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stituted, and to the inquiry whether such a work of grace is in any way adapted to its original laws and propensities. The idea which I wish to illustrate is, that God has a.lapted society to be moved simultaneously by common interests. He might have made the world differently. He might have peopled it with independent individuals
- bound together by no common sympathies, cheered by no common joys, impelled to effort by no common wants. All that is tender in parental and filial affection; all that is mild, bland, purifying in mutual love; all that is elevating in sympathetic sorrow and joy; all that is great and ennobling in the love of the species, might have been unknown. Isolated individuals, though surrounded by thousands, there might have been no cord to bind us to the living world, and we might have wept alone, rejoiced alone, died alone. The sun might have shed his beams on us in our solitary rambles, and not a mortal have felt an interest in our bliss or woe. Each melancholy individual might have lived unbenefitted by the existence of any other, and with no one to shed a tear on the bed of moss, when in disease he would lie down, and when he would die.
But this is not the way in which God has chosen to fit up the world. He has made the race one great brotherhood, and each one has some interest in the obscurest man that lives,- in the wildest barbarian that seeks a shelter beneath a rock, or that finds a home in a cave. Pierce their veins. The same purple fuid meanders there. Analyse their feelings. Unknown to each other, they weep over the same distress; strangers in other things, they mingle their efforts to save the same fellow-mortal from death. This great common brotherhood God has broken up into communities of nations, tribes, clans, families—each with its own sets of sympathies, with peculiar interests, with peculiar sorrows and joys. One design of this is to divide our sorrows; another to double our joys; another to perpetuate and to spread just sentiments—to diffuse rapidly all that will meliorate the condition of the race. Sorrow hath not balf its pangs when you can mingle your tears with those of a sister or a wife ; and joy has not diffused half its blessings until your joy bas lighted up the countenance of another—be it a son, a father, or even a stranger.
Now there was no way conceivable in which just sentiments and feelings could be so rapidly spread as by this very organization. Susceptible as it is, like every thing else, of being perverted to evil purposes, yet still it is stronger in favour of virtue than of vice, of religion than of irreligion. We appeal then, to this organization, and maintain that the way to propagate and secure just sentiments in a community, is to appeal to common sympathies and cominon feelings. If you wish to spread any opinions and principles, you will not doit by appealing to individuals as such, you will call to your aid the power of the social organization ; you will rouse men by their common attachment to country; you will remind them of dear-bought liberty; you will lay before them their common dangers; you will awaken a common feeling, and endeavour to lead them forth to the martial field together. When danger presses, you will strike a chord that shall vibrate in every heart, and you will expect sympathy, concert, united action. ....
be expected to be extended and perpetuated by some such appeals to the common feelings and sympathies of men ? But if so, there would be a revival of religion.
In further illustration of this, I observe, that however solitary and dissocial infidelity may be, this is not the nature of Christianity. Infidelity may appeal to no sympathies and no common hopes, but this is not the nature of the Christian religion. Infidelity may have no power to increase the tenderness of attachment, to purify friendship, to bind the cords of love more closely ; but it is not so with Christianity. Infidelity has always loved to snap the cords of social life rudely asunder, but Christianity has loved to make stronger those silken ties, and to deepen all the tender sympathies of the heart. There is not one of the sympathies of our natnre that Christianity does not make more tender, not one of the social affections that it does not design to strengthen and to purify. It aims to sanctify all that is social, kind, and tender in men.
I know the objection that is brought against revivals, that they are the work of sympathy alone. But I am yet to understand why religion is to be spread through the world by denying it the aid of the social sympathies, and of those tender feelings which facilitate the propagation of other just opinions and feelings. I am yet to learn, when the flame of patriotism is made to burn more pure and bright by appealing to all that is tender and sympathetic in our nature, why religion is to be regarded as suspicious and tarnished, because the pleadings of a father or mother, or the tears of a sister have been the occasion, though amidst deep excitement, of directing the thoughts to eternity. To me it seems there is a peculiar loveliness in the spread of religion in this way; and I love to contemplate Christianity calling to its aid whatever of tenderness, kindness, and love there may be existing in the bosom of fallen and erring man. These sympathies are the precious remains of the joys of paradise lost; they may be made invaluable aids in the work of securing paradise again. They serve to distinguish man, though fallen, from the dissocial and unsympathising apostacy of beings of pure malignancy in hell, and their existence in man may have been one of the reasons why he was selected for redemption, while fallen angels were passed by in their sips. On no subject have we so many common interests at stake as in religion. I look upon a family circle. What tender feelings! What mutual love! What common joys! What united-sorrows! The blow that strikes one member strikes all. The joy that lights up one countenance, diffuses its smiles over all. Together they kneel by the side of the one that is sick ; together they rejoice at his recovery; or they bow their heads and weep when he dies, and put on the same sad babiliments of grief and walk to his grave. Nor are these all the common joys and woes. They are plunged into the same guilt and danger. They are together under the fearful visitations of that curse which has travelled down from the first apostacy of man. They are going to a common abode beneath the ground. And that guilty and suffering circle, too, may be, irradiated with the same beam of hope, and the same balm of Gilead, and the same great Physician may impart healing there. Now we ask why they may not become Christians together ? Sunk in the same woes, why may they not rise to the same immortal hope? When one member is awakened, why should not the same feeling run through the united group? When one is impressed with the great thoughts of immortality, why should not the same thoughts weigh on each spirit ? And when the eyes of one kindle with the hope of eternal life, why should not every eye catch the immortal radiance, and every heart be filled with the hope of heaven ? And why may we not appeal to them by all the hopes of sitting down together in a world of bliss, and by all the fears of being separated to different destinies in an eternal heaven or hell ? And yét let this feeling go through this family, and produce its. appropriate results, and there would be a revival of religion.
The truth is, there are no sympathies so deep on any other subject as on the subject of religion. The sympathies of the human heart are never met and satisfied, till they are met by religion. The hopes, the fears, the joys of man, never find a corresponding object till he looks away from time, and is filled with the hope of heaven. That aged man, once full of hope in the cheerful visions of early life, now sits down and weeps, that in all life's ambition, its honours, and its joys, he has never realized what be anticipated. The big tear rolls down his cheek, worn with age and care, when he remembers how the world has flattered and betrayed him; and there he sits, at the close of life, on the borders of a boundless ocean, waiting to be borne to some land of bliss which he has never yet found. He has bad sympathies, hopes, fears, anticipations, which have never been satisfied by this world, which nothing now can satisfy, until the eye is fixed on immortality, and he can look to a heaven of boundless glory as his home. That family so tender, so amiable, so lovely, so united in sorrows and in joys, has sympathetic emotions which can never be met but by the united hope of heaven. Never will they know the riches of pure attachment to each other until they are united in the service of God, and can look forward to the same heaven as their home. Never will their sorrows produce what they should produce, or their joys be followed with the blessings which they should convey, until all their sympathies are sanctified by the Gospel of peace, and parents and children alike, hope to strike together the harp of praise in beaven. Society everywhere is full of anticipations, sympathies, and hopes, that are never fully met until a tide of religious feeling flows over the community, uniting many hearts simultaneously in the hope of heaven.
In conclusion, I would observe, that if the views which have now been presented are correct, you will accord with me in the sentiment, that such a work should be the object of the fervent prayer of every friend of the Saviour. If, then, you have ever felt in your own hearts the power of divine grace ; if you have ever felt the worth of the soul; if you have felt that you are soon to meet your fellow-mortals at the judgment-seat; if you have any love for your children and friends, for the church and the world, for the thoughtless multitudes amidst whom we dwell, let me entreat you to cry unto God without ceasing, FOR A REVIVAL OF PURE RELIGION.
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF NAPOLEON IN HIS LAST:
(From the New York Observer.)
All men are equal before God, I know. “ There is no respect of persons with God," as the Apostle remarks, quoting Moses; (Rom. ii. 11; compare Deut. x. 17 ;) and the meanest beggar, if advanced in the life of faith, is greater in the eyes of the Lord than an illustrious conqueror, who has but a faint and feeble piety. Still we feel deep interest in knowing what were the religious sentiments of those who have changed the face of the world, or who have acquired by their genius a distinguished place in the history of mankind. It is not mere curiosity; we are pleased, we rejoice in the Chtistianity which we profess, when we learn that the most celebrated men have bent the knee before its divine revelations.
Surely we have asked more than once, did Napoleon die an infidel, or a Christian ? Did this extraordinary warrior, who, for eighteen years, appeared in the world as the instrument of Providence to punish the nations and to effect vast changes,—did he bow his haughty bead at the foot of the cross, and open his heart to the truths of the Gospel ? It is difficult to answer this question with entire satisfaction. The admirers of Napoleon bave, perhaps, forged false facts, or exaggerated true facts to exalt their hero. But, however doubtful, it is interesting to collect whatever can throw any light upon the religious views of this great man ; and I will now bring to your notice some documents little known, which have been lately published by a French journal.
Let us first cast a rapid glance, since the occasion offers, at the life of Napoleon considered with regard to religion.
Bonaparte, being born in the island of Corsica, of parents originally from Italy, and having an uncle who was a priest, received in early life religious instruction. It is probable that his mother sought to instil into his mind a respect for the doctrines of Popery; for the Corsicans are, in general, more attached to the Romish Church than the French, and even now preserve some antiquated superstitions, for which they profess a similar veneration. Young Bonaparte, raised among such a people, must necessarily have imbibed in childhood more or less of their ideas. But these first impressions do not seem to have lasted long. He was soon sent to a military school in France, at a time when the infidel philosophy of Voltaire and Rousseau had gained an almost universal assent. He everywhere heard the doctrines of religion scoffed at and ridiculed; and how could a young officer, who had doubtless little studied theological subjects, resist the contagion of scepticism ?
From the military school Bonaparte passed immediately to the field of battle. There, deafened by the noise of war, constantly engaged in scenes of carnage, urged onward by the incentives of ambition, his heart was too full of visible things to be occupied with things invisible. We do not find in the history of Napoleon that, during his brilliant campaigns in Italy, he paid any attention to religious subjects. He showed no more deference to the Pope, as a temporal Prince, then to other Sovereigns. He even consented to the abduction of Pius VI., who died on his way, overcome with fatigue and grief. Afterward, when he went to Egypt, he tried to gain the Mahommedans by speaking their language, and some at the time said, that he embraced the religion of the false propbet. But this was not true ; the conqueror of Egypt only made use of the language of the Koran to gain a more easy triumph: a trick of state too often employed by earthly rulers.
Having become master of France, and being clothed with the title of First Consul, Bonaparte made, it is true, a formal agreement with the Pope, and restored the exercise of worship. But it would be wrong to seek in such acts a proof of personal piety. He merely wished, according to all appearance, to strengthen his dominion. The priests were only his agents, charged to preach to the people, in the cities and villages, obedience to the will of Napoleon. "He had, subsequently, violent quarrels with Pope Pius VII. ; and in their long and lamentable discussions, we discover nothing in the Emperor which shows a man piously submissive to the injunctions of the holy see. On the contrary, Napoleon had formed the plan of making the Pope a simple patriarch, who would have been subjected to his authority.
Continual wars filled up his reign. During this time religion was probably far removed from his heart; and if it sometimes pressed itself upon his attention, it was in a transient and vague manner. It has been remarked, that in this part of his career, he showed often a kind of belief in fatalism. He spoke of his star, to those who surrounded him; he confided in his star; he said, after a great victory, that he had been once more protected by his star. When he met with a reverse, he laid it upon his mysterious star, which he considered as presiding over all his actions. Strange and superstitious notion, borrowed from the astrology of the dark ages, but explicable when we look at the life of Napoleon.
He had passed through such a variety of fortune, had risen from so humble a condition to so lofty an eminence, he had so often obtained splendid victories, that he must believe, either in a special blessing of divine Providence, or in the magic influence of a star. But as the idea of a Providence was not in his thoughts, he had adopted the notion of a blind destiny, which, under the name of star,' controlled all his actions.
It is remarkable, that almost all illustrious men have been believers in fatalism. Is there, then, in the chances of battle, in the uncertainty of victory, in the triumphs achieved by force of arms, some undefinable impression which impels men to regard themselves as the slaves of an unknown and irresistible power ?
Terrible disasters drove Napoleon from his throne: I will not relate them here; the world has resounded with them. The moment came, then, for the illustrious Captain to examine himself, to listen to the voice of conscience, to feel bis utter weakness, and perhaps to turn his thoughts to God. His old friends had abandoned him, his power was gone, the din with which he had been surrounded was hushed. He was alone, with some companions of his misfortune, he