« AnteriorContinua »
vate prayer, before they are taught why prayer is offered to God, and what is its efficacy upon the mind and heart! This aught not so to be; it is neglect-it is injury. The best time to commence religious education is when the mind is young, in its simple state, and free to receive the best impressions. Seal these impressions upon it, and it is pre-occupied for good. The young affections, as they ex. pand, are engaged on the side of virtue and religion, and are in less danger of being afterwards drawn aside from these best and dearest objects, whilst every additional lesson serves more easily and closely to cement the connexion, to beautify the opening character, and cause it finally to shine forth in all its loveliness and attractions. Happy labor which is thus productive of good! Richly is it rewarded in the improvement and the happiness of the young. And when it is undertaken with sincerity and performed with diligence, wisdom and affection, we may hope to witness its most extensive effects in the improvement, not only of the age of childhood, but of every age, and a more illustrious display of the heavenly virtues which may be truly called the children of Christianity.
These are hints for the consideration of parents—to the young disciples of Jesus we say, listen, children, to the words of his lips. Hear how kindly he speaks of the innocent-how he teaches his older disciples by referring to you. He tells them, 'Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again, in words which we have already quoted, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid
them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' It is not necessary again to explain this meaning, nor repeat his favorable opinion of your young minds, your tender and simple hearts. Surely you desire to remain what your Saviour has described you to be ? You would not willingly lose that character which he has attributed to you. You give the promise of better things—let that promise be kept. Do not destroy, by your own neglect or waywardness, the sweet and lovely picture which Jesus has drawn of you. Taking the hand of your parents, seek his presence, his counsel, his approbation, his affection. Learn to love him-learn to obey him ;-and increase as you may in years and stature, be still children, untutored in deceit, unpractised in wickedness. Attempts will be made to draw you off from your attachment to Jesus and your duty to God. Pray for help from above and resist them. The flattering snares with which pleasure tries to catch the unwary and thoughtless, will be spread around you ; be on your guard, pray for heavenly wisdom that you may see and detect them, and you will not be taken captive. And whenever the integrity of your mind is in danger of yielding-or your religious principles of being undermined, -remember what you learnt of Jesus in your earliest years, what additions of knowledge riper years bestowed—remember how he loved you innocent and pure, and that innocence and purity will always secure his love-and you will pause, you will recall your departing regard for goodness and religion, and be innocent still. Think you how possible it is that Jesus is preparing to receive you in
Vol. I.-No. 3.
heaven. Go to him in that humility of spirit, that terderness of heart, and that sweetness of disposition, which he loved in your childhood, and you shall be welcomed to his arms and be happy with him for ever.
The Deluge. Noah obeyed the divine command, and followed the divine suggestions, in building an immense vessel to receive his family and the various tribes of creatures which were to be preserved in it, till the flood had come upon the land and passed away again. Sceptical men have attempted to prove that this vessel could not contain the animals which are said to have dwelt in it. To refute such arguments, calculations have been made by learned men, among the rest by Dr. Wells, (Geography of the Old and New Testament,) who has ingeniously demonstrated that the Ark of Noah could easily contain the family of Noah, and all the animals enumerated, with provision for the space of twelve months.
When the preparations of Noah were ended, Jehovah summoned him to take up his abode in this spacious structure, " Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."—Noah enters with his family; beasts, birds, and insects follow him, probably by a divine impulse ; and then the Almighty secures the ark against the entrance of the waters. The fountains of the great deep are broken up, the windows of heaven are opened, and one universal flood desolates the earth. The waters rise even above the mountains; and every creature that moveth on the face of the earth, or beateth the air with its wings, is destroyed.
Awful-most awful is the destruction! The families of mankind, and all their labors, are covered by the inundating waves and seen no more, The valleys first receive the impetuous streams, and the labors of the husbandmen with their flocks and herds are swept away. The affrighted inhabitants ascend the neighbouring hills and obtain a short respite from the impending ruin. But not even the summit of the lofty mountain is a secure refuge for those who would fly from the fate which pursues them. The waters climb the mountain's side, and the wretched groups that cover its green head, behold with dismay the verdure receding from their eyes, and themselves surrounded by a waste of waters, extending as far as the eye can reach; whilst here and there its foaming surface is tinged with a dark green spot, covered with groups as wretched as themselves, whose uplifted hands and frantic cries bespeak the agonies of despair. The father draws his children round hini, the mother presses her babe closer to her trembling breast; friend clings to friend—but it is in vain. Now the
spray washes their feet-now the waves encircle them -and now, with one convulsive cry, parents and children, the young, the blooming, and the aged, sink in the abyss, and the wave rolls in awful majesty above them. "Tis past! and the spot whereon they stood is buried in the deep. What a spectacle for Noah! To witness the war of elements—the tempest pouring down its torrents—and the deep breaking over its bounds and deluging the earth, must have shaken his soul. But when he saw the accumulating horrors of the flood; when villages and towns, with all their inhabitants rapidly disappeared from his sight, and the
cry of the perishing smote upon his ear, dismay and horror would almost paralyze his frame. How would he lament that the iniquity of his brethren had been so great, that they had refused to listen to his admonitions, and had continued with fatal obstinacy in a course of life which had been thus awfully and abruptly terminated!
So perished a guilty world. So the great Ruler of heaven and earth manifested his power, and poured forth his indignation upon the iniquitous and impious of the days of Noah. Truly we may say, with the Psalmist, " Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doings towards the children of men.” Their iniquities could not be pardoned: vengeance was due, and He took ample vengeance on those who knew not God. The power which directs the course of nature for the support of all creatures, and especially for the support and the happiness of the human race, was compelled to arrest that course, and to make the elements the instruments of destruction to a rebellious and ungodly world. Their end was indeed des truction. In the midst of their impure enjoyments and the prosecution of their unjust designs; whilst they said tą their souls, Eat, drink and be merry; whilst they were