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would come when a shepherd would be afraid to drive his flock where Palmyra of the desert then stood, or through Athens, Ephesus, or Rome; name any spot you please but one, and where would his reputation stand ?
An admirer of the Bible, who once sought, during many years, an opportunity to converse on this subject with those of cultivated minds ; asked questions resembling those above, oftener than he can name or remember. He found that the reason they had not thought with some degree of interest on some such Bible facts, was, they did not know that such facts existed. They could not think what God had said of Persia, Egypt, or Syria-for, indeed, they did not know what he had said, or that any thing was written about almost any nation or city, that could be mentioned to them. Those of them, who had read the Bible through, did not know that the things we have named were in the Bible! A thousand similar facts were equally unknown to them. If the learned unbeliever of the present day, is thus want. ing in the ancient literature connected with the Bible, it will not be hard to fancy the condition of the unedu. cated scoffer. Thousands who range the streets of our large cities, seem to be beyond remedy. Their fu. rious hạtred towards all that is meek or holy, prevents their listening to expostulation ; and their ignorance renders them incapable of weighing argument, on almost any subject. Their confidence in their edifice, however, would no doubt be much shaken, were it not that they fancy that they have substantial support in their sameness of belief with the learned and the great. We were to show that scoffers are wilfully ignorant of Bible language; but we must first devote a few more chapters to facts. It is important that we should have a fair view
of the fact that men have some fondness for darkness, but none for light. This can be seen, if we show that men will not inform themselves, even where they con. demn. It is possible that some reader may be in the state of mind in which was an old and wealthy mer. chant, who fancied that he had fully investigated the matter. “I have said he heard these things spoken of all my life; I have looked through the Bible ; I have thought on these things as I rode on my horse, as I lay on my bed, as I stood behind my counter, and I cannot believe, because I am unable to understand the subject. Many things in religion seem to contradict my plainest
Mark this case. The preceptive doctrines of Christi. anity are plain enough for a child to understand, and lovely enough to captivate all that is not enmity against God. The old man was not attempting to obey any of these ; he only had his eye directed toward that which might appear difficult to him. So far as he could see, he was not trying to perform ; but on more mysterious points, spoke of an investigation, which was no inves. tigation. We must illustrate this : Suppose there was a ploughman, who had some strange dislike towards the science of chemistry; he professes to disbelieve the whole of its facts and theories. Suppose he declares that many doctrines of chemistry contradict his plain. est common sense. He takes up a receipt for making ink, and avers, that to speak of mingling several clear white fluids together, and expecting black as the result, contradicts his plainest reason.
Again, he says, that chemists speak of mingling two cold substances until each shall become hot, without the addition of a third; but declares that this contradicts all
that is rational. He finally adds, that he can never attempt to practice that which he cannot understand; that he has read of alkalis, caloric, affinities, &c. until all appears to him a mass of confusion, and a jargon of
That he has thought on these things as he rode on his horse, as he lay on his bed, and as he ploughed in the field. And to crown all, chemists differ amongst themselves !
At all this the philosopher would smile, and tell him, that in order to practice the most useful part of chemistry, (making salt, washing clothes, or baking bread, &c. &c.) it was not necessary he should understand all that the Creator knows about it. He would tell this doubt. er that he might easily try the matter, take different substances, and do as directed, and he would soon know the truth of these things experimentally. Finally, he would tell him, that if he must search into deeper matters, he must investigate in reality; that his much talked of research, had left him ignorant still ; that this ig. norance could be removed ; and that he certainly should not condemn, with a confident air, until it was removed.
The doctrines of the Bible may be nown, and their usefulness tested practically. Experimental knowledge is the safest and the best in the world. But if any are resolved that they will have a different kind of evidence, or none, let them see that their wilful ignorance is removed, before they venture to decide for eternity.
GREAT AND THE LEARNED DO NOT ACQUAINT
THEMSELVES WITH BIBLE FACTS.
ITEM V.—Egypt.-All the early history of Egypt, so impressively foretold by the prophets, we pass over, and come at once down to the particulars that are accomplishing at present—to those things which have been fulfilling in all recent years, as well as in ancient days. We may notice those predictions concerning Egypt, which the reader, whether young or old, has lived to see fulfilled.
The words of Ezekiel : “And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and I will cause them to return in. to the land of Pathros, and they shall be there a base (Heb. low) kingdom. And it shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations, for I will diminish them that they shall no more rule over the nations. And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked, and I will make the land waste and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers, I the Lord have spoken it, I will also de. stroy their idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph, and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt." Chapp. 29, 30.
We remark 1st. It was very unlikely to human ap. prehension that Egypt should be the lowest of kingdoms always. Of all other nations, it was most unlikely that Egypt should be depressed very long ; because her unparalleled fertility and consequent populousness, promised a speedy recovery after a downfall. Shall that
country, which was so long, so universally, and so just. ly called the granary of the world, have any other than a dense population ? And, if numerous, shall strength be wanting to recover her freedom ? It was more improbable of Egypt, than of any other spot of earth, that strangers should always rule and waste it, because of its situation. The Mediterranean on one side, the Red Sea on another, impassable deserts on another, promise great defence. But the total inundation of the whole country by the Nile, during a part of every year, (which the inhabitants are prepared to meet, whilst an invading army never can be,) would surely aid even a weak people to defend themselves. But the Lord said her exaltation was ended, and that her future recovery was prohibited. The Babylonians, then the Persians, next the Macedo. nians, the Romans, the Saracens, the Mamelukes, and finally the Turks, have protracted her subjugation and her servitude down to the present day! She has often made the attempt, but never succeeded to free herself. She has been under and always under, low and always low. She has been kept the basest of kingdoms ; servile, stupid, treacherous, cruel and base in character! We know of no part of the earth which has not governed it. self, or been free some part of the last twenty-four hun. dred years, except that part, which, from its location, fertility, and internal resources, seemed most likely to continue independent all the time ! We do not know the otherwise considerable nation, which has been thus debased for half that time, but the one seemingly of all others most capable of self-defence.
2dly.-When Ezekiel lived, had we been there, and about to invent a highly political or historic improbabili. ty, could we have thought of a greater one, than to sup