What is that friendship with the What is that fear of man which world which is enmity with God ? bringeth a snare; and what is its

What should be the conduct of a cure ? minister of the Church of England as

Wherein consists the right governto himself and his family, respecting ment of the tongue, and the best irregular places of worship? method of attaining it?

What are the sources, characters, How shall we observe the rule of and supports of hypocrisy?

letting the “ tares grow with the What instructions


be derived wheat till the harvest ?" from a minister being cut off in the What is the liberty of the Gospel ? midst of his usefulness ?

In bequeathing money to charitWhat is meant by“ declaring the able uses, how may the object be best whole counsel of God ?”

accomplished ? What are the dangers to which How far may a minister properly youth is principally exposed in this interfere in the politics of his country? day, and the means of preventing The nature, means, and advan. them ?

tages of self-anihilation ? Whether we have sufficient reason What is to be considered an into place the authority of the Epistles trusion into the ministerial office? on the same footing as the words of What rules can be laid down for our Lord; and also, what are the domestic economy? sources of the doubts which have What is the best way of indirectly been held on that head ?

addressing the consciences of men? How to improve by the sentiments What are the Scripture views of and conduct of others, without a too the Sonship of Christ? implicit submission?

What is it to preach Christ? What is the precise difference What is Christianity with the Dibetween the falls of true believers, vinity of Christ; and what without and those of mere professors ?

it? How are we to understand that What is the dignity of the pulpit? text, “ Whatsoever is not of faith is What is the best method of prosin ?"

pagating the Gospel in Africa? How shall we best realize the How shall we esteem others better eternal world when encumbered with than ourselves ? the present?

How far may a minister, consistWhy is it that our sharpest trials ently with the dignity of the pulpit, usually arise from our sweetest com- speak of himself and his affairs ? forts?

How shall a minister conduct What useful reflections may be himself who attempts to introduce drawn from the public occurrences the Gospel in a delicate and difficult of 1790?

situation ? How may a believer detect in him- What is magnanimity without self and others the remains of Anti- haughtiness, and humility without nomianism and Pharisaism?

meanness? How to make old


(To be continued.) and honourable.

What appear to have been the views of the disciples relative to salvation, before the crucifixion?

IRRATIONALISM OF NEOLOGY. The proper use of reason in explaining the Scriptures.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. What may be the most advisible There an argument against the method to be observed in visiting absurd system of what is called Neothe sick?

logy, that I think has not been suffiWhat are the scriptural ideas of ciently dwelt upon, but which is fatal temperance and purity ?

to the whole scheme; I mean, that it gives to the Scriptures a character of truth." I would be content to sumsubtle complicated contrivance, ut- mon a jury of infidels to settle the terly incompatible with what every point; for no one of them, I feel asunsophisticated mind must discern sured, would allow that the Neoloto be their tenor. A single illustra- gist's version has the least shadow of tion may serve to exhibit my mean- probability; and all would inevitably ing In the miracle, for example, resolve it into a struggle between of the multiplication of the loaves giving up Christianity and really and fishes, the Neologists find an believing it ; the disputant, for some elaborate scheme to teach the virtue unworthy reason, not choosing to of benevolence: our Lord, they tell avow the former, and yet not really us, persuaded a boy who had a few doing the latter, and therefore set. loaves and fishes, either for his own ting himself to devise a scheme by supply or for sale, to distribute them which he may enjoy his misnamed to his neighbours ; and that the good rationalism, and yet retain his repuexample was infectious; those who tation for being a Christian. had thoughtfully taken out a secret I might have taken many other store of provisions, knowing they had illustrations; but this I think will to go far into the wilderness, divid- suffice; and honestly do I believe ed their stock with others who had that it were better if those who call not been so provident ; and thus all themselves Neologians on the conwere satisfied : nay, there was more tinent, and not a few of those who than enough ; and an excellent lesson call themselves Unitarians in this was taught, that if all men would be country, would at once disclaim the kind and charitable, there would be Divine origin of Christianity rather a mutual blessing, and the bounties than thus pervert it to their own noof God's providence would be as it tions. The infidel admits the words were multiplied.

to mean what they imply, but denies Now the plain answer to all this miracle and revelation; while some gratuitous argument, is, that no per- Christians who admit miracle and reson would discover such a scheme velation, may put false allegorical from the narrative itself; (indeed it constructions upon various passages : is utterly inconsistent with every but to pretend to believe the truth of part of it ;) or would have thought the record, and yet turn it to alleof such a solution, had he not sat gorical nonsense, cannot consist with down with a determination to get either piety or the love of truth. rid of a miracle by allegorizing a

OLD PATH. plain statement of facts. The professed infidel is at least consistent: he tells us he does not credit the account; it is a trick, or a fiction, a mistake. But for a man to say he CLASSICS ON CHRISTIANITY. credits the narrative, and yet to put on it such a construction as the above, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. is to contradict his own words. Can It has been observed, that all great any person believe that the Evange- and beneficial changes in national lists really meant no more? Let the opinion have had their origin with Neologist ask the Infidel, and the the middle and lower classes of soreply will be, “Your solution is ciety, and have thus worked upwards, utterly unfair, if not hypocritical: winning over, in the end, those who, you ought either with us to reject if they were unwilling to lead, were the narrative, or with the orthodox unable to resist. How far this obbeliever admit the miracle ; but no servation is true, and to what exman in his senses can imagine that tent it bears upon the subject of the the narrations were only construct- present inquiry, needs not be detering an allegory, to set forth a moral mined in this place. But it is worthy



of remark, that while the philan- in the Mediterranean, called Crete ; thropist is every where at work, de- which is renowned in Pagan story, vising the most suitable modes of as the birth-place and nursery of the education for the poor; while the gods, more particularly of this very boundaries of literature are every personage, Zeus or Jupiter, who where widening, and the claims was feigned to have been born and of science every hour multiplying; bred on mount Ida. Nay more, this while too we have the Bible to goto, prince of the immortals was not only to enable us to discern good from said to have been born and bred on evil, the plan pursued in our higher this island, but that here too he died schools remains on nearly the same and was buried; and his tomb, visited footing on which it stood in the and described by Diodorus, was shewn dark ages, when the only literature as proof of the fact. Nor was this extant was confined to the dead lan- astounding absurdity too much for guages, when science was nought, Grecian credulity. It is true, that and the Bible a sealed book. It may many, both of the ancients and the indeed be asserted of this system in moderns, have attempted to explain the outset, that whatever of abstract this notion of the ancients, by supvalue it may retain, it has lost much posing their gods to have been deiof its relative; and, in addition, it fied mortals, who were worshipped will not be difficult to shew, that in the countries in which they died. it operates unfavourably to the ac- But this is to evade one difficulty, by quisition of more momentous attain- adopting another as great. If inments.

deed we had found the heathen world I propose, then, offering some re- unanimous in their accounts, if all marks upon that system of educa- had acknowledged the Cretan Jution which has, from time immemo- piter as their Jupiter, we might acrial, been considered as indispensable cept the scheme as satisfactory. But for all persons who are designed to if we should find, that throughout move in a sphere above the common- the Gentile world the same account alty; and as that must doubtless be prevailed, with its concomitant local excellent in itself, as well as useful appropriation ; that almost every nain the application, which demands tion had a similar story about an anthe sacrifice of from seven to four- cestor of its own; that each had its teen of the most precious years of ownJupiter, whom they equally fabled a short and uncertain life, it is first to have been born and bred, to have desirable that we should, by a brief lived, and died, and been buried, in analysis of the system, be put in a their country, and who also pretendway to comprehend in what this excel- ed to shew his tomb, the scheme lence consists. The system advert- falls to the ground. We find, in fact, ed to is that denominated the classi- this same Jupiter represented as a cala general term, embracing a native of Troas, of Crete, of Thebes, wide field of writings of various de- of Arcadia, and of Elis; and that he sign and merit, but all resting, more was buried on Mount Ida, on Mount or less, on a complicated scheme of lasius, and on Mount Sipylus, where mythology as their basis, and which Pausanias says he saw his tomb. consequently claims the first place in Thus also we find a tomb of Osiris the proposed investigation.

at Memphis, at Philæ, at Nusu in To proceed with due respect, as Arabia, and in other places. The well as for purposes of brevity, we whole of this legend about tombs will take the principal deity, the appears to have arisen from a misapdecus et tutamen of the system ; just plication of the term Taph, or Tuph, adding, by way of practical injunc- used by the Amonians to denote their tion, the trite adage, er uno disce high places or sacred mounds, and

Here then we are directed, usually bearing, besides their originot to the skies, but to a little island nal name, some title of the deity to CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 359.

3 P


whose honour they were erected. their intercourse with other nations. And, as it was customary in ancient And thus, regardless of the palpable times to bury persons of distinction contradictions and absurdities into under similar mounds, Mr. Bryant which they were led, they strove to conjectures, that from hence the make Greeks of the Cuthite leaders, allegorical tupha came to be con- real personages out of mere titles, founded with the literal tombs. But and to convert the actions of the there is another interpretation of the great Cuthite deity into those of their origin of this mistake, more conso- own Zeus, or Hercules, or Apollo, nant with history and with the reli- or Adonis, or Deucalion, and to gious rites of the Amonians. What make their principal god a Greek; althese rites were cannot be fully re- though they could not agree amongst presented here : they will be found themselves whence he came, or, acdescribed at large in Mr. Faber's cording to their senseless scheme great work on the Origin of Pagan of mythology, where he was born or Idolatry. Suffice it to say, that in where he was buried. It is probable, these rites the supposed death and that the Amonians, or Cuthites, in burial of the god formed the chief their progress westward, planted an feature: for which purpose, the early colony in this island of Crete, mound, or other artificial pyramidal as they appear to have done also in structure, whose summit was the al- that of Samothrace; that these two tar of sacrifice, had also its cavern or islands were the chief seats of their chamber within, the representation priesthood in these parts; and that of the interior of the ark, and the from the latter, and from Grecian symbolical tomb of the great father ancestors, the Greeks pretended to or principal hero-god ; and hence, have derived the rudiments of their wherever the Greeks found a rapos, theology, which in fact were brought ignorant of its true design, they to them by a colony of foreigners represented it as the literal tomb from the banks of the Euphrates; and of the god for whose worship it had which, in every instance, they conbeen raised. Hence, also the frequent trived so to misinterpret and misapbut otherwise inexplicable combina- ply as wholly to lose sight of their tion of the ispov Oct kau tapos Oes, original meaning, and out of them to the union of the temple of the god fabricate a scheme of divinity as prewith his tomb.

posterous as it was unintelligible. The only account of these matters If such be the history of the father which is at all intelligible, that which of the gods, what may we expect to alone can reconcile inconsistencies and find in that of the rest of the celes. lead us to the truth, is, that the wor- tial assembly—the Herculeses, the ship of the great hero-god of the Gen- Mercurys, the Bacchuses, the Junos, tile world, of him who was first raised the Venuses, &c. ? What do we to this post of false honour by the find, but the same mistakes about apostates of Babel, was carried by terms, the same confusion of persons them, with different names for their and places and events, and the same deity, into the several countries awkward attempts at national approwhich they colonized, even into priation? Yet to the hopeless task Greece itself. But the Greeks, who of reconciling the inconsistencies, preserved no histories, and cared no- and lessening the absurdities of such thing for those of any country but a scheme, have many of the learned their own, and who in process of prostituted their time and their ta. time falsified even these to accommo- lents, and have laboured to give, date them to their national vanity of both to the actors in these fables making themselves the first of the and to the fables themselves, histonations, set about to appropriate to rical verity and chronological order. themselves whatever came to their Such is the scheme ; and if this hands, either from tradition or from were all, we might smile at its extravagancies, and teach them to our tion of the civilized world, but by children, as examples at once of the the borrowed aid of the poet, the stultifying blindness of idolatry, and painter, and the sculptor; by the of the necessity and value of revealed meretricious ornaments with which religion, without the slightest appre- these have severally dressed it up, hension that they would be thereby by the beauties of language, by either infatuated with the one or splendid imagery, by the magical estranged from the other. But with creations of unrestrained fiction, by this scheme is incorporated a system the materials which it furnished for of morals so abandoned, yet so adapt- fancy to revel in, by gratifying the ed to the passions and propensities senses, and exciting the passions ; of unregenerate man, that contami- in a word, by all the machinery of nation attends its every step, and poetry, and the more vivid illustrawhich never would have been looked tions of the sister arts. A fascinating on with complacency by people call- style will always give force and preing themselves Christians, had it valence to the sentiments which it been found only in the works of his- conveys, especially if these be in torical and ethical writers. It had unison with the corrupt passions of indeed, in all likelihood, met with the human heart; and those fictions, no better fate than the mythologies which in plain prose would only of China and Mexico, had not cer- disgust by their deformity, when tain men of genius, who lived under submitted to the seducing and transits influence, and who believed, or forming power of poetry beguile pretended to believe in its authority, the understanding by first leading given it life and favour by the re- captive the imagination. finements of fancy and the charms It is curious to see the learned of of elegant composition.

a Christian country defending a sysLet us for a moment endeavour tem which the better informed of to divest ourselves of the prejudices the heathens themselves ridiculed of education, to strip the scheme of and condemned. The philosophical its adventitious charms, and inquire poet Lucretius, throughout nearly what there is in it which should so the whole of his poem exposes the bewitch the fancy, and pervert the superstitions of his countrymen; and understanding of Christian men. Is Cicero, with still greater boldness, it the beauty or the harmony of the arraigns the folly and impiety of scheme itself, or is it the character the whole system as fabricated by and the deeds of the personages of the poets; specially noting the miswhich it is compounded? No one chievous tendency of its noxious but can deny that the one is a clumsy seductive principles *. The worst contrivance, made up of the most passions, lust, pride, malice, revenge, monstrous incongruities and absur- reign throughout; passions, natural dities, and that the other presents to fallen man, which require no inlittle else than a hideous mass of citement to develop; passions too, vice and pollution. What, then, we which must reign alone, and leave may ask with wonder, can have brought us to look with complacency indicia, sed delirantium somnia. Nec

Exposui fere non philosophorum on such a system, and to make it enim multo absurdiora sunt ea quæ poetthe basis of a Christian education - arum vocibus fusa, ipsa suavitate nocuethe fine arts; which grew up out of runt: qui et ira inflammatos, et libidine this abyss of corruption, and whose furentes, induxerunt deos : feceruntque fairest productions have been prosti- videremus: odia præterea, dissidia, dis

ut eorum bella, pugnas, prælia, vulnera tuted to the service of impurity and cordia, ortus, interitus, querelas, lamendelusion. Not by any thing which tationes, effusas in omni intemperantia it possessed in itself to recommend libidines, adulteria, vincula, cum humano it to the waste of an hour's reading mortali procreatos.-De Natura Deorum,

genere concubitus, mortalesque ex imdid this system obtain the admira. lib. i.

« VorigeDoorgaan »