« السابقةمتابعة »
For thus equipped, and bearing on his head
A thousand times more exquisitely sweet,
From fields where good men walk, or bowers wherein they rest.
HOLY and heavenly spirits as they are,
ON THE DEATH OF ONE OF HIS CHILDREN.
I've lost the child I held so dear,
'Tis true I weep, but thou hast smiled;
THE GANGES.-Rivers are among the objects of Hindoo worship. All castes worship the Ganges. The Hindoos particularly choose the banks of this river for their worship, because the merit of works performed here becomes, according to their sacred books, exceedingly augmented. In four of the months of the year the merit is supposed to be greater than in other months: and at the full moon in these months is still further enhanced. On the tenth day of the moon's increase in the month called Jyoishthu, in the forenoon, a great festival is held, in commemoration of Ganga's descent to the earth. Crowds of people assemble from the different towns and villages near the river, especially at its most sacred spots, bringing offerings of fruit, rice, flowers, cloth, sweetmeats, &c., and hang garlands of flowers across the river, even where it is very wide. After the people have bathed, the officiating Brahmin ascends the banks of the river with them, and performs a number of incantations and ceremonies, all of which have some fanciful mean. ing and object, such as preventing evil spirits from
coming to defile the worship, or driving them away. He next presents the offerings, which may be many or few, or even merely flowers and water, according to the ability of the offerer; and then performs worship to the various inhabitants of the waters-the fish, the tortoises, the frogs, the snakes, the leeches, the snails! The offerings, after having been presented to these inhabitants of the waters, are thrown into the Ganges. At the close of these ceremonies, the people perform their obeisance to Ganga, and then depart. Great multitudes assemble on the banks of the river on these occasions; and expect much, both in this life and hereafter, from this act of worship. At the time of many of the festivals, the sides of the Ganges are, in many places, gaily illuminated; and lights, fastened on boards or plantain-stalks, or put into earthenpots, are floated down the stream. So much is this river reverenced among the Hindoos, that many Brahmins will not look upon it, nor throw saliva into it, nor wash themselves, nor their clothes, in its waters. Some persons undertake a journey of five or six months to bathe in the Ganges, to perform the rites for deceased relations, and to carry back its water for religious and medicinal uses.-Ward.
AN ENDOWED CHURCH ESSENTIAL FOR THE FAITHFUL PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.-An endowment renders the minister independent of those among whom he labours. I do not mean that he is to be exempted from control: let him be amenable to those above, but not to those below him. For if his congregation be able, at their pleasure, to diminish or deprive him of his salary, who that knows what human nature is, will not tremble at the temptation thus generated for him" to prophesy smooth things;" and if not to cry "Peace, peace, when there is no peace," at least to invest truth with a garb that may disguise its sterner features? And if a man has grace to resist this temptation, and, in the spirit of the ancient Baptist, to rebuke faithfully those on whom he depends for bread, ought they, for this, to have the power to starve him? I believe the annals of many congregations could furnish lamentable proof of the baneful tendency of the voluntary system.-Notes to Liturgica, by Rev. John Ayre.
DR. HEBERDEN.-It is related of this eminent physician, that he never allowed his Sunday practice to interfere with his regular attendance at divine service twice; and that he invariably devoted the fees received on that day to charitable purposes, forwarding them on the following morning to some benevolent institution.
MOROCCO JEW.-A Morocco Jew read Hebrew with me for a time. He had a great aversion to finishing with what he considered an ominous passage: and this, he said, is the universal feeling amongst them. Sometimes the division at which we should naturally stop ended with declaring a threat or a calamity: he always required me, in that case, to read on, till we arrived at some more auspicious conclusion: but finishing the Book of Deuteronomy, which ends with an expression of terror, and not intending to proceed, rather than break his charm, he turned over to the beginning of the Pentateuch, and begged me to read the first verse in Genesis. "Enough," said he, when I had read it. How little disturbs, and how little quiets, a superstitious mind!-Rev. W. Jowett.
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ON THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF THE
BY THE REV. THOMAS BISSLAND, M.A.
THE inquiry, "shall the redeemed recog
nise each other in the eternal world?" is at all times deeply interesting, and more especially at those seasons when death has removed some beloved object of the affections, and the mourner, overwhelmed with the loss he has been compelled to sustain, is unable to derive comfort, even from the tenderest sympathy of those who seek to alleviate his sorrows. It is an inquiry which must not be ranked among the vain speculations which too often distract the minds of those who would be wise above that which is written, and draw them from attention to the more important doctrines which concern their souls' everlasting peace. On the contrary, it is a fair and a legitimate inquiry. At the season referred to, the vivid hope is entertained, sometimes without any solid foundation, that the soul of the departed has entered into the joy of the Lord; that the bed of sickness and languishing has been exchanged for the rest prepared for the people of God, if not for that fulness of joy which shall be their portion, when the glorified body shall be reunited to the purified soul. But the mind is unwilling to rest here. It is not satisfied that the ransomed friend should be in glory. It fondly anticipates a reunion, in the heavenly state, of those, who, being fellowtravellers towards Zion, have been separated by death. The subject is, perhaps, not without its difficulties. They who feel most
VOL. I. NO. XVII.
deeply anxious about it are often in a state the least qualified to enter into it calmly and dispassionately, and thus to arrive at a knowledge of truth. It should be considered soberly, and when the mind is not under the influence of acute sorrow; and it is conceived that the sober inquirer will find no difficulty in coming to the decision, that there will be a perfect recognition in glory, and that he will be enabled to derive comfort from the assurance, that the separation which he deplores is but for a moment. Unquestionably, there is nothing unreasonable in the supposition of such a recognition. There is nothing in the notion which at all militates against the usual mode of the Divine government, the ordinary dealings of the Almighty with his rational and intelligent creatures. from it, we are almost led to believe, from reason alone, irrespective of the light thrown by revelation on the subject, that the infinitely holy and gracious Being, who willeth the happiness of his creatures, will not deprive them of so important an ingredient in the cup of eternal happiness; and that he who hath implanted those social affections in the soul, which tend to lighten the burdens, and to cheer amid the trials of man's earthly pilgrimage, will not allow those affections to be eradicated and to have no existence in the eternal world. Dark and indistinct as were the views even of the wisest of the heathen on the subject of a future state, they appear to have anticipated in that state the reunion of those who, according to their imperfect notion, had obeyed the will of the gods, and been eminent for their virtues a circumstance which will not indeed weigh with the Christian, but which shews what
man's reason would suggest. As far as Scripture is concerned, it must be admitted that there is no positive direct revelation on the subject. There is no portion of the word of God which distinctly affirms the absolute certainty of the recognition referred to. It is nevertheless evidently implied in many passages of the Old and New Testament. If David speaks of going to the child, whose loss he deplored, while he felt that the child could not return unto him; if the redeemed are represented as sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; if there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when many shall behold those entering into the possession of the joys of the heavenly paradise, while they are themselves shut out; if there was a perfect recognition of Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham on the part of the rich man in torment; if the apostles were enabled to anticipate with joy their being permitted to present many "perfect in Christ Jesus," who should be their crown of joy and rejoicing at the appearance of the great Shepherd, it seems beyond a doubt, that there will be a perfect recognition hereafter, and that this recognition may, in some way or other, add to the felicity of the glorified state.
To this, it may be replied, perhaps, that the joy of the glorified believer will consist entirely in the intimate communion, in the unceasing intercourse, which he shall maintain with the Divine Majesty; that, dwelling in the immediate presence of the Lord Jehovah, the believer's delight will consist in the performance of his sovereign will, and celebrating his endless praise; and that we must not permit earthly affections to compete with that feeling of adoring love and gratitude which should be felt to the glorious Author of our salvation. This is readily granted. God alone shall be the centre and the source of the happiness of his glorified people. Yet, surely there can be nothing in the notion of happiness resulting from the consciousness of those we loved on earth being partakers of the grace of Jehovah, and led to the participation of his glory, which can in any way interfere with the supreme love which we shall feel towards him. That love may, and will, reign triumphant in every bosom and yet there may be thankfulness in that bosom, that the objects of its earthly affection are ministering spirits around the throne, that they are engaged in the same unceasing service, and drinking deeply of those rivers of pleasure, which are at God's right hand for evermore.
It may be objected further, that the notion of the recognition of the saints in glory, would detract from that universal feeling of love
which should extend to the whole assembly of "just men made perfect;" that it would have a tendency to confine the current of the affections to those whom we loved and with whom we associated on earth. As little validity, however, does there appear in this objection. The most perfect feeling of universal affection to the countless myriads of the ransomed is perfectly compatible with the happiness derived from companionship with the companions of our earthly pilgrimage; as the most boundless charity to our fellow-creatures here may exist with the most devoted ardour of personal friendship.
Another objection may be urged against the doctrine in question, that the happiness of the saints would be materially marred, if not wholly destroyed, by the consciousness that some of those have been lost for ever to whom they were bound by earthly ties; for these ties often bind those between whom there is no similarity of feeling on religious subjects. The Christian is too frequently compelled to mourn over those to whom he is united by kindred, but whom he in vain seeks to impress with a saving sense of the value of the soul. This, indeed, is an awfully solemn reflection; yet we doubt not but that, in some way, now incomprehensible to us, even this apparent difficulty may be removed. We are sure that from every eye every tear shall be wiped away in heaven. There shall be no more crying, neither any more pain, to mar the unceasing raptures of the ransomed. And as there is much even here below to exercise man's faith, which far transcends his limited comprehension, so may it be with reference to the eternal world. The mystery may not be solved by us in our present state. It shall doubtless be solved hereafter, when there shall be the most perfect acknowledgment of the justice of the Divine procedure, and every heart shall respond to the confession of every tongue, “Just and true are thy
ways, O thou King of saints."
The believer need not doubt, then, that as all true believers shall serve God day and night in his temple, so shall there be a perfect recognition among them. Let him comfort himself with this lively hope, not only that when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, the ransomed shall appear with him. in glory, but that those ransomed shall recognise the partners of their earthly conflicts, and be joined, never to be separated again. O how glorious the reunion! how transporting the moment, when the same voice that gladdened with its melodious accents, shall sound yet more melodiously while it joins in the unceasing adoration of the Lamb that was slain; and the dim glazed eye that closed on the vanities and sins and tribulations of a
fallen world, shall open with increased lustre, and more beaming intelligence, to gaze on the brightness of Emanuel's glory for ever!
DAMASCUS ranks as a city of high antiquity. It is supposed to take its name from the blood of Abel, Dam signifying, in the Hebrew language, blood, and Sack a righteous person. In the earliest part of the sacred volume we find it distinguished as a theatre of many extraordinary events; and it stands at the head of Syria, of which it is the metropolis. (Isaiah, vii. 8.) Abraham repaired to it in pursuit of those monarchs who brought his brother into a state of captivity, from which he rescued him. It is also supposed to have been founded by him (Gen. xiv. 14-16), and it was the birth-place of his steward Eliezer. Garrisons were established here by David after he had subdued the Syrians (1 Chron. xviii. 6), and had taken a multitude of them prisoners (2 Sam. viii. 6). Ahaz, king of Israel, offered up sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, and destroyed the vessels of the house of the Lord. (2 Chron. xxviii.) When Solomon went after other gods, he was punished by the revolt of his people, so that they stirred up Rezon against him, who reigned here. From that period the kingdom of Israel became separate from that of Judah; and was governed by its own monarchs. It must be considered as having been a place of extensive trade and commerce, since it is alluded to by different prophets as a distinguished town for merchandise and riches. This city was captured by the Saracen princes, who took up their residence here till Bagdad was prepared for them; and after many revolutions it was taken and destroyed by Tamerlane. It was again repaired by the Mamelukes, when they obtained possession of Syria, but was wrested from them by the Turks in 1506. Afterwards it was reduced to ashes by the emperor Timur. Baldwin, the second of that name, a warrior highly distinguished by acts of heroism, fell upon Jerusalem, and beat the king of Damascus. In 1759, three thousand of the inhabitants were destroyed by an earthquake.
This city is situated in a valley, called by the Arabs El Shaw, and famous among Orientals under the name of Gouteh Demask, or the Orchard of Damascus, and watered by the Chrysorrhoas, or golden stream, now Baradi; and infidels entertain an idea that it was the original Paradise. It is two miles in length from north-east to south-west; but its breadth is not in proportion to it, being extremely narrow, and it is divided into twenty-three districts. The circumference of the whole is about twenty miles, and it appears to have formerly been enclosed within three strong walls. (Jeremiah, xlix. 27; Amos, i. 4, 5.) During the crusades the eastern part was deemed impregnable. The place is beautifully situated, in the very bosom of gardens. There are two hundred mosques. The place is held peculiarly sacred by Mussulmans, from being on the road to Mecca. The air is fine, though the streets are narrow. The houses
are of the colour of clay, resembling the meanest cottages in Britain, and of the most perishing materials. Few of them have floors of wood, and there are few windows. The roofs are flat like a terrace, which is spread over with a kind of plaster, and made firm with a roller. Several domestic offices are performed on them, such as drying linen, flax, &c. The apartments in houses of a superior class are in the back part, where the inmates are in a state of complete seclusion. There is a large quadrangular court within, open at the top, and finely paved with marble, and ornamented with plants and fountains of water. Towards the streets the houses have few or no windows,
• From Rae Wilson's Travels in the Holy Land.
but appear like blank walls, similar to those in Jerusalem, in which there is a gate or wicket, so small as to require those who enter to stoop very low. Such narrow entries must have been alluded to in the expression used by our Lord, in answer to a question put to him regarding the number of those who should be saved.
The zeal of the early Christians founded churches here; and a magnificent cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is now converted into a mosque. There are two hospitals for the reception of those affected with leprosy. One was founded by Solyman the magnificent, and that is a remarkable example of Mahomedan toleration, and of his munificent spirit; it was opened for poor pilgrims of all denominations, although at present appropriated exclusively for the use of the infidels. The castle is the principal building. It is a large structure, with square towers, and calculated to be nearly one mile in circumference, like a small town within itself. Among the different gates of the city is one where certain articles passing through are exempted from duty, in consequence of its being the gate leading to parts of Mecca, and hence considered a via sacra. Damascus is a place of general rendezvous for pilgrims on the eve of setting out on a visit to the tomb of their prophet, and the caravans pass through this gate. Contiguous to the city is a field set apart for the Mahomedans exercising their troops. There are places of repose and of recreation in the gardens, and on the banks of the river. The cafés are very attractive in this place.
No person who has been trained in the principles of the Gospel can set his foot in Damascus without recollecting that most striking miracle which was wrought in the conversion of Saul. About a quarter of a mile from the east gate, or, as it is called, Babe Shirke, is a place pointed out as that where Saul was suddenly arrested in his exterminating career by the powerful arm of Omnipotence. The exact spot where this striking visitation took place is marked out by heaps of gravel and earth. Hither, on the 25th of January, annually, a day set apart in the Church of England in commemoration of this event, the Christians in Damascus walk in procession, and read the history of it in the Acts of the Apostles; on which occasion it is singular that the pasha of the city affords the accommodation of Turkish guards to protect them from insult. Between this place and the town, a piece of ground is appropriated for the interment of Christians, where a tomb is erected in memory of an individual named George, a native or inhabitant of the place, who suffered martyrdom for having connived at the escape of Paul, and is dignified with the appellation of saint. Here acts of devotion are performed in an illumined cell, from the roof of which a solitary lamp is suspended; and the alms of visitors, whether from curiosity or a better motive, are solicited by a guardian in attendance.
The place was pointed out to me where the great Apostle of the Gentiles was secretly let down under the cloud of night (Acts, ix. 25), after the manner of Rahab in the case of the spies (Josh. ii.), from the top of the fortification, in order to avoid the fury of the Jews, who had vowed to sacrifice him for his change of principles. The house of Judas, in which the Apostle was found after his eyes were opened, is also shewn. This is at present a miserable cellar or grotto, the access to which is by a descent. It is a remarkable fact, that the street denominated Straight" in the Scriptures (Acts, ix. 11), where this house stands, and which forms the principal thoroughfare in the city, is of considerable extent, and falls literally under that name, which it still retains, running in a direct line, and very narrow. All these sacred places lie to the east of the city, where the convent is also situated; and the Christians dwell together in a body, totally distinct from the
Turks; this quarter having been in all probability selected, from those events which formerly occurred in it, so highly interesting to the cause of Christianity, and the furtherance of the Gospel of peace.
There is one remarkable tradition handed down here, concerning a meadow on the west side of the city, which is divided in the middle of the stream; it is, that God made Adam of the earth of this plain, which is confirmed by the circumstance of its being of a reddish colour, since Adam, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies red. Again, it is supposed that the garden of Eden must have been in the vicinity of Damascus ; although others fix it on the banks of the Euphrates.
The city contains several thousands of inhabitants; but, alas! how melancholy is the consideration to contemplative minds, that so small a remnant is left who have the courage to bow to the cross of Christ, and sincerely profess the religion which was preached so boldly within its walls. Nothing can, in my apprehension, point out more clearly the base ingratitude and corruption of man; for surely not a few among the votaries of Mahomedan delusion must, in their hearts, do secret homage to the noble precepts of Christianity, and detest the blood-thirsty dogmas of their own faith.
TINDALE'S NEW TESTAMENT.
THE first printed translation of the New Testament in the English language was by William Tyndale, or Tindale, one of the most zealous and learned of the English reformers, who had studied in early life at Magdalen Hall in Oxford, and who at length sealed the truth of the doctrines he maintained by his blood, having been strangled by the hands of the common hangman at Vilvorde Castle, near Brussels, in the year 1536, his body being afterwards burned. Having formed the plan of undertaking a work so important to the advancement of true religion as a printed translation of the New Testament in English, but dreading the discomfiture of his plans in this country, he removed for the purpose to Antwerp. Here he was assisted by John Frith, who was burned, on a charge of heresy, in Smithfield, in 1533, and a friar, William Roye, who suffered under the same charge in Portugal. In the year 1526 the volume was printed, either at Antwerp or Hamburgh. Many copies of it found their way into England, and, as might be supposed, caused much alarm to the Popish party, who saw, in the free unfettered dissemination of the word of God, the sure overthrow of their unhallowed system, the sure emancipation of the nation from their intolerable bondage.
Of the opponents to this dissemination no one was more vehement than Tonstall, bishop of London, who devised a plan, which he thought would effectually defeat Tyndale's object, and check the alarming progress of the reformation. Mr. Soames, in his valuable work upon the subject of the Reformation, thus gives a full and distinct account of that plan, and of its discomfiture. "An opportunity of effecting this destruction (of the New Testament), upon a large scale, presented itself to him (Tonstall) on one of his diplomatic journeys abroad, in the year 1529. The prelate, being at Antwerp, sent for Austin Packington, an English merchant there, who was a secret favourer of Tyndale. In the course of conversation, Packington was sounded by the bishop as to the best means of procuring all the copies of the New Testament which remained unsold. Nothing could be more desirable to the meritorious translator than to turn his books
into money immediately; since he was very much straitened in circumstances, and wholly unable to print a correct edition of his work, while the former impression continued upon his hands. The English merchant, being well aware of Tyndale's condition and intentions, readily entered into Tonstall's scheme, and said that he could easily procure all the unsold Testaments, if his lordship would find the money wherewith to pay for them. The bishop, delighted to hear this, replied in the following words: Gentle master Packington, do your diligence and get the books. I will pay you for them with all my heart. They are erroneous and naughty: therefore, I surely intend to destroy them all by having them burnt at Paul's Cross.' After hearing this, the trader took his leave. He then made the best of his way to Tyndale, whom he thus addressed: 'William, I know thou art a poor man, and hast a heap of New Testaments and books by thee, for the which thou hast both endangered thy friends, and beggared thyself. However, I have now gotten thee a merchant, who, with ready money, shall despatch thee of all that thou hast, if thou thinkest it so profitable for thyself.' 'Pray,' said Tyndale, who is the merchant?' The Bishop of London,' was the answer. 'O, that is because he will burn them,' rejoined Tyndale. Yea, marry,' was Packington's answer. 'Well, be it so,' said the translator: I am the gladder; for these two benefits shall come thereby: I shall get money of him for these books to bring myself out of debt, and the whole world shall cry out upon the burning of God's word. As for the overplus that shall remain to me after the settlement of my accounts, it shall make me the more studious to correct the said New Testament, and so newly to imprint the same again. And, I trust, the second will much more like you than ever did the first.' It was not long after this before the books were delivered to Tonstall, and the price of them to Tyndale, who heartily thanked his mercantile friend sities, and to furnish him with the means of bringing for having thus contrived to relieve his present necesout a more perfect edition of his useful work. While he was labouring to effect this, the bishop arrived in England, where he did not fail to amaze the Londoners by publicly committing to the flames his Antwerp purchase. Few things could be more injurious to the Romish cause than this indecent exhibition. The people were disgusted when they saw the volumes containing God's undoubted word subjected to this ignominious treatment; and the impression which it made upon their minds naturally was, that no man acquainted with Scripture could give credence to the established religion.
"While this opinion was fast gaining ground in England, Tyndale industriously employed his time, in his retreat at Antwerp, in preparing a new version of the Testament-such a one as might be a more perfect portrait of the original than that which he had recently published. He was, especially for the age in which he lived, well qualified for the task; since, in addition to the learning then in vogue, he had acquired a knowledge of the Greek language. was now determined upon the production of such a translation as would defy the objections of any fair and learned critic. He therefore proceeded in his task in a very leisurely manner. As, however, the impatience of the English public for a sight of his translation had been violently excited by the bishop of London's injudicious conduct, some enterprising Hollanders began to speculate upon the returns likely to be realised by a new impression of that very work which the English clergy had been so anxious to decry. Accordingly, a Dutch edition of Tyndale's Testament was printed in the year 1530-1. Five thousand copies of it were struck off, and, to use the words of an ancient writer, these books came over into England thick and threefold.' The Dutchmen, were, of course, delighted with the