« 上一頁繼續 »
"all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Our Saviour himself expressly and repeatedly recognizes them as the pure word of God, and of undoubted divine authority. (Consult Mathew, iv. c, 4-11 v. Mark, vii. c, 19 v. Luke, iv. c, 23-27 v. John, v. c, 39-47 v.)
The Bible has been styled, by St. Paul, "the sword of the Spirit." The reasons why the Word of God is thus named, must be very obvious.
First. The spirit of God is its author—the maker of this sword. It was he, who constructed and polished it. It was he, who testified in the prophets and apostles. It was he, who moved them to write and to speak, and taught them what to say and record.
Second. It is the sword of the spirit, because it is his agency that makes it effectual, and because, by it, as an instrument, his agency is brought to bear upon the soul. It is the ministration of the spirit,—it is ever accompanied by his Almighty power: hence, it has been called "quick and powerful"—" spirit and life." For these important purposes, then,—even for repelling Satan's temptations, and for destroying his works in ourselves and others—are we to take this weapon, and all other weapons of the Christian warfare; and so fight the good fight of faith, as ultimately to lay bold of eternal life.
6. The Bible is a book of thought. In its disclosures of mercy and salvation, are not only "thoughts that breathe, and words that burn," but a careful perusal of its sacred pages is well calculated to awaken, enlarge and ennoble the intellect. The inspired page contains some of the sublimest thoughts, clothed in the most simple and impressive words, that are to be found in any language. "Truth is in its nature charming, and when clothed with genuine sublimity of thought, and chaste simplicity of language, it becomes doubly interesting." To one fond of magnificent description, there is nothing more captivating than the passage where the Psalmist describes the august appearance of the Mighty Jehovah: "He bowed the heavens also and came down, and darkness was under his feet; and he rode upon a cherub and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the sky." Look likewise at the genuine sublimity of the prophet, Habbakkuk: "He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and drove asunder the nations; the everlasting mountains were scattered; the perpetual hills did bow; his ways are everlasting." The evangelical prophet, when describing the future glory of the Church, says, "Violence shall no more be heard in our land, waste and destruction in thy borders; but thou shalt call thy
walls salvation, and thy gates praise." These passages and many others that might be quoted, when compared with the most admired productions of uninspired men, will appear sublime and beautiful without a parallel. We shall cite a passage from the Spectator, a work justly admired by every reader. '• The present seldom affords sufficient employment to the mind of man. Objects of praise or pleasure, love or admiration, do not lie thick enough together in life, to keep the soul in constant action, and supply an immediate exercise to its faculties. In order, therefore, to remedy this defect, that the mind may not want business, but always have materials for thinking, she is endowed with certain powers that can recall what is past, and anticipate what is to come. That wonderful faculty, which we call memory, is perpetually looking back, when we have nothing present to entertain us. It is like those repositories in certain animals that are filled with stores of their former food, on which they may ruminate when their present pasture fails. Our actual enjoyments are so few and transient, that man would be a very miserable being, were he not endowed with this passion, which gives him a taste of those good things that may possibly come into his possession." "We should hope for every thing that is good," says the old Poet Linus, "because there is nothing which may not be hoped for, and nothing but what the gods are able to give us." "Hope quickens the still parts of life, and keeps the mind awake in her most remiss and indolent hours. It gives habitual serenity and good humor. It is a kind of vital heat in the soul, that cheers and gladdens her when she does not attend to it. It makes pain easy, and labor pleasant."
To a mind suitably affected, the page of the finest poet or novelist unfolds insipid ideas, and furnishes but a paltry satisfaction, when brought in comparison with those sublimities and excellencies which glow on the sacred pages of divine revelation. Here, the most fastidious taste may find ample gratification. Here, truth and virtue are held up to view, in all their native simplicity and beauty. "Whatever is exalted in sentiment, whatever is sublime in thought and expression, and whatever is noble in action, may be found in the Bible: it combines all excellencies; it condenses all beauties; it concentrates all delights. It is the grand ultimatum, without which all other knowledge is utterly vain and worthless." Why, then, should any one fly for pleasure and entertainment to the regions of romance, when truth is here presented to the mind unmixed with error or doubt? Why should the writings of Walter Scott, of Lord Byron, and of Washington Irving, elicit the praises and admiration of men, whilst those of the Prophets and Apostles are thrown aside and considered unworthy of a perusal 1 Perverted indeed must be the taste, that can prefer the gilded page of fiction to that of inspiration. Dark is that mind, which can see no beauties in the book of God—no thoughts sublime and beautiful—no words of power and wisdom: but the natural man is averse to the things of God, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.
7. The Bible is a book of power. This idea will appear obvious from an examination of its contents. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." "The enterance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple." "Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly V "Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me." "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." In the preceding quotations, the Scriptures are said to possess power sufficient, not only to enlighten the benighted understanding; to soften the obdurate heart; to melt down the stubborn will; and excite in the soul " repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ;" but to convert the soul, sanctify the affections, and strengthen the spirit, with "might by faith in the inner man," and finally to prepare the soul for a seat in heaven. Who, then, would live without the Holy Scriptures? They restrain men from the commission of crime, point out the path of duty, and urge them on in the pursuit of individual and social happiness. They inculcate the fear of God, and of his holy law, and hurl the thunderbolts of his insulted justice against every incorrigible offender. Did shame restrain Alcibiades from the commission of a base action in the presence of Socrates? This holy book repeatedly declares, there is a God, who knoweth the secret thoughts and intents of the heart, and there is nothing hid from his all-seeing eye. The fear of death alone, often deters men from excess in sin: the Bible adds infinite horrors to that fear; it warns them of a death both of soul and body. The peculiar purpose of the whole is, to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; to raise them from the degredation and wretchedness of the fall, and put them in possession of the inestimable blessings of redemption; to lead them from a state of trial and conflict on earth, to a state of rest and felicity in heaven. And so to assist and direct them in all conditions in life, that they may not fail of these great ends, except by their own wilful neglect of the counsel of God against themselves. The salvation of his own
soul, should, therefore, be the grand concern of every reader of the Scriptures. Here, the immortality of the soul is clearly brought to light, and arrayed in unquestionable evidence. Here, are life and salvation offered to all, and free for all. And sorely, it is an awful responsibility which they incur, who wilfully neglejt the Bible and devote all theirtime and the energies of their minds to earthly and subordinate objects; for,
"Thia lamp, from off the everlasting throne,
The Bible is the noblest and most precious boon, that God has ever bestowed upon our apostate and orphaned race. It is the development of man's immortality ; the unerring guide which informs him how he may move off in triumph from a contracted and temporary scene, and grasp destinies of unbounded splendor, eternity his lifetime, and infinity his home. What, then, would be the condition of the world if it were suddenly withdrawn, and every remembrance of it swept away * We should then arrive at some faint conception of the worth of this wondrous volume. "Take from Christendom the Bible," says the Rev. Mr. Melville, " and you have taken the moral chart by which alone its population can be guided. Ignorant of the nature of God, and only guessing at their own immortality, the tens of thousands of men, would be as mariners, tossed on a wide ocean without a pole-star, and without a compass. The blue lights of the stormfiend would burn ever in the shrouds; and when the tornado of death rolled across the waters, there would be heard nothing but the shriek of the terrified and the groan of the despairing. It were to mantle the earth with more than Egyptian darkness; it were to dry up the fountains of human happiness; it were to take the tides from our waters and leave them stagnant, and the stars from our heavens and clothe them in sackcloth; and the verdure from our valleys and leave them all barrenness: it were to make the present all recklessness and the future all hopelessness, the maniac's revelry and the fiend's imprisonment, if you cooU annihilate that precious volume which tells of God and of Christ, and unveils immortality, and instructs to doty, and woos to glory. Such is the Bible. Reader! have you in possession this Book • Prize it, and study it more and more. Prize it, as you are an immortal being, for it guides to the New Jerusalem, the city of the living God. Prize it, as you are an intellectual being—" for it giveth understanding to the simple." "Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest"—" for it is able to make thee wise unto salvation."
P. A. M. W. Georgetown, S. C.
THE GREEK SYMPOSIUM,
AND ITS MATERIALS.
Or ' lya iria rdr otyovt T6tc fUv iandlv tirop Moi'trus \tyaivtiv 'apterat.
There was a native elegance and refinement in the social manners of the Greeks, that we look for in vain among moderns. The wreaths of violets and roses, the rose suspended in the midst, and the lyre and myrtle branch, were emanations which could spring only from minds full of poetry, and which put to shame the tipsy revellers of the present day. True, their taste in potables may not have been so refined as our own, and we confess that we should prefer a glass of good champagne, or unadulterated southside Madeira, to the sirange compounds of seawater, rosin, turpentine, and grape juice, which delighted the palates of Athenian epicures. But these inaccuracies of taste were well compensated for, by the accompaniments of a Grecian feast, where the gratification of all the senses was sought for, and where the creations of Apelles and Praxiteles, the perfumes of Athens, the dancing girls of Ionia, the Achaian flutes, and the inspired numbers of Anacreon, were called in, to aid the violet crown and the vintage of Chios.,
Of course, among a people so lively and impassioned, the juice of the grape was in great request. They knew not the utility of Washingtonian Teetntalism; and the few sumptuary laws of Amphvction and Solon, were either regarded as a mere dead letter, or threw restraints so light over the free use of the bowl, that they served rather as a whet, or stimulus, than as a curb to the universal appetite. And indeed, when we consider the nature of their religion, we could scarcely expect otherwise. Bacchus was a deity, held in supreme adoration, not only from the grape over which he presided, but also from the relentless severity with which he punished those who despised his power. We may smile with contempt at the old mythic traditions of Pentheus, Lycabas, Lycurgus, Agave, and others; but they were devoutly believed by some of the firmest minds of antiquity, and met with universal credence from the great mass of the unthinking, Even the death of Alexander was attributed to the resentment of
• Antiphanes (Athenreus, Lib. I.) affords hospitable din ner-pivers a list of the most desirable sources for their variom delicacies.
Thy cook should be of Elis; utensils
Bacchus, for the destruction of Thebes, the city of his nativity. Add to this the nature of their religious rites; the libation over the victim, the feast after the sacrifice,, and the bowls drunk in honor of the gods, at the commencement and conclusion of each repast, and which it was held disrespectful not to fill high and drain deep,f and we shall see ample cause for the unbounded use of wine, in which the laughter-loving Greeks indulged.
Nor was it only the more idle and unthinking who sought pleasure and forgetfulness in the bowl. The wisest statesmen, the most successful Generals, the most profound philosophers, and the greatest poets, were all the ardent devotees of Bacchus, and all join with fervor in the praises of the grape. The latter class especially, seem on that subject to have a unanimity but rarely observable among the followers of Apollo, and we find very few who are willing to subscribe themselves as believers in Pindar's 'iptcrdr pa 'i6.ap. Evwn the grave and sententious Euripides does not disdain to say
Ti)*' vavoi^wov ipirt\ov ioivat PporoTf.
To mortals then he gave the grape that drives
Sophocles remarks, "rd pcOvttv nnpovfc Xurtfpiov''— "drunkenness is the best remedy for grief;" and, to complete the homage of the three great masters of Tragedy, we find from Athenaeus, that jEschyI us was in the habit of composing his deathless works under the influence of intoxication! We pass by Anacreon's devotion to wine, as a mere matter of course; but it seems strange to modern eyes, to meet exhortations in favor of the bowl among the grave and moral sententiaeof Theognis, the Megarean. But of all lovers of the grape, AlcaeuS, the master of the lyre, would seem to be the most eminent. Unfortunately, we possess but a few inconsiderable fragments of this poet, whose fiery genius seems to have bent itself upon the themes of war and wine, and who must have been one of the foremost of the lyric nine, to judge from the warm eulogies of all antiquity, and from Horace's utmost ambition having been to imitate him successfully. The few disjointed fragments which remain, nearly all relate to the enjoyment of wine. Some of them are quoted by that charming old gossip, Athenaeus, (Lib. IX.) as peculiarly evincing his passion for the grape.
In the fierceness of winter, the poet seems to find good reasons for not neglecting the gifts of Bacchus.
*This was so regularly understood to be a debauch, that Aristotle derives ptditiv from /to rd 06pir.
t Aristophanes introduces a character, boasting of hav. ing honored various deities with no less than six hundred glasses, emptied in their names!
Tec fill/ b Zcvty K. r. X.
See, Jove is sending from on high,
In another fragment, he considers the approach of Spring to be sufficient cause for pouring full libations to the rosy god.
Spring has come, with flowers crowned,
Nor, in summer, is he in want of an excuse for the full indulgence of his favorite pleasure.
Tiyyt itvt&fiovat oivu, K. T. X.
Wet your throats with cooling wine!
The death of a friend drives him to the bowl, in which he seems to find abundant consolation.
E* it Kipvo) Toi', jr. r. X.
Fill up, fill up,
The sparkling cup,
For 'tis not good
For the mind to brood
Does it avail,
To weep and wail
No, Bacchus, thine
Oh! then, fill up
The sparkling cup,
Alas! he's gone—
That much loved one,
He can endure no flower, that will not minister to his darling indulgence.
Mij^c 'iXXo ipvTcitTtjf, K. T. X.
Oh! we will plant nor flower, nor vine,
And his fierce delight in the bowl will not suffer him to permit a moment's interruption, in his enjoyments. Hear his reply to a proposition to wait for lights, on a late afternoon's debauch.
Drink, drink on, why wait for a light,
As long as our cups we can feet?
And the wine can still pass round with zeal.
Bring us bowls that are wider and deeper,
For Bacchus gave wine upon earth,
And change sighing to gladness and mirth!
Then neglect not Lyssus's bounty.
Fill the bowl up again and again ;—
Let each cup drive the rest from the brain.
After this, it would be hardly worth while to quote any of the rhapsodies of Aristophanes, whose devotion to the grape is sufficiently proved by his habit of writing while under the influence of the AippoSiTtis yaXa, as he terms it. Neither would it suit our purpose to recount further the homage paid to Bacchus, which we meet on almost every page of the bards of old, and we will quit this part of our subject with a little fragment of Amphis, on account of the oddity of his reasons for loving winebibbers.
I'd rather have the soul of any drunkard,
Among the Greeks, it was a point of honor to return a health in a cup of equal size. Of course, when such a custom obtained, hard drinking became a requisite for every gentleman, who otherwise might be surpassed by his more seasoned companion. Flinching at the bowl was considered so disreputable, that, at Athens, two public officers were regularly appointed to exercise a censorship over the table, to visit the feasts, and to compel the delinquent guests to swallow their liquor like men. For this purpose, also, and to maintain the rules which might be agreed on, it was universally customary to elect a 0aa\tis, or king, who exercised a supervision over the table, and kept the guests in order, not unlike the chairman of our modern days. Thus, in Plato's banquet, when the wine is brought in, we find a discussion taking place, as to whether they shall drink for drunkenness, or pleasure: and as all confess to suffering from a debauch the preceding night, the latter proposition is unanimously carried, and maintained for some time. At last, however, Alcibiades reels in, elects himself king, and, not seeing any wine cop large enough, orders the wine-cooler to be filled, and condemns the rest of the company to follow his example of draining it. When such were the manners of the refined and cultivated among the Athenians, it is not to be wondered at, that the capacity to turn himself into a wine-barrel was considered a necessary accomplishment for a perlect man of the world. Indeed, great drinkers were esteemed worthy of having their names preserved with those of other eminent men, and the bowl, si well as the sword or lyre, was a means of procuring a niche in the Temple of Fame. Alheneeus records the names of many whose exploits would astonish a modern bacchanalian. Diotimus, the Athenian, who obtained the soubriquet of Xi'n'i,— "funnel," from a power which he possessed of putting that utensil to his mouth, and drinking through it indefinitely; Ion, the poet; Scopas; Xenarchus, the Rhodian, surnamed Mirpira—" the Barrel," from his capacity; Alcetas, the Macedonian; and Hermeias, the Methymnian, are a few of many whose names are preserved by the indefatigable Athenaeus, as men whose diligence in the cause of drinking deserves much honor. The stories told concerning the drinkers of that day, are many of them almost beyond credibility. According to Aristotle, Dionysius the Younger, became totally blind from the effects of a nine days continued debauch. The account given by Ephippus, of the death of Alexander the Great is, that he called for a cup containing two congii, (about seven quarts,) and drank it off to Proteas, one of the hardy boon companions, whom his excesses assembled round him. Proteas immediately returned the compliment, and, soon after, filling the same bowl, emptied it again, and sent it to the king. Alexander took it, and boldly endeavored to drain it, but before it was exhausted, fell back senseless on his couch. From this condition, he never entirely recovered, and died in the course of a few days.
Not only individuals, but even cities and countries enjoyed celebrity on account of their wineloving propensities. Elis was equally remarkable for the number of the liars and drunkards enrolled among her citizens; the Thracians were well known for their prowess at the bowl; the Argives and Tyrinthians were notorious for their enjoyment of the gifts of Bacchus; while Baeton tells us, that the Tapyrians were so fond of wine, that they used it for every purpose, and even in anointing, preferred it to all other unguents, or perfumes.
Springing naturally from these habits, were the contests of drinking, which were frequently held in public, similar to the AyHns, or games of running, wrestling, and the like. That these open drinking bouts were considered honorable, may be deduced from the fact, that philosophers did not disdain to enter into them. A pointless bon mot is related of Anacharsis, which illustrates this. He was engaged in one of these matches before Periander, of Corinth, in which, though he yielded to the power of the wine-god before his competitors, notwithstanding his Scythian extraction, he demanded the prize, remarking, that in a race, he is victor who first reaches the goal. Some idea may be had of the quantity of wine swallowed at these contests, from an anecdote related by Plutarch in his life of Alexander the Great. That prince in
stituted games over the tomb of Calanus, the Gymnosophist or Brahmin, who followed him from India, and who finally committed suicide, by burning himself to death. Among the contests was one of drinking; the prize of which was a magnificent cup of gold, of the value of a talent, which was won by Promachus, after drinking some fourteen quarts. Unfortunately for the competitors, the weather which followed was unusually cold, and no less than forty of them were taken off.
But this excessive drunkenness went somewhat beyond the approbation of the more careful epicures. Among a people so lively and so excitable as the Greeks, it is not to be wondered at, if wine should frequently carry them beyond all bounds, and induce them to commit excesses to be repented of afterwards. Chamceleon Heracleotes expresses much indignation at the practice of immoderate drinking, which was much in vogue in his time, and he attributes the fierceness and cruelty of the heroes of ancient Greece, to their excessive use of wine, and to their enormously large goblets. Homer exhausts himself in describing the drinking cup of Nestor, so large, that a young man could scarcely raise it. Plato, though he is belied if he loved not a cup of good Chian or Lesbian, is severe against the abuse of wine in his Republic, and his Essays De Legibus. In the latter, he wishes to limit the use of wine by all under the age of thirty. Eubulus, too, no mean authority in such cases, prescribes three cups as the maximum in in which a prudent man should indulge himself. Bacchus loquitur.
Three cups of good wine are enough for the wise,
Anil this is the way that I send them.
To the second, for love, 1 commend them.
The third may be taken sweet slumbers to bring,
And here will a sober man cease.
And wend his way homeward in peace.
O'er the fourth cup of wine, I've no longer control,
For 'tis ruled by dissension and strife;
And the sixth with fierce riot is rife.
From the seventh spring quarrels and terrible blows,
Till the ninth will make sots of the valorous foes,
Those who prized wine so highly, and used it in such large quantities, we may readily suppose, were particularly nice in their choice and discrimination, and paid great attention to it, not only in its preparation, but also in soils best suited for it, and the localities most favorable to its full perfection. Accordingly, we find almost innumerable varieties and growths mentioned by the Greek writers, and distinguished by every conceivable shade of difference—some exalted to a comparison with the beve