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frivolous mind may then continue frivolous to the last, amusing itself with trifles, or creating for itself fictions of the fancy, no better than dreams. The distorted mind may continue to the last eagerly pursuing its speculations, departing further from the truth; and the vitiated mind may continue to the last, the slave of its impure and degraded passions. Such is the power, and such the result of mental habits. We cannot determine how many acts of frivolity may constitute the permanently frivolous mind; how many trains of impure thought may constitute the corrupted mind; or what degrees of inattention to the diligent culture of the powers within may be fatal to our best interests. In early life, aim at the mastery of the mind; give earnest attention to the trains of thought encouraged, as habit may be thus unconsciously formed, the influence of which may be permanently irremediable, and peril the happiness of life and the immortal interest of the soul.
“IT IS FINISHED." “It is finished," exclaimed the God-Man when He bowed His head on the cross, which was stained with His blood. The Father's great promise in Eden first showed, When the guilty before Him in jeopardy stood. It is finished-what prophets so long had foretold, When types threw their shadows the vista along; — Ay, they looked to the fulness of time, when of old The Saviour of men founded the theme of their song, It is finished-the serpent is bruised, and his sting
How little the tempter expected his sin
The winepress He trod, and His garments were dyed.
ROME was formerly the most important city in the world. The ancient Romans were fond of war, and they conquered nearly all other nations. In the days of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his apostles, Judea was subject to the Roman empire. The Romans were an idolatrous people. They offered worship to a great number of imaginary deities. Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified by the command of Pilate, the Roman governor; but the apostles of our Lord, after his resurrection and ascension, testified in numerous parts of the Roman empire that Jesus Christ was the Saviour of the world, and that all men were required to believe, love, obey, and worship him. The apostles preached against the idols which the Romans worshipped, and declared that there is but one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that divine honours should not be offered to any other real or imaginary being.
To preach against the false deities, which, by the Romans, were wickedly honoured as divine beings, was regarded as a violation of the laws of the empire, and as a serious offence against the government. The apostles were, there
fore, according to the Roman law, liable to severe punishment for preaching against the idols, which the Romans had deified, and for preaching Christ Jesus the Lord; and the apostles, therefore, were oftentimes cast into prison.
In the Acts of the Apostles we read, that, on one occasion, Paul having been arrested at Jerusalem, was sent, as a prisoner, first to Cesarea, and thence to Rome; that he had a most dangerous voyage from Cesarea to Italy; and was shipwrecked near the island of Melita, which is generally believed to be the island now called Malta. While the apostle was on this island he wrought many miracles, in healing persons who were diseased; and at his departure for Rome, he received much honour and many presents. It is probable that the wonderful things which occurred during the voyage were reported at Rome and caused the Romans, on this occasion, to treat Paul with much kindness; for he was not put into prison, but he was allowed to live in his own hired house, a soldier having charge of him to prevent his escape. Paul, after having been thus kept a prisoner for two years, was allowed his liberty.
From the Scriptures we are not able to obtain any information respecting the subsequent history of the apostle. No doubt, after his release, he diligently laboured in preaching the Gospel of Christ. Some persons have supposed, that the apostle went to Spain and to England, and preached the Gospel in those countries; but this appears to be mere conjecture. Sulpitus Severus, who wrote in the fifth century, states that the apostles Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom, that Paul was beheaded, and Peter crucified. Nero was emperor of Rome at the time, when, it is believed, these apostles were put to death. There was a terrible fire in Rome, about the year of our Lord 64, by which twothirds of the city were destroyed. This fire was wickedly charged upon the Christians in the city; and, in consequence, they were very cruelly persecuted. It is supposed that the apostles, Paul and Peter, were put to death about two or three years afterwards, or in the year 67.
There are old records which state, that the apostles, Paul and Peter, were confined in what is called the Mamertine Prison, at Rome; and, in this prison, it is believed, many of the early Christian martyrs were imprisoned. The cell in which, the Romans affirm, the apostles Paul and Peter, were confined, is represented by the engraving, which precedes these remarks. The Mamertine Prison is described as consisting of two rooms or dungeons, one above the other, to which there is no entrance but by a hole in the roof, and a hole in the upper floor, without any staircase. In the lower dungeon is a small spring, which is said to have arisen at the command of Peter, when he wanted water to baptize his keepers, and those of his fellow-prisoners, whom he had converted. The pillar is shown to which, it is said, the apostle was bound. The prison is now dedi. cated to Saint Peter, and over it a church was erected, about the year 1539.
Whether the apostle Peter ever was at Rome we cannot say. The New Testament gives no account of his having been at Rome, Yet many ancient writers testify that Peter was put to death in Rome. Dr. Lardner says—"This is the general uncontradicted testimony of ancient writers, in the several parts of the world, Greeks, Latins, and Syrians. As our Lord's prediction concerning the death of Peter is recorded in one of the Gospels, it is very likely that Christians would observe the accomplishment of it, which must have been in some place. And about this place, there is no difference among Christian writers of ancient times. Never any other place was named besides Rome; nor did any other city ever glory in the martyrdom of St. Peter.”
Admitting that Peter and Paul were put to death at Rome, it is no honour, but a reproach, to the city that its rulers persecuted the apostles. It may, however, be said, that when their lives were taken away by the Romans, Rome was a Pagan city; and that, although their martyrdom was a disgrace to Pagan Rome, the Christians of Rome deem it an honour, that in their city these apostles preached, and sealed the truth of their testimony by their sufferings and death.
Multitudes of Christians were, during the reign of
Paganism, cruelly persecuted, and put to death in the city of Rome. Moreover, since the governors and people of Rome have professed to be Christians, they have most awfully persecuted Christians who have refused to submit to the unjust authority which the Pope claims to exercise over all Christians.
Paganism, or the worship of false gods, was encouraged by the Roman government, and Christians were persecuted by the Romans, until the beginning of the fourth century, when Rome was conquered by Constantine the Great. In the year 313, he published an edict, by which the Christians were protected from persecution, and the property which had been unjustly taken from them was commanded to be restored.
Soon after this Constantine professed himself a Christian, and bestowed great riches and honours upon Christian ministers; and Christianity was made the religion of the State. Since then the Romans have held in great veneration the places in which, according to tradition, the apostles, Paul and Peter, and other Christians, suffered from the cruel persecution of Roman Pagan governors. We regret that the Romans, who have called themselves Christians, have, since then, greatly exceeded their Pagan predecessors in cruelly persecuting and destroying true Christians. The records of the Courts of the Inquisition, and numerous bloody wars, undertaken for the extirpation of those whom the Romanists have falsely called heretics, bear appalling testimony as to the horrible persecuting character of the papal church. Millions of human lives have been destroyed by the Papists, in their hellish zeal for the extirpation of Protestantism, which they falsely call heresy.
“A THIEF IN THE CANDLE.” When the charms of spring, the beauties of summer, and the blessings of autumn, are passed away, how acceptable to the sprightly and active youthful mind, are the domestic