Imatges de pÓgina
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guage is, Ps. vii. 3, O Lord my God, if I have done this ; if there be iniquity in my hands ; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause was mine enemy;) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it.' Ps.' xxxv. 11, &c. - False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. They rewarded 'me evil for good, to the spoiling of my soul. But for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth : I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned as into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.' And he elsewhere tells us, how he was affected as to his enemies: 'It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it.' This David might say: for with what singular meekness did he bear the reproaches and curses of Shimei, and the causeless persecutions of Saul, without rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing! Is it, then, credible, that he should curse his enemies in his prayers and solemn devo, tions, as the present translation of the Old Testament might lead the reader to suppose ?--And I shall only observe, that if we consider the passages distinctly, we shall find that they do not import so much evil as may at first sight be supposed. That our enemies should be ashamed and confounded

that their way should be dark and slippery, amounts to this, namely, that they should be disappointed in their evil attempts, and brought to that shame and confusion which attend genuine repentance. Various passages sound harsh and severe in our version, which do not in the original. To mention but one: ‘Let death come hastily upon them, and let them go down quick into hell. The word rendered hell, commonly signifies the grave or place of the dead. He who looks at the words as they lie in the original, can infer no more than this, that the Psalmist predicts the sudden death of men in whose dwelling is wickedness. There is nothing further that the words import. And where we read of the good man's seeing his desire on his enemies, as Ps. cxii. 8, and cxviii. 7, the words his desire, are supplied, and not in the original text.

I should be glad if these observations should contribute to place a name so distinguished as David, in a more just point of view; and to render the book of Psalms more congenial than it now appears to be, to a mind under the influence of extensive charity, benevolence, and exalted devotion.

VOL. I.

23

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD DISPLAYED.

ON THE WISDOM AND GOODNESS OF GOD IN CREATION.

Extract from Bingley. It is one material use of the study of nature, to illustrate this most important of truths, “That there must be a God: that he must be almighty, omniscient, and infinite in goodness; and that, although he dwells in a light inaccessible to any mortal eye, yet our faculties see and distinguish him clearly in his works.

In these we are compelled to observe a greatness far beyond our capacities to understand : we see an exact adaption of parts, composing one stupendous whole; an uniform perfection and goodness, that are not only entitled to our admiration, but that command from us the tribute of reverence, gratitude, and love, to the Parent of the universe. Every step we take in our observations in nature, affords us indubitable proofs of his superintendance. From these we learn the vanity of all our boasted wisdom, and are taught that useful lesson, humility. We are compelled to acknowledge our dependence on the protecting arm of God, and that, deprived of this support, we must that moment dissolve into nothing.

Every object in creation is stamped with the characters of the infinite perfection and overflowing benevolence of its author. If we examine with the most accurate discrimination, the construction of bodies, and remark even their most minute parts, we see a necessary dependence that each has upon the other; and if we attend to the vast concurrence of causes that join in producing the several operations of nature, we shall be induced to believe further, that the whole world is one connected chain of causes and effects, in which all the parts, either nearly or remotely, have a necessary dependence on each other. We shall find nothing insulated, nothing dependent only on itself. Each part lends a certain support to the others, and takes in return its share of aid from them.

But all the common operations of nature, surprising as they are, become in general so familiar to us, that in a great measure they cease to attract our notice. Thus also all the powers of animal life, which, were they but adverted to, could not fail to affect the mind with the most awful impressions, are suffered to operate unheeded, as if unseen. We all know, for example, that, whenever inclination prompts to it, we can, by a very slight exertion of vital faculties, raise our hand to our head. Nothing seems more simple, or more easy, than this action ; yet when we attempt to form an idea of the way in which that incorporeal existence, which we call mind, can operate upon matter, and thus put it in motion, we are perfectly lost in the incomprehensible immensity that surrounds us. When we try to investigate the properties of matter, we perceive that by patience and attention, we can make a progress in attainments, to which, according to our limited ideas, bounds can scarcely be assigned. The motions of the planets can be ascertained, and their periods assigned.

In this train of investigation, the mind of a Newton can display its superior powers, and soar to a height that exalts it above the reach of others; and yet, in trying to explain the cause of animal motion, the meanest reptile that crawls upon the ground is, humiliating as the thought may be, on a footing of perfect equality with a Newton : they can alike exert the powers conferred on them by the Almighty Creator, without being able to form the smallest idea of the way in which they are enabled to produce these effects. Man, however, can contemplate these effects, if he will ; and man, perhaps alone, of all the animals that exist on this globe, is permitted, by contemplating the wonders which these unfold, to form, if he pleases, some idea of his own nothingness, with a view to moderate his pride, and thus to exalt himself above the unconscious agents that surround him.

When the anatomist considers how many muscles must be put in motion before any animal exertion can be effected; when he views them one by one, and tries to ascertain the precise degree to which each individual muscle must be constricted or relaxed, before the particular motion indicated can be effected, he finds himself in the labyrinth of calculations in which this involves him. When he further reflects that it is not his own body only that is endowed with the faculty of calling forth these incomprehensible energies, but that the most insignificant insect is vested with simi. lar powers, he is still more confounded. A skilful naturalist has been able to perceive that in the body of the lowest caterpillar, which, in the common opinion, is one of the most degraded existences on this globe, there are upwards of two thousand muscles, all of which can be brought into action with as much facility, at the will of the insect, and perform their several offices

with as much accuracy, promptitude, and precision, as the most perfect animal; and all this is done by that insect, with equal consciousness of the manner how, as the similar voluntary actions of man himself are effected. It would be no easy matter to make some men believe that the most minute inseci, whose whole life may be calculated for only a few hours, is, in all its parts, for the functions it has to perform, as complete as the majestic elephant that heads the forests of India for a century. Little do they suppose that even in its appearance, under the greatest magnifying powers, it is as elegant in every respect, and as beautifully finished, as any of the larger animals. Unlike the paltry productions of man, all the minute parts of these works of God appear in greater perfection, and afford to us a greater degree of admiration, the more minutely and more accurately they are examined. M. de Lisle saw, with a microscope, a very small insect, that in one second of time advanced three inches, taking five hundred and forty steps ; and many of the discoveries of Leuwenhoek were even still more wonderful than this. Thus we evidently discern that all the operations of God are full of beauty and perfection, and that he is as much to be adored in the Insect Creation as in that of the elephant or lion.

If, from the contemplation of microscopic objects, we turn our attention to the stupendous system of the Universe, and view the heavens, what an astonishing field of admiration is again afforded us! This huge world that we tread is but a speck in the solar system ; and that system, immense as it is, is lost in the immensity of space around, our sun becoming a star to planets revolving round other suns, as their suns become stars to us. Of these no fewer than seventy-five millions may be discovered in the expanse exposed to our investigation. But what are even all these when compared with the multitudes distributed through the boundless space of air! The Universe must contain such numbers as exceed the utmost stretch of human imagination. To obtain some faint conception of the wonderful extent of space, we may remark that stars of the first magnitude, or such as seem to us largest, are nearly 19,000,000,000,100 miles from our sun; and that some of the smaller ones are at many times that distance. “Great is our God, and great is his power! O God who is like unto thee !"

THE GRACE OF GOD MANIFESTED.

A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH OF SUSAN

WYVAL; WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE, ON THURSDAY, OCT. 25, 1810, IN THE THIRTIETH YEAR OF HER AGE.

Miss Wyval removed from her residence near Herring Bay, for the benefit of a change of air, to Annapolis.

The first time I saw her she was in the last stage of a consumption, much emaciated, and very weak in her body; but possessing a mind serene and tranquil, and entirely resigned to the will of the Great Supreme. “For a short time," said she “I trod the gay circle, but soon found it was all emptiness and vanity; and my soul thirsted after more permanent happiness. Not finding it in any thing else, I sought it in religion : and about eleven years ago, it pleased God to convert my soul! and in religion I found that happiness, which the world could not give. I was the first who experienced conversion in my father's family. . I had my trials; but the Lord supported me: and since that time, three of my sisters have died triumphant in Jesus."

I observed to her, that notwithstanding she was very weak, it was possible she might be restored to health again.--She replied, “ Just as the Lord pleases; I wish to have no will of my own.” While I was praying for her, she was so happy, that she could not refrain from praising God aloud.

I visited her often during her illness, and always found her exulting in the prospect of glory, which opened before her, or calmly waiting for the hour of release. About ten days before her dissolution, I found her filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory: shouting and praising her adorable Lord and Saviour, for what he had done for her soul; and for the boundless prospects of glory which opened to her transported vision!

When I drew near her bedside, she thus addressed me; “ All is well, my brother!--Complete victory!-No doubt, no fear! - that I could tell you what I feel; and what views I have of glory!—My tongue eannot express it !??

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