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O what amazing love is that, "wherewith Jesus hath loved us!" Surely, that heart must be harder than adamant, which does not melt even at this faint glimpse of his beauties, and does not exclaim with the glow of affection, "He is the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely!"
(To be continued.)
Abridged from Cumberland's Plain Reasons.
Believe, and look with triumph on the tomb."
YOUNG. It is at the brightest period of the heathen world, when the Roman empire was in the plenitude of its power, and at the zenith of its genius; namely, in the Augustan age, that I call upon the opponent of revelation to look around him, and contemplate the then existing state of religion; and I ask him candidly to tell me, what the reason of the wisest of men had then done towards reforming the corruptions of idolatry; let him bring to his recollection all that he has read; let him take to his aid all that he can gather from the dogmas of the philosophers, and the tenets of the academies; and out of these can he produce, for the honor of human reason, any such system of religion at that time either professed or practised, as might lead men to the knowledge and true worship of the one supreme Almighty God, teach them how to understand and obey his will in this life, and insure to them the certainty of eternal life, without a reference to revelation? I am confident he cannot. No such system did exist, whatever partial advances towards rationality, in certain points of theology, might then have been made by the efforts of a few enlightened minds that faintly glimmered through the general darkness. Let the modern reasoner, therefore, who would make as good a religion
by the help of nature and his own faculties, as we have received from the light of revelation and the doctrines of the gospel, take his ground where he will, provided he does not go without the heathen pale, and keep it. Let him borrow no assistance from Moses, and let him assume to himself all the lights that he can find, all the rational religion he can collect, not only in the world then known, but in the world since discovered; in all the nations of the East, where reason surely, as far as arts and sciences were concerned, was in no contemptible state; in America, to the North and to the South, in all the continents and islands, which modern navigation has added to the map of the world; let him pursue his researches, and when he has made his tour through all their temples and pagodas, let him erect his trophies to reason, and publish his discoveries with what confidence he may.
And now if this is all that he, who opposes the religion of revelation, can discover, and make prize of, in the religion of reason, I give him joy of his discoveries, and wish him candidly to declare, if upon result of these discoveries he can believe so well of himself as to suppose, that had he lived in these days, he would have found out any thing more than was found out by those who lived in them: whether, if he had singly engrossed the collected wisdom of the seven wise men of Greece, he would have revealed a better system of religion to the world than Christ has revealed; and whether he would have known the will of God better than God knew it himself, and more clearly have communicated it to mankind. I will suppose him endowed with the genius of Homer; I would engraft upon him all the learning of Pythagoras. Let him take to himself the philosophy of Plato, and the ratiocination of the eloquent Cicero, he shall only talk about the probability of the soul's immortality, and leave the question involved in all the subtleties of indecision peculiar to the new academy: if he can write like Virgil, he shall still advance no discovery of reason beyond the wild chimeras of the most barbarous nations, who suppose another world beyond the mountains, while he supposes it to be somewhere under the mountains, and that an old woman with a bough in her hand can shew him the way to it.
If this is all he can rake out of the theology of the ancients,
why should he flatter himself that his modern wit, unless aided by those lights against which he shuts his eyes, could have furnished any thing better? For unless this mighty champion for reason as independent of revelation, was by nature possessed of more reason than any of the illustrious heathens, the Egyptian Magi, or Chinese lawgivers, who have lived before him, the world would have gone on in the same ignorance as it did without him, and the same reasons à priori would have remained for the necessity of a special revelation, if that ignorance was ever to be dispelled. But if, availing himself of the moral doctrines of the gospel, he sets to work to form a system of pure and perfect morality, as a rule of life, and gives that out as the discovery of unassisted reason, it is a discovery which I will not give him credit for: he is no more the original founder of a religion, than I am, at this moment, the original fabricator of an argument which has been frequently before employed by many abler and better advocates than myself.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
I. Gen. xxviii. 18.-" And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it."
STONES, images, and altars dedicated to divine worship were always anointed with oil. This appears to have been considered as a consecration of them to the object of the worship, and a means of inducing the god or goddess to take up their residence there, and answer the petitions of their votaries. Anointing stones, images, &c., is used in idolatrous countries to the present day, and the whole idol is generally smeared over with oil. Sometimes, besides the anointing, a crown or garland was placed on the stone or altar, to honor the divinity, who was supposed, in consequence of the anointing, to have set up his residence in that place. It appears to have been on this ground that the seats of polished stone, on which the kings sat in the port of their palaces to administer justice, were anointed; merely to invite the deity to reside there, that true judgment might be given, and a righteous sentence always be pronounced."-(Clarke's Comm.)
II. Gen. xxxvii. 3.-" And he made him a coat of many colors." “A coat made up of strips of differently colored cloth. Similar to this was the toga prætexta of the Roman youth, which was white, striped or fringed with purple; this they wore till they were seventeen years of age, when they changed it for the toga virilis or toga pura, which was all white. Such vestures as clothing of distinction are worn all over Persia, India, and China, to the present day."-(Clarke's Comm.) R. C.
ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORDS HUSBAND AND
"THE word is Anglo-Saxon, and simply signifies the bond of the house or family; (house-bond) as by him the family is formed, united, and bound together, which on his death, is disunited and scattered. Hence we account for the farmers and petty landholders being called, so early as the twelfth century, husbandi, as appears in a statute of David II., king of Scotland. This etymology appears plainer in the orthography of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, in which the word is often found written house-bend. "—(Clarke.) R. C.
THE NARROW WAY.
"THERE is but one gate into this way, and that is sound conversion. It is a narrow way, and there is no elbow room for lusts. It is a pleasant way, and gives spiritual pleasures, but prohibits those that are sensual. Life eternal is at the end of it. One hour of joy in heaven will compensate for an age of trouble on earth. One sheaf of that harvest will make up for sowing in tears."
A GOOD man suffers evil and doth good. A natural man suffers good and doth evil. DR. SIBBS. WHEN a child of God wants peace, he can have no peace till God speaks it. DR. GOODWIN.
THE guilt of one sin is a greater misery than the burden of a thousand crosses.
OUT of God there is nothing fit for the soul to stay itself DR. SIBBS.
THE HEART-A REVERIE.
O WHAT a strange, inconstant heart is this,
I know they must, O Lord, from thee proceed ;)