« AnteriorContinuar »
the spirit-world: it, at least, always deadly antagonists of man : not beings speaks with a solemn and a wise reserve of flesh and blood, but subtle and upon the subject. It would not be impalpable, resistless by mortal difficult to present figures of angels, or strength, and requiring “the whole of seraphim, from the descriptions armour of God,” if men would cope which inspiration gives of them; but with them, and triumph. They are in regard to Satan's form, all is silent “the angels which kept not their as the grave. No figures here ; no first estate, but left their own emblems; no appalling delineation : habitation." They are the sinfal and we must copy its wisdom, if we creatures whom God did not “spare, would possess sound opinions or salu- but cast them down to hell." They tary convictions regarding him, his are “ the devil and his angels," whom agents, his subtlety, or his power. the Judge of all describes, “the devils"
Yet upon this subject the scriptural who believe, and tremble: "and had disclosures, with all their wise reserve, the gorgeous poetry of Milton not are peculiarly explicit. Satan's nature, over-coloured this subject, or had his fellow-agents, his work, his plans, daring men less boldly denied the his success, his discomfiture, and his truth ; or had ingenious men not tried eternal doom, are all depicted with to explain it by explaining it away,heavenly wisdom, and with great pre- it would have been more easy to have cision. In the first place, we are told arrived at exact and simple conclusions of an “innumerable company” of sin- regarding it. An apostle warns us less beings who are before the throne that “a novice being lifted up with of God. They are referred to as hold- pride,” may “fall into the condemnaing different ranks on high, and these tion of the devil ;" and is there not portions of inspiration lead us, gener- reason to fear that many disregard the ally, into the knowledge of beings warning? Jodging from these words which are elsewhere described as "all of St. Paul, it seems to have been pride ministering spirits, sent forth to minister that ruined the powerful creature for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” whom the Bible makes known as the A race of holy creatures superior to arch-enemy of man. But whatever man, and yet in some way his appointed was the occasion or cause of his fall, benefactors, are thus clearly made the result is clear : an enemy to God known. Even little children have and our world appeared with whom their “ angel” in the presence of the nothing but Omnipotence could sucGreat King; and though this whole cessfully cope. Even more signifisubject is confessedly mysterious, cantly than when the words were first though we have no detailed account employed, his name is “Legion;" and of the creation, or of the attributes, man's salvation much depends on his of angels, such as curiosity might being aware of the fact. crave, or superstition invent, we are distinctly informed as to their functions regarding our race. Had men not
THE BIBLE A REVEALER. indulged in unbridled fancies regarding It is wonderful what power there is these spiritual beings, the truth would in the Word of God. I was reminded have been more generally edifying of this but lately, by the remark of s than perhaps it is,-there might have youth, who, although he had been been one snare less in the heavenward reared in infidelity, was nevertheless path, and one joy more in the believer's outwardly moral. “I feel almost portion here below.
afraid to go to church," said he, "for On the other hand, we read of the Minister seems always preaching "spiritual wickednesses," which are the right at me."
The Word of God had found out both a delineation and a malediction. his sin. Conscience was quickened by Let the mind only come to the light, the plainest setting forth of truth. The and its deeds will surely be reproved. sanctuary, so dull to others, ever The Word is ever with power. No brought some word to bear upon him mind can escape its assaults, unless which was in conflict with his life, and reaching that fearful point in human he felt himself unwillingly weighed destiny when it is "given up to in the balance, and found wanting. believe a lie.” Indeed, there are many minds who, One, it is said, went to Cromwell, sinning through the week, go on the the Protector, complaining of a court Sunday to the sanctuary, and are Preacher for parading his sins; and he startled that in the chapters read, would have had him banished for his or the text chosen, there is a reveal- boldness. But Cromwell saw at a ing of their own offences. It seems glance his guilt, and, with a pungency to them, as if in some mysterious terrible as satire, replied, " Ah, Sir, way, the Preacher had learned their the Word of the Lord has found you thoughts, observed their secret trans- out, has it?" gressions, and was now rebuking them before the entire congregation.
Ah! he is : but not with the mean POSTHUMOUS INFLUENCE. personality they at times conjecture. It was a striking remark of a dying It is only the Spirit driving the nail man, whose life had been, alas! but in a sure place. It is only the two- poorly spent: “O that my influence edged sword of the Word detecting could be gathered up and buried with “the thoughts and intents of the me!" It could not be. That man's heart.” It is only the perfect law influence survives him. It still lives, held up as a mirror, in which each one is still working on, and will live and is made to discern the spirit he bears. work for centuries to come. He could It is only the power of Divine truth not, when he came to die, and pertaking hold of the individual con- ceived how sad and deleterious his science, and saying distinctly, directly, influence had been, put forth his dying “ Thou art the
Under hands and arrest that influence. It just such revealings do some minds was too late. He had put in motion find the convictions which lead them an agency which he was altogether to an embrace of meroy. Others, in powerless to arrest. His body could the very sharpness of truth, find a be shrouded and coffined, and buried stumbling stone, and a rock of offence. out of sight; but not his influence. Proud and resolute, they will not sit For that, alas! corrupt and deadly as to be a mark for the Preacher's arrows. it is, there is no sbroud, no burial. They turn away like those hearers It walks the earth like a pestilence, whose deceitfulness of heart our Lord like the angel of death, and will walk so disclosed with a commandment. till the hand of God arrests and
Take the Word of God into your chains it. closet. It is no more the Preacher, Let us be careful what influence we but your own heart, so prone to look on leave behind us. For good or evil, pleasing lines, that is now the reader. we shall and must live and act, on Yet if a sin, or a neglect is on the earth, after our bodies have returned conscience, the Word will weigh, and to dust. The grave, even so far as the sift, and burn into the soul. It may world is concerned, is not the end of be Genesis or Romans, the Revelation In the nature of things, it cannot of John or Exodus. You will not be. We are, every one of us, doing read many lines ere your sin will find that every day, every hour, which will
THÍE CHANGED CROSS. THE ZOOLOGY OF THE BIBLE.
survive us, and which will affect, for good or for evil, those who come after us.
There is nothing we are more prone to forget or disregard, than our influence upon others, yet there are few things we should more dread.
THE CHANGED CROSS. It was a time of sadness; and my heart, Although it knew and loved the better
part, Felt wearied with the conflict and the
strife, And all the needful discipline of life.
And while I thought on these, as given
to me, My trial-tests of faith and love to be, It seem'd as if I never could be sure That faithful to the end I should endure.
Then speaking thus, He led me far
above, And there, beneath a canopy of love, Crosses of divers shape and size were
seen, Larger and smaller than mine own had
been. And one there was most beauteous to
behold, A little one, with jewels set in gold ; Ah, this, methought, I can with comfort
wear, For it will be an easy one to bear. And so the little cross I quickly took, But all at once my frame beneath it
shook; The sparkling jewels fair were they to
see, But far too heavy was their weight for me. This may not be, I cried; and look'd
again To see if any there could ease my pain; But, one by one, I pass'd them slowly by, Till on a lovely one I cast my eye. Fair flowers around its sculptured form
entwined, And grace and beauty seem'd in it
combined; Wondering I gazed, and still I wonder'd
more, To think so many should have pass'd it
o'er. But, О that form, so beautiful to see, Soon made its hidden sorrows known to
me; Thorns lay beneath those flowers and
colours fair; Sorrowing I said, This cross I cannot
And thus no longer trusting to His might, Who
says, “ We walk by faith, and not by
sight," Doubting, and almost yielding to despair, The thought arose, My cross I cannot
Far heavier its weight must surely be
A solemn silence reign'd on all around, E'en nature's voices utter'd not a sound, The evening shadows seem'd of peace to
tell, And sleep upon my weary spirit fell.
A moment's pause; and then a heavenly
light Beam'd full upon my wandering, raptured
sight; Angels on silvery wings seem'd every,
where, And angels' musio thrill'd the balmy air.
And so it was with each and all around, Not one to suit my need could there be
found; Weeping I laid each heavy burden down, As my Guide gently said, “No cross--no
The Zoology of the Bible
Then One, more fair than all the rest to
Bee, One, to whom all the others bow'd the
knee, Came gently to me as I trembling lay, “ And follow Me,” He said, “I am the
THE RAVEN. This bird is distinguished from all the feathered race by his sable plumage, and his harsh, lugubrious note. But the black colour is not equally intense on every
part of his body, although it is sufficiently in solitude; he frequents the ruined prominent to justify the allusions made to tower or the deserted habitation. Hence it in the Scriptures.
to send a person to the ravens was, The raven, it is well known, delights among the ancient Greeks, the same as to Vol. VIII.- Second Series.
THE ZOOLOGY OF THE BIBLE.
express the wish that one might be sent equally acceptable, rises on its banks, away from the comforts of civil society, to he might by that phrase merely intend encounter the wants and sufferings of the ravens which prefer such situssolitary exile; to suffer an ignominious tions, death; to be deprived of burial, and Bochart conjectures, that the valley become a banquet to the birds of prey. alluded to was Tophet, in the neighbourThe sable plumage and harsh discordant hood of Jerusalem, which the prophet voice of that bird, serve to aggravate the Jeremiah calls the valley of the dead horrors of desolation.* In the prophecies bodies; because the dead bodies of of Isaiah, it is accordingly foretold, that criminals were cast into it, where they the raven, with other birds of similar remained without burial, till they were dispositions, should fix his abode in the devoured by flocks of ravens, which coldesolate houses of Edom :
lected for that purpose from the circumcormorant and the bittern shall possess jacent country. If this conjecture be it; the owl also and the raven shall right, the meaning will be this: dwell in it: and He shall stretch out upon “He who is guilty of so great a crime, it the line of confusion, and the stones of
shall be subjected to infamous emptiness.” (Isai. xxxiv. 11.) The Prophet punishment; und shall be cast into the Zephaniah, in like manner, makes the valley of dead bodies, and shall find no raven, as seen in our woodcut, croak ove grave, but the devouring maw of the the perpetual desolations of Nineveh :- impure and voracious raven." It was a “Both the cormorant and the bittern,” (in common punishment in the East, (and the Septuagint and other versions, “the one which the Orientals dreaded above all cormorant and the raven,") "shall lodge in others,) to expose in the open fields the the upper lintels of it; their voice shall bodies of evil-doers, that had suffered sing in the windows; desolation shall be by the laws of their offended country, in the thresholds : for He shall uncover to be devoured by the beasts of the field, the cedar work.” (Zeph. ii. 14.) In those and the fowls of heaven. He insplendid palaces, where the voice of joy and sinuates, that the raven makes his first gladness was heard, and every sound which and keenest attack on the eye; which could ravish the ear and subdue the perfectly corresponds with his habits, for heart, silence was, for the wickedness of he always begins his banquet with that their inhabitants, to hold her reign for part of the body, as is well known to ever, interrupted only by the scream of shepherds, whose lambs and weakly sheep the cormorant, and the croaking of the he often attacks, making his first onset
by picking out their eyes. The writer in Prov. xxx. 17, appears to Every species of food is acceptable to give a distinct character to some of the the raven; but he prefers the flesh of ravens in Palestine, when he says, animals. A vile and disgusting bird, he “The eye that mocketh at his father, and hovers near the field of battle, in expectdespiseth to obey his mother, the ravens ation of gorging himself with the slain; of the valley shall pick it out, and the he attends at the place of execution, to young eagles shall eat it.” He may, in feed upon the bodies of malefactors; he this passage, allude to a species of raven watches the habitations of disease and which prefers the valley for her habita- infection, to riot on the putrid carcase ; tion to the clefts of the rock; or he may, and when these resources fail, he marks perhaps, refer to some sequestered valley the lamb and other weak defenceless in the land of Promise, much frequented animals, and preys on living flesh. It is by these birds, which derived its name pretended that he will even attack larger from that circumstance; or, as the rocky animals with success; and, supplying precipice, where the raven loves to build what is deficient in strength, by cunning her nest, often overhangs the torrent, and activity, will fasten upon the backs (which the original word nahal also of wild cattle, and eat them alive and in signifies,) and the lofty tree, which is detail, after having picked out their eyes.
What renders his ferocity more odious, is, • Buffon's Natural History, vol, iii., p. 13,
that it is not in him, as in some other