« AnteriorContinuar »
be celebrated to testify tbeir union, not only by the ministers and elders of the Synod, but in general with the whole Church." And as a general rule the following canon was adopted :—
"Although it hath not been the custom to administer the Lord's Supper in the greatest part of our churches more than four times a-year, yet it were to be desired that it might be oftener, so that the reverence which is needful for this holy sacrament could be kept up and observed Because it is most profitable for the children of God to be exercised and grow in faith by the frequent use of the sacraments j and the example of the primitive Church doth invite us to it. And, therefore, our national Synods shall take that care and order in this matter, as is requisite for the weal and happiness of our churches."
A striking proof of the high state of discipline and the deep tenderness of conscience which prevailed in the Protestant Church of France may be gathered from the fact, that in the very first Synod of Paris, above twenty cases of conscience were discussed and decided upon, and, it may be added, the judgments of the Assembly were generally marked with much good sense, and great regard for the authority of the Word of God.
The unexceptionable character of the Confession of Faith and canons of discipline, which the Protestant Church drew up at Paris in 1550 and published, did not save her from the violence of her enemies. She may have had rest for a year or two, but shortly persecution wns revived. One sovereign after another proved equally adverse. Mere men of the world would huve been wearied out by such treatment, but the Spirit of God rested upon the Church and upon the admirable standards under which she was organised, and so her members increased and multiplied from day to day. In 1571, or in twelve short years from the period of her first public assembly, she may be said to have reached her highest prosperity. Here also there is a singular correspondence between the Church of France and the Church of Scotland. The bitter started in 1560 with a General Assembly of twelve, and a population almost utterly ignorant of the Scriptures. In twenty years 400 ministers assembled at Edinburgh to confess their own sins and the sins of their people, and renew the covenant, and almost every family bad a Bible and was able to read it. Similar was the progress of the Protestant Church of France. At the Synod or General Assembly of Hoehelle in 1571, the celebrated Theodore Beza presided as moderator, and the Queen of Navarre, the Prince of Navarre, Henry de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, Prince Lewis Count of Nassau, and Count de Coligny, Admiral of France, and other lords and gentlemen were present. So rapid had been the diffusion of the Gospel, under the outpouring of the Spirit, that Beza could count 2150 Churches in connection with the Protestant Church of France: almost double the number of the present Church of Scotland j and the Churches were not small or insignificant in point of strength. In many there were 10,000 members. The Church of Orleans bad 7000 communicants; and the ministers in such Churches were proportionally numerous; two ministers to a Church was common, and that of Orleans had five. At this period there were 305 pastors in the one province of Normandy, and in Provence there were 60. All this betokens wonderful growth. What a contrast to the present state of the French Protestant Church I With all its revival of late years, it appears on the testimony of the Rev. Mr Davies, in his recent "Letters from France," that for between two and three millions of professed Protestants, there are only between four and five hundred Churches, and three hundred ministers. The Ecclesiastical Budget for 1837 gives three hundred and sixty-six pastors of the Reformed Church. What an unhappy change I We may perhaps, in a subsequent paper, continue the history,
and assign some reasons for the amazing degenennr. In the meantime, we have beheld the French Prote>t»iit Church at the height of her glory, and we may <ln» from the facts detailing her rapid prosperity the cfcsaing inference, that God, who vouchsafed bis Spirit » plentifully in former times, may vouchsafe his innueuci as richly and suddenly in these bitter days. Good aa are often discouraged in their prayers and labouri 31 thinking that the progress of Christianity must necessarily be slow and tedious; let them remember the katory of the Protestant Church of France, and be ir,i. mated and refreshed. God is as able and as willing u ever to interpose in behalf of his people, and freqntnfrj there is one characteristic style of dealing towards the same Church in different ages. If, in twelve years, God wrought such a change in and by the persecuted Churn of France, who can tell what happy moral and religioui changes may be accomplished by the same Cburch in these latter days. And who can estimate whatgloriom achievements the Christian Church of Britain may be honoured to effect, in more favourable circumstance;, in as brief a space of time. The history of true religion in this country certainly does not discountenance the idea of rapid change for good.
Matter And Its Properties,
By The Rev. James Bbodie,
Jilinisier of Monimail.
The essential or first principle of matter can never be conceived by the human mind, being known to man *;■ its properties alone. Of these there arc some wl:cj are included in the very first idea that we form respecting it, while others arc deduced from observation icd experiment.
The primary propertiet of matter are extension, fora, impenetrability, and mobility. By calling extensim, K size, a property of matter, we are understood to aftra that every particle, however small, has length, breadtU and thickness, or, in other words, occupies a certtia quantity of space. In this property we also indui: divisibility; for if every body has some determinate size, it must consist of parts which may be separate* from each other. In theory, this division can be euried on to an indefinite extent, but it is generally supposed that in nature there ate portion* of matter so small that tbey cannot be again divided. To these portions the name of atoms has been given, and of tier" every body is considered as composed. Their extrece minuteness must be altogether inconceivable. Wbea gold is beat out into a leaf, the fifty-millionth part cf a grain may be made visible; and the world of winders displayed by the microscope, presents us vita proofs of their minuteness yet more astonishing—in-.-r having been discovered as much smaller than the Bite as the mouse is less than the elephant, and yet the particles of the vital fluid circulate in their veins as wcJ as in our own. Form implies the possession of tone determinate figure or shape, which it is evident all bodies must possess. Impenetrability, or as it is soovtimes termed, substance or solidity, designates that p.-vperty by which each particular body hinders all otier» from occupying the same part of space which it p> sesses; that is, two pieces of matter cannot be in ue same place at the samo time. Mobility expresses ti* capacity for motion; and when we call it a proper'.;' matter, we merely affirm, that all bodies may be roe** if sufficient force be applied.
The secondary properties of matter are adhesion, cohesion, elasticity, and gravitation. Adhesion is • PTMpetty residing in the surfaces of bodies, by whica t*> of them, when brought together, so that the dcaaan between them is insensible, stick or adhere to each other. Thug two pieces of metal, having highly polished surfaces, when applied to each other, will sometimes require a considerable force to separate them. Different kinds of matter possess this attraction in various degrees. Liquids, from their surfaces being not only highly polished, but adapting themselves to the inequalities of other surfaces, possess it in a much higher degree than solids. In some cases, as in that of oil poured upon water, there seems to be none of this attraction exhibited at all. Cohesion and elasticity are properties which have a reference to the composition of bodies. According to the theory which is now generally adopted, all bodies consist of physical points or atoms, endued with certain powers of attraction and repulsion, which vary both in nature and degree with their respective distances. Cohesion is the attraction, ur force, by which the component parts of a homogeneous or uniform mass are drawn together; elasticity is the tendency which they have to separate from each other. These properties, or forces, are directly opposed to each other, and it is by their mutual action that the form of bodies is determined. The manner of their operation may be very simply illustrated. If we take a piece of tempered steel, made into the form of a W, and press the ends of it together, we find a resisting force, which regularly increases till they are brought into contact; if we separate them from each other, a similar resistance is offered till the metal is broken. Tbe»e forces may be considered as representing the action of cohesion and elasticity. When both these properties are aeting, the particles remain fixed in the place where their forces mutually balance, or neutralize each other, increasing cohesion opposing their farther separation, increasing elasticity preventing their farther compression. The body is then termed a solid. When neither cohesion nor elasticity acts on the particles, they have no tendency either to come nearer, or to separate farther from each other, and may be moved or divided with the greatest ease. The body is then termed a liquid or fluid. When elasticity acts alone, the particles sersirate as far from each other as external circumstances will allow, and the body becomes a vapour or air. Gravitation is that property by which the particles of all matter are made to tend toward each other. It operates on all substances alike, whatever be their nature. Its power is directly proportioned to the quantity of matter that they contain, so that the larger the mass, the greater is the attraction, while every atom possesses its appropriate influence. It acts at all distances, whether they be insensibly small or immeasurably great, its power, like all other virtues or emanations from a centre, decreasing as the square of the distance, having but a fourth part of the force at twice the distance, a ninth part at three times the distance, and so on. The mutual gravitation of its parts keeps the earth in the form of a globe; their united power attracts to its surface the lighter bodies that are within its sphere, and forms that force, or weight as it is commonly termed, by which terrestrial objects are kept in their places. The same property keeps the moon revolving round the earth, the earth round the sun, and the whole solar system, if the conclusions of astronomers be correct, round some far distant centre.
"The very law that moulds the tear.
That low preserves the earth a sphere,
These arc the original properties of the matter, which is afterwards moulded by different agents into the various ohjeets that we behold. It is not our intention at present to describe these agents, but it nuty not be improper to enumerate thein. Heat and electricity enlarge the size, and change the forms of the bodies to which they are applied. Chemical agency unites together different kinds of substances, so as to produce
new properties in the compounds. Crystallization arranges the particles of bodies into symmetrical forms. The principle of vegetable life changes matter that formerly was dark, and it may be loathsome, into the verdant foliage and lovely blossom of the plant. And the agency of the vital power in animals, makes that, which in itself is incapable of feeling or activity, become instinct with life and motion, writhe under the pang of agony, or bound through the impulse of joy.
Such is the material which, in the words of Scripture, Jehovah at first " created," and out of which hi afterwards "made" the visible universe. The consideration of its properties is necessary not only for the philosopher, that he may be enabled to ascertain the laws by which it is regulated, but for the Christian, if he would fully comprehend the power and wisdom of God as exhibited in creation. When we contemplate the varied scenes that nature presents to our view, it is not enough that we admire the changing outline of the mountain and the plain, the diversified colours of the plants, that spring in boundless profusion around us, and the active movements of the living things, that tread on the earth, pass through the waters of the deep, or fly in the open firmament of heaven; we must keep in mind the original properties of the matter out of which they all are formed, that we may be led to praise the Architect of nature, not only because he has raised a glorious edifice, but because he has made it out of materials the most rude and unpromising.
Nor should we rest contented here. If we farther proceed and compare matter with mind, how striking is the contrast that their properties present I The one is inert and dead, the other is in constant action; the one is incapable of feeling or of thought, the other can think and know, can rejoice and be sorry. They seem to be not only dissimilar, but altogether contrary and opposed; yet in man matter and mind are united in one. The inactive substance of which our body is composed, is joined to a reasonable and immortal spirit, and is itself destined to live for ever! Need we wonder that human ingenuity is utterly at fault, when we attempt to investigate the nature of this connection; and may we not well exclaim, that " we are fearfully and wonderfully made I" And if man be thus a mystery to himself, who shall unfold the mystery of mysteries, the union of God and man in Christ? He is " the fulness of the Godhead bodily." To the unchanging and infinite perfections of Jehovah, he adds a human soul and a material frame; worshipped by Cherubim and Seraphim, he retains the nature of man ; sitting on the throne of the Eternal, as the source and arbiter of life, he bears the trace of death; (Rev. v. 6;) he wears the diadem of heaveu on the head that was crowned with thorns; he combines in his person the attributes of Deity and the properties of matter; and holds the sceptre of supreme dominion, in a hand that is formed of dust I
"Father," teach us "to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
The Necessity of Looking to Christ The reason why
the men of the world think so little of Christ is, they do not look at him. Their backs being turned to the sun, they can see only their own shadows, and are, therefore, wholly taken up with themselves. While the true disciple, looking only upward, sees nothing but his Saviour, and learns to forget himself. You might bind a bird with a soft silken cord, and while he remains still, he will not be sensible of his confinement; but as soon as he attempts to fly, he will feel the con! that confines him; and the greater his desire and his efforts to escape, the more sensible will he be of his bondage. So the sinner may long be a slave to his sins, and never be aware of it till he rises to go to Christ— Payson,
TIIE AUTUMN EVENING.
Behold the western evening light!
It melts in deepening gloom;
Descending to the tomb.
Scarce whispers from the tree;
When good men cease to be.
How beautiful on all the hills
The crimson light is shed 1
To mourners round his bed.
The sunset beam is cast!
When lov'd ones breathe their last.
And now, above the dews of night,
The yellow star appears;
Whose eyes are bathed in tears.
His glory shall restore,
Shall wake to close no more.
Ode To The 8taks.
How beauteous 1 how wondrous! fain, fain would I see
The Conversion of an Atheist The celebrated
Francis Junius, called by Bishop Hall " the glory of Leyden, the hope of the Church, the oracle of textual and school divinity, rich in languages, subtle in distinguishing, and in argument invincible," was in the early part of his life infected with the most dangerous and abominable errors. By the sophistry of an abandoned companion, and by his own indiscretion or inexperience, he was seduced into absolute atheism. To this senseless denial of the glories of the Deity, he was conducted by frequently pondering upon the insane maxim of Epicurus, cited in the works of Cicero, " that God is totally destitute of care, both for his own affairs, and for those of all other beings." And such was the infatuation which carried him away, that for a consider
able time he was accustomed to avow and t« defend his wretched principles. He was soon, however, rescued from his danger. A striking interposition of mercy effected his wonderful preservation in a violent commotion in the city of Lyons. He then became conrinerd that there is a Providence; and the entreatiei of iii father induced him to commence the perusal of the Nfi Testament with attention and seriousness. He bean with the first chapter of the Gospel of John, mi W has left the following account of the impression vied was produced upon his mind:—" I read," said i», "part of the chapter, and I was so impressed wis what I read, that I could not but perceive the divini!. of the subject, and the authority and majesty of tlr Scriptures, to surpass greatly all human eloquence. 1 shuddered with horror at myself; my soul wis astoniied; and I was so strongly affected all that day, thai 1 scarcely knew, who, what, or where I was. But thoc. O Lord my God! didst remember me in thy wonderful mercy, and didst receive a lost and wandering sleep into thy flock. From that time I began to read the Bible, md treat other books with more coldness and indifferent. and to become more conversant with the things wliri relate to salvation." With these expressions, and Tin this extraordinary change, the subsequent history & Junius corresponded; he was holy in living, happy a dying, and to few men is the Church of Christ mote itdebtee! for their active labours and literary productions.
Piety and Persecution The ancestors of the cts
brated Dr Franklin were remarkable for their amement to revealed truth. The family of his great rn»'fether having embraced the doctrines of the Reformtion, were in great danger, in the reign of Queen Sir. of being molested on account of their zeal against Ppery. They had an English Bible, and to concnl t the more securely, they conceived the project of fastening it open with packthreads across the leaves, on it' inside of a lid of a private chest. When the pair*chal head of the family wished to read to his doner-:' circle, he reversed the lid upon his knees, and pi* the leaves from one side to the other, which were It:! down on each by the packthread. One of the efciM"'" was stationed at the door to give notice in the erect r>. the officers of the spiritual court making their tppexance. In that case the lid was restored to its piw. with the Bible concealed under it as before.
Dew "Thy goodness is as the morning cloud, «
as the early dew, which goeth away."—Hosea, ri- J "The dews of the night," says an eastern tttwft "as we had only the heavens for our covering, »»-frequently wet lis to the skin; but no sooner «« »sun risen, and the atmosphere a little heated, thin '■•'■ mists were instantly dispersed, and the abundant m*'ure which the dews had given to the sands, wouio K entirely evaporated, or dried up." What a bean-1* illustration is this, of the words of the inspired prop^ How often do the hopes which have gladdened the i* of some kind parent or friend, disappear and pass »»'>:■ as the dew before the morning sun!
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SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN HERALD,
CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF MINISTERS AND MEMBERS OP
THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
ON PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION.
By The Rev. William Nisbet,
Minister of New Street Parish, Edinburgh.
The Apostle James, in addressing "the twelve tribes" scattered over the Roman empire, seems to have been desirous principally to teach, that "faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Many, it is probable, had crept into the Christian Church, who imagined, that, by the Gospel, they were freed from obedience to the moral precepts of the Almighty, and that a mere assent of the understanding to the doctrine of salvation through a Redeemer, was sufficient to justify a sinner in Jehovah's sight. But, as it would be exceedingly absurd to say to a brother or a sister, naked and destitute of daily food, "depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled," without giving " those things which are needful to the hody," and stretching forth our hands to afford effectual assistance, so the inspired penman distinctly declares, that they labour under sad delusion, who suppose that it is not absolutely necessary to be doers as well as hearers of the Word; demonstrates the folly of refusing to walk in the way of the divine commandments, and employs such terms as show that if the tree be truly good, its foliage will be fair to the eyes, and its fruit pleasant to the taste; that the genuine disciple of Jesus, whilst he sojourns on earth, hath indeed his conversation in heaven; and that "pure religion and undefiled before God even the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Some have been so bold, in their real or affected ignorance, as to affirm, that the statement just quoted is opposed to what is taught by Paul throughout the whole of his Epistles; but if, with an unprejudiced eye, they would look into the Scriptures, they would certainly perceive, that the harmony of the various parts of the blessed book is perfectly unbroken, and that the great apostle of the GentiJes, and James, the servant of the Lord, by no means contradict each other; for we find the former, whilst he strenuously maintains and triumphantly proves, that we are justified freeIv by divine grace, and iustified bv faith alone, and
not by the deeds of the law, declaring, that "circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God ;" that " circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing," but "faith which worketh by love ;" and that "circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing," but "a new creature;" and the latter does not at all undervalue faith, which is verily "a saving grace," but only insists on the utter vanity of that barren and merely speculative belief, possessed by the trembling inhabitants of hell, which causes not him who hath it to honour and reverence the law, and to live, amid numerous temptations, as seeing the Most High, who is invisible. Had the sacred writer been describing the motives from which actions that are praiseworthy must spring, he would have, undoubtedly, referred to the glory of the Almighty Creator as "man's chief end," and he would have, undoubtedly, referred to faith in the Lord's Anointed, as the root of the rich produce; but he here gives a summary account of the effect of proper principles upon our practice, and intimates, that our pretensions to be arranged on the Redeemer's side are false and vain, unless we endeavour to relieve the afflicted, and to bring forth, in abundance, the peaceable fruits of righteousness ; and, indeed, the source of all that is amiable and holy, in the outward conduct, is plainly hinted at, when he represents compassion towards our fellow-creatures, and unspotted purity of manners, as "religion undefiled before God even the Father;" because Jehovah asks, and expects, the homage and allegiance of our hearts, and, as he is acquainted with our secret thoughts, abominable are the best and brightest performances of those who worship, and yet serve him not in spirit and in truth.
Multitudes would wish their neighbours to be impressed with the idea, that they belong to "the household of faith, " because they regularly go into the place where prayer is "wont to be made," and lift up their voices together with the pious and devout.; and not a few appear to fancy that they are followers of the Lamb, on account of their orthodox sentiments, and the fluency with which they can talk and dispute upon important topics. But the language before us brings complete and utter desolation to the houes of those who are finis flattering themselves, and founding their anticipations, for the future, on such a frail groundwork that shaU, alas 1 so suddenly give way; and loudly warns the infatuated individuals who speak as if they loved him whom they have never seen, whilst they despise their needy brethren for whom the Saviour died, and delight not in attempting to alleviate their sorrows, and who, in words, profess to be looking forward to the celestial city as their everlasting home, whilst, by their conduct, they manifest, that their souls cleave closely to the dust, and that, destitute of the power of godliness, they would greedily gather the gold that soon grows dim, and enjoy the polluted and unsatisfying "pleasures of sin for a season," rather than "strive to enter in at the strait gate," run with patience the appointed race, wrestle for the prize of incalculable value, fight under the banner of the Captain of Salvation, and grasp, with outstretched arms and eager hands, the crown of righteousness "that shall never fade away."
It is only by having our iniquities imputed to the "second Adam," and by having his merit made over unto us, that we can meet with pardon and acceptance; yet the volume, whose authority is infallible, plainly and explicitly reveals, that we must be characterized by benevolence of disposition, and must be anxious to keep our garments clean. To each of the momentous branches of duty mentioned above, it is incumbent upon us, with care, to attend; for what Jehovah hath so closely joined together, it becomes not us to put asunder; and we should bear in mind, that, although we distribute alms, and give, with liberal and unsparing hand, a great proportion of our goods to feed the poor, yet, if we be the slaves of our own lusts, and be led captive by our evil and unruly passions, and fail to "crucify the flesh," we have reason to suspect, that Satan exorcises dominion over us: and we should bear in mind.that although we cannot be accused of indulging in any of those vices to which so very many are addicted, yet if, with all our apparent rectitude and purity, we turn a deaf and inattentive ear to the piercing cry which issues from the dwelling where the empoisoned arrows of misfortune have been falling thick and fast, it is quite out of the question to lay claim to be numbered amongst the living in Jerusalem, amongst the "cloud of witnesses," amongst those who have been united to "the church of the first-born."
The description which the apostle gives of pure and undefiled religion, is not calculated to encourage a legal spirit, but it shows the folly of an antinomian temper; and our fervent prayer should be, that we may be enabled to avoid both errors; and, whilst we consider the Messiah as our sanctuary and shield, as our substitute and intercessor, we should seek to pity and to assist the orphan, to comfort her who nath beheld the husband of her youth carried from the house of mourning, and all who are doomed "to drink the baleful cup of grief, and eat the bitter bread of
misery;" and we should seek to "lay aside every weight," and to be sanctified in soul, and in body, and in spirit.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
WILLIAM HEY, ESQ. Late Senior Surgeon of the General Infirmary at Lais,
This eminent surgeon was born near Leeds, on lit'»; September 1736, of respectable and truly excellent parents. While yet very young, he accidentally lost v.t eight of his right eye? but through the kindness of Providence, his left eye became remarkably acute in risen, and retained that power till a very late period of lilt. At school, he was distinguished for his unwearied application and persevering industry. His nttainiueEi' were, in consequence, of a higher order than most ot his companions. Nor was he neglected in point of moral training. His parents were indefatigable in their attention to the formation of pious habits, and the inculcation of pious principles in the minds of their children. And so successful were their exertions, that ^ !■ Ham was never known to utter a falsehood, or to be guilty of a single breach of filial duty. He early unbilled a sacred regard for integrity in all his transaction with mankind j and the uprightness of his charactt: was conspicuous throughout life. From the precep:and example of his parents, he also acquired a taste fa the public and private exercises of religion, a taste whid seemed to increase rather than diminish, at he beai; involved in the laborious and harassing employments £ the profession which, by the advice of his parent*, t« had adopted.
At fourteen years of age, he was placed as sn Jpprentice with Mr Dawson, surgeon and apothecary' Leeds. Naturally of an active and ardent mind,!; soon made himself acquainted with the sensible emVties and medicinal virtues of the various articles he reemployed to compound. On one occasion, his taiw for knowledge led him beyond the bounds of prudence; for by an immoderate use of opium, with the tie* <& ascertaining its effects, he threw himself into so conplete a state of stupor, that Mr Dawson and bis friend' were seriously alarmed, and it was not until sew! hours had elapsed, that he recovered from the deleterious effects of the drug.
While under Mr Dawson's care, he was punctual ii his morning and evening devotions, and by this mens there was kept alive in his mind a constant imfteaa of the reality and importance of divine things. He intended also, as regularly as possible, the evening pro1era in the parish church. Though thus observsE. however, of the outward forms of religion, Mr Hey W not yet acquired a correct knowledge of the petals' doctrines of Christianity. He was in search of the truth, and hence he was in the habit of studying d* Scriptures, that he might attain an enlarged acqtui'!ance with all that the Bible reveals. On one of the* occasions, while reading the fifth chapter of the Secff Epistle to the Corinthians, his attention was fcreib.' arrested by the seventeenth verse :—" H any man be a Christ, he is a new creature; old things are nasn away; behold all things are become new." In refecting on these words, he was led by the Spirit of Gods see the necessity, in his own case, of an entire reno* tion of heart; and to that great object, in which insists the essence of all practical religion, hu eo^> were from this time assiduously directed. He prayTM much, he read much, he thought much. A chanee hecame gradually more and more apparent in hk »»sls character and conduct.
When he was about eighteen years of age, be joe*" the Wesleyan Methodists; but in common with U!