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to believe what we cannot under THERE is no affection of mind stand ? more becoming man than humili- ' To answer these questions, ty. To produce an impressive which comprise the substance of sense of our ignorance and weak- what was ever objected to the ob. Dess appears to be the design, for scure doctrines of the scriptures. which the volume of nature is O- it may be necessary to inquire in pened for our inspection. Wher to the nature of a mystery, and Ever we turn our eyes, we be- consider what reason there is to hold the footsteps of him who do- expect mysteries in revelation, on the wonders, and whose ways are what ground and how far we can unsearchable ; and in proportion assent to them, and what influence as we examine the works of the the belief of them can have in Most High with attention and can- forming our moral characters. dour, shall we become sensible of Mystery, according to its derive the limited powers of our minds, ation, signifies only something be clothed with humility, and thus hidden or secret, and thus may be be disposed for the implicit recep- applied either to a truth, which tion of revealed truth.
was once unknown, but is now reBut pride is natural to man; and vealed to us, or to one which is at one of the most common and at the present concealed from our view. same time, absurd ways, in which In the former sense it is generally, it operates, is in requiring that ev. if not always used in the New Tesa ery doctrine of revelation, which tament. Thus must we unders is proposed for our belief, should stand the words of Christ to his be completely on a level with our disciples, “unto you it is given ta understanding. This spirit is know the mysteries (the truths common, for how often do we hear once hidden) of the kingdom of unbelievers object to the scrip- heaven." In this sense also St: tures, that they are filled with mys- Payl uses the word when asserta teries, of which they can have no ing the resurrection of the dead : conception ; and how frequently “Behold, I show you a mystery ; do accommodating christians ei- we shall not all sleep, but we shall ther explain away the mysteries all be changed.” of the gospel, or assert that the But, in common use at the belief of them is of little importo present time, mystery signifies ance? The conduct of both these something, which is involved in classes of men is absurd, for it is obscurity, and transcends our founded upon the assumption that comprehension. It is not howevit is irrational to believe a myste er, as some suppose, synonimous ry, and that we ought not to ex- with absurdity. The difference pect any mysteries in the word of between the terms consists in this, God, although we constantly be that the former indicates some hold them in his works.
thing, which is only above our We often hear it asked, "since comprehension, while the latter Bo truth is important, but as it has denotes something absolutely ininfluence in forming our moral consistent with some of our clearcharacter, of what importance can est ideas. To suppose a man of be the assent to mysteries, and the common strength of men carhow can it consist with the justice rying the earth upon his shoulders of God, that he should require us is absurd ; but to suppose the
mind to exist, unconnected with which are now unintelligible, may the body, is only mysterious. then be viewed in the light of noon
The obscurity of an object is day? owing to different circumstances, Our senses make us acquainted to its remote situation, to a want of with the existence of many obtransparency in the medium, or to jects, whose manner of existence defect in the organs of sight. is involved in mystery. A ray of There is nothing dark and incom- light strikes the eye. But the naprehensible in itself, for whatever ture of light and the mode in exists may be seen as it is by a which it is diffused are unknown. being, endued with proper powers. We plant an acorn. It swells, In the darkness of night every ob- and shoots forth the roots and ject may be invisible to man, on stem ; it increases in dimensions account of the peculiar structure till it becomes a majestic oak, the of his eye ; but it is not so with all monarch of the forest. But by animals, for then do the beasts of what secret means this process is the forest creep forth, and the young advanced, is now as mysterious as lions roar after their prey. On the ever, notwithstanding all the re. other hand, when the sun ariseth, searches of philosophers. they gather themselves together, We may also be made acquaintand lay them down in their dens ; ed with mysteries by consciousbut man goeth forth to his work. ness. We know that we exist :
Every thing is mysterious in but how humiliating to pride, is proportion to our ignorance. How every attempt to explain the mode overwhelming to the reason of his of our existence ? We know that unlearned spectators must have we think, but the nature of been the first ascent of Montgol, thought is unknown. We are fier in his balloon ? But what was conscious of a continual succesthen wonderful and incomprehen- sion of ideas in the mind, but the sible, was no longer mysterious, cause and manner of this succes. when they were made acquainted sion are beyond our comprehen. with the principle, by the applica. sion. tion of which he was enabled to Belief of mysteries may be take his flight. Thus, by the ex- founded upon reason. Our own tension of our knowledge will understanding convinces us of the mysteries be unravelled and ob- existence of God; but how is evesturities made clear. In our ry faculty of the soul bewildered present state of imperfection ma. by the consideration of an uncausny truths are hedged about with ed, eternal Being, who is limited insuperable difficulties. We can- by no space, and whose eye pene. not advance a single step toward trates at the same instant the a full acquaintance with any sub. past, present, and future, all the ject, but we meet a thousand obevents which take place in the ustructions. The higher we as, niverse, all the thoughts of the .cend the mountain, the more ex. host of intelligent creatures? We tensive is our prospect, and the believe that nothing exists but by inore numerous are the objects the permission and disposal of a which just glimmer on the sight. wise and holy God. Why then But may we not hope, that in the was moral evil permitted, and fotore world the vast powers of why is this world so full of briour minds may be perpetually en. ars and thorns, of disappointment, larging, and that many truths sorrow, and anguish ? Clouds and
darkness are round about the Most are compelled to admit them eveHigh, but however mysterious his ry moment of our lives. ways may appear, we have assur: We cannot believe any doctrine, ance that righteousness and judg- objectors say, farther than we unment are the habitation of his throne, derstand it. This is true in one
While the works and the na- sense, for we cannot believe any ture of God are thus full of myste- proposition, of the meaning of ries, we must expect mysteries al- whose terms we are ignorant. so in his word. To demand that But there is a wide difference betruths respecting the invisible tween believing a truth, and underworld should be perfectly clear standing every thing respecting and intelligible, while we can com- it. I may be convinced that water prehend nothing, which is subject is dissolved in air, or salt in water, to the cognizance of our senses, is without conceiving how the soluan absurdity too monstrous to be tion is effected. In assenting to attributed to any one in the healthy a mysterious doctrine of revelaexercise of his understanding. tion the object of belief is a propoYet of this absurdity are men fre- sition, whose terms we underquently guilty. Were we requir- stand ; and the ground, on which ed to explain what is inexplicable, we are persuaded of the connection to comprehend what is incompre- between the terms, is the testimohensible, or to believe what is in- ny of God. A confidence in his credible, we should have reason to veracity and in the truth of what complain of injustice. But no he reveals is religious faith. such injunctions ever were r can Now, there is no doctrine of the be laid upon us. Our relation to bible more incomprehensible or our Creator only demands that, incredible in itself, than the simple with respect to those truths, which proposition that, the sun shines. I are beyond the reach of reason, we have clear ideas of these terms, but give that credit to the testimony of their connection, of the manner of God, which in other instances in which the sun shines, I have no we give to the testimony of our conception. The proof of the propsenses. Were we under no obli- osition may depend upon sense, or gation to believe a mysterious doc- reason, or the testimony ofa friend. trine of the scriptures merely be- We know also the meaning of the cause we could not fully under- terms, by which a doctrine of revstandit, nordiscover allits bearings elation is asserted; and the conand relations ; then are we under nection between them is establishno obligatian to believe that there ed by the testimony of God. is a God, and consequently are not Those, who reject this testimony, obliged to love and obey him; then must answer for it to their Maker. might we be innocent atheists, and The influence, which the belief blameless robbers. On this prin- of a mysterious doctrine may have ciple the foundations of morality upon our minds, is 100 evident to would be destroyed. But it must need illustration. The seaman unquestionably be our duty to be may spread his sail to the wind, lieve implicitly whatever God hath although he is ignorant, whence it revealed, however mysterious, and cometh, and be may be guided however it may mock the efforts through the pathless deep by the of intellect to comprehend it. For assistance of the needle, the cause mysteries are not incredible. We of whose polar direction he is una. meet them every step we take, and ble to discover. Thus inay the
Vol. I. No, 2.
perishing sinner rely for strength the person saved in it was so called. upon the Spirit of God, whose op- All the mysteries of the gen. erations are secret, and fly for ref- tile religion seem to have been uge to a divine Saviour, although memorials of the deluge, and of he comprehends not the inanner, events connected wiih it. They in which God was manifest in the consisted principally of a melanflesh.
W. choly process, were celebrated
with torches in the night, enible. PROOFS OF THE UNIVERSAL NELUGE. matick of the darkness in the ark.
No. 2. After tre oath had been tendered, One of the most superb tem- saith the Orphic Argonautica, we ples of antiquity was at Cabeira in commemorated the sad necessity, Armenia. Strabu, describing it, by which the carth was reduced to calls it the temple of Meen, and its chaotick state. We then cel. says that this and many others ebrated Chronus, through whom are temples of the Lunar God. the world, after a term of darkness, He mentions these temples in enjoyed again a pure and serene Phrygia, and Albania, in Pisidia, sky. Osiris, according to Plus and Syria. He styles them tem: tarch, entered the arch on the sevples of the Lunar Deity of the ark. enteenth day of the month A. Euzebius describes an Arkite na. thyr, the second month after tion east of Babylonia.
the autumnal equinox. This, if I • The veneration, in which the mistake not, saith the learned Brydove has been holden by many na ant, was the precise month and tions, may doubtless be viewed, as day of the month, on which Noah a memorial of the dove, Noah entered the ark, Gen. vii. 11. « In sent from the ark. Clemens A- the second month, the seventeenth lexandrinus informs us that the day of the month, in the selfsame Syro-Phenicians paid the same day entered Noah into the ark.” reverence to doves, that the peo- A colony of Armonians settled ple of Elis did to Jupiter. Lucian in Thrace, and in these regions relates that they are the only bird, are evident trallitions of the flood. not eaten at Hierapolis, being es. The Danube was once called the teemed sacred. The ancient coins river of Noah, Da-Naubus. Da of Eryx had on one side the sacred is a particle. Herodotus calls it dove.
the river of Noah without the preHieroglyphicks, referring to the fix. V. Flaccus calls it Noa. By delu re, are found in China and those, who live on its banks, it is Japan, at the present day. The now called Da-Nau. Indians greatly reverence a per- Juno was the same with Jonah, son, who was evidently Noah. which was the dove. Hence Iris Like several other nations they or the rainbow was her concomi. consider his coming out of the tant. This was doubtless the ·ark, as a resurrection or second bow, which God made a sign in birth. They say he made him the heavens, a token that he would self a passage through the side of never again drown the world. his mother. A writer just quoted Ilomer probably alludes to this ansays, There is a cast of Indians, cient covenant. Illiad, 11. ver. 27, who are disciples of Boutas, whom " Like to the bow, which Jove amiil the clouds they respect, as a God. The term Placed, as a roken to desponding man." Boutas related to the ark, signify. In ancther place he conveys a ing, a floating machine ; her.ce similar thought, Illiad 17, ver. 547.
"jut, as when Jove mid the high heavens worshipped at Memphis, Heliopo. " His bon my rions for a lasting sign." lis, and other places. For the
The sacred ship of Egypt was same reason the cow or heifer was called Baris, another name for the worshipped at Chusa and other ark; but signified a covenant. cities. The worship of calves This was also the name, by which among the Israelites is known to Ararat was sometimes known as all. These creatures were made well, as the temple of the ark on to represent, not only the person, that mountain.
or persons, who had been such The Doc Nonous has a remark. benefactors ; but the vessel in ble allusion to the deluve in the which they had been preserved. character of Beroe ;
This vessel was described, as a
crescent, and called Theba, Baris, • Lost in We clorm of night sad Beroe lay,
But or shork of tiers de chotick veil. Argus. In consequence these . And to ear in to light. She first untarrid terms, and the name of an ox or hier trir" diy window to the auspicious
"Ibull became synonimous. The " Returning from the sea.”
Syrians venerated the cow. The As all the events of old were etymologists, who have commentrepresented by hieroglyphicks, it ed on their works, say, “ The sa. is not strange that different em- cred heifir of the Surians was no blems were employed by different other, than Theba, the ark." “ The dations for the same thing. The ark among the Syrians is styled bo. ark was described by various sym- U8, a cow,” or ox. Among the sigbols. In a fragment of the Or- nifications of bous or bos, the ox, phic poetry it is called a hive. Hesychius mentions Baris and * Let us celebrate the hive of Ve Argos, which are two names of nus, which rose from the sea, that the ark. According to Eustathihise of many names : the mighty us, the Tauric nations were so fountain, whence all kings are de- called from Taurus, a bull, the scended ; whence all the winged emblem of the great husbandman and immortal loves were again Osiris, which is a name of Noah. produced.”
Kircher has given a plate of a PamNot only ships, but cups in philian obelisk with the Egyptian form of boats, were esteemed as Apis, his hornes in the form of the sacred, introduced only at festivals moon, and on his back the mystick and solemn occasions. It was dove, its wings low expanded. said, that Hercules traversed the The city Tours in France is said cean in such a cup or skiff. to have been named from Taurus, Hence these cups were referred a bull, which was an emblem of a to Hercules. It is said by Q. Cur- ship. O:her instances of ancient tius, that Alexander, at the feast sculpture, referring to the same of Thessalus, before he had finish- subject, are found in Europe, in ed the cup or scyphus Herculeus India, in China, in Japan, and groaned, as if pierced with a dart, Easter Island in the Pacifick (). and was carried out half dead. cean. Dago and Taurio are the
It is said in Genesis, that Noah names of two carved stones in this became a husbandman. This island. character is religiously preserved Near the base of mount Liba-in all the ancient histories of E- nus stood the city Arka ; on the gypt. Hence probably the ox, so summit was a temple of Venus Essential to husbandry, became a Archilis ; the religious rites were symbol of the patriarch, and was introduced by a people called Ar