« AnteriorContinuar »
their lesson, all ran out of the room together, and assumed their own natural, easy, and neglected demeanor !
I hold no mistake to be so clear, as that anybody can be upon a select occasion, with success and case, what he is not habitually. Fancy the man habitually rough attempting to appear sentimental on an occasion; the blunt man attempting to be smooth; the repulsive man attempting to smile ("grins, horribly, a ghastly smile ! "); the vulgar man attempting to be delicate;-I need add no more, except an apology for the length of this Letter, and an intimation, that if you will allow me, iny next Letter shall contain a continuation of the subject. I am, dear Madam, yours, &c.
ADDRESS OF JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY, ESQ.
TO THE MECHANICS OF MANCHESTER,
2. Bur a view of our own ignorance, and the humility into which it leads, by no means entails a low and unworthy estimate of the native powers of man. Permit me, therefore, to express my firm conviction, in the second place, that knowledge has few uses more desirable-that it can be applied to few purposes more important-than that of imbuing us with just conceptions of the nature of the human mind.
Let a student dive into the depths of chemistry, or climb the heights of astronomy; let him exercise himself in mathematical demonstrations; let him range the fields of natural history; or store his memory with the records of the past: and he cannot remain insensible to the inherent capacities of his own mind. The powers of perception, reflection, reason, and memory, will be unfolded and strengthened as he proceeds; and ample will be the evidence with which his own experience will furnish him, that the intelligent spirit within him is a something quite distinct from his bodily frame-endued with wondrous faculties which are all its own. And if such a conviction be the result of his own experience, that conviction will not fail to be strengthened by the view which his studies will unfold to him, of the prodigious efforts which have been made in the various departments of science and literature, by minds of a still larger capacity. A crowning evidence of this important truth, will be afforded him by the genius of a Galileo, a Milton, a Locke, or a Newton.
It is an astonishing proof of the mental perversion to which we are all liable-and, I may add, of the danger of that little knowledge which puffs up the learner-that some persons, who pretend to pursue the path of science, entertain the absurd notion that mind is matter. Just in proportion to their professed zeal in cultivating the rational faculty, is their senseless endeavour to degrade its character, and finally to reduce it to nothing.
I trust that the intelligent nechanics whom I am now addressing, and who are furnished with abundant proofs, in their own experience, of the native power of mind, will ever be preserved from so foolish and dangerous a notion. True indeed it is, that matter and mind are closely connected in that wondrous creature, man; and that, by some mysterious law of nature, they are capable of acting, with great force, one upon the other. But the radical and essential difference between them, is evident from the fact that they admit of no similarity of definition. Mind is that which thinks, wills, reasons, and worships. Matter is that which is solid, tangible, and extended. To talk of their being the same, is to propose a contradiction in terms. Assuredly there can be no more identity be
tween them, than between the azure of the heavens, and the green fields, or the dusty streets on which we tread below!
No sooner shall you succeed in imparting to some exquisite specimen of machinery a single ray of intelligence, than I will surrender my doctrine, and allow that mind is matter. Till then, I shall depend on the conclusions of my reason, or rather on my native conviction, that they are essentially and unalterably distinct.
The atoms of which our bodies are composed are in a state of perpetual flux, and not one particle of the matter which once belonged to us can now be called our Own. Yet we never lose our personal identity-we are the same rational and responsible individuals as ever. How can we account for this fact, except by allowing that the mind exists independently of matter? Yet although our material atoms are perpetually flying from us, and are separated from each other by death, not one of them ever perishes they are atoms of matter still. How idle then is the notion that our purer and nobler part, endued as it is with characters so infinitely superior to those of matter, falls a prey to death, and ever ceases to exist!
On the one hand, therefore, we cannot descend too low in a humble view of our dependent condition, and of the blindness which is here our necessary portion; and, on the other hand, we cannot rise too high, in a just contemplation of the spiritual nature of the human mind— a spark of the Divine intelligence, breathed into man by his Creator, and formed after the image of his own eternity. Between the known capacities of the soul of man, and its revealed everlasting existence, there is a perfect 5tness.
Let no man start in unbelief, at the notion of the eternity to which he is destined; for, independently of revealed religion, which is its proper evidence, our known inherent powers proclaim it to be probable. Nor can we deny that this probability is confirmed by the analogy of science; for, whether we reflect on the inconceivable greatness of nature, or attempt to dive into her unsearchable minuteness, we are compelled to confess that infinity does, in a remarkable manner, characterize the counsels, and distinguish the works, of our Almighty Creator
That a just view of the spiritual nature of the soul, is of great importance to our welfare and happiness, is extremely obvious. The materialist, who reduces himself to the rank of a mere machine, must presently give up every notion of his own responsibility not only in reference to an eternal future, but even as it regards the present life. It is the natural tendency of his sentiments to make him the prey of his carnal propensities; and thus he becomes a source of misery, both to himself, and to society at large. But who does not know that our individual happiness, as well as the order and peace of society, are promoted, in a wonderful degree, by the subjection of our bodily powers to the guidance and government of the rational faculty?
(To be continued.)
THE TEACHER SENT FROM GOD. The moon had clear'd the eastern hill,
And full o'er David's city shone,
All, did I say? No, there was one
As though some threat'ning foe was nigh, Came to the spot where Jesus slept,
With anxious heart and earnest eye; And this the salutation given
"Thou art the Teacher sent from heaven!"
"Thou art a Teacher from on high:
None else such mighty works could do ; Diseases at thy bidding fly ;
Wonders like these we never knew; The sick restor'd; the dead arise; Satan himself before thee flies!"
Thus did the Jewish Ruler hail
Him, who indeed was sent by God, Jehovah's counsel to reveal,
And rescue sinners by his blood. How did our blessed Saviour teach? Where and to whom did Jesus preach? Sometimes within that splendid pile,
The boast of Judah's favour'd laud,
Beheld him, with supreme command,
As crowds collected on the strand;
Who could the winds and waves command:
And teach upon the deep blue sca;
The seeds of which were scatter'd there;
Is not the Saviour teaching still ?
The wheels of providence He turns ; All is subservient to his will,
'Tis He prevents, and He confirms. What comfort to his saints to know That He controls their every foe! Does He not by his Spirit teach
All whom his Heavenly Father gave ?
That "small still voice" their hearts must reach,
And captive led captivity,
This to procure for all his own:
Who can its value e'er explain?
The depths and heights will ne'er be known,
Millions among the sons of men;
Whom does he teach? His word has flown
Then how important to them all,
That each should understand it well!
As denoted by the Fulfilment of Historical Predictions, traced down from the Babylonish Captivity to the Present Time. By the Rev. ALEXANDER KEITH, Minister of St. Cyrus: author of the Evidence of Prophecy." 2 vol. 12mo. bds.-Whyte, Edin. pp. 674. Reflecting men of all classes, and of all parties, are beholding with astonishment the portentous “signs of the times." Every one is convinced, that changes of no ordinary character are about to take place among the nations. Never since the creation of the world, has there existed so singular and eventful a period of society. Wondrous revolutions have taken place in different periods of time, by which many and remote nations were permanently affected. But no previous state of mankind has been at all like the present. "Knowledge shall be increased," said the inspiring angel to the prophet Daniel, looking forward to our times.
Knowledge has increased: and it is still increasing through the world, in a manner far beyond that of any past period; and this most interesting fact gives the principal character to the present" signs of the times." The ancient and venerable systems of paganism throughout the East are rapidly dying under the light of knowledge; and thousands of their former professors are denouncing then as the greatest curse upon mankind. Mohammedan imposture and delusion, under the rising of the same glorious sun, are fleeing away. Popery, with his “Holiness," the Beast," its worshipped head, is becoming every day more contemptible before the light of the Holy Scriptures; and though infidelity may rage, its advocates shall be covered with shame and truth shall prevail"for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea!"
Mr. Keith, in his invaluable work on "the Evidence of Prophecy," has proved himself to be a wise and discriminating observer of the "signs of the times,” and one worthy of being trusted. His present volumes are a most excellent addition to his former work, and one which we most cordially recommend to our readers. We are confident, that more solid scriptural information on the subject of divine prophecy, may be gained from these two small volumes, than from many a whole library. If we may commend any parts in particular, they will be Chap. VII, containing a most edifying view of the rise, progress, and abominable impieties of Popery, vol. i, page 81 to 136; and Chap. XIII, on the First and SecondBeast (Imperial and Papal Rome), vol. ii, page 427 to 449.
"In whom, after ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. i, 13. The nature of sealing, consists in the imparting of the image or character of the seal to the thing sealed. To seal a thing is to stamp the character of the seal upon it. Now the Spirit of God doth really and effectually communicate the image of God to real believers in Christ, which image consists in righteousness and true holiness. Then are we truly sealed by the Spirit of God, when the Holy Ghost stamps the image of grace and holiness so obviously, so evidently upon the soul, as that the soul sces it, feels it, and can run and read it. Brooks.
London: Printed and Published by C. WOOD AND SON, Poppin's Court, Fleet Street; to whom all Communications for the Editor (post paid) should be addressed; and sold by all Booksellers and Newsmen in the United Kingdom.
Hawkers and Dealers Supplied on Wholesale Terms, in London, by STEILL Paternoster Rów; BERGER, Holywell Street, Strand; J. PATTIE, 16, High Street, St. Giles's; and W. N. BAKER, 16, City Road, Finsbury.
very first young men, who had the piety and courage to identify themselves with those venerable confessors, who had been ejected from their respective pastoral charges, by the Act of Uniformity.
DR. WILLIAMS'S LIBRARY, RED-CROSS STREET, LONDON DR. WILLIAMS'S LIBRARY. NUMBER IX of the "Christian's Penny Magazine," contains a historical sketch of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the most splendid collection of books belonging to the Church of England. We now comply with the wishes of several of our friends in furnishing a similar sketch of the largest public library belonging to the English Dissenters.
Daniel Williams, D.D. the founder of this Institution, was born in 1643, or 1644, at Wrexham, in Denbighshire. Although he did not enjoy the advantages of a regular academical education, yet "from five years old," he had no employment but his studies, and at nineteen, he was regularly admitted as a preacher." His unusual application, united to great vigour of mind, soon raised him above all adventitious circumstances, and eventually secured to him that rank amongst his contemporaries, which is conferred only upon real worth. His early resolution to devote himself to the Christian ministry amongst the Nonconformists, formed at a time when all the severities of an intolerant government were called forth against them, must be regarded as a striking illustration of the decision of his character; which is yet more fully developed by the fact, that he was amongst the
Prevented by the persecutions of the times from public preaching, he received an invitation to become chaplain to the Countess of Meath, in Ireland. This he gladly accepted, which led to his settlement as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, in Wood Street, Dublin; the duties of which office he discharged for nearly twenty years, with great reputation to himself, and with general acceptance to the people. While in this city, to which he became a kind of exile for conscience sake, he married a lady of honourable family and eminent piety, with whom he received a considerable estate. The troubles of Ireland in 1687, led him to resign his pastoral charge in Dublin, and retire to London, where, the following year, he had the happiness of witnessing that glorious Revolution, which gave permanence to English liberty.
The Revolution extricated the Presbyterians from their embarrassments, and introduced Mr. Williams to the new king, with whom he possessed a useful influence in Irish affairs. He was now elected pastor of a numerous congregation, assembling in Hand-Alley, Bishopsgate Street, London. From his friendship with
Richard Baxter, and his superior talents, he was chosen to succeed that great man in the Lecture at Pinners' Hall.
In 1701, having been for some time a widower, he again formed a matrimonial alliance with a lady of considerable fortune, which he used with frugality in his personal expenses, that he might be able the better to accomplish several benevolent designs, for the benefits of posterity.
In 1709, Principal Carstairs sent him, from Scotland, a diploma of Doctor in Divinity, inclosed in a silver box, an honour which he merited both as a scholar and a theologian. After having stung to inexorable rage the Earl of Oxford, by his faithful remonstrance against intolerance and the Pretender, he was happy enough to escape his revenge hy the death of the Queen" (Anne), "and to present the congratulation of the Dissenters to King George I, on his accession to the British throne."
Memoirs of this excellent minister are to be seen in "Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial," vol. ii, p. 640; "Wilson's Dissenting Churches," vol. ii, p. 198; "Bogue and Bennett's History of Dissenters," vol. ii, p. 417; to either of which we refer our readers.
Dr. Williams deserves the high praise of employing a large fortune, in relieving the suffering confessors of the truth of Christ, in assisting his poorer brethren in the ministry, and in encouraging young ministers in their entrance on their holy work: thus his life was rendered a public blessing; and his last will, dictated by the warm affections of a heart devoted to charity, to literature, and to catholic, scriptural Christianity, did not suffer his usefulness to be terminated by his death.
Besides the settlement to his wife, and legacies to his relations, he left donatious for the education of youth in Dublin, and the support of a preacher in the native Irish; to the poor of the congregations in which he had been minister, and of the parish in which he had lived; to several ministers' widows; to different Presbyterian churches in the country; to the college of Glasgow; and to several Institutions for the diffusion of knowledge and the propagation of the gospel.
Dr. Williams, possessing an extensive collection of valuable books, conceived the idea of forming a PUBLIC LIBRARY, for the use of his brethren, who were excluded by their nonconformity from the stores of literature at the Universities. His friend Dr. Bates had also been, during a long and studious life, as Mr. Howe expressed it, an earnest gatherer, and, as the phrase is, devourer of books," with which he had so great an acquaintance, that an eminent divine, a dignitary of the church, said, "That were he to collect a library, he would as soon consult Dr. Bates as any man he knew-he knew how to choose, and was curious in his choice-nothing mean was welcome to his library, or detained there." Such a collection was of course most desirable, and on the decease of its possessor, Dr. Williams purchased it for 500/. or 6007. to be added to his own valuable library.
By his last will, dated June 26, 1711, Dr. Williams appointed his books, after duplicates and useless volumes were removed, to be for a public library, "whereto such as his trustees appoint shall have access, for the perusal of any book in the place where they are lodged." He also directed his trustees to purchase some cheap freehold edifice to receive the library; but if not able to obtain eligible premises, they were empowered to erect them, but they were to be "not poinpous or too large."
He also appointed 10. per annum for a librariau, together with the accommodation of the house-a stipend long since found inadequate as a remuneration
for the duties of the office. Though Dr. Williams departed to his reward in February 1716, yet the preliminary arrangements for carrying into effect the provisions of his testament, were not completed till 1727, when the trustees, not finding any suitable building, purchased the site of the present library for 4507. and obtained from the Court of Chancery, permission to appropriate 1,618. out of the founder's estate, for the erection of the house, according to the estimate.
The building exceeding the estimate by a considerable amount, and the trustees thinking it inexpedient again to apply to the Court, issued a circular among their friends, who, both among the Independent and Presbyterian denominations, liberally contributed to the completion of the work, and about the close of 1729, the trustees transacted their business at the house.
Dr. Williams's Library has received since that period many valuable additions, by the munificence of several eminent ministers and laymen of the "Three Denominations," among whom Dr. William Harris stands pre-eminent, having bequeathed a noble collection of 240 folio, 364 quarto, and 1355 octavo volumes to the trustees. Its increase, has, however, been gradual; for, unlike the libraries of the Universities, and other privileged bodies connected with the national ecclesiastical establishment, it does not augment its volumes at the expense of authors and publishers, but simply by the voluntary donations of those individuals, who can appreciate the importance of such an Institution to the Dissenters of the metropolis.
The frontage of the building is in perfect accordance with the wishes of the founder; for though it presents the appearance of great respectability, yet it has not the air of a public institution. The ground floor, which contains spacious parlours, is devoted to the service of the librarian, together with the other apartments on the basement story. By a staircase, ornamented with portraits, the visitor ascends to the library itself, which occupies two spacious rooms on the first floor.
The front room, which extends the whole width of the building, is fitted up with mahogany glass cases and presses, which have a very uniform and elegant appearance. Over these cases are ranged twenty-five original portraits of distinguished Puritan and Nonconformist ministers. The chimney-piece to the left is adorned with a fine portrait of Dr. Williams, while that on the right is ornamented by a brilliant likeness of the Rev. Richard Baxter.
The second room occupies the whole depth of the premises, and is fitted up with twelve stalls, above which are arranged nearly forty portraits. In the upper part of this room is a handsome wainscot press, which contains some valuable MSS, and other articles that are rare and curious. These apartments are capable of receiving forty thousand volumes, though the catalogue contains only about half that number. There are however many very rare tracts, early editions, and costly works in the collection. Of the Rare Tracts, it will be enough to say there are 238 volumes of sermons and tracts, published during the civil war of Charles I, of which, the sermons preached before the Parliament, fill 32 volumes. Among the early editions may be enumerated "The Salisbury Liturgy," A. D. 1530, finely illuminated; "The Hours of the Virgins," Paris, A. D. 1498, of which the printing and wood-cuts are finely executed. Of the costly works, it will be sufficent to mention the classic pages of Grævius and Gronovius, extending through more than 30 folios, with that great national work, Rymer's Fœdera, in 20 vols. folio.
Amongst the MSS, are a beautifully illuminated Bible; a well-written copy of Wyckliffe's Testament, in black letter, about the reign of Henry IV. But
there are two copies of the Scriptures, which are peculiarly calculated to interest the pious visitants, from the circumstances under which they were transcribed. The older MS contains "The Old and New Testaments in short hand, 1686," which were copied, during many a wakeful night, by a zealous Protestant, in the reign of James II, who, fearing that the attempts of that monarch to re-establish Popery would terminate in the suppression of the sacred scriptures, resolved at least to secure a copy for his own use, by this ingenious method. The other MS contains the whole book of Psalms, and all the New Testament, except the Revelation, in 15 vols. folio, written in characters an inch long, on a black paper manufactured on purpose, and with a white ink. This perfectly unique copy, was written in 1745, at the cost of a Mr. Harris, a tradesman of London, whose sight having decayed with age so as to prevent his reading the Scriptures, though printed in the largest type, he incurred the expense of this transcription, that he might enjoy those sources of comfort, which are "more to be desired than gold, yea than much fine gold."
Should our readers desire to know more concerning the munificent benefactions of Dr. Williams, we refer them to the Congregational Magazine for February 1825.
DECLINE OF ROME FROM ITS ANCIENT
"ROME in its ancient glory," we reviewed in our last number: it will be proper now to contemplate its "Decline and Fall."
Profanely dignified with the epithet of ETERNAL CITY, elated with conquest, intoxicated with luxuriousness, and drunk with the blood of nations and of the saints of God, Rome said, in the emphatic language of Scripture, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, I shall never see sorrow." But He that sitteth in the heavens, righteously determined her fate. John, in the visions of prophecy, beheld an angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Rome, under the mystic title of Babylon, was the object of his awful mission, as signified to the devout apostle; who further records, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.-How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." Rev. xviii, 2-7.
We must refer our readers to any Protestant Commentary on the book of the Revelations, or to Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies, for a more full exposition of the predictions in Chapters xvii, and xviii. It will not be possible for us in this place to give more than brief notices of a few particulars relating to the "Decline of Rome," a subject which has rendered many large volumes truly interesting.
Again and again has the cup of Divine retribution been brought to her lips; and under repeated draughts,
though the bitter dregs are yet to come, instead of an object of terror, she has become an object of contempt, or rather of commiseration, to every beholder. She, who had arrayed herself in the splendour of a conquered world, and gathered into her treasuries the riches of the people, was ten times successively taken, sacked, and burnt, by the congregated hordes of the East and of the North: who, impelled horde upon horde, like the waves of a tempestuous sea, burst every opposing mound, and completed the destruction of her widespread empire.
A. D. 408, Rome was besieged by Alaric the Goth; he was bought off by a present of 500lbs. weight of gold; 30,000lbs. of silver; 4,000 silk garments; 3,000 skins of purple dye, and 3,000lbs. of pepper. It was, however, taken by the same prince in 410, and plundered for six successive days; its inhabitants were butchered, and its stately palaces and temples burned. It was again taken by the Vandals, under Genseric, in 435. The imperial palace was forced; its treasures and rich moveables were seized; fourteen successive days were spent in plundering indiscriminately; and the Vandal fleet departed for Africa laden with spoils, amongst which were an immense number of statues, half the covering of the Capitol, sacred vessels enriched with precious stones, and those which Titus Vespasian had taken from the temple of Jerusalem. In 476, Rome was again captured by the Heruli, under their king, Odoacer. Augustulus was deposed, the title of emperor abolished, and Rome ceased to be an imperial city. In 492, it again shared a similar fate from Theodoric the Goth; who took it after three years' siege, during which, the famine was so great, that wheat was sold for an amount equal to six guineus a bushel. In 536, it was taken by Belisarius. In 538, it was besieged one year and nine months by Vitiges the Goth; retaken and plundered several days by Totila, in 547; and also in 550; and to finish the catastrophe of this renowned capital, it was given up for plunder for forty successive days by Teia, the last Gothic monarch, in 552, before it was retaken by Narses, and the government was transferred to Ravenna.
These calamities were, however, but the anticipation of her fate. The sun of Italy had not altogether ceased to shine, and the star of the ETERNAL CITY was not yet set in darkness. Rome was yet glorious in her greatness. She was not indeed destined, again, with shield and spear to overwhelin the prostrate nations. The terror of her kings, consuls, dictators, and emperors, had for ever ceased: but arrayed in the cloak and the cowl, the pall and the initre, she again sent forth her armies, and exercised over the minds and consciences of men, a more terrible dominion than she had hitherto exercised over their bodies.
Christianity having been corrupted, its scriptural institutions perverted, and a prelacy established, this "mystery of iniquity" arose (2 Thess. ii, 7; Rev. xvii, 5) to its highest pitch, by the assumptions of the prelate of Rome to be the Vicar of Christ, and the Vicegerent of God. 2 Thess. ii, 4. His legions, holy cheats and sanctimonious swindlers, under the denominations of Carmelites, Franciscans, Dominicans, &c., and clothed with the official appellation of Cardinals, Nuncios, Legates, and Inquisitors, swarmed in every land, turning the tide of idolatrous veneration, with a current of wealth and industry, toward the ETERNAL CITY and its blaspheming Pontiff, till she was, in a more perfect degree than ever, a "Lady of Kingdoms," and made to sing as a harlot, being replenished and made glorious in the midst of the seas. Long time hath she glorified herself and lived deliciously, and long have the kings of the earth, to the impoverishment and ruin of their poor subjects, held a most fascinating commerce with