Imágenes de páginas



(Continued from p. 182.)

Perhaps it may not be amiss to follow a track of pleasing amusements, which by a very easy and natural inference arises from the subject in hand, and which was very happily represented in a late conversation among some of the great and the wise. Theron, a man of wealth and figure, but unacquainted with philosophic science, sat in the midst of his friends of both sexes, in a stately room with rich variety of furniture. Among other conversation, Theron was complaining that he had heard it often said, how much we were all indebted to the country and the plough; but for his part, he knew no obligation that we had to that low rank of mankind, whose life is taken up in the fields, the woods, and the meadows, but that they paid their rents well that the gentlemen might live at their case. Crito was pleased to seize the occasion, and entertained the gay audience with a surprising lecture of philosophy.

"Permit me, Theron, said he, to be an advocate for the peasant, and I can draw up a long account of particulars, for which you are indebted to the fields and the forest, and to the men that cultivate the ground and are engaged in rural business. Look around you on all the elegant furniture of the room, survey your own clothing, cast your eyes on all the splendid array of Therina, and Persis, and the other ladies near them, and you will find, that except a few glittering stones, and a little gold and silver, which was dug out of the bowels of the earth, you can scarcely see any thing that was not once growing green upon the ground, through the various labours of the planter and the ploughman. Whence came the floor you tread on, part whereof is inlaid with wood of different colours whence these fair pannels of wainscot, and the cornice that encompasses and adorns the room -Whence this lofty roof of cedar and the carved ornaments of it? Are they not all the spoils of the trees of the forest? Were not these once the verdant standards of the grove or the mountain? What are your hangings of gay tapestry? Are they not owing to the fleece of the sheep, which borrowed their nourishment from the grass of the meadows? Thus the finery of your parlour once was grass; and should you favour ine with a turn into your bed-chamber, I could show you that the curtains and the linen, and the costly coverings where you take your nightly repose, were some years ago all growing in the field.

"But I need not retire from the room where we are seated, to give you abundant discoveries of this truth. Is not the hair of camels a part of the materials which compose those rich curtains which hang down by the window, and the easy chairs which accommodate your friends? And if you think a little you will find, that camels with their hair were made of grass, as well as sheep and their wool. I confess the chimney and the coals, with the implements of the hearth, the brass and iron, were dug out of the ground from their beds of different kinds, and you must go below the surface of the earth to fetch them but what think you of these nice tables of mosaic work? They confess the forest their parent. What are the books which lie in the window, and the little implements of paper and wax, pens and wafers, which I presume may be found in the escrutoire? And may I not add to these that inch of wax candle, which stands ready to seal a letter, or perhaps to light a pipe,-you must grant they have all the same original, they were once mere vegetables. Paper and books owe their being to the tatters of linen, which was woven of the threads of flax or hemp the

pasteboard covers are composed of paper, and the leather is the skin of the calf that drew its life and sustenance from the meadows: the pen that you write with was plucked from the wing of the goose, which lives upon the grass of the common; the inkhorn was borrowed from the front of the grazing ox; the wafer is made of the paste of the bread corn; the sealing wax is said to be formed chiefly of the gum of a tree; and the wax for the candle is originally plundered from the bee, who stole it out of a thousand flowers. Permit me, ladies, said the philosopher, to mention your dress: too nice a subject indeed for a scholar to pretend any skill in it; but I persuade myself your candour will not resent my naming the rich materials, since I leave those more important points, the fashion and the air, to be decided entirely by your superior skill. Shall I inquire, then, who gave Persis the silken habit which she wears; did she not borrow it from the worm, that spun those shining threads? And whence did the worm borrow it but from the leaves of the mulberry tree, which was planted and nourished for this purpose by the country swain? May I ask again, how came Therina by those ornaments of fine linen which she is pleased to appear in, and the costly lace of Flanders that surrounds it? Was it not all made of the stalks of flax, that grew up in the field like other vegetables? And are not the finest of your muslins owing to the Indian cotton tree? Nor can you tell me, Theron, one upper garment you have, whether coat, cloak, or night-gown, from your shoulders to your very feet, as rich and as new as you think it, which the sheep or the poor silk-worm had not worn before you. It is certain the beaver bore your hat on his skin; that soft fur was his covering before it was yours; and the materials of your very shoes, both the upper part and the soles of them, covered the calf or the heifer before they were put on your feet all this was grass at first, for we have seen that all the animal world owes its being to vegetables.

"The company seemed strangely surprised, and thought they had been led into fairy land; they imagined theinselves decoyed into the midst of enchantment, while their fancy roved through all these transformations. Yet the discourse seemed to carry such evidence and conviction with it, that though they retained their wonder they could not withhold their assent.

"When Crito had given them leave to muse a little, he took up the argument again. Give me leave, madam, said he to Therina, without offence, to lead you into further wonders. You have seen that the furniture of the place where we are, as well as the precious attire in which you are dressed, were lately the production and the ornaments of the forest, the meadow, or the garden. But could you forgive me, madam, if I should attempt to persuade you, that that beautiful body of yours, those features, and those limbs, were once growing also in the fields and the meadows? I see, lady, you are a little shocked and surprised at the thought. I confess the ideas and sentiments of philosophy are not always so courtly and so favourable to human nature as to be addressed to the tender sex; but pardon me, Therina, if I inquire, was not your infancy nursed with milk and bread corn? Have you not been fed with wheat, though it was of the finest kind? And your drink, what has it been but either the infusion of barley, or the juice of the grape, or, for variety, perhaps, the cyder grove has supplied you? The flesh with which you have been nourished to such a wellproportioned stature belonged to four-footed animals, or to the fowls of the air; and each of these have either been fed with corn or grass. Whence then, madam, has your own body been supported, and what do you think it is made of? But it is safer to transfer the argument

to myself. These limbs of mine, Therina, owe themselves entirely to the animal or vegetable food, to the roots or the stalks, to the leaves or the fruit of plants, or to the flesh of brute creatures, which have passed through my mouth for these fifty years, or the mouths of my parents before me; this hand would have been worn to a mere skeleton, my arms had been dry bones, and my trunk and ribs the statue of death, had they not all received perpetual recruits from the fields. These lips which now address you are of the same materials, and they were once growing like the grass of the earth. This very flesh which I call mine now, did belong to the sheep or the ox, before it was a part of me; and it served to clothe their bones before it covered mine.

"You know, Theron, you are a gentleman who delight in rural sports when you reside at your country seat, and you love to feast on the game that you have pursued. Did you ever suppose that any part of yourself was once hurried through the air in the breast of a frighted partridge, which came before night into your


—or that any piece of you was driven through the fields before the full-mouthed hounds, on the legs of a hunted hare, which was the next day prepared for your table? Had you ever so strange a thought as this is? And can you believe it now? Or, upon a survey of my argument, can you tell how to deny it? And what are hares and partridges made of, but growing herbage or shattered corn?

"It is true, you have sometimes tasted of fish, either from the sea or rivers, but even those in their original also are a sort of grass; they have been fed partly by sea-weeds, and partly by the lesser fish which they have devoured, whose prime and natural nourishment was from some vegetable matter in the watery world.

"In short, Sir, I am free to declare, that whether I have eaten cheese or butter, bread or milk; whether I have fed on the ox or the sheep, or the fowls of the air, or the fish of the sea, I am certain that this body, and these limbs of mine, even to my teeth and nails, and the hairs of my head, are all borrowed originally from the vegetable creation. Every thing of me that is not a thinking power, that is not mind, or spirit, was once growing like grass on the ground, or was made of the roots which supported some green herbage.

"And now, Theron, what think you of all these paradoxes? Which of them do you cavil at? Which leaves you room for doubt, or question? Is not philosophy an entertaining study, that teaches us our original, and these astonishing operations of Divine wisdom and providence? But it teaches us also to have humble thoughts of ourselves, and to remember whence we came.

"Theron, to conclude the discourse, confessed his surprise and conviction; he acknowledged the justice of Crito's whole argument, gave him hearty thanks for his instructive lecture, and resolved to remember these amazing scenes of the operations of nature, and the adorable wisdom of God his maker. Nor shall I ever forget, said he, the strange and unsuspected lependence of man on all the meaner parts of the creation. I am convinced that pride was never made for man, when I see how much akin his body is to the fowls of the air and brutes of the earth.

"And I think, said he, I am more indebted to my tenants that ever I could have imagined; nor will I cast such a scornful eye again on the grazier and the farmer, since this flesh and blood of mine, as well as the furniture of any house and the clothes I wear, were once growing in the fields or the woods under their care or cultivation; and I find I am nearer akin to them, since this self of mine, with all the finery that covers it, was made originally of the same materials with them and their coarser coverings."-Dr. Watts.

p. 182.

ON THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. THE JUSTICE OF GOD.-Continued from BUT the justice of God is not confined to the destruction of sinful nations. Looking down from heaven, God beholds at one glance all the thoughts and all the actions of every human being, and at some time it will be found that every man receives that which is due to him. Great as was the favour which the Almighty showed to his servant David, we find that he did not spare him for his iniquities: nor did he receive him again to his love, until by the deepest repentance he had manifested that he truly felt his iniquities to be a great burthen, too heavy for him to bear. It is quite unnecessary that I should recite any further instances to establish a truth, which every one who peruses the Holy Scriptures must have discovered for themselves. From them I conceive we may clearly learn, that God interests himself most intimately in all the concerns of every human being; that he is infinitely just, and cannot therefore pass by transgression, and that he will exact a full punishment for every crime which is committed against his laws. This doctrine is clear to my mind from the consideration, that God in all his dealings in the natural world has manifested that magnitude is nothing in his eyes, for the smallest insect is as accurate in its formation as the largest. From this I would learn, that he has as clear a view of the smallest sin as he has of the greatest, and if it could once be considered consistent with his justice to pardon a small crime without receiving satisfaction, it might easily be proved from that, that he can also pardon a great one. Who then can be saved? is possibly the idea which rises in the reader's mind. Look back, my friend, to the garden of Gethsemane. Remember the bitterness of anguish which your Saviour there underwent. Call to mind the agony which he endured, the intensity of which manifested itself in great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Remember, also, the contents of that cup which he there drank. It was indeed full of sin and all uncleanness, and contained all the crimes and misdoings of ages past, present, and to come. Follow the footsteps of your adorable Redeemer to the court of Herod, the judgment-hall of Pilate, and the hill of Calvary, and then tell me if you think any thing too hard for the Lord? All these sufferings were undergone for us men and for our salvation; and can we doubt the truth of that declaration, which says, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sins, the greatest as well as the smallest. Herein was displayed the immensity of God's justice. Though his own Son was the sufferer-though every groan which he uttered wrung the heart of his heavenly Father-yet that Father spared him not; he diminished not one drop of the cup of vengeance, but, in the fullest sense of the words, laid on him the iniquity of us all. Now, therefore, let us rejoice in the Lord, who hath dealt with such immense mercy, though with equal justice: and when temptation would assault us, and lead us from the path of duty, let the night which preceded our Lord's crucifixion occur to our minds; and surely I may say, that he who would be bold enough to sin with the Saviour before his eyes, groaning under an immense weight of anguish and misery, cannot love that Saviour, nor feel truly grateful for the benefits he has conferred.


But some may be ready to say, All this may be very true; but still, when I look into the world, I cannot bring my mind to believe that Infinite Justice is concerned in its government. Wickedness seems to be rewarded, and the greatest prosperity is evidently the portion of the greatest sinner, while sufferings and distress are the lot of the righteous. This is doubtless

in many cases the truth; nor would I wish to deny or conceal it: I own that

Now, unassuming worth in secret lives,

And dies neglected. Now, the good man's share
In life is gall and bitterness of soul.

Now, the lone widow and her orphans pine
In starving solitude. Now, heav'n-born truth,
And moderation fair, wear the red marks
Of superstition's scourge.

But it shall not always be so. The justice of God will be vindicated, and his people will not lose their reward. To accomplish this, however, it is clear there must be some future state of existence: for death very frequently takes the good man away before his real character has been appreciated, and his injuries repaid. To Christians, therefore, it is clear from this reason only, that there is another world, and that there will be a day of judgment. Let not man, then, repine at the dispensations of providence. True it is, the Almighty Power which governs the universe acts by rules which we cannot discern, though we know that the principle on which all these rules are founded is justice. Though now it may seem that the enemy crieth aloud, and the ungodly come on swiftly, as it were to take away our souls; let us not be downcast, for there is One who maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and will restrain the remainder of wrath. To His keeping let each man commit his soul in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Let the sinner tremble at these things, for they are enough to make him pale with fear for the remaining portion of his life, and will, I am convinced, make him iniserable in the life which is to come. You thought, mayhap, that in the still midnight hour, when the eyes of men were closed in sleep, you might commit sin unnoticed and unknown. Vain and delusive hope! That Keeper of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps has been watching you, all your secret sins are recorded in his dreadful book; and how will you tremble when, at the day of judgment, crimes long since forgotten are recalled to your recollection, and all the misdeeds of a corrupt and wicked life are placed in their real character before your eyes! Surely it will teach you knowledge and caution, when you think that this is indeed the case, and that however you may now ridicule or make light of the subject, you will and must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

But that which should cause the sinner to tremble, should also cause the Christian to rejoice. That justice which will not pass by transgression, will not forget the acts of righteousness which the good man has done. If, therefore, now it should seem that all things come alike to all men, and that the righteous do much good and have no reward, let none of us despair: because we have the promise of one who cannot lie, that, verily, not a cup of cold water given in Christ's name shall lose its reward. Let us not therefore be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. B. Z.

THE INSOLENCE OF INFIDELITY SILENCED. A scoffing infidel, of considerable abilities, being once in the company of a person of weak intellect, but a real Christian, and supposing, no doubt, that he should obtain an easy triumph, and display his ungodly wit, put the following question to him: "I understand, Sir, that you expect to go to heaven when you die : can you tell me what sort of a place heaven is?" "Yes, Sir," replied the Christian, "heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people; and if your soul is not prepared for it, with all your boasted wisdom you will never enter there."


FOR the interests of our Country, especially of the Poorer Classes, we are deeply convinced of the importance and necessity of a Cheap Religious Publication of sound principles, and adapted for general circulation at the present eventful crisis. Such a Periodical we consider the "CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE," which has been carried on successfully for about six months. This work has been established on the great principles of the Protestant Reformation, without controversy on those minor points about which British Christians are divided as such we feel pleasure in recommending it to the Public; and so long as it continues to adhere to those Evangelical principles, we will afford it our patronage.

REV. JOHN BURNETT, Camberwell.

REV. W. B. COLLYER, D.D. LL. D. Peckham,
REV. F. A. Cox, LL. D. Hackney.

REV. E. A. DUNN, Pimlico.
REV. G. EVANS, Mile End.

REV. F. MOORE, Vauxhall.

REV. R. H. SHEPHERD, Chelsea.
REV. J. PYE SMITH, D. D. Homerton.
REV. T. WOOD, London.

Testimonies, expressing cordial approbation of the "CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE," have been received from many distinguished Clergymen of our Metropolis, whose names we hope to be permitted to add to the above list and the Conductors of the work pledge themselves to allow nothing of a sectarian character at any time to appear in its pages.

The CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE may be delivered weekly in the Towns of the United Kingdom, by those Booksellers and Newsmen to whom Subscribers address their orders. Being unstamped, it cannot be transmitted by post as a newspaper. But for the convenience of our country friends and others, who cannot obtain the publication weekly, it is published every four weeks in parts, each including four numbers; excepting in June and December, in each of which a part will be published containing six numbers. No extra charge is made for the wrapper: so that the whole annual expense of the twelve parts will be 4s. 4d.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]



OXFORD UNIVERSITY has long been considered the most celebrated seat of learning in Europe. Inseparably connected as it has been with the diffusion of Christianity in our own country, our readers cannot fail to feel interested by a brief sketch of its history and its present state.

Oxford is conveniently situated, in a fruitful country on the river Thames, and fifty-eight miles nearly northwest from London. Its public buildings, consisting of thirteen parish churches, besides the Cathedral, twenty Colleges, five Halls, the Libraries, Museum, and Printing Office, give it an air of great magnificence.

Oxford is believed to have been a noted seminary of learning before the time of king Alfred, especially under St. Neoth, the first president and divinity lecturer, A. D. 806, assisted by several eminent men, particularly by St. Grimbald. Asser, a monk, was professor of grammar and rhetoric; John, a monk of the church of St. David, gave lectures on logic, music, and arithmetic; John, another monk, a colleague of St. Grimbald, taught geometry and astronomy.


Alfred visiting Oxford A. D. 886, founded "University College," by which it received the royal patronage, a favour which it has ever since continued to enjoy. Various has been the fortune of this distinguished city, which has been affected by many of the great changes experienced by the nation. In the reign of Edward the Elder, the Danes plundered and burnt Oxford; and not long after, when the buildings were being restored, Harold Harefoot indulged in the most inhuman barbarities upon the inhabitants, in revenge for the loss of some of his men, who had been killed in an affray. This occasioned the removal of most of the students: learning declined, and the university became almost extinct, presenting a deplorable spectacle until the time of William the Conqueror.

William bestowed the greatest part of Oxford upon Robert d'Oily, a Norman, who built a castle there, about A. D. 1071. and learning began again to flourish, the city being under powerful protection.

Robert Pulen, about A. D. 129, began to read leetures in divinity at Oxford; when, such was the popularity of him and his colleagues, that, in the reign of King John, there were not fewer than 3,000 students.

2 B

Henry III, having held a parliament here, to settle the differences between himself and his powerful barons, confirmed the privileges granted to the University by his predecessors, and added several others. In this reign, it is supposed, the Pope had honoured Oxford with the title of UNIVERSITY, which had been conferred on no other place besides Paris, Bologna, and Salamanca. So great was the fame of our University at this period, that there were said to have been 30,000 students, all of whom were pronounced excommunicated by the Pope, an account of some rudeness which they had offered to the Legate of his Holiness. Matthew Paris, who flourished about this time, styled Oxford "the second school of the church, and the very foundation of the church." Duns Scotus, who died on the continent A. D. 1308, is said to have had 30,000 scholars in attendance on his lectures at this university. This, however, is a far greater number than has been usual. The whole body of the university, including professors, fellows, and students of all ranks, now seldom exceed 3,000.

The following is a list of the Colleges, with the names of their founders, and the dates of their foundation.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

All these colleges are richly endowed; they have splendid libraries, appropriate chapels, and fine gardens. Magdalen and Christ Church are the most considerable, and are esteemed as noble foundations as any in the world. The church of the latter is the Cathedral; to which are attached a dean, eight canons, eight chaplains, eight singing men, eight choristers, a teacher of music, and an organist. Each of the colleges has its visitors appointed according to its statutes, with the exception of Christ Church, which alone is subject to the visitation of the reigning sovereign.

Belonging to the University are several other noble buildings. I. The Public School. II. The Bodleian Library (for an account of which see No. 9 of "The Christian's Penny Magazine.") III. Ratcliffe's Library, a most elegant structure with a splendid dome, for the building and furnishing of which, Dr. Ratcliffe left 40,000. IV. The Theatre, built by Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of Charles II. V. The Museum, in which there is an elaboratory and a repository for natural and artificial antiquities and curiosities. VI. The Clarendon Printing House, so called because it was partly built with the profits arising from the sale of Lord Clarendon's History. To the south of Magdalen College lies the Physic Garden, instituted by the Earl of Danby, and much improved by Dr. Sherrard. It contains five acres, in which is a complete series of such plants as grow naturally, disposed in their respective classes: together with two neat and convenient green-houses, stocked with a valuable collection of exotics, and a hot-house, where various plants brought from the warmer climates are raised.

The University is governed by a chancellor, high steward, vice-chancellor, two proctors, a public orator, a keeper of the archives, a register, three 'squire beadles, and three yeomen beadles.

Oxford contains the largest printing establishment in the empire for printing the Holy Scriptures, by patent granted to the University, and from this the British and Foreign Bible Society chiefly obtains its supply of English Bibles.

His Early History.

"GODLINESS is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Examples innumerable have existed in every age, which afford abundant proofs of this deligh:ful testimony. Originally it was addressed by the inspired apostle to the evangelist Timothy, for his instruction in the execution of his ministry; and one from among many illustrations of it we here present to our young readers, in the case of the Birmingham Apprentice, trusting that it will be the means of promoting their best interests for time and eternity.

William was born in Birmingham, in the year 1790. His parents were particularly solicitous for the instruction of this their eldest son; so that at least he might be fully equal to the children of their neighbours, in the ordinary branches of learning. Placed under the tuition of a respe table master, he was taught according to the usual courses of reading and writing in the common academies of that day, and for about two years he enjoyed the advantages afforded by the grammar-school of that town, founded by King Edward VI.

Wearied with the drudgery of Latin exercises, conceiving that the language of ancient Rome would be of no use to him in learning a trade, he prevailed upon his parents to allow him to go to work." In the year 1803, therefore, he was bound as an in-door apprentice.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »