« AnteriorContinuar »
against principalities and powers, and against spiritual wickedness in high places,"~it may well be enquired, " Who is sufficient for these things;" and we may be at times, ready to despond, and "tremble for the ark of God." But "let.no man's heart fail him because of fear," for " greater is he that is for us, than all they that can be against us." Let us then "seek unto God, and unto him commit our cause, who only doeth great things, and unsearchable, marvellous things without number." And as it is not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God, that the world is to be renovated, let us beseech him to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, that all the ends of the earth may remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations may worship before him. Let us pray, that he would "send out his light and his truth," and give " him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the whole earth;" and, methinks, if ever our prayers acquire more than an ordinary fervour, it must be when we say, "Thy kingdom come—thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Let us pray, that none may be sent forth, but such as God has called to, and qualified for the work. Piety is indispensable. It is not, indeed, denied, but that God has sometimes accomplished his purposes by instruments who "meant not so, neither in their hearts did they think so;" but we are not warranted to commit the trust to any but "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also,"— men who can say, "we believe, and therefore speak." "Unto the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee." Nor can it be expected that any but those, who "have tasted that the Lord is gracious," and know that " the redemption of the soul is precious," should " watch for souls as those that must give an account," and "having done all to stand." We should pray that they may be endowed with wisdom and meekness. "Beyewiseas serpents, and harmless as doves," said he, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," to the first missionaries: that if brought before kings and rulers, they may have a "mouth and wisdom which all their adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist." And that they may be men of zeal and courage, being
"strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might;" that as there is "very much land yet to be possessed, they may be enabled to go up and possess it." Prudence and patience are eminently needed by a Missionary. Their difficulties will be many, their hardships in some cases great, and their privations numerous; let us pray then, that if they are " troubled they may not be distressed; if perplexed, they may not be in despair; if persecuted, they may not be forsaken; if cast down they may not be destroyed,"—that God would not try them above what they are able to bear, "lest the spirit should fail before him, and the souls which he has made." That they may be men of perseverance. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." And that to all these mental qualifications, God would be pleased to add healthful and vigorous constitutions. We all know, that even in our temperate climate, when the body is languid exertion becomes doubly irksome; how much more must it be beneath a vertical sun, or in the inhospitable regions of Greenland or Siberia.
That I may not further trespass on your pages, I will conclude, by exhorting all who are waiting for the coming of that period, when the "kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ," to improve the talent or talents entrusted to their care—the rich to contribute of their abundance—remembering that they are not proprietors but only stewards, and that ere long it will be said "give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward;" and the poor to use their interest in the court of heaven, by praying that all who cannot be prevailed on to aid in this blessed work, may at least argue with rational Gamaliel of old, "Refrain from these men, and let them alone, for if this counsel or this work be of men it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found to fight against God." Let'us all anticipate the accomplishment of those yet more "glorious things," that are predicted of Zion the city of our God, "provoking one another unto love and good works, and exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the day approaching."
lei. 1*. 1824.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE OMNI-
From Dick's Christian Phihsophtr.
In the next place, the rapid motions of the great bodies of the Universe, no less than their magnitudes, display the Infinite Power of the Creator.
We can acquire accurate ideas of the relative velocities of moving bodies, only by comparing the motions with which we are familiar, with one another, and with those which lie beyond the general range of our minute inspection. We can acquire a pretty accurate conception of the velocity of a ship, impelled by the wind—of a steam boat—of a race horse—of a bird darting through the air—of an arrow flying from the quiver—and of the clouds when impelled by a stormy wind. The velocity of a ship is from 8 to 12 miles an hour—of a race horse, from 20 to 30 miles—of a bird, say from 50 to 60 miles, and of the clouds, in a violent hurricane, from 80 to 100 miles an hour. The motion of a ball from a loaded cannon is incomparably swifter than any of the motions now stated; but of the velocity of such a body we have a less accurate idea; because, its rapidity being so great, we cannot trace it distinctly by the eye through its whole ranee, from the mouth of the cannon to the object against which it is impelled. By experiments, it has been found, that its rate of motion is from 480 to 800 miles in an hour, but it is retarded every moment by the resistance of the air and the attraction of the earth. This velocity, however, great as it is, bears no sensible proportion to the rate of motion which is found among the celestial orbs. That such enormous masses of matter should move at all is wonderful; but when we consider the amazing velocity with which they are impelled, we are lost in astonishment. The planet Jupiter, in describing his circuit round the Sun, moves at the rate of 29,000 miles an hour. The planet Venus, one of the nearest and most brilliant of the celestial bodies, and about the same size as the earth, is found to move through the spaces of the firmanent at the rate of 76,000 miles an hour; and the planet Mercury with a velocity of no less than 105,000 miles an hour, or 1750 miles in a miuute-'-a motion two hundred times
swifter than that of a cannon ball.— These velocities will appear still more astonishing, if we consider the magnitude of the bodies which are thus impelled, and the immense forces which are requisite to carry them along in their courses. However rapidly a ball flies from the mouth of a cannon, it is the flight of a body only a few inches in diameter; but one of the bodies, whose motion has been just now stated, is eighty-nine thousand miles in diameter, and would comprehend within its vast circumference more than a thousand globes as large as the earth.—Could we contemplate such motions at a fixed point at the distance of only a few hundreds of miles from the bodies thus impelled—it would raise our admiration to its highest pitch, it would overwhelm all our faculties, and, in our present state, would produce an impression of awe, and even of terror beyond the power of language to express. The earth contains a mass of matter equal in weight to at least 2,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.supposing its' mean density to be 2J times greater than water. To move this ponderous mass a single inch beyond its position, were it fixed in a quiescent state, would require a mechanical force almost beyond the power of numbers to express. The physical force of all the myriads of intelligences within the bounds of the planetary system, though their powers were far superior to those of man, would be altogether inadequate to the production of such a motion. How much more must be the force requisite to impel it with a velocity one hundred and forty times swifter than that of a cannon ball, or 68,000 miles an hour, the actual rate of its motion round the sun 1 But whatever degree of mechanical power would be requisite to produce such a stupendous effect, it would require a force one hundred and fifty times greater to impel the planet Jupiter, in his actual course through the heavens 1 Even the planet Saturn, one of the slowest moving bodies of our system, a globe 900 times larger than the earth, is impelled through the regions of space at the rate of 22,000 miles an hour, carrying along with him two stupendous rings, and seven moons larger than ours, through his whole course round the central luminary. Were we placed within a thousand miles of this stupendous globe, (a station which superior beings may occasionally occupy) where its hemisphere, encompassed by its magnificeut rings, would fill the whole extent of our vision —the view of such a ponderous and glorious object flying with such amazing velocity before us, would infinitely exceed every idea of grandeur we can derive from terrestrial scenes, and overwhelm our powers with astonishment and awe. Under such an emotion we cauld only exclaim, " Great And MarVellous Ahe Tiiy Works, Lord God Almighty!" The ideas of strength, and poaer implied in the impulsion of such enormous masses of matter, through the illimitable tracts of space, are forced upon the mind with such irresistible energy, far surpassing what any abstract propositions or reasonings can convey; and constrain us to exclaim, "Who is a strong Lord like unto thee! Thy right hand hath become glorious in power! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!"
If we consider the immense number of bodies thus impelled through the vast spaces of the universe—the rapidity with which the comets, when near the sun, are carried through the regions they traverse—if we consider the high probability if not absolute certainty, that the sun with all its attendant planets and comets, is impelled with a still greater degree of velocity towards some distant region of space, or around some wide circumference—that all the thousands of systems of that nebula to which the sun belongs, are moving in a similar manner—that all the nebula? in the heavens are moving around some magnificent central body—in short, that all the suns and worlds in the Universe are in rapid and perpetual motion, as constituent portions of one grand and boundless empire, of which Jehovah is the Sovereign—and if we consider still farther, that all these mighty movements have been going on, without intermission, during the course of many centuries, and some of them, perhaps, for myriads of ages before the foundations of our world were laid— it is impossible for the human mind to form any adequate idea of the stupendous forces which are in incessant operation throughout the unlimited empire of the Almighty. To estimate such mechanical force, even in a single instance, completely baffles the mathe
matician's skill, and sets the power of numbers at defiance. "Language," and figures, and comparisons, are "lost in wonders so sublime," and the mind overpowered with such reflexions, is irresistibly led upwards, to search for the the cause in that Omnipotent Being who upholds the pillars of the universe —the thunder of whose power none can comprehend. While contemplating such august objects, how emphatic and impressive appears the language of the sacred oracles, "Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection? Great things doth he which we cannot comprehend.- Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the glory, and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and earth is thine. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord, neither are there any works like unto thy works. Thou art great, and dost wondrous things, thou art God alone. Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of all things, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding? Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him; for he spake, and it was done, he commanded, and it stood fast."
Again, the immense spaces which surround the heavenly bodies, and in which they perform their revolutions, tend to expand our conception on this subject, and to illustrate the magnificence of the Divine operations. In whatever point of view we contemplate the scenery of the heavens, an idea of grandeur irresistibly bursts upon the mind; and, if empty space can, in any sense, be considered as an object of sublimity, nothing can fill the mind with a grander idea of magnitude and extension, than the amplitude of the scale upon which the planetary systems are constructed. Around the body of the sun there is allotted a cubical space, 3,600 millions of miles in diameter, in which eleven planetary globes revolve—every one being separated from another by intervals of many millions of miles. The space which surrounds the utmost limits of our system, extending in every direction, to the nearest fixed stars, is, at least, 40,000,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter; and, it is highly probable, that every star is surrounded by a space ot
ON THE OMNIPOTENCE OF THE DEITY.
equal, or even of greater extent. A body impelled with the greatest velocity which art can produce, a cannon ball, for instance, would require twenty years to pass through the. space which intervenes between the earth and the sun, and four millions seven hundred thousand years ere it could reach the nearest star. Though the stars seem to be crowded together in clusters, and some of them almost to touch one another, yet the distance between any two stars which seem to make the nearest approach, is such as neither words can express, nor imagination fathom. ■ These immense spaces are as unfathomable, on the one hand, as the magnitude of the bodies which move in them, and their prodigious velocities, are incomprehensible on the other; and they form a part of those magnificent proportions according to which the fabric of universal nature was arranged —all corresponding to the majesty of that infinite and incomprehensible Being, "who measures the ocean in the hollow of his hand, and metethout the heavens with a span." How wonderful that bodies at such prodigious distances should exert a mutual influence on each other! that the moon at the distance of 240,000 miles, should raise tides in the ocean, and currents in the atmosphere! that the sun, at the distance of ninety-five millions of miles, should raise the vapours, move the ocean, direct the course of the winds, fructify the earth, and distribute light, and heat, and colour, through every region of the globe; yea, that his attractive influence and fructifying energy should extend even to the planet Herschel, at the distance of eighteen hundred millions of miles? So that, in every point of view in which the universe is contemplated, we perceive the same grand scale of operation by which the Almighty has arranged the provinces of his universal kingdom. &
We would now ask, in the name of a'l that is sacred, whether such magnificent manifestations of Deity ought jo be considered as irrelevant in the business of religion, and whether they ought to be thrown completely into the shade, in the discussions which take P ace on religious topics, in " the assempliesof the saints?" If religion consists in the intellectual apprehension of the Perfections of God, and in the moral
effects produced by such an apprehension—if all the rays of glory emitted by the luminaries of heaven, are only so many reflections of the grandeur of Him who dwells in light unapproachaable—-if they have a tendency to assist the mind in forming its conceptions of that ineffable Being, whose uncreated glory cannot be directly contemplated —and if they are calculated to produce a sublime and awful impression on all created intelligences—shall we rest contented with a less glorious idea of God than his works are calculated to afford? Shall we disregard the works of the Lord, and contemn "the operations of his hands," and that, too, in the face of all the invitations on this subject, addressed to us from heaven? For thus saith Jehovah, " Lift up your eyes on high, and behold, who hath created these things? who bringeth forth their host by number? I, the Lord, who maketh all things, who stretched forth the heavens alone, and spread abroad the earth by myself; all their host have I commanded." And, if, at the command of God, we lift our eyes to the " firmament of his power," surely we ought to do it, not with a "brute unconscious gaze," not with the vacant stare of a savage, not as if we were still enveloped with the mists and prejudices of the dark ages—but as surrounded by that blaze of light which modern science has thrown upon the scenery of the sky, in order that we may contemplate, with fixed attention, all that enlightened reason, aided by the nicest observations, has ascertained respecting the magnificence of the celestial orbs. To overlook the sublime discoveries of modern times, to despise them, or to call in question their reality, as some religionists have done, because they bring to our ears such astonishing reports of the "eternal power" and majesty of Jehovah
is to act as if we were afraid lest the Deity should be represented as more grand and magnificent than he really is, and as if we should be better pleased to pay him a less share of homage and adoration than is due to his name.
A DISSENTER'S REASONS FOR
(Continued from page SS9.)
Now, that this degrading principle induced the Anglican Church to retain the anti-christian and Romish doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, together with some other dangerous or frivolous superstitions, is a truth familiar to all who are in the least conversant with the annals of English Reformation. Calvin, who had told Cranmer in plain terms, "That in the Liturgie, as it then stood, there remained a whole mass of Popery, which did not only blemish, but destroy God's public worship," justly observed to the Refugees at Frankfort: "That though it was lawful to begin with such beggarly rudiments, yet it behoved the learned, godly, and grave ministers of Christ, to set forth something more refined from /filth and rustiness." It was, however, "matter of cold comfort to him," says the Anti-Presbyterian Heylin," to understand that the Liturgie had been afterwards revised and agreed upon; and that it was made more passable than before with the Roman Catholics."—Hist, of the Presb. p. 212.
"Nor were these years less fatal," adds the same writer, "to the Church of England, by the defection of the Papists, who, till this time, had kept themselves in her communion; and did in general as punctually attend all divine offices in the same, as the vulgar Protestants. And it is probable enough, that they might have held out longer in their due obedience, if first the scandal which was given by the other faction, (that is, the evangelical Christians or Puritans*) and afterwards the separation which ensued upon it, had not took them off. The Liturgie of the Church had been exceedingly well fitted to their approbation, by leaving out an offensive passage against the Pope; restoring the old form of words, accustomably used in the participation of the holy Sacrament; the total expunging of a rubric which seemed to make a question of the real presence; the reverend posture of kneeling at the holy table (a posture first introduced as an appendage and
•"The leading principles of this Faction are contained in this rule—" That all such rites as bad been borrowed either from the Jew or Gentile, without express warrant from Christ or tbe holy Apostles, as also all other significant ceremonies, which had been brought into the Church against right and reason, should be immediately removed,"—10. p. 220,
confirmation of the doctrine of Trdntubstantiation,—Diss.); the retaining of so many of the ancient festivals, 8cc/'
That the Papists generally did frequent the Church in thesefirst ten years, is positively affirmed by Sir Edward Coke, in his speech at the arraignment of Garnet, the Jesuit; in which-he speaks on his own certain knowledge, not on vulgar hearsay, affirming more particularly, "that he had many times seen Bedenfield, Cornwallis, and some other of the leading Romanists, at the Divine Service of the Church, who afterwards were the first that departed from it. And which may serve instead of all, we find the like affirmed also by the Queen herself, in her instructions given to Walsingham, then being her Resident with the French king, anno 1570. In which instructions, bearing date on the 11th of August, it is affirmed expressly of the heads of that party, and therefore we may judge the like of the members also, that they did ordinarily resort from the beginning of her reign, in all open places, to the Churches, and to Divine Service in the Church, without any contradiction or shew of mis* liking."—p. 224.
This curious narrative not only exposes the absurdity of an Anglican Doctor, who can talk of "the defection of the Papists" in her communion, as an event fatal to the Protestant Church of England, but it likewise proves the injustice of her now retaining as necessary, those heresies and frivolities, which she hypocritically imposed on us three centuries ago, under the thread-bare plea of "manifesting the justice and equity of the Reformation."—Stillingfleet's Hist. Account, p. 16.
Though her real object was, evidently, to deceive and take in the Papists, she has, as yet, yielded nothing for her brethren's sake, unless it be the use of chrism or consecrated oil, and a few other miserable trifles, with this political salvo, first, That there was nothing contained in the said book, the Liturgy, but what was agreeable to the word of God and the primitive Church [!!] very comfortable to all good people desiring to live in Christian conversation, and most profitable to the estate of this realm. And secondly, That such doubts