« PoprzedniaDalej »
which we have just now adverted to vealed doings of those who are surroundmark how beauteously it is reflected down upon us in the revealed attitude of angels. « The infidel, then, as he widens the From the high eminences of heaven, are field of his contemplations, would suffer they bending a wakeful regard over the itserery separate object to die away into men of this sinful world; and the repent. forgetfulness; these angels, expatiating ance of every one of them spreads a joy as they do, over the range of a loftier u ii. and a high gratulation throughout all its versality, are represented as all awake to dwelling places. Put this trait of the an. the history of each of its distinct and subgelic character into contrast with the dark ordinate provinces. The infidel, with his and louring spirit of an infidel. He is told mind afloat among suns and among sysof the multitude of other worlds, and he tems, can find no place in his already ocfeels a kindling magnificence in the con cupied regards, for that humble planet ception, and he is seduced by an elevation which lodges and accommodates our spe. which he cannot carry, and from this airy cies: the angels, standing on a loftier summit does he look down on the insigni. summit, and with a mightier prospect of facance of the world we occupy, and pro- creation before them, are yet represented nounces it to be unworthy of those visits as looking down on this single world, and and of those attentions which we read of attentively marking the every feeling and in the New Testament. He is unable to the every demand of all its families. The ving bis upward way along the scale, ei- infidel, by sinking us down to an unnoticether of moral or of natural perfection; able minuteness, would lose sight of our and when the wonderful extent of the field dwelling-place altogether, and spread a is made known to him, over which the darkening shroud of oblivion over all the wealth of the Divinity is lavished here concerns and all the interests of men : but he stops, and wilders, and altogether the angels will not so abandon us; and misses this essential perception, that the undazzled by the whole surpassing granpower and perfection of the Divinity are deur of that scenery which is around them, not more displayed by the mere magnitude are they revealed as directing all the ful. of the field, than they are by that minute ness of their regard to this our habitation, and exquisite filling up, which leaves not and casting a longing and a benignant eye its smallest portions neglected; but which on ourselves and on our children. The imprints the fulness of the Galhead upon infidel will tell us of those worlds which every one of them; and proves, by every roll afar, and the number of which out. flower of the pathless desert, as well as by strips the arithmetic of the human underevery orb of immensity, how this unsearch- standing and then with the hardness of able Being can care for all, and provide an unfeeling calculation, will he consigti for all, and throned in mystery too high the one we occupy, with all its guilty gefor us, can, throughout every instance of nerations, to despair. But he who counts time, keep his attentive eye on every se- the number of the stars, is set forth to us parate thing that he has formed, and by as looking at every inhabitant among the an act of his thoughtful and presiding in- millions of our species, and by the word telligence, can constantly embrace all. of the Gospel beckoning to him with the “ But God, compassed about as he is hand of invitation, and on the very
first with light inaccessible, and full of glory, step of his return, as moving towards him lies so hidden from the ken and concep- with all the eagerness of the prodigal's fation of all our faculties, that the spirit of ther, to receive him back again into that man sinks exhausted by its attempts to presence from which he had wandered. comprehend him. Could the image of the And as to this world, in favour of which Supreme be placed direct before the eye the scowling infidel will not permit one of the mind, that food of splendour, solitary movement, all Heaven is repre. which is ever issuing from him on all who sented as in a stir about its restoration ; have the privilege of beholding, would not and there cannot a single son, or a single only dazzle, but overpower us. And there. daughter, be recalled from sin unto righ. fore it is, that I bid you look to the reflec- teousness, without an acclamation of joy tion of that image, and thus to take a view amongst the hosts of Paradise. Aye, and of its mitigated glories, and to gather the I can say it of the humblest and the unlineaments of the Godhead in the face of worthiest of you all, that the eye of angels those righteous angels, who have never is upon him, and that his repentance would, thrown away from them the resemblance at this moment, send forth a wave of dein which they were created ; and unable lighted sensibility throughout the mighty as you are to support the grace and the throng of their innumerable legions." majesty of that countenance, before which' the seers and the prophets of other days
As to the wave of delighted sensi. fell, and became as dead men, let us, before we bring this argument to a close,
bility,” we leave the reader to stemit borrow one lesson of him who sitteth on
passage, upon the the throne, from the aspect and the re- whole, is not without considerable
288 merit. The immediate subject of the expression p. 193, and again p. 253, chapter is indeed very absurd, being and if our memory does not deceive
upon the sympathy felt for man in us, inuch oftener. the distant places of the creation." If In point of argument, Dr. Chalmers the Doctor will inform us, upon the has left the question just where he credit of his own experience, that found it. Of his talent indeed as a these inhabitants are all angels, such reasoner, we had formed no very high as“ rejoice in heaven aver the sinner idea, from his former Lectures upon that repenteth,” we will admit this the Evidences of Christianity ; and sympathy as far as he chooses ; but if certainly our opinion will not be they be not ministering spirits, we changed by any thing that we have have no reason for thinking that they discovered in the work before us. It have any more sympathy for us, than is often dificult to discover the meanwe have for them. The Almightying of the separate parts of the work; has not been pleased to reveal to us, but to trace their connexion one with whether they have or not; we are another is wholly impossible. A more therefore justified in concluding, that dislocated, disjointed, incoherent pro- . whether they have or not, is a consi. duction, never yet assumed the title of deration of nighty little consequence a proof.” In arrangement it is as to us, in our present state of existence. defective, as in chastity of language
The remaining Lectures we have and in elegance of taste. carefully read; but whether it be from The most favourable opinion which the inflation of the language, the con- can be expressed of the Doctor's work, fusion of the argument, or the dulness may be given in the language of of our comprehension, certain it is, Shakspeare," that he draws the thread that we can discover no chain of of his verbosity finer than the staple of soning, no connexion of parts, from his argument.” That there are two the beginring to the end. He appears or three brilliant passages, we will at all times happy in the opportunity readily allow; but even these are of sacrificing argument, connexion, overlaid with common place imagery, and often common sense itself, to the more adapted to a school-boy's decla charms of an unmeaning and useless mation, than to a theological disquisicommon place.
tion. We doubt not but that these In his language, Dr. Chalmers suf- Discourses, if delivered with suitable fe s himself to swell into the most in action, might have bad a wonderful flated verbosity, and to indulge in a effect at the British Forum, to the poetical diction which is as repugnant sphere of which, both in style, arguto good taste, as it is perplexing to ment, and taste, they seem to be wongood argument. It is curious to ob- derfully adapted. Meretricious ornaserve the variety of the Doctor's po- ment, and turgid verbosity will ever etical powers in his description only have their admirers; and the Dctor of our earth.
has certainly had his. We do not In p. 98, it is “a puny ball which grudge him the applause which he has Boats its little round."
received; it will not last long, let In p. 112, it is.“ a grain of sand on him make the most of it while it rethe high field of immensity."
mains. It is our duty to protest In p. 200, it is one of the smaller against this neiv-fangled fashion pasgislets which float on the ocean of va- in into a precedent, lest we shald cancy."
be cverwhelmed with a torrent of seIn another place it is a “ twinkling cond hand rhodomontade; and every atom;" in another, a remote and popular preacher, while he imitated solitary monarchy These indeed the errors, should expect the reward are but a few among the flowers with of the celebrated Doctor. which the Doctor has contrived to We have been informed that Dr. adorn our lower world.
Chalmers is himself a modest man, The Doctor is very fond of “ grop- and that he entertains a real disliké ing hés darlling zoety;" we find this to the intolerable puffing with whick
he has been wafted into popular fa- part of the creation, with all the host of
If this be so, we can only ado planetary worlds that move about him, vise the Doctor to beware, not of his utterly extinguished and annihilated, they
would not be missed more than a grain of enemies, but of his friends, for never
sand upon the sea-shore. The space they was a man more injudiciously foisted possess is so exceedingly little in compa. upon the world, before his eloquence rison of the whole, that it would scarce had acquired strength, and his talents make a blank in the creation. The chasm stability. If he ever can be made a
would be imperceptible to an eye that
could take in the whole compass of nature, great or a useful nian, it will not be and pass from one end of the creation to by the flattery of his friends, but by the other ; as it is possible there may be the wholesome discipline of those, such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in whom, probably, he will esteem his creatures which are at present more erenemies.
alted than ourselves. We sce many stars The subject which Di Chalmers by the help of glasses which we do not
discover with our naked eyes; and the has chosen, is one of no common finer our telescopes are, the more still are grandeur and sublimity. How he our discoveries. Huygenius carries this has treated it, we have had the painful thought so far, that he does not think it task of showing, at some length, to impossible there may be stars whose light our readers. We will now show them
is not yet travelled down to us since their
first creation. There is no question but how he ought to have treated it; and the universe has certain bounds set to it; this, not by tiring their patience with but when we consider that is the work of dogmas of rhetoric, but by introducing infinite power, prompted by infinite good. to their notice one of the most perfect pess, with an infinite space to exert itself compositions in the English language, to it?
in, how can our imagination set any bounds on the self-same subject, which we " To return therefore to my first shall make no apologies for presenting thought, I could not but look upon myself to them at full length: and then, after with secret horror, as a being that was not having dwelt on the chastened dignity, worth the smallest regard of one who had and majestic comprehension of an
so great a work under his care and super
intendency. I was afraid of being overAddison; let them return, if they can, looked amidst the immensity of nature, to the meretricious verbosity, and dis- and lost among that infinite variety of jointed rhodomontade of a Chalmers, creatures which in all probability swarm
through all these imnreasurable regions of “ As I was surveying the moon walking matter. in her brightness, and taking her progress “ In order to recover myself from this among the constellations, a thought rose mortifying thought, I considered that it in me which I believe very often perplexes took rise from those narrow conceptions and disturbs men of serious and contem. which we are apt to entertain of the divine plative natures. David himself fell into nature. We ourselves cannot attend to it in that reflection : "When I consider many different objects at the same time. the heavens the work of thy fingers, the If we are careful to inspect some things, moon and the stars which thou hast or. we must of course neglect others. This dained; what is man that thou art mind. imperfection which we observe in our, ful of him, and the son of man that thou selves, is an imperfection that cleaves in regardest bim! In the same manner, some degree to creatures of the highest when I considered that infinite host of
capacities, as they are creatures ; that is, stars, or to speak more philosophically, of beings of finite and limited natures. The suns, which were then shining upon me, presence of every created being is confined with those innumerable sets of piniets or to a certain measure of space, and conseworlds which were moving round their quently his observation is stinted to a cerrespective suns; when I still enlarged the tain number of ohjects. The sphere in idea, and supposed another heaven of suns which we move, and act, and understand, and worlds rising still above this which is of a wider circumference to one creature we discovered, and these still enlightened than another, according as we rise one by a superior firmament of luminaries, above another in the scale of existence. which are planted at so great a distance, But the widest of these our spheres has its that they may appear to the inhabitants of circumference. When therefore we reflect the former as the stars do to us ; in short, on the divine nature, we are so used and while I pursued this thought, I could not accustomed to this imperfection in ourbut reflect on that little insignificant figure selves, that we cannot forbear in some which I myself bore amidst the immensity measure ascribing it to him in whom there of God's works.
is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason “ Were the sun which enlightens thuis indeed assures us that his attributes are
285 infinite; but the poorness of our concep- progress through infinite space with the tions is such that it cannot forbear setting same activity, it would still find itself bounds to every thing it contemplates, un. within the embrace of its Creator, and entil our reason comes again to our succour, compassed round with the immensity of and throws down all those little prejudices the Godhead. While we are in the body, which rise in us unawares, and are natural he is not less present with us, because he to the mind of man.
is concealed from us. O that I knew “We shall therefore utterly extinguish where I might find him ! says Job. “Bethis melancholy thought of our being over- hold i go forward, but he is not there; looked by our Maker in the multiplicity and backward, but I cannot perceive him : of his works and the infinity of those ob- on the left hand where he does work, but jects among which he seems to be inces- I cannot bebold him : he hideth himself santly employed, if we consider in the first on the right hand that I cannot see him.' place that he is omnipresent, and in the In short, reason as well as revelation assecond that he is nwiscient.
sures us, that he cannot be absent from “ If we consider him in his omnipre- us, noiwithstanding lie is undiscovered by sence, his being passes through, actuates and supports the whole frame of nature. “ In this consideration of God AlmighHis creation, and every part of it, is full ty's omnipresence and omniscience, every of him. There is nothing he has made uncomfortable thought vanishes. He canthat is either so distant, so little, or so in- not but regard every thing that has being, considerable, which he does not essentially especially such of his creatures who fear inhabit. His substance is within the sub- they are not regarded by him. He is stance of every being, whether material, privy to all their thoughts, and to that or immaterial, and as intimately present anxiety of heart in particular which is to it as that being is to itself. It would apt to trouble them on this occasion : for be an imperfection in him were lie able to as it is impossible he should overlook any temove out of one place into another, or of his creatures; so we may be confident to withdraw himself from any thing he that he regards with an eye of mercy has created, or from any part of that space
those who endeavour to recommend themwhich is diffased and spread abroad to selves to his notice, and in an unfeigned infinity. In short, to speak of him in the humility of heart think themselves unlanguage of the old philosopher, he is a worthy that he should be mindful of being whose centre is every where, and his them." Addison's Prose Works, vol. iv. circumference no where.
“ In the second place, he is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His omniscience indeed necessarily and naturally Aow's MEDITATION on DEATI. from his omnipresence : le cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in (From the Pious Country Parishioner.) the whole material world, which he thus Deatu! the very thought strikes essentially pervades; and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, me with horror and amazement; but, to every part of which he is thus intimate
alas! the first temporal death is noły united. Several moralists have consi- thing, if compared with the second dered the creation as the Temple of God, eternal one, which must be the sad which he has built with his own hands, state of all who die in their sins. and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered infinite space as
Did death, which is the end of all the receptacle, or rather the habitation of things here, put a period to our beings, the Almighty. But the noblest and most it would be so far from being dreadful exalted way of considering this infinite
to the impenitent, that they would respace, is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the Sensorium of the Godhead. joice at it, as being that which would Brutes and men have their sensorialu, or
rescue them from what they dreadlittle sensoriums, by which they apprebend fully fear, the suffering eternal puthe presence, and perceive the actions of a nishment for their grievous sins and few objects that lie contiguous to them. provocations in this life; but this is 'Their knowledge and observation turn
the tormenting thouglit, that Death within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know presently brings us into a state, which every thing in which he resides, infinite will never, never have an end : Oh! space gives room to infinite knowledge,
how terrible must this be to a person and is as it were an organ to omniscience.
unprepared for this surprişing change! "Were the soul separate from the bo
Why then do I strive to add house te dy, and with one glance of thought should start beyond the bounds of the creation; house, and fiel to field, as if I were sliould it for millions of years continue its
to dwell here for ever? No, no, death
will soon close my eyes, and deprive MEDITATION on JUDGMENT. me of every earthly satisfaction.
(From the sume.) Have you never seen a neighbour die ? Do you not remember how sad AFTER we have passed through the and mournful was the scene ? In a gates of death, we shall be carried little time, his case will be your own; away to the regions of departed spirits, and you are not sure, but it may be in there to be reserved unto the judg: a year, a month, nay this very hour. ment of the great day. Nor is this Remember the thoughts you had upon all, to dwell for a time in a state of a sick bed. What resolutions, what separation ; another day will quickly vows of better obedience did you then come; a day of public accounts, and make! How earnestly did you pray restitution of all things; when the that God would be pleased to grant archangel shall sound his trumpet, you a longer continuance upon earth: and proclaim aloud this universal How fully did you propose to correct summons, “ Arise, ye dead, and come your passions, and strive against the to judgment; arise, and appear before sins to which you were strongly in. the throne of God.” Then shall every clined; and which therefore particu- soul enter again into its proper body; larly endangered your salvation. O and be judged for the things done in Death, how bitter is the remembrance the body, whether they be good or of thee in an impenitent sinner! The bad. All people, high and low, rich bitter gonies of the guilty sinners and poor, from the days of Adam, to mind, give him more exquisite tor- the very end of the world, shall be ments, than the severest pains of his gathered together from every corner disease; and he feels somne tortures of the earth; there all must stand of hell even here on earth: But with before the judgment-seat of Christ, the godly person it is not so. Death and wait for their doom! But oh! may, at first, look frightful, it being with how different expectations ! a violent separation of soul and body; The just shall look up with joy, but the good man having lived piously and clad in the garments of salvation, in expectation of death, has a delight. shall triumphantly sing, “ Let us rei ful prospect beyond the grave, even of joice, for now our redemption drawetka imiportal life and glory; he looks nigh; behold, Christ cometh in the back with pleasure on the dangers he clouds of heaven, and his reward is has happily, escaped, and finds himself with him. Come, Lord Jesus, thou on a sudden surrounded with new and long desire of our hearts; come unknown pleasures and delights. On quickly, thou full delight of our souls; this moment, for aught I know, de- come and satisfy us with thy mercy, pends a happy eternity: 0 then may that we may rejoice before thee all I so number my days as to apply my the days of eternity.” Look yonder, heart unto wisdom! My house, my Oye righteous, where he comes, high farm, my business, have hitherto took in power and majesty, attended with off my niind from providing for death. thousands of his holy angels, who shall But all these possessions must be left: divide his sheep from the goats, and then shall I wring my hands and say, place them on his right hand. I beO that I could live my life over again; hold, methinks, the righteous rising then would I count godliness the with joy and exultation in their faces, greatest gain, and love God's com- as knowing that the reward of all mandments more than gold, yea, than their pious labours draweth near. I much fine gold. I resolve, therefore, hear, methinks, the decisive sentence God being my helper, frequently to of their eternal happiness pronounced, meditate on death, and to act now, as Come, ye blessed of my Father, posI shall wish I had acted, when I come sess the kingdom prepared for you to die. Then shall I be always pre- from the beginning of the world. O pared; and when I cease to live with the unutterable joys their souls shall men, I shall dwell with God, and con- feel, when these heavenly words shall verse with saints and angels in the sound in their ears! joys, which the kingdom of Heaven,