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September, 1817.]
Life of Simeon.

277 the author of these calamities, since brought upon themselves the punishhe had repeatedly offered peace to the ment due to them. They had put to Jews; and concluded by declaring death the Lord of life, and thereby that he would bury this abominable had forfeited their own; and now, becrime in the ruins of their country, hold ! not only by a judicial, but by a and not suffer the sun to shine upon a kind of necessary result, they are city, where mothers ate their own found to be their own murderers. children, and where fathers reduced Thus died the Jewish people ; nor them to that extremity by refusing to will they rise again till they own Hin surrender.

to be risen, whom they crucified and Being now convinced that neither slew; till they “ look upon him whom kind nor harsh methods could produce they have pierced, and mourn for any effect upon this obstinate genera

him, as one that mourneth for his only rion, Titus gave directions that all things should be made ready for a Whilst, however, the Jewish nation storm; and at length finding that he in general experienced this dreadful could not prevail against the walls of destruction, the Christians, with their the inner temple, he set fire to the venerable bishop, Simeon, were work gates, a step he had hitherto religiously derfully preserved. The account of avoided. The porches were soon in their escape has been hitherto omitted, a flame, and continued burning all that the thread of the preceding narthat day and the following night. Ti- rative might not be broken. We may tus, however, still resolved, if possible, now, therefore, briefly notice it. to save the temple; but on the tenth Almost at the commencement of day, a Roman soldier, of his own the war, Cestius Gallus broke into accord, threw a flaming fire-brand the lower part of the city, and used through the golden window into the such measures, as, humanly speaking, chambers, which were presently in a would have ensured his taking the blaze; and the fire, spreading through upper part and the temple, had he conthe whole fabric, consumed the most tinued his attack. But at this moment glorious structure that the world ever he unexpectedly, and without any as

Titus in the mean time em- signable cause on his part, raised the ployed every effort to extinguish the siege. The Christians took advanflames. He called, entreated, and tage of this circumstance. Recollecteven threatened, his men; but with ing that our Lord had warned them out effect. So great was the confu- to leave Jerusalem when they should sion, and so pertinaciously were the see it encompassed with armies, and soldiers bent upon destroying all with- to flee when they should behold the in their reach, that he was neither abomination of desolation standing in heard nor regarded.

the holy place, they embraced the

opThroughout the whole history of portunity, and universally retreated to the human race we meet with few, if Pella ; so that none of them perished any, instances of carnage and devasta- in the common desolation. The place tion that can be compared with this. of their retreat was a little town beAccording to their own historian, in yond Jordan, abont one hundred miles

the course of a seven years' war from Jerusalem, belonging to Agrip.. ; there perished of this ill-fated people, pa, and inhabited by Gentiles.

in one way or another, no less a num- How long Simeon and his flock ber than one million three hundred continued in this sanctuary, and when and thirty-seven thousand four hun. they returned to Jerusalem, is undred and ninety.

known, though it is generally supAmongst the various observations posed that they came back about the which this horrible, yet instructive beginning of the reign of Trajan. It history may suggest, it is worthy of is certain that they returned before remark, that the Jews, by their obdu- the time of Adrian; for upon rate wickedness, and insensibility to the patience and mercy of God,

saw.

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peror's coming to Jerusalem,, forty The discourses of Dr. CHALMENS being years after its destruction, he found republished in this country, we are inthere a few houses and a little church duced to insert a Review of them from

the British Critic. In the mean time Simeon discharged the important duties of his office with A Series of Discourses: or the Chris

tian Revelation viewed in Connexgreat diligence and fidelity. At length,

ion with the Modern Astronomy. in the middle of Trajan's reign, he

By THOMAS CIALMERS, D. D. Min was charged with being a Christian, and a descendant of the kings of Ju

nister of the Tron Church, Glasdah. In consequence of this accusa

gow. tion he was sentenced by the procon- A season scarcely ever passes in sul to be first put to the rack and se England without the irruption of somo verely scourged, and afterwards to be

comet from the unknown regions of crucified. The venerable bishop en- the air, which rushes athwart the sysdured his severe sufferings with such tem, overpowering the eyes of all composure of mind and invincible pa- with its superior splendour, and threattience as astonished the proconsul and ening destruction to the dull and humall that were present. But neither drum planets of the regular system. his age nor resignation could induce The present year has been rather them to reprieve or mitigate his sen- productive in these eccentric dazzlers. tence, for he still persisted in pleading With referance indeed to the author guilty to what was considered the of the Discourses now before us, he most offensive of all crimes, his being did not rise quite so unexpectedly on à Christian.

our view. A thousand little Lucifers, Simeon suffered martyrdom in the in the shape of puffs and panegyrics, tenth year of the reign of Trajan, in prepared our weak eyes for the burst the hundred and twentieth year of his of the cowet itself upon our horizon. own age, and in the hundred and Not even of Dr. Solomon's Guide to seventh of the Christian æra.

Health were there so many copies It is not a little remarkable, that sold in the first year, as of the Doctor's during the dreadful persecutions which Discourses in the first day. Five made such havoc in the Church, most editions (sold as we have heard) in as of the eminent Christian teachers, of many days, were the avant couriers of whom we have any account, lived to the Doctor's fame. The Post and a very advanced age. Simeon, as has Chronicle, the Times and Day, vied been said, was a hundred and twenty in their eulogiums, in every varied years old, Ignatius eighty, Polycarp form, on the Doctor's powers. “Won

6 considerably older, Tertullian ninety, derful occurrence.”“ Surprising

" and Justin, Irenæus, Origen, and Cy- fact.Unparalleled demand :"prian, were also all far advanced in all lent their aid to usher in the Docyears at the time of their deaths. tor and his Discourses. Sometimes Doubtless we may attribute their pre- his reputation shrouded itself under servation for so long a time, as well the modest form of “ A Letter to the from the fatal effects of disease and Editor :" sometimes insinuated itself decay of nature, as from the fury of in the specious form of “ A Caution to the persecutor's sword, to a special the Public.” Under whatever form Providence, cherishing and prolonging or dress, there it always was, till Mr. their lives for their work's sake. Still, Bish himself grew jealous, and Mr. however, as God generally accom- Goodluck ceased to advertise, At plishes His benevolent purposes by last the Doctor himself appeared, and natural means, we may reasonably since the days of Master Betty, no suppose that their very religion, by place of public exhibition has been inculcating on its pos: essors the great- ever thronged with so desperate a est temperance and sobriety, so con- crowd. Ins and Outs, Ministry and ducive in health, was under the divine Opposition, Atheists and Fanatics, blessing, one, especial cause of their those who never were in a church belongevity.

fore, and those who never will be in a September, 1817.] Review of Chalmers's Discourses.

279 church again, were all jostled toge exclusive abode of life and of intelligence ! ther in the heterogeneous mass.

What reason to think that those mightier Those whom the doors would not re

globes which roll in other parts of crea

tion, and which we have discovered to be ceive, the windows were opened to worlds in magnitude, are not also worlds admit, and happy were the individuals in use and in dignity? Why should we who could get a footing upon the lad

think that the great Architect of nature, der, which in their estimation was to

supreme in wisdom as he is in power, head to heaven. Now as no person

would call these stately mansions into *X

istence, and leave them unoccupied? When ages half so little as we unfortunate

we.cast our eye over the broad sea, and critics, could even gain admission look at the country on the other side, we into the adjoining street, we sat our- see nothing but the blue and stretching selves down contented with the vo

obscurity over the distant horizon. We lume before us, taking for granted of its scenery, or to hear the sound of its

are too far away to perceive the richness that we could not judge of the Doctor's population. Why not extend this principle powers by any fairer criterion.

to the still more distant parts of the unia The design of the Doctor in these verse? What though, from this remote Discourses, is to answer the following

point of observation, we can see nothing hacknied objection of the infidel to the but the naked roundness of yon planetary

orbs? Are we therefore to say, that they general system of Christianity, “ that

are so many vast and unpeopled solitudes; God would not have sent down his that desolation reigns in every part of the Son from heaven to die for the salva- universe but ours; that the whole energy

of the divine attributes is expended on tion of so insignificant a speck in the

one insignificant corner of these mighty creation, as the globe which we inha

works ; and that to this earth alone, be. bit.” To which Dr. Chalmers has

longs the bloom of vegetation, or the bleswell answered:

sedness of life, or the dignity of rational

and immortal existence ? “ Christianity makes no sach profession.

" But this is not all. We have some. That it is designed for the single benefit thing more than the mere magnitude of of our world is altogether a presumption

the planets to allege in favour of the idea of the infidel himself.”

that they are inhabited. We know that If the Doctor had added, “ that of this earth turns round upon itself; and

we observe that all those celestial bodies, other worlds we can know nothing in

which are accessible to such an observa. our present state, because it is not ex

tion, have the same movement. We know pedient for the purpose of our present that the earth performs a yearly restate of existence that we should," and volution round the sun; and we can dehad here concluded the whole, we are

téct in all the planets which composé our of opinion that he would have consult- system, a revolution of the same kind,

and under the same circumstances. They ed much more wisely both for himself have the same succession of day and night. and for his subject. We should not They have the same agreeable vicissitude indeed have grudged him the follow- of the seasons. To them, light and darking argument in favour of the plurali- ness succeed each other, and the gaiety

of summer is followed by the dreariness ty of worlds. It is eloquently, ration, of winter. To each of them the heavens ally, and scripturally expressed ; and present as varied and magnificent a specas it is by far the best specimen of tacle; and this eart), the encompassing Dr. Chalmers's power, we shall ex

of which would require the labour of years tract it entire.

from one of its puny inhabitants, is butone

of the lesser lights which sparkle in their “ Now, what is the fair and obvious firmament. To them, as well as to us, presumption? The world in which we has God divided the light from the darklive, is a round ball of a determined mag-ness, and he has called the light day, and nitude, and occupies its own place in the the darkness he has called night. He has firmament. But when we explore the said, let there be lights in the firmament unlimited tracts of that space which is of their heaven, to divide the day froin the every where around us, we meet with other night ; and let them be for signs, and for bails of equal or superior magnitude; and seasons, and for days, and for years; and from which our earth would either be in, let them be for liglits in the fimament of visible, or appear as small as any of those lieaven, to give lights upon their earth; twinkling stars which are seen on the ca. and it was so.

And God has also made to nopy of heaven. Why then suppose that them great lights. To all of them he has this little spot, little at least in the im. given the sun to rule the day; and to imensity which surrounds it, should be the many of them he has given moons to rule

the night. To them he has made the stars all its minute and topical varieties. But also. And God has set them in the firma- there is no end of conjecture, and to the ment of heaven, to give light upon their men of other times we leave the full asearth; and to rule over the day, and over surance of what we can assert with the the night, and to divide the light from the highest probability, that yon planetary darkness; and God has seen that it was orbs are so many worlds, that they teem good.

with life, and that the mighty Being who. “ In all these greater arrangements of presides in high authority oyer this scene divine wisdom, we can see that God hus of grandeur and astonishment has there done the same things for the accommoda- planted the worshippers of his glory." tion of the planets that he has done for the earth which we inhabit. And shall we say, We must confess our astonishment, that the resemblance stops here, because that any man professing common we are not in a situation to observe it! Shall we say, that this scene of magnifi- sense, should have entertained an idea cence has been called into being merely half so absurd. Dr. Chalmers ought for the amusement of a few astronomers? to have known, or he ought not to Shall we measure the counsels of heaven have written about astronomy if he by the narrow impotence of the human fa. culties ? or conceive, that silence and soilie nifying power of the telescope should

did not know, that although the

magtude reign throughout the mighty empire be increased to an extent almost inof nature; that the greater part of creation is an empty parade ; and that not a wor. credible, yet thus its means of approxishipper of the Divinity is to be found mating distant objects would not be through the wide extent of yon vast and proportionably increased. The Docimmeasurable regions ?"

tor ought to have known, that the disHad the Doctor concluded here, all tinctness of vision keeps no pace with had been well; it is the utmost limit the magnifying power of the glass ;

but that if the visual angle be increasand all beyond is tiresome and empty ed beyond a certain

limit, nothing but rhodomontade. Never, perhaps, was

confusion ensues. The distinctness of a more childish or ignorant supposition

the object, moreover, depends as much ever broached than that which occurs

upon its own brightness, as upon the in the following passage.

magnifying powers of the telescope;

and thus by increasing the power, we " Who shall assign a limit to the dis- diminish the brightness, which must coveries of future ages ? Who can prescribe to science her boundaries, or re

for ever prevent the improvement of a strain the active and insatiable curiosity

telescope beyond a certain limit. So of man within the circle of his present ac

much then for our chance of witnessquirements? We may guess with plausi- ing the change of seasons, and the bility what we cannot anticipate with con. colours of the vegetation in the moon. fidence. The day may yet be coming: Taking the magnifying power alone, when our instruments of observation shall be inconceivably more powerful. They

we should require a telescope with inay ascertain still more decisive points of

more than seven hundred times the resemblance. They may resolve the same power of Dr. Herschel's forty-foot question by the evidence of sense which is telescope, to see a neighbour in the now so abundantly convincing by the evidence of analogy. They may lay open to

moon; but how far it is probable that us the unquestionable vestiges of art, and

such an one will ever be constructed, industry, and intelligence. We may see

we leave it to the judgment of our summer throwing its green mantle over

readers to determine : and even if these mighty tracts, and we may see them left naked and colourless after the

blush privacy of the man in the moon would

such a thing were accomplished, the of vegetation has disappeared. In the progress of years or of centuries, we may

not be broken in upon, as the visual trace the hand of cultivation spreading a

angle would have so greatly exceeded new aspect over some portion of a plane- its proper limits. The whole of Dr. tay surface. Perhaps some large city, the Chalmers's supposition is a burlesque metropolis of a mighty empire, may expand into a visible spot by the powers of

the subject. some future telescope. Perhaps the glass tor for some few assertions made with

upon

We will not quarrel with the Docof some observer, in a distant age, may enable him to construct the map of another out any proof at all; such as the reworld, and to lay down the surface of it in gular revolution of the spots in the to form and to perpetuate in them the

!

the ar

September, 1817.] Review of Chalmers's Discourses.

281 sun, the apparent recession of the stars universal eye might appear to be almost in one quarter of the celestial sphere, imperceptible. But does it not add to from each other: whether true or

the power and to the perfection of this

universal eye, that at the very moment it false, as they do not bear

upon

is taking a compreliensive survey of the gument. We will call the attention of vast, it can fasten a steady and und istracta our readers to the following passage. ed attention on each minute and separate “ But, we have now reason to think, portion of it; that at the very moment it

is looking at all worlds, it can look most that, instead of lying uniformly, and in a pointedly and most intelligently to each state of equi-distance from each other, of them; that at the very moment it sweeps they are arranged into distinct clusters the field of immensity, it can settle all the that, in the same manner, as the distance

earnesless of its regards upon every disof the nearest fixed stars so inconceivably tinct handbreadth of that field; that at the superior to that of our planets from each

very moment at which it embraces the to. other, marks the separa ilon of the solar tality of existence, it can send a most tho. systems, so the distance of two contigu- rough and penetrating inspection into each ous clusters may be so inconceivably su

of its details, and into every one of its perior to the reciprocal distance of those endless diversities? You cannot fail to fixed stars which belong to the same clus- perceive bow much this adds to the power ter, as to mark an equally distinct sepa- of the all-seeing eye. Tell me, then, if it ration of the clusters, and to constilute each of them an individual member of benevolence of God, that while it is expa

does not add as much perfection to the some higher and more extended arrange tiating over the vast field of created ment. T'his carries us upwards through things, there is not one portion of the another ascending step in the scale of field overlooked by it; that while it scat. magnificence, and there leaves us wilder

ters blessings over the whole of an infinite ing in the uncertainty, whether even here

range, it causes them to descend in a the wonderful progression is ended.”.

shower of plenty on every separate habita The Doctor has left his readers in

tion; that while his arm is underneath and deed wildering in uncertainty. What round about all worlds, he enters within

the precincts of every one of them, and can be his meaning in this exquisite gives a care and a tenderness to each inspecimen of absurdity? Will any of dividual of their teeming population. Oh! the Doctor's warmest admirers pretend does not the God, who is said to be love, to attach any decent interpretation to

shed over this attribute of his, its finest

illustration ! when, while he sits in the the passage before us? If there be a Bathos in astronomy, the Doctor has highest heaven, and pours out his fulness

on the whole subordinate domain of Na. surely dived, with all his powers, into ture and of Providence, he bestows a pitythe fathumless abyss.

ing regard on the very humblest of his Thus much for Lecture the first, children, and sends his reviving Spirit in

to every heart, and cheers hy his presence containing a sketch of modern astro

every home, and provides for the wants of nomy.” The second professes to treat

every family, and watches every sick-bed, upon the modesty of trụe science ; and listens to the complaints of every sufcontaining a rhetorical panegyric up- ferer; and while by his wondrous mind on Newton, and some very common

the weight of universal government is place reflections upon modern infide- borne, oh! is it not more wondrous and

more excellent still, that he feels for every fity, which might have been compre- sorrow, and has an ear open to every hended in about as many lines as there prayer.. are pages. The third is upon the di- It doth not yet appear what we shall vine condescension, in redeeming a

be,' says the apostle John, but we know world so insignificant as our own; an

that when he shall appear, we shall be like argument which is better stated in the him, for we shall see him as he is. It is

the present lot of the angels, that they bebeginning of the fourth Lecture, from hold the face of our Father in heaven; and which we shall willingly make the it would seem as if the effect of this was following extract.

moral likeness of himself; and that they « Now it is saying much for the bene. reflect back upon him his own image; and volence of God, to say that it sends forth that thus a diffuseà resemblance to the these wide and distant emanations over Godhead, is kept up amongst all those ador, the surface of a territory so ample-that ing worshippers who live in the near and the world we inhabit, lying imbedded as

rejoicing contemplation of the Godhead. it does, amidst so much surrounding Mark then how that peculiar and endeargreatness, shrinks into a point that to the ing feature in the goodness of the Deity,

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