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It is thought desirable that an itinerating party be furnished with as many letters as can be procured to the principal men, native and European, of the district they are to pass through. Even if the individuals to whom the letters are addressed should not be particularly favorable to the cause of Christianity, they will generally account it both their duty and their honour to facilitate the operations of those who come to them with recommendations from their metropolitan friends. Thus “the earth helpeth the woman.” And such may, in the persons of the Missionaries, entertain angels unawares, and salvation may come to those houses which have been opened merely for the exercise of common hospitality.
As no situation in life is attended with unmingled good, so there may be peculiar trials and temptations to be encountered by the Missionary who is perpetually removing from place to place. As for example, there is unquestionably some danger of his interests and sensibilities being somewhat blunted by their being called forth so perpetually by a rapid succession of objects, on none of which they can be allowed for any considerable time to rest. It will not now be questioned, since the natural results of the principles of the French illuminati are matter of history, that the man who loves his species most is the man that is most warmly attached to his kindred and friends; and we earnestly trust that the experiment will never again be tried of teaching a man to love the whole human race by first teaching him to love none of the individuals of that race. It ought not then to be concealed, that when a man is continually having his sympathies directed to different objects, it will be difficult for him to retain that lively interest in the well-being of every individual which is so necessary to a Missionary’s success. But prayer and watchfulness will counteract this and every other danger, so that they ought not for a moment to deter any one from entering upon the work. “He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”
And in the prayerful heart not only shall these evils be averted, but positive good shall be communicated. All his graces will be called into exercise, and will be strengthened by the exercise. “ He who watereth shall be watered also himself.” The itinerant will not fail also to gain more knowledge of the people with whom he has to deal—an exceedingly valuable kind of knowledge—than he who remains fixed in the same station. Heathenism is a Protean monster. Though in all cases essentially the same, it can assume a thousand different aspects. With these the itinerant will have the best opportunities o, stonius acquainted. Divine truth also,
though one, is of so plastic a nature that it can accommodate itself to the opposition of all these various forms of error. Being thus required to view and to apply the truth in a multitude of aspects that else should never have been presented to him, the itinerant may be expected, other things being equal, to attain a more enlarged and at the same time a more minute comprehension of the gospel scheme with all its bearings, than he whose operations are confined within a narrower sphere.
We have therefore great pleasure in recommending this subject to the serious and prayerful consideration of our Missionary Brethren at the other stations, and of those residing in Calcutta, who were not present at the late conference, and, in general, to the attention of all who take an interest in the success of the cause of Christ. The plan is worth a trial, and properly speaking, it has never yet been tried in Bengal.—Ed.
VI.—State and Prospects of the Jews.
The past history and present condition of the Hebrews have excited an interest and solicitude in the reading world which few other subjects have commanded.
The statesman, and the philosopher, infidel, and christian have perused the books of Moses and the prophets, and bestowed upon the examination of their contents much diligence and research. An accurate acquaintance with these writings is of importance to all classes of people; it must enlarge the views of the patriot, and fit him to discharge with more efficiency the high and responsible duties his country calls him to perform. He cannot fail to perceive that the principles of justice, purity and truth, on which the first constitution was based, have in all subsequent ages been the foundation of every wisely-framed and practically good government: and that, as legislation has breathed, .and equitable law enforced, the great principles embodied in the decalogue, a rise or fall in the scale of national eminence has been the result. He will he able to trace the ruin of many ancient kingdoms with whose history he has made himself familiar, through a series of events which step by step conducted the nations to degradation and at last annihilated every vestige of their greatness and glory, to a departure from these primary and essential principles: and will find, that the downfal of nations has begun when they have commenced to erect a standard of morality, justice and truth, lower than that which is engraven on the pages of the book of God and on the consciences of enlightened men.
Individual solicitude for the public good, and willingness to forego the gratification of self-interest in order to advance it, love of country, and courage employed in the preservation of its freedom and the increase of its glory, which no dangers could intimidate and no trials exhaust, were qualities that characterized ancient Greece in the most prosperous period of its history. Love of wealth, engendered by luxury and dissipation; eagerness to grasp gold, offered in the shape of bribes to betray the interests of the republic; degeneracy of morals among the populace, increased by the bad example of those in power; the loss of manly fortitude, (which exists probably in the bosoms of the virtuous only ;) cowardice, from which arose jealousy the fruitful source of sedition and intestine wars;–these preceded the weakness, slavery, and ruin of that once powerful, free, and flourishing people. Rapacity, which was the prevailing vice of the great, and licentiousmess, that of the multitude; a general corruption of manners by debauchery, and the gratification of unnatural passions; poverty and weakness, produced by idleness and inactivity; neglect of literature and science, and the abandonment of agriculture and the mechanic arts entirely to slaves cruelly oppressed by their tyrannical masters;–these accelerated the fall of Rome, once the mistress of the known world. One of the most melancholy instances of the sad effects of crime on the welfare of a people is to be found, however, in the history of later days, in the dark pages of the annals of France. Not till impiety and profanation of all that was sacred and divine had deluged the land; not till destitution of honorable principles and feelings had distinguished all classes of the community, and each person suspected his neighbour of harbouring the same foul purposes that were ripening within his own bosom, did the reign of terror commence; or was a vast empire placed in the hands of Morat, Danton, and Robespierre, who ruled it by shedding the blood of its inhabitants which flowed from the guillotine in torrents. Thus ancient and modern history speak to mankind in language the meaning of which cannot be misunderstood, “that righteousness exalteth a nation, and that sin is the reproach and eventually the ruin of any people.” The painful vicissitudes which the Jews have in their recklessness of principles and morals experienced, strongly confirm the truth of this statement, and ought to carry conviction to every mind, especially to the minds of those who read the history of the past, to learn how they may promote more effectually the well-being of mankind. The Hebrew scriptures—the most ancient records in the world— present to the mind of the philosopher the wonderful phenomena of creation, providence, and the deluge. He is furnished in the book of Genesis with a minute and detailed account of these astonishing events. Had not this book existed, some of the most important parts of astronomy, chronology, and history would have been clouded with the thickest darkness, covered with a vail which the study and labor of ages could not have removed. Destitute of correct data, all conclusions would have been founded on mere probabilities, which to a mind thirsting for accurate and definite information would have been unsatisfactory. Hence almost all ancient philosophers, astronomers, chronologists, and historians have taken much of their data from this book, and all the real discoveries of modern times have confirmed the truth of its statements. The reality of the deluge is established by organic remains found imbedded in the strata of the earth, and attested likewise by almost all ancient writers; for example, Berosus the Chaldean, Hieronymus the Egyptian, Nicolaus of Damascus, Abydeuus an Assyrian, and Plato the celebrated Grecian; while every person acquainted with the works of Ovid will no doubt be prepared to admit, that the interesting story which he tells of Deucalion's flood is in so many respects similar to the account of Noah's, as to establish in no ordinary degree the truth of the sacred narrative.
Traditions of the deluge have been found among the Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, Burmans, ancient Goths and Druids, Mexicans, Peruvians, Brazilians, North American Indians', Greenlanders, Otaheiteans, Sandwich Islanders, and in almost every country of the globe. Whether these nations at an early period possessed the simple and unadorned account of this wonderful event, which is given in the sacred writings, but which, being handed down age after age, has at last became corrupted in the course of transmission, it is not of material moment to inquire. For though these traditions do not agree in every particular with the scripture account, they all bear unequivocal testimony that such an event as the deluge has taken place, and thus give all the evidence of which they are capable to establish the truth and inspiration of the Bible. The Mosaic history thus spreads before the philosopher the mysteries of creation, of providence, and of nature; on which he may exercise all the energies of his capacious and gifted mind; from which he may enrich himself with treasures of wisdom, and still leave regions unexplored ; so widely extended is the world of research into which he is conducted.
If the infidel lift up his feeble voice against the united testimony of all ages and nations which has been given in favour of the oracles of God, let that voice be hushed till he can furnish a more satisfactory account of the creation, progress, and destinies of the world, than that given in scripture. Let him hide himself in the bowels of the earth, examine all the fossilized deposits, which men, at least his equals in learning and elevation of understanding, have regarded as undoubted evidences of the flood ; and when he has expended all his energies in this department of labor, let him arise from the depths and boldly announce the issue of his researches to the world. If he refuse to do this, if he be willing to sneer but unwilling to deal with facts, he must allow the Christian to say in the name of his Master, " Thou hatest the light, thou lovest darkness because thy deeds are evil."
To the believer in divine revelation, the history of the Hebrews affords abundant matter for serious thought and deep reflection. The calamities and miseries of the Jews, in extent, severity, and long continuance are unparalleled in the history of the world. Like so many Neros thirsting for blood, kings have published edicts against them of unexampled cruelty, and sent executioners to carry them into immediate effect. Seditious and infuriated multitudes have massacred thousands upon thousands, robbed them of their property, abused their persons, sported with their agonies, and walked over their carcases with the same insensibility with which they have trodden on the stones in the streets. Heathens, Mahomedams, and Christians, (so called) who could agree in nothing else, have cordially united in this work of persecution and blood: with hearts as hard as adamant, unmoved by the prayers, the tears, and piercing cries of the sufferers, have dragged the out-casts of Israel as so many oxen led to the slaughter, and with an infernal ingenuity brought into requisition every instrument of torture and death, to exterminate them from the face of the earth. During the period when Jerusalem was surrounded by the Romans, famine more destructive than weapons of war preyed indiscriminately on the besieged inhabitants. Though the starving multitudes seized on every thing they could possibly procure to satisfy the cravings of nature, the most loathsome refuse, even the contents of the common sewers, thousands reduced to mere skeletons, wasted away with hunger, fell down dead in the streets. Many who left the gates of the city and fled from this dire calamity, were taken prisoners and put to the most agonizing of deaths: of these fugitives, daily five hundred were crucified without the walls, till every open place was filled with their suspended carcases, and no other room was left for the erection of additional crosses and for the committing of these wholesale murders. The houses and streets of the city were filled with the slain: those who fled to the temple for refuge, perished amid the burning cloisters of the sacred edifice, or were pierced to death by the swords of the enemy who broke in upon them; eleven hundred thousand Jewish warriors fell during the siege ; minety-seven thousand were taken prisoners, and of these, eleven thousand, owing either to evil design or shameful neglect, having been left destitute of food, died of hunger. Throughout both the Roman and Persian dominions, they were grievously oppressed and persecuted: frequently multitudes of them were put to death; under one Roman emperor five hundred thousand were slain in cold blood. In Africa their condition was equally calamitous ; the exercise of their religion was prohibited even in the caverns to which they had been compelled to retreat to escape the deadly ferocity of their foes : homeless wanderers throughout the world, and unfavoured with the least sympathy of the strangers among whom they were scattered, everywhere the vengeance of men was arrayed against them, and the swiftness of flight accelerated their steps only to some unforeseen catastrophe in the city of Alexandria, within the space of a few hours, fifty thousand were destroyed. Under Mahommed and the caliphs his successors, the Jewish youths were bribed to abjure the religion of their fathers and to embrace the Musalman faith: in the event of becoming followers of the prophet, the property of the parents was confiscated and inherited by their apostate children. Heavy tribute, the greatest indignities and hardships, indeed every species of suffering the avarice and barbarity of their oppressors could dictate, was inflicted on the out-casts of Israel. Horrible to relate, on one occasion “seven hundred Jews were dragged in chains to the market-place of the city of Medina: they descended alive into the grave, prepared at once for their execution and burial,