Imágenes de página
PDF

a minister, a parent, a master, or as a member of society; for his beneficence js seldom confined to his family, his own denomination, or even tbe household of faith. He is not satisfied with being a blessing to his own nation; but, possessing Christian philanthropy, he coiamisseraf.es all his fellow-creatures, and particularly the nations in idolatry, All who have a true Missionary spirit, appear to possess this tenderness of .heart, and according to their circumstances, will readily afford pecuniary assistance towards extending the kingdom of the Redeemer among the Heathen. But above all, lie excels in, kindness to the afflicted. Perhaps, his circumstances are so narrow, that he cannot relieve many; but he that has melting affections will not refuse to assist worthy objects of distress, within the reach of his ability to help. "Mr. Henry observes, That' he who has a tender heart, has commonly a tender eye; and always a tender hand and a tender tongue.'. If such a one is rich, he bestows favours liberally with his hand; and if not, a look of sympathy, an involuntary (ear, or kind words will! impart consolation to the unhappy. How amiable and beneficial are such persons, when compared with those who, care only for themselves! Here we may introduce the following reflection ofv Mr. Jay: ' True Christian tenderness is ac-> companied with sensations far superior to what the selfish experience. As the unfeeling man performs no kind offices, he lias no pleasing recollections to rci'resli him; for,, him no orphan prays, no widow sings. On the contrary, tender feelings render us social and useful: they open to us many sources of satisfaction and delight, and are the honour of the man, and of.the Christian.' The above are some of the many way* wherein this Christian disposition discovers itself; it remains pnly to add some remarks.

1st, We may distinguish it from others that resemble it, by the following properties : — It is holy; very different from fhe tender - heartedness of Rehoboam*,' who had such a depraved disposition as to be easily drawn into sin. It is habitual; not like the random acts of benevolence, which even the worst of characters sometimes peiforhi. It is judicious; therefore not that foolish fondness of some weak persons, who indulge their children or relatives to the injury of their bodies and souls. It is unaffected, in opposition to the counterfeit, which generally is known by an unnatural imitation of th'a reality, and claiming a pretension to extreme sensibility.

2dly, If Christian Tenderness is so excellent, surely, every thing which is contrary to it should be carefully avoided. The British nation is famous for its humanity, and there are many professors of the gospel who are eminent for benevolence; but yet there are too many others who constantly hsar the

« 2 Cliron. xiii. 1,

<^ CHRISTIAN TENDERNESS.

truth, and still remain hard-hearted. Some also, who once Were kind, happening to meet with ungrateful returns, are apt to lose, in some measure, their tenderness. This should becarefully guarded against, as it may grow upon us until we become almost unwilling to do any good. Ill-treatment, disappointments, the death of our dearest friends, and indeed all troubles, have a natural tendency to deaden the mind; but when sanctified, they make us much more fit to sympathize with those in similar circumstances.

3dly, Let those who are of a tender disposition earnestly prayed endeavour to preserve it. Some, perhaps, may doubt whether much sensibility is desirable, as in this life we are liable to somwy painful events. This question cannot be here discussed; hm with regard to real Christians, so far as it Excites them to be more cautious against sin, it is certainly beneficial to them. ^fr. M'Evven has the following judicious observations on this part, of our subject: — 'The conscience of a tender-hearted Christian maybe compared,to the eye, that tender organ, which the smallest particle of dust may put into disorder. He dreads sin so much, that he dares not come too near the borders of his Christian liberty. If he should backslide, no one can think what he suffers, though we may have some concept tion from what is related of the fall of David and Peter. Like litem, when (iod begins to reclaim him, contrition is easily ad* jnitted, godly som/w readily succeeds, and he returns to the Lord full of shame and true repentance.' Let it also be re* membercd, that as persons of quick sensations are mqre liable to be drawn aside from close walking with God than others, they have great need of much prayer and watchfulness. They have generally strong passions, which must be bridled; and iiv-j are liable to go to extremes in love or hatred, which must be guarded against, or their hearts will become in some de« firee hard. Who is sufficient tor these tilings? None of us. We must, therefore, look to the same power and mercy which gives us new hearts, to preserve them tender.

4th, Let Christians act more kindly to each other. It is, really shocking for one of a mild temper to sec how some professors of the gospel treat those who differ from them. It is certain, that there is nothing in the example of Christ, or of ■ his religion, that warrants such a spirit as is shewn in many controversies and-party-disputes; and where there arc no variations in religions opinions, there is often little affection. Pvay, even ajnong members of the same church, there is sometimes a want (if union, and very little tenderness manifested toward each other. When all these things are properly considered}, thf-re is great need to attend to the following advice of the apostle Paul, with which i >hal\ conclude this. Essay: -— ' Lel^

CHRISTIAN TENDERNESS. <%}

all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil- . speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you *.'

Buckingham. G. G. S.

* Eph. iv. 31, 32.

TH0 CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER.

ON THE VARIETIES OBSERVABLE IN THE EYES OF
DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

In two former Essays, the different parts of the eye were explained; and their Utility in producing sight: we propose in the following paper, to point out the variations in this curious organ in different animals. Though the eye is situated iri the head of all creatures, yet there are variations in its position, its size, and its formation, adapted to their several natures. In man, it is so placed as to look forward; but at the same time to take in objects on the right hand and the left to a considerable extent. Iji birds, the eyes are situated in such a manner as to see nearly all around them, that they may the better seek their food, and escape danger. The eyes of harc3 are so protuberant, and placed so much towards the sides of the head of the animal, that they can see best behind them,—. as their chief security is in flight; whereas dogs, who are formed by nature to pursue their prey, have their eyes situated more forward, that they may the better see the object of their pursuit. A similar variety is observable in the means by'which the various motions of the eye are effected. In the human specks, a curious set of muscies is provided for this purpose; and the motion of the head enables the eye to command .a variety of objects; but where these muscles are wanting, either for moving the eye or the head, the wisdom of the Creator hath, by some other means, supplied the deficiency. The meanest and most loathsome reptile is not suffered to lack the means of procuring food, or of defending itself from att enemy. The snail can thrust out her eyes to a distance, — Providence having placed them at the extremity of four horns> which she can direct as she finds most convenient; and the spider, which has no neck, is furnished with from four to eight eyes, placed in the head so as to see in different directions. Some insects, which have not the power of moving the eye, have two protuberant hemispheres, each of which contains a vast number of eyes. The microscope has demonstratedrthat a common fly has not less than 4000 eyes in each hemisphere; and every eye furnished with a distinct pupil, crystalline

e

100 CHRISTIAN MIUOSOPHER.

humour, &c. Other insects, as the silk-worm and dragon-fly, have many more *.

Those animals whose eyes are exposed to the greatest danger, are provided with the best means of defending this delicate organ. The mole, which has to search for its food under •ground, has a small eye, and deeply fixed in the head, so as to he well protected from injury. Other animals are furnished with what is called The Nictating Membrane, which is a kind of transparent covering, which may be drawn hefore the eye without preventing the sight; and must be of very great service to brrds, to protect the eye when flying among branches of trees; and to quadrupeds, who have occasion to hold down their heads to reach their food f. Other varieties in the formation of the eye arc remarkable. The pupil of the eye is round in the human subject, which enables xa to see in every direction alike; but quadrupeds of the graminivorous kind, have it horizontally oblong; by which they can view a larger space over the earth; while animals of the cat-kind, who climb trees, and prey on birds, and animals which hide in the "ground, have their pupils oblong in the contrary way; by which they can look upwards and downwards at the same time. Some insects can only see objects at a great distance, and make use of their feelers to ascertain objects which are near; kand others, as the common fly, can only see objects which are close; and these are most astonishingly magnified. Birds and fishes have a power of seeing distinctly, either at a distance or near at hand, at pleasure, by varying the distance of the crystalline humour from the retina. By this means it is that birds can see their food at the end of their bills, or discern it on the ground from the heights at which they often fly. This property of the eye is also of great importance to fishes, on account of the refractive power of the water.

'O Lord, how manifold are thy works ! — in wisdom hast thou made them all i The earth is full of thy riches, so is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable. These wait all upon thee, thattl)ou mayst give them their meat in due season.' Thou, who hast not neglected, the spider, that crawls upon the ceiling, nor the snail that creeps on the ground, so that their wants are supplied, and their enemies resisted, wilt not, canst not, be unmindful of thy covenantpeople, whom thou hast purchased with thy blood. The God of Grace will not be Jess bountiful than the God of Nature. O ve of little faith, wherefore do ye doubt?

The varieties observable in the kingdom of Nature ma}' illustrate what we perceive in the kingdom of Grace: each individual has his diJierent gifts; and these suited to the station

* See Baker on the Microncope, part ii. ch. S6.
+ Hay on the Wisdom of God, p. 260, 261.

he is intended to occupy. TheSe are diversities of gifts; but the will is bestowed by thevsame Spirit, ' who divideth to every man severally as he will.' Let not him that hath more knowledge be puffed up: another perhaps has more zeal or more love. The gilts of grace, like those of Providence, are often more equally bestowed than we are ready to imagine. Our great concern should be to. improve our respective talents, to the glory of our great Master, that in the day of reckoning we »ay not be found wanting. T. P. B.

[ocr errors]

ON LATE ATTENDANCE AT PUBLIC WORSHIP,

Sir, To the Editor.

Permit me, through the medium of your Magazine, to lift a warning voice against a practice which is prevalent in our worshipping assemblies, to a very distressing detrree; t. mean, late attendance. I am, Sir, a member of the Church of England, and am told, by several valuable: dissenting friends, of the superiority of their mode of worship, and of its close congeniality with the spirit of the New Testament; — but, what am I to think, when, upon worshipping with them, I perceive their seats empty till half, perhaps, or more of the worship is over? — Why, 1 must think this, That the superiority appears to be of little importance to themselves,— that public worship itself appears of no great moment,— that a meeting with the Saviour-lKis no more influence upon the minds of some who do really believe in him, than custom hath upon those unhappy unthinking beings, who, from no other motive, attend their parish-church, while, at the same tiriie, it is a solemn but certain truth, that the outward deportment of those hypocritical professors, of whom God spake to Ezekiel,was more consistent than that of some whom, we trust, do worship in spirit and in truth. 'They come,' says God,' as the people eome, and, sit as my people sit.' It would be well if as muck could be said of every believer in Jesus at this day. 1 remember hearing a sermon which the minister (whose mind was deeply impressed with this subject) began thus :-—' When I came here to begin the worship last Sabbath morning, 1 believe, there were not 20 people in the chapel , at the weekly lecture it was the same; and again this morning my heart is pained. What can you mean by this conduct? Do you mean to worship God ?-*- then I must tell you plainly, and with the authority of a Christian minister, that itisno worship: deceive not yourselves, God will not accept it at your hands. Some, perhaps, may say, This is too harsh," because, on my part, it is merely the effect of inconsideration: — but do you not know that thousands are now in Hell through inoonsider

« AnteriorContinuar »