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from the centre of the world to the extremes, comprehends the whole body of the world, as it is extended throughout the universe, and 80 joins and conserves the whole. He taught the existence in the several elements of other demons also, which might be called intelligent gods, partly visible and partly invisible. He every where speaks of gods in the plural; and the objects of worship which he principally recommends to the people are heaven, and the heavenly bodies,—the sun, moon, and stars,—and the gods publicly adored and established by the laws.-Besides all which, it should not be forgotten that Plato, in common with many of the most celebrated Greek philosophers, travelled into Egypt and other parts in quest of knowledge, and might thus have gathered up many ancient traditions, or have derived his sublimer notions from the Scriptures of the Jews, which were now beginning to be known, and to be inquired after, in the places of their dispersion, and, soon after the time of Plato, were rendered into the Greek language.*
I know it has been said, that Plato and others concealed their real sentiments, from fear of the fate of SOCRATES. But in what a light does this apology place them! If it be true, it follows that their real sentiments cannot be known at all; nor, consequently, can they be appealed to as a ground of any argument whatever. It will also prove, that they were utterly insensible of the proper obligations of religion. Otherwise, among the thousands of that brave people who every day rushed upon death for the sake of their country, would one only have been found daring enough to die for the sake of truth? It exhibits, too, an interesting proof of the superior power of the Gospel upon the mind. Mark the difference. No sooner do those same heathèns embrace the truth as it is in Jesus,-no sooner do they feel its power,—than every one of them becomes a Socrates. What do I say ?-They do more. Men, women, and children, not only submit to death with fortitude ;---they offer themselves to martyrdom ; they mock the cruellest tortures, and count not their lives dear unto themselves, that they may finish their course with joy.
• To conclude this point :-So far was the world, by wisdom, from knowing God, that just where philosophy and reasoning flourished most, just there precisely did superstition and idolatry also most abound. The fullest proof of this was given in Athens. At the time of which we speak, Athens was in her glory. Among other proud titles, she was called “one of the eyes of Greece ; "_“the home of the wise." Whatever therefore the light of nature, whatever the power of reason, with all the help of learning, could possibly discover of God, we might justly expect to find here. In this distinguished city at least we might hope to rest our wandering feet,--to enjoy the triumphs of sublime philosophy, and to meet with many whom reason
* The representations which have been given of these philosophical sects are somewhat various, though agreeing in the main. In the above summary I have chiefly followed MOSHEIM, STANLEY, and LELAND.
had freed from the gross superstitions, and absurd idolatry, which covered a dark and barbarous world. But what is the fact ? O proud boaster of reason, who exaltest thyself against the revelation which God hath given of himself, here hide thy head! Athens, that school of wisdom,-that resort of philosophers,-Athens was full of idols, was buried in superstition, and knew not God. St. Paul testifies this from his own observations ; and his testimony is amply confirmed by others.—“Ye men of Athens," said he, before the Conrt of Areopagus, “I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN God. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you,--God, that made the world. Forasmuch, then, as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
Admitting the word which is rendered “too superstitious" to have a good sense, and to mean very religious, it must still be understood after the manner of the Athenians. And such was the fact. They were, indeed, the most religious of all the Greeks. But the meaning is, they were the most idolatrous. None excelled them in the fear and worship of the demons, and of the gods whom their laws acknowledged. Their superstitious fear of omitting any god among the multitude with which the world was filled, is supposed to have caused the erection of the altar with the inscription now in question. The whole inscription is said to have been,_" To the gods of Asia, and Europe, and Lybia : to the unknown and strange god." They crowd him among the rest of the demons, and by this, as well as by their inscription, proclaim their ignorance of him. It was this inscription, too, which enabled the Apostle to evade the law, by which it was made a capital offence to introduce a new god without the authority of the state.-The unknown Gop, “whom ye ignorantly worship," (the word means, without knowing him,)“ Him declare I into you, God that made the world, and all things therein." Behold here the triumph of revelation. With what clearness and certainty does the inspired Apostle speak. He illuminates Athens. He teaches those who had been her Archons ; and sheds the light of the knowledge of God upon her most illustrious Court.
It is a practical illustration of both parts of our subject. Philosophical Athens, in all the pride of her wisdom, knew not God. But “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching" to save DIONysius the Areopagite, DAMARIS, and others, who believed.-Here, then, we will leave the inventions of men. They are cold, and dark, and barren :—they are poor, and perplexed, and powerless. If we would find rest for our souls, we must look to some other source. And to whom shall we go but unto Thee, O LORD!-Thou hast the words of eternal life :--In Thy light we shall see light!
(To be continued)
ON THE TITLE OF THE FIFTY-FIRST PSALM.
The titles prefixed to many of the not improve the check thus given
be in the faith of the future building That which is prefixed to the 51st of a temple; the scite of wbich had Psalm, I have long suspected, from been made known to David, when internal evidence, not to belong to it. his sacrifices in the threshing-floor The sio lamented was not an exter
of ORNAN were accepted. (See nal transgression. “ Against Thee, Chron. xxi. 28, and xxii. 1, and Thee only, have I sinned, and done compare 2 Chron. iii. 1.) Do good this evil in T'hy sight : " this seems unto Zion,--build Thou the walls to imply, not in the sight of man,
of Jerusalem :" (be ber protection.) for otherwise there was no occasion “ Then shalt thou be pleased with to mark the all-seeing eye of God. the sacrifices of righteousness, with The following verses, which relate to burnt-offering, and whole burnt-offer-the state of moral defect and aliena- ings: then shall they offer bullocks tion from God introduced by the fall upon thine altar." of Adam, are certainly not meant as The objection which
he raised a vindication, or even as an excuse,
to this transfer of the subject of the but to express the conviction that no 51st Psalm, grounded on the prayer, correctness of outward conduct, if it in verse 14, for deliverance from could be pleaded, would reach his “blood-guiltiness," which has hithercase, or constitute the salvation which to been thought to have reference to he sought; and further, that the sacri- the death of Urlau, may well be fices and offerings of the Levitical answered from 1 Chron. xxi. 14:“So Law, though they might supply ex- the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel : ternal defects, omissions of cere- and there fell seventy thousand men,” monial obedience, could not be sub- (See the following verses.) stituted for internal holiness.
I should not dwell on this alteration Upon the whole, I am of opinion of the title, if I did not think the that the sin committed by David in Psalm itself would minister more numbering the people, (2 Sam. xxiv.) edification when better understood. is here meant. This was a heart-sin. It stands in the front of the PenitenThe outward act was lawful. The tial Psalms, and is very frequently people were twice numbered by referred to. No one can doubt but Moses; (see Num. iii. 16, and an attention to heart sins is more xxvi. 62;) and it was doubtless some- useful than the detail of external thing more than the bare order, which transgressions; these ought not to be gave occasion to Joab, whose cha. familiarized; whereas the latent evil racter was not that of scrupulosity. of corrupt motives, and the secret to remonstrate against the King's subtleties of self-love, cannot be too command. And though I allow that narrowly watched, or too carefully political motives were most likely to detected and exposed. produce his dissatisfaction, yet it ag
THE FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY:
In a Volume of the last Series of briefly stated the argument deducible your Miscellany, were inserted some from ihe fulfilment of Prophecy, and * Observations on the Divine Origin adduced a remarkable example of of the Scriptures and the Truth of that kind, supplied by the accomChristianity;” (See the Number for plishment of our Lord's denuncia
tion against the Jews, in the deso. waved their einbrowned leaves in the kation of their city and temple; and southern breeze. The ground, which that too in spite of an avowed attempt had hitherto exhibited some verdure, to frustrate the prophecy.
now became bare; the sides of the As a farther confirmation of the mountains expanding themselves, same argument, I beg leave to pre- assumed at once an appearance of seot your readers with another in- greater grandeur and sterility. Prestance of the completion of prophecy. sently all vegetation ceased: even the It is the infiction of that part of very mosses disappeared. The conthe terrible judgments with which fused amphitheatre of the mountains Moses, by ihe command of God, was tinged with a red and vivid threatened the Jews in case of their colour. In this dreary region we apostasy, which related to the coun- kept ascending for an hour, to gain try in wbich they dwelt.
an elevated hill which we saw before On that land, so much celebrated us; after which we proceeded for by ancient writers for its exuberant another hour across a naked plain, fertility, and which the Scriptures bestrewed with Joose stones. All at describe as “flowing with milk and once, at the extremity of this plain, honey," and as being “like the I perceived a line of Gothic walls, garden of Eden,” did Moses declare Aanked with square towers, and the that the following dreadful curses tops of a few buildings peeping above should alight, if its inhabitants de- them. At the foot of this wall apparted from the ordinances of their peared a camp of Turkish horse, with God. “And thy heaven that is over all the accompaniments of oriental tby bead shall be brass, and the earth pomp. El Cods! “The Holy City!" that is under thee shall be iron. The exclaimed the guide, and away he Lorp shall make the rain of thy land went at full gallop.- I paused, with powder and dust: from heaven shall my eyes fixed on Jerusalem, measurit come down upon thee, until thou ing the height of its walls, reviewing be destroyed.” “So that the gene- at once all the recollections of history, ration to come of your children from ABRAHAM, to Godfrey of Bouthat shall rise up after you, and the illon, reflecting on the total change stranger that shall come from a far accomplished in the world by the land, shall say, when they see the mission of the Son of Man, and in plagues of that land, and the sick- vain seeking that Temple, not one nesses wbich the Lord hath laid stone of which is left upon another. upon it ; and that the whole land Were I to live a thousand years, thereof is brimstone, and salt, and never should I forget that desert, burning, that it is not sown, nor which yet seems to be pervaded by beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, the greatness of Jehovah, and the like the overthrow of Sodom and terrors of death." Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, “ As we advanced,” (he was now which the LORD overthrew in his journeying towards the Dead Sea,) anger, and in his wrath; even all the aspect of the mountains still connations shall say, Wherefore bath tinued the same, that is, white, dusty, the LORD done thus unto this land ? and without shade, without trees, what meaneth the heat of this great without herbage, without moss. We anger? Then men shall say, Be- at length arrived at the last range of cause they have forsaken the cove- hills that form the western border of nant of the Lord God of their fathers,” the valley of the Jordan and the Dead &c. Deut. xxviii, 23, 24, and xxix. Sea. The sun was vear setting ; 22-25.
we alighted, to give a little rest to our Inbow litera) a manner these judg- horses, and I contemplated at leisure ments have been executed upon this the lake, the valley, and the river. once fruitful country, the vivid de. The eastern chain of mountains, scription of M. DE CHATEAUBRIAND called the Mountains of Arabia, are shall inform your Readers. (See his the highest. The western range be" Travels in Greece, Palestine,” &c.) longs to the mountains of Judea. The
* We pursued our course, says valley, bounded by these, exhibits a that lively writer, " through a desert, soil resembling the bottom of a sen where wild fig trees, thinly scattered, that has long retired from its bed, a
beach covered with salt, dry mud, the genius. Extraordinary appearand moving sands, furrowed, as it ances every where proclaim a land were, by the waves. Here and there teeming with miracles; the burning stunted shruhs with difficulty vege- sun, the towering eagle, the barren tate upon this inanimate tract; their fig-troe, all the poetry, all the pictures leaves are covered with salt, which has of Scripture, are here. Every name nourished them, and their bark has commemorates a mystery ; every a smoky smell and taste. Through grot proclaims the future ; every hill the middle of this valley flows a dis. re-echoes the accents of a prophet. coloured river, which reluctantly God himself has spoken in these regions : creeps towards the pestilential lake dried-up rivers, riven rocks, attest by which it is engulfed.
the prodigy: the desert still appears “ Such is the scene famous for the mute with terror, and you would benedictions and curses of heaven. imagine that it had never presumed to
This river is the Jordan; this lake is interrupt the silence, since it heard the the Dead Sea.
AWFUL VOICE OF THE ETERNAL." “ When you travel in Judea, the It is proper to observe, that there heart is at first filled with profound are a few tracts in Palestine, (and as disgust; but when, passing from it seems, but few,) which are excepsolitude to solitude, boundless space tions to the above general description opens before you, this disgust wears of aridity and barrenness. off by degrees, and you feel a secret Tenterden,
J. ROFE. awe, which so far from depressing Nov. 7, 1821. the soul, imparts life, and elevates
THE WESLEYAN-METHODIST. (No. I.)
UNDER this Title, we propose to Wesley, Esq., Organist to His insert, occasionally, a SERIES OF Majesty." We insert it without PAPERS ou subjects connected with abridgment; and strongly recomthe History, Doctrines, and Economy mend it to the attention of all who. of the Wesleyan-Methodists. We are are solicitous for the devotional of opinion, that various useful topics character and moral efficiency of may, in this form), be advantageously our Public Worship. brought before the notice of our Methodist Readers; and that such a Series may be rendered, in process
ON CONGREGATIONAL SINGING. of time, a rich depository of sound The present Collection of Tunes, principles, of important facts, and of designed originally for the Methovaluable practical suggestions, in re- dist Congregations, having become ference to the Body of Christians scarce, it was thought that an acceptto whom it will be particularly ad- able service would be rendered to the dressed. Communications for this lovers of that simple melody wbich Series are respectfully requested from characterized the singing of the priour intelligent Correspondents. We mitive Methodists by republishing are happy to commence it with an them; and thus, by a new Edition, able Paper, by the Rev. RICHARD recalling the attention of our congreWatson, on a subject universally gations to the music which animated interesting; It constitutes the Preface the devotion of their forefathers, and to a Work just published at the which was sanctioned by the judgMethodist Book-Room, and entitled, ment of our venerable Founder. “Sacred Harmony: a Set of Tunes, It is not professed that all the airs collected by the late Rev. Joun in this Collection are equally good, Wesley, M.A., for the use of the or that none of them are liable to exCongregations in his Connexion : ception; nor is it to be understood, a new Edition, carefully revised and that their exclusive use is recommendcorrected by his Nephew, CHARLES ed. Many of them, however, have