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his Master had declared to be his purpose, “ that repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke xxiv. 47.) Three thousand souls were added to the Church. From a miracle wrought by Peter and John upon a lame man, Peter took occasion again to preach repentance and remission of sins. The Church was increased to 5000. The apostles being brought before the Sanhedrim, Peter with undaunted courage charged upon them the death of Christ, and asserted the great truths which he had before testified to the people. The assembly enjoined silence upon the apostles, but they boldly urged the superiour authority under which they acted; and, returning to their companions, united with them in fervent prayer for courage and success. And their prayers were answered. The falsehood of Ananias and Sapphira was an occasion of impressing the Church with reverence and godly fear. Signs and wonders were wrought in great numbers by the apostles, “ in the name of the holy child Jesus,” and great multitudes were added to the Church. The apostles were committed to prison, and again brought before the Sanhedrim, and this opportunity was seized by St. Peter of again boldly declaring Christ to the great council of the nation. How much is the effect of divine grace upon the mind of this apostle to be admired! He who dared not to avow his Master in the face of a simple maid, now boldly charges home the murder of him upon an enraged assembly, and attests that there is salvation in no other name! The Sanhedrim would have proceeded to violence, but were diverted by the wise counsel of Gamaliel, and contented themselves with causing the apostles to be beaten, and dismissing them with a charge to speak no more in the name of Jesus. “ And they departed,” says the sacred historian, “ from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts v. 41, 42.)
There is something in the picture which the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles draw of the rising church, upon which the mind dwells with singular satisfaction. The simplicity of her doctrines, the faithfulness of her pastors, the subordination of her members, the strictness of their unity, the fervour of their charity, and the purity of their conversation, exhibit the true nature of Christianity. If the scoffer reproach us with the divisions, and disorders, and corruptions of the Church and her members, we will refer him back to this account of what Christianity once was; and we will boldly assert, that this it still is and ever will be, so far as it is in reality received. Our own minds may be perplex. ed and confounded when we enter into the subtle and endless wranglings of after times, and our own hearts sicken at the prostitution of sacred things to every wicked inclination of man, but we will revive ourselves by turning back to drink at the pure fountain of truth and holiness.
The means of propagating the faith have ever been the same
The history of the Church demonstrates, that success has accompanied the preaching of the Gospel, in proportion as the ministers of the Church have held forth the doctrine of the Cross with fidelity and fervour, and her members have adorned it by their charity and purity. And if “ the kingdoms of this world” are to become « the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ,” we must expect it will be accomplished in the same manner. The true obstacle to the spread of the Gospel is the state of the Church; and out of her present state of discord and defilement, she, perhaps, is not to be brought but by “ the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning.” (Is. iv. 4.) But whatever may be necessary to prepare her as a fit instrument for evangelizing the world, and whatever her true members may suffer while she is in the furnace of trial, still they will continue daily and earnestly to pray, “ Thy kingdom come.”
FROM THE SAME,
HEBREW NAMES PECULIARLY DESCRIPTIVE OF PROPERTIES,
IT is a remarkable peculiarity in the Hebrew language, that the names of things are frequently descriptive of their properties. The names of persons also, in that language, are frequently, either memorials of the circumstances that attended their birth, or prophetical of their character, and of the events which befell them or their posterity. This is evident, from the names of the Jewish patriarchs; of David, the beloved; of Solomon, whose reign was typical of the peace that will attend the church triumphant; and of Samuel, who was asked of God in earnest prayer. The name of the first man, Adam, implies that he was formed of the ground; and the 25th verse of the 4th chapter of Genesis, and the 29th verse of the 5th chapter, assign the reasons for giving the names of Seth and Noah. The name of Enoch, who walked with God, signifies dedicated, or instructed; that is, as Parkhurst observes, instructed in the religion and worship of the true God. But in the 5th chapter of Genesis, a still more extraordinary circumstance is observable. For the names of the ten antediluvian patriarchs, taken in succession, express the two grand truths contained in Scripture; the natural misery of man, and his restoration by the death of Jesus Christ. The names, when literally translated, form the following sentence: “ Man made subject to death lamented, the glorious God descending instructed: His death sent to the afflicted, consolation." The first part of the name Mahalaleel, which I translate 6 the glorious God,” is derived from a word that in one sense signifies to shine, or irradiate; and it seems peculiarly applicable to the Son of God, who, in the language of St. Paul, was the “brightness of his glory." It is impossible to believe that the names of the patriarchs were given by chance;
and if the preceding translation of their names is correct, it will be impossible not to believe, that they were given with a prophetical view. If the translation is incorrect, I hope some of your learned correspondents will point out the errour; and possibly many of them may discover similar instances of prophecy, recorded in a succession of scriptural names.
FROM THE SAME.
IT is usual with mathematicians, and some others, who, on every occasion, affect a more than common accuracy, to set out in their inquiries with a list of definitions and axioms. The nature of this paper allows, and indeed demands, an easier mode of composition; not cramped with such rigid formalities, but free to expatiate on its subject in a copious and popular way; though, should it be thought needful, it may be permitted to draw up its forces in the close, compacted form of demonstration. He who would combat such mutable things as vice and errour, that, Proteus like, are perpetually revolving into new shapes, will often find it necessary to change his method of assault. It may not be improper, on the entrance of our present speculation, to lay down the following definition of a free-thinker, with a few words of illustration: I do not mean as the term may be generally understood in the world, but according to a more exact consideration of things themselves. A free-thinker, then, is one who can think as he pleases, or according to the determinations of his will. This definition seems perfectly agreeable to common sense, and to speak for itself. If a man's thoughts be always obedient to his pleasure, or the order of his will, he certainly thinks as freely as it is possible to conceive any one to do: nay, he only thinks freely so far as this is the case; for either he thinks conformably to his will or pleasure, or in contrariety to them, or without any will or pleasure at all, or finally, in a manner compounded of the three together. Now, if a man think in contrariety to his will or pleasure, he certainly is not a freethinker, unless he be so who has lost the government of his thoughts, which for a while are deaf, as it were, to all the commands and orders of his will; and if he think without any determination of his will or pleasure, (if it may be called thinking,) and be only a mere passive subject of ideas and perceptions, he is just as free as a mirrour that reflects a variety of transient images: it therefore evidently follows, that a man is only so far a free-thinker as his thoughts flow in agreement with his will or pleasure. I believe, in the present state, our thinking is of a mixed nature, made up of the three kinds above specified; but yet it is only free in pro
portion as it partakes of the first, viz. as it corresponds with the determinations of our will.
It will appear from the above remarks, that free-thinking, according to the moral disposition of the person, may be good or ill; as a man's pleasure may be to think wrong and wickedly, as well as otherwise. It is not the freeness of our thoughts, which alone is sufficient to constitute them virtuous; something more is requisito to this purpose. A band of robbers, hid in the dark retreats of a forest, may consult very freely how to seize some rich booty they have in prospect; perhaps more so than a cabinet council, when the great concerns of a kingdom claim their consideration; and there is a kind of intellectuai banditti, joined in close confederacy, up and down the world, to plunder the weak and unsettled of all their little remaining stock of reason and virtue, who, in such inglorious schemes, I doubt not, exert their small talents with all the freedom of the greatest philosophers.
A wicked being, or one whose will and pleasure is corrupt, and who naturally delights in what is vile and hurtful, is the more to be dreaded in proportion as his freedom of thought and action is increased. It is happy when the faculties of such a being are clogged in their exercise, chilled with terrours, shackled with fears, or fail in their effect by a want of skill adequate to the malignity of intention. On the other hand, a goor being, whose taste and pleasure is truly virtuous, becomes still better and more lovely by how much his exercises are more free and disencumbered. The opposite motions of each will be the swifter as impediments are removed; the one stiil rising to higher degrees of vir. tue and felicity, the other plunging deeper in iniquity and wretch
A man possessed of great abilities, without a virtuous disposition of heart, is one of the most dangerous creatures in the world, In private life, he is fitted to create suspicion and terrour; as every one connected with him must live under perpetual apprehension, of being duped by his policy or oppressed by his injustice. In the state, he is apt and qualified to be a powerful instrument of tyranny, or, on the other hand, to be a popular incendiary; in seeret cabals, to blow the coals of sedition, and then, like Nero on the top of his palace, to view with infernal triumph the conflagra2012 he has kindled. Such are his pastimes in the affairs of the present life, and these may be styled the innocent sports of his genius, compared with the dreadful evils that mark his steps when he has once set his foot on sacred ground, whether he advance with the gravity of an old philosopher, or with the engaging art and manner of a fine gentleman; for the devil has emissaries of all characters, to suit the various casts and humours of the world.
It is not then a mere freedom of thought, simply considered, Which has in it any thing valuable, or which confers any virtue or ugnity on the possessour: on the contrary, if the person be of an
moral character, such a freedom can only serve to render him be more base and detestable: it adds wings, as it were, to his im
Vol. 1.-No, I.
piety, and enables him with a towering pride to brave heaven, who might else have passed his days a humble reptile of the earth. A wicked free-thinker is like some hardened villain, who, neither awed by fear nor shame, follows, without check, every purpose which a heart dead to all virtuous feeling can suggest. This, the young adventurer has not attained; he finds his want of freedom and self-command on the point of some dangerous enterprise; his tongue falters when he would cry “ Stand;” his hand trembles, and he almost forgets the sad business in which he is engaged. But the veteran has shaken off these slavish fears; he will take your purse, and then calmly demonstrate that he has done you no injury. It is evident this last is more of a free-thinker, and actor too; but certainly not a better man.
How many years have some persons of pregnant genius and unwearied diligence been in learning the art and mystery of freethinking, and yet could never attain their unhappy purpose, till they had silenced conscience, and extinguished every spark of true virtue!
“What!” you will say then, “are there no virtuous free-thinkers?” Yes; such are all the myriads that people the celestial regions, whose wise and holy thoughts know nothing of the least constraint, flowing in perfect unison with the steady determination of their will, which invariably points unto HIM who is the origin and end of all, the centre of perfection and happiness. But I need not send you to the skies; such free-thinkers there are on earth; men endued from heaven with a spirit of true freedom; now indeed, in the present imperfect state, clogged in its exertion innumerable ways, which makes them, not seldom, with a degree of impatience, long for the perfect liberty of the sons of GOD. It would not be surprising if some persons should ask, “ Pray, sir, what is this new sect of free-thinkers you speak of? at least it is new to us; we remember never to have read or heard of them, and should be glad of information.” It would be ill manners indeed, not to answer so civil a question; and that I may satisfy, in some measure, such fair inquirers touching this uncommon scct, I shall give a few lineaments of their character, hoping it will invite them, in a sedate hour, to trace it with greater accuracy. They are not a credulous generation, as some would draw them; simple creatures, that be. lieve every word; but, as wise men, they look well to their going: of searching, inquisitive spirits, they try all things, that they may find and hold fast that which is good: men of impartial minds, who accept not persons in judgment, but hear the small as well as the great; considering, that as the latter are not always wise, so, whatever the world may think, there are wise men, the lustre of whose understanding is hid in the shade of poverty: they burn with a supreme love of truth, insomuch that they will buy it at any rate, and sell it not, being apprized of its inestimable worth, counting it infinitely more precious than rubies, and that nothing is toxin be compared with it: and what some will hardly credit, they are men of reason, willing to have their principles and practices can- ;