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open before your view; suppose, that from what of your prophetic history you had seen already fulfilled to the rery letter, you were completely convinced that all the •est of it must be correct; and suppose, that by tuning over another leaf, you had it in your power to know ill the future events of your life, and all the circumtances of your latter end, I would advise you not to urn the leaf. The experiment would be too hazardous. You might learn what would elate you with selfonndence and pride; or, catching a glimpse of scenes
00 painful for flesh and blood, your heart might never .^iin know the buoyant feeling of pleasure, and your ountenancc never again be lighted up with a smile. t is true that no such information is within your reach; nit beware of indulging a frame of mind which has a endency to produce, in some measure, these baneful fleets. Leave your future history under that cloud ritli which divine wisdom and goodness have covered :; and let it be your leading principle to attend to the resent. By habitually following this principle, you rill bo always safe and always improving, and when
hat is the future shall come to be the present, that resent will still find you with God.
On a review of the whole of these observations, is it ot clear that we ought not to waste time, or perplex ursclves about things which either cannot be positively :ttled at all, or, if they can, are of no practical utility? : is especially important that this should be attended ) by those who profess to teach practical religion, from Je pulpit or from the press. Though they ought, enerally speaking, to make up their mind and to give decided opinion on the topics which they discuss, yet ley ought neither to pretend, nor be expected, to fonounce positively on every questionable point which ay lie in their way; on the contrary, it is true wisTM to be silent when the Bible does not speak out.
is right, too, that they should themselves be acquaint
1 with what has been written critically, or controversy, or even captiously; but, in many cases they ought i give the result of their researches, and a brief account r the ground on which their opinion rests, rather than iy minute account of all the steps by which they have rived at that result. Nor ought they to spend time i any such arguments or disquisitions, as are not easily pable of being profitably applied. "Neither give ed," Srvs Paul to Timothy, "to fables, and endless nealogies, which minister questions rather than godly it'ving." To be thus "doting about questions and •ilea of words," is virtually, when their hearers or aders are asking for bread, to give them a stone, iristian teachers ought to be occupied in illustrating (1 enforcing the great truths of faith and holiness j ey ought to dwell on whatever is most conducive to s conversion of sinners, and the edification of believers; ey ought to be perpetually urging the grand business personal religion.
licit the same lesson is here also substantially read nil professing Christians. They have here the rule their private study. They are here reminded that it of little consequence how deeply they study, and w much they know, if they am not following after : knowledge of God in Christ, so as to be led to mgelical faith and love. They are told that " knowI'.'f puffoth up, but charity edifieth;" that they may (lerstand, as far as is possible, all mysteries and all owlcdge, and yet be nothing; and that, therefore, if iy would be truly wise, they must sedulously culti:e true practical holiness. There is here, too, the <; of their religious conversation. Much time is often t, or all but lost, even in Christian society, in con[Uence of an unwise choice of subjects for remark. uis they often fix on whatever may have been curious ilebateable in the last sermon they have heard, or in : last book tbey have read, rather than on what may re been of unquestionable importance, and truly
spiritual and practical. "Should a wise man," asks Elipbaz, "utter vain knowledge, and be filled with the east wind? Should he reason with unprofitable talk, or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?" Christians should clearly endeavour to have what they call their religious conversation truly edifying.
Finally, In reference to the words of our Lord, formerly quoted, and which we have had frequently in view, "What is that to thee? Follow thou me;" the other lesson taught is, that every man ought to make it his great business to follow Christ. All other pursuits, however important, must yield to this. This is the one thing needful. This is for a man to mind hi<; own affairs indeed. The things of God, of Christ, and of salvation, are every individual's own personal concern; they are "the things which belong to his peace." To those who neglect this essential point, we would say, O ye who can, without concern, hear urged upon you the duty of immediate attention to your own salvation, and who habitually feel and act us if you would say, " What is that to us?" is this really a thing foreign to you? Is this an affair which you can safely neglect for some sinful pursuit, or for an inquiry into a secret or a trifle? No, no. You will have to answer for this, whether it be your pleasure to think of it or not. It will be impossible for you to shift off this concern for ever. Suffer it now to come home to your consciences, and be entreated, without farther evasion, to mind your own momentous business, and to go and follow Christ. And to those who, not turned aside by trifles, are indeed following Christ, we would say, continue to follow on. Follow him openly, and not as if you were ashamed to be seen in bis train. Follow him cheerfully, and not as if you were dragged whither your heart does not lead you. Follow him steadily, and neither stop nor stray on account of amusing vanities which may meet your eye as you pass along "Turn not aside from following the Lord; for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver, for they are vain." Follow the Lord fully, like faithful Caleb of old. "Follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth :" Thus following him through the world, you shall also follow him into heaven, where you shall hear the voice of the harpers, and sing the new song, and where many things which it would have been hurtful or useless for you to know on earth, shall, to your unspeakable advantage and delight, be clearly and fully revealed.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY OF
From " Caxne't Letters from the East." London, Colburn, 182G.
The city of Damascus is seven miles in circumference; the width is quite disproportioned to the length, which is above two miles. The walls of this, the most ancient city in the world, are low, and do not enclose it more than two-thirds round. The street still called Straight, and where St. Paul is, with reason, said to have lived, is entered by the road from Jerusalem. It is as straight us an arrow, a mile in length, broad, and well paved. A lofty window in one of the towers to the east, is shown us as the place where the Apostle was let down in a basket. In the way to Jerusalem is the spot where his course was arrested by the light from Heaven. A Christian is not allowed to reside here, except in a Turkish dress: the Turks of Damascus, the most bigoted to their religion, are less strict than in other parts in some of their customs. The women are allowed a great deal of liberty, and are met with every evening in the beautiful promenades around the city, walking in parties, or seated by the river side. The women of the higher orders, however, keep more aloof, and form parties beneath the trees, and attended by one or two of tbeir guardians, listen to the sound of music. Most of them wore a loose white veil, but this was often turned aside, either for coolness, or to indulge a passenger with a glimpse of their features. They had oftentimes fair and ruddy complexions, with dark eyes and hair, but were not remarkable for their beauty. The fruits of the plain are of various kinds, and of excellent flavour. Provisions are cheap: the bread is the finest to be found in the East; it is sold every morning in small light cakes, perfectly white, and surpasses in quality even that of Paris. These cakes, with clouted cream, sold in the streets fresh every morning, the most delicious honey, and Arabian coffee, formed our daily breakfast.
This luxurious city is no place to perform penance in; the paths around, winding through the mass of woods and fruit-trees, invite you daily to the most delightful rides and walks. Suinmer-house3 are found in profusion; some of the latter may be hired for a day's use, or are open for rest and refreshment, and you sit beneath the fruit-trees, or on the divan which opens into the garden. If you feel at any time satiated, you have only to advance out of the canopy of woods, and mount the naked and romantic heights of some of the mountains around, amidst the sultry beams of the sun, and you will soon return to the shades and waters beneath, with fresh delight.
Among the fruits produced in Damascus are oranges, citrons, and apricots of various kinds. The most exquisite conserves of fruits are made here, amongst which are dried cakes of roses. The celebrated plain of roses, from the produce of which the rich perfume is obtained, is about three miles from the town; it is a part of the great plain, and its entire area is thickly planted with rose trees, in the cultivation of which great care is taken. One of the bes: tarts we ever tasted was composed of nothing but rote leaves.
There are several extensive cemeteries around the city: here the women often repair in the morning to mourn over the dead. Their various ways of manifesting their grief were striking, and some of them very affecting: one widow was accompanied by her little daughter; they knelt before the tomb, when both wept long and bitterly. Others were clamorous in their laments, but the wailing of this mother was low and heart-breaking; some threw themselves prostrate with shrill cries, and others bent over the sepulchres without uttering a word. In some of the cemeteries we often observed flowers and pieces of bread laid on the tombs, beside which the relations sat in silence.
The great bazaar for the reception of the caravans at Damascus, is a noble building: the roof is very lofty, and supported by pillars; in the midst is a large dome. An immense fountain adorns the stone floor beneath, around which are the warehouses for the various merchandize: the circular gallery above opens into a number of chambers for the lodging of the merchants.
The large mosque is a line and spacious building; but no traveller is permitted more than to gaze through the door as he passes by. Its beautiful and lofty dome and minaret form a conspicuous object in every view of the town. Many of the private houses have a splendid interior; but there is nothing sightly in the part that fronts the street. The passage of two or three of the rivers through the town, is a singular luxury, their banks being in general lined with trees, and crossed by light bridges, where seats and cushions arc laid out for the passengers. The bazaars are the most agreeable and airy in the East, where the richest silks and brocades of the East, sabres, balsam of Mecca, and the produce of India and Persia are to be found. But one luxury, which Wortley Montague declared only was wanting to make the Mussulman life delightful, is icarcely to be found in Damascus—good wine. The monks of the convent have strong and excellent white wine; but a traveller must be indebted to their kind
ness, or go without The numerous sherbet thopi in the streets are a welcome resource in the suitrj weather. The sellers are well dressed, clean, aid remarkably civil. Two or three large vessels are constantly full of this beverage, beside which is kept a quantity of ice. The seller tills a vase with the >Uv r, that is coloured by some fruit, strikes a piece of«or snow into it, and directly presents it to your lip*
Our abode was not far from the gate that ctsdictd to the most frequented and charming walks around d* city. Here four or five of the rivers meet, ad fors» large and foaming cataract, a short distance from tic walls. In this spot it was pleasant to sit or wilt beneath the trees; for the exciting sounds and Bgtacf nature are doubly welcome near an eastern city to rt-rj the languor and stillness that prevail. A few catitesellers took their stand here, and, placing snail sou in the shade, served you with their beverage and the clubouque.
We often went to the pleasant village at the fuo: i the mountain Salehieh. One of the stream pasted through it: almost every house had its garden; and above the mass of foliage, in the midst of them n* t»= dome and minaret of the mosque, and just beyond tie grey and naked cliffs. The finest view of the oi; ii to the right of this place: a light kiosque stanu. [*> up the ascent of the mountain, into which adiniisw ■> afforded, and from its cool and upper apartment, t.; prospect of the city, its woods, plain, and mountain! » indescribably rich and delightful. The plain a fma is unenclosed, and its level extent stretches to the &'• as far as the eye can reach.
The place called the " Meeting of the Waters'B about five miles to the north-west of the city. Be» the river Barrady, which may be the ancieut Afci being enlarged by another river that falls into it ate; two miles off, is divided into several streams, whirii' through the plain. The separation is the result of ■£, and takes place at the foot of one or two rock; si A and the scene is altogether very picturesque. Ti* streams, six or seven in number, are some of tbea o»ried to water the orchards and gardens of the hicte< grounds, others into the lower, but all meet at k»u * to the city, and form the fine cataract.
The streets of Damascus, excopt that called StrabrC, are narrow; they are all paved, and the road leads? out for some miles to the village of Salehita, is neatly paved with flat smooth stones, and posseies' good footpath. Small rivulets of water run on »J side, and beside these are rows of trees, with baton occasionally for the accommodation of passengers; u* which is sometimes found a moveable coffee-telid. * that ease and refreshment are instantly obtained. 'houses of the city are built, for a few feet of the h)*8 part, with stone, the rest is of brick.
The inhabitants dress more richly than in any e"-•■ Turkish city, and more warmly than to the sosii, •*' the climate is often cold in winter and the «*? streams of water, however rich the fertility tbej ?'* ducc, are said to give too great a humidity to the f It would be a good situation for an European pby>c* and Monsieur Chaboiceau, a Frenchman, who i-*" sided here forty years, being now eighty year* "^ appears to live in comfort and affluence, has go* f" tice, and is much esteemed. The Great Sheii a*5" tain, crowned with snow, is a fine and refreshing af from the city; and large quantities of snow are ** brought from it for the use of the sherbet shops." the luxury of the more affluent inhabitants. ** private house of any respectability is wpphw * fountains, and in some of the coffee-houses*/"' rises to the height of five or six feet, around *W* seats and cushions.
We passed our time very agreeably here. •* evening some of the friends of our host can* »** converse, and we sometimes rode into the plain, at the extremity of the line of foliage. The number of Christians in the city is computed at ten thousand, natives of the place, of which those of the Greek religion are the most numerous, and there are many Roman Catholics and Armenians. They appear to live in great comfort, in the full and undisturbed exercise of their religion and their different customs. The intolerance of the Turks is more in sound than in reality; in all our intercourse with them we found them polite, friendly, and hospitable, and never for a moment felt the least personal apprehension in their territory, whether in towns or villages, or when we met them in remote situations. They are a generous and honourable people, and vindictiveuess and deceit are not in their nature.
The state of the Jews at this time in Damascus wai particularly fortunate; the minister of the Pacha was one of their nation, and tliey enjoyed the utmost freedom and protection. Every evening they were seen amusing themselves outside the walls with various pastimes, and the faithful were looking on with perfect complacency.
Death-Bed Repentance.—The dreadfid change that is made upon men's minds, when misery or approaching death awakes them, doth shew how little they know themselves before. If they have taken the true estimate of themselves in their prosperity, how come they *o be so much changed in adversity? Why do they begin then to cry out of their sins, and of the folly of their worldliuess and sensuality, and of the vanity of the honours and pleasures of tins life? Why do they then begin to wish, with gripes of conscience, that they hod better spent their precious time, and minded more the matters of eternity, and taken the course as those ilid whom they once derided as making more ado than needed? Why do they then tremble under the apprehensions of their unreadiness to die, and to appear before the dreadful Lord, when formerly such thoughts <ii«l little trouble them? Now there is no such sense of their sin or danger upon their hearts. Who is it now that ever hears such lamentations and sell-accusations from them, as then it is likely will be heard? The game man that then will wish, with Balaam, that he might "die the death of the righteous, and that his latter end might be like his," will now despise and grieve the righteous. The same man that then will passionately wish that he had spent his days in holy preparations for his change, and lived as strictly as the lu-'st about him, is now so much of another mind, that lie perceives no need of all this diligence, but thinks it is timorous superstition, or at least, that he may do well enough without it. The same that will then cry, Mercy, mercy—O mercy, Lord, to a departing soul, that is laden with sin, and trembleth under the fear of thy judgment, is now, perhaps, an enemy to serious, earnest prayer, and hates the families and persons that most use it; or, at least, is prayerless, or cold and dull himself in his desires, and can shut all with a few careless, customary words, and feel no pinching necessity to awaken them, importunately to cry and strive with God. Doth not all this shew, that men are befooled by prosperity, and unacquainted with themselves, till danger or calamity call them to the bar, and force them better to know themselves? Your mutability proveth vour ignorance and mistakes. If indeed, your case be now as good as present confidence or security do import, lament it not in your adversity; feat it not when death is calling you to the bar of the impartial Judge. Cry not out then of your ungodliness and sensuality; of" your trifling hypocrisy, your slight contemptuous thoughts of God, and of your casting away your hopes of. heaven, by wilful negligence and delays. If you are
sure that you are now in the right, and diligent, serious believers in the wrong, then stand to it before the Lord. Set a good face on your cause if it be good; be not down in the mouth when it is tried; God will do you no wrong: if your cause be good he will surely justify you, and will not mar it. Wish not to die the death ot the righteous, say not to them, "Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out." If all their care, and love, and labour, in "seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness," be a needless thing, wish not lor it in your extremity, but call it needless then. If fervent prayer may be spared now while prayer may be heard, and a few lifeless words, that you have learned by rote may serve the turn, then call not on God when answering is past, seek him not when he will not be found. "When your fear Cometh as desolation, and your destruction as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come npon you," cry not, " Lord, Lord, open unto us," when the door is shut. Call them not foolish then that slept, but them that watched, if Christ was mistaken, and you are in the right. O sirs, stand but at the bedside of one of these ungodly, careless men, and hear what he saith of his former life—of his approaching change—of a holy or carnal course—whether a heavenly or worldly life is better—(unless God have left him to that deplorable stupidity which an hour's time will put an end to)—hearken then whether he thinks that God or the world, heaven or earth, soul or body, be more worthy of man's chief care and diligence, and then judge whether such men did know themselves in their healthandpridc, when all this talkwould have been derided by them as too precise, and such a life accounted over strict and needless, as then they are approving and wishing they had lived. When that minister or friend should once have been taken for censorious, abusive, self-conceited, and unsufferable, that would have talked of them in that language as when death approacheth, they talk of themselves j or would have spoken as plainly, and hardly of them, as they will then do of themselves; doth not this mutability show, how few men now have a true knowledge of themselves ?— Baxter.
Christian Warfare There is not a step a Christian
takes towards heaven, but the world, the flesh, or the devil, disputes it with him.—White.
The way to find Peace.—The vanity of our mind is our fault, and our shame; and one chief cause of our misery. We too much mind earthly, carnal, and sensual things. Here Christ, our chief glory, is too much banished from, and kept out of our minds. A light, trifling, vain conversation, too much prevails among professors. This plainly discovers the vanity of the mind. When we can discern the hour of the day by the sundial, we know that the sun shines. When Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shines in the mind, the tongue, like an index, will tell how it is with the heart; and the life will manifest his glory. If we are living, loving Christians, we shall be very jealous over the workings of our minds, and be deeply concerned to keep them in a sweet, holy, humble, heavenly frame. This can only be done by putting on our beloved Christ in our minds. For, saith Isaiah, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon thee."—Mason.
Directions for Prayer Let our minds be prepared,
by a few moments of meditation, for engaging in prayer, —let them be quickened by the recollection of our necessities, and the manifold grace and mercy of God,— let us seek to feel alive to the truth and reality of the promise which he has made to answer piayer; and, above all, let us seek to feel the necessity of the influence of that divine Spirit, who has promised to help our infirmities, and we shall not want words, and apt words, even in which to make our wants known at the divine footstool.—Rev. James Mahtin.
Then let us list the faithful friend,
Obookiah The ways of Jehovah in making m
persons the partakers of his spiritual favours, md ir. preparing others for the lull discharge of Christian dot*', arc frequently very remarkable. When the late Re.. S. J. Mills, a" truly* valuable labourer in the muaorat? cause in America, and afterwards himself a mitaootrj to the heathen, first went to New Haven in Connecticti!, to study theology, he became acquainted with aneit'ati youth, from the Sandwich islands, named Obookkh. who hud been very remarkably saved from death, dee his parents and others were killed, aiulwhowuao* ardently desirous of instruction. He became tie servant, the pupil, the companion of Mr Mills, trM sirntqucntly called by the grace of God, and furnished thi occasion of establishing a prosperous school in eonnci'tion with the American Board of Coouni: foreign missions.
The Sun-ess of the Gospel.—When Mr Wbittiei 1 was preaching at Exeter, there was a man in the congregation, who bad filled his pockets with it order to hurl them at the speaker. He heard fail with patience, but no sooner had he named '. than the man pulled a stone out of his pocket. u it in his hand, waiting for a fair opportunity to dnw it. After the sermon he gave the following account i himself: "Ood took away the stone from my bet", and the other stone soon fell from my hand." Thenaa proved to be a sound convert, and lived an oraune: to the Gospel.
Galen, the Anatomist.—The celebrated pi Galen, h-id been disposed to atheism. But when n examined the human body, when he perceived derful adaptation of its members, and the every muscle, of every bone, of every fibre, ■» «• every vein, he rose from his employment in • of devotion, and composed a hymn in the bonouol his Creator and preserver.
A Female Cottager Soon after the late •
Mr Robinson of Leicester, commenced his mi;: the Isle of Ely, he was driven, by tempestuous into a house near the village of Coveuey. H voured, according to his usual custom, to impri' incident to the spiritual advantage of those among it he had fallen. Enjoying a singular felicity i: himself of passing events, and being alwayi watch to speak for Ood, he could make the preach for him, by eliciting the most ;. from the simplest occurrences. A poor won pened to be in the cottage into which he was tt driven, who afterwards confessed that she I for some time meditating to destroy herself, 1> pressive was his conversation, that she was from her purpose, embraced new views and [ and became an eminent Christian.
SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN HERALD,
CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF MINISTERS AND MEMBERS OF
THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
ON THE INCREASE OF FAITH.
Minister of Collessie.
Though we do not consider the knowledge of our personal acceptance essential to the existence of faith, it is a state of mind indispensable to our Christian comfort, and fitted to promote that enlargement of heart which disposes to run in the way of the divine commandments. When the Christian enjoys the delightful consciousness, resting upon the firm foundation of the divine purpose and promise, that his sins, which are many, have been forgiven him,—that God is his reconciled father, and that heaven shall be his eternal home, he is prepared to do, and to endure every thing which the Author of his salvation, the source and end of his spiritual life, may enjoin.
That this confidence of faith may be attained, let serious self-inquiry, in the first instance, be employed, that we may ascertain whether our hopes rest upon the true foundation. To such inquiry an apostle invites, when addressing the early converts to the Christian faith, " give diligence to make your calling and election sure." The calling here alluded to, is evidently not the mere external call of the Ciospel, addressed to all to whom it is proclaimed. That they to whom the apostle wrote, were called in this sense, is what they well knew, and what it req uired, therefore, no diligence upon their part to ascertain. The admonition to make their calling sure, nust refer, consequently, to that inward efficacious all, addressed to the soul by the Holy Ghost, whose acred agency makes the dull and heavy ear to hear, nd inclines the heart to obey the gracious invitation. And. may not the cause why so few, comparfively, of those who are called by the Christ.n name, attain any measure of the confidence f faith, be looked for, and found in them•lves? Is it not referable either to ignorance "the truth, or to the prevalence of a slothful or ireless spirit, that so many fail to ascertain their mdition, in reference to the Gospel? They who e apt to look upon the attainment of a positive and riptural assurance in this matter as beyond the ach of their ambition, may well be asked whether ey have made the attempt to make their calling, d, consequently, their election sure? Are they
not willing to live on, in a state of vagueness and uncertainty about the matter? And, if they have given no diligence in so important a particular,— if they have allowed the world to engross,—if they have suffered sin to darken their souls,—if they have permitted sloth to overpower their spiritual senses,—if they are contented to drag out an unsatisfying existence, destitute of the serenity and peace which the knowledge of a safe, and the attainment of a healthful spiritual state, would impart, they cannot surely complain that they are left in darkness and discomfort,—they cannot justly allege that the confidence of faith is not attainable, when they have not used one of the means with vigour and perseverance, by which alone it can be attained.
As our faith, both in reference to the truths that are its objects, and in the practical influence it will exert, must be proportioned to our Christian knowledge, we should, for promoting its increase, labour to acquire a more enlarged and accurate acquaintance with the whole revealed will of God. What Cod has revealed to man, it is his design that man should know. By the very revelation he has afforded, he has imposed the duty of diligence in studying its contents. To rest satisfied with partial or defective views of divine truth, not only involves the obvious impropriety of neglecting to acquire the knowledge of that which the Author of our faith thought it right for him to reveal, and for us to believe, but it is the source of many mistakes, and of much discomfort. Such seems to be the cause of the disproportionate magnitude which some attach to particular parts of the Christian system, while other parts, equally essential, receive little attention, and the beautiful relations of the whole are totally overlooked. The faith of the man whose information is thus limited to a few particulars, may be sincere, as to what he knows, but who would compare it with the enlightened and exalted faith of him, whose enlarged knowledge of divine truth places him upon a point of observation from which he can behold the fine proportions of that magnificent fabric, which eternal wisdom has raised to the glory of redeeming grace? It is not only a legitimate object of Christian ambition, but a positive duty enjoined by the book, whose very existence, even without such an