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according to their age and capacities, drawn up be- that which is contrary to the laws of nature, and beg tween the pillars, while two or more instructors you now to remember, that when we speak of the attend each class, and direct their questions and ex- laws of nature, we only mean you to understand planations to every little individual without distinc- those ordinances, according to which the Deity is tion. A clergyman attends each class, accompanied pleased to conduct the concerns of the physical uniby several laymen for the boys, and matrons for the verse. Our knowledge of these laws is derived solely girls. The lay persons are said to be often of the from our observation of their daily and hourly opefirst distinction, and tables for writing are placed in ration. There is not more of poetic beauty than of different recesses." It is no wonder he memory philosophical reason and sound sense, in the idea of the pious archbishop be still venerated at Milan. which depicts the sorrow of mind to which our first Our delight in recording such acts of Christian father would be reduced, when, on the evening of beneficence is increased by the circumstance of its the first day of his existence, he beheld the beauteous rarity, and from the consideration that he is one of orb of light and heat sink beneath the ocean, and the the few lights who gilded the gloom of papal igno- mists of darkness supply its place. His ignorance rance,
of the laws of nature would tempt him to fear that he should no more behold this resplendent globe of fire, and it would not be until many successive revo
lutions had taught him the true meaning of its daily ON THE INEFFICACY OF MIRACLES TO PRODUCE A CHANGE OF HEART.
appearance and disappearance, that he would be
able to watch the glories of an eastern sunset with No. III.—WHAT IS A MIRACLE ?
feelings of calmness and composure. The allusion
to this fact, will enable you to comprehend me when Various modes of solving this question have been I maintain, that there is nothing in the operations adopted by various learned and eminent men ; and if of nature which partake of that character of necesmy design were merely to furnish you with a criti. sity that would prevent the possibility of their being cally accurate definition of the nature of a miracle, otherwise than they are, Most undoubtedly the I could not probably do better than quote the lan- universe as a whole is infinitely complete, but I am guage which they have employed. But as it is far disposed to consider that we are far from being able more important to be comprehensible than learned to decide that the Deity could not have formed anoon such a subject as the present, I shall merely de- ther world equally complete, but in every respect scribe a miracle as “ any event which occurs con- unlike that upon which we dwell. Bearing, theretrary to the laws of nature."
fore, ever in our minds that all things are possible Upon this definition I will proceed to make a few with God, we shall soon be able to admit that the remarks, the application of which to our present power required to create our world and appoint its investigation will be apparent to every reader. laws, is not less than that which is required to act
1. It follows from hence, that it is quite possible in opposition to them. I believe that it is quite as for an occurrence to be new and extraordinary to us, wonderful for an infant to grow up to manhood and yet not to be a miracle. An intimate acquaint- through all the varieties of body and mind which ance with the laws of nature, and the operation of pass upon its frame, as for a multitude to be fed with those laws under a vast variety of circumstances, is a few small loaves; only the one is a constant the absolutely necessary to decide many cases of this de- other a rare occurrence. I believe it is quite as scription, and it is quite needless to repeat what wonderful that the human figure should be enabled every one must have read and observed, concerning to maintain its posture of erectness, as that the same the amazement and wonder with which novelty is
human figure should walk upon the tempestuous bilevermore filling the mind of the ignorant and unin- lows of the ocean, as though they were a marble pedesformed. Those individuals who have travelled most tal, only it is of more frequent occurrence. I believe extensively and are best acquainted with the different it is quite as wonderful, that so complicated a strucforms of society and of nature, will be found among ture as the human body, should be kept in regular and the least willing to deny an apparently marvellous undeviating regularity and health, as that it should be assertion, because they have learnt from experience, restored from disease by a word or a touch. I bethat the actual occurrences in the world are often very lieve it is quite as marvellous that dust should live, extraordinary, and such as would be sure to excite as that dust should live again. It is, therefore, the the disbelief of those who had never witnessed any mere fact of the one series of events being constant similar events. A miracle is not, therefore, merely in their appearance, and the other being rare, that a strange and astonishing occurrence, but one which entitles the former to the name of the law of nature, is directly opposed to the laws of the universe. I while the latter are described as miraculous ; and may illustrate my meaning by simply stating, that not by any means must the idea be countenanced the descriptions given by the travellers who have that there is any difference in the power required explored the cold regions of our globe, would seem for the production of either. miraculous to the inhabitants of the burning climes of We are now, therefore, led on to the opinion that the tropics, and yet they are well known to be most any course of events which is often repeated, would strictly natural and accountable. But, on the other from that fact become a law of nature, and cease to hand, the resurrection of a dead man is so contrary be miraculous. Jf Jesus Christ had lived for 1800 to the constitution of the human frame, and the laws years and worked cures all the while, it would have which regulate it in every part of the world, that no been soon taken to be a part of the constitution of hesitation can be felt in calling such an event, in the nature, that one being should be endowed with strictest sense a miracle.
power to cure the maladies of all the rest; and the 2. But the most important point to be dwelt upon emotions with which spectators would have beheld at present, is directed to those plausible objections the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see, the which demand for every man some miraculous testi- dumb speak, the paralytic restored to the use of his mony in favour of the gospel. No proposition is limbs, would have been as cold and apathetic, as more defensible than that miracles must be rare in formal and as business-like, as those with which their occurrence. I have before defined a miracle as the farmer watches the growth of his corn, forget
MY SCRAP BOOK.
“ The Bee that wanders, and sips from every Aower, dis
poses what she has gathered into her cells."-SENECA. The following (I believe, hitherto unpublished) Epithalamium, was composed some years ago by a gentleman in London, and presented to his sister on her bridal day.
ODE, Addressed by a brother to his sister on her marriage.
Affection tunes my lyre,
To you, dear Jane, this day;
A sad adieu
I bid to you,
For memory has entwin'd my harp with mournful
But let each painful sigh
Deep in my breast remain,
I've gaz'd serene
Upon the scene, Though from the passing cloud, some falling drops
ting in the calculation of how much it will yield him, all the mysterious workings by which it is brought into being.
MIRACLES MUST BE OF RARE OCCURRENCE. It is the most idle and ridiculous thing in the world, for men in every age to require signs and wonders before they will believe, since it is quite impossible that an event should be miraculous for tuo generations. In proof of this sentiment I have only to refer to the history of the Jews. They were fed with manna forty years. Did they think it a miracle ? No. They very soon thought it a great inconvenience, and, in course of time, loathed and were disgusted with that display of omnipotence, which vain reasoners of the present day would have us believe is capable of changing the heart, and subduing the rebellious passions into obedience to the Deity.
The point which I have thus endeavoured to illustrate may be stated in few words to be this : that as the laws of nature are nothing more than the repetition of certain acts on the part of the Deity, it follows that any act often repeated by him would be a law of nature, and therefore, that in a few years, the works that now are called miraculous would cease to be so, thus rendering it impossible that the instrument or means to be adopted for the conversion and sanctification of man, in every age, could be one supported by miracles of daily occurrence.
Among the multitude of topics for practical reflection which such a subject is calculated to present, I shall select but one, to which I shall request the attention of all, but chiefly of those who are professing Christians. I have endeavoured to establish that the power displayed in creation, is equal to that which has been manifested in any miraculous interposition of Providence. And now I desire most earnestly that each one would henceforth resolve to gather from every operation of the Deity, a motive to obedience and virtue. Never forget that the wisdom which dictated the glorious scheme of redemption, no less presided over the formation of the universe; and the goodness which prompted the sacrifice of the greatest being in the whole range of intelligences for the restoration of the human race, no less directed and still directs those various laws of nature which tend to the preservation of life. Let us not seek our motives to love and adore our heavenly Father merely from the strange and marvellous works which his hand has wrought, but also from those displays of his attributes which are occurring around us every day and every moment of our lives. I shall hereafter endeavour to explain to you the reasons which have induced the Almighty, on u few occasions, to act contrary to the laws of nature; but now it is my desire to persuade every one to take that view of the scenes which they are every day called to witness, which may increase their piety, and multiply the sources from which they derive motives to faith and humble obedience. As contrasted with one exercise of God's power and with one only, are we permitted to think lightly of the works of creation; and with the verse which gives us that permission, I shall now conclude, earnestly desiring that every one may feel and rejoice in the magnificent truth which it discloses. “Lift up your eyes to the heavens and look upon the earth beneath, for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner : but my SALVATION shall be for ever, and MY RIGHTEOUSNESS shall not be abolished.”
Come, sacred muse! allow
Thy sweetest song to me:
A bridal wreath, Upon its fading flowers, thy softest zephyrs breathe!
But, ah! where shall I go
These flow'rets to obtain ?
The lov'liest flower
In nature's bower, Blooms but a moment there and fades in one
My spirit! raise thine eyes
From transitory bliss,
The starry road
Has oft been trod, It leads from earth to heaven-t'will lead thee to
There low before His throne
Present the happy pair;
O! may they prove
That God is love, And serve him here below, and reign with him Who, noble, dauntless, frank, and mika,
Was for his very goodness fear'd;
And like a blessed saint rever'd!
The kindness such a father knew ?
But knew not then how much was due ! And did not Providence ordain
That we should soon be laid as low; No heart could such a stroke sustain No reason could survive the blow !
My Father! and my God!
When thou shalt call them home,
Then may it shine
With beams divine,
Or wish thee, more than this?
But if a thorn
Must oft be borne,
To rest from every care
Then may you bloom
Beyond the tomb,
Who now surround the throne,
No tear, no sigh,
Will burst on high,
Reclin'd on Jesu's breast,
The conquest o'er,
On Canaan's shore, O may I join thee there ! and meet to part no more.
Solution of Mr. ISAAC JAMES'S ENIGMA, inserted in
No. 156 of this Magazine, “ Constant Reader" having kindly reminded me of my nearly forgotten promise to give the solution of the above-mentioned enigma, I now, with an apology for my tardiness, fulfil it. The solution then, is,- EARRINGS.
The first mention of earrings is in Genesis xxiv, 22. But should any of my juvenile readers not recollect when “ adoration" was paid to earrings, I recommend them to read Exodus xxxii. 1--8.
S. J. B
A FATHER'S DYING CHAMBER. How solemn is the sick man's room,
To friends or kindred lingering near! Tis sad to pore upon the gloom
In silent heaviness and fear! To hold the feeble hand in thine,
The start of every pulse to share; With painful haste each wish divine,
Yet feel the hopelessness of care! To turn aside the streaming, eye,
Lest those dim orbs perceive the tear; To bear the weight of every sigh,
Lest it should reach that wakeful ear! In the drear stillness of the night,
To lose the faint, faint sound of breath! To listen in subdued affright,
To deprecate the thought of death! And when a movement chas'd that fear,
And gave thy heart-blood leave to flow; In thrilling awe the prayer to hear
Through the clos'd curtain, murmured lowThe prayer of him whose holy tongue
Had never yet exceeded truth; Upon whose guardian care had hung The sole dependence of thy youth.
RELIGIOUS COACHMEN. COACHMEN, both upon our stages and hackney coaches, including “cab-drivers," form a very numerous class of useful persons : but it is believed very few of them truly fear God. “ Can nothing be done to promote the spiritual welfare of coachmen?” is an inquiry which we made last January (see page 36 of this Magazine). The article in which that inquiry was proposed, has originated the following letter from a stage-coachman in the country, of whom we hear, by several individuals, that he sustains the character of an excellent man and a Christian :
“ Mr. Editor-Sir, as I reside in the country, your Magazine is sent to me in monthly parts; therefore, No. 191, did not reach me till a few days ago, when I saw in it the conversion of a profligate coachman, to which is added an inquiry, by a gentleman who signs himself Benevolus. He says, while waiting an hour at that great coach inn, the Bull and Mouth, London, he asked one of the porters if there were any of the multitude of coachmen belonging to that establishment supposed to be religious; he replied, 'not one. I know the above establishment well, and I sincerely regret to assure you that it is my fixed belief to be a lamentable fact, there is not one ; but my reason for thus troubling you is, should you personally know the gentleman who signs himself thus, you would be kind enough to offer him my cordial thanks for his appeal joining his inquiry, which, by the mighty power of God's grace, through your widely circulated and much esteemed publication, may have the most beneficial effect. Your compliance will confer a great favour on yours, &c. Mar. 5, 1836.
Shrewsbury Coachman.” Coachmen, generally, are most unfavourably circumstanced, amid various and powerful temptations, in relation to religion. Still, as our esteemed correspondent says, the mighty power of God's grace" can renew and convert the souls of coachmen. We have known a few at least, who have manifested regard to things of salvation. The first we shall
* H. L.
mention was a "guard of the Oxford mail" from Arguments are either certain and evident, or Birmingham; he appeared to be truly a man of God; doubtful and merely probable. and his sobriety and obliging demeanour secured “ Probable arguments are those whose conclusions him the respect of many. Besides, he was a blessing are proved by some probable medium ; as, this hill to his family, with whom he enjoyed much domestic was once a church yard, or a field of battle, because happiness. Another was a coachman from London there are many human bones found here. This is to a principal town in Kent: by his godliness he was not a certain argument, for human bones might taught sobriety, and thus he was enabled to purchase have been conveyed there some other way. his own coach and horses, and became greatly re- “Evident and certain arguments are called despected. We know a horse-keeper in Kent,' who monstrations; for they prove their conclusions by appears to fear God; and in conversation a few clear mediums and undoubted principles; and they weeks ago he remarked, he had secured the confi. are generally divided into these two sorts :dence and esteem of his present employers for the "1. Demonstrations a priori ; which prove the last eighteen years ! Surely something may be done effect by its necessary cause; as, I prove the Scripby christian zeal and benevolence, to promote a ture is infallibly true because it is the word of God, spirit of religious feeling among coachmen. We who cannot lie. 2. Demonstrations a posteriori, are obliged to H. L. for his thanks.
which infer the cause from its necessary effects; as, BENEVOLUS. I infer there hath been the hand of some artificer
here, because I find a curious engine. Or, I infer there is a God, from the works of his wisdom in the
visible world." ANSWER TO A SUNDAY SCHOOL
Dr. Wardlaw, in a note to his “ Lectures on TEACHER'S INQUIRY.
Moral Philosophy, on the Principles of Divine ReMR. Editor.-Your readiness to oblige those who velation," gives the following instructive illustraneed instruction and seek your counsel, encourages me to request the favour of your explaining, by “ An argument a priori, is an argument in which, some appropriate illustrations, the Latin phrases from certain principles or premises, we draw a con“a priori" and “ a posteriori." I have frequently clusion as to something that must be, independently met with them in the course of my reading ; but I of all opportunity of observing or ascertaining what do not clearly comprehend their meaning. I have actually is. For example:-assuming the existence no doubt you can give me satisfaction on this point, of an intelligent Being, possessed of perfect wisdom, and your doing so will, I believe, confer a favour on we conclude that, in the works of such an intellimany of my class in society, besides promoting our gence, there must, in every instance, be found the intellectual improvement, as the means of our ad perfection of skill. We conclude this a priori ; that vancement in personal religion.
is, previously to our at all examining, or having any A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER. opportunity to examine, the works themselves. The
difference between this and the argument a poste“ Sunday School Teachers' stand very high in riori, is manifest from their very designations. In our estimation, as among the greatest benefactors of the latter, we are supposed to know the works, and their country and of mankind; and as the establish- to infer, from the existing marks of skill, the prement of the Christian's Penny Magazine was de- vious existence and operation of a wise intelligence, signed, among other objects, for their welfare, to
In the former, we reason forward; in the latter guard and fortify them against the temptations to backward : in the former, from what is to what must infidelity, and to confirm them in the belief in the
be ; in the latter, from what is, to what must have gospel of Christ, their reasonable requests shall ever been, be granted in the best way we are able, by means of our increasingly read periodical.
REPUBLICAN PRIDE.-"Are you the man," said an Sunday School Teachers should aim at the im
American coachman to duke Bernard, of Saxe Wei. provement of their minds, that they may be able, more
mar, “ that is to go in that carriage ?” “Yes.” efficiently, and with greater delight, to impart divine wisdom to their pupils : and few are able to conceive
" Then I am the gentleman that is to drive you." to what an extent this improvement may be carried, even by those who have but little time which they
REVIEW. can devote to reading and study. Economy of time should be cultivated as well as of money; and by the
The Chronology of the Old Testament, and its Con. aid of judicious Christian friends, large advances
nexion with Profane History. By GEORGE SKENE, may be made in “wisdom and knowledge,” which
Esq. 18mo. cloth, pp. xii.-234. Edinburgh are to “be the stability of the times of Messiah"
Laing and Forbes. (Isai, xxxiii. 6).
INQUISITIVENESS and independence of mind remark. “ A priori,” and “ a posteriori," are, as our cor- ably characterize the present age ; and this spirit of respondent remarks, Latin phrases; and it should investigation is directed not only to the natural and also be remarked, they are chiefly used in relation civil sciences, but to those which are ecclesiastical to some process or argumentation, or reasoning and most sacred. All that we dread in this latter concerning truth or error. Logic, or the art of respect is lest the daring spirit of scrutiny, through reasoning, ought to be studied by young persons ; the depravity of the human heart, should cast off the and for this purpose,
“ Pinnock's Catechism on fear of God, and presume by mere strength of mind Logic,” or “ Dr. Watts's Logic, or the Right Use to fathom the Divine mysteries, and treat with conof Reason," may be read by Sunday-school teachers; tempt the sublime doctrines of salvation, by the me. and they will find them, especially Dr. Watts's, ad- diation of incarnate Deity, in the person of our Lord mirably useful to strengthen their minds in discover. Jesus Christ. ing, understanding, and defending the truths of Knowledge," however, “shall be increased ;" religion.
and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Dr. Watts, in his Logic, illustrates the phrases the LORD, as the waters cover the sea ;" “ for the under consideration, in the following manner :- mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." "Hail ! then the spirit of investigation, which searches the Holy Terah, in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Scriptures !
Chaldees," (Gen. xi. 28,) at the age of about one Mr. Skene is evidently a serious inquirer after hundred and thirty-five years, leaving three chil. truth; and the spirit in which his little volume is dren, Lot his son and two daughters, Milcah and written must command respect. In closing his work, Iscah, the latter of whom, as the Jews say, was he declares, “I am by no means blindly attached to taken by Abraham as his wife, ten years younger any system, but merely desirous of removing the than himself, and called Sarai, whom he afterwards difficulties which seem to me to encumber the usual called his sister, she being the daughter, or grandscheme of Bible Chronology, the sooner any errors daughter, of his father but not of his mother, (Gen. I may have fallen into are detected and rectified, the xx. 12,) while his elder brother, Nahor, took the nearer will my object be to its accomplishment." other niece, Milcah (Gen. xi. 29). P. 208.
Terah believing the doctrine and mission of his This passage exhibits the modesty and candour son Abraham, not only abandoned idolatry, but rewhich characterize this instructive volume, which in- solved to yield obedience to the admonition of heaven, dicates considerable reading and independent thought, and accompany the minister of God. Hence Moses and will be read with interest by those who are com- says, “ Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son petent to form a proper estimate of that difficult sub- of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-inject, the chronology of the Old Testament.
law, his son Abram's wife ; and they went forth Mr. Skene's system is thus stated by himself :- with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the " The result, then, of all my researches in Hebrew land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran and chronology, has been to convince myself that the dwelt there" (Gen. xi. 31). creation of the world took place three hundred and Haran was about three hundred miles, or half way serenty-one years earlier than the date of B.C. 4004 from Ur to Canaan, and in the north-west of Mesogenerally assigned to it, one hundred and fifty-six potamia. Thus removed from the idolatries of Chalyears being added after the destruction of Solomon's dea, and the infirmities of their aged father increastemple, and two hundred and fifteen more to the ing through fatigue, his dutiful children formed a interval between the time of Abraham and the settlement for a season, which Moses calls “a city.” Exodus." P. 207.
To this they gave the name of “ Haran," or Charran, In looking at Mr. Skene's “ Tables" of chrono- in commemoration of their elder brother, lately delogy, the first deviation from that of our common ceased at Ur, before they commenced their emigraBibles relates to the birth of Abraham, grounded tion. Their venerable parent having attained a upon Gen, xi. 26. “And Terah lived seventy years, greater age than most of his survivors, did not long and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” Mr. Skene survive this event. “And the days of Terah were insists upon the supposition that Abraham must tuo hundred and five years : and Terah died in have been the elder son, born when his father Terah Haran" (ver. 23). was seventy years of age, and that, as he lived to Moses remarks, “Now the LORD had said unto the age of two hundred and five, he must have Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy migrated with Abraham to Haran, when one hundred kindred, and from thy father's house,” &c. (Gen. xii. and forty-five years old, and have lived in that place 1-3). Having, therefore, committed to the earth after Abraham left him to sojourn in Canaan, sixty the mortal remains of his revered father, Abraham years, until his son Abraham was one hundred and reflected upon the Divine promise, and determined thirty-five years of age.
upon obeying the command of God. Stephen says, Dificulties certainly attend this subject; but it “And from thence, when his father was dead, he does not appear impossible to remove the greater removed him into this land" (Acts vii. 4). Leaving part of them, by attending to several passages of Nahor, his elder brother, and those who chose to Scripture, and considering the age and circumstances remain with him at Haran in Mesopotamia (Gen. of several members of the family of Terah. From xxiv. 10–16), “ Abram departed, as the LORD had the age and circumstances of Lot and his sisters spoken unto him: and Lot went with him, and Milcah and Iscah, the children of Haran, it appears Abram was serenty and five years old when he de. probable that Haran was the eldest and Abraham parted out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his the youngest of the three sons of Terah. Abraham wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their subbeing mentioned first, seems to have been on account stance that they had gathered, and the souls that of his official character as a minister and prophet of they had gotten in Haran ; and they went forth to God, a preacher of righteousness, whose ministry, go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of after his divine call, had been effectual in reclaiming Canaan they came" (Gen. xii. 4, 5). Terah and his family from the practice of idolatry ; Reviewing these circumstances in the history of (Josh. xxiv. 1, 2) as well as on account of his being Abraham, in connexion with those of the families the head of a new dispensation in the church of of Haran, Nahor, and Lot, the difficulties attaching God.
to the chronology of Abraham's life appear to vanish, Abraham, the youngest son of Terah, born when and we think Mr. Skene will be convinced he is in his father was one hundred and thirty years of age, error in his statement respecting the periods of the became eminent as a preacher of truth and right- birth and call of the patriarch. We think also, that cousness, in Ur of the Chaldees. In the course of he has not sufficient data for his conjecture respecthis ministry, as Stephen declares, “the God of glory ing the duration of the period " between the time appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in of Abraham and the Exodus." Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charron, (or Haran) Mr. Skene seems to suppose that the declaration and said, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy to Abraham, in the vision (Gen xv. 13), designed to kindred, and come into the land which I will show intimate that his seed should be offlicted and in thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldean, slavery during four hundred years. This, however, and dwelt in Charran" (Acts vii. 2—4).
is not said, but the four hundred years are to be con“ Haran," however, “ the eldest brother of Abra- nected, not with “affliction," but with the “sojournham, born when his father Terah was seventy years ing," both in this passage and in Acts vii. 6. of age, and sixty years before Abraham, of another While we thank Mr. Skene for this well-meant mother," (Gen. xx. 12) “ died before his father and instructive volume, for much of it is truly in.