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Isaiah, xlvi. 1, 2,4" Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth ; their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle : your carriages were heavy loaden ; they are a burden to the weary beast; they stoop ; they bow down together ; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity."
“ Here, (exclaimed the old man, with more than anger depicted in his face,) here is the jargon which no one can understand ; which I am required to believe ; an unmeaning jargon."
Reader, notice what that old man might have known, if he had read one fiftieth part as much Bible history, as he had read of political disputes in his newspapers. Notice what he might have felt, whilst reading those verses, had he been humble enough to seek after knowledge; had he even patiently conversed with such of the pious as wished to speak with him on the great concern. He might have noticed that in the Sacred book, God, by the mouth of his prophets, spake in the past tense of future events,—that which he determined should take place, was as certain as that which had already transpired. The old man might have reflected, that when Isaiah spoke thus of Bel and Nebo, the kneeling millions prostrate before those idols pained the hearts of God's people. The desolations of Zion, the subjugation and dispersion of the worshippers of the true God, made his prophets mourn. How his servants would watch and wait to see the salvation of Israel, as connected with the fall of Bel and Nebo. That old man might have learned from common history, that those gold and silver images were broken down under the hammer, placed on mules and oxen, and whilst driving
to distant Media, the cattle were oppressed with the wearisome load.
The friends of God then, and the Church ever since, whilst reading that passage, are cheered with the recollection that the Lord of glory performs invariably his promises of succour and deliverance. Their souls are fed with the glorious fact, that as he did not forget to fulfil his words of promise then, so he never will in future. The enemies of God might be reminded, (if they would receive instruction,) of the awful truth that his holy denunciations will also be verified. The passage is of course unmeaning to those who know nothing ; but shall God be answerable for the wilful ignorance of man? Those verses are full of comfort, sublimity, and heavenly glory to the pious, who have sought after knowledge. The boasting worm, who chooses to keep himself in utter ignorance, cannot of course understand this or any other passage, which pictures ancient occurrences; but the blindness is in his own dark mind.
It is in this way that the educated and the brilliant in other things, have neglected every thing connected with God's book; they have inquired after knowledge any where, or every where else, and much of the sacred volume has no meaning to them.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
A MOCKER who was admired for his strength of intel. lect, exclaimed, “What unmeaning nonsense," after reading either the following passage, or one like it :
Nahum, Chapter ii. “ They shall justle one against ano. ther, in the broad ways : he shall recount his worthies : they stumble in their walks ; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared : the gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.”
Suppose this scoffer had condescended to inquire. He might have read this chapter with tears of wonder and of joy.
Before the invention of cannon, the walls of Nineveh, so famous for their height and their width, were trusted in as impregnable by those proud enemies of Jehovah's people. Perhaps to many of them, the opening of the gates of the rivers, was as unintelligible as it is now to modern mockers ; but the Lord taught them its import with fearful accuracy. Ancient history informs us that during the siege, in after days, there arose one inundation of the Tigris ; unparallelled, as far as we can learn, in previous ages, or in succeeding centuries. It swept down that boasted wall, on the top of which three char. iots used to drive abreast, by furlongs. Through these awful gates the river entered and melted down their pal. aces, and their piles of bricks, showing to them and to us, that God's word, however strange and unlikely, will always be fulfilled ! If man keeps himself in such igno. rance, that he cannot understand, or be profited by these glorious flashes of heavenly light who will finally bear the shame? The Book of Light, or the uninformed mocker ? You may spread a table of pure and wholesome food, which the perverted appetite of the sated epicure will not receive, but his feelings of disgust do not change the existing nature of those really desirable viands. There is no passage, no fraction of a passage
within the covers of that blessed book, which is not rich with treasures of instructive truth, or full of music and of light ; but it is an old fact, that men may close their eyes and stop their ears until they cannot judge of, or even perceive sight or sound.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
In how many instances every day does it happen, that the Bible is cast away with indignant scorn, afte one, wise in his own estimation, has read a sentence, resembling that which follows: Isaiah, lxiv. “Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence; as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil ; to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence.'
If we were to address a scoffer who says, “I cannot understand this book," after reading such a page, we might make to him two several statements :
1. Fellow-worm, if you will place yourself at the foot of that volcanic precipice, at the time when the broad, deep and dreadful torrent of melted ore flows down its side, whilst the boiling ocean retires before this red tri. butary; if you will gaze at the electric flash, and hear the subterranean thunder, you will confess, unless you have stupified your soul with sin until you cannot feel, that no spectacle toward which mortal eye could be di. rected, is more calculated to awaken in us a recollection
of the grandeur, the power, and the dreadfulness of the awful One.
2. If you never have, like the prophet, felt so pained by the wickedness, the blasphemy, ingratitude, and daring insults of rebellious man, that you longed to see them overawed and stilled into obedience, by some strik. ing manifestation of Jehovah's power, it is because you have no piety, and never felt any genuine filial gratitude toward the Giver of all the mercies which sustain you; but you
should not scorn those who have. Oh, every line of that inspired page is sweet, or reproving, or grand, or instructive, or cheering; but men love darkness rather then light, and the learned are too ignorant to understand the plainest words that ever were written, provided those words come from heaven!
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
-“ And the daughter
Zion is left as a lodge in a gar. den of cucumbers."
There was a man who had read Xenophon and Lon. ginus, Cicero, and the Latin poets. He was applauded by his friends for what they called his mind. The
pas. sage quoted above, (and hundreds like it,) he said, ap. peared to him not only unmeaning, but weak, puerile, and inelegant. In process of time he was led by the notes of modern travellers, (seemingly by accident,) to remember that these little lodges are built for the habitation of one watcher, to preserve from the ravages of birds, &c., those oriental gardens.' We are told that if we sail on