« 上一頁繼續 »
ancient religion of the Gentiles which consisted in the adaration of a first cause of the works of the creation, in which the sun was the great visible agent. It appears to bave been a religion of gratitude and adoration, and not of prayer and discontented solicitation. In Job we find adoration and submission but not prayer. Even the ten commandments enjoin not prayer. Prayer has been added to devotion by the Chureb of Rome as the instrument of fees and perquisites. All prayers by the priests of the christian Church whether public or private must be paid for. It may be right individually to pray for virtues, or for mental instruetion, but not for things. It is an attempt to dictate to the Almighty ja the government of the world. But to return to the book of Job.
As the book of Job decides itself to be a book of the Gentiles, the next thing is to find out to what particular pa. tio. it belongs, and lastly what is its antiquity.
As a Composition it is sublime, beautiful and scientific : full of sentiment, and abounding in grand metaphorical description. As a Drama it is regular. The Dramatis Per sonæ, the persons performing the several parts are regular.
ly introduced and speak without interruption or confusion, • The scene as I have before said is laid in the country of the
Gentiles, and the anities, though not always necessary in a drama, are observed here as strictly as the subject would ad. mit.
In the last act where the Almighty is introduced as speak. ing from the whirlwind to decide the controversy between Job and his friends, it is an idea as grand as poetical imagination can conceive. What follows of Job's future prosperity does not belong to it as a Drama, It is an epilogue of tbe writer, as the first verses of the first chapter, which give an account of Job, his country and his riches are the prologue.
The Book carries the appearance of being the work of gome of the Persian Magi, not only because the structure of it curreeponis to the dogma of the religion of those people, as founded by Zoroaster, but from the astronomical referenBes on it to the constellations of the Zodiac and other objects in the heavens, of which the sun, on their religion called Mithra, was the chief. Job, in describing the power of God, (Job 9,0. 27) says, “ Who commandeth the sun, and it ris. eth pot, and sealeth up the stars-Who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea Who maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” AU this astronomical allusion is consistent with the religion of the Persians.
Establishing then the Book of Job, as the work of some of the Persian or Eastern Magi, the case naturally follows, that when the Jews returned from captivity, by the permis. sion of Cyrus king of Persia, they brought this book with them, had it translated into Hebrew, and put into their scriptural canons, which was not formed till after their return. This will account for the name of Job being mentioned in Ezekiel, (Ezekicl, chap. 14, d. 1+) who was one of the captives, and also for its not being mentioned in any book said or supposed to have been written before the captivity.
Among the astronomical allusions in the book, there is one which serves to fis its antiquity. It is that where God is made to say to Job, in the stile of reprimand, “ Canst thou hind the sweet influences of Pleiades." (Chap. 38, v. 31.) As the explanation of this depends upon astronomical calcu. lation, I will, for the sake of those who would not otherwise understand it, endeavour to explain it as clearly as the subjeot will admit.
The Pleiades are a cluster of pale, milky stars, about the size of a man's hand, in the constellation Taurus, or, in English, the Bull. It is one of the constellations of the Zodiac, of which there are twelve, answering to the twelve months of the year. The Pleiades are visible in the winter nights, but not in the summer nights, being then below the horizon.
The Zodiac is an imaginary belt or circle in the heavens, 18 degrees broad, in which the sun apparently makes his annual course, and in which all the planets move. When the sun appears to our view to be between us and the groupe of stars forming such or such a constellation, he is said to be in that constellation. Consequently the constellations he appears to be in, in the summer, are directly opposite to those he appeared in in the winter, and the same with respect to spring and autumn.
The Zodiao, besides being divided into twelve constellations, is also, like every other circle, great or small, divided into 360 equal parts, called degrees; consequently each consíellation contains 30 degrees. The constellations of the Zodiac are generally called signs, to distinguish them from the constellations that are placed out of the Zodiac, and this is the name I shall now use.
The precession of the Equinoxes is the part most ditioult to explain, and it is on this that the explanation chiefly depends. · The Equinoxes correspond to the two seasons of the year, when the sun makes equal day and night.
*** The above is all that we have been able to obtain of Mr. PAINE's Answer to Bishop Watson. We are sorry to say, that it is somewhat doubtful whether the entire work will coer meet the public eye.
“ Whose hair in greasy locks hung down,
“ He proves all such as do accord
'Tis plain in Canticle the first.”_BUTLER.
THE description given by George Alexander Stevens, of the manner of Methodist Preachers of England, in his time, is so just a representation of that of our Methodists in this country, that we are induced to give it a place for the edification of those who never attend their meetings, as well as for the benefit of the preachers themselves, some of whom may possibly be “ shocked into reason” by this glaring like. ness of their own folly. No mau of sensibility who should visit a Viethodist meeting ia the height of its frenzy but must commisserate from his soul the unfortunate victims, that are there doomed to be tortured by ignorance and superstition. It is in these assemblies that horror and despair have taken up their abode, and reign triumphant. The groans, the shricks, the faintings of thosc, who, in the cant phrase, are under concern for their precious souls, are sufficient to extort a curse from piety itself against the inventors of such nonsense. These meetings are not often dissolved till 12 o'clock at night.
“No sleep, no peace, no rest,
llell and eternal horror lies." IIere all decency is outraged, and the most frantic bedlamites are considered as under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, and in a fair way of obtaining the prize of ile high calling. The following expressions are not unfrequently made use of by the Preachers: “Now is the time O Lord ! make bare thy arm, exert thy power. “Let us rusha upon the thick bosses of God, determined that we will have mercy. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly !*" It is scarcely possible for language to express more disrespect, and wan of submission to the divine will, than is conveyed in the above sentences; and yet these Preachers would be thought the most humble and meek of all men living. And
* Many of their hymns are extremely ludicrous, and set to light and trifling airs, The latter part of one of the stanwas often sang, is as follows :
Satan's kingdom must come doron,
Hal! Halle-Hallelujah !