species of coal_lignite, bituminous coal, and anthracite | idea of what we mean by the benevolent design of this

- seems now to be clearly understood. All of it had mighty agency. If it be indeed true, as most geologists å vegetable origin. The dense tropical forests that now admit, that even at this day the earth contains er. covered all parts of the globe in the earliest times, have tensive accumulations of intensely heated matter, em. become converted, in the course of ages, into this most bracing perhaps all its central parts, then may it be useful substance. If a superior but finite being had be- literally true that volcanoes are the safety valves of held this world, while yet only a sparse population of the globe. For if such molten reservoirs do not occaanimals of inferior grade inbabited it, be might have sionally have vent, the vapour and gases generated thought it strange that such a vast superfluity of vege- within them, would burst the globe asunder. The phe. tation should cover its surface. But God was thus pro- nomena of earthquakes admonish us of the consequences viding for the wants of future and superior races of of closing these valves ; for they are produced by the beings. When man should, in after times, be multi- struggles of these vapours and gases to escape; and plied in all lands, and forests should be swept away to until they do escape through volcanic vents, they heave make room for him, a supply of other fuel than the and fissure the solid strata over whole continents; and existing vegetation would be necessary for his comfort, in past days they have been far more destructive to proand the perfection of society. . God, therefore, provided perty and life than volcanoes. But so soon as the force beforehand for this exigency, by rendering the earth is sufficient to lift the safety valve, that is, to uncap the prolific in such vegetation as would be converted into volcano, the earthquake ceases. Let the valve be coal by the slow processes of nature. He buried this heavy enough, and the earth would ere long be blown treasure in the earth, by means of aqueous and volcanic to atoms. To prevent such a catastrophe, God has agencies, and permitted these same agencies to place it scattered more than two hundred of these safety valves within the reach of human industry against the proper over its surface. time. Who can doubt but this is an example of divine “ It will probably be asked why God could not have put prospective benevolence ? We see in it the providence in operation an agency that would have afforded the reof a kind father, laying up a store for the support of his quisite security, unattended by that terrific waste of life future offspring. And we learn from it, not to judge and comfort which has followed in the track of volcahastily of the ultimate designs of the Deity from pre- noes? We see no reason, indeed, why he could not sent appearances. What seems superfluous now, or ill have secured the good without the evil. But the same adapted to our present condition, may be intended for difficulty meets the student of natural theology at every the comfort and happiness of other beings, millions of step of his progress. To solve it, is to do nothing else ages hence.

than to determine why God permits evil at all ; a quese • In human works, though laboured on with pain,

tion that has hitherto proved too deep for the human A thousand moveinents scarce one object gain :

understanding. But in every case where any contriv. In God's, one single can its end produce,

ance is adapted to produce more good than evil, we Yet seems to second, too, some other use.'

reasonably infer the benevolence of the design. And “ The history of the formation of limestone conducts even in the case of volcanoes, no one can imagine that us to similar conclusions. For the most part this sub- the occasional loss of a few lives is a matter of so stance appears to be originally produced by marine much importance, as the security of the whole globe animals ; God having given them the power, either to which is thereby obtained. When we can ascertain obtain it by decomposing those salts of lime which the why God permits evil at all, we can answer the queswaters hold in solution, or by some unknown chemistry tion, why in this case he does not afford the security to form it anew out of more simple elements. With without the attendant mischief ? the line obtained in this mysterious manner, these “ Finally, the adaptation of the natures different animals construct their habitations ; the most remark- groups of animals to the different states of the globe in able of which are the coral reefs which at present past times, affords evidence of divine benevolence. stretch over so many degrees of latitude and longitude, “ So peculiar was the structure, and in many cases forming the basis of numerous islands in the Pacific so enormous was the size of the animals found in a Ocean, and are the work of certain minute polyparia. fossil state, that we are apt to regard them as excello Forsaken at length by the animals, these coral struc- tions to the usual beauty and proportion of nature, tures become buried in the earth, and there, in the sort of half-formed and monstrous creatior., corresponde course of ages, are mixed with other substances and ing rather to the ancient opinions of chaos than to the subjected sometimes to partial or complete fusion, order and harmony of the existing world. The alizawhereby they become converted into the different tors and crocodiles of our times are mere påşmies varieties of limestone now found in the earth's crust. when compared with the plesiosaurus, the ichthyosaurus

, And it is a curious fact, that the quantity of limestone the megalosaurus, and the iguanodon of the ancient in the earth seems to have been gradually increasing world. Imagine an animal of the lizard tribe,' says from the earliest times ; so that the accumulated store Mr Mantell, three or four times as large as the largest is now abundantly sufficient for the fullest population crocodile, having jaws, with teeth equal in size to the that the globe can sustain.

incisors of the rhinoceros, and crested with borns : – “ We regard the existence of volcanoes as evidential such a creature must have been the iguanodon! Nor of divine benevolence. We have already pointed out were the inhabitants of the waters much less wonderincidentally, several important objects that have been ful; witness the plesiosaurus, which only required accomplished in past ages by volcanic


, in the ele- wings to be a flying dragon. Yet one of the most disvation of continents, the formation of valleys, and pro- tinguished anatomists of the present day, says on this trusion to the surface of useful minerals. But we refer subject, that the animals of the antediluvian world now to active and not extinct volcanoes. And these, were not monsters; there was no lusus or extravagance, we are aware, are almost universally regarded as exhi- Hideous as they appear to us, and like the phantoms of bitions of the displeasure of God, rather than of his a dream, they were adapted to the condition of the benevolence. It is indeed true, that they are often earth when they existed.' terrific exhibitions of his power; and when he employs cations of the habits of the animals, we acquire : them as penal inflictions, they signally manifest the sterner knowledge of the condition of the earth during their features of the divine character. Yet we maintain that period of existence ; that it was suited at one time to the design of volcanoes is to preserve

and not to destroy the scaly tribe of the lacertae, with languid motion; a They have been denominated the safety valves of our another, to animals of higher organization, with more globe ;' and this quaint expression conveys a forcible varied and lively habits; and finally, we learn, that af

* Judging by these indi


any period previous to man's creation, the surface of in him' whom her soul loved, that they should dethe earth would have been unsuitable to him.'

sire him.' Perhaps no Christian character is truly conHere then, do we see, the overflowing benevolence firmed in faith and patience, without some trial of perof the Deity. He was fitting up this world for the secution, which both shows to the heart its own corrupfuture residence of intellectual and moral beings ; and tion, by the irritating effects of gainsaying, and affords an he chose to do it, not by a miracle, but by the sole opportunity of proving that we are not ashamed of the agency

of natural causes. But must the world, during Gospel of Christ. Th dear child had her trial adapt. this immense period, remain an uninhabited waste ? ed to her age and sphere, and came forth on the Lord's Benevolence could not permit it; and infinite power put side holding fast the word of life, in as firm a way as a forth its energies, under the guidance of infinite wis much more experienced Christian might have done. dom, to create, we know not how many myriads of beings, The Rev. J. Macdonald of Farintosh having preachwith natures adapted to the semi-chaotic condition of ed in the parish of Uig, Kitty's parents were among

the earth; and when that condition had become so the many who went to hear him. On their return the altered that the first group of animals could no longer they mentioned what he had said about the formality

fiourish or be happy upon it, he suffered them to become of much that is called prayer, and the ignorance of many extinct, and put forth again the creative energies of the as to its spirituality; they stated, according to their reGodhead, to produce a second and more perfect race ; collection of the sermon, that many had old useless then succeeded a third, and probably a fourth, more prayers, and greatly needed to learn to pray with the and more perfect in their organization, until at last man, Spirit. The child observed this, and two days after, with the existing inferior tribes, was brought into being; said to her mother, “it is time for me to give over my because creation around him had assumed such a condi- old form of prayer.' Her mother replied, “neither you tion as was fitted to their natures.

nor your prayers are old;' but she rejoined, “I must " Such are the beautiful displays of divine benevo- give them over, and use the prayers which the Lord will Jence, that meet us in that ancient field of geological teach me.' After this she withdrew to retired spots research, which scepticism has heretofore described as for prayer. At one time her younger sister returned covered over with the formless monuments of blind without her, and on being asked where she had left chance and fate; and which piety has supposed to be Kitty, she said, 'I left her praying.' Her father says that consecrated to atheism!"

he has often sat up in bed listening to her sweet young

voice, presenting this petition with heartfelt earnestness, KITTY SMITH;

Oh, redeem me from spiritual and eternal death.'

“ From the remoteness of her dwelling, Kitty had 0B, “ THEY THAT SEEK ME EARLY, SHALL FIND Me." never attended any place of public worship-but the “CATHARINE SMITH was a native of Pabay, a small

Sabbath was her delight,—and often would she call in

her brothers and sisters from the play in which they island in Loch Roag, where dwell seven families. From their insular situation and poverty, it has not

were thoughtlessly engaged, asking them to join in been in the power of the parents to educate their child prayer and other devout exercises, and warning them, dren ; but little Kitty is an example of the truth that that if they profaned the day, and disliked God's wors all God's children are taught of him, for when only two ship, they must perish. Her mother observing the inyears old she was observed to lay aside her playthings,

tent gaze with which she looked on a large fire, enand clasp her little hands with reverence during family quired what

she saw in that fire ? She replied, “I am worship; and at the age of three she was in the habit seeing that my state would be awful if I were to fall vour as showed that she looked to the Good Shepherd fire will never come out thence.' Another day, when of repeating the 23d Psalm, with such relish and fer- into that fire, even though I should be immediately

but wo is me, those who are cast into het in the character of a lamb of his flock. Her parents walking by the side of a precipice, and looking down, taught her also the Lord's Prayer, which she repeat-she exclaimed to her mother, how fearful would our ed duly, not only at her stated times, but often in the silence of night. She frequently pressed the duty of state be if we were to fall down this rock, even though

we should be lifted up again; but they who are cast into prayer, not only on the other children, but on her parents, and she told her father that, in their absence, the depths of hell will never be raised therefrom."

“One day her mother found her lying on a bench with when she would ask a blessing on the food left for the children, her brothers and sisters would mock at, and her with a view to cheer her. But the child's heart

à sad countenance, and addressed some jocular words to beat her for doing so. At another time, when she was probably about six years old, she was out with

was occupied with solemn thoughts of eternity; and her companions herding cattle, when she spoke to them instead of smiling, she answered gravely, O, mother, of the comeliness of Christ. They, probably to tempt you are vexing my spirit, I would rather hear you prayher, said he was black. She left them, and returned ing:! In truth, eternity was very near her, and the horne much east down, and said, "The children vexed she got up one morning, she said, 'O, are we not

Spirit of God was preparing her for entering it. As me very much to-day. I will not go with them, for they said that Christ was black, and that grieved my mother, curious to hear what one so young could say

wicked creatures who have put Christ to death. Her spirit.' Her parents asked her what she replied to that. • I told them," she said, “that Christ is white and glo- Kitty, long before we were born. The child, speaking

on such a subject, replied, “ Christ was put to death, rious in his apparel.'

“ It is probable that Kitty was sufficiently enlight with an understanding heart, said, “Mother, I am ened to discern the moral comeliness of the gracious younger than you, but my sins were crucifying him.'

After a pause, she added, • What a wonder that Christ Redeemer, while her thoughtless comrades did not extend their ideas beyond personal beauty. They had power to kill every one ; indeed, they only put him

could be put to death when he himself was God, and would have said any thing that might produce the effect of provoking their playfellow, whose more intel- used often to repeat passages from Peter Grant's spi.

to death as man, for it is impossible to kill God.' She Egent spirit grieved for them that they saw no beauty ritual songs, such as, It is the blood of the Lamb that

The above remarks by Professor Hitchcock, of Amherst College, precious is.' When she came to the conclusion of the _America, are extracted from the “ Cabinet Library of Useful Tracta," published by Thomas Clark, Edinburgh ;-a work in which

verse, . It is not valued according to its worth,' she he pieces selected for republication are, with one or two exceptions, would in touching terms, lament the sad truth, that = cry judicious; and the public, we conceive, owe a debt of gratitude His blood is so lightly thought of. Being present when

the spirited publisher, for thus bringing into notice a number of aluable fragments which would otherwise have been lost. some pious persons spoke of those in Rev. vii. who


have washed their robes and made them white in the duals motives by wbich they were never influenced, blood of the Lamb, she said, is it not wonderful that, magnifying virtues, or exaggerating errors. In while other blood stains what is dipped in it, this the Word of God, the infirmities which cleave cleanses and makes white?' “Murdoch Macleod being engaged in the valuable du

even to the best are not extenuated or concealed, ties of a Scottish elder in the little island of Pabay, and the crimes of the wicked are plainly and Kitty wished much to hear hin, but from bashfulness faithfully narrated. There, too, we obtain views was ashamed to enter the house where lie was employs of the sentiments, feelings, and conduct of a class ed in worship; she therefore climbed up to the window of human beings, whose history is fraught with and sat there till all was over. Being asked what she lessons of the most important practical instruchad heard, she said she was amazed to hear that Christ tion: men not truly virtuous nor completely vioffered himself as a Saviour to many in our land who rejected him, and that he was now going to other and cious; not destitute of religious conviction or holy more remote quarters to win souls. She then added impression, yet seldom yielding to their salutary with the pathos of a full heart, ‘0, who knows but impulse; maintaining a form of godliness, yet dehe may return here again.' “Soon after she had completed her seventh year she truths of Religion, yet violating its most sacred in

nying its power ; professing faith in the great was attacked by that sickness which opened her way junctions. Of this number was Saul the king of to the kingdom of Heaven. who slıe pitied most of those she would leave behind, Israel ; a portion of whose melancholy, yet inshe replied that she pitied cvery one whom she left instructive history, now claims our attention. When a Christless state. She suffered much from thirst dur-God, by the hand of Moses, had led his people ing her illness, and her mother, reluctant to give her out of Egypt, the Amalekites opposed their so much cold water as she longed for, fell upon the evil expedient of telling her that the well was dried up. I hatred and detestation.

gress, and shewed towards them every mark of

The Jewish lawgirer The following day, when she saw water brought in for household purposes, poor Kitty's heart was grieved, and thus recals to the memory of the Israelites the she said, “O, mother dear, was it not you who told the conduct of the Amalekites in the last address great lie yesterday, when you said the well was dry which he delivered to them. “ Remember what -0, never do so again, for it angers. God. During Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were her illness, she was enabled almost literally to obey come forth out of Egypt: how he met thee by the command, “pray without ceasing,' and was often interceding with the Lord to look down and visit her the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, eren native place.

On the morning of her last day on all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast eartlı, her father said, “there is reason for thankful faint and weary; and he feared not God." Jeness, that we see another day.' Kitty opened her eyes, hovah had long declared his determination to de and said, “O, Holy One of Israel save me from death,' stroy this wicked and depraved people, yet he dea petition often used when in perfect health, and evi-layed the execution of their merited punishment dently referring to spiritual and eternal death. Through- till the measure of their iniquities had become full. out the day she was generally silent, when her father remarked, saying, "I do not hear you praying as usual;' Four hundred years had passed away, and the to which she replied, 'dear father, I pray without Amalekites still existed as a nation; their evil ceasing, though not because you desire me to do so. In habits and sinful passions had increased by their her last moments she was heard to say, 'O, redeem experience of the divine forbearance, but the senme from death. Her father, leaning over her, said, tence of vengeance was written in the book of • Kitty, where are you now?' To which the reply God's decrees, and it was now about to be carried was, 'I am on the shore;' and immediately her soul was launched into the great ocean of eternity. In De into execution. That Being who rules with equal cember 1829, this lowly child was carried from her authority over the elements of nature and the acpoor native island to the blessed region where the re- tions of his intelligent offspring; who sometimes deemed of the Lord find their home, and her naine destroys the guilty nation by earthquake, famine, has left a sweet perfume behind it.

and pestilence, had determined upon this occasion DISCOURSE.

to render the very people whom the Amalekites

had oppressed, the executioners of his wrath, and BY THE Rev. JOHN HUNTER, A. M.,

the instruments of inflicting upon them misery One of the Ministers of the Tron Church, Edinburgh.

and death. Samuel the prophet announced to “ And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Saul the command of the Most High “ to go and

Blessed be thou of the Lord : I have performed the smite Amalek, and utterly to destroy all that they commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, had, and to spare them not ; but to slay both man What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine cars, and the lowing of the oxen which I and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, hear?”-1 Sam. xv. 13, 14.

camel and ass.” The inspired historian informs It affords to every reflecting mind a strong inter- us, that Saul and his people destroyed the Amaleknal proof of the truth of the Holy Scriptures, that spared Agag their king, and the best of the sheep they give no false or distorted picture of human nature, but exhibit man as he really is. The philo- and all that was good, and would not utterly de

and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs sopher and the poet frequently present to our view a being who has no existence but in their stroy them : but every thing that was vile and own imagination, and the pages of the secular refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Now, it is to historian often pervert facts, ascribing to indivi- the conduct which Saul pursued, while he pro

fessed to fulfil the divine injunctions, that my * Extracted from “ History of Revivals of Religion in the British

text relates ; and it opens up a train of moral


reflections which may be of the greatest advan- | It is the fear of an unknown but dread futurity, tage in enabling us to detect our own secret faults, which induces the votary of superstition daily to and to shun those errors which proved the ruin of repeat a round of unmeaning ceremonies, and to the Israelitish monarch.

submit to acts of the most irksome self-denial and I. I begin then by observing, that Saul yielded rigid penance. And it is the same principle which a certain measure of obedience to the divine com- we perceive powerfully influencing the individual mand. We have seen that the Almighty had who neglects every religious ordinance, and almost enjoined him to destroy the inhabitants of Ama- every moral duty, and who, in his general conlek, and to spread the hand of utter desolation duct, seems neither to reverence God nor regard over the country which they inhabited. The man, yet who often dares not utter a false oath, monarch hesitated not a single moment to fulfil or imprecate Heaven's vengeance on his own the duties of the tremendous office with which guilty head. It were easy to multiply instances he was invested. We find him immediately of this kind, but they must immediately suggest collecting his people together, commanding them themselves to every one who hears me. There is to arm for combat, leading them into the field no man, however unprincipled his conduct, who of battle, inflicting death with an unsparing hand, has not in the moments of calm and quiet retireand literally destroying all the people, except ment, on the bed of pain, or in the house of the king of the Amalekites, and a very small mourning, trembled at the thought of appearing portion of their number, who by flight eluded before that God who can cast both soul and body Their utmost vigilance, and whom they were un- into hell fire, and resolved to act a wiser and betable to overtake. Hitherto the conduct of Saul ter part than he has hitherto done. These resowas marked by diligence, alacrity, and zeal. His lutions have not unfrequently, in a certain meaown wishes, and those of his people, were pro- sure, been carried into effect, leading him for a bably entirely in unison with the command which time to abstain from some sins to which he was they had received from on high. They were addicted, or to practise some duties which he had warlike in disposition and habit, and desired con- formerly neglected. Amid the awful ruins of the quest; they remembered the injuries which had fall, we still perceive memorials of the primeval been inflicted upon them, and longed for venge- dignity of our nature; and while the corruption ance; and they probably looked forward with of the will and affections have fearfully contribupleasure to the prospect of enriching themselves ted to debase the understanding of man, reason by a portion of the spoil of the Amalekites, al- still teaches us the existence of a Superior Power, though this had been expressly forbidden by God. and conscience reminds us, that we are bound to Men are ever ready to obey the precepts of Reli- bend in devout submission to his will

, and cheergion, as long as that obedience is calculated to fully to execute his holy commands. gratify their own inclination, or to promote their II. But, in the second place, the obedience of worldly interests; and they put down entirely to Saul to the authority of the Most High, is like the account of piety, actions which are in no small that of every unregenerated man, partial and defecdegree influenced by motives of a far less pure and tive in its nature. There was no ambiguity in the exalted origin. Still, however, it is highly pro- divine declaration with regard to the conduct bable that the king of Israel was by no means un- which the king of Israel was to pursue in his influenced in the outset of his course by a desire treatment of the Amalekites. A sentence of to comply with the will of God. He was well universal destruction was issued, and the Israelinstructed in the great principles of religious truth; ites were not permitted to retain the smallest porhe knew that Jehovah was invested with supreme tion of the spoil. The reasons on which this inauthority, that he was omnipotent in power, in- junction was founded, it was not necessary that flexible in justice, and spotless in holiness; and they should be able to ascertain. The voice of while he loved him not, he yet dreaded the awful Jehovah had uttered the severe, but righteous deeffects of his wrath, and trembled to rebel against cree, and it was their province implicitly to obey. his righteous authority.

Yet many of the purposes of heaven were obWe perceive the same feelings influencing the vious, even to their limited capacity. A just and conduct of unsanctified man in every age and holy God was about to punish those who, for country. There is a conviction of the existence ages, had been the oppressors of his people ; and and agency of a Superior Power, which even all he was thus to vindicate his own authority, to the ignorance and depravity prevailing in the strike terror into the hearts of his enemies, and world have not been able completely to obliterate. to teach his chosen heritage that obedience was The creature feels himself to be dependent upon their only safety, their highest bliss. The prohihis Creator, bound to obey his mandate, and liable bition to the Israelites to appropriate the spoil to to punishment for transgression. Fear ever finds their own use, was calculated to repress that spirit a genial soil in the heart of man, until it is extir- of vain glory which is ever ready to spring up in pated or regulated by the holier emotion of love. the minds of a victorious people, to check their It is fear which causes the idolater to offer in sa- desire of worldly grandeur, to preserve

their crifice the most costly victim, and even the ob- rity, and to keep them in remembrance that it ject of his fonde st affection, to appease the wrath was not by the might of their own arm, but by and to propitiate the favour of his offended Deity. the outstretched hand. God, that they were in

pu. pure

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

spired with courage in the season of danger, and endeavours to silence his suggestions, and if he is crowned with success. The inconsiderate and unable to convince him that his conduct is guilty monarch of Israel, however, in the hour and spotless, he at least strives, and often sucof victory, either completely forgot or utterly dis- cessfully, to extenuate his errors, and to magnify regarded the command of his God. Agag, the his virtues. And this leads me to remark, king of Amalek, is preserved amid the general III. The arts by which Saul endeavoured devastation, to swell the triumphs of the con- to satisfy his own mind, and to persuade the proqueror. All that is valuable in the flocks and phet Samuel that he had acted in a justifiable ljerds of the enemy is saved. The desire of gain manner. He approaches not the messenger of is cherished and increased in the minds of the God with the accents of contrition, but with the people. Wealth is poured in rich abundance, language of pride and self-gratulation ; " I have on Israel, and her monarch rejoices in the glory performed the commandment of the Lord.” And of their achievements, and in the riches which | when Samuel enquires, “ What meaneth then they had been enabled to amass. They think this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the not of that Being whose eyes are as a flame of lowing of the oxen which I hear ?" He boldly fire, who rejects the homage of insincerity, and who replies, « They have brought them from the requires implicit submission to his will from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the creatures whom he has formed. Open, my brethren, sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord the

page of sacred history, and innumerable simi- thy God, and the rest we have utterly destroyed." lar examples of a compromise between God and Here, we observe, that no allusion is made to the Mammon, between sin and righteousness, present preserving the life of Agag; that the destructhemselves to your view. Achan joined not him- tion of a part of the spoil is represented as the self with the enemies of God's ancient people, united act of himself and his people ; that the yet, in defiance of the divine authority, he secretly sparing of the best of the cattle, which was conconcealed the Babylonish garment, and the she- trary to the divine injunction, is spoken of as kels of silver and gold, which had been seized emanating not from him but from the people from the enemy. King Herod, we are told, lis- alone, and the holy end which they had in view tened with attention to the instructions of John is held up as sanctifying their violation of the the Baptist, and performed gladly many things strict letter of the injunction which they had rewhich he enjoined, yet he would not relinquish ceived. Had such an apology for disobedience bis illicit connection with his brother's wife. And been offered by another, its absurdity and arroour Lord, in the parable of the sower, tells us of gance would at once have presented itself to the some who heard the Word of God, who received view of Saul. He was the vicegerent of God, it with joy, and who seemed for a time to con- and he had listened to the command of the Sutinue stedfast in the profession and practice of preme Ruler of the universe, delivered to him Christianity; yet the cares, the riches, and the by the mouth of his holy prophet; he was appleasures of the world choked the good seed, and pointed to reign over the Israelites, and they were they became unfruitful. Cast your eyes around enjoined to yield obedience to his authority

. No you, my brethren, or examine into the inmost re- order had been issued by him for the entire decesses of your own minds, and you will perceive struction of the spoil of the enemy; the lanthat spiritual religion is an object of deep aver- guage of murmur and rebellion had not been utsion to man, until he is brought under the saving tered by his people ; and even if he dreaded th» energy of divine grace. It may be that he will loss of their affections, by preventing them from rfot unite with the infidel in denying the divine the acquisition of the gain which they desired, he authority of the faith of Jesus. He will not might have reposed with unshaken confidence in blaspheme the blessed name of his Redeemer. that Omnipotent Being who had so often proHe is ready to pay a decent attention to the or- tected him in the season of danger, and who had dinances of Christianity. He reverences its mo

crowned his arms with such signal sucrality, and yields obedience to many of its pre- cess. It is probable, too, that the real motives cepts. But still, if a miser, he will not relinquish which led the people to retain the spoil

, and their his wealth ; if ambitious, his schemes of distinc monarch to sanction their conduct, were very tion; or, if the votary of pleasure, the scenes of different from those which they avowed. They unhallowed mirth. Whatever the man's beset- might, indeed, design to offer a few of their ting sin is, to it he clings with the fondest affec- sheep and oxen on the altar of Jehovah, but the tion. He is the bond-slave of Satan, and yet greater number would in all likelihood be retainhe desires to be considered the free-born soned to minister to their own gratifications. And. of Zion. He strives to unite two things which at all events, they were dealing deceitfully with can never amalgamate together—the love of God, God, and substituting a Religion of their own and the love of the world that lieth in wicked- devising, in place of the plain and authoritatire

Conscience, however, has not ceased to be injunctions of their divine lawgiver. And yet, a reprover at times ; she reminds the man who shallow as these excuses were, they were possessthus halts between two opinions, that he must ed of sufficient power to suppress the voice of render a solemn account of his conduct before the the monitor within, and to lead the king of Israel divine tribunal; but the great deceiver carefully to call evil good.

[ocr errors]


« VorigeDoorgaan »