Imatges de pÓgina


cia, Ionia, Attica, Syria, Italy, called the ship of Osiris. Pluand other countries. Kibotos is tarch says, the vessel in the sacred another name of the ark used by sphere, which the Grecians call the writers of the new Testament. the Argo, represented the ship of This name the Greeks probably Ofiris, which, from reverence, had borrowed from the East. Accord been placed in the heavens. The ingly, a haven in Egypt and a precise meaning of Argus is an city of great antiquity in Phrygia ark, synonimous with Theba. bore this name. A coin of Philip, When the ark of God was to be the elder, struck at this place, had restored to the Ifraelites, presents on the reverse a history of the flood of atonement were put into an arin miniature. A square vel- gus. As colonies went abroad, fel or ark is graven, in which are called Thebeans, or Arkites, and a man and woman ; over the built cities, called Theba or Ark; ark fits a dove ; below is an- fo were many cities in different other on the wing, holding a countries called Argos, as in small branch in its mouth. Before Thessaly, Bæotia, Epirus and Si. the ark a man and woman seem cily. In all which places is the just to have left it, underneath the tradition of Deucalion and the person is the word Noe. The ark. The whole Peloponnesus gentiles reckoned the ark, as a was once called Argos. The antemple, and the residence of the clents described the ark, as a luDeity ; and the persons faved nette, or half moon; it was therewere finally considered, as deities. fore called Meen, which signifies a Hence the ancient gods of Egypt moon, and a crescent became its were precisely eight

. Agreeably symbol. Of course the patriarch with scripture the ancient writers was called Meen, and Menes, and always represent Noah, as the first was worshipped in all the nations after the deluge who built an al- 'of the East, as Deus Lunus, or tar to God, planted a vineyard, the Lunar God. This Lunar and made wine.

God, according to Strabo, had In the delineation of the sphere, temples erected for his worship in. though altered in the hands of the Phrygia, in Pisidia, and in many Greeks, there remains evidence, other places. that reference was had to the del. In these facts we see how ex. uge. According to Hegelianax, tensive and permanent was the reAquarias was Noah or Deucalion. membrance of the deluge. Is it Berosus relates that Noah was rep- possible for any man to read, and resented by a fish, and Hyginus impartially consider these things, speaks of the fishes on the sphere, and reject the account of Noah's as representations of persons, and food? Is it conceivable, that such mentions from Eratosthenes, that uniformity of religious rites, such the fish Notas was the father of uniformity of names, of hieromankind. Tradition relates, that glyphicks, and traditions exills by the raven was sent on a message by chance ? As well may a palace or Apollo, and never returned ; this city rise by chance from the sands bird is placed in the sphere ; and of Africa, or the forests of Amerthere is Argo, the sacred fhip, ica. formed by divine wisdom. This [To be continued.] was the ark of Noah, sometimes

But you

For the Panoplist. proof of your candour, by acknowlLetters to a brother, a young man of fashion. edging what, I apprehend, is capaLETTER I.

ble of abundant confirmation, that

the early religion of New England ON THE IMMUTABILITY OF RELIGION.

was, in substance, the same with Dear Brother,

primitive christianity. It is often a subject of re- added, what is called orthodoxy gret, that I can so seldom enjoy might be very well fitted

for men just your company. But be assured, delivered from the idols of pagan. our long separations do not dimin- ism, for men beginning to emerge' ish that love, which began to glow from the darkness and superstition in my breast at your birth, and con- of popery, and for men exiled from stantly grew with your growth. their country by the hand of persecuWith what sensations of mingled rion, and employed in establishing pleasure and gloom do I recall the the rudiments of learning and piety years of our childhood and youth. in the American wilderne88. But How pleasing were the scenes, that religion is not necessary for men through which we passed. How of better education and more refined many the advantages we enjoyed. morals. In short, you gave it as Our parents, now sleeping in death, your opinion, that there is no need were tender, exemplary and pious. of supposing the doctrines and exSuch parents ought to be recorded ercises of religion to be at all times among the best gifts of heaven. precisely the same, but that they May we never forget their excel- may undergo a change correspondlent instructions, their worthy ing with the great changes which characters, their anxious concern take place in society. for our good.

Bear with me, dear brother, Through what scenes have we while I attempt, with the freedom both passed since onr father's de- which warm affection inspires, to cease. Divine Providence has fa- expose the fallacy and danger of voured you with uninterrupted such an opinion. This I do in obehealth and prosperity, and finally dience to the solemncharge,which placed you in a very eligible situa- I received from our dying father. tion. But while I rejoice in your My son, said he, with a faltering worldly prosperity, my joy is not voice, that God who has been pleaswithout abatement. It is painfuled to take your amiable mother to to this heart of mine, which so ten- himself, now calls for me. I earderly loves you, to think of the dan- nestly recommend you to his mercy. gers attending your present flour. And I desire you to consider the ishing condition ; especiallv as the tender age of your dear little broth, circle of your particular friends is I know your affection for him. removed far from the examples, I charge you to take care of his soul. which we were early taught to Now as I write in the name of our venerate.

honoured father, and shall defend You know not, my dear brother, that religion, which animated him with what emotions I heard you in life, and consoled him in death ; say, when I was last at your house, I am sure that you, to whom his that the religion of the

fathers of New memory is so dear, will peruse England, though well enough adapi. what I write with seriousness and ed to their condition, is by no means candour. suited to this enlightened, polished The first consideration which age. You gave to all present a occurs, is, the immutability of God,


the object and the author of all true gressive cultivation of reason will religion. Although human things add any thing to revelation.' Nor are all subject tochange; although has he empowered us to lay aside, your temporal affairs now so pros- as obsolete, any part of revealed perous, may tomorrow be in the truth, and substitute in its place the most calamitous state ; although improvements of human wisdom. the revolutions of the age may de- The precepts or practical rules molish institutions, which have of religion are also from God, and been the boast of other times ; al-- are therefore immutable. Jesus though rising improvements in the spoke not the language of modern arts and sciences may obliterate fashionable religion, when he said, every trace of former ignorance “ Think not that I am come to deand weakness ; still God is the stroy the law or the prophets. I same yesterday, today, and forever. am not come to destroy, but to fulNow that religion which has the fil. It is easier for heaven and unchangeable God for its object, earth to pass away, than one jot or andessentially consists in conforme title of the law to fail.” God's ity to his holy character, must be law, my brother, admits no alteraunchangeable. Since the life of tion, and is no respector of persons. our parents, since the days of our It requires the same duties of the forefathers, or since the age of the rich and the poor, of the learned apostles, hasthere been any change and the ignorant, of the refined and in Jehovah, which makes it proper the vulgar, of the king on his to render him a religious service throne, and the servant of meanest less humble, less strict, solemn, name. It laid equal obligations on and evangelical, than that which polished Greeks and wild barbarithey rendered ?

The accomplished Saul, The immutable God is not only when divinely taught the unthe object, but the author of all true changeable strictness and perfecreligion. The doctrines or truths tion of the law, found himself upof religion are contained in the on a level with the greatest crimivolume of inspiration. They were nals. The law being once publishwritten there, my brother, by the ed by the unchangeable Jehovah, finger of God. 'l'he tenets of hea- can never be altered, except by the then philosophy, passing through authority of him who made it. the hands of changeable men, who But has God ever authorized us to modelled them as they would, had lower the precepts of the law, or no fixed, invariable stamp. But the gospel, and to adapt them to the doctrines of revelation, coming the varying manners and situations from an unchangeable source, are of ven? Are not they who possess the same in all ages. God is the the greatest advantages of fortune, author of only one system of relig- under as high abligations to obey ious truth. He has not, since the the commands of Christ, as they apostles'day, introduceda new sys- who possess the least ? Consider tem, nor altered that which was those preceptsofchristianity,which given to them. That which they require the greatest strictness of believed, which, yougrant, differed religion, the most unreserved de110l materially from that which our votion to God. " IVhosoever will pious ancestors bulieved, is that come after me, let him dery himself, which we must believe. The au- take up the cross, and follow me. If tror of all religious truth has not thy right eye offend thee, pluck it taught us to expect, that the pro- oul, and cast it from thee. If thing right hand offend thee, cut it off, and their essential features according cast it from thee. Love nol the to the state of science and manners. world, nor the things which are in That the terms of salvation are the world. Put off the old man, always the same is another proof which is corrupt according to deceit- of the immutability of religion. ful lusts, and be renewed in the spir. The gospel addresses mankind, as it of your minds, and put on the new being sinners. Christ declares man, which after God is created in that his undertaking respects sinrighieousness and true holiness. De ners only. Therefore he proposes ye holy, for I am holy.Now, dear salvation to all upon the same conbrother, are men of high birth and ditions. Repentance and faith are education, men of fashion and opu- constantly represented to be abJence released from the obligation solutely necessary to salvation. of these holy precepts? Does the Christ and his apostles gave no inwhole burden lie upon the unlearn- timation, that it could ever be obed, the poor, the retired, the afflict- tained on any lower terms. They ed? Or has time exhausted the made no allowance in favour of force of precepts, which once had men possessed of high literary adpower to bind all, so that they vantages, and distinguished by the must now be considered as laws suavity of their manners, and the repealed, or fallen into disuse ? exterior fairness of theircharacter.


What strange inquiries are Refrent, and believe in the Lord Jethese? Yet they are naturally sug- sus Christ, is the solemn language, gested by the fashionable opinions which the gospel addresses to all of the day. Let us remember, men ; or if it makes any distincthen, that the rule of duty is un- tion, it is by declaring the uncomyielding and immutable. Proceed- mon difficulties, which impede the ing from Gorl, it cannot conform salvation of the wealthy, the learnto the taste of the times ; it can- ed, the selfrighteous; and by sugnot be accommodated to the cor- gesting the greater divine power rupt inclinations of the heart. No and mercy, which in their case are man may add to it, or take from it. needful. And if the rule of duty, the stand- What, then, shall we say to ard of religion, is always the same, these things? Is not saving religthen religion is always the same. ion the same in all ages ? Are not For two things essentially differ- regeneration, repentance, and faith ent from each other cannot be the same things now, as they were conformed to the same standard. in the first period of christianity,

We are further taught, that re- and in the devout ages of New ligious affection, or conformity of England ? In short, is it not, in all heart to the doctrines and precepts times and circumstances, the same of revelation, is the effect of divine thing to obey the gospel of Jesus efficiency. Hence we infer that it Christ? is, substantially, the same in all You may derive another arguages. It is a supposition inconsist- ment for the immutability of religent with the immutability of him, ion from the sameness of its evi. who workethall in all, that he should dence. The evidence of religion in one age produce religious affec- more directly belongs to its doctions essentially different from trines, or those things which are those, which he produces in anoth- the objects of faith. Now the same er ; that virtue and piety, always evidence, which primitive christhe fruit of his Spirit should vary tians had of the divinity of the gospel, and of its particular truths, is, how may it be known whether this in substance, transmitted to us. struggle arises from the checks of Improved reason and philosophy natural conscience in an unrenewhave discovered nothing to invali- ed mind, or from a principle of date that evidence, which satisfied grace in the soul ?" If the followprimitive believers respecting the ing thoughts on the subject seem peculiar tenets of revelation. If likely to afford any satisfaction to they had sufficient evidence, that by the Querist, they are at his and the offence of Adam his posterity your service. were made sinners ; that all are by 1. The struggle which arises nature dead in trespasses and sins, from the checks of natural conand so the children of wrath ; that science in an unrenewed mind, Christ was set forth as a propitia. will generally be found to be partion for sin ; that none can be re- tial as to its object, having respect ceived into heaven without regener- only to some particular sin or ation ; that they, who are called, are sins, which may appear more heicalled of God according to his eter- nous in their nature, or more dannal purpose ; that they who repent gerous in their consequences, than and believe, owe their repentance, others. The conflict, in this case, their faith, and their consequent sale is not with what the scriptures vation to grace ; if they had suffi- term the body of sin : whereas the cient evidence of these positions, struggle that originates in a prinso have we. If they had such evi- ciple of grace is against sin unidence of Christ's divinity, as ren- versally : its object is that the old dered it proper for them to consid- man (i.e. the old nature altogether him, as God, and to address er) may be put off with his deeds. him as the suitable object of divine It is far from being a mere strug. worship; then we have such evi- gle against prominent vices ; it is dence, as renders the same proper an opposition which prompts the for us.

There was no considera- true christian to search out and tion to justify Thomas in calling pursue the foe, and wherein the Jesus, his Lord, and his God, and severest conflicts are with the la. dying Stephen in offering prayer tent evils of the heart, such as to the ascended Saviour, which does pride, unbelief, selfrighteousness, not warrant and require believers want of submission to the divine now to honour him with the same will, &c. There is no hypocrisy, religious worship. The same allowed deceit, or indulgence of might be said of every christian any sin whatever, in the true spirdoctrine. As truth is unchangea- itual warfare. ble in its nature, its evidence re

2. The struggle between pasmains the same. To ancient be- sion and conscience in the breast lievers sufficient evidence was sale of a natural man is generally unisfactory. It ought to be so to us. steady and variable. At certain I am your ever affectionate broth- seasons it is vigorous and strong ; er,

CONSTANS. at other times faint and feeble ; [To be continued.]

and then again, for perbaps a long

season, altogether suspended : From the Christian Observer. whereas the conflict between na

ture and grace, between the flesh QUESTION.

and the Spirit, is more steady, “ When there is a struggle in regular, and uniform. The true the mind between right and wrong, believer, communing daily with

« AnteriorContinua »