Imágenes de página

degrade the Saviour, proceeds, as follows, to shew that they do not exalt reason above revelation :

"Unitarians strongly object to the contemptuous manner in which human reason is spoken of by their opponents, yet they by no means exalt it above revelation. Both are valued too highly to be placed in opposition to each other. It is rather curious to hear the manner in which reason is treated by those who differ from us. Although constantly in the habit of exercising it themselves, they deny the use of it to others; have stretched it to the uttermost in attempting to discover the two natures of Christ, yet it is deemed unpardonable pride in us to use it while opposing the unscriptural doctrine. By the help of reason, they rear an imposing fabric of mysterious and contradictory opinions, but it must not be employed in exposing the sandy foundation on which their structure is raised. There is not a book that demands a more frequent exercise of reason than the Bible; and however any sect of Christians may profess to discard it, they cannot actually do so. If we did not avail ourselves of this inestimable gift, what should we think of the declarations of Christ, that he came not to send peace but a sword,' that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life in us,' ' we must hate father and mother,'' pluck out the right eye,' and a vast number of passages equally bold and unlimited? How could we reconcile the apparent contradictions of Paul and James, and the clashing of one part of scripture with another, if we did not use our reason with care and caution? What teaches the Christian to reject the Koran of Mahomet and the Yedah of the Hindoo? Why does the Protestant object to the doctrine of Transubstantiation and other absurdities of the Romish Church; the Nonconformist dissent from the Established Church, and the Unitarian refrain from Trinitarian worship?


"It is reason, uninfluenced, unbiased reason, that is the mainspring of every action in the conscientious Christian, and bids him refuse to prostrate his understanding at the shrine of error. Let us not reject, then, the guidance of this celestial monitor; she will not only check our undue curiosity and presumption, but conduct her humble votary to the temple of true religion, and there, by the still waters of silent meditation, in the hallowed retreats of virtue and piety, may he contemplate truth in all her native loveliness."

- Having replied to the objections that Unitarianism is not a religion for the poor, and that it is devoid of consolation in the hour of death, the writer concludes:

"The advocates of Unitarianism only request an impartial comparison of the evidences produced for and against their principles. The Bible informs us on what terms we are to obtain salvation; let not frail, sinful man then set up a claim to infallibility, attempt to wield the sceptre of heaven, or dare to exercise dominion over the consciences of his brethren; but rather let him indulge the pleasing anticipation of meeting the good and virtuous of every denomination, where sectarian distinctions will be unknown, and ALL is harmony and love.

"In the present state of the Christian world there will always be a variety of opinions on speculative points of doctrine; but if a spirit of mild forbearance and affectionate kindness is encouraged, those unhappy feelings will not be cherished, which embitter the enjoyments of social life, rend asunder the bonds of friendship, and cast a dark shade over our sweetest sympathies and brightest hopes. We are all travelling fast to the silent land which is peopled with our fathers, our kindred and our friends. We are hastening to our long last home where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.' Away then with that bitterness and contempt with which Christians too often regard those who differ from them. The religion of Jesus should be a bond of friendship for its professors, and not a means of disunion-a refuge for them under sorrow and disappointment, and not an aggravation of their woes-the home of their joys, and not the house of discord and strife. Love ye one another.' 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another.'



E. W. N.

Description of a Village Churchyard.

(From an interesting little work, entitled "The Parish Clerk.")

IT was altogether such a spot as a burying-place should be-not a place of gloom nor yet of pomp, for there were no stately monuments. Children were not allowed to play their gambols over the dead, for the good Rector was particularly anxious that they should not thus be permitted to lose the feelings of awe with which the

thought of death should ever be attended, nor were cattle turned to graze in this churchyard: but all sorts of gay and simple flowers were allowed to spring up from the turf, and the sexton would not suffer them to be gathered. There was a noble row of elms on one side of the churchyard, which, when the morning sun shone, scattered their long shadows over the graves; but there was an opening towards the west, and it was beautiful on a summer's evening to see the lingering light gleaming across the churchyard, and lighting up the village clock with its awful motto "The time is at hand." The church itself was beautifully neat, and every thing shewed the traveller that he was come among the people who loved the habitation where the Lord's honour dwelleth.

Hints to Congregational Musicians.
(From the same work as the last article.)

Mr. MOORE had very carefully cultivated the love of sacred music among his parishioners; while he had constantly discouraged those irreligious practices which are very apt to creep into the performance of this truly delightful part of the worship of God. He wished to make it a solemn sacred act; not a trial of skill among the people which should sing the loudest, or be the most distinguished among the village band. He admitted no light and airy tunes, and rigorously cut off all spurious additions to the beautiful and majestic simplicity of the old ones. A few vulgar and unpleasant habits he had no objection to lop off, for our good Rector was no enemy, but a friend to some degree of refinement among the poor. He thought a performance like this, though simple, need not be disagreeable. When good habits were once established among the young people who took the lead in this part of the public worship, it was found that the congregation entered with tolerable propriety into the spirit of the service.


[From the "Amulet," before recommended to the reader, p. 391.]
BEAUTY-remember that change and decay

Will pursue in your path, as the night follows day:
PRIDE-bear in mind that your form is of clay,
And will rot with the meanest that stands in your way:

2 s


WEALTH-that you are like the rainbow's bright ray,
Unsubstantial as clouds, and more fleeting than they :
RANK-let your name be as high as it may,
That the mandate "be dust," even you must obey :
POWER-what things are your life and your sway,
Which a breath can destroy and a murmur betray!
HAPPINESS-know that you shine like the light
Of the wandering gleam that misleads us at night:
PLEASURE-though painted all lovely and bright,
That your visits are fatal, and rapid your flight:
FRIENDSHIP-though dear to the sense and the sight,
That thou art but a flower which the wintry winds blight:
LOVE that thy name, if we read it aright,

Is passion, more fearful because of its might :
HOPE-'tis in you their attractions unite,
But you lure us to leave us when most you invite.

L. A. H.

On the Duty of Prayer.

THE duty of addressing ourselves by prayer and thanksgiving to the all-powerful Creator and Ruler of the universe, is so strongly and so frequently enforced both by the precepts and example of Jesus Christ and the apostles, as I should apprehend could leave no reasonable doubt on the minds of Christians as to the propriety of the practice.

With respect to the advantages to be derived from a right performance of this duty, they are certainly great and obvious. We are frail and imperfect creatures, surrounded by temptations, and constantly liable to have our affections engrossed by present objects. And certainly nothing can more effectually counteract this tendency, than the frequent habit of addressing ourselves with reverence and devotion to a Being of infinite perfection and holiness: a Being whom we believe to be constantly present with us, taking cognizance of all our actions, and who will at some future period place us in situations where we shall be happy or miserable, according to the habits we have contracted and the dispositions that have been formed in us during our abode in the present life.

The daily habit of addressing ourselves to a Being who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, of supplicating the pardon of our offences, and of praying that we may not be led into temptation, cannot fail to operate as a

[ocr errors]

powerful inducement to avoid committing those offences and running into those temptations which we are coustantly praying against. And by frequently petitioning with seriousness and fervour for the attainment and increase of every Christian virtue, we cannot but be strongly reminded of the obligation to add to our prayers the most diligent and unremitted exertions.

It has been objected by some to the duty of prayer, that it cannot possibly be of any use, because the decrees of the Almighty being fixed and immutable, no prayers of ours can either reverse or alter them. But surely no person will deny that the state of our own minds may be so materially changed by an habitual, sincere and conscientious performance of this duty, as to render it expedient for us to be -put in possession of many blessings, which otherwise would have been highly improper, and perhaps prejudicial. If the end is appointed, so are the means. And we may safely venture to appeal to the experience of every person who has made the trial, with respect to the good effects of a serious and regular performance of this duty in promoting right dispositions of mind, both towards our Creator, and towards our fellow-creatures.

Nor indeed in the nature of things can it be otherwise. The Being whom we are taught to worship is likewise one whom we can love and honour. Not like the fictitious deities of the Heathens of old, delighting in human sufferings, and feasting on human sacrifices, nor yet like the God of some modern, Christians, arrayed in frowns of vengeance, punishing with the utmost rigour even a mistaken opinion, though it should be the result of a sincere, upright and impartial inquiry after truth: never remitting even the slightest offence of his frail and erring creatures without an infinite satisfaction to his offended justice and dooming by far the greatest part of them to eternal and inconceiv able torments, in consequence of a transgression comnitted many ages before they were in existence.

Far different is the Being whom we are accustomed to worship and adore. By the Scriptures we are taught to consider him as a God of infinite goodness as well as of infinite power; the kind and benignant parent of all his creatures: "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth: keeping mercy for thousands; forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. We are taught to consider him as that holy and

« AnteriorContinuar »