(See Stackhouse) You will find, in nine cases out of ten, the objector knows nothing of that part of the Chinese Record. Out of the countless items of this character, which, if compiled, would fill so many cumbrous volumes, he has treasured scarcely one : his taste has not craved them with avidity, or he remembers not. We are not now speaking merely of the unlettered and the feeble-minded. This is true of the senator in legis. lative halls; of the minister plenipotentiary to foreign courts ; of the man whose information seems to extend almost every where. Of the Bible, and of ancient literature connected with the Bible, he is uninformed: the cause is his appetite for darkness rather than light. The Latin Poet (Ovid) amuses the school-boy greatly, in his fanciful narrative of Phæton's Chariot. This heathen author tells us, that a day was once lost, and that the earth was in great danger from the intense heat of an unusual sun. It is true, that in attempting to account for this incident of peril and of wonder, the writer, as was his custom at all times, consulted only his imagina. tion, and clothed it all with an active fancy. But our notice is somewhat attracted, when we find him mention Phæton, (who was a Canaanitish prince,) and learn that the fable originated with the Phænicians, the same pople whom Joshua fought. If you ask an unbeliever of these incidents, or of the common tradition with early nations, that a day was lost about the time when the volume of truth informs us that the sun hasted not to go down for the space of a whole day, you will find that ba