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saw a striking example of the kind of piety we have been describing in these pages; it went to his heart as an irresistible demonstration, and all his previous skepticism was at an end. It told him a truth so intelligible and so interesting, that he felt its subduing energy upon his proud spirit; and to use his own language, "he went out and wept bitterly," under a conviction, felt now for the first time in his life, that he needed himself just that kind of transforming operation on his own heart, the happy fruits of which he had just witnessed in the case of another.
3. A cheerful cast of piety is desirable to obviate the tendency to discouragement in religion, which most men are prone to feel, and which peculiar circumstances may bring upon every christian.
There are few real christians who do not at some period of their life, and perhaps often, feel disheartened in their christian course. They meet perhaps with some unlooked for trials of their faith and fortitude. The enemy waxes bold; wickedness gains ground around them. The truth is found to be powerless to roll back the swelling tide of iniquity; the Spirit of grace is withdrawn ; the hands of God's people have become feeble; and the ways Zion mourn because few come to her solemn feasts. In such a state of things there is a strong tendency in the minds of most christians to discouragement. The difficulty is, that God is lost sight of. Christians, in such a state of things, are trying to walk by sight, not by faith, and hence discouragement comes almost of course. there is something in an habitually cheerful tone of piety to obviate this tendency to be discouraged, and to raise the sinking mind to peace and joy again, when it has yielded to discouragement. It is easier for the cheerful christian to find God again, and to regain lost comfort, when at any time he has momentarily suffered his trust in God to be shaken, and his religious peace of mind to be interrupted. There is a tendency in his mind, though occasionally it may have seasons of comparative depression, (and who is wholly free from them?) to rise again to its wonted happy tone. It is no very slight cause that will hold such a mind long in darkness, or keep it back from the full fountain of its joys. But it is not so with the habitually cheerless and gloomy christian. In his mind discouragement not only takes place easily, and often, and at slight difficulties, but when it has taken place, it is far more difficult to remove it. Such christians consequently are unprepared to act efficiently for God in difficult and trying circumstances. It is the cheerful christian who must be put in the fore front of the battle, for he will return C again and again to the conflict, undismayed by occasional re
pulses, and still confident and joyful in his King.
4. Many suppose, that we are now on the confines of the pre
dicted millennial period of prosperity to the church. That this period is not very remote, there is much reason to believe; and of course, we may begin to look for the events which are to usher it in. One of these is the translation of the scriptures into all the languages of men. Another is the multiplication of missionaries to carry the word of God when translated, to all mankind. Another is a higher standard of piety in the church at large. Another, embittered and organized opposition on the part of the enemies of Christ. And another still, the coming out of the Most High from his secret place, to bear testimony to his own cause, and to pour darkness from his presence upon the camp of the enemy. How far these events are now taking place, we shall not stop to inquire; it is sufficient for our purpose, that they may be expected to precede the millennium, and to usher in its glory. But when these events shall take place, and in order to their taking place, what are we to suppose will be the cast of piety which will prevail generally in the church? How is it now in revivals of religion? Are not christians generally, at such times, more joyful and happy than at other times? When therefore the bible shall have free course, and missionaries shall be multiplied, and the tone of piety in the church shall be greatly elevated, and the enemies of Christ shall be driven to take sides and make common cause, and God shall come out to vex them in his sore displeasure, will there not be a state of feeling among the people of God, that will be in many respects new? Will there not be a more animated cast of piety, and the children of Zion be more joyful in their King? And is not this the spirit which it is necessary should exist, in a degree greater than any in which it now exists, in order to bring on the millennial day?
5. There is something in the spirit of our free and happy institutions, in this land of civil and religious liberty, which seems to call for cheerfulness and joy in all that love the cause of the Redeemer. The spirit of rational liberty is, in every department of human action, a joyful spirit. The spirit of despotism is dark and gloomy and sullen. Now when we consider the genius of our institutions, it seems as if christians in this land especially, and in the present state of the church, ought to be of a happy spirit. There is every thing to make them such. Why should they be cast down; why hang their harps on the willows? They are not sitting by the rivers of Babylon; they are not required to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. They are the citizens of a free and prosperous country. They are favored with distinguished privileges, such as in kind and degree no other people on earth are enjoying. How can they better acquit themselves of their peculiar obligations for so much favor shown them, or act
more in the spirit of their truly happy condition, than by exhibitng a cheerful, an animated, and a stedfast devotedness to the service of God ?
We know indeed that there are some wise and good men, who appear to think that the prospects of this country are growing dark; Chat our sins are fast preparing the way for great and desolating judgments from God to be sent upon us; and that even now the march of pestilence through the land is no doubtful sign that God has determined to "avenge himself on such a nation as this." The inference which they make is, that it is a time rather for weeping and mourning than for cheerfulness and joy in religion. That our provocations are great, as a nation, is indeed but too certain; that we have reason to humble ourselves before God on account of our sins is also certain, for we are an ungrateful and wicked people. It becomes every christian in the land to lie in the dust, and to lift up to the ear of abused Goodness his imploring cries for mercy. And we rejoice to see so much evidence, in different and distant parts of our land, that multitudes are humbling themselves before God and supplicating his mercy, under the present chastenings of his providence. But we cannot for ourselves feel, that there is any reason for despondency: we cannot yet believe that God is about to give us up to ruin, much as we deserve it, and imminent and terrible as are the present tokens of his displeasure. Although there is a cloud of wrath hanging over us, there is, to our vision, a bow of promise spanning the storm. It is seen in the recent unexampled multiplication of revivals of religion in our land. Four-fifths of the churches in the State of Connecticut alone, visited with these special seasons of mercy within a year past; and eight thousand souls, in one denomination of christians alone, and in this State, added to the Lord by a public profession of religion! How many in the whole land! And is this the land that is about to be abandoned of God and given up to ruin? Are all these revivals and this great accession of strength to the cause of Christ for nothing, or only to make the impending ruin as it descends upon us, more signal and more exemplary? We think not. Let the wicked, indeed, tremble; they have every thing to fear. But let not the friends of Jesus Christ be dismayed. The bow of promise, we repeat, is upon the storm, spanning the whole breadth of its deep, dark folds. While God is now teaching us, by terrible things in righteousness, that the day of vengeance to his enemies is in his heart, he is also teaching us, by the recent mercies to his church, that the year of his redeemed is coming on. Let christians learn to confide in God, do their duty, and be cheerful and happy. Do you desire, christian brethren, to speed the triumphs of
your King? Is it your wish to see the tokens of his displeasure which in some respects are now manifest, succeeded by a brighter sunshine of peace and prosperity to his cause? Then be at once cheerful and unreserved in your devotedness to that cause. Pray with the confidence of strong hope. Give with a large, generous and joyful heart. Labor for Christ under the promptings of unwearied love for him and for his cause. Let your piety be seen by all to be a perennial fountain of peace and joy to your own soul, under the various appointments of divine providence here. Be happy christians. Exemplify in this and in every respect the genuine spirit of the gospel. Be like your divine master, in the purity, simplicity, and joyfulness, with which you devote yourselves to the service of mankind. Bring more of his serene and happy spirit into your work. Anticipate the felicities of heaven here below. Show that the church on earth and the church in heaven, are one body, in the nature of their joys, as truly as in the kind of obligations and duties which devolve upon them. In short, strive to bring more of heaven down to earth, and to elevate the church below nearer to the church above, in the peace and comfort, the humble assurance and holy joy, the love of God and the love of souls, with which your piety shall be distinguished.
ART. II.-THE WORKS OF LORD BACON.
The Works of Lord Bacon. Four vols. Fol. London: 1730.
The connection between philosophy and theology has been felt and acknowledged in all ages. Most christians have deplored the influence of the former upon the latter; but even those who have been loudest in their complaints, and strongest in their expressions of grief on this account, have given often the most melancholy proofs of this very influence. In view of this long and intimate union, however, and of the fact that philosophy may take its complexion from religion, as well as religion from philosophy, it becomes a question of no ordinary interest, whether God did not intend that the one should be perpetually a check upon the other? Did he not design that the strange tendency in philosophic minds to preverseness, pride, and atheism, should be continually restrained by the overawing influence of the proofs of religion every where present? And did he not intend also, that the va garies of the human mind in religion,the romance and knighterrantry of theology-the tendency to fanaticism, and dogmatism, and mysticism, should be held in check by the influence of common sense, the knowledge of the true laws of mind, and the in
vestigations of science from age to age? The relation of the sciences-the vinculum commune between them, was long ago remarked by Cicero. The mutual influence of modern sciences on each other, and of all on religion, is a much more important inquiry to a christian.
We have neither the time nor ability to enter into a full investigation of this subject. Nor indeed do we conceive that a detailed inquiry would so effectually answer the end we have proposed to ourselves in our work, as some other mode. To meet the demands of the present state of theological science, and to turn theological inquiries to the best practical account, it is not necessary in our view to proceed into much actual detail. We address ourselves to an age of inquiry. We speak in our pages to those who we believe are qualified, and are disposed, to think for themselves. We contemplate the existence of no barriers to investigation; no fetters to free inquiry; no want of diligence or disposition to follow out any train of thought, which may be suggested for practical use. It is our province to furnish topics for such inquiries; and the design which we have in view in our labors in the Christian Spectator, will not have been accomplished unless we have laid the foundation for investigation, and for active christian effort, long after our humble labors on earth have closed.
It is under the influence of reflections like these, that we wish to call the attention of our readers to the works of Lord Bacon. Our object will be accomplished if we can briefly exhibit his character; and can state the influence of his writings on science, and the kind of influence which the inductive philosophy is destined to exert particularly on the science of theology.
"For my name and memory," said Bacon in his will, "I leave them to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and to the next ages." The reason of a part of this remarkable bequest is to be found in the melancholy fall of this illustrious man, to which we shall have occasion again to advert. In the close of the bequest the legacy of his name to future times-we discover proofs of the same consciousness of immortality that prompted Milton to compose a work that the world "should not willingly let die." Yet more than two centuries have passed away, and we have as yet no well written biography of this greatest of British philosophers. Till within a year, indeed, we had nothing that deserved to be called a life of Newton. Still it is not a little remarkable, that no one, prompted either by fame or usefulness, has presented to us a biography of such a man as Bacon. In the whole range of literature there is not a finer unoccupied field, than would be presented in the attempt to give the public a well written account of the author of the Novum Organum; of the VOL. IV.