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without any tremulous motion whatever, and several head of cattle were browsing on it in perfect security. In the dry season, however, the surface is much more yielding, and must be in a state approaching to fluidity, as is shown by pieces of recent wood and other substances being enveloped in it. Even large branches of trees which were a foot above the level, had in some way become enveloped in the bituminous matter. The interstices or chasms are very numerous, ramifying and joining in every direction ; and in the wet season being filled with water, present the only obstacle to walking over the surface; these cavities are generally deep in proportion to their width, some being only a few inches in depth, others several feet, and many almost unfathomable; the water in them is good and uncontaminated by the pitch; the people of the neighborhood derive their supply from this source, and refresh themselves by bathing in it; fish are caught in it, and particularly a very good species of mullet. The arrangement of the chasms is very singular ; the sides, which of course are formed of the pitch, are invariably shelving from the surface, so as nearly to meet at the bottom, but then they bulge out towards each other with a considerable degree of convexity. This may be supposed to arise from the tendency in the pitch slowly to coalesce, whenever softened by the intensity of the sun's rays. These crevices are known occasionally to close up entirely, and we saw many marks or seams from this cause. How these crevices originate it may not be so easy to explain. One of our party suggested that the whole mass of pitch might be supported by the water which made its way through accidental rents, but in the solid state it is of greater specific gravity than water, for several bits thrown into one of the pools immediately sunk.* The lake, (I call it so, because I think the common name appropriate enough) contains many islets covered with long grass and shrubs, which are the haunts of birds of the most exquisite plumage,
* Pieces of asphaltum are, I believe, frequently found floating on the Dead Sea in Palestine, but this arises probably from the extraordinary specific gravity of the waters of that lake, which Dr. Marcet found to be 1.211. Mr. Hatchell states the specific gravity of ordinary asphaltum to vary from 1.023 to 1.165 ; but in the two varieties of that of Trinidad, it was as great as 1.336 aud 1.744.
as the pools are of snipe and plover. Alligators are also said to abound here, but it was not our lot to encounter any of these animals. It is not easy to state precisely the extent of this great collection of pitch; the line between it and the neighboring soil is not always well defined, and indeed it appears to form the substratum of the surrounding tract of land. We may say, however, that it is bounded on the north and west sides by the sea, on the south by the rocky eminence of porcelain jasper, before mentioned, and on the east by the usual argillaceous soil of the country; the main body may perhaps be estimated at three miles in circumference ; the depth cannot be ascertained, and no subjacent rock or soil can be discovered. Where the bitumen is slightly covered by soil, there are plantations of cassava, plantains and pine-apples, the last of which grow with lux. uriance, and attain to great perfection. There are three or four French and one English sugar estate in the immediate neighborhood ; our opinions of the soil did not, however, coincide with that of Mr. Anderson, who in the account he gave some years ago, thought it very fertile. It is worthy of remark, that the main body of the pitch which may properly be called the lake, is situated higher than the adjoining land, and that you descend by a gentle slope to the sea, where the pitch is much contaminated by the sand of the beach. During the dry season, as I have before remarked, this pitch is much softened, so that different bodies have been known slowly to sink into it; if a quantity be cut out, the cavity left will be shortly filled up; and I have heard it related, that when the Spaniards undertook formerly to prepare the pitch for economical purposes, and had inprudently erected their cauldrons on the very lake, they completely sunk in the course of a night, so as to defeat their intentions. Numberless proofs are given of its being at times in this softened state : the negro houses of the vicinage, for instance, built by driving posts in the earth, frequently are twisted or sunk on one side. In many places it seems to have actually overflown like lava, and presents the wrinkled appearance which a sluggish substance would exhibit in motion.
This substance is generally thought to be the asphaltum of naturalists: in different spots however it presents different appearances. In some parts it is black, with a splintery conchoidal fracture, of considerable specific gravity, with
little or no lustre, resembling particular kinds of coal, and so hard as to require a severe blow of the hammer to detach or break it ; in other parts, it is so much softer, as to allow one to cut out a piece in any form with a spade or hatchet, and in the interior is vesicular and oily ; this is the character of by far the greater portion of the whole mass; in one place it bubbles up in a perfectly fluid state, so that you may take it up in a cup, and I am informed that in one of the neighboring plantations there is a spot where it is of a bright colour, shining, transparent, and brittle, like bottle-glass or resin. The odour in all these instances is strong and like that of a combination of pitch and sulphur. No sulphur however is any where to be perceived, but from the strong exhalation of that substance and the affinity which is known to exist between the fluid bitumen and it, much is, no doubt, contained in a state of combination; a bit of the pitch held in the candle melts like sealing wax and burns with a light flame which is extinguished whenever it is removed; and on cooling the bitumen hardens again. From this property it is sufficiently evident that this substance may be converted to many useful purposes; and accordingly it is universally . used in the country wherever pitch is required.
I have been informed by several persons that the sea in the neighbourhood of La Braye is occasionally covered with a fluid bitumen, and in the south-eastern part of the island there is certainly a similar collection of this bitumen, though of less extent, and many small detached spots of it are to be met with in the woods : it is even said that an evident line of communication may thus be traced between the two great receptacles. There is every probability, that in all these cases the pitch was originally fluid, and has since become inspissated by exposure to the air, as happens in the Dead Sea and other parts of the east.
Baptism :—The Import of Banllw.
By Rev. Edward Beecher, President of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois.
To engage anew in the discussion of the subject of Baptism, may seem to need an apology. Mine is, that it is a point in which Christians are not as yet agreed, and therefore all truth is not seen. For I cannot think that God has of design hidden the truth, or that he has revealed it doubtfully on a point which has proved to be of such magnitude by its practical results. Hence I believe that when all truth is seen on this subject, which may be seen, all true Christians will so far agree that no obstacle to their perfect union in feeling and action will remain.
But the truth on this, as on all other subjects, is not to be elicited by the action of any one mind, but by the united contributions of many.
When in the dark ages, in the midnight of Papal gloom, all truth was lost or obscured, and the social fabric erected on principles radically corrupt, it pleased God to make no new revelation, nor to raise up and illumine any one gigantic mind, of power to grasp all truth and to restore it at once to its systematic proportion, or to erect in all its harmony a model of the social system in its perfect state.
Of the universal system different individuals grasped different parts, yet still mingled with much error, and thus God accomplished that which no single mind was capacious enough to do. He grasped, through many minds, the great outlines of the system of universal truth, so that none might be lost. Yet as in individual minds it was still limited and mingled with much error, divisions and sects arose, each holding important truth, which God was not willing to lose ; and yet not so unmingled or in such proportions that all could unite as one.
But this mixture of error with truth is not destined always to last. The movement of the mind of the universal church is destined still to be upward ; for she is taught of God.
And in completing the fabric which he is about to erect, shall contribute his portion of truth to the grand result, whilst the errors of each shall disappear and die away, Then shall all finite minds be harmonized in one by the allpervading mind of God. As if to prepare the way for this result, the public mind has of late been directed with new interest to this subject. It has been brought up by certain great questions in evangelizing the world, and has excited much attention.
It has elicited works of much talent and extensive research through a wide field of philology. The spirit of the discussion has been much ameliorated, at least in many of the leading writers, though not always in the local and subordinate controversies. Yet union is far from being obtained, nay, in some particulars the prospect is more discouraging than ever. This must be a matter of grief to all who desire the fulfilment of the prayer of Christ. Nor is it in harmony with the convictions of the age on the duty of Christian unity, for however Christians practise, they are more and more convinced that there is something wrong and offensive to God in the present divided state of the Church.
We have reason, then, to suppose that exactly the right ground has not been taken on either side, and we ought to aim at the simple ground of truth for the sake of union and the common good.
To furnish some small share of the materials which God may use in producing this result, is my object in this effort.--And at present my remarks will relate entirely to the mode of Baptism.
$ 1. Statement of the case, and of principles of investigation.
The case is this : Christ has enjoined the performance of a duty in the command to baptize.
What is the duty enjoined ?--or, in other words, what does the word Baptize, in which the command is given, mean? One of two things must be true ;
i. Either, it i sin its meaning generic, denoting merely the production of an effect, (as purity,) so that the command may be fulfilled in many ways ;-or, it is so specific, denoting an external act, that it can be fulfilled in but one. To illustrate by an analogous case, Christ said, “Go teach all nations.” Here the word go, is so generic as to include all modes of going which any one may choose to adopt.
SECOND SERIES, VOL. III. NO, I.