« ПретходнаНастави »
opening through which a single ray of light may penetrate. Thus may the foul receptacles of sin be reached, and the purifying work commence. It is true, that the distribution of the sacred scriptures, can at present be of no use to a people who cannot read. But let the defectiveness of the whole system be exposed, the character of the priesthood elevated and reformed, preaching be restored to its proper place, and the rest of the work would soon be accomplished. A christian church maintaining the principles of the true faith, and exemplifying the excellency of the religion of Jesus, would stand distinguished in the midst of that land of desolation and death. We scarcely need say what must be the effect, on the Surrounding countries, and on the superstitious, bigoted Mussulman. We have but little hope that any direct influence can be exerted on the Mahommedans themselves, till the christian population of their empire are brought back nearer to the faith delivered to the saints; and it seems to us an object of no slight interest, to purify the Armenian and Greek churches, so that the religion of the false prophet may be brought into strong contrast with the truth as it is in Jesus. We have no doubt, that the final subversion of that degrading and oppressive despotism, which has so long thrown its iron chain over the necks of myriads, is fast approaching; and that those once richly fertile lands, will yet be seen with waving grain and smiling pastures, covered with flocks and herds, and basking in the genial influence of free and christian institutions. It is surely worthy of the exertions of philanthropy and christian benevolence, to be in any manner instrumental in securing this result. In this aspect we view these researches. The missions consequent upon them, will have a strong claim on the charities of the christian public, and the prayers of the children of God, to sustain the pledge of the Board to those devoted men and women who shall leave their own firesides to act in behalf of the church at home. We cannot believe, that there is one soul who feels his obligations for a birth and education in a free and christian land, who is acquainted with the past operations of the Board, and with the crying necessities of the perishing vassals of despotism and sin, that will coldly turn from the appeal for further aid, or when his is the privilege and ability, will not joyfully bear his part in the great enterprise of evangelizing the world. We sincerely pity the man who can listen to the details of wretchedness made by the author of these volumes from the pulpit, or read these Researches, and not feel a warmer glow of gratitude kindling in his bosom, for the countless blessings God has given him; and who shall not thereby be led to prize yet more highly the gospel which has checked the swelling
tide of human passion, and kept us as a nation from the unrelenting 1 despotism of infidelity and superstition. In this light, we would
most earnestly impress upon our readers, the great importance
of a fervent vital piety, to our national prosperity. We have every thing to fear from those who would quench this Aame, by heaping upon religion the trappings, however gorgeous they may be, of a formal round of lifeless ceremonies, whose only influence is to hide the fair proportions and inward grace of the church which God has espoused to himself. It was in the dark ages, and amidst the surrounding influence of a corrupted christianity, that Mahommedanism sprang to light. It was in such circumstances that the chains were forged and were riveted, which have bound millions of our race in such degrading vassalage to the false prophet. The same cause led to the domination of the papal see, and the same cause, were it to exist for any length of time in our own country, would give birth to some monstrous form of error, and bow down the sons and daughters of the pilgrim sires, into the dust of servile debasement to power and sin. Hence the immense importance of a life, corresponding to and re-exemplifying the principles of the gospel we profess. The salvation of our country from infidelity and superstition, with its prosperity and advancement, depends on the purity of life and piety of heart of the people of God. Christianity will exert its appropriate influence, in exact proportion to the power of holy living brought to view in the lives of its professors. It was not miracles merely, that made so many converts to Christ in the earliest days of the church. It was not a gorgeous display of multiplied rites and ceremonies. In breaking off from Judaism, their ritual as it is termed, was most simple; it was not imposing edifices, splendid decorations, or whatever may attract the eye or charm the ear; there were none of these, and addressed only to the senses, they could have exerted no such salutary influence, had they then existed. It was the simple power truth, carried home to the conscience and the heart, by the sincere, constant example of those who declared and who professed it. Truth, we mean, as the instrument of the gracious Spirit divine, proving its adaptedness and efficacy in the actual results on mankind. This silenced calumny, overcame opposition, and led cap, tive those who were compelled to feel that such a religion was indeed from God. A corrupted christianity is in some respects worse
i than none, for it loads the religion of the gospel with its own re
히 proach, while at the same time it does nothing to meliorate the 4 condition of others. Truth brought to bear upon it, like the touch of Ithuriel's spear, would compel the monster to start forth disclosed in his own hideous deformity, and his power would necessarily cease. Dagon did not sooner fall before the ark of God, I than would the false prophet totter from his throne when Jehovah’s presence was truly felt and acknowledged. Such already has been the effect of religious influence on the Hindoo, that the service of Brahma and Boodhisin are now falling into disrepute, pri
and that vast superstructure of idolatry and debasement is beginning to crumble. Wherever the word of God is read and preached, the day is not far distant when Juggernaut and bis kindred gods will want worshipers, and the despised christian will be hailed as the messenger of salvation by the followers of the Koran. Mohammedanism and the corrupted christianity prevalent in the Ottoman empire, have many points of resemblance. Indeed Mohammedanism itself is but a monstrous error, grafted upon a formal, dead representation of christianity: nor could it have originated in any other country, than such as had once owned the authority of Christ, and among a people, who had sunk into a lifeless attachment to mere rites and forms. But the system of the gospel speaks to the hearts of men, and throws its hallowing influence over the conduct of the life. The sweet charities of benevolent aims, of proffered sympathies, of domestic and social life, breathe their enlivening power into the dead mass of selfishness, worldliness, and pride; melt down the iron-hearted, rouse up the indifferent, and compel from them an acknowledgment of the worth and excellency of the religion of Jesus Christ. Let but the gospel of the Son of God, then, concentrate its purifying rays, as reflected from the lives of a holy church, and that miserable delusion which has long shackled with its bondage so many millions of our race, and reared on high its fabric of blood and guilt hung round with the trophies of its triumph over nominal christianity, would soon pass away. The splendors of day would once more gild the realms now sitting in the darkness of the shadow of death; the voices of once cruel, perfidious, voluptuous Mussulmen, would blend in the song of praise to our Redeemer. A new Eden of moral loveliness would crown the land of the primeval paradise; and again might the sons of God shout for joy, as the Creator divine beheld the renovated work of his hands, and pronounced it good. The watch word would no longer be heard, “ There is one God, and Mohammed is his prophet ;" but faith would publish its avowal, and seal its declarations with a holy example, of one God and Jesus the only Savior divine. The rugged thoroughfare of superstition, tracked by the blood of its victims, would no longer open its broad road to death; but the portals of life would welcome the weary and heavy laden, to tread in those ways which are pleasantness-bearing only his yoke that is easy, and his burden that is light.
Our readers, we trust, will feel the claim which such a cause as that of missions, has upon their charities and prayers, and respond with full hearts to those who have the direction of the varied operations of benevolence in foreign lands. In closing our recommendation of these volumes to their favor, we would lay aside for a few moments the usual style of mere reviewers, and adopt that of more direct address. “Do you value the VOL. V.
prayers of those who have given their lives, and who are toiling amid persecutions and hardships, to save souls? Seek then to sustain the self devoted missionary, laboring for Christ, that thus a stream of blessings may flow down on your own heads, through their remembrance of their benefactors. Would you that your children should inherit the legacy you may leave them, in the aspirations breathed forth for their welfare by the stranger you have succored, while in his exposure to all the ills of his sinful state ? By your charity, then, sustain those schools of promise, from whence may go forth the convert burning with the love of Jesus, to tell the tidings of salvation to those of his own nation, tribe, or caste. Do you know a parent's love, as you bend over those who cluster around you; and watch the opening dawn of their early years ? Aid then in banishing the cruel and relentless customs of other lands, that the mothers of many a clime may bless you for their children's deliverance. Do you prize the social circle, and the sweet charities of life, that shed their mild lustre on your own pathway through this vale of tears ? Deny not then your prayers and your benevolence, to turn on other realms that blessed influence which may mould and stamp anew the character of the sons and daughters of the Mohammedan or pagan land. Doth it make your heart rejoice, when the Spirit's power is present to revive the graces of the children of God, exalting the Redeemer and giving efficacy to the atonement of Christ, in the consciences of your friends and fellow men? Aim then by every means, at diffusing that truth and those institutions, through which he unbinds the captives of sin, and leads in willing obedience to Jesus our Lord, the Gentile and the Jew, by whom he has been so long unknown and unacknowledged.”
AR'r. VI. UNIVERSALISM.
Lectures on Universalism : By Jou Parker, Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church, New York. Second Edition. 1832.
We have noticed in reading these Lectures, three things which well deserve the attention and imitation of young preachers, and of all who are not too old to learn.
1. They are distinguished by great simplicity of style. The language is, in a high degree, pure, idiomatic English; the words being such as are used in common conversation among men of common intelligence. The sentences are all short and of the easiest construction. Nothing is more obvious than that the author intends to be understood by the common people. There is nothing here that resembles the gorgeous verbiage, and the involved,
inverted, and broken-winded sentences of many a famous preacher, which are so fascinating to the imagination of weak imitators.
2. The arguinent is generally conducted by the most direct appeals to common sense. Almost every point is made clear, as if by some visible or tangible illustration. There is very little of that sort of arguing with abstract and general ideas, which is so perplexing to those hearers who have never been accustomed to close reflection. A demonstration in geometry, is unintelligible to a beginner, without a diagram. So an argument is, to innumerable minds, worth little without an illustration; it makes no appeal to
Mr. Parker's sermons abound in illustratrations, and instances. In his style of arguing, general principles are individualized.
3. These Lectures owe much of their effect and value as sermons, to the cool earnestness of manner which runs through them all. We say, “ cool earnestness,” for we know not by what other word, or combination of words, the thing intended can be so well described. The author's manner is far enough from coldness or apathy. His sermons are marked with strong and deep excitement; yet the excitement is calm, subdued, never rising into pasșion, never seeming to throw the mind of the speaker from its balance. This sort of excitement, this earnestness breathing through every argument, and every expression, yet never growing tempestuous, is the most favorable to the triumph of eloquence. The hearer, seeing no enthusiasm, no affectation of high wrought feeling
, no straining after effect, nothing that puts him on his guard, and having only to listen to a calm, cool, clear-headed speaker, is borne away, ere he is aware, on an unruffled but strong and rapid
tide of emotion.
As a discussion of Universalism, the work before us may be considered defective, in that it does not exbibit fully the peculiar views and principles of the Universalism, which in these days is
so sedulously propagated wherever it is likely to find believers. Lisbet Mr. Parker has established, by strong arguments, the doctrine of
eternal punishment in the world to come; he has well vindicated that doctrine against some common and imposing objections; he has set, in striking contrast, the moral influences of the system which includes that doctrine, and the moral influences of the opposite system, as both lie open to inspection ; he has made many thrilling appeals to the judgments and consciences of his readers ; yet he has not carried the war, as he might have done, into the camp of the enemy.
Few books, however, can be found better fitted to the purpose of instructing and establishing those who are beginning to waver in respect to this momentous subject. In a thousand instances, such a book as this is just what is wanted. Often it is by the want of a clear apprehension of the reasons for