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And the head of Dogon, and both the palms of his hands, were cut off upon the threshold. — 1 Sain. v. 4.
THE destruction of Dagon, before the ark of the Lord, clearly discovered the vanity of idols, and the irresistible power of God. The circumstances attending his demolition are remarkable; and in them, it is possible, may be traced a conformity with the manner in which different nations treated the idol deities of each other. Dagon was not merely thrown down, but was also broken in pieces; and some of these fragments were found on the threshold. There is a circumstance stated in Maurice's Modern History of Hindostan, vol. i, part 2, page 296, which scems in some points similar to what is recorded of Dagon. Speaking of the destruction of the idol in the temple at Sumnaut, he says, "That fragments of the demolished idol were distributed to the several mosques of Mecca, Medina, and Gazna, to be thrown at the threshold of their gates, and be trampled upon by devout and zealous Mussulmen." In both instances, the situation of the fragments at the threshold seems to intimate the complete triumph of those who had overcome the idols; and might, probably, be a customary expression of indignity and contempt. B.
A FEW weeks ago, a lady who was present at a charity-scrmon, preached by an evangelical minister, found herself much indisposed to an act of generosity at that time; and, therefore, passed the plate without giving any thing. While returning from church to her own house, she had occasion to examine her pocket; when, to her great mortification, she found that she had been robbed of all her cash; upon which she made the following reflection :- "I perceive, that if God could not find the way into my pocket, the Devil could."
A more pleasing circumstance presents itself in the following Extract of a Letter from a Poor Woman to the Rev. M. W.
"SINCE 1779, I have been tossed about, and have gone through much tribulation: am often full of doubts and fears, of which I ought to be ashamed. I mourn and pray against my hard heart; and sometimes feel such comfort in the view of holiness, that I would be all grace and love; and although my circumstances are very narrow, yet I pray the Lord to ac cept, through his beloved Son, the widow's mite. Inclosed is one shilling, towards promoting the gospel by the Missionary Society; and I pray God bless their endeavours! - and one chilling for those who visit the sick. May God bless them also!" S. S.
HAVING a wife and four small children, was recommended, as an object of great distress, to The Benevolent Female Society, held at No. 8, Susannah Place, CurtainRoad, Shoreditch; which was instituted Jan. 1, 1799, for the relief of the necessitous poor.
When one of the visitors went to him, he was much distressed in circumstances; being only a journeyman shoemaker, and had scarce been able to do any work for some months past. On being asked, if he had been accustomed to attend any place of public worship, he answered, he had never forsaken his church, being brought up to it; but it was too apparent he had never yet seen his lost state as a sinner before God; nor as yet was able to distinguish between the preaching of dry morality, and the humbling, heart-purifying gospel of Jesus. He was advised to go and hear the Rev. Mr. Wilkinson; which he promised to do; and after some time spent in prayer, and in conversing on the blessing of sanctified afflictions, under which the poor man's tears plentifully flowed, his friend, for that time, took her leave.
The next time he was visited, his spirit appeared to be much broken down, under a sense of the sins of his past life; and was much affected with the earnest prayer which was offered up to God on his behalf. When the same friend came again, a day or two after, she spake very closely to him on the state of his soul, and pointed out the impossibility of our being saved by any thing we can do. This was a truth which the legal bias of his mind could not at first receive; but, as he afterward told her, he was determined from that time to search the Bible more than he had hitherto done, and see if these things were so. In this search the Divine Spirit
was pleased to shine upon his own word, and bear it with his own light and conviction to his heart; so that he now saw his undone condition as a sinner, and the need of Jesus as a Saviour for his soul.
When the friends who kindly ministered to his temporal wants, and tenderly felt for his immortal interests, came to visit him again, on putting a trifle into his hand, he said, with many tears, "I wished much to see you, but not for this; - it is your instruction and your prayers that I want. I shall never forget the day when I was first visited by you. O, I longed to see you again! but something within persuaded me that I should not; and that almost broke my heart. I never saw things before as I do now; because I was not so openly wicked as some others, I thought I should do well: but I find that to be only a sandy foundation; and dying in that state, I could never have been happy." When encour aged to look to the Lord Jesus as the only Saviour of sinners, lis answer was, he believed the Lord would make his afflictions a blessing
to that end.
So long as he was able to go abroad, he attended at the Tabernacle; and, for about a year before his death, was a cominunicant there. The word and ordinances greatly blessed to his soul, and he was evidently ripening fast under them, for a better world; insomuch, that he used to say, his feeble body (being in the last stage of a rapid consumption) could hardly bear the fulness of joy he was indulged with. In conversing with a friend on Easter-Monday, he said, "O what a blessed time I had on Good-Friday! What a view of the sufferings of Jesus, the Friend of Sinners! O that I could love him as I ought! The world is now nothing to me: - I have but one desire; and that is, to be fitted for Heaven." Being asked, if he had any fears of death, seeing it is a
very solemn thing to die, and enter
At another time, looking very
order his pain was very great; but
After trying change of air for a few months, he returned home to his afflicted partner rather worse. On seeing her weep, he said, "Do What a not weep, but rejoice. blessed affliction has this been to me! Since my absence, I have had some seasons of sweet communion with the Lord: -- I never thought there could have been so much
Now Life's great Lord is near!” When almost past speaking, he turned to his wife, and said, "Do not be alarmed, I shall soon go but through the Valley of Death; I have nothing to do but die." After being some time silent, he broke out, and said, "There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God; you have tasted it, and will shortly be at the fountain head. O that is what I want, - to bow before the celestial throne!" Looking at a friend, he said, "I wish I could speak more; but when we meet in Heaven we shall talk it Such was the blessed all over!" frame in which he bowed his head
pleasure found in reading the Bible
and slept in Jesus, Feb. 3, 1803, after two years of deep affliction. His mortal part was interred in Holywell Mount burial-ground, by the Rev. J. A. Knight, of the Tabernacle, on the Friday following. "Let my last end be like his !"
"Sweet is the hour that brings the Pilgrim rest,
God's faithful servants joyfully shall come!
With ceaseless rapture hail the glorious day 1"
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
Scripture Illustrated, by means of Natural Science, in Botany, Geology, Geography, Natural History, Natural Philosophy, Utensils domestic and military) Habiliments, Manners and Customs, &c. &c. with many Plates. Principally by the Editor of Calmer's Dictionary of the Bible. In Eight Parts, Price 5s, each.
THIS work, of the first part of which we formerly gave notice in our Magazine, being now pleted, we presume that it may be acceptable to our readers, if we offer an idea of its contents, which are indeed very multifarious, and of different degrees of inerit. It is professedly calculated to fill up a deficiency, which has occasionally been felt by those who wish to be thoroughly intimate with every part of their Bible; and it must be acknowledged, that while divinity and the precious truths of the gos. pel form the proper and substantial enjoyments and studies of Ministers and Christians, the subjects treated in this work have been passed by with too little notice and investigation, although they might have agreeably diversified a course of reading, or might have cleared, in many instances, the true sense of Scripture.
This publication is divided into two parts: the first refers to subjects of science, as they occur in the course of the sacred books. We meet, in this division, with particular attention to the order of the creation, and to the phenomena of the deluge, whose history is justified by the principles of rarefaction and condensation as now established by modern discoveries; and the history of Noah and his Ark, is given according to the results of the inquisitive researches of our countrymen in India. In like manner the slavery foretold by Noah, as characterizing the posterity of his son Ham, is explained from the natural want of fertility in some parts of Africa, as lately ascertained by Mr. Mungo Parke. The miracles of Egypt, the quails
(which here are supposed to be locusts) the manna, as now gathered in the east; the distinctions of ani. mals, clean and unclean, with the external marks of these distinctions, some of which we confess were new to us, and many other particulars of natural history as suggested in the Bible, are examined and explained. Many curious circumstances are noticed; and, on some passages, much light is fhed. By way of instance, we shall transcribe a passage, on which a Paine may contradict an Apostle if he pleases; but which a naturalist knows to be not only perfectly rational, but perfectly
1 Cor. xv. 35." Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be, but bare grain; perhaps wheat, or any other grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him; to every seed his own body."
To die, here, is plainly put for ceasing to retain present form and appearance; but this is not inconsistent with re-appearance, under another form: and this is strictly philosophical; for, that matter does not (die) perish, but assume different modifications, is a principle well known and admitted in philosophy. In the present instance, the succeeding modification is renafcence, or fertility; but every kind of grain, according to its own specific properties, the offspring resembling the parent; which is the subject of daily observation, and opeu to daily remark. This is one idea of the apostle. But I apprehend there is another:-"Thou sowest bare
naked grain,"-grain separated from its stem, leaves, beard, &c its outer coverings; it having been threshed, &c. before it is sown: nevertheless, it rises from the earth with outer coverings, leaves, stem, beard, &c. according to its nature. sown naked, it rises clothed; it is sown imperfect, it rises perfect; it is sown deprived, it rises improved; it is sown in dishonour, it rises glorious; so also the resurrection of the body, &c.
Ver. 41. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differeth from star in glory." This is true, to the observation of the uninstructed eye; it is true, also, to the experience of astrononers. Indeed, they are the best judges on
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
this subject. Those who, to behold the
ancy among themselves. They differ in brilliancy to the naked eye; and the eye, by their brilliancy, estimates their distances. But there is another sense in which stars differ in glory; for, through the immensely powerful telescopes of Herschel, they appear some red, some green, some yellow, some white. No bed of tulips thews greater variety of splendor. 'The more we know, therefore, the stronger is the import of this passage; and the more correct do the ideas and expressions of the apostle appear, or rather those of the Holy Spirit, speaking by him.
The reader will perceive that here modern discoveries are marshalled under the standard of truth; and the labours of the learned in natural things, are directed to the support of evangelic principles.
The second division of this work consists of detached enquiries into a great variety of subjects. The leading ideas of the writers are, that the original station of Noah after the flood, of his son Shem, and of Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, was much nearer to India than our best Scripture geo. graphers have supposed; that Arts and Sciences, as writing, &c. were practised in the earliest ages; and that it pleased God, while he treated with peculiar favour the seed of Abraham his friend, and the appointed line, according to the flesh of the great Messiah. to suffer much more knowledge of his will, and intercourse with him by worship, to obtain in early times, than we at We have present are aware of. to detail the subjects not room treated in this part; but as the question on the jackalls of Samson has lately been set before our readers under two representations ‡, we shall now, from this work, offer a third, without, however, presuming to affirm that the opinion of the writer, though plausible, is decisive. The first paragraph is trans
lated from the Danish voyager,
"Matches, or small inflammable cords, for the purpose of setting fire, to discharge their carbines (as is customary in these countries) instead of striking fire by a flint. The bark of trees is beaten, steeped in water, and twisted into the form of a cord."
It will be seen on the subject of Samson's burners, or lamps (Judges xv.) that we desired further information respecting their nature, and referred to a plate of eastern lights, where indeed no further information appears; but the reader will accept it here. The Hebrew (lampad) is rendered fire-brand in our public version; it was hardly burning, blazing wood, properly a fire-brand; but, it might be of the nature of these matches, used for the purpose of carrying fire from place to place, in which, the fire, as usual in our own artillerymatches, by a very slow combustion, burns dead for a time, yet when blown upon by wind, whether of the breath or otherwise, rekindles its brilliancy, and communicates flame as directed. Let us suppose, for a moment, that the brands employed by Samson were these matches, "twisted into the form of a cord," and that these, not the jackalls, were turned tail to tail.” The history would then stand thus:
"And Samson went and took three hundred roving jackalls themselves; and he took long-burning cord-marches, and turned them tail to tail (the fire being at one end, the other end is the tail) and placed a single cord-match between two not-burning ends (tails) across. And he set fire to all the cord-matches, and sent them into the standing corn of the Philistines, &c. and, the jackalls roaming about, the the matches burnt with vigour, and commu nicated their blaze to all combustibles, wherever they were carried."
That the word tails is capable of this sense, appears demonstratively from Isaiah vii. 4. "Fear not, for the two tails of these smoking fire-brands (Rezin," &c. where the same word is used for tails; but the word for smoking tire-brands is not the same as in the history of Sainson: a difference deserving notice, for these probably intend burning brands of wood; and so the Seventy render the word. [Were the lamps of Gideon, (Judges vii) these matches?]
The reader will consider the above with proper favour; at least, he will perceive by it, that the minutest articles are not to be despised, but may occasionally illustrate Scripture, when more laboured comments struggle in vain with difficulties, which se verbal or grammatical knowledge can
See vol. 1, p. 404, 485, 534.