thy drooping strength; oh! think on him who bade the vine to flourish, that it might cheer thy heart, and alleviate thy pains. Is the hour of refreshment past; let not the memory of thy benefactor pass with it. Dost thou put on thy garment; breathe blessings on the name of him, who gave that garment to thee, Dost thou cover thyself with thy cloak; love God with redoubled fervour, who hath bestowed upon us, raiment, adapted to the wintry blast, and summer's heat; which tendeth to preserve our being, and to conceal our shame. The day is finished. Extol the beneficence of him, who lighted up the sun, to recreate our daily toils; who hath garnished the heaven's fair canopy with resplendent orbs, to illuminate the darkness, and minister to the necessities of life. Let night afford thee fresh sources of adoration. When thou considerest the azure vault, with fascinating eyes, surveying the pure lustre of the stars; then pour out thy soul to nature's Lord, and adore the wise artificer of the universe, who, seated in peerless majesty on the throne of intellect, created all. When thou beholdest universal nature lapped in the bosom of repose, again adore that Being, who appoints the sweet interval of rest to our harassed limbs, and after a short cessation, repairs our strength, and renews our energy: ,

“ What retribution shall we give unto the Lord, for all the gifts which he hath bestowed upon us?” From the cheerless gloom of non-existence, he waked us into being; he ennobled us with understanding; he taught us arts, to promote the means of life; he commanded the prolific earth to yield its nurture; he bade the animals to own us as their lords. For us, the rains descend; for us, the sun diffuseth his creative beams; the mountails rise, the vallies bloom; affording us a grateful habitation and a sheltering retreat. For us, the rivers flow; for us, the fountains murmur; the sea spreads wide its bosom to extend our commerce; the earth exhausts its precious stores; each new object presents a new enjoyment; all nature pouring her treasures at our feet, through the bounteous grace of him, who wills that all be ours !

But why do I descant on lesser subjects, when nobler themes should grace the preacher's tongue? For us, God dwelt with man! For sinful, perishable flesh, the word was embodied in the flesh, and abidied with us; the benefactor tarried with the ungrateful; the deliverer came unto the captives; in the realms of benighted, man, arose the orb of righteousness; He, who was exempt from suffering, was stretched upon the cross; immortality was wedded to death; light descended into darkness; he rose again, for them

who had fallen; he sent forth the spirit of adoption; he diffused his celestial grace; he planted by the throne of God, that tree whence saints and martyrs gather the fruit of immortality, covercd with the leaves of promise, and ripened by the sun of consummation. He accomplished all that angels can conceive, and more than man can utter!

How just, how suitable are the prophet's words! “ What remuneration shall we offer to the Lord, for all the blessings which he hath conferred upon us ?”

THE CREATION. [From the Theological and Biblical Magazine.] In the beginning of time, at that point in the vast and boundless circle of ages, in which Jehovah had before determined to display his almighty energy, God created the heavens and the earth. The rude and shapeless materials, from which a fair and beauteous fabric was shortly to spring forth, were first produced, by a divine power, out of nothing. Here let not reason start, and exclaim, “ Impossible! absurd! it is contrary to the nature of | things, and to the plainest dictates of reason.” But let us rather

humbly subscribe to this revealed truth: “ With man it is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

Then, in six successive periods of time, which the inspired writer terms days, were achieved the progressive parts of this great work. Light was the first of all created things: it formed the first link in that chain of wonders which God wrought. The mass of matter was all shapeless and confused, enveloped in complete darkness; when lo! the sovereign mandate goes forth: Let there be light, and there was light. What can equal either the sublimity of this ancient record, or the forcible idea it conveys to the reflecting mind of his irresistible power, “ who spake, and it was done; who commanded, and it stood fast.” Works of art are effected with labour and difficulty. The plan must first be contrived, then it must be rudely marked out, afterwards hy successive operations they are moulded and polished, till they arrive at what is considered the perfection of human skill; but the great architect of nature at once designs, resolves, and executes, without the necessity of one additional touch. God saw the light, that it was good. The next step of the work of creation was the separation of the water, and the spreading abroad of the firmament, or that azure curtain which overspreads the face of nature,

and in which those moving bodies of water or vapour, the clouds, pass along; then the separation of the elements, earth and water, took place; the one into dry land, the other into deep and almost unfathomable oceans. The next mandate which goes forth, renders the new-made earth fruitful, clothes it with verdure, decks it with beauty, and crowns it with abundance. At the same moment, Spring puts forth her buds and blossoms, and Autumn pours forth his luxuriant stores. Alas! what a veil of misery and wretchedness has man's transgression thrown, not only over the moral world, but even over the beauteous face of nature! On the fourth day, Jehovah enkindled those celestial luminaries, which serve to enlighten, invigorate and bless the world; which have afforded the food of science to the philosophic, and of devotion to the pious mind. While all still moved on toward the perfect accomplishment of the vast plan, and God sarv that it was good. The sea and the air were next impregnated with their living myriads. All the inhabitants of the waters, from the gigantic leviathan to the miputest of the finny tribe, were at once ushered into existence. Then too, the vaulted heavens began to echo with the harmonious notes of the feathered race, who, in one chorus, warbled the praises of their Creator. On the commencement of the sixth day, the earth was stocked with an endless ariety of living creatures; some of enormous bulk, and others of so minute dimensions, as to elude the keenest eye of the naturalist, and the utmost refinements of art. But the top-stone of the building was yet to be laid ; that which, like an exquisitely carved cornerstone, should give unity, strength and beauty to the whole fabric. This was the creation of man. Before the formation of man, (with reverence be it recorded) Deity itself seemed to make a momentary pause, and to call a solemn council! In other instan-. ces, Jehovah said, “ Let there be light,” &c. but in this, Let us make man! Behold at once a body of wonderous, complex, and delicate structure is framed from the dust of the earth. Yet this is but the habitation, the clay-built palace; the immortal inhabitant had not yet entered. The breath, the spirit of the Lord, went forth and infused into this exquisitely constructed frame, an immortal something, called the soul; which, both on account of its immortality and purity, might with truth be said to be impressed with the image of God.

The whole plan being completed in six days, the sacred penman alds, On the seventh day, God rested from all his works; not on account of fatigue, the constant result of human labours, which renders the sabbath a welcome day of rest to the industri.

ous poor; but to signify that we ought, in commemoration of this great event, to dedicate to God a seventh part of our time; that it should be to us, not only a period of cessation from worldly business, but a holy rest unto the Lord. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.

It were an endless, though a delightful task, to expatiate on the rich variety, the boundless extent, the inscrutable wonders of creation. Could we extend our view, at one glance, over the face of this earth which we inhabit, and see here, a vast continent stretched out, covered with an infinite variety of vegetable and animal wonders; and there, a spacious ocean which reflects from its lucid face, the glories of its Creator; could we penetrate beneath the surface, and explore all the hidden wonders of the mineral world; could we soar above the clouds and vapours, which overhang this little spot of earth, survey the whole uni. verse, trace the courses of the celestial bodies, move on in the orbits of the planetary systems, or visit tbe fixed stations of those distant sparks, the stars, which one moment faintly glimmer on the sight, and the next, seem lost in obscurity; were it possible that human imagination could grasp but half of these, oh! how great, how exalted, how wonderful must the great author of all appear! Yet these are but a portion, and how small a portion of his ways!

Often have the talents of great and good men been employed in tracing the analogy between the works of nature and those of grace. It is the less necessary to lengthen this paper by entering into this view, though it be a most important view of the subject. Suffice it to say, that the same creating energy is necessary to renew the moral world, to illuminate the dark chaos of the human heart, and to create sinners anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, as that which in the beginning created the heavens and the earth. Does the creation furnish us with exalted conceptions of God, and lead us to give honour to its divine Author? How much more may the great work of redemption inspire our songs! A work which far excels in the wisdom and grandeur of the outline, in the magnitude and importance of the object, and in its interminable duration.

The plan of creation was like that God who sketched it; but the stupendous plan of salvation was (if on a subject so awfully great, we may use so much freedom), the chef-d'æuvre of divine wisdom. The one was executed by the fiat of Jehovah; but, to accomplish the other, it behoved Christ, the son of God, to descend from heaven, to endure the death of the cross! The works

of creation even now fade and grow old; soon will they crumble into dust : but the redemption of the soul is precious, because eternal. Soon shall the visible heavens and earth pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat; nor shall even a wreck of the material world remain: yet then the works of grace shall shine with unsullied lustre, and unfaded pomp.


[Extracted from the Life of professor Gellert, of Leipsick.]

" PROFESSOR GELLERT's friendship was not merely the effect of natural disposition: it was produced by a sincere love for religion and virtue. He strongly felt that they alone can make any one truly amiable; that they alone constitute happiness; and when he met with persons unfortunate enough not to possess these qualities, he was touched with a most lively compassion; and neglected nothing in his power to make them better, and consequently happier. Some years after his return to Leipsick, he became acquainted with an unfortunate person of this kind. This man was like many others, who are said not to have a bad heart. The love of pleasure and libertinism led him to infidelity; and from thence he passed on to disorders, which equally destroyed his health and his fortune. Attacked by an illness equally disgraceful and painful, he wanted for every thing: he had neither tranquillity of mind, consolation, the means of procuring to himself any assistance, nor any hope of recovery; which hope can alone support the despisers of religion, and give them that degree of calmness ever necessary to their bodily cure. Despair and impatience aggravated the sufferings of this poor wretch: the most horrible oaths proceeded from his mouth every moment; there was no imprecation he did not pronounce against himself, no blasphemy he did not utter against providence! Gellert, touched with compassion by this man's dreadful sufferings, and, above all, by the deplorable state of his soul, was very desirous of relieving him. With this view he began by endeavouring to gain his confidence, to convince him of the interest he took in him, and of the tender compasion he felt for his bodily sufferings. To have begun by speaking to him of religion and of his soul, would only have terrified him. Gellert seemed, therefore, entirely taken up with his illness, and the means of procuring him some alleviation of his sufferings. He assisted him as much as

« VorigeDoorgaan »