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hearts as these. And is it, therefore, the very hedges are in bloom, and reasonable to imagine, that, for the pur- every thorn produces a flower.” The pose of vainly attempting to silence their differences, and even contrarieties among cavils and objections, the Author of Chris- Christians, provoke examination, and tianity should destroy its moral efficacy, prevent implicit faith. They invest the and take from intellect its largest field, Scriptures with additional importance, from piety its sweetest enjoyments, from and lead to a rational conviction of their truth its holiest influence?
truth and excellence. They awaken in We admit that the form of the Chris- the lovers of pure Christianity an ardent tian revelation renders it peculiarly liable and benevolent zeal in support of its to be differently understood, even by claims, and abash and confound its adversincere and devout inquirers; and that saries. men of corrupt minds, influenced by One great advantage accruing from sinister motives, have drawn from it here- them, and which requires to be distinctly sies of every grade ; that these have noticed, is the integrity of the sacred induced controversies which have been records. All have had an equal interest maintained among the champions of truth in preserving them entire, and they have, and error in a spirit of equal bitterness, therefore, vigilantly guarded them against and, in many instances, have nerved on the slightest mutilation. When any in both sides the arm of persecuting vio- their madness to serve a party, have venlence, and given to each a list of mis- tured to tamper with the sacred text, the called martyrs : all this we affect not to attempt has covered them with shame, deny. But it is our happiness to know and the interpolation or omission has that all this evil has been overruled for been marked with merited censure. We good; and in viewing the beneficial results know, from what has transpired, what in which, by the vigilance and control of all human probability would have been Divine Providence, have been elicited the fate of the Holy Scriptures, bad they from the errors, and even crimes of pro- been consigned to the protecting care of fessed Christians, we are led to exclaim, that church which has arrogantly claimed in the language of a devout writer, “How the attribute of infallibility—not a vestige great is the wisdom of that Being, who of them would have remained. hath so constituted human nature, that A collateral benefit derived from the light must spring from darkness, order integrity of the Scriptures thus preserved, from confusion, and truth from prejudice is the removal of all suspicion of collusion and error!"
and fraud in their construction. It canControversy is not, in itself, to be de- not be insinuated, in any distant country preciated; it is only opposed to the high- or age, that the Bible was the invention est interests of those who engage in it on of a sect who, agreeing perfectly together, the awful subject of religion, when it is conspired to impose it upon the world, conducted in a litigious spirit, for the with a view to diffuse their tenets, and purpose of serving a party, to gratify the raise themselves to power and influence. pride of victory, or to obtain personal ag- Is not its genuineness better proved by grandizement. Yet, even when it has been teachers violently incensed against each most abused, it has ended in the clearer other from principle and passion, than by manifestation and ultimate triumph of such as are unanimous in all things ? right principles. Nothing is so apt to But, as we have more than once intirouse attention and strike out knowledge mated, Christianity is a moral system, and as disputes. In the beautiful language designed for man in his state of probaof Bishop Horne, “ All objections, when tion. It is, therefore, a test of character, considered and answered, turn out to the and sectarian delusions and ecclesiastical advantage of the Gospel, which resembles persecutions are among the severest trials a fine country in the spring season, when to which it is exposed. “ The visible kingdom of Christ,” observes the late , perpetually at war with all that it has Mr. Fuller, “is a floor containing a mix- condescended to reveal concerning huture of wheat and chaff; and every false man duty and obligation, requires virtues doctrine is a wind, which he whose fan of a high order. To maintain it amidst is in his hand employs for its purgation." the treachery and treason of false friends, There are a great number of persons who who betray it into the hands of its worst profess to receive the truth, on whom, enemies, argues a constancy, integrity, notwithstanding, it never sat easily. Its and devotedness, such as nothing but a spirits. In such cases, the mind is pre- Another aspect under which we may pared to receive any representation of the contemplate the divisions and persecuGospel, however fallacious, that may com- tions which disgrace the Christian church, port with its desires; and being adverse as overruled to promote the ultimate hapto the truth, God frequently in just judg- piness of mankind, is their influence in ment suffers the wind of false doctrine to producing those political changes which sweep them away. Such is the account are favourable to the universal diffusion of prophetically given of the chief instru- truth and righteousness by moral means. ments in the Roman apostasy. The in- It is thus that the little stone described troduction of that “mystery of iniquity” by the prophet Daniel bas smitten the is thus described—“Whose coming is mighty image which prefigured the four after the working of Satan, with all power, great monarchies of the earth. The wars and signs, and lying wonders, and with of religion have broken the powers of all deceivableness of unrighteousness, in civil despotism. The star of liberty has them that perish; because they received risen upon scenes of blood. And it is not the love of the truth, that they might thus that God will “overturn and overbe saved. And for this cause God shall turn," till He shall come whose right it is, send them strong delusions, that they and He shall reign whose benignant aushould believe a lie, that they all might thority will charm the troubled world into be damned who believed not the truth, profound repose. but had pleasure in uprighteousness."- It is our happiness to live at a period 2 Thess. ii. 9—12. The same apostle, in of peculiar light, when knowledge is difhis first epistle to the Corinthians, strongly fusing around us, and the bigotry of impresses the same awful sentiment:- | ignorance is yielding to the mild influ“ There must " be heresies," says he, ences of heavenly charity. The sword of "among you, that they which are ap- persecution sleeps in its scabbard, and proved may be made manifest ;” by the tocsin of blood is no longer heard. which he means, that those who are The murmurings of intolerance are faint, sound in the faith may be distinguished and excite no sympathy. The legislature from such as have secretly attached them- smiles upon us all with paternal kindness, selves to false doctrines or anti-Christian and a pretext scarcely remains to keep practices, and may shine out like gold them separate in heart who are identical refined from its dross. Among those who in principle; in all communities that fall under the reprobation of Heaven in reverence the fundamental truths of Chrissuch seasons of fiery trial, we may instance tianity, real Christians are to be found. the whole host of persecutors, whatever These, in the eye of Heaven, form the party they may espouse. Their ortho- catholic church, and they ought to be no doxy is only an aggravation of their longer estranged on earth. A great canse wickedness; for there is no heresy to be demands our united zeal and concentrated compared to that which deprives others, efforts. Let us make haste to discover for the sake of their opinions, of their the great points on which we are agreed, liberty and life.
and, instead of turning our weapons upon Our allegiance to Heaven, in a world each other, let us heartily combine against
the common enemy. The state of our patrons of his youth, and the sincerest country demands it, and the world opens friends of his riper years. The periodia wide field for our benevolent exertions. cal they loved and cherished, by every The time is arrived when Christians of hallowed association—by every tender all persuasions should enlist under the recollection—is endeared to his heart; same banner, and forget their own differ- while, above forty years' observation and ences, till the last enemy of the faith is experience convince him—and every day conquered.
strengthens the conviction--that it has With this series of short essays, directed irresistible claims upon those who believe specially to this object, the writer closes that they are honoured to be the almoners his contributions to the Evangelical Ma- and representatives of God, who in his gazine for the present year. He would holy habitations is the husband of the rather appear in its pages than in works widow, and the father of the fatherless. of higher literary pretension. It was one
J.S. of the instructors of his boyhood; its
Foleshill. fathers and founders were the guides and
PICTURES FROM LIFE.
Lift high the hymn of praise.
Is love in all his ways :
Every creature of his hand,
And to gladden all the land!"-Tupper, It was on one of the golden and bril- | Their walk embraced a circuit of five or liant mornings with which we six miles, in one of the loveliest and favoured at the close of August, in the richest parts of England, not very thickly present year, that two friends went out wooded, in consequence of its contiguity to walk into the country, and to observe to the sea, but richly cultivated, growing the operations of harvest, at that import an abundance of wheat and barley, and ant and delightful period. The weather, beautifully diversified by the fairest valfor a long succession of weeks, had been leys, and by a number of bold hills, of most auspicious, indeed everything that almost every form, cultured to the very could have been desired. The air had summit, and many of them thick with been tranquil, and rich with summer standing corn. fragrance ; the sun had shone forth day Our friends first proceeded to a conafter day for months, in all his glory, siderable elevation, from which they had avd bathed the fine corn-fields in splen- the finest panoramic view,—the sea on dor; an occasional shower or two had their right, studded with vessels; a fertile fallen, which proved of immense import: valley of great extent, stretching immeance to the golden wheat, until, at last, diately below them; and in front, a range the order was given, “Put ye in the of lofty and beautiful eminences, where sickle, for the harvest is fully ripe.” “the brown harvest waved around."
It was at this interesting season, when One could not refrain from exclaiming the two friends to whom we now refer to the other—“What a scene is this ! set forth to survey the country, and to what a glorious panorama !-what a feast sce what God had been doing for us. | for the mind, as well as for the eye !
Here is something to excite wonder and me to be so beautiful, as they have inspire praise. Look on all before us, during this year. How I watched the and around us, my friend, and see what progress of the young wheat in early God has done, or rather what God has spring! how anxiously I marked the thin not done for us; and, after looking on stems as they were forming into ears, and the brilliant scenery, let us look back, when God expressed his goodness to. and consider what might have been our wards us, in the remarkable manner in condition and our prospects, if the Lord which he has lately manifested it, I felt, had not appeared for us."
as I walked, with long and broad rows After surveying this goodly scene for of ripe and full wheat on either hand, some time, they entered a wheat-field, of that I could not rejoice enough-that I considerable extent, where reaping had could not be thankful enough! I sponbeen completed, for the corn was stand- | taneously lifted up my heart to heaven, ing in golden sheaves. They proceeded in the utterance of the liveliest gratitude; to another, of equal dimensions, remark- and I could scarcely help kneeling down able for the luxuriance of the wheat, in the midst of creation, and exclaiming, where the reapers were all busy and 'Thou crownest, O Lord, the year with warm beneath the vertical sun. They thy goodness, and all thy paths drop fatwalked on, through a succession of ten ness!' But come, let us proceed, my or twelve fine fields, where harvest ope- | friend: I am anxious to visit some of rations had either commenced or termi- | the farm-yards, and see what is to be nated; and in several, they saw the witnessed there, and observe what they active gleaners, women and their little are doing there." children, all animated in collecting They advanced to a beautiful village, as many “precious ears of wheat'' as most sequestered,' with a fine rich soil possible.
all around it, and went at once into a “How beautiful !" remarked one of the large farm-yard, where upwards of friends, “is a corn-field during the time twenty persons were engaged in forming of harvest! It always delights me to see wheat-ricks, and the wagons were contithe tall wheat, with its brown head nually rolling in, laden with golden waving and bowing to the air. How grain. The proprietor of the farm was often have I gone out at noon, or just present, superintending the interesting after sunset, before the wheat has been operations. He was an intelligent, amicut, and walked along the little narrow able man, of correct principles, and well path, in the centre of some extended known to his visitors. “Well, Mr. Gcorn-field, and, though tall, I have found you have a splendid harvest this sumthat the wheat has been taller than I. | mer," was the first observation made. As I have proceeded, I have observed, “Indeed I have, gentlemen, I have mentally and often vocally, 'Surely God never had a finer—the ear so full, and is here; this is God's work, not man's;- | so heavy; and not merely myself, but who but a fool, or a madman, can dispute | ninety-nine out of every hundred farmers the existence of Deity ?' and then I have in the country. There will always be thought of the beautiful lines of Mary some complainers, some grumblers; howHowitt:
ever fine the season, they are never
satisfied; but it is of no use for any to " O golden fields of bending corn, How beautiful they seem !
complain now. Indeed, I think it would The reaper-folk, the piled-up sheaves,
be a great sin. I never had my farmTo me are like a dream;
yard so full: I know not where to put The sunshine and the very air Seem of old time, and take me there.""
the produce of my fields. I am sure,
gentlemen, when we think of the last " And," rejoined his friend, “I think autumn and winter, and the state of the the corn-fields have never appeared to poor in all parts of the land, we cannot be too thankful. I did not expect such a | all the time, and observing the way in harvest. I confess I had my fears; and, which the Lord our God had led us. I in early spring, they were very serious. was dwelling on the scarcity and high I did not like the cold, raw, blighting prices of last autumn-on the miseries winds that we had at that period; but experienced by multitudes and even of how mercifully, how wonderfully Pro- the most deserving class, during the vidence has appeared for us! I am con- | winter; and I was thinking, if God, in fident if we had a fast-day, we ought to his unmerited and infinite kindness, have a thanksgiving-day- to acknow had not appeared for us this summer, ledge, as a nation, the Divine goodness." | what would have been the result? If,
“We think so too,” cried at once both instead of having a warm and golden the friends; “but," observed one, “let summer, we had been visited with a cold, not only an appointed day be the thanks wet, and cheerless one, what would have giving day, but every day let the incense been the consequences ? Bread would of a grateful heart ascend to God; and, have been scarcely obtainable by thouas we have had special interposition, sands and tens of thousands of the comspecial pre-eminent mercy, let special | munity; multitudes, during the ensuing pre-eminent gratitude be poured forth. winter, would have been starving, and, It is most desirable, most loudly called probably, immense numbers would have for, most necessary.” “Yes, gentlemen, perished. Many parts of England would I think as you think,” said this interest- have resembled the ill-fated and famineing farmer, “that special gratitude is stricken Ireland. Trade would have demanded. Mercies have been, as you been paralysed. Embarrassments and say, special. I never felt them to be bankruptcy would have been fearful, and more so. I put in my early potatoes,-I our condition, as a nation, would have expected little or nothing from them, been truly awful; indeed, we can scarcely but a finer crop was never yielded ; and conceive the extent of that misery which as to my late potatoes, look at them in the would have been endured, — the long front of the yard, on that hill before you; catalogue of appalling calamities which the appearance of none can be better. I must have accumulated. But what has say again, Providence has done great God wrought for us !-how has he heard things for us—may we never forget Pro fervent prayer !-how has he regarded our vidence !"
humiliation before him! How has he After some further conversation our dispelled the thunder clouds which surfriends extended their walk, and com- rounded us !-how has he scattered our pleted their interesting and careful sur innumerable fears ! vey; and everywhere they saw nothing “ • From glen, and plain, and city, but demonstrations, singular demonstra
Lot gracious incense rise ; tions, of the Lord's power, fidelity, and
The Lord of life and pity
Hath heard his creatures' cries : surpassing goodness.
And where, in fierce oppressing, They returned home late in the after
Stalked fever, fear, and dearth, noon, full of gratitude and joy; and, after He pours a triple blessing, having refreshed themselves with “the
To fill and fatten earth.” cup that cheers but not inebriates," one “And, my friend," was the response of friend inquired of the other “What the other, “while you were walking might have been the train of thought along, and looking back,' as you approwhich your mind was pursuing, while priately say, I was erecting one pillar of we were taking our interesting ramble memorial, as I was remaining in one together, and, I hope, our truly profitable corn-field and another; and the thought survey ? "
occurred to me, which you may deem "I,” rejoined the friend to whom the fanciful and singular-how I should like inquiry was proposed, "was looking back a pillar to be erected in every whtea-field