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and stimulate them to greater zeal and diligence in the service of their blessed Redeemer.

THE PESTILENCE

THAT WALKETH IN DARKNESS.

An Address to the Youthful Readers of the Baptist Magazine,

My dear young friends,

IF you were passing through some foreign land, and were on your route to meet with a travel. who was to inform you of many dangers you never anticipated when you commenced your journey; if you believed that individual to be a person of veracity, you would listen to his communications with attention. And: perhaps your attention would be the more powerfully arrested, were he to assure you, that some of these dangers were so hidden, and concealed, that, had he not suffered from them himself, he could not have pointed them out, to you. Not doubting but that your own good sense will apply these introductory remarks to the following thoughts, I respectfully, beg you to consider, that life is a journey; that by reading this paper, you have met with a traveller desirous of warning you of danger; and who hopes you will be sufficiently ingenuous to listen to his observations.

It may appear strange, that such a degree of religious knowledge should exist in a country. where, of late years, few have had immediate access to the Holy Scriptures; but it is accounted for, by the circumstance, that almost every family is in possession of a volume of excellent sermons, written by Bishop Vi-ler, dalin, of Skalholt, about the beginning of last century, which contains a great deal of scripture illustration, and that numerous passages from the sacred writings are produced in proof of the doctrines taught in the Icelandic catechism. The scarcity of Bibles was severely felt. Numbers had been using every possible exertion, for a long series of years, to procure a copy of the sacred volume, but without effect. The poverty of the inhabitants was such, that they could not print a new edition themselves; they did not know to what quarter to apply for aid; and many began to apprehend that the word of the Lord would become extinct among them; and, especially, that their posterity would be left destitute of this inestimable boon. But here foreign benevolence came most opportunely to their aid. The plentiful supply of the scriptures sent them by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and other friends to the best interests of humanity, was most joyfully and gratefully received; and while the Icelanders are now diligently employed in perusing the records of eternal life, their ardent prayers are ascending to heaven, for the present and eternal happiness of their spiritual benefactors.

Henderson's Journal in Iceland.

God is light, in him is no darkness at all. He said, in the beginning, "Let there be light: and there was light;" and in relation to the moral world, he said, Let there be light: and there was the light of divine revelation. This is the true light, and the true light now shineth. But this light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.-Gross darkness has covered the people, and in this darkness walks the deadly, wide wasting pestilence of immorality;

and in the thickest shades of this fed with considerable human darkness Jurks the snake of pesti-learning, it becomes ten thoulential error, waiting for opportu- sand times more alluring, and nities to spit its dreadful venom consequently more dangerous. on the unwary traveller. Attend, And I venture to assert, that to therefore, my dear young friends, no scheme will these remarks apto the voice which now says to ply with more force, than to the you, Beware of the pestilence Socinian heresy; or, as in this which walketh in darkness. enlightened age it is called, the Unitarian system of the present day. A system which pre-eminently walks in darkness, for its machinations are the offspring of darkness; it brings darkness and uncertainty on the mind; it leads to darkness on the bed of death and its awful tendencies are towards the blackness of darkness for ever.

If your attention is at all awakened to the subject, consider, I entreat you, the danger to which you are exposed, by immorality on the one hand, and error on "the other; and especially remember, that it is no security to you, ́ ́that these evils court the darkness of secrecy but that the darkness and the light are both alike to God; that all things are fast tending towards a day which will burn as an oven; and when we shall all appear in our true characters, before the eyes of him who died, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners to God.

In youth, however, as well as in more advanced stages of life, our propensities to evil vary; and it is possible that may be a temptation, almost irresistible to one, which to another is a thing comparatively indifferent; but surely there is no youth to be found, who does not need to be warned of immorality in some of its forms; and of the abuse of his reason, in relation to religious subjects. On the latter of these, in particular, I trust you will be disposed to attend to a few remarks.

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Say not, this is the language of bigotry and party spirit; say not, it is a violation of the sacred injunction, "judge not ;" say not, this is contrary to the benevolent genius of Christianity, or a violation of Christian charity: for I will undertake to shew you one feature of that system, which would fully bear me out, were I not only to condemn its tendencies, but even to predict with certainty its final overthrow, viz. That its declared object and design are in direct opposition to the declared object and design of that God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

I need not inform you, that the great object of the Socinian system is to DEGRADE the Lord Jesus Christ, and to rob him of Natural men call darkness the glory which is justly his due. LIGHT. This one thought, well And need I tell you, that the dedigested in your minds, may fur-sign of God is to EXALT his Son nish you with many important in the eyes of all intelligent lessons; for I am well aware, that beings. Need I remind you, that in every sense light is sweet; and God hath blessed him for ever; that if error is presented to a cul- given him a name, which is above tivated mind, graced with the every name; declared that he name of light, or rationality, or will cause his name to be rememfree enquiry; and if defended bered in all generations, and comwith superior intellect, and adorn-manded men and angels to wor

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ship him; in short, that unto the Son he saith, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. Sure ly, surely, upon whomsoever this stone shall fall, it will grind them to powder."

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OF DR. ROBERT WALKER.

To the Editors of the Baptist Magazine.

MAY I request you to insert the following observations, if not inconsistent with the plan of your

to Mr. Jones on the subject, but have not been favoured with an answer.

Mr. Jones will observe,

And whence this awful system? The answer is at hand: From the abuse of human reason. Let ⚫ reason judge of the external evidencies of revelation; but, when once satisfied on these points, that moment it becomes reason-publication. I have written twice able that I should bow down to the voice of God, and take his revelation as my data; that, imbued with holy and divine truth, my reason may become right reason. Indeed it might be proved, upon the most rational principles, that the man who calls the Bible a revelation from God, and yet subjects its contents to the test of human reason, is guilty of a very high degree of absurdity,

and is far more inconsistent than he who rejects it altogether.

that I have made some alteration
on the communication sent to
him, and which I informed him
contained the remarks I meant to
beg you to print.
I am,
Your most humble servant,
WM. BROWN.
Edinburgh, 46, Hanover-street,

20th May, 1818.

Mr. William Jones, in an ac count of the life of Mr. Archibald M'Lean, late elder of the Bap

And now, my dear young friends, having warned you of your danger, permit me to recom-tist mend to your notice the language of one who speaketh from hea ven: "SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES." They contain the mind of him who is the author of all intellectual and moral excellence. Turn away from all the jarring systems of men, and read for yourselves; expect to meet with difficulties, the wisest and best of men have met with them before you; do not be surprised, that in GOD's law there should be wondrous things; but from this time forth, when you put your hand on the sacred volume, and are about to read its interesting contents, remember one passage, with which I now affectionately take my leave of you: "If ye who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how

church at this place, prefixed to a volume of sermons, has introduced some few notices of the differences which disturbed that church in its infancy. He has particularly mentioned the dissension between the elders respecting the sonship of Christ. In the account he gives of this matter, he has, most unnecessarily in my opinion, thrown some aspersions on the late Dr. Robert Walker. His readers must be led to look on this gentleman as having been both a very weak man, and a very uncandid man. Now the truth is, that neither of these characters belonged to him. His talents were very respectable, and his literary and professional acquirements very considerable. candour was unimpeachable, and rendered him incapable of the

His

*

least misrepresentation. Most "Memorandum.-Though siscertainly, his attachment to what ter Dechamps was so lame and dishe considered as Christian truth abled as to be carried down into was insuperable, and had led him the water, she went up out of it, to make very considerable world- without the least help, rejoicing ly sacrifices. He lived beloved as Captain Langdon did at Plyand esteemed. by a respectable mouth. Mrs. Dechamps had circle of worthy friends, and his been long disabled from walking memory is still preserved, with alone by a rheumatic gout; but, reverential affection, by the resome time after, the Lord was maining few who enjoyed his ac- pleased to call her by his grace. quaintance. Surely Mr. Jones She told the writer of this, she did not know him. Surely, if I was convinced that baptism, by may be forgiven for the remark, immersion, was both her duty Mr. Jones has not taken Luke as and privilege. He endeavoured a model, in writing biography. to dissuade her from it, as not Luke, relating the dissension of absolutely necessary to salvation; Paul and Barnabas, says, that but, not being satisfied with his "the contention was so sharp arguments, she, after some time, between them, that they departed solemnly demanded it of him, as asunder, one from the other." a minister of Christ! Upon this He indeed mentions one circum- the church was consulted; and, stance which influenced the con- after solemn seeking the Lord, it duct of Paul; but he modestly was agreed, if she persisted in refrains from interposing his own the demand, it should be comjudgment; and is far from assert-plied with. With this the pastor, ing, that the arguments produced by the one," shrunk into contempt under the hand" of the other.

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A. G. was forced to comply,
though with great reluctance,
fear, and trembling, lest it should
be attended with any ill conse-
quences. To this she said,
"Do
not you be afraid, I am persuaded
God will prevent any scandal or

A WONDERFUL APPEARANCE reflection." Accordingly, the or

OF

dinance was administered; when, though she was carried down

PROVIDENCE AT BAPTISM. lame, she went up out of the

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water well: rejoicing and tri-
Blessed be his name!
umphing in the Lord Jesus.

"Witness, A. GIFFORD,
who baptized her.”

See a like miraculous appearance of the Lord's owning his own ordinance in the healing of Captain Langdon, as related minister at Plymouth. See the account by the Rev. Abraham Cheer, Baptist of it in MS. among the collection of Miraculous Cures."

* Dr. Gifford has subjoined, in a note,

2 L

258

Juvenile Department,

PHILOSOPHICAL
REFLECTIONS.

No. XVIII.

THE ELECTRIC FLUID AND
LIGHTNING.

"What is that light that darts across my eyes?
And whence that awful noise that fills

flash,

ears?

The ancients tell they 're marks of wrath that
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And fearful signs from heaven, in peals that
Nor dar'd they ask their nature or their use,
Or touch the victim, or the place they struck:
But Nature now is better understood,

Kind when she thunders, as when zephyrs play
And favour'd man, by heaven-bornScience taught,
Learns to avert, direct, or use the shock;
Sees the electric fluid earth pervade,
Disturbs, collects, amusingly applies,
Or usefully employs to ease his pains:
And who can say what greater uses still
Heaven shall permit the future sage to show?"

So awful, and yet so beautiful an appearance as lightning, could not fail to arrest the attention of the beholder, in every age of the world. To the uninformed, it has ever been a source of wonder and terror; and to the philosopher, it has long been an object of reverential enquiry, and serious admiration.

to them. Thus Pliny, Seneca, &c. as the olive, the fig-trec, and the laurel, are less frequently affected by lightning than trees more replete with aqueous juices, concluded that they were exempted from its stroke; and, ultimately, the superstitious employed them as preservatives from the effects of the storm. The lower orders, in France, have long been accustomed to procure branches of olive, which, being blessed by their clergy, they keep in their houses, place them on the tops of steeples, and burn them during thunderstorms; that they may escape the direful effects of lightning, by sharing in the supposed privileges of this

tree.

The identity of lightning, and the electric fluid, is among the discoveries of modern philosophy, for which we are indebted to Dr. Franklin. The origin and progress of the sciences among us are very interesting subjects of consideration; and, with regard to several, seem to have been connected with the apparently accidental observance of certain facts; which, however long they may have existed and operated, were either altogether unknown, or but This very partially known to us. appears to have been the case, with regard to electricity and galvanism. The term electricity, the classical youth is aware, was derived from the word nλεктpov, amber; the electric property of which was known to Thales 600 years before our æra. Yet, all that the ancients knew was, that amber and jet would, after rubbing, attract light substances. Electricity may therefore be considered a modern science, particularly brought to notice by Gilbert, in 1600. From that period, to the successive philosophers have appeared, who, giving the subject great attention, have progressively afforded us our present information.

The Greeks and Romans beheld it as sacred, and, as sent to execute some work of divine vengeance; hence, persons who fell by its stroke were thought obnoxious to their divinities, and were either interred apart from others, lest their ashes should pollute contiguous bodies, or were left to rot on the spot where they died; when no one, for fear of pollution, chose to approach them. Those places that were struck with lightning were fenced in; either as sacred to the supreme divinity, or as spots distinguished by the marks of his displeasure. Where the advantages of revelation are not enjoyed, there is no end to the errors of the human mind: the imagination be-present, comes the ruling faculty in religious concerns, and one extravagance succeeds another, according as striking circumstances occur to give rise

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