Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

SCRIPTURE ILLUSTRATED.

USES TO WHICH ANCIENT RUINS ARE CONVERTED IN THE EAST.

THE Scriptures, in describing the ruined state into which some celebrated cities were to be reduced, represent them, not unfrequently, as to be so desolated, that no shepherds with flocks should haunt them, which supposes they were to be found on the remains of others.

This is a proper representation of complete destruction. For, in the East, it is common for shepherds to make use of remaining ruins, to shelter their flocks from the heat of the middle of the day, and from the dangers of the night.

So Dr. Chandler, after mentioning the exquisite remains of a temple of Apollo, in Asia Minor, which were such as that it was impossible perhaps to conceive greater beauty and majesty of ruin, goes on, "At evening a large flock of goats, returning to the fold, their bells tinkling, spread over the heap, climbing to browse on the shrubs and trees growing between the huge stones."

Another passage of the same writer shows, that they make use of ruins also to guard their flocks from the noontide heat. Speaking of Aiasaluck, generally understood to be the ancient Ephesus, and certainly near the site of that old city, and at least its successor, he says, "A herd of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon; and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries seemed to insult its silence. We heard the partridge call in the area of the theatre and of the stadium. The glorious pomp of its heathen worship is no longer remembered: and Christianity, which was there nursed by apostles, and fostered by general councils, until it increased to fulness of stature, barely lingers on in an existence hardly visible."

This description is very gloomy and melancholy; however, the usefulness of these ruins is such, for the habitation of those that tend flocks, that it often prevents a place being quite desolate, and continues it among inhabited places, though miserably ruinated. Such is the state of Ephesus: it is described by Chandler, as making a very gloomy and melancholy appearance, but as not absolutely without people. "Our horses," says he,

Von. I.

48

"were disposed among the walls and rubbish, with their saddles on; and a mat was spread for us on the ground. We sat here, in the open air, while supper was preparing; when suddenly, fires began to blaze up among the bushes, and we saw the villagers collected about them in savage groups, or passing to and fro with lighted brands for torches. The flames, with the stars and a pale moon, afforded us a dim prospect of ruin and desolation. A shrill owl, called Cucuvaia from its note, with a nighthawk, flitted near us and a jackal cried mournfully, as if forsaken by his companions, on the mountain."

Those places spoken of by the Prophets might have been inhabited, though terribly ruinated, as Aiasaluck is now by a few poor shepherds, and the ruins might have afforded the poor people there a miserable habitation; but the spirit of prophecy speaks of the destruction of some cities as more thoroughly complete: even shepherds were not to make use of their ruins, but entire desolation take place.

And though wild Arabs, as well as other shepherds, might sometimes find a comfortable retreat under the ruins, yet at other times they might want a tent, for Dr. Chandler slept, it seems, in the open air, which shows a want of such arched remains as might have sheltered him in the ruins of Ephesus. Not to say that the Arabs, who commonly live in tents, might choose oftentimes to erect them, when they might in a different manner have covered themselves from the injuries of the night air. This will account for what is said, Is. xiii. 20, It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD DISPLAYED.

MIND AND MATTER ESSENTIALLY DISTINCT.

NOTHING in the action of matter can induce us to think, that its action proceeds from any sense, perception, intelligence, or will; or that sense or will can be essential to matter; or that they are naturally involved or complicated with the actions of matter: for

our ideas of the actions of matter are perfect and complete, though it were supposed that sense, perception, intelligence, or will, existed no where but in ourselves.

Since we cannot doubt of the existence of sense, or perception, intelligence, and will, they must be the actions, operations, or properties of some kind of being, distinct from what is commonly called matter. There is nothing in the actions of motion, resistance, or elasticity, that raises in our minds any idea of sense, perception, intelligence, or will; otherwise we could not conceive, any machine, for example, a mill, without at the same time conceiving that it may have some degree of sense, or perception, or intelligence, or will. There is nothing then in the idea of the actions of matter, by which the parts of it can form themselves into any kind of regular system, with any view to serve any purpose or end; neither is there any thing in any system of matter that we know, which necessarily supposes an existence of that system, or without which we cannot imagine matter to exist. We cannot conceive any thing essential to matter, whereby such a quantity of matter (for example) must exist in that part of space where the sun now exists, that it should contain such a proportion of resisting matter, and be of a globular figure, &c. or why one part of matter should be collected and placed in such order, as to form an animal; another part in such another order, as to form a vegetable or plant. If there be nothing in the actions of matter to do this, then it must be done by something different from matter.

1

We have no idea of substances; we have as little knowledge of the substance of material beings, as of intelligent ones; we have no idea of the thing in which the power of resisting, or of moving, or of re-acting subsists; as little as we have of the being in which intelligence subsists: but we may have ideas of the actions or operations of intelligence, as we have of the actions of matter, or as we have of motion or resistance.

The essential characteristic distinction, between a material agent and an intelligent agent, is this: material agents act always uniformly and in all directions; they have no power in themselves to increase their force of action, or to determine it to one direction more than to another; all alteration in their actions, or in the direction of them, is made by something external, which for that reason is called an efficient cause; they have no will, purpose, view, or design in their actions; but an intelligent being deter

mines and directs its own actions, by the purpose, design, or view which it has, and therefore its actions are said to be determined or directed by final causes, and this direction by final causes, is called the will; therefore, in all actions of intelligent beings, which are likewise called moral actions, the intention, purpose, or will, is principally to be considered. This is the guiding principle in morality, policy, and religion.

The actions of intelligent beings cannot be an object of ma thematical inquiry; for quantity, and the ratios of quantities, are the sole object of mathematics; but there can be nothing of quan. tity in design, intention, or will: therefore any inquiry into the actions of an intelligent agent, must be on different principles from what are used in an inquiry into the actions of matter; but frequently our ideas arise from the complicated actions of intelligent and material agents, in which case a mixture of mathemat ical and metaphysical principles becomes necessary in our inqui

ries.

To perceive, to compare, to desire, to will, to feel pleasure and displeasure, require a simple substance, which must represent to itself things which are distant and separated, collect things which are scattered, and compare things which are different. All that is spread over the wide face of the corporeal world, presses itself here together, as it were, into a point to make out a whole; and what is past, is in the present moment brought into contact with that which is to come. Here is neither extension, colour, motion, rest, space, nor time, but an active being which represents to itself extension and colour, motion and rest, space and time, combines, separates, compares, selects, and possesses a thousand other capacities, which have no relation to extension or motion, attraction or repulsion. Pleasure and displeasure, desire and aversion, hope and fear, are not changes of place of little atoms. Modesty, benevolence, philanthropy, the charm of friendship, and the sublime feeling of piety, are something more than the agitation of the blood, and the beating of the arteries, with which they are usually accompanied; nor can they ever be confounded together but by ignorance, folly, and infidelity.

REMARKABLE EFFECTS OF A MONSOON IN THE EAST-INDIES.

"THE shades of evening approached as we reached the ground; and just as the encampment was completed, the atmosphere grew suddenly dark, the heat became oppressive, and an universal stillness presaged the immediate setting in of the Monsoon. The whole appearance of nature resembled those solemn preludes to earthquakes and hurricanes in the West Indies, from which the East in general is providentially free. We were allowed very little time for conjecture: in a few minutes the heavy clouds burst over us.

"I witnessed seventeen Monsoons in India, but this exceeded them all, in its awful appearance and dreadful effects. Encamped in a low situation, on the borders of a lake, formed to collect the surrounding water, we found ourselves in a few hours in a liquid plain. The tent-pins giving way, in a loose soil, the tents fell down, and left the whole army exposed to the contending elements. It requires a lively imagination to conceive the situation of an hundred thousand human beings, of every description, with more than two hundred thousand elephants, camels, horses, and oxen, suddenly overwhelmed by this dreadful storm, in a strange country, without any knowledge of high or low ground, the whole being covered by an immense lake, and surrounded by thick darkness, which prevented our distinguishing a single object, except such as the vivid glare of lightning displayed in horrible forms. No language can describe the wreck of a large encampment, thus instantaneously destroyed, and covered with water; amid the cries of old men, and helpless women, terrified by the piercing shrieks of their expiring children, unable to afford them relief. During this dreadful night, more than two hundred persons, and three thousand cattle perished, and the morning dawn exhibited a shocking spectacle.

"Such was the general situation of the army, such the conclusion of the campaign. As secretary to the commanding officer, I was always one of his family, and generally slept in his tent. At this time he was ill with a violent fever, and on the commencement of the storm had been removed in his palaquip to the vil lage: I endeavoured to follow him; but up to my knees in water, and often plunging into holes much deeper, I was compelled to return to the tent; there being left alone, and perceiving the

« AnteriorContinua »