Page images

cause, we are scattering it abroad? Bre- | art and long experience to sail upon the thren, there was a time when the greatest seas, what knowledge and prudence does adversary this country ever had prepared it call for, to pass over, happily, the sea his armies and his flotilla, and lifted up of this world, where tempests never cease! his hand, and declared that our rights, our Alas ! who can think, without sensible property, and all that we had, should be grief and bitter tears, that the helm of come his prey; and that he would feed the these vessels, which contain such preavarice and cupidity of his followers in cious wares as cost no less than the blood this very city. You remember,-many of Jesus Christ, should be committed, of you are old enough,— I remember well, ordinarily, to men of so little experience, that one of the finest pictures that was that they are not only ignorant of the temever seen was then presented to view. pests, shelves, and banks of this terrible Nearly the whole population of the coun- sea, but even have not the strength or try declared that it should not be, and industry to guide their own little vessel stepped with eagerness into the ranks, to back to the road! And these inestimable prepare themselves for repelling Eng- riches are frequently intrusted to those land's foe. Well; but some did not do so. whom they will not trust with a purse of What then? Were they against England ? fifteen or twenty pieces. And when the Yes; they were : they were against pilots are able, who would not even then her constitution—against her rights lose their courage to see themselves sailagainst her comforts—against her pri- ing amidst so many hazards, and with so vileges—against her happiness—against little success? How many stupid ones the interests of her children. And had all fall out of the vessel ! how many imprubeen left to them, and had all acted as dent ones get out to sail apart in shalthey did, England had fallen a prey to lops! how many desperate ones throw her haughty foe. Brethren, Christ is themselves over, and abandon themselves engaged against a powerful foe; and to the fury of the waves! What disquiets, those who gather not with him, scatter; what griefs, and what trouble for the and those who do nothing, are injuring poor pilot! He must run on all sides to his cause. Neutrality here, is opposition. reach out his hand to those that fall. He It is laid upon us all to do something for must exhaust his lungs, in trying to call the honour of our divine Lord. We may those who flee away. He must even not all be able to engage equally, or with frequently throw himself into the sea, the same effect; but we must all take to recover those whom the waves swalour stand, and do something for the great low up. If he watch not, the fall of the

first will be imputed to him. If he be silent, he will have to answer for the

flight of the second. If he fear labour and THE MINISTER'S CHARGE COMPARED TO A SHIP's travail, he will be accused of the other's

despair. If, in a word, he want vigilance, PARIShes are holy ships, whose curates strength, and courage, he will be guilty are the pilots, and eternity the port they of as many bloodsheds as he lets souls must guide them to. If it need so much 'perish.—Entretiens de l'Abbe Jean, &c.








Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch, the scribe, the son of Neriah : who wrote therein, from the mouth of Jeremiah, all the words of the book which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had burned in the fire: and there were added likewise to them many like words."-Jer. mavi. 32

“ Surely,” says David, “ the wrath of into the fire that was on the hearth." man shall praise thee, O Lord.” This Vain rage! would this hinder the execuis, indeed, far from being the natural de- tion of the threatenings ? Nay, it could sign and tendency of it. In this sense not prevent the infliction of them. Jerethe wrath of man worketh not the right- miah is ordered to take another roll, eousness of God. But his wisdom and " after that the king had burned the roll, power are infinite ; and by his overruling and the words which Baruch wrote at the providence he causes the expressions of mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee human rage to conduce to the display of again another roll, and write in it all the his own glory, and thus turn the curse former words that were in the first roll into a blessing, The Bible abounds which Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, had with instances of this; and a very strik- burned.” Nor was this all ; the roll, ining exemplification comes before us this stead of being eventually destroyed or morning. Jeremiah was commanded to injured, was even enlarged and improved. write in a roll all the words which had " Then took Jeremiah another roll, and been denounced against Israel and Judah. gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of This he did by means of Baruch, who Neriah; who wrote therein from the not only transcribed the roll, but read it mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the in the court of the temple of the Lord, book which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, the people standing underneath. Micha- had burned in the fire; and there were iah heard him, and related the substance added besides unto them many like words." to the princes who were assembled in the Let us rise from hence to some general scribes' chamber, in the house of the king. reflections, observing, They therefore sent for Baruch to read it First, The importance of having the to them. They heard it with trembling word of God committed to writing. and fear, and agreed to tell the king. The Secondly, Taking some views of those king immediately ordered Jehudi to go who would destroy the Scriptures. And, and fetch the roll. “ Now the king sat Thirdly, Showing how many things in the winter-house in the ninth month; which seem likely to injure revelation, and there was a fire on the hearth burning have even proved its advantage. before him. And it came to pass, that Many of you will remember that a year when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, ago, I promised to preach on a Scripture, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it bearing on the importance of the British

But says


and Foreign Bible Society, the Sabbath | perly the true meaning of a case. It is immediately preceding the annual meet- proverbially said there is no believing one ing. Now this is the very Sabbath; and half of what we hear. What should we by divine permission and assistance I have known of the history of our own shall endeavour to redeem the pledge. country without written documents ? A None, unless by perverseness of mind, number of facts may have reached us can view this as an act of hostility and orally, but then they might have been controversy, when it is only the fulfilment altered in the lapse of years ; and there of an engagement, announced when I could fore the earliest part in the history of have no apprehension from a system con- every nation, previous to the acquisition taining so much of active opposition to an of written records, is always deemed fainstitution which millions of my fellow bulous. countrymen agree to be the glory of the Let me place another illustration before land, and which I consider (for I need you which comes nearer our subject. not be ashamed of my country) to be the All mankind once had a divine revelation. glory of the country in which I live. The family of Noah saved from the flood

“ All scripture," says the apostle, “was was the original of all the nations of the given by inspiration of God.” “Holy globe; but this family possessed divine men,” says Peter, “ spake as they were qualifications, and, therefore, as the memmoved by the Holy Ghost."

bers spread they carried along with them Dr. Watts,

these discoveries. Hence, long after * The prophets' pens succeed their breath,

their dispersion, we find, not only in

Judah but in other places, some knowTo save the holy words from death."

ledge of the true God; as we see in the But we have only to do with THE COM- case of Balaam, who came from MesopoMITTING OF THE MIND AND WILL OF God tamia. And hence, to this day, there are

This is important for two found in all countries some obscure relipurposes. First,—because the knowledge gious rites. These are not, as some imaof them must be preserved and extended. gine, the result of reason, but they are Without the knowledge of them they the remains of revelation, the lingering cannot be felt, they cannot be acted upon, beams of the sun that has gone down; they cannot become the rule of our con- and, therefore, it is remarkable that, in duct, nor the source of our consolation proportion as you go back and trace the Therefore says the apostle, “ How can time of its setting, you find these beams they believe on him of whom they have more clear and strong. The remains of not heard ?" Therefore says God, “ By the original revelation are thus found in his knowledge shall my righteous servant the heathen world—not only in some apjustify many." Therefore prays the prehensions which they have of a Supreme church, " That thy name may be known Being above them, and of something like on earth, thy saving health among all a future state, but peculiarly in the article nations.” And, secondly, because there of sacrifice, (an institution which is perwas no way of preserving and extending this fectly unaccountable unless we suppose knowledge to be compared to this. Thus, an original appointment,) and also in the both with regard to extensiveness and division of time by sevens.

The obsersecurity, Scripture surpasses oral tradi- vations of the moon would lead people to tion. We all know, in the common distinguish times into months, and the affairs of the world, how a thing is altered observation of the sun would lead them by repeated relation. There are some to distinguish it into days and years; but persons who never regard accuracy at all; there is no one conceivable thing from others seem incapable of it. Some from which it can be imagined why people lack of memory, and others from fervency divide time by sevens, unless it is the of feeling, add circumstances : and it is divine institution of the Sabbath. well known how a single turn will ex- But now what was derived from this press too much or too little to define pro- source ? Where it was unrecorded it

became more and more indistinct and have been obtained from the pen, a hun-
corrupt. This was natural and unavoid- dred or a thousand can be obtained from
able : but in the family of Abraham, and the press. Thus the sacred volume has
in the nation of the Jews, it was other become the property of thousands and
wise. There revelation was, after a millions who otherwise must have been
while, committed to writing : thus it be- devoid of it.
came fixed and certain ; thus appeals could But to pass on to the second thing.
be made to it, and mistakes could be cor- WHAT THINK YOU OF THOSE WHO WOULD
rected by it. The original copy was DESTROY THE SCRIPTURES? You seem
kept in the ark of the Lord. Every king to shudder at the very proposal: you
of the Jews, when he came to his throne, wonder that any person should be capa-
was commanded to transcribe it for his ble of such an action as Jehoiakim, who
own use. At every public festival it was cut to pieces the divine roll and threw it
brought forth and read in the audience of into the fire. About one hundred and
all the people. This would keep up an seventy years before Christ, Antiochus
acquaintance with it. The pious would caused all the copies of the Jewish Scrip-
of course soon multiply copies, and they tures he could find to be burnt: and three
would lend or read these transcriptions hundred and three years after, Dioclesian,
to their relations, and neighbours, and by an edict, ordered all the Scriptures to
friends. You see we do not know at be committed to the flames; and Euse-
present the origin of alphabetical charac- bius, the historian, tells us he saw large
ters. This seems very easy and familiar, heaps of them burning in the market-
to you who use it without reflection ; but place. I knew a man a few years ago,
to those who think, and have been accus- very near Bath, who had a pious wife
tomed to account for things, it has proved fond of reading the Scriptures. This
so difficult and wonderful, that Gilbert offended him; and one day he snatched
Wakefield has written an essay to prove it from her hand, and thrust it into the
that it must have been originally a divine fire, and consumed it to ashes. This

shocks you: but did you never hear of VolBut we have only to do now with the taire, and Paine, and Taylor, (the devil's uses. Writing has answered a thousand chaplain,) and other lampooners and revaluable purposes. It has been the re-vilers of the Bible, who have, by their source of friendship-it has been the en- deeds, more than betrayed the wishes of larger of commerce-it has enriched the their hearts ? Men may be restrained world with the spoils of time—it has from burning the book; but every wicked multiplied innumerably the treasures of man on earth, be assured, is an enemy to knowledge: by means of it men have it. Men make the book their enemy, and secured and communicated their acquisi- then they are enemies to the book, and tions, and made the discoveries and im- hate it because it does not prophesy good provements of one age and nation avail of them, but evil. Mr. Wilberforce told able for those of another. The highest me that when he called on Carlile in the honour that can attach to writing is that prison, and took out the Scriptures, he by means of it the words of eternal life said, “I'll hear nothing from that book. have come down to us unimpaired. And How can you suppose that I can bear that as Dr. Watts says, in the words we have book? For if that book be true, I am been singing,


Let us take four views of those who “The bright inheritance of heaven Is by the sweet conveyance given."

are enemies to the Bible.

The first regards the taste of those who We shall only add that this blessed deny its authenticity. Without referring instrumentality was completed by the immediately to its doctrines, how much discovery of printing; by which, machi- is there in the very writing itself that nery becoming a substitute for manuscript, deserves admiration ! What sublimity where one copy of the Scriptures could is there in some passages—what unity in

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

others—what nature and tenderness in -in banishing polygamy, and confining all! I wish I had time to furnish you divorces only to cases of adultery? How with specimens, but we have not: you is the wretched being shunned, and demay find enough of them in Simpson's tested, and thrown on the very dregs of Plea for Religion. But let me ask if ever society, who is only suspected of the there was a person who could read, with-abominations, in the practice of which out being deeply affected, the narrative the most admired characters in heathen of the history of Joseph, of the resurrec- lands avowedly indulged! What has tion of Lazarus, and the farewell of Paul raised this tone of morals? How has to the elders of Ephesus? Here we are the system itself been changed? Capsupplied with articles to be derived from tives and prisoners are now not put to death no other source. We are led back to in cold blood. How they are attended to periods much earlier than other historians and provided for! If after a battle a reach. Here we see earth rising out of single common soldier now was put to chaos; we see the earth drowned; we see death, or maimed, or sold into slavery, it renewed and re-peopled. Surely those every nation would resound with earnest precious pieces of antiquity which are protestations against such shameful infound in the book of Genesis—who would humanity. Where now are the bloody not wish to admire and preserve them ? gladiatorial rites which furnished such But the Vandalism of infidelity would delicious entertainment, not only for the Aling them all into the fire, and fix our men, but the women in Rome? When eyes on the darkness and dreariness of we look around us, (blessed be God !) we two thousand years ago. One would see asylums for indigence, and disease, imagine that the description which the and all kinds of wretchedness; here for Bible gives man of his soul, of his capa- the groping blind—there for the deaf and city for endless improvement, of his im- dumb; here for helpless orphanism—there mortality, of his being the peculiar care for wrinkled age. What benevolence of Deity, might fall in with his love of was seen in the pagan world ? Produce greatness: one might suppose that men one instance in which the philosophy of would wish they were true that they Greece or Rome ever established an inwould be sorry to learn they had no higher firmary or an hospital. destination than to eat, and to drink, and The Bible also describes all social and to sleep. But no; such is the self-abase- relative duties, and enforces them by the ment and voluntary degradation of those most awful sanctions. It denounces the wretches, that they would strip man of his wrath of God upon unkind husbands and nobler part, and throw into the flames all upon scolding wives-upon negligent that would render it important and glori-parents and upon disobedient childrenous, that they might feel in them the upon grinding masters and upon

unfaithbrute triumphant, and that they mightful servants. It damns the prince that graze by their brethren in the field, say- becomes a tyrant, and it damns the subing, " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow ject that dares to be a rebel. Thus it we die."

provides for the welfare of all in the comSecondly, let us view these men as to munity; and it is easy to see that if all their patriotism, or their regard to public were to imbibe its spirit, there would be good. Now I am authorized to say that no complaining in our streets; all would the advantages of civilization are princi- be order and subordination; the wilderpally to be ascribed to the influence of ness and the solitary place would be revelation. Wherever the Scriptures glad, and the desert would rejoice and have prevailed, they have stemmed the blossom as the rose. What can we think fierceness of the population, and the ma- of men that would destroy a system that lice of the multitude, far more than all thus conduces in every way to the public civil ordinances. What have they not weal? When Hume himself was asked done in purifying and blessing the very whether he thought it better for servants, spring-head of society-I mean marriage and children, and tradesmen, and the VOL. 1.-31


« PreviousContinue »