not! This question does not in any way on the supposition of an intervening ecoenter the Christian's creed. "Believe on pomy. Take, for example, the following: the Lord Jesus Christ' is all that is de- . These are the generations of the heavens, manded in order to man's salvation ; let and of the earth when they were created, us therefore seek this faith first, and rest in the day that the Lord God made the contented in the assurance that though earth and the heavens.' (Gen. ii. 4.) Thus now we can know many things only in the creating and the finishing' (mentioned part,' when 'that which is perfect is come, in the first verse) of the heaven and earth then that which is in part shall be done are not only referred to one period, but to away. Our principal object, in writing one day, an expression which goes far to on this subject, is to check a growing support the supposition that the six days scepticism, which has its origin here, and were indefinite periods of time. And again, demolish an argument which infidelity has | the reason given by God why the children raised against religion, with those bones of Israel should keep the Sabbath : ‘For and skeletons and vegetable remains which in six days the Lord made heaven and geologists have laid bare. The obstacle earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and so raised has, we fear, been a cause of rested the seventh day,' &c. (Exod. xx. stumbling to many; and it is for the sake 11.) Here, likewise, the creation of the of such, and those who may yet be brought heaven and the earth is included with the to grapple with the subject, that we thus period of the sea, and all that in them is.' show that they do not in the least under. If this be the meaning folded within these mine the authority or infallibility of the sentences, it is erroneous to suppose that Scriptures.

the creation of the globe itself, and the Still it is natural, and far from impro- plants and animals which inbabit it, took per, to form an intelligent opinion on the place at totally different eras. The whole subject. These two explanations have been must have taken place within the six days, delivered; both have been supported by and these days must mean one long period Bible arguments, and it becomes all to of time.

prove' them according to their own judg- In contemplating these six days as long ment, and 'hold fast' that which to them periods, however, there is one very grave seemeth best. The first, as must be ac- point to be noticed, and we are the more knowledged by all, contains a considerable anxious to turn the attention of the hold. degree of assumption, and has evidentlyers of this theory to it, as we have never been arrived at primarily from a strong seen it noticed, and consequently never desire to save the Bible from an apparent explained. It is maintained that each of disparagement. There seems to be only the six days contains the creation and one proof in favour of the theory of a dynastic period of one order of creation, previous creation, though it must be ad- and that the seventh day stretches to the mitted this is a strong one. When God close of time. God, it is said, is at present bad created the first pair, he blessed them, enjoying his day of rest. But the quesand said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and tion here rises, How long did the sixth day replenish the earth. We all know that continue, and when did the seventh comthe word 'replenish' means to fill again, mence? It is very evident that the dynaswhich certainly seems to intimate that the tic period of man--the last 'order' of earth had been previously peopled. And creation is at present running its course, that this is its meaning appears still more therefore, according to this theory, the clearly, when we reflect that the same com sixth day cannot terminate till the human mand was given to Noah and his family, reign is finished. How, then, can it be when all the other inhabitants had been said that God rested on the seventh day, swept away by the flood. In his case, the when the seventh day has not yet dawned? word replenish was extremely applicable; If the Divine day of rest is now running, and for aught that can be proved, it might the sixth day must have been a literal day; be applied in the same sense to Adam. and this, it will be observed, at once vioIf so, the creation, the account of which is lates the rule of proportion, and the pergiven by Moses, was certainly founded on fection of the theory. the ruins of a preceding economy,' and The above seems to us a fair statement this second creation could, by the power of the case. We have given both explanaof God, be accomplished' in six literal tions, with the arguments for and against days. This being granted, the 'gradual' them; but have refrained from preferring theory demonstrated by the strata of the one to the other. The reader is therefore earth, can easily be accounted for by a re- at liberty to examine the subject and form ference to the previous era.

his own opinion. At the best it will only But, on the other hand, there are pas- be an opinion, because, as we have already sages which seem to assign the work of hinted, no positive demonstration has any creation to one period, and therefore forbid chance of being made. Let us, however, the isolation of the first verse of Genesis, / remark, that whichever theory is the truth,

science has in this instance exposed a which he is very generally supposed to theological error, and thus done service to have been; if so, he would not have hanged Revelation. The idea universally held himself, when he found what were the conbefore the promulgation of the geological sequences of his crime. It does not seem demonstration can be no longer retained. to be at all improbable, that, when he joined Suppose we adhere to the literal six days, the Saviour's cause, he thought he was sinwe must hold by an intervening economy; cere. A man would not be likely to conif we reject this, then we must believe that nect himself with such a cause for the the Mosaic account extends over a period express purpose of making money. This, of many ages. There can be no doubt of if possible, is certainly very improbable. the fact that our earth has been the scene It seems far more reasonable to suppose of a slow and beautiful order of animal that he became a professed disciple, as and vegetable creation. There is an im-thousands do at the present day, with his mense difference of time, as well as of de- heart unchanged, though not aware of his gree, between the higher and lower orders own true character. 80 visible in the kingdom of nature. Each They who have a strong love for the of these orders had its own dynastic period, world, have often no uncommon share of a long stretching era, in which it was the worldly wisdom; or, at least, those who monarch of the earth. When this period love money, know well how to take care of terminated, according to the pleasure of it; and Judas, like many others since his the great Creator, a higher order was in- day, was appointed to a trust which proved troduced on the scene; this also had its a very dangerous one to him. In fact, the reign, and was in turn succeeded by a very love for such a trust, which fitted him superior, till man appeared as the last and to discharge the duties of it successfully, highest dynasty, and to him has the final made those duties very dangerous to bim. rule been committed. When he rose up It is altogether probable that love of money from the ground in all the dignity of his acquired its ascendance over him very gramanhood, the Maker said unto him, Thou dually. It almost always does. Very few shalt have dominion over the fish of the persons have the hardihood to unite themsea, and over the fowl of the air, and over selves with the Christian Church delibeevery living thing that moveth upon the rately, with the design of making their earth. This sovereignty he doubtless, in connexion with it a mere source of profit; a measure, lost at the fall, but we still dis but very many who join it professedly with cern the sceptre in his hands. Tarnished other designs, do, in fact, gradually turn and defaced it may be, yet he still grasps their connexion with it to this purpose. it, and the lower creation practically own They are deceived at first about the sincehis sway. The length of time to which rity of their motives; they feel some sort his reign will extend, we cannot say: we of interest in religion, which interest they only know that it will terminate when the mistake for genuine piety; but, as it is terrible accents of the archangel's voice without foundation, it soon disappears, the peal over the universe, as he swears by world gradually regains its hold, and, as it Him that liveth for ever and ever, that comes back and fixes its reign, it leads the time shall be no longer. Then shall man man to avail himself of every advantage be called upon to give an account of his which he can derive from his new position, stewardship. He must render up the to increase his own earthly stores. At first sceptre he received, and, according as he he does this without particular injury to individually wielded it, shall he be himself the cause he has espoused, but soon the judged.

claims of interest and of his Master's serThe last part of our subject-viz., the vice come into slight collision. The latter devolopment hypothesis is too important yields, though he is so blinded he is not to form the close of a paper; we shall aware of it. The cases become more fretherefore make it the substance of a future quent and more decided; but the progress article.

of blindness goes on as fast as the progress of sin, so that he continues undisturbed, though he is as really betraying the cause

of his Master as if he were actually guiding WORLDLY PROFESSORS OF an armed band to his private retreat. RELIGION.

There is no end to the cases whieh might

be stated in exemplification of this. We THERE seems to be no evidence against will suppose one. It is that of a worldly the supposition, that Judas was just such pastor, who consents to receive in charge a man as any other of those worldly pro- a branch of his Master's Church, when his fessors of religion which are to be found motive is his pay. He neglects his approby thousands in the Christian Church at priate work, and devotes his time and atthe present day. It is plain that he was tention, and gives all his heart, to the work not that abandoned and hardened reprobate of increasing his stores. He does it pri

vately and silently, but the world around him soon understand it. They are quick

HARVEST-TIME. to perceive hypocrisy, and to detect the true character of worldliness, however dexte It is one of the merciful arrangements rously it may clothe itself in the garb of of God, that memorials of his presence piety. The money getting disciple thinks, are everywhere discernible, and suited to perhaps, that all is going on well. He the various temperaments of men. Some performs his duties with punctilious for- are influenced most by release from remality, but his heart is not in the work, straint. They love the dawn, because it and the souls within his influence are only chases away the damps of night. They chilled by the coldness of the form. In a love the elasticity of Spring, bounding word, the cause committed to him is be-athwart the coldness of Winter. Others trayed; is betrayed, too, for money; and again delight in the succession of calmness if it is true that, in the sight of God, the and beauty,-day merging from noon into heart and not the particular acts by which I a rosv twilight. never blackened by night the heart may manifest itself, is the crite clouds--Autumn, with its deep verdure rion of character, he must expect to stand and crowned hillocks, treading on the with Judas when the time of reckoning flowery paths of the Summer, that hastens shall come.

to be gone. How many times has a man of business, Nature's variety was intended to teach professing to love the Saviour, betrayed us the wisdom and the goodness of Him his cause by violating his principles, and who rules and overrules all. Spring brought open disgrace upon it in the eyes preaches to us of Him, with its awakened of the world. He acts on principles which life, --Summer also with its happy sunny are entirely inconsistent with Christian hours, and Winter with its cold and cheercharacter. Unjust, oppressive, and mi. less prospects; but pre-eminently above serly, he disgraces the name which he has all, as being more genial and heart-reachhypocritically assumed. But he accom- ing than them all, stands Autumn, with plishes his object;-he acquires the money its fruits, and shaking above us its ripe and for which he is willing to sell his Master's bending corn-ears, seems to say, Stand cause. Even Judas was paid. He secures still, and behold the wondrous works of also his other object, of being called a Him who is wonderful in counsel, and Christian. He however betrays the cause. excellent in working. For the mass of mankind bring down their Let us briefly consider some of the lesconceptions of religion to the rank of the sons which Autumn is fitted to teach us. lowest pretender to it whom they can find; ! Let us learn the truth of the Divine so that he who serves the world and sin, goodness. There are many beautiful things, while he pretends to be a Christian, does and fair sights in this world, at all times not generally disgrace himself, he degrades of the year. Who loves not to wander Christianity. Still he accomplishes his through the grassy hills, to feel the boisteobjects. He is called a Christian, and rous wind rushing against our faces, and to makes his money; but he must rank among scent the fragrance of the wild and starry the traitors at laste

flowers ? Who loves not to dive into the Judas had no idea, probably, that any depths of forest shade, to hear the plaint very serious consequences would have re- of the wood-dove, to behold the glimmersulted from what he was about to do. He ings of daylight far off in the distance to might have known, indeed, had he thought feel that we are alone-shut out? Who about it; but he, probably, thought of little loves not to pass along with the river in but his thirty pieces of silver. If he did its seaward progress—to walk beneath the reflect at all, it was, probably, only to quiet shade of trees that love, like ourselves, a himself with the excuses which, in sinjilar nearness to rnshing life? But, amid all circumstances, men always make; such as the sweet sounds that beguile us, amid all that it was his duty to increase his property the pleasant sceneries that smile upon us, by all honest means that there could be none is more delightful than the murmur no great harm in merely introducing the of the corn as it bends so gracefully besoldiers to the Saviour,—that if he did neath the wind, or the sight of fields melnot give them the information they desired, lowed in the Autumn syn. God's goodness somebody else certainly would. Such was ) is visible in this. Sweet sounds and agreethe reasoning, and such the conduct of able sensations—the ruby light that almost false professors at the time the Saviour of encrimsons the field on close of barrest the world sojourned on earth; and human day-the bending fruitage of the trees nature, alas! is not changed. Similar is the wind stirring among the branches, and the reasoning, and similar the conduct of singing hallelujah among the leaves-all thousands and tens of thousands of false are proofs to us that the Hand that is ever professors in our Churches at the present around us, is a hand of mercy; that love

sweetens the cup even of the rebellions ;


yea, that the Lord is good to all, and his he discover it to us, and we recognise it tender mercies are over all his works. first then. Determine to know the worst of

Let us read a lesson of faith from these yourself, and then are you the readier to harvest months. Time was when these know the worth of Christ Labour that fields were clod-covered, and the husband. you may be found on that day of the Lord, man anxiously cast the seed into the fur. though unprofitable, yet not unfaithful ser: rows. Many were the storms which burst vants, the receivers of the gifts of graceupon the earth. Cold ice-bound fingers the crown of glory, that fadeth not away. have been on the soil. Yet, then comes the fresh revival-days of Spring, Summer's gleesome sun, and dewy-footed morns and

THE COVENANTERS. evenings, and now we gaze upon seed time, and growing time, and the full earing time,

Let us not mock the olden time: behold!

Grey mossy stones, in each sequester'd dell, all conjoined in the well-piled sheaves and

Mark where the champions of the Covenant crowded barn-yards. There's a promise

fell, that cheers the labourer's heart; and across

For rights of faith unconquerably bold I the darkest and stormiest day of Winter Let us not mock them; at his evening hearth, he can get descry that bow, set promise While burn all hearts, the upright peasant wise in the clouds, which reminds him of tells, the oath of Jehovah.

For martyr'd saints what wondrous miracles Some of us may be labouring in barren Were wrought, when blood-hounds track'd regions of the human heart. No field or

them through the earth. mountain ridge more stony and unre

Let us not mock them: they perhaps might

err claimable. Our working place may be

In word or practice; but deny them not not among clods of earth, but among

Unwavering constancy, which dared prefer earthen souls, dark night hearts, that look

Imprisonment and death to mental thrall, sterile and uncultured, do what we may. Yea, from their cruel and unmurmuring lot, Have faith in God, my fellow-labourer. Wisdom may glean a lesson for us all. Let thy belief in the great promises be even increased by thy experience of God's faithfulness in the small. When howling

BABYLON. winds, starless nights, sleepless tempests, drifting snow-flakes, have yet been the BABYLON was the capital of Babylonia, harbingers of these fair and spreading an ancient kingdom founded by the first prospects, these verdant meadows, these descendants of Noah, soon after the deluge; many-tented forests, shall we not feel that and enlarged by Nimrod, his great grandour days of darkness are yet tending son, about two thousand years before the towards light, that we reapers shall yet birth of Christ. Many additions were made rejoice, bringing our sheaves with us. Let to it by queen Semiramis, and it was faith inspire us—a steady, earnest, onward greatly strengthened and beautified by faith—a faith that, while it keeps a con- various succeeding sovereigns : but it was stant eye on heaven, prompts the hand to Nebuchadnezzar and his daughter Nitocris diligence and action. This season, viewed .who brought it to such a degree of magnifias a type, should incite us to renewed acti- cence and splendour, as rendered it one of vity. Looking upon the band of merry the wonders of the world. Babylon stood labourers in the harvest field, or reclining in the midst of a large plain, in a very at mid-day beneath the 'beech's ample deep and fruitful soil. It was divided into shade,' our thoughts almost unconsciously two parts by the river Euphrates, which revert to another day-another reaping- flowed through the city from north to south. time, when there shall be gathered food for Both these divisions were enclosed by one the garner, and also fuel for the fire. To wall; and the whole formed a complete leave the figure. We are responsible. square, four hundred and eighty furlongs, We shall be called to account. True, even or sixty miles in compass. The walls in the tyrant's breast, a monitor speaks, | were of extraordinary strength, being and often speaks loudest when least re- eighty-seven feet broad, capable of adgarded; but then shall accusations crowd | mitting six chariots abreast to run upon in upon the unfruitful from every part of them, and three hundred feet high. On nature, seconding and intensifying the each side of the river Euphrates was built award of conscience.

a quay, and high wall, of the same thickIs our harvest home, then, to be a glad ness with the walls around the city. The one? Are we to ascend to the Lord's house entrances to the city were by one hundred with the voice of joy, or are we to be found gates, of immense size, made of solid brass ; blanksin the universe, with'fields mildewed' and the two parts of the city were conblighted, black? Let us be up now, ere the nected by a remarkable stone bridge great Husbandman come. Better that we across the river. To prevent inconfind out our evil condition now, than thatvenience from the swellings of the river,

two canals were cut, above the city, by satyrs shall dance there. And the wild which the superabundant waters were beasts of the island shall cry in their desocarried off into the Tigris. Besides, pro- late houses, and dragons in their pleasant digious einbankments were made, ef-l palaces : and her time is near to come, and fectually to confine the stream within its her days shall not be prolonged. For I chavnel, and as a security against inun will rise up against them, saith the Lord dation. The materials for these stupen of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the dous works were taken, principally, from name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, the western side of the city, where an extra saith the Lord. I will also make it a ordinary lake was dug, the depth of which possession for the bittern, and pools of was thirty-five feet, and its circumference water: and I will sweep it with the besom forty-five miles.

of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts. At the two ends of the bridge were two Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to magnificent palaces, which had a subter Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to raneous communication with each other, subdue nations before him; and I will by means of a vault or tunnel under the bed loose the loins of kings, to open before him of the river. The old palace, on the east the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall side, was about thirty furlongs in compass, not be shut; I will go before thee, and surrounded by three separate walls. The make the crooked places straight: I will new palace, on the opposite side, was about break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut four times as large as the other, and is said in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give to have been eight miles in circumference. thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden Within this palace were artificial hanging riches of secret places, that thou mayest gardens; consisting of large terraces, raised know that I, the Lord, who call thee by one above another, till they equalled the thy name, am the God of Israel. Pablish, walls of the city, and were designed to and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel represent a woody country, having large is confounded, Merodach is broken in trees planted on them, in soil of sufficient pieces; her idols are confounded, her imdepth. Near to the old palace stood the ages are broken in pieces. Because of the temple of Belus, forming a square nearly | wrath of the Lord, it shall not be inhabited, three miles in compass. In the middle of but it shall be wholly desolate : every one the temple was an immense tower, six that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, hundred feet in height. This large pile of and biss at all her plagues. Come against building consisted of eight towers, each her froin the utmost border, open her seventy-five feet high, and which were storehouses : cast her up as heaps, and ascended by stairs winding round the destroy her utterly: let nothing of her outside. On this temple of Belus, or, as be left. One post shall run to meet another, some say, on its summit, was a golden and one inessenger to meet another, to image forty feet in height, and equal in show the king of Babylon that his city is value to three and a half millions sterliny. taken at one end. And Babylon shall beThere was, besides, such a multitude of come heaps, a dwelling-place for dragons, other statues and sacred utensils, that the an astonishment, and a hissing, without whole of the treasure contained in this an inhabitanti single edifice, has been estimated at forty The particulars of the siege of Babylon two millions of pounds sterling. These are detailed by Herodotus and Xenophon, things displayed the vast wealth and power two eminent heathen historians. In exact of the Babylonian empire, and were, accordance with the inspired predictions of certainly, among the mightiest works of Isaiah and Jeremiah, they say, that Cyrus, mortals. Babylon was called the glory of with a large army of the Medes and kingdoms, the golden city, the lady of Persians, besieged Babylon; that the kingdoms, and the praise of the whole Babylonians, conceiving their walls im. earth : but its pride, idolatry, and wicked-pregnable, could not be provoked to an enness, have been visited in its utter deso- gagement; that Cyrus contrived a spare lation, agreeably to the inspired predictions for the Babylonians, by turning the course of the holy prophets.

of the river Euphrates through the great Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the lake; that the waters being thus dried up, beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall the soldiers marched to the bridge in the be as when God overthrew Sodom and channel of the river; that, from the negliGomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, gence of the guards, soine of the gates, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation leading from the river to the city, were left to generation; neither shall the Arabian open ; that the troops of Cyrus, entering by pitch his tent there ; neither shall the this means, took Babylon during the night shepherds make their fold there. But of an idolatrous festival ; that its princes, wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; nobles, and captains, being drunk with and their houses shall be full of doleful their feasting, were suddenly slaughtered; creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and I and that the glorious city, never before

« 上一页继续 »