Page images
PDF
EPUB

parents themselves; and which, in the case of their'two eldest going too far, yet it must be admitted, that this remarkable children, led to the acceptance of the one, and the rejection of man, from the uncommon circumstances in which he was the other, from the presence and the absence of belief or faith placed, at a period of the Jewish history, avowedly miracuin its efficacy. From Cain and Abel, and their descendants, ious; from his great candour, his extensive learning, and we hear of a continual course of sacrifice, both in the line of admitted probity, in the difficult situation in which he was the true believers, and in heathen nations, down to the times placed, as the intimate friend of the enemy of his country, of Christianity; whence it has been carried on, in Christian can scarcely be looked upon in the light of a common histocountries, by the new dispensation; and, in the heathen na- rian. When we add to these, his almost miraculous escapes tions, by the varied course of blind superstition, common to a from death, his prophetic dreams, and his luminous writings, state of degenerate man.

preserved entire, while so many others, of that period, have In Mr. Mariner's sketch of the Friendly Islands, we are been for ever lost, one can scarcely fail to be convinced that informed, that the savage of Tonga believe in gods, or su- this man was raised up by the providence of God, for great preme beings, who have the power of dispensing good and and useful purposes, which no subsequent writer could be evil to mankind, according to morit, and that there are also, expected to accomplish, with a like authority. evil spirits, or mischievous gods, who torment the wicked, as This valuable historian, in taking a general view of the a punishment for their deeds. The respect which they pay to early history of the world after the deluge, distinctly shows these imaginary beings is so great and universal that scarcely the origin and names of a large proportion of the nations any instance is known of direct impiety, thongh they consider then known to the Romans. He was addressing this review many things meritorious which we consider criminal. of the early events on the earth, to an enlightened and learned

Their ideas of the origin of the world are so singular, and people, amongst whom, as the intimate friend of the Emperor so strong an indirect proof of their original descent, that I Titus, he held a high rank. He appears, in his writings shall here mention them. They believe that originally, there against Apion and other Greek authors, who had attempted was no land above the waters of the sea; but that when one of to throw a doubt upon his accounts of the early history of the their gods, named Tangaloa, was fishing in the ocean, his hook Jews, to have had the most full and minute acquaintance with became fixed at the bottom; he exerted his strength, and the whole range of Grecian and Egyptian literature, and was, presently there appeared, above the surface of the waters, several therefore, by his equally intimate acquaintance with the hispoints of rock, which increased in number and extent, the tory and traditions of the Jews themselves, perhaps the only more he drew his line. The rocky bottom of the ocean was individual that can be named, who was qualified to view the now fast advancing to the surface, when, unfortunately, the subject in a wide and unprejudiced field. line broke, and the Tonga islands remain to show the incom- Josephus, then, in taking a general view of the early events pleteness of the operation. The earth thus brought to the in the post-diluvian world, distinctly shows the origin of light of day, soon became replete with all kinds of plants many of the nations, then known to the Greeks by other and animals, (such as exist in an imaginary island, called names than they originally had; and proceeds thus: Bolotoo, or the residence of the gods,) but they were of an “ After this, they were dispersed abroad on account of their inferior quality, and subject to decay and death. Tangaloa languages, and went out, by colonies, every where; and each now sent two of his sons to dwell in Tonga, and to divide colony took possession of that land which it lighted upon, the land between them. But one of these sons was indus- and unto which God led them, both the inland and maritime trious, and the other idle, and envious of his brother, whom countries. There were some, also, who passed over the sea at length he killed. On which his father confined him, and in ships, and inhabited the islands; and some of these nations his race, to the Tonga islands for ever, to be black in their do still retain the denominations which were given them by their persons, and to have bad canoes; while he sent the children founders ; but some have lost them also; and some have only of his murdered son into a distant land, to be white in their admitted certain changes in them, that they might be the colour, as their minds were pure; to be wise and rich, and to more intelligible to the inhabitants; and they were the Greeks have axes and large canoes in the greatest abundance. who became the authors of such mutations; for when, in after

That this singular tradition, in these the most remote ages, they grew potent, they claimed to themselves the glory islands of the earth, must have been handed down from their of antiquity, giving names to the nations that sounded well in continental progenitors, clearly appears from some of their Greek, that they might be better understood among themcustoms, which bear a close analogy to those of ancient selves; and setting agreeable forms of gorernment over them, Asia, as well as from some words in their language, which as if they were a people derived from themselves."-Antiquiwill be afterwards noticed.

ties, book 1st, chap. v. At their funerals, they wound the head, and cut their flesh Without entering more fully into the clear account given with knives and shells, as a testimony of respect to the of the dispersion of mankind, in the 6th chapter of the first memory of the dead. This is a custom which we find ex- book of the Antiquities of the Jews, I shall here content pressly forbidden in the 19th chapter of Leviticus, 28th verse. myself with strongly recommending its perusal to the atten* Ye shall not make any cutting in your flesh for the dead, tion of any one desirgus of following out this interesting subnor print any marks upon you; I am the Lord.” The natives ject; and with referring to the annexed genealogical scheme, of these islands also practise circumcision, a custom so re- which comprises the whole information given us by Josemarkable, that it could only have been derived from the very phus on this point; it will clearly show, at a glance, the ancient religious rite, commanded at first to Abraham. They outline of the first dispersion of mankind from Noah. The also offer sucrifices to their gods; and, as in other countries, subsequent stages, and more minute ramifications of this vast an INNOCENT victim, such as a young child, is considered tree, must be traced out by history, and by the customs, tramost likely to expiate sin. This sacred rite, so universal in ditions and languages, now existing among the nations. the world, and one which unassisted reason never could have We may now proceed to the consideration of the identity conceived, is, of itself, sufficient to show the primitive descent in some parts of the languages of various nations, before alof these distant islanders, from the parent stock of Noah. luded to; but this part of our subject has been already so ably

When we add to these remarkable customs and traditions, handled by Dr. Mason Good, in his Book of Nature, that I the conclusive evidence of the common tradition of a general shall not hesitate, (in adopting his views of the subject,) to deluge; and, also, the equally convincing proof to be derived present to my readers an extract from that most able work, from an almost identity of language in many general express- which will place the subject before them in the clearest posions, common to all nations; we cannot resist the conclusion sible light. to which we are led; we must admit, that accident alone could “ Articulate language,” says that able writer, “is of two never have produced such remarkable identity; and, conse- kinds, oral and legible ; the one, penned, or printed, and adquently, that the truth of the Mosaic record is fully established, dressed to the eye ; the other, spoken, and addressed to the as to the gradual descent of all the present human race, from ear. Written language distinguishes civilized man from savage the one family preserved at the deluge.

man, as speech distinguishes man in general from the brute It only now remains for us, after having thus found such creation. It is of so high an antiquity, that, like that of the circumstantial evidence of a common descent, to consult the voice, it has been supposed, by many good and wise men, in most authentic history on this interesting point, and we shall all ages, to have been a supernatural gift, communicated either find the strongest reason to give up all hesitation or doubt at the creation, or upon some special occasion, not long afterthat may have still lurked in our minds. The historian I am wards; yet there seems no satisfactory ground for either of about to cite, is Josephus, a writer, whose works are of such these opinions. importance to history in general, and to Scripture history in “ That it was not communicated, like oral language, at the particular, that many have not hesitated to consider him nearly creation of mankind, appears highly probable, because, first, in the light of an inspired authority. Though this may be it by no means possesses the universality which, under such circumstances, we should have reason to expect, and which those for father ; but one or other of them may be traced aloral language actually displays. No tribe, or people, have most as extensively, as may the words brother, sister, and ever been found without a tongue, but multitudes without a even daughter, which last, branching out, like the term father, legible character; and amongst the different tribes and nations from the Sanscrit, extends northward as far as Scandinavia. that do possess it, it is far from evincing that unity, or simi- “The generic names for the Deity, are chiefly the three larity in the structure of its elements, which may be traced in following, Al, or Allah, Theus, or Deus, and God." The first those of speech, and which must be the natural result of an is Hebrew, the second Sanscrit

, the third Persian; and beorigin from one common source; for the system of writing, sides these, there is scarcely a term of any kind by which the among some nations, consists in pictures, or marks represent- Deity is disignated in any part of the world, civilized or saative of things; among others, in letters, or marks, symboli- vage. Among the barbarians of the Philippine Islands, the cal of sounds ; besides, there does not seem to be the same word is Allatallah, obviously the God of Gods, or the Supreme necessity for Divine interposition in the formation of written God, and it is the very same term in Sumatra. In the former characters, as in that of oral language; the latter existing, the islands, we meet with the terms malahet for a spirit, which is former might be expected gradually to follow, in some shape both direct Hebrew and Arabic; is and dua, one and two, or other, from that imitative, and inventive genius which be- which are Sanscrit and Greek; tambor, a drum, which is longs to man, especially in a civilized state.

also Sanscrit;'and inferno, hell, a Latin compound of Pelasgic "With respect to oral language, those who have most deep- or other Oriental origin. In the Friendly, and other clusters ly studied the subject have generally come to the conclusion, of the Polynesian Islands, the term for God is Tooa ; and in that nothing short of Divine Power could have given rise to New Guinea, or Papuan, Dewa, both obviously from the so wonderful a gift.

Sanscrit, whence Eatoona, among the former, is God the Spirit, “Some schools of philosophy, indeed, have supposed, that or the Divine Spirit, ea meaning a spirit in these islands. man, when created, had no greater gift of tongue than is found They also apply the Hebrew el, as the Pelasgians and the amongst the various kinds of brutes; and that it was only by Greeks did, to denote the sun; whence ellangee means the sky, gradual steps in civilization that perfect language arose. or sun's residence, and papa-ellangee, father of the sky or This is arguing upon the same principle as the strange opin- spirits. ions of Buffon, and others, who derive the race of man from “ The most common term for death, amongst all nations, is, monkeys, and who, in exhibiting the ourang-outung, have mor, mort, or mut. It is mut in Hebrew and Phænician; it hence denominated him the satyr, or man of the woods. is mor, or mort, in Sanscrit, Persian, Greek, and Latin; it is

“If the above opinion were admitted to be just, we should the same in almost all the European languages; and it was have a right to expect that the language of a people would al- with no small astonishment, the learned lately discovered that ways be commensurate with their civilization. It so hap- it is the same in Otaheite, and some other of the Polynesian pens, however, that although language, whatever be its origin, Islands, in which mor-ai is well known to signify a sepulchre, is the most difficult science in the world, (if a science it may or, literally, the place or region of the dead; ai meaning a place be called,) it is one in which savages of all kinds exhibitor region in the Otaheitan, precisely as it does in Greek; an more proficiency than in any other. No circumnavigator has elegant and expressive compound, which is, perhaps, only to ever found the inhabitants of the most distant islands deficient be equalled by the Hebrew zalmut, literally death shade, but, in this respect, even where, in every thing else, they were al- in our Bibles, rendered shadow of death.* most in a state of nature.

“Sir, in our own language, is the common title of respect; “ There is, in all the languages of the earth, a general and the same term is employed, in the same sense, throughunity of principle, which evidently bespeaks a general unity out every quarter of the globe. In Hebrew, sir, or sher, imof origin; a family character and likeness, that cannot pos- ports a ruler, or governor'; in Sanscrit and Persian, it means sibly be the effect of accident. The common divisions, and the organ of the head itself; in Greek, it is synonymous with rules of one language, are the common divisions and rules Lord; in Arabia, Turkey, and amongst the Peruvians in of the whole; and hence, every national grammar is, in a cer- South America, it is employed as in the Greek; and is not estain sense, and, to a certain extent, an universal grammar, sentially different in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France. In and he who has learnt one foreign tongue, has imperceptibly Germany, Holland, and the contiguous countries, the 8 of the made some progress towards a knowledge of other tongues. Hebrew sher, is dropped, and it is converted into her. Diversity of language consists, not in different sets of articu- " Man, in Hebrew, occurs under the form of maneh, a verb lations, but only in a difference in their combinations and ap- signifying to discern or discriminate, and, as a noun, signifyplications. No people have ever been found so barbarous as ing a discriminating being; In Sanscrit, we have both these to be without articulate sounds; and no people so refined and senses. Hence, menu, in both Sanscrit and ancient Egyptian, fastidious, as to wish to add to the common stock. means Adam, or the first man, emphatically the man. Menes

** But independently of an uniform circle of articulations, was the first king of Egypt, and Minos the chief judge and an uniform system of grammar, there is also an uniform amongst the Greeks. Hence, also, in Greek, men and menos, ase of the very same terms, in a great variety of languages, to signifying mind, and the Latin mens, the mind, is the same. express the same ideas, which cannot possibly be accounted In the Gothic, and in all the northern dialects of Europe, man for, except upon the principle of one common origin and mother imports the same idea as in our own tongue. In Bengal and tongue. I mean, particularly, those kind of terms, which, un- Hindostan, it is manshee ; in the Malayan, manizu ; in Japander every change of time, and every variety of climate, or of ese, manio; in Atooi, and in the Sandwich Islands generally, moral or political fortune, might be most naturally expected tane, tanato, or tangi, while manawe imports the mind or spirit; to remain immutable; as, for example, those of family rela- and in New Guinea, or Papuan, it is sonaman. In this uttionship, and patriarchal respect, or descriptive of such other most extremity of the southern world, we also meet with the ideas as cannot but have occurred very generally to the mind, term Sytan, for Satan, or the source of evil; and Wath (Geras those of earth, sky, death, Deity, &c.

man Goth,) for God. But it may perhaps be observed, that, I do not here propose following Dr. Mason Good through in all the southern dialects of Europe, we meet with no such the whole course of his most interesting research, but shall term as man, nor even in the Latin, from which so many Eumerely select a few of the most striking examples, which ropean languages are derived, and which has homo for man. must be fully sufficient for my present general purpose.

Yet, it is clear, that homo itself is derived from the common " In our own language, the term papa, and futher, describe root. Its adjective is hu-man-us, human, while man, or min, the paternal character, both are as common to the Greek lan- is found in every inflection below the nominative case, as hoguage as our own, and have, probably, alike arisen from the min-is, &c. : the former nominative itself was ho-men, from Hebrew source; and it may fearlessly be affirmed, that there whence it is clear that ho is redundant, and did not originally is scarcely any language or dialect in the world, polished or belong to the word. The negative of homo is ne-homo, now barbarous, continental or insular, employed by blacks or pronounced nemo in the Latin ; in which latter the ho has been whites, in which the same idea is not expressed by the radi- dropped. The ho is also omitted in the feminine of homo, cal of the one or the other of these terms. The term father which is fe-min-d, and was, at first, Feo min-a, from feo, to is still found in the Sanscrit, and has decended to ourselves, produce; literally, the producer of man or min. From feoas well as to almost all other nations in Europe, through the min-a, we have also our own, and the common Saxon term medium of the Greek, Gothic, and Latin. Papa is still more wo-man, the f, and v, or w, being convertible letters in all obviously a genuine Hebrew term, and has a much wider languages, of which we have a familiar instance in the words spread over Asia, Africa, and the most barbarous islands of vater and father, in German, and English.” the Pacific, extending from Egypt to Guinea, and from Bengal to Sumatra and New Zealand.

In Otaheite, the natives direct their voyages by the sun, moon,

and stars; and they have names for many of the constellations, re- The terms for son are somewhat more numerous than sembling, in several instances, those of the Grecks.

All the above cases, and many more that might be pro-fwere in search: for even were we to admit, with the Werduced, are confederating proofs, that the various languages nerian school of philosophy, the primary existence of an and dialects that are now, or ever have been spoken, have aqueous chaos, and that the laws of nature have, in an indefioriginated from one common source; and that the various nitely long period of time, gradually produced the beautiful nations that now exist, or ever have existed since the deluge, order and arrangement we now admire in the universe; we have originated from one common cradle or quarter of the should still have to account for the component parts of that world; and that that quarter was an eastern region, as we chaotic mass, which could not have come into being by any of might, a priori, have supposed, from Asia having been the the known laws of nature : and being thus driven to acknowfirst land peopled after the flood.

ledge a Creative Power, capable of producing even a chuos “But besides this singular coincidence in language, over out of nothing, and of establishing those wonderful-laws which the whole inhabited earth, there is, also, a most remarkable now govern the world, we should find ourselves, without any confirmation of the same unity of origin, in the correspondence available object, derogating from the Wisdom and Power of between all nations whatever, where any traces of the art of a Creator, by denying a PERFECT creation of all things in the arithmetic exist, in the employment of a DECIMAL gradation. beginning. If we are forced to this conclusion, with regard

“Whence comes it to pass, that blacks and whites, in every to the actual structure of the mineral body of the earth, we quarter, the savage and the civilized, wherever a human are even more forcibly convinced of this great truth, by a community has been found, have neither stopped short of, nor survey of the animal and vegetable world with which it is furexceeded a series of ten in their calculations; and that as soon nished. For when we consider the evident design, which is as they have reached this number, they have, uniformly, so remarkably displayed in the structure of these bodies, we begun a second series with the first unit in the scale, as one must feel satisfied, that though the laws of nature may, and ten, two ten, &c. ? Why have not some nations broke off at do, now regulate them, they never could have, at first, profivc, or others proceeded to fifteen before they began a second duced them. We have found, that as it is unreasonable to supseries? Or why have the generality of them had any thing pose the first man to have ever been an infant, or the first oak more than one single and infinitesimal series, and conse-tree to have sprung from an acorn, we are forced to the adopquently, a new name for every unit? Such an universality tion of the only other alternative left for our choice ; and we cannot possibly have existed, except from a like universality must, therefore, conclude, that both animal and vegetable proof cause; and we have, in this single instance alone, a proof ductions were, at first, CREATED in their mature and perfect equal to mathematical demonstration, that the different lan- forms, and were then submitted to those laws which have guages into which it enters, and of which it forms so promi- ever since been in action in the world. And when we are nent a feature, must, assuredly, have originated not from unavoidably led thus far by our reason alone, and when we accident, at different times, and in different places, but from then consult the only History of the early events of the world direct determination and design, at the same time, and in the that is within our reach, we find this Record announcing, in the same place ; that it must be the result of one grand, compre- most unequivocal terms, that " in the begining, God CREATED hensive, and original system. Such system could not have the heaven and the earth ;" and that, “in six days He made been of human invention : what then remains for us, but to heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, resting on confess that it must have been of Divine and Supernatural the seventh day, and hallowing it," as a day of rest and of communication ?

worship for all the generations of men. “Such examples, though few, are abundantly sufficient to

And with respect to the nature and duration of those six establish the point; and they even lead us to a second and days, so particularly defined in the Record, which it pleased catenating fact, namely, that the primary and original language the Creator, for an obviously wise and beneficent end, to of man, that language divinely and supernaturally communi- occupy in this incomprehensible work of creation, we can have cated to him, in the early ages of the world, has been broken up, no reasonable doubt that they were such days as are now, confounded, and scattered, in various fragments, over every part and ever have been, occasioned by one revolution of the earth of the habitable globe; that the same sort of disruption that on its axis ; first, because a perfect creation may be as easily has confounded former continents and oceans, and inter- the work of one day, or of one moment, as of thousands of mingled the productions natural to different hemispheres and years ; secondly, because the supposed longer periods of philoslatitudes, this same Power has assaulted the world's prime-ophy, were only called for in the erroneous idea of gradual val tongue, has overwhelmed a great part of it, wrecked the perfection, from an imperfect creation, which idea we have remainder on distant and opposite shores, and turned up new

found such reason altogether to condemn; and thirdly, bematerials out of the general convulsion : and if it were possi-cause that Record, on the evidence of which our confidence has ble for us to meet with an ancient historical record, which been confirmed, on the subject of perfect creation, has disprofessed to contain a plain and simple statement of such tinctly defined each of these days by its evening and its morning, supernatural communication, and such subsequent confusion which terms, so often repeated, can be, in no way, applicable of tongues, it would be a book, which, independently of any to the supposed indefinite periods above alluded to. other information, would be amply entitled to our attention,

Secondly,-We have found reason to conclude, that the for it would thus bear an index of commanding authority on its first great geological change which took place after the own forehead.

creation of the solid mass of the globe, was occasioned by “ Šuch a book is now in our hands. Let us prize it, for it that fiat of the Almighty, on the third day, by which the must be the Word of God, as it bears the direct stamp and waters, equally covering the whole mineral surface during testimony of His works."*

the first and second days, were "gathered together into one place,” that the “ dry land” might appear; and as this

gathering together of the waters” of the sea, could not have taken place, according to the laws of gravity and of fluids, by accumulation, it must have been effected by a depression of a

portion of the surface of the earth, into which the waters CONCLUSIONS

would naturally flow. This depression could not have taken

place without a partial derangement of a thin portion of the 75 which we are nuturally led by the general tenor of the fore-earth's surface; and from this partial derangement, acted upon going inquiry.

by the laws which have, at all times, governed the ocean,

we derive the earliest secondary formations, now found restHaving completed the proposed general survey of the sys-ing upon the primitive mineral mass. tem of geological phenomena, on every part of the earth's

Thirdly,- We discover an adequate and reasonable origin surface, let us now take a retrospective view of the various con- for a great portion of the other secondary formations, now clusions to which we have been led, in regarding the Crea- found upon the earth, in the action, during a period of sixtion, and the laws to which all created beings have been teen hundred and fifty-six years, of those laws of nature, by subrnitted by the Almighty. And, first, we have found it which a constant removal of mineral debris is taking place, unreasonable, and unphilosophical, to subscribe to the doc- from the dry land, to the bed of the ocean: and in considering trines, too commonly taught, wherein the first production of the existing action of those laws which govern the waters, all things is supposed to have arisen by the mere laws of na- we find a natural and easy solution of the problem of horiture, or from secondary causes, within a chaotic or imperfect zontal stratification, and individual mineral arrangement, which mass ; because, in adopting this opinion, we find ourselves as has occasioned so many erroneous conclusions in some schools far removed as ever from the origin of things of which we of philosophy. And we further discover the most convincing

proof of the erroneous nature of the Wernerian theory, of * The Book of Nature, by Dr. Mason Good. [primitive

rocks having been formed in an AQUEOUS chuos, in the circumstance of no primitive creation, such as granite, having present situations at the period of the Mosaic deluge; and ever been discovered amongst what are denominated second- that, consequently, the climates of the earth have been, in no ary rocks, although these latter are known to have arisen in the way, suddenly changed, as some philosophers have thought self-same AQUEOUS medium.

it necessary to suppose; but that, on the contrary, the anteFourthly,–We have found, in considering the subject of the diluvian animals and plants must have been distributed over deluge, that, as the phenomena presented to our consideration, the various climates of the former dry lands, and in nearly over every part of the present dry lands, correspond minutely the same latitudes in which similar existing species are now with the terms of the Mosaic record, where it informs us of respectively found. the intention of the Almighty to destroy the antediluvian dry Sixthly,-As we have found the most conclusive proofs, lands, as well as their inhabitants; that great and awful that, amongst other animal fossils, the remains of the human judgment must have been occasioned by the gradual inter-race are not unfrequently found, although, in that small nuchange of level between the former seas and lands: that we merical proportion to those of other species, which the sacred are, consequently, now inhabiting the bed of the antediluvian history would lead us to expect, we must entirely reject those ocean; and that all the fossil remains of animals, or vegeta- doctrines of philosophy which teach a gradual perfection in bles, now discovered in our rocks or soils, were either em- the animal creation; and which suppose that man was not bedded in the course of the gravel formation of the secondary yet created, at the period when those animals, the remains of strata, under the waters of the former sea, (as in the case of which we now discover, existed on the earth. the marine productions in chalk, and many other calcareous Seventhly,–We feel our belief in the Mosaic record, of marine formations,) or were thrown into their present situa- all these wonderful events, strengthened and confirmed by tions by the waters of the deluge, and embedded (as in the the many traditional, and other proofs that have been brought case of quadrupeds, vegetables, human beings and other land forward, of all the present human race, in every climate of productions,) in the soft soils and strata so abundantly formed the world, having sprung from one family, and from one peat that eventful period, by the preternatural supply of mate-riod, which period was that of the Mosaic deluge; and that that rials for secondary formations.

post-diluvian family origin must have first arisen in Asia, is Fifthly,-As it can be plainly demonstrated, by existing proved by the affinity of so many common expressions in the causes, and existing phenomena, that the animals and plants, languages of even the most remote islands, with the original the fossil remains of which are now found in uncongenial languages of that portion of the globe. climates, could not have existed in a living state, where their Lastly,-As all these conclusions, to which we have been remains are often now discovered; as a general inundation naturally led, in the course of this inquiry, tend to corrobocould not possibly take place upon the globe, without the rate, in the most distinct manner, the history of the early entire destruction of animal life, and the total overthrow of events on the earth, as given in the Mosaic, and other books the whole vegetable kingdom; as it is a well known law of of Scripture, our confidence in the unerring accuracy of these nature, that animal bodies, when destroyed by drowning, records, is firmly established; for by such collateral evidence invariably float at one period of their decomposition; and we should try the veracity of any other ancient history: but that almost all vegetable substances, being specifically lighter when we add to the usual qualifications of a correct historian, than water, must always come to the surface, at least for a the incomprehensible guidance of divine inspiration, so clearly time; and as such floating animal and vegetable bodies could evinced by numerous prophecies distinctly fulfilled, we feel not but follow the action of the winds, the tides, and, more that the conclusions to which our inquiries have conducted especially, the CURRENTS of the then universal ocean, some of us, by the simple evidence of reason and of facts, are only which currents have, at all times, a tendency from the equa- such as might have been anticipated, when we consider the torial regions towards the poles ; from all these several rea- unerring source from which this divine guidance or inspirasons, we cannot come to any other rational conclusion, but tion flowed; and that both the events, and the inspired record that all the fossil remains of land productions, over the whole of them, which has been so wonderfully preserved for our surface of the present dry lands, became embedded in their information, are SUPERNATURAL and DIVINE.

LECTURES

ON

PORTIONS OF THE PSALMS.

BY

ANDREW THOMPSON, D. D.

LATE MINISTER OF ST. GEORGE'S, EDINBURGH.

LECTURE I.

of your own mind. And, above all, we ask you not to act

thus in a case like the present, in which a conscious approval Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation. of the exercise is necessary to prevent it from being at once

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: unacceptable and profane. But, on the other hand, if the lesfor unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hcur in the son which you learn from Scripture—if the determination of morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer the question to which you have come-be, that men should, unto thec, and will look up. For thou art not a God that hath and must pray-and that you can learn any other lesson on pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with thee. this point from Scripture, or that you can come to any other The foolish shall not stand in thy sight ; thou hatest all work-determination of the question respecting it, as professing ers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them thut speak leasing : Christians, may be held impossible-then have we not cause the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. Bus as for to wonder and to complain that, in spite of what you have me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mer- learnt and of what you admit to be your duty, you are as cy; and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.” negligent of prayer, as if you had learnt, and as if you -PSALM v. 1.-8.

maintained, that it was not your duty? You acknowledge

that you ought to pray-nevertheless you forget, or you refuse You have been often addressed on the subject of prayer, to pray. Is not this a palpable and unworthy contradiction -on the obligations you are under to engage in it; on the im- in your character? And why should you permit it to exist ? portance and necessity of attending to it; and on the encour-What excuse can you bring forward to justify it? Or how agement which you have respecting it, from the example and can you account for it, except by tracing it to an ungodliness experience of the people of God in every age. Now, let me and a depravity in the heart which overpowers the efforts of ask you,

if

you really make it a part of your Christian work ? your understanding, and proclaims your bondage to that sin Do you ever pray? Are you frequently at a throne of grace ? from which it is the very province of prayer to seek deliverIs it the habit of your life to make your requests known ance? We call upon you to banish this practical solecism. unto God?" Can you affirm with truth that, regularly, or as Let your conduct correspond with your real and avowed conoften as occasion requires, you ask in order to receive from victions. And let the first voice of your supplications be for him the various blessings which are essential to you, both in grace to make you love what you know to be dutiful, and to this life, “and in that which is to come ?" Just consider infuse into your soul the spirit, while it guides you to the what judgment must be pronounced upon you, on the sup-practice, of true devotion. position that conscience commands you to answer these ques- But we must remind you, in the second place, that by tions with a negative, and that you must be counted among neglecting prayer, you resist the authority of God. Are not those who “ restrain prayer before God.”

you aware, my friends, that God has commanded you to In the first place, you act in opposition to your sense and pray ?--that he has not left you to discover this by mere inyour confession of what is right. You know that you ought ference, but has announced it in terins not more precise than

You are convinced that this is incumbent upon you. they are emphatic ?--and that the injunction holds such a conYou allow that those are far wrong who neglect such an in- spicuous place, and is so frequently repeated in his word, as stitution. And how then can you repel the charge of incon- to show the vast importance which he attaches to the manner sistency, when prayer, notwithstanding, is excluded from in which it is treated ? And, aware of these things, how can your practical system?' We desire you not to pray, merely you venture to treat it with contempt, and yet hope to prosin compliance with our earnest exhortation, or in conformity per? What title have you to expect that, in this particular, to the pious example of your brethren. In this, as in all other more than in any other, you can disobey God with impunity ? cases of a similar description, we say, “let every one of you Think you that he does not mean what he declares, or that be fully persuaded in his own mind. Take the matter into he will not fulfil what he has promised, or that he will not consideration. Examine it attentively and thoroughly. Try execute what he has threatened? Or can any apology be it by the test of reason ; weigh it in the balance of the sanc- wisely or successfully pleaded for withholding from him the tuary ; adopt every proper mode of bringing it to a just and homage which he demands, and refusing to put up to him conclusive issue. And if the inquiry shall terminate in those petitions, which are equally called for as tokens of subshowing you, that you are not bound to pray—that there is no mission to his will, and of respect for his character ? No, propriety in praying that neither your comfort nor your in- my friends : it is from the throne of unlimited sovereignty terest is concerned in it-then, do not pray. We ask you not that he speaks, when he commands you to pray; and diso in any case to act contrary to the serious and decided dictates bedience to this is just as criminal and just as dangerous as

to pray:

« PreviousContinue »