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THERE is no affection of mind more becoming man than humility. To produce an impressive sense of our ignorance and weakness appears to be the design, for which the volume of nature is opened for our inspection. Wherever we turn our eyes, we behold the footsteps of him who doeth wonders, and whose ways are unsearchable; and in proportion as we examine the works of the Most High with attention and candour, shall we become sensible of the limited powers of our minds, be clothed with humility, and thus be disposed for the implicit reception of revealed truth.

But pride is natural to man; and one of the most common and at the same time, absurd ways, in which it operates, is in requiring that every doctrine of revelation, which is proposed for our belief, should be completely on a level with our understanding. This spirit is common, for how often do we hear unbelievers object to the scriptures, that they are filled with mysteries, of which they can have no conception; and how frequently do accommodating christians either explain away the mysteries of the gospel, or assert that the belief of them is of little importance? The conduct of both these classes of men is absurd, for it is founded upon the assumption that it is irrational to believe a mystery, and that we ought not to expect any mysteries in the word of God, although we constantly behold them in his works.

We often hear it asked, 'since no truth is important, but as it has influence in forming our moral character, of what importance can be the assent to mysteries, and how can it consist with the justice of God, that he should require us

to believe what we cannot understand?'

To answer these questions, which comprise the substance of what was ever objected to the ob scure doctrines of the scriptures, it may be necessary to inquire into the nature of a mystery, and consider what reason there is to expect mysteries in revelation, on what ground and how far we can assent to them, and what influence the belief of them can have in forming our moral characters.

Mystery, according to its deriv ation, signifies only something hidden or secret, and thus may be applied either to a truth, which was once unknown, but is now revealed to us, or to one which is at present concealed from our view. In the former sense it is generally, if not always used in the New Tes tament. Thus must we understand the words of Christ to his disciples, "unto you it is given to know the mysteries (the truths once hidden) of the kingdom of heaven." In this sense also St. Paul uses the word when asserting the resurrection of the dead; "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."

But, in common use at the present time, mystery signifies something, which is involved in obscurity, and transcends our comprehension. It is not however, as some suppose, synonimous with absurdity. The difference between the terms consists in this, that the former indicates something, which is only above our comprehension, while the latter denotes something absolutely inconsistent with some of our clearest ideas. To suppose a man of the common strength of men carrying the earth upon his shoulders is absurd; but to suppose the

mind to exist, unconnected with the body, is only mysterious.

The obscurity of an object is owing to different circumstances, to its remote situation, to a want of transparency in the medium, or to defect in the organs of sight. There is nothing dark and incomprehensible in itself, for whatever exists may be seen as it is by a being, endued with proper powers. In the darkness of night every object may be invisible to man, on account of the peculiar structure of his eye; but it is not so with all animals, for then do the beasts of the forest creep forth, and the young lions roar after their prey. On the other hand, when the sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens; but man goeth forth to his work.

which are now unintelligible, may then be viewed in the light of noon day?

Every thing is mysterious in proportion to our ignorance. How overwhelming to the reason of his unlearned spectators must have been the first ascent of Montgolfier in his balloon? But what was then wonderful and incomprehensible, was no longer mysterious, when they were made acquainted with the principle, by the application of which he was enabled to take his flight. Thus, by the extension of our knowledge will mysteries be unravelled and obscurities made clear. In our present state of imperfection many truths are hedged about with insuperable difficulties. We cannot advance a single step toward a full acquaintance with any subject, but we meet a thousand obstructions. The higher we ascend the mountain, the more extensive is our prospect, and the more numerous are the objects which just glimmer on the sight. But may we not hope, that in the foture world the vast powers of our minds may be perpetually enlarging, and that many truths

Our senses make us acquainted with the existence of many objects, whose manner of existence is involved in mystery. A ray of light strikes the eye. But the nature of light and the mode in which it is diffused are unknown. We plant an acorn. It swells, and shoots forth the roots and stem; it increases in dimensions till it becomes a majestic oak, the monarch of the forest. But by what secret means this process is advanced, is now as mysterious as ever, notwithstanding all the researches of philosophers.

We may also be made acquainted with mysteries by consciousness. We know that we exist; but how humiliating to pride, is every attempt to explain the mode of our existence? We know that we think, but the nature of thought is unknown. We are conscious of a continual succession of ideas in the mind, but the cause and manner of this succes. sion are beyond our comprehension.

Belief of mysteries may be founded upon reason. Our own understanding convinces us of the existence of God; but how is every faculty of the soul bewildered by the consideration of an uncaus ed, eternal Being, who is limited by no space, and whose eye penetrates at the same instant the past, present, and future, all the events which take place in the universe, all the thoughts of the host of intelligent creatures? We believe that nothing exists but by the permission and disposal of a wise and holy God. Why then was moral evil permitted, and why is this world so full of briars and thorns, of disappointment, sorrow, and anguish ? Clouds and

are compelled to admit them every moment of our lives.

We cannot believe any doctrine, objectors say, farther than we understand it. This is true in one sense, for we cannot believe any proposition, of the meaning of whose terms we are ignorant. But there is a wide difference between believing a truth, and understanding every thing respecting it. I may be convinced that water is dissolved in air, or salt in water, without conceiving how the solution is effected. In assenting to a mysterious doctrine of revelation the object of belief is a proposition, whose terms we understand; and the ground, on which we are persuaded of the connection between the terms, is the testimony of God. A confidence in his veracity and in the truth of what he reveals is religious faith.

Now, there is no doctrine of the bible more incomprehensible or incredible in itself, than the simple proposition that, the sun shines. I have clear ideas of these terms, but of their connection, of the manner in which the sun shines, I have no conception. The proof of the proposition may depend upon sense, or reason, or the testimony of a friend. We know also the meaning of the terms, by which a doctrine of revelation is asserted; and the connection between them is established by the testimony of God. Those, who reject this testimony, must answer for it to their Maker.

The influence, which the belief of a mysterious doctrine may have upon our minds, is too evident to need illustration. The seaman may spread his sail to the wind, although he is ignorant, whence it cometh, and he may be guided through the pathless deep by the assistance of the needle, the cause of whose polar direction he is unable to discover. Thus may the

darkness are round about the Most High, but however mysterious his ways may appear, we have assurance that righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. While the works and the nature of God are thus full of mysteries, we must expect mysteries also in his word. To demand that truths respecting the invisible world should be perfectly clear and intelligible, while we can comprehend nothing, which is subject to the cognizance of our senses, is an absurdity too monstrous to be attributed to any one in the healthy exercise of his understanding. Yet of this absurdity are men frequently guilty. Were we required to explain what is inexplicable, to comprehend what is incomprehensible, or to believe what is in credible, we should have reason to complain of injustice. But no such injunctions ever were or can be laid upon us. Our relation to our Creator only demands that, with respect to those truths, which are beyond the reach of reason, we give that credit to the testimony of God, which in other instances we give to the testimony of our senses. Were we under no obligation to believe a mysterious doctrine of the scriptures merely because we could not fully understand it, nordiscover allits bearings and relations; then are we under no obligatian to believe that there is a God, and consequently are not obliged to love and obey him; then might we be innocent atheists, and blameless robbers. On this principle the foundations of morality would be destroyed. But it must unquestionably be our duty to believe implicitly whatever God hath revealed, however mysterious, and however it may mock the efforts of intellect to comprehend it. For mysteries are not incredible. We meet them every step we take, and Vol. I. No. 2. 1

perishing sinner rely for strength upon the Spirit of God, whose operations are secret, and fly for refuge to a divine Saviour, although he comprehends not the manner, in which God was manifest in the flesh. W.


ONE of the most superb temples of antiquity was at Cabeira in Armenia. Strabo, describing it, calls it the temple of Meen, and says that this and many others are temples of the Lunar God. He mentions these temples in Phrygia, and Albania, in Pisidia, and Syria. He styles them temples of the Lunar Deity of the ark. Eusebius describes an Arkite nation east of Babylonia.

The veneration, in which the dove has been holden by many nations, may doubtless be viewed, as a memorial of the dove, Noah sent from the ark. Clemens Alexandrinus informs us that the Syro-Phenicians paid the same reverence to doves, that the people of Elis did to Jupiter. Lucian relates that they are the only bird, not eaten at Hierapolis, being esteemed sacred. The ancient coins of Eryx had on one side the sacred dove.

the person saved in it was so called.

All the mysteries of the gentile religion seem to have been memorials of the deluge, and of events connected with it. They consisted principally of a melancholy process, were celebrated with torches in the night, emblematick of the darkness in the ark. After the oath had been tendered, saith the Orphic Argonautica, we commemorated the sad necessity, by which the earth was reduced to its chaotick state. We then celebrated Chronus, through whom the world, after a term of darkness, enjoyed again a pure and serene sky. Osiris, according to Plutarch, entered the arch on the seventeenth day of the month Athyr, the second month after the autumnal equinox. This, if I mistake not, saith the learned Bryant, was the precise month and day of the month, on which Noah entered the ark, Gen. vii. 11. "In the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, in the selfsame day entered Noah into the ark.”

A colony of Armonians settled in Thrace, and in these regions are evident traditions of the flood. The Danube was once called the river of Noah, Da-Naubus. Da is a particle. Herodotus calls it the river of Noah without the prefix. V. Flaccus calls it Noa. By those, who live on its banks, it is now called Da-Nau.

Hieroglyphicks, referring to the deluge, are found in China and Japan, at the present day. The Indians greatly reverence a person, who was evidently Noah. Like several other nations they consider his coming out of the ark, as a resurrection or second birth. They say he made himself a passage through the side of his mother. A writer just quoted says, There is a cast of Indians, who are disciples of Boutas, whom they respect, as a God. The term Boutas related to the ark, signifying, a floating machine; hence

Juno was the same with Jonah, which was the dove. Hence Iris or the rainbow was her concomitant. This was doubtless the bow, which God made a sign in the heavens, a token that he would never again drown the world. Homer probably alludes to this ancient covenant. Illiad, 11. ver. 27,

"Like to the bow which Jove amid the clouds Placed, as a token to d'esponding man”

In another place he conveys a similar thought, Illiad 17, ver. 547.

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worshipped at Memphis, Heliopolis, and other places. For the same reason the cow or heifer was worshipped at Chusa and other cities. The worship of calves among the Israelites is known to These creatures were made to represent, not only the person, or persons, who had been such benefactors; but the vessel in which they had been preserved. This vessel was described, as a crescent, and called Theba, Baris, Argus. In consequence these terms, and the name of an ox or

bull became synonimous. The Syrians venerated the cow. The etymologists, who have commented on their works, say, "The sacred heifer of the Syrians was no other, than Theba, the ark." "The ark among the Syrians is styled bous, a cow," or ox. Among the significations of bous or bos, the ox, Hesychius mentions Baris and Argos, which are two names of the ark. According to Eustathius, the Tauric nations were so called from Taurus, a bull, the emblem of the great husbandman Osiris, which is a name of Noah. Kircher has given a plate of a Pamphilian obelisk with the Egyptian Apis, his hornes in the form of the moon, and on his back the mystick dove, its wings low expanded. The city Tours in France is said to have been named from Taurus, a bull, which was an emblem of a ship. Other instances of ancient sculpture, referring to the same subject, are found in Europe, in India, in China, in Japan, and Easter Island in the Pacifick Ocean. Dago and Taurio are the names of two carved stones in this island.

Near the base of mount Libanus stood the city Arka; on the summit was a temple of Venus Architis; the religious rites were introduced by a people called Ar

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