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Evangelical Miscellany.



It has afforded every true Christian sincere pleasure to hear of the recent abolition of the Suttee, or the burning of a Hindoo widow with the dead body of her husband. Humanity and christian principle have, after many struggles, succeeded in putting an end to this abominable rite. Our young friends may obtain full information relative to this subject, and to other cruel rites of India, from a volume entitled "India's Cries to British Humanity," by the Rev. J. Peggs. We now call upon them to bless God for the favors they enjoy, and to sympathize with those who live in the habitations of cruelty. No British youth is called to apply the torch to burn his own mother, and that just when bereaved of a father! Let us remember that we owe these blessings to the grace of God; and be diligent to improve our superior advantages, which bring with them additional accountability.


THE student of the Bible, and I hope my dear young readers are all students of the Bible-cannot err in the pursuit of divine knowledge while under the tuition of the Holy Spirit ; neither can the philosopher attain to the right understanding of the word of God, except he have the same divine Teacher. VOL. III. 3d SERIES.

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In addition to the knowledge of God obtained by the perusal of the Scriptures, there is another open volume to which the pious heart often turns in the spirit of holy contemplation, and that is the creation of God. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork. From the solitary star that precedes the dawn, to the full orbed splendor of meridian day; from the blade of grass that sparkles in the dew-drops of the morning, to the oak of the forest that has baffled the storms of a hundred winters; from the mite that is visible only in the sun-beam, to the elephant that moves like a tower of strength; all speak the wisdom, the power, and the glory of their Creator. As it is written, "All thy works praise thee!"

There is yet another book, the precious page of which is the subject of frequent meditation to the Christian, and oh, by what tenderness is it often marked! How does it express the love of a heavenly Father! What care of his people is visible there! In their straits and afflictions how would their hearts faint and fail, if they did not know in that book that all things work together for their good; that no evil can befall them; that the very hairs of their head are numbered. Therefore is it written in respect of this book, "whoso is wise and will observe these things-God's WAYS in providence—even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."

Thus, my dear young readers, there is sufficient in the word, works, and ways of God, to fit the soul that is taught by his Spirit for the worship, the service, and the enjoyment of God in time and in eternity.

But were a man to come to the perusal of the Bible without a previous knowledge of letters, it is evident, that having looked into it, he would shut the book and say-" I am not learned." Or, were he to see it only in an unknown tongue, he would naturally do the same. Thus, certain minor qualifications are necessary for understanding the Bible, and though they can add nothing to its truth, nothing to the number of its facts, nothing to the preciousness of its promises, or the purity of its precepts, and diminish nothing from the weight of its authority; yet they may place all in a stronger or a brighter light, and this is what is meant by the word illustration.

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Of this nature is the knowledge of the history of various nations, countries, customs, and manners of the world; of the productions of the earth, its animals and vegetables; its climate; the government and laws of its people; their traditions, popular opinions, habits, occupations in peace and war; their commerce, husbandry, arts, learning, and amusements. All this, however, would take in so wide a field of information, and such a range of reading, as our dear young friends cannot possibly be expected to enter upon, while engaged as they must, or ought to be, with the first elements of useful learning. But a few observations, and occasionally a few quotations illustrative of the customs and manners of eastern nations, which the limits of a monthly paper may admit of, shall not be wanting on our part for promoting this attainment. But for the present we shall merely allude to such of the customs of the ancient Israelites, as shall serve to elucidate their history.

The writings of Moses carry us back to the highest of all antiquity, even to the creation of the world. And the time of the giving of the laws of Moses to an antiquity unknown to the Greeks, who were the first secular historians; and these laws are yet as fresh and as true as they were in the day when the prophet received them from the Supreme Lawgiver on the thundering heights of Sinai. The government established by Moses among the ancient Israelites consisted of military chiefs, prophets, and priests, without an earthly king at first, but acting under a divine theocracy, and responsible to the King of kings. With the Jews, as among other eastern nations, there appears to have been no hereditary aristocracy, and he who ranked above his fellows, did so only from seniority of years, from superior wisdom, or piety. The tribe of Levi was devoted to the service of the sanctuary, and they were at once the priests, the men of learning, the teachers, and the judges of the people.

But though the Israelites had no created or hereditary nobility, none lived in a more noble manner than the patriarchs, none were more free or independent, and none more carefully preserved the genealogy of their families. If the pride of ancestry had no place in the bosom of Abraham, yet the honor of family virtue, and the tender recollections of family affection

were not wanting there, as is evident from the directions which he gave to Eliezer, of Damascus, to go to the country of his fathers, and to select from among his own kindred a wife for Isaac, his beloved son-the heir not only of his rich temporal possessions, but of his piety, and of the covenant promises of God.

The nobility of a patriarch was higher in one respect than any since created in modern ages, inasmuch as this venerable person not unfrequently possessed, if not the titles, the more substantial honor of the offices of father, priest, and king of his own tribe, while to the regal and priestly dignities, that of the prophetic was occasionally added. This first age of the church which is generally denominated patriarchal, comprises not merely the fathers from the days of Abraham, but also the antediluvian believers, such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, &c.

It does not appear that in those early days the art of writing was known to the patriarchs, and we are ignorant by what means, except that of oral tradition, they preserved the records of the past. Yet it seems hardly possible, that men inheriting the benefits derived from the knowledge and experience acquired by their antediluvian ancestors, should have been altogether ignorant of some means whereby they might have secured the history of their age. Especially when we consider that the wild and untutored native of South America, on the first discovery of that country, had his belts, and his strings, and his wampun, by which he was capable of conveying his meaning to another; and that the Peruvian possessed a species of hieroglyphic, by which he could give notice of the approach of an enemy, or indicate the place of his concealment. But whether the patriarchs who preceded Moses, or those who lived before the flood, understood the art of writing or not, one thing is certain, that Moses wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the record is sure.

The want of writing might in part be supplied by those simple monuments early erected in the land of Canaan, by the pious gratitude of the patriarchs. Such as that found on the plain of Moreh, where Abraham builded an altar unto the Lord; that on the plain of Mamre, which is Hebron. The history of Jacob's dream was recorded by the consecrated stone,

and marked the place, circumstances, and feelings, of the pious son of Isaac, when a fugitive from his father's house. While the "heap at Galeed," which he erected on his return to his country, and to his kindred, would relate the quarrel, parting, and covenant, made with Laban his father-in-law. These were the sybilline leaves which no winds could scatter; these were the memorabilia of holy men, written for the instruction of posterity, consecrated probably by prayer and sacrifice, where circumstances admitted of it-around which the fathers to the children would relate the goodness of Godaround which the herdsmen of the flock would often rest at noon, and in the hour of leisure talk one to another of the God of Bethel, the God of Jacob, and the "Fear of their father Isaac."

Many ages after this, we still find the Israelites a pastoral people. "What meaneth this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and lowing of the oxen which I hear?" said the prophet to the son of Kish, who, though a king, had been annointed to that office while in search of his father's asses. The occupations of the ancestors of the Jews were husbandry, agriculture, and the care of flocks and herds. Canaan was early described as a land flowing with milk and honey, abundant in pasture, and containing springs and fountains of water. Finding this beloved people constantly engaged in pastoral and rural occupations, we are too apt to attach together with the name the idea of rusticity to their character, but though so occupied, there is no authority for considering them rustic. The classic poet of the Augustan age, so called from its peculiar refinement, had his Sabine farm; and the Mantuan bard thought it no degradation, in the same era of Rome's highest polish, to sing of steers and bullocks, of rearing the noble horse, and the laborious ox. That the greatest men in Israel were accustomed to similar pursuits, appears from the history of Gideon, Saul, David, Nabal, &c. The beautiful story of Ruth—of Ruth, of whom it has been eloquently said, "It appears as if all the depth of natural affection in the human race were involved in her own bosom"-sets before us the industry, wealth, and manners, of the early Israelite, as he walked forth among a happy, diligent, and grateful peasantry, rejoicing in that God

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