Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

fore, we believe with the greatest ceive a development and an illusconfidence, that we are immortal, tration, which they could by no and capable of endless improve other means receive. That doce ment, we are, by these facts, not trine enables us to account for the only authorized, but compelled to indiscriminate distribution of good admit, that confidence of belief we arid evil, without the slightest im. derive from the Bible alone.

peachment of divine justice ; and But allowing the immortality of to see in the very act of pardoning the soul, and a future state of re- the sinner, a demonstration, surtribution to be susceptible, not only passing beyond all conception, eveof proof, but of discovery, without ry other demonstration, of the inthe aid of revelation, the moral violable nature of that law, from government of God suggests ques- the condemnation of which the sintions which, without this aid, ap- ner is rescued. By this doctrine pear to admit of no solution. For all apparent inconsistencies in the example, how are we to reconcile divine government are reconciled. the existence of moral evil with the Mercy meets with truth, and rightholiness of the Deity ? --The sufeousness embraces peace. ferings of the righteous, and the It would be presumptuous to triumphs of the wicked, with his pretend that we can trace all the justice? - The pardon of the sinner, causes and consequences of either with the purity of his nature, and the existence of moral evil, or the the sanctity of his law? These are atonement; but I think we are enquestions which, on the supposition titled to say, that the one of these that the doctrine of atonement is doctrines forms a necessary counfalse, I cannot answer. But admit terpart to the other, - that the that doctrine, and the answer to system must be extremely defecthem all is clear and satisfactory. tive, which admits the former

That doctrine, if it do not fully while it rejects the latter. To deenable us to account for the intro- ny the atonement, is to divest man duction of moral evil, at least en- of all that is dignified in his naables us to see a great and im- ture, and soothing and animating portant moral purpose, of the ac- in his prospects. It is to exhibit complishment of which, its intro. him as the work and the sport of a duction has been made the occa- capricious being, who has formed sion,—the revelation, to men and him without object or design, and angels, of features in the moral has turned him adrift to shift for character of God; the existence of himself as he best may, on a forwhich, or at least the extent to saken and fatherless world; and which they do exist, must have on leaving it, to go he knows not otherwise remained unknown. The whither. This doctrine, on the existence of moral evil, viewed contrary, exbibits man as the subthrough the medium of that doc. ject of a Being unerring in wisdom trine, throws not the slightest shade and unwearied in goodness, who over our most exalted conceptions has made him capable of endless of the glory of God's holiness. In improvement, who is here training it we perceive him permitting the him, by trials, to the cultivation of existence, and the prevalence of a virtue, and is bringing him through power hostile to himself

, that in great, but necessary tribulations, ihe process of annihilating its ex- to everlasting rest. In this docistence, and punishing its preva. trine we see the almighty ruler of lence, his character, and tbe prin. the universe exercising that preciples of his government might re- rogative which is his alone, making

[merged small][ocr errors]

gument

I can

man's fall the occasion of his higher And they are right. Yes. Exexaltation,

tremes meet; and on this point I

perfectly agree with them. Be. .“ From seeming evil still educing tween the Christian, on the one

good, And better thence again, and better still,

hand, and the atheist on the other, In infinite progression."

you have not the shadow of an ar

left in defence of your sysAnd now, my dear deist, for to iem. I may, therefore, terminate you do I particularly address my- my sermon by entreating you to do, self, tell me candidly, have I, or what you cannot reasonably refuse, have I not, proved the truth of the to re-examine that system. And I apostle's proposition, that in deny- would gladly enforce that entreaty ing Christ, you are denying God, - by any motive calculated to prothat for your knowledge of the two duce compliance with it. great fundamental articles of your only say that the subject is of religion,- the being of God, and the the utmost importance ; and he who immortality of the soul-you are believes that he has a soul, cannot indebted to the Bible alone? You rationally rest his future hopes upon may say, that, without any refer

a system, of the stability of which ence to revelation, you can produce he is not assured. And a re-exathe most complete, and conclusive, mination of your system may haply and satisfactory, proofs of both convince you, that deism only drags these articles. This I most readily you from the rock of certainty, and admit. The attributes of God are plunges you in the ocean of doubt written on all his works in charac. and perplexity. ters so legible, that he who runs

Divest yourself of all that knowmay read them; the immortality ledge which you have acquired from of the soul can be proved by all but the Gospel; place yourself in the mathematical demonstration. But situation that men were in before it to prove and to discover are very was written, and I am much mis. different things. And, if my rea- taken if you will find that your soning has been successful, I have reason can furnish you with one arshown that, though you can prove, gument against the adoption of the you never could have discovered maxim, " Let us eat and drink; either the one or the other of the

for to-morrow we die.” Leit in fundamental articles alluded to. total uncertainty with regard to the In farther proof of this, I might being of God, and the immortality refer to those who have paid the of your soul, you will and must most attention to the subject--the conclude, that your only sure way modern apostles of infidelity. They to enjoy life, is to seize the pleaare perfectly aware of the truth sures of this present world, you which I have been attempting to must feel that the very height of maintain that, between atheism human ambition must be to realize and the Christian doctrine of atone. the language of the poet. ment there is not an inch of ground

Happy the man, and happy be alone, upon

which a rational man can rest He who can call to-day his own; the sole of his foot that

He who unmoved within can say

To-morrow do thy worst, for I have lived " An honest deist, where the Gospel to-day,

Come foul come fair, come rain come shine, Matured to nobler, in the Christian ends." The joys I have possest in spite of fate are Alas! and is this the highest not a little of the enmity of the na. that deism can teach us to aspire ? tural man to spiritual and divine Ay, and happy is the deist that things, but whose condition we are can aspire even so high. We know far from considering so desperate that there are many whom the dread as not to admit of amelioration. of death will not permit to enjoy We allude to apprentice boys. Havone day of life," who, through ing newly arrived at that period of fear of death, are all their lifetime life, when it may be supposed they subject to bondage;" and I know possess a little money, and too ready, not that reason can fortify any as they always are, to imitate the deist against the adoption of the evil example of their older compaturpissimum votum Mecænatis." nions, (we allude to thạt body of

mine. The most heartless and degrading

Upon the past not Heaven itself has power, atheism, therefore, is the doctrine

But what has been, has been, and I have that they teach.

had my hour."

shines,

men commonly denominated jour. " Debilem facito manu,

neymen,) whose looseness of morals Debilem pede, coxa; Tuber astrue gibborum,

we can trace to neglect in their Lubricos quate dentes ;

early education, it is too frequently Vita dum superest, bene est;

the case, that, instead of devoting it Hanc, mihi vel acutam

to charitable purposes, they squanSubde, sustineo, crucem."

der it in the frolics of drunkenness. I need not, and I will not, add is associated, in their minds, with

The idea of sitting in an alehouse another word, beyond begging you all that is manly, cheerful, and to contrast with this miserable ex

happy; and never do they feel pression of a prosperous deist's wish, the triumphant language

more self-recognition than when which the disciple of Jesus bas of mingling with the partisans of

drunkenness over a bowl of punch. ten, in the very hour of torture and

It is unnecessary for me to say how of death, been enabled to use, “ O death, where is thy sting? 7 speedily they acquire tippling hagrave, where is thy victory ? The bits, or to describe the lamentable sting of death is sin ; and the

consequences which

may

be

expectstrength of sin is the law: but ed to result, not only to themselves, thanks be to God, who giveth us

but to their friends and the public the victory through our Lord Jesus at large, from such a line of conChrist.”

duct. Now, Sir, could such per. MORDAX.

sons, at this period of life, be rescued from this situation, and have instilled into their minds the principles of Christianity, of which they are often found lamentably ignorant,) we can conceive the ima mense advantage which might be

expected to result from it. It canMR. EDITOR,

not be supposed that lads, from While we have every reason to fourteen to eighteen years age, congratulate Christians on the im- would submit to the drudgery of mense good which is every where learning tasks for a Sunday school; doing, not only among the benight, and as it is only on Sundays that ed nations of Mahometan supersti. they can indulge their wanton distion, but also in our own country, positions, owing to the closeness of yet we cannot but view, with feels their confinement during the week, ings of deep regret, the oversight of a plan might be devised for assema numerous class of persons, among bling them together on the evening whom, we conceive, there subsists of the Lord's day, and reading and

FOR THE CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTOR.

of

And we

expounding to them portions of lent part of their pupils. If a SoScripture. That order should pre-, ciety of this kind could be formed, vail

among so many youths assemu' we question if any institution now bled together into one place, could in operation would be of more esnot be expected ; but let them be sential service to the interests of assembled in different rooms in dif- the rising generation. ferent quarters

of the town, with a doubt not that, by the active codozen or fifteen in each room, and operation of a few gentlemen, such let a library of moral and religious an institution might be commenced. books be attached to the institu- We throw out these hints, hoping, tion, Let the teachers be men of that some of your more able correpiety and respectability; and let spondents will resume the subject them endeavour to render favour. in a future number of your able able to their plans the masters of work. I am yours, &c. their respective youths, as this

S. B. would, we conceive, impose no Edinburgh, Sept. 1823. small restraint on the more turbu.

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

A Monitor to Families ; or, Dis- it, embody its principles in their

courses on some of the Duties character, and in their several staand Scenes of Domestic Life. tions and relations, exhibit them By Henry BELFRAGE, Minister in their conduct. And nowhere do of the Gospel, Falkirk. Oliver they appear to greater advantage and Boyd, Edinburgh. 1823. than within the domestic circle. 12mo. Pp. 454.

Every family should be a seminary

of religious and moral instruction, a The spirit of piety in the soul of place of training to the exercise of man, according to the expressive those virtues which are afterwards language of our Saviour, " is a well to be displayed on the theatre of of water springing up to everlasting the world. It must therefore be life." Unceasing in its operation, obvious to every reflecting mind, it sends forth living streams in all that it greatly conduces to the bedirections, to beautify and fertilize nefit of the community at large, for the various regions in which they members of families to act a Christflow. It makes glad the city of ian part; and he who employs his God, and every dwelling place of talents to aid them in this good Mount Zion, while it causes the work, performs an important serdesert to rejoice and blossom as the vice to his country and his kind.

As there is no province of The author of the volume before the heart, so there is no relation of us is already well known to the life, no department of business, no public, in directing the exercise of branch of literature or science, no piety in the most sulemn service of rank or condition of society, to our religion ; and also, in teaching which its ameliorating influence does the young to cultivale a growing ac

quaintance with it, and to manifest It is no small commendation to it in their deportment; and here which the Christian religion is justo he takes a wider range, and shows ly entitled, that those who believe how it ought to be displayed in

rose.

not extend.

many of the most interesting duties 14. The Good neighbour, 15. The and scenes of domestic life.

kind master. 16. The crime and In making known to our readers punishment of a wicked servant. the ends which the author had in 17. The regard due to our own and view to accomplish by this work, a father's friend. 18. The sweetwe cannot do better than use his ness of the labourer's sleep. 19. The own words: In the Preface, we are burial of Sarah. 20. On the death cold, that though several volumes of children. 21. On the consola. of discourses have been of late ad. tions of the new covenant under do.

dressed to families, yet "it has ap- mestic trials. 22. The influence of · peared to bion that there were seve. holy and happy scenes.

sal topics which had been little ad- These subjects are all of a pracverted to, and various scenes which tical kind, and are treated in a manare seldom regarded in the spirit of ner highly creditable to the author's piety, as to which religious counsel talents and taste. He has brought might be given with much advan- to his task a deep and intimate ac. tage ; and that those which had quaintance with human nature-an been repeatedly handled, required, accurate discrimination of character from their peculiar importance, fre. and manners-a happy facility of quent enforcement; and might be giving a lively interest to scriptural illustrated and applied with the re. sentiments and allusions-and, withquisite variety. He has endeavour, al, there is a pervading spirit of fered to frame this work so as to an- vent piety and benevolence, which swer these objects,” and it appears imparts to the whole a peculiar to us, that in the execution of it charm. he has been very successful.

In these discourses, Mr. Belfrage We presume it must be evident is methodical, without having aught to every reader, that there is no of the air of cold or dry formality. small ingenuity discovered in find. His introductions are in general ing out, and judgment in selecting, pleasing and attractive; bis plans such a great variety of subjects of simple and natural; and his condiscourse, none of which very re- clusions always appropriate, and ofmotely, and most of them decided. ten impressive. He usually divides ly, bearing on the economy, and all his subject into what is commonly of them having a manifest tenden. called heads and particulars, and cy to promote the best interests of this method we are inclined to prefamilies. The subjects are, 1. The fer to that of the continued pulpit value of grace shown in the family oration (without marked divisions of Lazarus. 2. Picus wishes for and subdivisions) of which we have families. 3. Domestic care. 4. Fa- some celebrated specimens both in mily worship. 5. On the dedica- ancient and modern times. If the tion of infanis to God. 6. On the method here adopted may be conspirit to be exercised at family meals. sidered as interrupting the current 7. Husbands and wives expected to of eloquence, and not so favourable promote the salvation of each other. for making a powerful impression 8. God's care of the outcast. 9. On upon an audience, we are humbly the misconduct of parents, which of opinion that it has the advantage produces domestic misery. 10. On of the other, in giving more disthe misconduct of children and its tinctness to the classification of ideas, bitter fruits in families. 11. Les- and thus affording more assistance sons for conversation. 12. Prudent to the understanding and to the me management inculcated. 18. On mory of the generality of hearers or keeping the Sabbath in families. readers ; and also in giving more

« VorigeDoorgaan »