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Q. But why should you be afraid of sin?
1. Alas! sin is most dreadful! it is against God and man; one sin is enough to send a man to eternal hell.
Q. Sin seems to terrify you.
A. And well it may; I have seen that I am full of sin, that sin has brought me and all mankind under the curse of God; and that coming in and going out, lying down and rising up, in all he has, and in all he does, the transgressor is cursed. If I die under this curse I shall fall into eternal hell.
Q. But if you bathe in Gonga* will not your sins go away?
A. No! No! If I repeat the name of every debtah,† obey my goroo, wash in Conga, or go into the wilderness,§ still I can do nothing but sin!
Q. How then can you be saved?
A. If I believe with my heart in Christ I shall be saved.
Q. What has Christ done that you should believe in him?
A. He has obeyed God's law for sinners, suffered the pains of hell for them, and is appointed of God to be the Saviour of all them who believe.
Q. How do you know this?
A. By the holy book, which is the only true shaster.**
Q. Have you any other proof that this is the true way?
A. Yes! in my own heart. When I heard of Christ's love to sinners, my fear of death and hell went away, and now I hate all sin.
Q. Have you forsaken sin then? Nobody forsakes sin among the Hindoos.tt
A. I hope I have forsaken all sin; I desire to do so, and to be holy like the true God!
Q. But was it not wicked to forsake your cast and your goroo?
A. No, having found water of life in the blood of Christ, I cast away Gonga water: having found freedom in Christ, I broke the chain of the cast; having found the true Goroo, who has taught me the true shaster, and who died to save me from hell, I cast away the goroo of this world, and instead of being the son of Brumah,‡‡ I am become the son of the living and true God.
* The Ganges.
A common name of Hindoo gods. A village teacher, who is always a brahmin. A prey to tygers. ** Book of religious information.
†† Ask a Hindoo why he tells lies, he answers, it is the custom of the country.
Brumah or Birmah is one of the chief gods of the Hindoos.
Q. But have you broken your Poitoo?†
A. Yes, I want it no longer. I will wear the name of Jesus Christ as a mallat of sweetest flowers, or costly jewels. I would tell all the world of this dear Saviour.
FROM THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.
As I understand one part of your plan is the solution of difficulties, that occur to the mind of the sincere inquirer after truth, especially those that relate at all to the scriptures, or to our holy religion, I beg leave to propose, for that purpose, one with which I have sometimes been puzzled, and which I have never yet been able to get satisfactorily resolved. It respects the account of time, called Anno Domini, or the year of our Lord, which (though so called) is said not to commence till four years after the birth of our blessed Saviour. To this agree the dates in the margin of the Bibles, at least all such as I have examined. The birth of Christ is said to be four years before the common account. When our Lord is said to be twelve years of age, it is marked in the margin A. D. 8, when he was baptized, a. D. which seems to be the time when St. Luke says, he "began to be about thirty years of age." But when he was crucified, &c. A. D. 33. This makes him thirty-six years of age at the time of his death, reckoning him to have been thirty at his baptism, or thirty-seven, supposing him to have been born (as it is said) four years before the common account; whereas I have always understood him to have been no more than thirty-three, his ministry having continued three years, or a little more.
I observe that Dr. Prideaux, the learned dean of Norwich, gives an account agreeing with the dates in the margin of our Bibles, except that he makes John begin his ministry A. D. 26, which he supposes continued three years and a half, and our Lord A. D. 29, which continued three years and a half also, making in the whole seven complete years.
Now, Mr. Editor, am I to consider these two sources of information, which I should have supposed were sufficient autho-` rities, as erroneous; or was our Lord, both at the commencement and at the completion of his ministry, really of the age which these accounts would make him?
The poitoo is a thread worn by the brahmans across the shoulder, and under the arm, and is the distinguishing badge of their cast.
I was for some time at a loss for the reason why our account, talled anno Domini, did not commence till four years after the birth of our Lord, and had inquired of many persons who seemed likely to inform me, without obtaining any satisfaction upon the subject. But recollecting that I had formerly seen the reason given, in some work that I had read, I at length looked again into Prideaux's Connexion of the Old and New Testament, and found in the second page of the preface the following words: « The difference that is between the true year of our Saviour's incarnation, and that of the vulgar æra of it, proceeded from hence, that it was not till the 527th year of that æra that it was first brought into use. Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian by birth, and then a Roman abbot, was the first author of it; and Beda our countryman, taking it from him, used it in all his writings, and the recommendation which he gave it thereby hath made it of common use among christians ever since, especially in these western parts. Had all christians calculated their time by it from the beginning of the church of Christ (as it could be wished they had) there could then have been no mistake in it. But it being 527 years after Christ's incarnation before this æra of it was ever used, no wonder, that after so great a distance of time a mistake was made in the fixing of the first year of it."
Should any of your readers be in the same predicament in which the writer of this was for a time, they will not be displeased to see this reference in your useful miscellany. And if either you yourself, or any of your correpondents, will have the goodness to solve the difficulty stated above, it will much oblige C. O. T.
From St. BASIL's* Funeral Oration on the martyr Julitta, in which he takes occasion to enforce the duty of continual prayer and praise.
WHEN thou sittest down to table, offer up thy prayers. When thou partakest food, pour out thy thanks to him, from whom that food proceeded. If thou callest in the aid of wine, to sustain
* St. Basil, surnamed the Great, was born in Cappadocia, a. D. 329, and was made bishop of Cæsaria, in the same province, a. d. 369, and died in 379. He wrote with great elegance and purity. His style is ma jestic, his reasonings profound, and his erudition extensive. He is allowed to be one of the most eloquent of the primitive fathers.
thy drooping strength; oh! think on him who bade the vine to flourish, that it might cheer thy heart, and alleviate thy pains. Is the hour of refreshment past; let not the memory of thy benefactor pass with it. Dost thou put on thy garment; breathe blessings on the name of him, who gave that garment to thee. Dost thou cover thyself with thy cloak; love God with redoubled fervour, who hath bestowed upon us, raiment, adapted to the wintry blast, and summer's heat; which tendeth to preserve our being, and to conceal our shame. The day is finished. Extol the beneficence of him, who lighted up the sun, to recreate our daily toils; who hath garnished the heaven's fair canopy with resplendent orbs, to illuminate the darkness, and minister to the necessities of life. Let night afford thee fresh sources of adoration. When thou considerest the azure vault, with fascinating eyes, surveying the pure lustre of the stars; then pour out thy soul to nature's Lord, and adore the wise artificer of the universe, who, seated in peerless majesty on the throne of intellect, created all. When thou beholdest universal nature lapped in the bosom of repose, again adore that Being, who appoints the sweet interval of rest to our harassed limbs, and after a short cessation, repairs our strength, and renews our energy.
"What retribution shall we give unto the Lord, for all the gifts which he hath bestowed upon us?" From the cheerless gloom of non-existence, he waked us into being; he ennobled us with understanding; he taught us arts, to promote the means of life; he commanded the prolific earth to yield its nurture; he bade the animals to own us as their lords. For us, the rains descend; for us, the sun diffuseth his creative beams; the mountains rise, the vallies bloom; affording us a grateful habitation and a sheltering retreat. For us, the rivers flow; for us, the fountains murmur; the sea spreads wide its bosom to extend our commerce; the earth exhausts its precious stores; each new object presents a new enjoyment; all nature pouring her treasures at our feet, through the bounteous grace of him, who wills that all be ours!
But why do I descant on lesser subjects, when nobler themes should grace the preacher's tongue? For us, God dwelt with man! For sinful, perishable flesh, the word was embodied in the flesh, and abided with us; the benefactor tarried with the ungrateful; the deliverer came unto the captives; in the realms of benighted, man, arose the orb of righteousness; He, who was exempt from suffering, was stretched upon the cross; immortality was wedded to death; light descended into darkness; he rose again, for them
who had fallen; he sent forth the spirit of adoption; he diffused his celestial grace; he planted by the throne of God, that tree whence saints and martyrs gather the fruit of immortality, covered with the leaves of promise, and ripened by the sun of consummation. He accomplished all that angels can conceive, and more than man can utter!
How just, how suitable are the prophet's words!" What remuneration shall we offer to the Lord, for all the blessings which he hath conferred upon us?"
[From the Theological and Biblical Magazine.]
In the beginning of time, at that point in the vast and boundless circle of ages, in which Jehovah had before determined to display his almighty energy, God created the heavens and the earth. The rude and shapeless materials, from which a fair and beauteous fabric was shortly to spring forth, were first produced, by a divine power, out of nothing. Here let not reason start, and exclaim, "Impossible! absurd! it is contrary to the nature of things, and to the plainest dictates of reason." But let us rather humbly subscribe to this revealed truth: "With man it is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Then, in six successive periods of time, which the inspired writer terms days, were achieved the progressive parts of this great work. Light was the first of all created things: it formed the first link in that chain of wonders which God wrought. The mass of matter was all shapeless and confused, enveloped in complete darkness; when lo! the sovereign mandate goes forth: Let there be light, and there was light. What can equal either the sublimity of this ancient record, or the forcible idea it conveys to the reflecting mind of his irresistible power, "who spake, and it was done; who commanded, and it stood fast." Works of art are effected with labour and difficulty. The plan must first be contrived, then it must be rudely marked out, afterwards by successive operations they are moulded and polished, till they arrive at what is considered the perfection of human skill; but the great architect of nature at once designs, resolves, and executes, without the necessity of one additional touch. God saw the light, that it was good. The next step of the work of creation was the separation of the water, and the spreading abroad of the firmament, or that azure curtain which overspreads the face of nature,