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virtues and vices of their gods; and during had clothed cruel and crafty chiefs the feast it was not only lawful but proper with the attributes of divinity, and to imitate the vices of the divinity they they became assimilated to the character were met to honour. Hence, in the worship of the beings they worshipped, and the of the heroes, athletic exercises and combats longer they worshipped the more they rewere always the most important parts; but sembled them. Also, as they adored the what those mysteries were which marked heroes of a past age, it was but natural for the solemnities of the heroines, can only be them to admire those of their own times, learned from the legends of their impure and that such of their countrymen as had lives. Though the worship of Minerva at distinguished themselves in life, should Athens was not so gross as that of the after their death be elevated to the ranks patronesses of the passions in ancient of their kindred spirits in heaven; and as Phenicia and Rome, still it was so licen- every age added its share to the long cata. tious as to lower the standard of public logue of divinities, the temples below were morals, and to extend and confirm the crowded with the images of a countless degradation of the female character. These host above, till festivals were the high mass of the heathen
Even laureled Athens deified so fast world; and then, as now, custom drew multitudes to the solemnities who cared
That thirty thousand swelled her host at last.' little about religion, so that the whole in- ! The sneer of the poet was verifiedhabitants were engaged in their celebration, 'Athens will soon have more gods than and vice received the stamp of fashion and men ;' and the observation of the apostle the unanimous sanction of public opinion. was confirmed—'the city was wholly given Plato says that at the feast of Bacchus he to idolatry. has seen the whole city of Athens drunk, | As an illustration of the facility with ' and everywhere nothing was to be seen which divine honours were conferred, we but dancing and debauchery, and all that may look at the circumstances connected the most abominable profligacy could in | with Paul and Barnabas' visit to Lystra, vent.' And Socrates, though anxious to where the people, after witnessing the power avoid everything that might either pro- of the apostles, are with difficulty prevented voke the intolerance of the populace, or from worshipping them as gods. In reencourage the Sophists in their attempts monstrating with them on this absurd to undermine the national faith, was yet so custom, Paul honestly condemns the folly earnest in his effort to purify the religion of the times: 'We also are men of like of his country from the Homeric fables, and passions with yourselves, and teach that the ceremonies that had grown out of them, ye should turn from these vanities to serve that he refused to attend these festivals, the living God, who made heaven and believing that customs which were so dis- earth, and the seas, and all things that are graceful to men could never be acceptable therein. The ready act of homage was to the gods. This nonconformity is said but natural to the Greeks; and the fact to have been the first thing which led his that their haughty spirits did not ircountrymen to suspect his religion; and mediately resent the language of the feeling that the purity of his life, and the apostle as an insult to their religion, only truth of his doctrine, were a libel on all shows how completely their superstition was that they practised and worshipped, they | awakened by the miracle. But after they poisoned a better man and a nobler hero had time to reflect, and opportunity to see than any whom they adored.
that the teaching of the strangers tended Neither was there in the heaven they | to subvert the religion of their country, hoped for anything that could improve then their opposition was aroused, and their faith or manners. Like the gods they needed only the instigation of the who inhabited it, it was of the earth, Jews to become the murderers of the man earthy. It was but a poet's paradise, they had mistaken for a god. There is containing everything that might please another instance of this vanity in the reiga the taste or gratify the senses; but it had of Herod Agrippa. All the Herods were nothing that could stimulate the hope suspected by the Jews of having a leanwhich maketh the heart pure.
ing to the worship to the Greeks; and Thus as the Greeks had been taught to though Herod the Great beautified the look on the divinities as beings of like temple, and Heriod Agrippa persecuted passions with themselves, it was impos- the Christians, in order to please them, still sible that they could feel any proper venera- they doubted the sincerity of the whole tion for such gods; and as they had ascribed family. There were, however, some aliens to them the vices, as well as the virtues of and apostates, who took part with the men, their religion had no good example Court in its insidious attempts to introto guide them on the paths of virtue, and duce into Palestine the religion and cusno correct rule to teach them to distin- toms of Greece. These' Herodians' were guish between right and wrong. They always ready to embrace every opportunity
of countenancing the foreign and fashion with the trunk and tail of a fish. Also in able system; and whether the attempt to Hindostan the temples are filled and canonize Herod was the result of accident covered with a crowd of varied and impure or arrangement, the impious deed was too images, whose monstrous and disgusting daring to pass with impunity under the forms are but pictorial representations of Theocracy of Judea. The inspired history the legends which form the history of their of this transaction is very expressive: 'On supremego:tdess. Besides, in every region a set day, Herod sat on his throne arrayed where demon worship prevailed, as terror in royal apparel, and made an oration to was the chief element in such superstitions, them, and the people gave a shout, It is the the monstrous idols which they worshipped voice of a god, and not of a man. That were but the creations and manifestations shout was heard in heaven, and the can- of their ill-defined fears. What was said didate for divine honours became a ban of the Samaritans was equally true of quet for the worms.
many other nations-‘Ye worship ye know Image worship was but the second stage not what. From these and other causes, of hero worship, and this custom also ori the forms of idols became monstrous as ginated another form of idolatry, which we the legends of fable, and various as the may designate as monster worship. With-| tastes and circumstances of men, until in this designation we would include all every trace of design was lost in the grothose idols whose forms had no resem-tesque figures now worshipped in so many blance to any existing creature, but were uncivilised lands. either a monstrous compound of different Before proceeding to notice the dawn forms, an imaginary likeness of some sup- of philosophy, and the decline of superstiposed being, or a pictorial representation tion in the West, we may pause to mark of some past event. The worship of such the difference between the early literature ridiculous idols appears to have arisen of Greece and the Sacred Writings. from the following causes. With the ex- | The fact, that the first records of the Heception of the Romans, the heathen na- | brews were in prose and not in poetry, tions generally compelled the states which makes an essential difference between the they conquered to adopt the gods of the character and influence of their writings victors, allowing the vanquished at the and those of the Greeks. The historian same time to continue in the worship of feels himself under restrictions from which their own gods. As the policy of the hea the poet is relieved, and is entitled to a conthen led them to worship power by whom fidence which the other does not claim; soever it was manifested, they generally and while we cheerfully allow to the Greeks added the gods of the conquerors to their all those faculties of invention and imagi. own, in the hope of acquiring the favour nation which give interest and ornament of these deities, and the fortune of being to the poem, yet we claim for the Hebrews the most powerful state. But being afraid those more important qualities of simplilest they should incur the wrath of the city and truthfulness, which give dignity gods of their fathers, they sometimes com and value to the history. The minstrel promised the matter, by instituting a mon sung at the festival to instruct and amuse grel worship, or by making their idols so his countrymen; but the prophet speaks as to represent in one image the gods of as if from the witness box, and feels as if both parties. At other times this was also under oath to tell the truth, and nothing done as a compliment to the gods of more but the truth, in the great cause between powerful states. The Moloch of the East, | God and man. The Hebrews had no which in some parts of Syria was repre other literature save their sacred books, sented by an idol with the ox head of the and they appear to have looked on their god of Egypt, and the human trunk of the language as sacred to God and Truth, and gods of Greece, is an instance of this. to have felt as if it were sacrilege to deIt was also common among the image vote it to any other purpose. 'A solemn worshippers, when deifying any of their gravity pervades all their writings befitheroes or heroines, to make some distin ting a people who were charged with the guishing marks on their images, so as to religious history of the world, and with commemorate the events from which they the oracles of divine truth. No smile derived their fame. Gradually these marks | ever appears to have brightened the counbecame incorporated with the image, so tenance of a Jewish author, no trifling that it was transformed into a representa- thought to have passed through his mind, tion of the character or history of the per- no ludicrous association to have been son it was intended to honour. The formed in his fancy. In describing the Dagon of the Philistines was a specimen food of Deucalion, the Roman poet laughs of these kind of idols; it being the image at the grotesque misery which he himself of a heroine, with whose history there was exhibits, and purposely groups together obmixed up a fabulous account of the deluge jects, with the intention of exciting in his -had the head and breasts of a woman, readers the feeling of ridicule. But in no instance can we detect the faintest symp.only four of these have reached our times. tom of levity in the inspired penmen: It is also evident that these four evantheir style, like their subject, is unifor- gelists wrote their Gospels with the intenmerly exalted, chaste, and severe; they tion of recording and preserving the say, write to men concerning the things of God, ings and doings of their Master, so that in a manner suited to such a momentous disciples in every age 'might know the communication; and they never cease to certainty of those things wherein they remember, in all their records, that they had been instructed.' Thus the evanwere employed in propagating those glad gelişts are rather to be understood as the tidings, by which all the families of the recorders of important facts, than as the earth were to be blessed.'—(Russell.) teachers of a system of truths. We make Their many fine parables and beautiful this distinction between facts and truths, images show that they had both invention in order to show the nature of that eviand imagination; but these only encircledence which testifies to the truth of the some great truth, like the ivy round the gospel. By facts, we mean such things oak, and if it falls its ornaments perish as are known to have happened; by truths, with it. Their very poetry owes all its such things as are known to be true: and excellence to the consciousness that it con- we have made the distinction because the fines itself solely to what is known to be testimony which certifies a fact, is sometrue of God and real in man; its truth is what different from the evidence which is all its charm. No heathen writer has necessary to establish a truth. To certify produced a single poem which can be used a fact, it is only necessary that we have in the present day for the purpose of de- the testimony of honest witnesses ; but to votion; but the Hebrew poetry is so pure establish a truth it is necessary that we that it still retains its place in the sanc- have such an amount of evidence as will tuary; and however deficient it may be clearly demonstrate it; and if it depend on as a complete psalmody, from its want of a testimony, that must be the testimony references to latter times, and from its freof one who is not only an honest witness, quent expressions of the feelings of a by- but a comepetent judge. There are thougone age, yet its devotional pieces cre sands who would be ready to give their still as fresh as when they were laid as the testimony to the truth of the creed they first fruits of human genius on the altar of believe, but there may not be one in the God. They were proud of the distinction thousand competent to form a correct that to them had been committed the liv- opinion of its merits, or whose judgments ing oracles, and this duty they discharged would be taken as any evidence of its with fidelity, though these contained many truth. The martyrology of Protestantism things that were disgraceful to them as a and Presbyterianism is a noble monument nation. The tombs of the Pharaohs have to the sincerity of the martyrs; but as they given up their records, the ruins of buried might be mistaken in their judgment, cities have uncovered their remains, the their sufferings rather prove the faith of walls of forgotten temples have preserved the sufferers than the truth of their creed. their ornaments, and the Jew still clings However, the martyrology of the first to the symbols of his ancient ritual, as if Christians is a more certain testimony to to complete the proof, that the manners the facts of the gospel. It was of no aband customs of the olden times were such stract theory or intricate system, requiring as the Old Testament represents them to the exercise of the higher powers of the have been. They boasted of the differ- | mind, that their testimony was given; had ence between their God and the gods of it been so, they might with all their the heathen, and exulted by contrasting honesty have been mistaken; but as it the evidences of their religion with the was only of such things as they had seen laboured legends of superstition. In the and heard that they testified, they were New Testament we find them using such perfectly competent to bear witness to language as this: 'We have pot followed these facts; and as they submitted to death cunningly devised fables when we made rather than deny or conceal the events known unto you the power and coming of they had witnessed, their competency and our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-wit- honesty are alike indisputable. Many nesses of his majesty;' and as they attach have died for unconscious error, but no great importance to the fact that they were man ever yet gave his life to testify for a witnesses of the events recorded in the known falsehood. Hence the importance Gospels, we may examine its bearing on which the writers of the New Testament the authenticity of New Testament history. attach to this peculiarity in the evidence
It was but natural to expect, that many for the truth of the gospel. The facts of the followers of our Lord should have were delivered unto them by those who taken in hand to set forth in order a de- from the beginning were eye-witnesses;' claration of those things, which were most they were sure they could not be mistaken, surely believed' amongst them, though for the things were such as they had
heard and seen with their eyes, and looked But happily these are so few and unimupon and handled. This kind of evidence portant, and the points of agreement are was the most acceptable to the Jews, for so many and essential, as to warrant the as the religion of their fathers had been conclusion that harmony is the rule, and established by miracles, they would not the want of it is only the exception; and consent to any change, save by the evi- | to confirm the assurance that, were the dence of a sensible demonstration. The truth of revelation more correctly exGreeks sought after wisdom, but they de | plained and the facts of geology more manded a sign; they were notorious for clearly ascertained, the present harmony their unbelief. The Gentiles of Tyre and would become an unanimous agreement. Sidon would have been sooner converted The cosmology of Moses is also as to the faith than them ;, and some of the poetically beautiful as it is philosophically, converts from the neighbouring nations correct. Our globe is represented as manifested a far stronger faith than any being cradled in the bosom of a shoreless in Israel. Even the disciples were slow of ocean, whose silent waters sleep out the heart to believe ;' and one of them would first long evening of time beneath the not credit the report of the resurrection cheerless gloom of a sunless sky. Light, until he saw with his eyes the print of the the first-born, ushers in the dawn of nails, and felt with his hand the wound of nature amid the melody of the morning the spear. Thus it will be seen that the stars; then creature after creature in recharacter of the first Christians, and the gular progression take their place in the circumstances in which their testimony order of existence; and man, with becom.. was given, forms an important link in the ing dignity, closes the procession, bearing chain of evidence for the truth of the his Maker's image on his brow, the fit gospel.
insignia of his rank as lord of all below. But passing the contrast between the The theology of the Hebrews is also authentic history of the Hebrews and the widely different from that of the Greeks, fabulous poetry of the Greeks, there are and where could they get their idea of other points of difference worthy of our God? They must have either borrowed notice. For instance, there is a striking it, invented it, or received it through some contrast between the Theogany of Hesiod traditionary or direct revelation? Where and the Genesis of Moses. The one is could they borrow it, for no ancient nation only regarded as a dream of the past; had any such idea to lend them? If they while the other still retains its place in invented it, how was it that the Hebrews the halls of science, its light undimmed, | felt themselves so much at home in the and its inspiration unchallenged. Every province of theology, that to them it was, science has had three distinct periods of all firm ground and dry land, while the existence. There is first the period when master spirits of Greece felt themselves its elementary principles, truths, or facts so much at sea, with nothing to rest on form but a part of general knowledge; or guide them ?—where, struggling and there is next the period when these elements sinking in their difficulties, the wailings assume importance as a distinct science of their doubt comes to us like the 'cry of
a time of investigation and inquiry, some strong swimmer in his agony.' The when details are examined, relations are Greeks perceived the necessity of a First discovered, and evidences are accumulated; Canse, but the Hebrews traced it up to an then there is the period of arrangement, infinite and eternal Being, whom they when the evidence is summed up, what is described as spiritual in his essence and false is exposed, what is true is confirmed, holy in his nature, as just and merciful and the truths being now well ascertained in his character, as gracious, benevolent, are arranged in proper order, and become and long-suffering in his disposition, and a systematic science. Now it is not as the creator, governor, and judge of men. wonderful that, during the second period, The Greeks, drew their pictures of the there were some discussion between the divinity from their own resources, and the geologists and the divines, and that these superhuman forms of their early creed tended to correct the mistakes and to are seen retiring like mermaids at the enlarge the views of both parties. And dawn of light. Then their first causes when we consider that it is not much appear each in its turn courting the faith more than fifty years since geology became of man, till at last these blend in one a systematic science, that all its distin- shadowy cloud that flits from the grasp of guished names belong to the latter end of his intellect, and avoids the embrace of the last and to the beginning of the his faith, and leaves him but a guess for present century, and that many of these a god. The Hebrews seem to have still are or were but lately alive, it is not found their portrait somewhere; it is the surprising though there should be still very image of the Deity, and they only some points of difference between the unveil it; it is $0 perfect that it could ancient record and the infant science. neither want, an attribute, nor admit of
another perfection. But where did they they desire to be useful to them. I venfind it ? Unable to solve the difficulty ture to say some things which may do you otherwise, we are glad to believe that good. They are said in love. I feel sure they got it by revelation from heaven. you will not despise them.
G. B., C. 1. It is not an easy thing to be a Bible
Christian. "The righteous are scarcely saved. None but the violent take the
kingdom of heaven by force.' To lead a ORIGINAL POETRY. Christian life is to run a race; it is to
wrestle with principalities and powers, it GABRIEL MINISTERING.
is to fight with legions of foes. Running, A LOOK of utter desolateness reigned
wrestling, and fighting are all hard. Of Within the chamber where the dying saint
all errorists, none are more wild than Lay, waiting his dismissal. No kind hand
those who teach that it is easy to obtain Tendered the gentle offices of love:
the crown. "Strive to enter in at the To soothe the mortal agony, or reach
strait gate.' 'Thy work will not be done A cup of water to his lips, was none.
till thou hast got thy crown.' His was the depth of human wretchedness,
2. Obtain clear views of religious truth. And loneliness, and suffering, while the night
| To be clear, they must be both definite Of nature and of death was closing in
and extended. Be not satisfied with a few When all the powers of darkness would assail vague notions. 'Be filled with the knowThat weak and weary spirit. The last beam
ledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiriOf earthly light those glazing eyes should see
tual understanding.' The Word of God Came slanting through the chamber,
is the food of all true Christians. If they A ministering spirit from the throne.
would grow and be strong, they must know Beside the bed with folded wings then stood
it. Search the Scriptures.' The Bible The strong and radiant angel: it was he
is the richest mine ever worked. There Who once in dark Gethsemane had bent
is no danger of your reading it too much, To adore incarnate Godhead, and to wipe
or of your being too much controlled by The oozing blood-drops from a mortal brow.
3. Settle it now and for ever, that whatAnd as the darkness deepened, brighter grew The light on Gabriel's crown: the spirit felt
ever puffs up your mind and makes you The nearness of its glory, as he spread
feel secure or self-satisfied, is adverse to His wings, and canopied the roofless couch,
piety. To the humble alone does God give To keep his watch and ward. The morning came;
grace. Nothing, positively nothing, can A soul was borne away to Paradise!
be a substitute for deep self-abasement 'Twas said, alone the poor old beggar died!
before God. Those thoughts, books, and
sermons which awaken in you sentiments 1. C.
of self-abhorrence are the best.
4. Adopt as your standard the Word of
God, and nothing else. There is not a HINTS TO A YOUNG DISCIPLE. more dangerous practice than that of com
paring ourselves with men, and not with MY YOUNG FRIEND, I rejoice with God's Word. It is the adoption of a foryour other friends in the change which | bidden rule. Besides, when we have begun has taken place in your views and con- to lower the standard, we continue to lower duct. Though it is too soon to pronounce it until we get it so low as not to condemn it a saving change, yet I am willing to us in our own eyes. This was the great hope that it is such. The day will disclose error of the scribes and Pharisees. Paul it. I do not know whether a tree full of says: 'We dare not make ourselves of the fragrant and beautiful blossoms, or the number, or compare ourselves with some same tree laden with ripe fruit, gives the that commend themselves; but they, meamost pleasure. So, I am not able to say suring themselves by themselves, and comwhether a young Christian, full of simpli- paring themselves anjong themselves, are city, eager for instruction, and ardent in not wise. Will you dare to do what Paul hope, or the aged child of God, chastened did not venture on? Your life, your heart, in all his desires, deeply versed in the your faith will all be judged in the last knowledge of his own heart, and richly day by the Bible, not by other men's atladen with experience, is an object of the tainments. greatest interest. Older Christians com- 5. Beware of becoming a mere profesmonly hope that those who come after sor of religion. The pious Scougal speaks them will avoid the errors into which they of some who were mere talking and walkhave fallen, and so accomplish wonders in ing skeletons' in the Church. He that the cause of Christ. At least, they have boasteth himself of a false gift, is as clouds good hopes, even if they have fears also, and wind without rain.' Never express respecting those who promise well, and so ! more feeling than you have. Let your