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FOR the purpose of illustrating the nature and triumphs of faith, the apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, records some of the noble deeds of the Old Testament worthies. Among these distinguished believers, Enoch stands pre-eminently conspicuous, as a devoted saint and a favourite of Heaven. By this record we are instructed concerning the manner in which that holy man finished his mortal pilgrimage. It was not by the debilitating progress of disease, that "the earthly house of his tabernacle was dissolved," that he became "absent from the body, and present with the Lord.”
"By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him." Heb. xi, 5. The sentence pronounced upon Adam and his posterity, was suspended in favour of this devoted servant of God. The bitter pains of death were not suffered to afflict him. He endured none of the agonizing pangs of dissolving nature. His gracious Master, whom he had sincerely loved and faithfully served, delivered him from the will of his enemies, and took him from the earth, not permitting his body to become a lifeless, putrid corpse.
His translation was sudden. We have not been favoured with the detailed particulars of his removal: but it is evident, from the several passages of Scripture in which he is mentioned, that it was after some remarkable contest with the infidel blasphemers. He rose in the morning, and by thanksgiving and prayer renewed his vows of self.dedication to God. The spirit of inspiration fell largely upon him, and he went forth to meet the giant chief of the profane unbelievers; and while admonishing them of their wickedness, in persecuting the godly, "a chariot of fire, and horses of fire," appeared in the clouds, — the whirlwind arose,- the murderous designs of his persecutors were disappointed," and Enoch was not found, for God took him," as is believed by wise Christian writers, in a manner visible to many, and perhaps even in the sight of his deadly enemies.
A pious and learned poet supposes, that Enoch, with a party of his adherents, was brought before a chief of the Cainites, who endeavoured to effect his destructicn.
-Anon, with universal cry,
The giant rush'd upon the prophet --"Die!"
The foe was fled, and, self-o'erwhelm'd his strength,
"He was not found," says the inspired writ r: by which it seems manifest, that there was anxious search after him. His friends did not find him; some of whom being weak in faith, and not fully understanding this marvellous dispensation, appear to have sought him around the adjacent country, as "the sons of the prophets" sought for Elijah, during three days, after his translation. 2 Kings ii, 17.
"He was not found" by his enemies. With wicked hands and malicious hearts, they sought him for the
purpose of murdering him, on account of his hated sanctity, and his faithfulness in preaching against their iniquitous courses. As Enoch was the principal patriarch of the world at that time, and a great preacher of righteousness and prophet of the Lord, his disappearance would excite universal surprise and inquiry, especially among the infidels who had not witnessed the miraculous deliverance. But their malignant inquisition after the holy man was in vain, because God had translated him." His Divine Protector concealed him from their murderous hands; not in any lofty secure asylum upon earth, but in mansions of unspeakable felicity near his throne in heaven!
How stung with disappointment, and exasperated at being overcome, the ungodly persecutors must have been, on losing their prey, we can only conjecture; but God was the defence of his surviving servants; and though suffering, he preserved them from betraying his truth or dishonouring their profession.
Still it may be asked, how was Enoch taken to dwell in heaven, since "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God?" On this interesting question, our young friends will find satisfactory_information in the writings of the New Testament. To qualify him for his exalted state of existence, as an inhabitant of the celestial Paradise, his body doubtless underwent an essential change, a transformation, equal to that which it is declared must pass upon those of the righteous, who may be found living upon the earth at the time of the second coming of Christ. "Behold," says the apostle Paul, “I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality." 1 Cor. xv, 51-53.
Considering how greatly we are interested in the awful realities of that day, it seriously becomes us, both as a duty and a privilege, to be living with it in our view. We should all be "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." Tit. ii, 13, 14.
May it be with all, especially our young readers, that "whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord, so that both living and dying we may be the Lord's." Rom. xiv, 8. (To be continued.)
THE CHRISTIAN'S NEW SONG.
"And they sung as it were a new song." Rev. xiv, 3.
Then hasten thy coming! Oh! hasten the day,
Letters to a Mother, upon Education.
Dear Madam, THE present Letter will be devoted to the development and right culture of the moral affections. This subject is of the highest importance; for unless you establish habits of right feeling in the mind of your child, it will be useless to load his understanding with rules. The state of the feelings indeed, constitutes the real character of a human being in all his relations. Whatever he may know, he will generally, and assuredly in the end, act according to what he feels.
How often have we had occasion to observe, that a man may understand what is proper, and declaim upon it very eloquently, while it was evident from his own conduct, that a wide contrariety existed between the perceptions of his understanding and the inclinations of his heart. The utility of rules therefore, as applied to the reasoning faculties, chiefly consists in their tendency to influence and train the affections. Perhaps even the affections themselves are not so properly cultivated by mere didactic lessons, as by presenting to them their appropriate objects, and then, especially in the case of a child, superintending their action.
These observations I shall now endeavour to apply to a variety of topics.
1. Cultivate in your child feelings of universal kindness. A very ample and useful sphere for this duty is afforded by the inferior animals. From the earliest period, teach your child to behave kindly to these helpless creatures. Whenever he witnesses or hears of any act of unkindness towards them, never let it pass without an expression of your disapprobation. Let him be taught very early to exercise beneficent actions towards them, in feeding and protecting them. Let him learn that every animal and every insect is capable of feeling pain or pleasure as well as himself; that each of them has received the precious boon of existence from the hands of the same God who made himself; and that he and they are all equally dependent upon his bounty and protection. I approve of a parent giving a bird, or a dog or cat, where there are every means for its comfort and protection, to a child, who, if he be not at first its feeder, should nevertheless be considered as its owner and protector, and interested in its welfare.
Of course the spirit of this advice utterly prohibits the barbarous amusements of angling, and taking the nests of birds, to which boys are prone. He should be taught, that though fish are given for the use of man, they may be caught by a net, and thus may die without the needless pain inflicted by angling. Let him also know that a parent animal or bird has its paternal feelings. Read to him, when he can understand it, the lovely description of the nightingale in Thomson's Seasons, returning after its brief interval of absence, and finding its nest torn away and gone.
2. For similar purposes, make him your almoner to any deserving beggar or object of charity you may select. Show him that you do not give money or food indiscriminately, but to those whom you know to be distressed, and then endeavour to interest him in their wants and sorrows. Take care, however, that all he pretends to do and to feel is genuine. The habit of kindness will grow up, as gradually as a flower expands its loveliness; but if ever he learns to affect it, because he sees it pleases you, which if you are too evidently zealous he will soon do, then his general sincerity is endangered.
3. Let him especially be taught respectful and considerate attention to servants; to ask their assistance with proper terms, and invariably to thank them audibly; to
recognize their rights; to avoid giving them needless trouble.
4. As he advances in age and strength, he will of course mingle with his equals, and perhaps with his superiors and inferiors, in age, wealth, and station.
His treatment of these three classes will need all your assiduity to regulate. You will of course have uniformly taught him, both by your conduct and language, that the only just causes of respect or of disapprobation, are to be sought in the moral, intellectual, and spiritual attainments of the individual. He will never have heard you praise any one for their wealth or their beauty. He will never witness in you a change of manner to different persons, or a peculiar delight in the society or notice of a noble neighbour. One of the most valuable qualities of a great public school is, in my opinion, that among the boys all those extrinsic circumstances, which the sordid and senseless and worldly part of mankind blindly reverence, are utterly merged. The son of the peer would soon, I apprehend, find himself reminded in a public school, that his father's title or his own, commanded no particular respect. Such indeed is the right feeling which is cultivated, and which pervades those places of education, that for a boy to be particularly assiduous in gaining the acquaintance of another boy of noble birth would soon be noticed, his true motive discerned, and then wo be to the youthful sycophant!
Still, however, owing to the natural inequalities of society, your son must have superiors, equals, and inferiors. Teach him, however, to be the same to all: not dastardly overwhelmed by the presence of a superior, for he will then assuredly be haughty and distant towards his equals, and tyrannical to his inferiors. Labour to make him love truth and honesty, and to abhor flattery, and he will have a noble genuine freedom of manners, which the upper classes of society are well known to approve much more than abject adulation. Lavater has beautifully said in his maxims, dedicated to Fuseli, that he should be on his guard against that man whose manners change upon the introduction of a su perior, or who expresses a wish to be gone when the arrival of such a person is announced. On the contrary, let your son never imagine that he must show his detestation of such meanness and baseness of heart by airs of bluntness or indifference to his superiors. He never will be tempted to do this, if from early life you have taught him to behave himself properly, and in the same mode, and according to truth and honesty, to every person. For a similar reason I should, however, be careful that he did not make a confidant of a person decidedly his inferior; for I should suspect that such a friend might be apt to submit to him, and thus to foster the fatal passion of pride, which would expose him to unfailing mortifications among his equals, and perhaps tend to make him a misanthrope, and a malicious, sullen man.
In a word, teach your son to think for himself. Do not impose on him your judgment, but help him, by the exercise of his own powers, to come to a similar conclusion. Help him to think and reason perpetually on all subjects: then let him act upon his own opinion. Teach him to value things as they are; to value moral, intellectual, and spiritual things supremely and universally; to estimate money, fame, titles, as gifts of God, which demand from the possessor that they all be employed according to the Divine will. Never do or say things which can make him discontented with his own station. Always be yourself cheerful and contented. Teach him at every turn to consider the rights of others, what they will expect, and what they can properly require. Make him very studious of these particulars: teach him that he is not to act in any case because others do so, but only for reasons which he can
NOURISHMENT AND GROWTH OF ANIMALS. "ALL the animals of the creation, as well as the plants, have their original nourishment from these simple materials-earth and water. For all the animal beings which do not live upon other animals, or the produce of them, take some of the vegetables for their food; and thus the beasts of prey are originally indebted to the plants and herbs, i. e. to the earth, for their support, and their drink is the watery element. That all flesh is grass, is true in the literal as well as the metaphorical sense. Does the lion eat the flesh of the lamb? Doth the lamb suck the milk of the ewe? But the ewe is nourished by the grass of the field. Does the kite devour the chicken, and the chicken the little caterpillars or insects of the spring? But these insects are ever feeding on the tender plants and the green products of the ground. The earth moistened with water is the common nurse of all. Even the fishes of the sea are nourished with some green vegetables that spring up there, or by preying on lesser fishes which feed on these vegetables.
"But let us give our meditations a loose on this entertaining subject, and we shall find numerous instances of wonder in this scene of Divine contrivance.
"1. What very different animals are nourished by the same vegetable food! The self-same herbage or fruits of the earth, by the divine law of nature and providence, are converted into animated bodies of very distinct kinds. Could you imagine that half the fowls of the air, as different as they are, from the crow to the titmouse, should derive their flesh and blood from the productions of the same tree, where the swine watches under the boughs of it, and is nourished by the droppings of the fruit? Nor need I stay to take notice what numerous insects find their nests and their food all the summer season from the same apples or apricots, plums or cherries, which feed hogs and crows, and a hundred small birds. Would you think that the black and the brindled kine, with the horses both grey and bay, should clothe themselves with their hairy skins of so various colours, out of the same green pasture where the sheep feeds, and covers himself with his white and woolly fleece; and at the same time the goose is cropping part of the grass to nourish its own flesh, and to array itself with down and feathers? Strange and stupendous texture of the bodies of these creatures! that should convert the common green herbage of the field into their different natures, and their more different clothing. But this leads me to another remark.
"2. What exceeding great diversity is found in the several parts, limbs, and coverings, even of the same creature! An animated body is made up of flesh and blood, bones and membranes, long hollow tubes with a variety of liquors contained in them, together with many strings and tendons, and a thousand other things, which escape the naked sight, and for which anatomy has hardly found a name: yet the very same food is, by the wondrous skill and appointment of the God of nature, formed into all these amazing differences. Let us take an ox to pieces, and survey the wondrous com
position. Besides the flesh of this huge living structure, and the bones on which it is built, what variety of tender coats and humours belong to that admirable organ, the eye! How solid and hard are the teeth which grind the food! How firm the general ligaments that tie the joints of that creature together! What horny hoofs are his support, and with what different sorts of horny weapons has nature furnished his forehead! Yet they are all framed of the same grassy materials! The calf grazes upon the verdant pasture, and all its limbs and powers grow up out of the food to the size and firmness of an ox. Can it be supposed that all these corpuscles, of which the several inward and outward parts of the brute are composed, are actually found in their different and proper forms in the vegetable food?
"Does every spire of grass actually contain the specific parts of the horn and the hoof, the teeth and the tendons, the glands and membranes, the humours and coats of the eye, the liquids and solids, with all their innumerable varieties in their proper and distinct forms? This is a most unreasonable supposition, and vain philosophy. No, it is the wisdom of the God of nature that distributes this uniform food into the several parts of the animal by his appointed laws, and gives proper nourishment to each of them.
"Again, 3dly. If the food of which one single animal partakes be never so various and different, yet the same laws of motion which God has ordained in the animal world, converts them all to the same purposes of nourishment for that creature. Behold the little bee, gathering its honey from a thousand flowers, and laying up the precious store for its winter food. Mark how the crow preys upon a carcass; anon it crops a cherry from the tree; and both are changed into the flesh and feathers of a crow. Observe the kine in the meadows feeding on a hundred varieties of herbs and flowers, yet all the different parts of their bodies are nourished thereby in a proper manner: every flower in the field is made use of to increase the flesh of the heifer, and to make beef for men and out of all these varieties there is a noble milky juice flowing to the udder, which provides nourishment for young children. So near akin is man, the lord of the creation, in respect of his body, to the brutes that are his slaves, that the very same food will compose the flesh of both of them, and make them grow up to their appointed stature. This is evident beyond doubt in daily and everlasting experi ments. The same bread-corn which we eat at our tables will give rich support to sparrows and pigeons, to the turkey and the duck, and all the fowls of the yard: the mouse steals it, and feeds on it in his dark retirements; while the hog in the sty, and the horse in the manger, would be glad to partake. When the poor cottager has nursed up a couple of geese, the fox seizes one of them for the support of her cubs, and perhaps the table of the landlord is furnished with the other to regale his friends.
"Nor is it an uncommon thing to see the favourite lapdog fed out of the same bowl of milk which is prepared for the heir of a wealthy family, but which nature had originally designed to nourish a calf the same milky material will make calves, lap-dogs, and human bodies.
'How various are our dishes at an entertainment? How has luxury even tired itself in the invention of meats and drinks in an excessive and endless variety? Yet when they pass into the common boiler of the stomach, and are carried thence through the intestines, there is a white juice strained out of the strange mixture, called chyle, which from the lacteal vessels is conveyed into the blood, and by the laws of nature is converted into the same crimson liquor. This being
distributed through all the body by the arteries, is further strained again through proper vessels, and becomes the spring of nourishment to every different part of the animal. Thus the God of nature has ordained, that how diverse soever our meats are, they shall first be reduced to a uniform milky liquid, that by new contrivances and divine art, it may be again diversified into flesh and bones, nerves and membranes.
"How conspicuous, and yet how admirable are the operations of Divine wisdom in this single instance of nourishment! But it is no wonder that a God, who could create such astonishing and exquisite pieces of machinery as plants and animals, could prescribe such laws to matter and motion as to nourish and preserve the individuals, as well as to propagate the species through all ages to the end of time.
(To be continued.)
ON THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
No. I.-THE JUSTICE OF GOD.
If we believe that God is the moral governor of the world, and that he observes the conduct of each member of the human family, we cannot but feel convinced from reason and experience that he is also just. Dreadful indeed would man's condition be, were he under the superintendence of a being, who though almighty in power could be swayed by partiality. Where then would be that last resource of persecuted innocence, which is derived from the expectation of a day when true and just judgment shall be administered to all the sons of men? Where then would be the hope of the righteous, which is founded on the conviction that “ God is not a man that he should lie," and that he will do what he hath said, and make good what he hath promised? And from what source could we expect to impress the mind of the sinner with awe, when there was an expectation placed before him of escaping, not only unpunished but rewarded? Happily for us, however, we can prove that our God is just; that is to say, that he will reward every man according to his works, conferring on the righteous the reward which is their due, and overwhelming the sinner in his own iniquity.
In illustration of this, I design to bring forward some few instances in which this attribute of the Almighty has been manifested.
1. The deluge sets before us a terrific example, that the all-wise Ruler of the universe, though long suffering and of great mercy, will eventually whet his glittering sword and come to vengeance. God had made man, and sent him forth into a world where all things worked together for his good; seed-time and harvest returned at their appointed seasons, and the valleys stood so thick with corn, that the voice of joy and thanksgiving was heard among them. One intention only seemed to actuate the whole of creation, and that was to contribute to the happiness of man: were I telling this to some happy spirit, who had never heard of the fall of Adam or the apostacy of the human race, would he not imagine that the being, on whose behalf so much loving-kindness was manifested, spared no pains to return the obligation, but by the strongest and most pleasing testimonies of obedience, witnessed that he felt deeply his Creator's loving-kindness. But what is the true state of the case? Ŏ hear it and blush, ye inhabitants of the earth! This merciful Benefactor of our race, from the habitation of his glory, where he sitteth in heaven over all from the beginning, looked down upon our world, to receive the thanksgiving which is his due. And what did he see? He saw the won
ders of creation, that they were very good: he saw the beasts of the field, that they were fulfilling his commandment he saw the heavenly bodies, that they were performing their revolutions according to his law. But when he looked on man, whom he created lord of the creation, he beheld that he had forsaken the path of duty, and was living in a course of apostacy, idolatry, wickedness, and impiety. O what a sight was this! A parent is grieved at the ingratitude of a child on whom he has lavished many cares; what then must God have thought of the ingratitude of those sinful beings for whom he created a world!
Lamentable was man's condition, nor was it possible that he could escape that curse of the Almighty, which is denounced against all the workers of iniquity. Idols and false deities had estranged the hearts of the people from their Maker, and as they had all gone out of the way and become abominable, he resolved to execute the fierceness of his anger upon them, and prove that he only is the Lord Omnipotent over the whole earth. Compassion now retired, and the loving-kindness of the Lord came to an end. Man deserved punishment, and God failed not to pour it on him. In a few hours the face of the sky was dark with the gathering rain, and the windows of heaven were opened. That world which had smiled so beauteously with the abundance of good things, presented only a wide waste of waters, and the lifeless corpses of the once gay and blasphemous inhabitants of the earth testified that God had whetted his glittering sword and come to vengeance.
But great as was the justice displayed in this act of the Almighty, it did not in my opinion exceed the following instance, which is intimately connected with the former. Though there were millions of disbelievers and men who cared not for God, yet one family, consisting of eight persons, preserved their allegiance, worshipped God in truth, and withstood the proud blasphemy of a world of sinners. Now great as was the destruction brought upon the wicked, this family was not forgotten. God interfered in their behalf, planned a way for their deliverance, and kept them in safety until his wrath had been fulfilled on the rebels: and from them a new world proceeded, and doubtless a far better one. Let us then take encouragement from this and more especially let the young be induced to learn that lesson which it is so well calculated to teach, viz. to stand firm in the ways of godliness, notwithstanding the ridicule of scoffers. Had Noah thought within himself, Why should I stand firm, while all around me have wavered? Surely the opinion of so many must be right?" his name would never have been known, "the waters would have drowned him, and the stream have gone over his soul." But as it is, he is looked upon by all mankind with veneration, as an example for us to profit by.
To this I might add the destruction of Sodom, when the fire-sheet of the Almighty's wrath "laid waste a joyous city, and made of a fenced city a heap." And it would be easy to dwell in terms of rapture on that mercy which would have "spared the city for ten's sake." My purpose now however must be, to declare, that for want of the stipulated number the justice of the Almighty was let loose, and the direst and deepest distress was brought upon the sinners. Yet here also one righteous man was found, and he was saved: yea God stayed for him. He said expressly, I can do nothing until thou art out of the city: and scripture says, that when Lot had entered into Zoar, then the Lord executed his fierce anger on Sodom and its wicked inhabitants.
(To be continued),
THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS.
A strain of wail came stealing through
That droops 'mid tears on Lazarus' tomb? There was a voice that head could raise,
There was an awful summons heard,"The Master's come," and glist'ning rays Athwart the mourner's face appear'd. "He's come, dear sister," gently moan'd A voice less troubless in her ear, "The welcome one, that never frown'd On sorrow, and he seeks us near." And on the weeping sisters went Toward the spot where Jesus stood, Rob'd in his power omnipotent,
In form of man, in spirit God.
Refrig'rant joyous breezes play,
And calm retreat Bethab'ra gave,
And well-belov'd, at Lazarus' grave. And blest believing souls there were, That stood in his redeeming light, The lov'd elect had come to share
His perils in that land of night. Behold him stand; and oft his eyes, That, oh! were softer than the day, With God hold converse in the skies, And sinners gaze their sins away. And now that distant troublous note
Again is heard, and tears are shed, And whisperings again denote
'Tis Mary weeping Lazarus dead. She comes, she sinks low at his feet, One falt'ring wild reproach she moan'd, And sobs his heart-full bosom greet,
And hope grew pale, and Jesus groan'd: "Oh! had'st thou been but tarrying near, Our Lazarus had not then slept, For he in thy affections dear Was held, but now
" and "Jesus wept."
"Where have ye laid him?" and they rise And guide him to the glooming spot, Where Lazarus sepulchred lies
In mortal sleep; and while they note The grief of that mysterious One,
Some doubting cry, "Behold the love He bore for him that now is gone!
Can aught his fruitless woe behove? "And could he not? -Our wond'ring gaze Has seen e'en nature's bearings wean'd From forth their steadfast general ways, To serve his mighty turn conven'd. The lame have leapt, the deaf have heard, The speech-lorn man has sung his praise; E'en death been scar'd at his bare word, Arise, be heal'd, and go thy ways!' "And could he not have caus'd that one So dearly lov'd, should not have died?
Dies so his power, when life is done?
In comfort thou should'st surely see?"
The noiseless space of utmost skies,
And commun'd with His Parent God.
Now quick retreating back they bound,
'Tis Lazarus' self comes struggling forth
That erst from death and sin was free,
Where death comes not, where tears are o'er? What answer greets the rapturous ear?
All this was done, and-ah! what more?