« הקודםהמשך »
in the wonders of creation : and if we rightly improve the principle, we shall contemplate, adore, and love the great fountain of existence, the Lord and Father of all!
TO BE CONTINUED.
BY A YOUTH
THE years roll round, and eternity hastens; every breath we draw,
- and every action we perform, brings us nearer and nearer to the end of life; nay the moment we begin to live, that moment we begin to die: no sooner is a child born into the world, than it finds a feeble and corrupt body to enter; so that most children come into the world with cries and groans.
When we go from the cradle, we get into the life of a school boy: here is trouble indeed; hard words to learn, and difficult languages to master. The next scene is that of being at trade or business; and then, the reasoning powers being fixt, we ought, in a more especial manner, to adore our God, and admire the works of creation. It would be thought natural that children, as soon as they could speak, would enquire, Who made me? Who made the ear h? the heavens? the stars, &c. and such enquiry is often made; let us then take a view of the wisdom of God in the works of creation..
God having finished the works of creation, we read, that, on the seventh day he rested from all his works that he had inade. “ And Go saw every thing that he had inade, and behold it was very good.” If we take a view of the works of creation in order to know the wisdom, the power, but above all the goodness of our Maker, let us survey the heavens, and ask, what power suspended this mighty arch over our heads, and spread out the heavens like a curtain? Who embellished the heavens with such a multiplicity of objects, all regular in their motions and floating in the air? Who painted the clouds with such a diversity of colours and shades? No human artist; it not being in the power of the pencil of a Peynolds or a West to emulate. Who formed the sun, that source of light and heat? and placed it at so convenient a distance? For. if it were nearer, we should be burned to death; if farther off we should be frozen. Has it ever failed rising and setting at the usual time? By whom is it sent in its diurnal and annual course to give us the blessed vicissitudes of the day and night, and the regular succession of different seasons ? that it should travel on its course, and not be known to step aside, and in its return back, in the same constant and regular pace, 10 bring on the seasons by gradual advances ? That the moon should supply the absence of the sun in illuminating the earth. That it shonld regulate the sea in its Auxes and refluxes, and keep it in constant inotion,
Whereby the water is kept from putrefaction, and accomodated to the conveniences of inan: and that the planets, and innumerable host of heaveniy bodies in their courses and revolutions, are so exact as not to fail for these six thousand years.
These are plain proofs of an Almighty Creator, and of the wisdom with which he governs the universe; the consideration of which made Tully, the Roman philosopher conclude, that “ Whoever imagines that the wonderful order, and incredible constancy, of the heavenly bodies,' and their motions, (whereupon the preservation and welfare of all things depend) are not governed by an intelligent being, he himself is destitute of understanding. For shall we, when we see an artificial engine, acknowledge, at first sight, that it is the work of art and understanding, and yet, when we behold the heavens moved and whirled about with incredible velocity, most constantly coinpleating their anniversary vicissitudes, make any doubt that these are made by reason, yea, by Divine Reason?".
If Tully, by the little light he had of astronomy, in the age in which he lived, affirmed that the man who denied that the heavenly bodies are framed by a divine Architect, and governed by infinite wisdom, must be destitute of understanding, what would he say now, in this enlightened age, on the contemplation of the amazing velocity with which modern discovery assures us the earth moves on iis axis! What would he conclude from a consideration that the planets, which are at such an immense distance from us, should be supplied with moons like the earth on which we live? What from the amazing discovery that the revolutions of comets round the sun are found to be as regular as those of other planetary bodies? Would not he, contemplating on the regularity and exactness of these things, instead of saying what he did, have said, that, to deny their divine origin, was atheism? But the atheist cannot withstand the force of these arguments; he must be forced to acknowledge the wisdom of an eternal and almighty God.
If we descend froin the heavens to the orb on which we live, we are compelled to acknowledge the proof therein exhibited of the divine wisdom in the expansion of the air, which is so wonderfully contrived as to support clouds for rain, and winds for the health of animated nature, without which the human race could not exist. By what wondrous power is the water drawn from the sea, and, by a natural distillation, made fresh, and condensed in the clouds, to be sent, upona the wings of the wind, to divers countries, and distributed over the face of this our earth in gentle showers! St. Paul says, “ the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how
unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" .. What power, what wisdom was it, that suspended the earth on its
axis, in a spherical figure? Which weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? which gave the seasons for the pleasure a id uje of man?, which spread the earth with shrubs, plants, and towers innumerable, cloathed with exquisite beauty? which decorated the earth with various species of beasts, the groves with birds that fill the creation with harmony, and the waters with innumerable fishes, All all is wonderful! all proclaims the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Parent of universal nature. In short, whether we look at the stately elephant, that bids defiance to all, except mao, or the smallest of insects, which can scarce be perceived by the naked eye, but when viewed through a microscope, a perfect animal, with limbs, yea, muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, and blood, presents itself; when we consider this, we are lost in wonder, love, and praise, and are forced again to say with the apostle, “O the depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
If we look at the instinct of the brute creation, we are struck with astonishment !
Who directed the salmon to go from the sea up the river, several hundred miles, to deposit its spawn, and secure it from such a multiplicity of enemies as the sea affords? Who taught the birds to build their nests? Some chuse to build on the tops of trees, others on the ground, some prefer bushes, others the roofs of houses. Who directed them how to build their nests? Some will use moss and wool, another feathers, others sticks and the fine parts of stubble, and some again prefer mud. Who taught them philosophy, that they should know that the heat of their bodies would produce their young? If we look at the spider's web, the silkworm's produce, the ant's granary, or the bee's cell-, we are losi in contemplation, and forced to acknowledge the infinite power of their Creator. “ O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all."
If from the earth we turn our eyes on Man, the peculiar favourite of heaven, (for to him all nature is given) we behold a grand display of the goodness of God. What understanding so void of reason, or heart so base, as not to know and acknowledge, by looking at himself, the power of an Almighty God, in giving him an understanding above the rest of the creation, and to the end that he might reverence and obey his Creator.
Should we see a lump of clay rise in an instant to a compleat man, with full beauty and symmetry, and endowed with parts and faculties like to ourselves-should we see him perform all the operations of life, move as gracefully, talk as freely, reason as justly-in short, to perform all the functions of body and mind-should we not be struck with astonishment? Yet such was the state of our first parents. And now, if attention is paid to the formation and production of man, the creation of the bones, muscles, tendons, arteries, the circulation of the fluids, &c. it is astonishing that any man should controvert the opinion of an infinite First Cause of all things. So curious and wonderful is the formation of man, that even heathen philosophers were struck with wonder and admiration at it. Galen, on viewing a skeleton, was so struck at the surprising mechanism, that it effected his conversion. And let any man, however profane and wicked he may be, exainine the works of nature, he must either acknowledge a God, or be deeply under the influence of the adversary of mankind.
Can we who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but admirë the wisdom and love of his and our heavenly father ! And may we be
deeply impressed with them, that we may encrease in wisdom and understanding, and teach others, by our example, to fear and obey out Gol. And may the time speedily arrive when righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters do the place of the sea.
Yours, &c. .
W. B. Jun.
A LETTER TO A CALVINIST MINISTER:
DEAR SIR, PERMIT me to call you so from a feeling sense of the good will I beat
you; indeed if, after the strictest examination into the state of my mind, I was to find any disposition or temper contrary to love to my greatese enemies, so far I should prove my deviation from the Lord. Should I' then feel the least degree of anger against you for preaching what you think to be the truth, I should so far prove the insincerity of my Christian profession; but blessed be the Almighty, this is not the case; for I do indeed respect you; I wish you great success in the administration of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I therefore take thë liberty of addressing you with a few thoughts, “ speaking the truth in love."
I intended to make a few remarks on your well meant discourse on future punishment; but I decline that, owing to the unfit state of 'my body, and shall make one remark only, viz. it was a very awful, solemn discourse in which you inanifested a great deal of candour, love, and
benevolence; and advanced many weighty truths. But I think ifo ~ argument sufficiently convincing of the truth of endless torment: I shall
therefore give you a few reasons why I do not believe in the endless misery of the wicked or impenitent sinners.
I shall advance what I have to say as methodically as I can, and appeal to the Scriptures to prevent perplexity-and shall be as brief as possible -I hope, Sir, you will attend to my observations in the spirit of candour, forbearance, and meekness. ,
1. I cannot believe in endless misery, because the words everlasting, ever, ever and ever, are much more frequently used for limited, than infinite duration : see the following passages as a specimen-Philemon, i. 8. Heb. v. 6. vi. 20. vii. 17. ix. 12. 1. 8. Gen. xvii. 8. 13. and 19. Gen. xlviii. 4. xlix, 26. Exod. xl. 15. Num. xxv. 13. Habak. iii. 15. Isa. xxx. 8. Jer. vii. 7. xxv. 5.
2. Because the terms endless, and world without end, are nő were in the Scriptures applied to the future punishment of the wicked.' ! - VOL. IV. isot;: Uu
3. Because the Lord Jesus Christ was manifested on purpose to destroy the works of the devil; in which sin and all its consequences (it appears to me) must be inc uded. See 1 John, iii. 8.
4. Because the Father hath appointed him heir of all things, which must iinply all mer at least; though all men does not imply all things.
si Because Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world: the iniquities of us all were laid on him; for he jasted death for every man, even for those who had been cut off and consigned to the regions of darkness long before he bare their iniquities. I John, ii. 2. Isa. liii. 6. Heb. ii. 6.
6. Neither can I believe that he died in rain; but as he gave himself a ransom for all, so it shall be testified in due time : and as he was lifted up on the cross for us all, so finally he shall draw all men unto him: for he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written " death is swallowed up in victory."
Nor can I see how this can be the case, unless the blessed Saviour makes an end of sin, and destroys (or frustrates) hin that had the power of death--that is the devil. 1. Tim. ii. s. John xii. 32. Heb. ii. 14. Isa. liii. 11. Dan. ix. 24.
7. Because God hath spoken of the times of the restitution of all things by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.-Acts, iii. 21.
8. Because there are many texts of Scripture which appear to me to be absolutely irreconcilable on the supposition of endless misery being true:
for instance, try to reconcile the following passages.
PSALM, ix. 17.
PSALM, Ixxxiv, 9. The wicked shall be turned into All nations whom thou hast made hell, with all the nations that forget shall come and worship before thee, God.
O Lord, and shall glorify thy name.
- Ill. PSALM, lxix. 27.
PSALM, cvii. 42. : Add iniquity to their iniquity. All iniquity shallstep her mouth . . Iv..
PSALM, cl. 6. Let them be put to shame, and Let every thing that hath breathe perish.
...praise the Lord.