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surely the Christian, whose affections are purified by Divine grace, who is daily becoming meeter for the enjoyment of spiritual happiness, is greatly interested in extending the compass of his intellect. For then he will be capable of nobler conceptions of God--of deeper glances into the nature of man-of acuter comprehension of the relations of truthof wider surveys of the systems, physical, and intellectual, and moral, established by Divine goodness, and preserved by Divine power. His conceptions will keep more equal pace with his devotion, and mingle with angel-minds before the throne of God. The more he comprehends, the more fervently will he adore; the more he beholds, the more he will praise. Nature is to him a mirror, in which he delights to trace the reflections of the Divinity-reflections corresponding with the brighter traces of revelation.
Mental cultivation bestows the power of knowledge upon the Christian—a power mighty in the defence of truth. Religion, when advocated by intellect, assumes more dignified proportions in the eyes of the world. The multitude follow the guidance of a few; and he who rises superior to his fellows, occupies a commanding station to point out the noblest and the best objects of pursuit. Such should be the aim of every Christian. He should be armed to man the ramparts of truth, and to beat back her enemies from the assault; to defend her bulwarks from the sappings of superstition and the onsets of infidelity; his arm should be strongest to carry her banner against the entrenchments of error. Knowledge is power for evil as well as for good : that power is extending among all ranks, and unless religious influence is proportionably extended, its peculiar evils will be without counteraction. Christians, then, should endeavour to head the march of mental improvement, that they may direct its movements, and control its destination. Cheltenham.
J. N. O.
WHAT'S A NAME?
As I sat down this evening, and was gazing steadily into the fire that was quietly burning before me, my thoughts wandered back, and fixed themselves upon a little incident that occurred in the days of my boyhood. It was this:- There were two lads, whom I well knew, jovial, and free from care, who, when let loose from school, would bound like playful lambs over the fields; or ramble in the grove in search of birds' nests; or, perchance, would wander by the murmuring brook, and decoy the artless fish with the deceitful hook. Their minds, as well as bodies, were active ; and they often listened with delight to the stories of those older than themselves. These lads had heard it related, that by attaching bladders to one's body, any person would be able to swim ; indeed, that it would be impossible to sink below the surface of the water. Here, thought they, will be sport for us. We, who have never dared to venture our little bodies where we could not stand on firm bottom, will now float like cork on the water.
They forthwith ransacked the garret, collected all the bladders they could find, and hurried away to a small pond, not far distant. Having carefully adjusted the bladders to their bodies, they now stood on the bank, expecting in a moment to be gliding away like ducks on the surface of the water. They accordingly plunged in-but no sooner done, than boys, bladders and all, were at the bottom. Fortunately, the water was not deep; so that, after struggling for some time, they succeeded in regaining the shore.
But what has this to do with my subject ?-just this. Had these boys looked at the philosophy of things, and not merely at the name, they would have known that bladders full of holes would not have buoyed them up; and they would have saved themselves from being overwhelmed in the water.
But this is not peculiar to boys. Search the world over, and you will find that a great portion of mankind look more at worthless names, than at the real value of things. Go through neighbourhoods, towns, states and nations, and you are continually coming in contact with men who rise early, sit up late, and run here and there; and all for the sake of titles, or distinction among men.
Philip lived and laboured to gain a name. He succeeded. Historians have observed, that he received on one day the intelligence of three things, which could gratify the most unbounded ambition : viz., the birth of a son, an honourable crown at the Olympic games, and a victory over the barbarians of Illyricum. But how did he die? He was stabbed as he entered the theatre, at the celebration of the nuptials of his daughter Cleopatra.
Alexander began early to manifest his love of fame. It is said of him, when a boy, that whenever he heard that his father Philip had taken a town, or won some celebrated battle, he would say to his companions, “My father will go on conquering, boys, till there be nothing great and illustrious for you and me to do.” But his father left something for him to do. He did it; and after conquering all the then known world, he is said to have “ wept that there were no more worlds to conquer.” He waded through seas of blood to obtain a name. He accomplished his end. But what did it avail him ? Did he come down to his grave “like a shock of corn in his season ?” He died in the 32nd year of age, by poison, or, as others say, by excessive drinking.
Cæsar was ambitious. It is said that, during his first campaign in Spain, he was observed to gaze at a statue of Alexander, and even shed tears at the recollection that that hero had conquered the world at an age in which he himself had done nothing. But he did much during his life for the destruction of his fellow-men. He is said to have conquered 300 nations—to have taken 800 cities, and to have defeated three millions of men, one of which fell in the field of battle. Indeed, so rapid was his conquest, on a certain occasion, that he expressed the celerity of his operations in these remarkable words : “Veni, vidi, vici;". “I came, I saw, I conquered.” He sought a name. He found it. But did he come down to his grave in peace? He was stabbed in the Senatehouse.
Bonaparte thirsted for glory. He became a great conqueror. He deluged Europe in blood. His name sounded through the world. But he died : and that too, in banishment, on the lonely island of St. Helena.
Why will men attempt to buoy themselves up with a name ? They may do it for a while on the calm sea of prosperity ; but let the waves of adversity begin to break over them, and they will find a name as useless as the apparatus of the boys above mentioned. Let the “ king of terrors” stare them in the face, and they would willingly exchange all worldly honours for one kind look from Him to whom “God has given a name which is above every name.” Professing Christians, you “ have named the name of Christ." But remember that some “have a name to live, while they are dead." It is not enough to enter the church-attend chapel on the Sabbath-pray night and morning, and be a kind neighbour. You may attach to yourself all this outward apparatus, and still not have a breath of spiritual life within, to buoy you up, while crossing Jordan's stream. Beware, then, lest you sink in its waves, and never land on Canaan's shore. But, if you are what you profess to be, remember, that although you should not acquire an honourable name among men, God has said of you,“ I will give thee a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give thee an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
THE HUNTER AND THE REASONER.
SECOND DIALOGUE. [We apprehend that those who perused a dialogue between the Hunter and the Reasoner, in the supplement to our last volume, will be gratified to see a second one, in which the same subject is continued, and in a similar manner.—Editor.]
MR. EDITOR-I suppose you may be as glad as I was to meet with our old friend the hunter again ; especially in a conversation with the same unbelieving reasoner as before. I will tell you how it was. Travelling in a frontier settlement, it happened that at night I put up at one of the settlers' cabins, and discovered mine host to be the self-same, long-sided, hunting-shirt man before introduced to you. Glad of the meeting, I took care how to introduce myself; though I do not know that he ever saw the former conversation in print, or heard of its publication. Presently, another traveller rode up, whose face appeared not quite strange to me, but who was recognised by the hunter, at once, with a hearty welcome. After the horses were seen to, and an additional log or two thrown on the blazing fire, and the wife had put the skillets on towards supper, for the stranger, mine host addressed the new comer with
“Well, stranger, it's a smart little bit since we seed one another afore--I reckon you hardly knew me.”
Reasoner. Not exactly, at first ; but I soon recollected you. How have you been since I saw you ?
Hunter. Oh, sort o’middling ; how is it wi' yourself?
R. Pretty well, I thank you.
H. Well now, I want to know what you think about them ere things what we talked about; you know. Don't you reckon, arter all, that there is a God?
R. I do not know any thing about it. But suppose there is a God, that does not make the Bible true.
H. Don't it? Well, don't know, I can't read ; only since I seed you, I've been trying to larn a bit; can't make out much yet. But I tell you what, stranger, when I'm looking out for deers or turkeys, I keep thinking about them ere things a heap.
R. Well, what do you think about it by this time?
H. May be so. Well now, stranger, jist tell what makes you think it aint true?
R. Why, in the first place, we don't want any Bible.
R. You see we have reason, and reason looks at the works of God, and so finds out from them what sort of being he is who made them all. We, “look through nature up to nature's God.” You know you thought yourself that we could find out God by his works, as well as we could know that there was a printer, and so on, by looking at the newspaper.
H. I reckon I could'nt tell much what sort of works them was by the newspaper, because I could'nt read it. May be you could, though?
R. Yes, I could tell pretty well by reading their writings.
H. That's jist what I was thinkin. I reckon a body would'nt know much about what sort of being God was, if they had'nt his writins to tell 'em.
R. His writings ! Do you think God wrote the Bible himself?
H. I don't keere a primin about that. If he told any body what to write, it's every grain as good. Now, see here, mister, you can tell something about the carrecter of them ere folks that writes in the Free Inquirer, by reading their writins; but you see I can't tell, ony they're pretty middlin genus to put all these letters in rows so straight and reg'ler like. And I'm thinkin you could'nt know what God meant by all them wonderful works of his'n, if he hadn't tell'd it right out in the Bible.
R. Why, what's our reason for?
H. My reason warn't sharp enough to find out what the folks said in the paper. May be I aint as quick to find out things as some; but did you ever know any body that could'nt read a bit, and yit could tell such things?
R. No, certainly not. But what do you bring up that paper so often for? I wish you'd listen to reason, and let the paper alone.
H. Well now, stranger, I hope you won't take no pride in what I say. But it seems like its as easy for me to find out what the folks thinks by the newspaper, when I can't read it, as any body to know God's will if they had to find it out without him tellin.
R. Let me explain it to you. We have reason to guide us in tracing the works of God; and we find by them that God is wise and power
ful, or he could'nt contrive so many beautiful things, nor make such vast and great things ; and we find too, that God takes care of the creatures that he made, and feeds and preserves them, and makes them happy; and so we find that he is good.
H. Hold on there a bit. Aint there any thing but what's happy ?
R. Yes, to be sure ; but then there is a great deal of pleasure enjoyed by all.
H. I should reckon, then, that God gits sort o'vexed: what makes him do so ?
R, Certainly. Now see how you discover from God's dealings with his creatures, what his moral character and will are. We know when we do wrong, and are punished for it. We need no other guide than reason and observation. Revelation is useless.
H. Think so ? Now, seem like, I can't see it like you do, no how. That's the way I do to Tige, partly—but then, you know, we don't do by a dog jist as we do by a human. And even the dog himself we tell to“ be gone," before we give him a kick ; and we don't never 'spect him to run after a hog, without we set him on; and though its their nature to hunt wild varments, we have to larn 'em to track a deer afore they'll do it. And it aint right to kick a dog 'cause he don't follor afore we show him what we want.
R. Ha! ha! ha! So you think we must be treated just like dogs, do you? But dogs have not reason.
H. I knew it afore. But can't a dog find out a thing a heap quicker nor can we sometimes ?--'specially what we are thinking about ? Seem like Tige always knows when I'm going a huntin, by my looks.
R. Yes, that's instinct.
H. But you say they can't learn to talk, and read, and sich like, so they know things by instinct, as you call it. I reckon it aint so by the humans--they have to larn, and you have to tell’em right out and out, without they git it by readin.
R. Well, what then ?
H. Why, I was thinking jist so; there's that boy in the gum there, asleep. He don't know nothin now, but by 'me by he'll begin to scratch about, and talk, and ax all about things. Spose I and the woman should agree not to tell him never what we want him to do, but jist let him find out by his reason. Spose I'd come home at night-put the case that he's ten or a dozen year old—an ax him this way,—Jake, says I, did you plough that ere corn to-day? Why, no daddy, says he, I never know'd you wanted me to. You did'nt know? says Iwas'nt the corn growing there, says I, and was'nt the plough and nag there, did'nt you see how weedy it was, says I, and dint you seed me, always plough it when it was in sich a fix ? says I. Yes, daddy, says he, I know'd you did afore, and I reckon'd you'd do it again, says he. Now don't you think, like as not he'd talk jist so?
R. Very probably.
H. Well now, I feel like I would'nt know no more what God wanted me to do if he did'nt tell in the Bible, nor my boy would me if I was to do so.
The conversation here turned on something else; so that I have no more to report now.