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gives them this inspiring charge, a pharisee of the pharisees, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an injurious person; and will you doubt of obtaining mercy when the same kind heart, and open hand, and listening ear, and pitying eye, are all accessible; and Christ is waiting to be gracious, soliciting the trust, and whispering to your young and wavering minds, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The past year looks back with a reproachful eye; will you disappoint the expectations of the present?
They first trusted in Christ. Jews, as they were, there was no longer a shadow of reliance on ordinances, or rites, or sacraments, or ceremonies, or institutions, of any kind whatever; the race had but one object from its very starting-point, and the voice of the competitors, as the voice of one man, rang out in harmonious aspirations"0! that I may win Christ, and be found in him!” The eye was single, and the whole body full of light—the light sent forth from Calvary, and commanded to find entrance into the dark, irresolute, and disordered heart, till it had there wrought a miracle by its creative energy, and opened all its cells to the full influence of a Saviour's love. Begin the new year with him; you cannot have a better or a fuller hope. He will sweeten all its joys; he will lighten all its sorrows; he will do what nothing else can do on earth, fill you with all joy and peace, and satisfy you with grace upon grace.
“They first trusted in Christ.” O! what a trust was that ! They leaned like John upon their Master's bosom; they clung like little children to a father's arm! Now, if ever, they took up the language of their sainted ancestors, and said, “Trust in him at all times ye people; pour out your hearts before him, God is a refuge for us!” They had found the true spiritual Rock, and there they anchored without the shadow of misgiving. How lamentably has this phrase been abused" they trusted.” “Some trust in horses, and some in chariots ;” some trust in uncertain riches; some trust their physical strength;
some their worldly wisdom and appliances, but the wind passes over them, and they, themselves, are gone, and with them all their misplaced hopes and expectations. Well then is it that we are directed to “the living God!" In his eternal arms we must be safe; in his unchanging love we must be happy!
But is a quiet trust in Christ the whole of Christianity? “We want,” say you, “to be doing something for his cause and people.” And there is ample room for this, and well will it be done if this trust be as influential as the apostle recommends“We, who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of his glory.”
“We should be to the praise of his glory," Our very existence and our duty are the same. We must be, we must live, we must breathe, to the praise of Christ's glory: we are not to talk of his glory whilst we do not feel it warming our hearts, and animating our exertions; it is to be in us, and upon us, and through us, absorbing all our affections, pervading all our desires, dissipating all our fears, brightening all our joys!
We are to “praise” his glory. Our lips and our lives are to exalt and honor him; in every pursuit and calling, Christ is to be kept in view, and we have work enough, and more than enough, for a whole life to find out all his perfections. We attach much importance to intellectual attainments, but they are infinitely distanced, and totally eclipsed by the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
We are to "praise his glory.” He has given to the world many glimpses of his glory, but it is unfolded in all its fulness to the Christian only. In the natural creation there are ten thousand times ten thousand objects for love, and wonder, and admiration ; but God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself is the great theme of praise for all who have tasted of his grace, and are looking forward with a child-like trust to their inheritance among the saints in light!
His glory! O who can tell what that will be “ when we shall see him eye to eye and face to face;" if a distant, a partial, an obscured view of it, were sufficient to impart unutterable joy to the heart of Peter? Well may we resolve, then, in God's strength, that not one day of the new year shall elapse till we have given ourselves to Him, that to each of us it may be permitted to sing,
“ I shall behold His face,
INTERESTING DISCOVERIES IN AMERICA, About three years since, an exceedingly interesting discovery was made in the state of Honduras, in central America, by Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood, an account of which has been since published by the last named gentleman, who had previously established a reputation in the literary world, by the publication of the first volume of his “Incidents of Travel," a title continued to this last work.
This discovery consisted of very considerable remains of a city on the banks of the river Copan, of whose origin and history nothing is known, though the ruins appear to have been visited and described about one hundred and forty years ago, by Don Francisco de Fuentes, who wrote the chronicles of the kingdom of Guatemala. They were also examined under a commission from the central American government, in 1836, but no satisfactory account of them was on record until Mr. Stephens made known the result of his discoveries in 1841.
These cities consist principally of pyramidal buildings, and gigantic stone idols, of highly finished and elaborate workmanship, and are situate in the midst of a dense forest, a great part of which it became necessary to clear away before full effect could be given to the detail of these astonishing monuments. At first Mr. Stephens conceived the magnificent design of buying all that remains of this ancient city, and transporting it to New York, that its time-worn ruins might be there set up in their proper relative places. The difficulties, however, attending the transport of such immense masses of stone, and a variety of other causes, induced this interesting traveller to abandon the latter part of this undertaking, though he made a formal purchase of the old city for fifty dollars, or about ten pounds sterling !
Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood were engaged for a considerable period in clearing, and surveying the place, and the latter gentleman succeeding in bringing away with him a variety of beautiful and accurate drawings of the remains, which have since been engraved. They consist principally of colossal statues, supposed to represent the idols of the place, an opinion which appears to be confirmed by the occurrence of sculptured blocks of stone, placed at a moderate remove before all of them, and conjectured to have been altars upon which sacrifices were
offered to these grim divinities. The religious rites of the inhabitants of this mysterious city seem to have been of a milder character than those of the other ancient places in central America, described by Humboldt, as no traces of human sacrifices were met with, whilst it is well known that this horrid custom prevailed extensively amongst the tribes mentioned by that great traveller.
The rise, progress, and decline of this interesting city is a perfect mystery; though conjecture has not of course been idle upon the subject. Here, however, as in the other cases referred to, there seems to be great reason for believing that this part of America was peopled at a very remote period from the eastern parts of Asia. One of the monuments strongly resembles an Egyptian or Ethiopic statue, in the contour of the face, the thickness of the lips, the form and attitude of the figure itself, and some of the sculptured ornaments with which it is decorated, though the majority have more of the Indian and Tartarian characters, a circumstance which seems to favor the idea that the arts of statuary and its kindred pursuits, reached America by way of Behring's Straits, or rather that the new Continent was peopled from either or both of those parts of Asia, whatever might be the route followed by these remote immigrants. An altar six feet square, and four high, and very much resembling, except in its greater width, one of the table-tombs in our old churches, is surrounded by sixteen sculptured figures, the character of which is decidedly Indian ; they are seated cross-legged, have turbans upon their heads; and in their hands, implements resembling fans, and very similar to those usually occupying a corresponding position in Hindoo sculptures. In addition to these features, the serpent, so conspicuous in the Eastern statues, occurs repeatedly in these, and in one instance at least, is a perfect copy of the well-known naga of the Asiatics; and to complete the analogy, the whole of them appear to have been once gorgeously painted. The two principal figures, upon this altar, have those outré ornaments appended to the head-dress, which, according to Humboldt, express hieroglyphically the names of the parties to whom they belong.
In most of the other monuments, a more barbaric taste is evident; they are generally ill-proportioned, encumbered with
unmeaning, or at all events, unintelligible ornaments, and betray a strong resemblance to the grotesque figures of Tartary or China.
It is not easy to convey an idea of the impression which this discovery must have made upon the minds of these spirited travellers, who, in the depths of the ancient forests of Honduras, pursued their praiseworthy endeavors with so much success, though surrounded by annoyances and difficulties of no common order, mocked by the ludicrous grimaces of whole swarms of monkeys, and almost deafened amidst their enthusiastic labors by the screaming of parrots, on whose "ancient solitary reign" they were almost the first intruders.
One fact, however, is fully evident from these researches, that the early tribes of the new world, were identical in their origin, their arts, and religious opinions, with those of the old; and, amongst other traditions, carried with them a vague, though perfectly intelligible creed, based on the grand scriptural truths of ruin by the wiles of the Old Serpent, and restoration by the blood and merits of some Mediator, at whose precise character and work they could only guess, though firmly persuaded, that without shedding of blood there was no remission. For, from their own sculptures and paintings, it is abundantly evident, that they, as well as all the nations of antiquity, were groaning and travailing for a fuller revelation of the Great Desire of Nations. Infidels may deny that this mysterious people were the descendants of Adam ; but whilst we find such unequivocal proofs of their participation in the common Fall, we can well spare them all the other arguments usually brought forward on such occasions.
THE WRONG COURSE.
(Founded on fact.)
Clemens. I grieve to hear it; what makes you think so ?