« VorigeDoorgaan »
treaties, however importunate, can procure a single | in quest of water. The messengers, however, had not drop; for of what use would all the wealth of the In- proceeded far ere one of them dropped on the ground, ces be in a place where death would be the inevitable through perfect feebleness, and, unable to speak, merely consequence of parting with the precious beverage ? The waved his hand to his companion to leave him, and to master of a whole caravan is then not better privileged return with water as quickly as possible. The survivor than the meanest of his slaves; and, as the desire of accordingly continued his solitary and now almost hopeself-preservation triumphs over every consideration, less task,-for so great was his own debility, and the when one drops the victim of thirst, his companions, excessive thirst that preyed on him, that his eyes behowever they may commiserate the sufferer, are ob- came dim, and he lost the road, though he was well ligd to pass on without delay, and abandon him to his acquainted with “he situation of the spring. Having fate. And how terrible such a situation, to be ex- wandered about a long time he alighted under the shade posed in a savage interminable desert! In vain does of a tree, and fastened the camel to one of the branches, he exert his expiring energies, in a last effort to cry out but the impatient beast having scented the water, broke for belp, or to hoist the signal of distress. Not a soul its halter, and, wearied as it was, galloped off at a fuis near to whisper the accent of sympathy, or to pour rious rate in the direction of the well, which, it aftera drop of water on his burning lips, not even an echo wards appeared, was about half an hour's distance. The responds to his cries, and he lies there, dreaming of the servant well understood the movements of the camel, murinur of limpid streams, and of wandering along the and hastened to follow it, but after advancing a few verdant banks, and stooping to swallow the delicious hundred yards he fell exhausted on the ground, and bad draught, till the effort to obey the impulse of imagina- lain a considerable time, expecting nothing but death, ton disaipates the enchantment, and awakens him to when a kind Providence directed a Bedouin of the neighall the horrible realities of his situation,-a helpless and bourhood to that place, who threw a little water on the forsaken wanderer, perishing for thirst in a vast howl. face of the expiring man, and in a short time succeeded ing wilderness!
in restoring him. They proceeded together to the spring, No general description, however, of the misery of and after filling as many skins as they could carry, resuch a situation can convey so vivid a picture of Ish- turned to the stragglers of the caravan, whom they had mael's distress as the unvarnished and circumstantial the satisfaction of finding still alive. narratives of those who have had the courage to brave, A French traveller relates an occurrence similar to and the good fortune to survive, the perils of the same, this, but which awakens a more melancholy interest, or a similar scene. And, to the reader of the Bible, both from the greater number of persons who were who meets, both in the story of the son of Hagar, and overtaken with the calamity, and the disastrous consethe travels of the Israelites in the wilderness, with se- quences with which it was attended. The caravan beveral notices of this kind of distress, which the rapid longed to a Turk who speculated in the slave trade, narrative of Moses introduces only by incidental allu- and who having with great care, and at a great expense, son, an important and grateful service may be rendered reared and educated some female slaves he possessed, by subjoining the most interesting particulars of the was on his way to dispose of them at the market of accounts of some individuals who have felt all the hor- Bagdad. They had taken with them a copious supply Tors consequent on a failure of water in the Arabian of water, and had calculated on being able to renew it desert. The following story is given on the testimony at a well which they had to pass; but, to their great disof the celebrated Burckhardt, who travelled over that appointment, they found it completely dried, and they creary region; it relates to a small caravan of five were reduced, in consequence, to the greatest distress. merchants, with about thirty slaves, and a proportion. The first object that struck the eye of the Frenchman ate number of camels, who were passing, for the pur- as he approached, was the owner of the caravan runposes of trade, from Berber to Egypt, and having re- ning about in a state of distraction, and be wailing, in ceived intelligence that they were to be way-laid by a most doleful terms, his situation, and the ruin of his band of robbers at a well which lay on their road, they fortunes; on a nearer view a spectacle was disclosed determined on choosing a more easterly route, by an- that would have wrung pity out of the hardest heart. other well of no less repute with travellers. They had in the midst of twelve eunuchs and about a hundred placed themselves under the conduct of a trusty and camels, was a band of two hundred girls of most exexperienced guide, but as the way they had chosen was quisite beauty, of from twelve to fifteen years of age, not much frequented, they soon wandered out of the lying on the ground in a state approaching to insensibiproper track, and for five days could not discover where lity, produced by excessive fatigue and thirst. Some they were.
Meanwhile their stock of water failed, and had already sunk under their distress, and were thrown as their necessities were increasing every hour, they de- | into a pit dug for the purpose; the greater part, howtermined to direct their course by the setting sun, in ever, showed, by their panting bosoms and imploring hopes of reaching the Nile. After having sustained the looks, that they were still alive, but so faint and feeble pangs of thirst for two days, fifteen of the slaves and that had water been within their reach, they could not two of the merchants died. Another, who was owner have made the necessary exertion to carry it to their of the camels, conceiving that the beasts might, by sa- lips. The air was rent with the piercing cries of the zacity or instinct, be more successful than their masters dying girls, and many a wistful eye was cast on the in discovering the situation of water, requested his traveller and his companions for a drop of the precious companions to tie him fast to the saddle of his stoutest fluid. Deeply affected by such a scene, he was proceedremaining camel, to prevent his falling through weak-ing to open his leathern bottle, and to distribute its conness, and then allowed the animal to carry him in what- tents among as many as possible of the pitiable objects, erer direction it chose; but neither the merchant nor when his guide rushing forward with the peremptory his camels were afterwards heard of. Meanwhile the exclamation : “ Madman, wouldst thou have us also pecaravan, now diminished to a little party, came in sight rish of thirst,” dashed off the unfortunate slaves, seized of the mountains of Shigre, which they recognised, and hold of the water skin, and threatened with instant where they knew they were certain of finding water; death the first who ventured to touch it. The travelbut they were so greatly enfeebled, through fatigue and ler, knowing that the ruthless Arab was in the right, privation, that neither men nor beasts were able to pro- and was acting as his own friend, was obliged to yield ceed any further. Throwing themselves down at the to the cruel necessity; and, as their departure from the foot of a projecting rock, whose shade promised them a scene of horror took away the last ray of hope from the little respite from their misery, they despatched two perishing girls, a shriek of despair was raised, every one servants with two of the stronges: remaining camels, crying out with frantic vehemence for death to come and
relieve them from their sufferings. It was a most dis- | regularly constructed according to the first of the two
ter of study and contemplation, not of command and of presenting her as a present to his wife. The poor should be. The arrangement of topics, also, is such as slave fainted several times as she parted from the spot, -but being borne across the desert at a rapid pace by to shew their consecutive dependence on each other, so her deliverers, was spared the agony of witnessing the that, like so many links of a chain, they are all susdeath that inevitably awaited her less fortunate com- pended from the primary Question,-“ What is God ?" panions.
This will be observed in a mere rehearsal of the sub
jects, of which the Questions are composed ;—the being ON THE ARRANGEMENT OBSERVED IN
and attributes of God,--the persons in the Godhead. THE ASSEMBLY'S SHORTER CATECHISM. the divine purposes or decrees,—the execution of these By The Rev. DUNCAN MACFARLAN,
in creation, their fulfilment in providence,—the special Minister of Renfrew.
providence of God towards man, in an unfallen state, Frequent notice has been taken of the extraordinary in the fall and its consequences,—in redemption from simplicity of arrangement and depth of thought observ- these,—in the character and offices of the Redeemer,– able in the Assembly's Shorter Catechism. Of the former, in what he did on earth to redeem man, and in what he I have just had a remarkable proof, in reading over Dr is raised to in heaven, for the farther purposes of redempChaliners' Preface to the first voluine of the new edition tion,-in applying to sinners the blessings of redemption of his works. With his usual clearness and analytical acu
by the Holy Spirit,-his operations in effectual calling, men, he proposes two methods of studying Theology. justification, adoption, and santification, and the fruits According to the one, the first object of contemplation is of these in life, at death, at the resurrection, and througlithe Divine Being ; and then the history of his doings out eternity. in this world, detailed in natural, if not chronological
From the beginning of the thirty-ninth Question, to order. The other fixes at once on some awakened sin the end of the book, the topics are strictly practical, ner, and accompanying him as he advances in knowledge and they are so arranged as to furnish an appropriate and holiness, describes progressively the discoveries directory for every stage of Christian advancement, which he makes, or which are made to him, in the word | The subjects introduced, are not presented speculativeand works of God. The former considers God ab- ly, but as pointing to the conscience and the heart, and stractly, and follows out the other branches as so many
as leading forth the mind, and guiding the conduct, inta of his works. And divinity taught upon this principle, the ways of God. And accordingly, the arrangement, recommends itself to reason, as regularly deductive and instead of assuming some principle in the matter of concapable of systematic arrangement. And accordingly, teinplation, assumes a principle in the man, and proceeds this is the principle on which catechisms and systems of to address and direct him in all bis advances onward to divinity are usually constructed. The other, instead of perfection. It is in this way that the thirty-ninth Questhe matter observed, takes up the observer ; and simply tion cominences with what “ God requireth of man?" recording what he is supposed to see and feel, as he ad- It is thus the first arrow driven from this quiver, is so vances towards perfection, the same subjects pass in pointed as to aim at the conscience, God's witness in review; but they are seen from different points, and
And the commandments which follow, are as a under different lights. They are seen, not as abstract
bundle of these. They are variously pointed, yet all truths, but as practical directions. And this, therefore, have a point ; and this very diversity only fits them the is the view of divine truth best fitted for the guidance more for the diversified circumstances in which man is of the heart and conduct. The principles thus referred found. One, for example, is aimed at the conscience to, are, if we mistake not, the same with the categories of such as worship strange gods,-another at those who of Aristotle and the first principles of Bacon ; the one worship even the true God, through the medium of assuming, as the basis of his arrangement, being, or the images,- ,-a third at the blasphemer,-a fourth at the things about which men think ; and the other, the powers Sabbath-breaker,—a fifth at children who are disobe. of mind by which these are known and enjoyed. Now, dient to parents,-a sixth at murderers,-a seventh at it is perhaps new to some of our readers to be told, adulterers,—an eighth at thieves,-a ninth at liars, that the profound distinctions of an Aristotle and a and a tenth at the covetous. And to render each of Bacon, are employed in the construction of that humble these sharp as a “ two-edged sword,” there is under Primer called the Shorter Catechism; and that the each, first, what concerns the “want of conformity to,” prolific mind of a Chalmers could not have selected a and then, what belongs to the “ transgression of;" in finer example of its own original speculations, than is to other words, a required,” and a forbidden," with be found in this directory for catechising such as are of occasional reasons also annexed. Nor does each coma weaker capacity.
mandment point only to as many individual sins or duThe number of Questions in this little manual, is, in ties, but under these, to as many classes of both. It is all, one hundred and seven. The first three are intro- therefore scarcely possible to conceive of any arrangeductory-God's chief or principal end in creating man, ment better fitted to bring home guilt to every conthe rule by which man may attain to that end, and the science. And it is accordingly followed by other quesprincipal branches into which that rule muy be divided, tions, respecting man's inability to keep the commands, are the topics thus introduced.
the sins of which he thus becomes guilty, and the eterFrom the beginning of the fourth Question, to the nal judgments to which he is exposed. By these, be is end of the thirty-eighth, we have a system of divinity, I left helpless and hopeless, under a sentence of condemna
tion, and is thus driven to enquire, what he must do to Catechism." But if I were asked for a practical guide, be saved. Here the very next question takes him up, to lead men to Christ, and to train them to holiness, I tells him how be may escape the wrath and curse of would say, “ Begin at the thirty-ninth Question, and be God due by sin, and explains this, under the heads of guided by those which follow, onward to the end." faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, and the or- 3. Even children might, on these principles, be taught dinary means of grace. Even in this subordinate ar- to greater advantage than they usually are. Instead of rangement, the condition of the enquirer is kept steadily beginning to instruct a child, respecting the abstract in view. The only direct answer which can be given character of God, the distinctions of personality in the to the question, “ What must I do to be saved ?" is Godhead, the doctrine of decrees, and other matters of repent and believe ;" and agreeably to this, the only difficult comprehension, I would begin my attempts to points immediately explained in the Catechism, are faith instruct him, with the meaning and application of each in Jesus Christ, and repentance unto life. Repentance succeeding commandment, and onwards to the end ; by is the turning of the heart from every thing else to God, which time, he would have materials out of which to 33 reconciled in Christ ; and faith is the looking at Christ conceive of God, of his purposes and works; and his mind beheringly, as the gift of God, and receiving him as the would be also, in some measure, prepared for more absalvation of the soul. But this very“ looking at Christ,” stract processes of thinking. and“ turning of the heart” to God, as reconciled in 4. Much of the apparent abstruseness of this little Christ, imply some knowledge of his will, and create work would in this way disappear, and on the same prindesire for the enjoyment of other ordinances. And ciple on which science becomes comparatively easy, these next follow, under the teaching of the word, the when perceived in a proper course and by proper meaus. obzervance of the sacraments, and the exercise of prayer. Depart from the arrangements of a Linnæus and Jussieu, An awakened and repenting sinner seeks early and ear- and the beautiful order observable in botany will appear nestly to know the will of God. The Catechism meets confused and perplexing; or invert the order in any prohimn, offering instruction respecting the profitable read- cess of mathematical enquiry, and the evenness of the ing of the word, and waiting on the ordinance of preach-way along which we find an easy path, will be rugged to ing. But supposing him to be in some measure in the master, and impassable to the pupil. And strange structed, he yet desires to receive seals of the covenant, were it, indeed, if an arrangement so exact and so well and may never before have partaken of any of its signs. adapted to its own special ends as that of the Catechism, The nature, use, and proper observance of the sacra- should nevertheless leave each Question to be taken up, ments are therefore now unfolded. And last of all like some cube cast on a gammon board, in any order cuines prayer, not as if the individual were up till this and with equal intelligence. time considered prayerless, but because it is now that 5. If these principles and distinctions were more obhe especially requires to be taught how to pray for such served, more justice would be done to the merits of the things as he ought; and this, because it is now that he work, and it would be rendered more generally useful. declares himself to be an heir of those promises on which pager rests, and through which it obtains blessings. Burying alive of Widows in India.—The burying The prayer of the soul, like breath in the natural body, alive of widows manifests, if that were possible, a still is essential to life, and, like it, begins properly as soon
more abominable state of feeling toward women than the as we are born anew. But though this be its begin burning them alive. The weaners (caste or tribe of
weaners) bury their dead. The renewed soul becoming of this tribe is deluded into the determination not to
When, therefore, a widow ning, its end is unseen. more and more conformed to the will of God, enters survive her husband, she is buried alive with the dead more and more into the spirit of prayer, and finds, in body. In this kind of immolation, the children and rethe simple but comprehensive example with which the lations dig the grave. After certain ceremonies have Catechism concludes, materials more and more fitted been attended to, the poor widow arrives, and is let for guiding its intercourse with the Father of spirits.
down into the pit. She sits in the centre, taking the
dead body on her lap, and encircling it with her arms. 1. By using the Catechism in the right observance of These relations now begin to throw in the soil; and these distinctions and principles, we shall be better able after a short space, two of them descend into the grave, to understand each question in its true and proper
and tread the earth firmly round the body of the widow. meaning; and the reason why such questions as Effec
She sits a calm and unremonstrating spectator of the tual Calling and Justification are so far separated from higher around her, without upbraiding her murderers,
horrid process. She sees the earth rising higher and Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance unto Life ; and or making the least effort to arise and make her escape. how, in general, the doctrines of the gospel, as contained At length the earth reaches her lips—covers her head. in both parts of the Catechism, should not be together. The rest of the earth is then hastily thrown in, and These things happen, simply because we have, in the these children and relations mount the grave, and tread first, a speculative system, and, in the latter, a practical down the earth upon the head of the suffocating widow directory. The doctrines of the Gospel are necessary
-the mother !-Why, my dear friend, the life of the
vilest beast that walks upon the earth is never taken to both, but require to be presented in different forms, away by a process so slow, so deliberate, so diabolical so as the more perfectly to secure the different ends con- as this. And this is the state of your sex in British templated.
India .In how many situations, where we expected it 2. Each division may thus be turned to its own pro-word; in every part of the heathen world, in the mise
not, are we reminded of the testimony of the divine per use. Suppose, for example, that I were asked in rable state of woman, what a confirmation of the dewhat book a clear outline of the Christian faith might nunciation,_" To the woman, He said, I will greatly be found and studied, I would at once say, “ In the multiply thy sorrow.”—Genesis, iii. 16. first thirty-eight Questions of the Assembly's Shorter
Ward's Letter to Miss Hope of Liverpool,
TO A FRIEND ENTERING THE MINISTRY.
AS THY DAY, SO SHALL THY STRENGTII BE."
as my day my strength shall be."
LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY.
High thoughts at first, and visions high
Of all his sinning suffering race,
Will hear that Word so full of grace, And coldly turn away. But soon a sadder mood comes round High hopes have fallen to the ground, And the ambassadors of peace Go weeping, that men will not cease To strive with Heaven,—they weep and mourn,
That suffering men will not be blest
That weary men refuse to rest,
To seek with toil and fruitless strife
To chafe the numbed limbs into life,
To search into her hidden things,
And seek in books the wondrous springs
Like incense heavenward, and with care,
And lonely vigil nursing there
Than if in fear to lose the bloom,
Or ruffle the soul's lightest plume,
Wherewith to feed our fading urns,
Who watches every lamp that burns Before his Sacred shrine.
Rev. C. Trench,
It is to the children of God you are obliged for the support of the world ; they, as it were, bear up the pillars of it; and that moment God has called in his last elect, the world will be burnt up. When Lot lingered, the angel took hold of his hand, and the hand of his wife, and the hand of his two daughters, and brought them out of the city, for the angel said, “I cannot do any thing till thou be come to Zoar,” and when he had got safe to Zoar, God rained fire upon Sodom.-M. Wilks.
Interesting Facts.–Gibbon, who in his celebrated History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, has left an imperishable memorial of his enmity to the Gospel, resided many years in Switzerland, where, with the profits of his works, he purchased a considerable estate. This property has descended to a gentleman, who out of his rents expends a large sum annually in the promulgation of that very Gospel which his predecessor insidiously endeavoured to undermine, not hav. ing had courage openly to assail it. Voltaire boasted, that with one hand he would overthrow that edifice of Christianity, which required the hands of twelve apostles to build up. At this day, the press which he enployed at Ferny to print his blasphemies, is actually employed at Geneva in printing the Holy Scriptures. Thus the self-same engine, which he set to work to destroy the credit of the Bible, is engaged in dissemi. nating its truths. It may also be added as a remarka. ble circumstance, that the first provisional meeting for the re-formation of an Auxiliary Bible Society at Edinburgh, was held in the very room in which Hume dieci.
THE FOOLISH LOVE OF THE WORLD.
Judge in thyself, O Christian ! is it meet
JOHN FLAVEL, 1680.
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THE DIVISION OF MANKIND INTO except a strong natural affection would prompt him FAMILIES.
to undergo. But for this natural instinct, the BY THE REY. James BUCHANAN,
Family Arrangement could not serve the beneficent Minister of North Leith.
purposes for which it was designed. The Family Arrangement is a divine institution. These
purposes are, to draw forth into exercise, It is not a creation of human policy, nor a result and, by exercising, to develope and strengthen, the of human contrivance, but the wise and well-or- moral and social affections of infant humanity-to dered product of divine wisdom and benevolence; bring children from their earliest infancy under and, indeed, it is one of the most admirable of a course of training-to form in them habits of God's arrangements. His wisdom is not more subjection to authority—of submission to a supedisplayed in the construction of an individual man, rior will—of order, and regularity, and self-denial than in the construction of the social system in in their daily conduct, and thus to prepare them, which every such individual is placed. God has as it were in a private nursery, for the intercourse, chosen that the whole race should be divided into and business, and duties of manhood ;—these, in so many little communities, each of which is under reference to the present and visible world,—but far the superintendence and government of its natural more in reference to the world invisible and eterLead, and all its members bound together by the nal,—to secure for them, from their earliest infancy, ties of natural sympathy and affection. For this the benefit of a father's counsel and a father's care : end, he has so arranged the economy of his provi- to teach them betimes the lessons of piety, comdence, that men are brought into the world in a mended with persuasive power by the lips of a state of absolute helplessness—the helplessness of parent, whom God would have to be at once a masinfancy; and that from their earliest years, they ter and a priest in his own house,—and to give them, are placed in a state of entire dependence on their by the type of an earthly father, some idea of the parents, and of absolute subjection to their autho- character in which He himself best loves to be rity. They are not created in a condition of so- known, even as their Father in Heaven ! Litary independence, but born in certain social The institution of families seems to be one of relations, which make their very birth a bond of God's chief ordinances for the education of the mutual interest and endearment, and provide for world. Even did the children of a family rethem a company of friends and protectors on their ceive no set lessons—they are so placed by a wise first entrance into the world.
Providence, that they cannot fail to derive from The parent is invested with absolute authority; their connections a large amount of useful infor--but that this authority might be tempered in its mation ; they pick it up, day by day, from the exercise with mercy and compassion, and that conversation and example of those who are older power so despotic might not degenerate into ty- and more experienced than themselves; and all ranny, God has implanted in every parent's heart the advantages which they derive from the intimate a love for his offspring, insomuch that, although and familiar intercourse of domestic life, must be previously he may have neither felt nor shewn any ascribed to that wise arrangement by which one peculiar liking for children, yet no sooner is his generation of human beings is linked to anotherchild born, than the instinct comes into play, and so linked, that the current experience and knowhis heart yearns over the little one with a new and ledge of the world, are transmitted imperceptibly, hitherto unknown tenderness. This parental af- and almost without an effort, from sire to son section is perfectly disinterested, being irrespective continually. of all personal profit or advantage, and contem- Here, then, is the whole human race divided, plating only the comfort and welfare of its objects; as it were, into myriads of little communities, each and it is not only so disinterested, but so strong with its own natural head and protector, to whom, and self-denied, that it prompts the parent to sub- by a powerful instinct, every child looks up with ject himself to many hardships and privations in reverence, and from whom he hears without quarthe upbringing of his children, which nothing else rel, and believes without hesitation, the instruc