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ON THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
No. II. THE POWER OF GOD.
To speak of GOD as merciful and just, is indeed to say much but these attributes would be comparatively useless, did he not possess the power on all occasions to exert them. By the power of God I mean, his ability to do whatsoever pleaseth him; not merely in the creation of the world, but in his moral government of it; not in the world of matter only, but also in that of mind. And truly I cannot but think, that as much of this attribute is needed in turning the sinner into the paths of righteousness, as in commanding a world to arise out of the darkness of chaos.
In examining my subject I intend, as on former occasions, to refer back to some instances in which God has manifested this attribute.
1. We who are inhabitants of this lower world are careless and indifferent beings. We can live surrounded by all the splendid devices of Infinite Wisdom, and the mighty operations of Infinite Power, without one emotion of gratitude, reverence, or fear, towards Him at whose word all the beauties of creation burst into existence, and "for whose pleasure they are and were created." Let me however direct your attention back to that momentous period in the history of our earth, when from the right hand of the Majesty on high, the Eternal Son proceeded with an innumerable host of angels to that part of infinite space, which was destined to contain the world in which we live. As he looked on the ocean of immensity thus placed before his eyes, he called the world of matter into existence : but saw that the earth was formless, that it was void, and that darkness covered the face of the deep abyss of boundless space. Such a scene of chaotic confusion as this, was not fitted for the display of his power, nor for the habitation of the creatures whom he was about to form; and therefore with a voice, which none but "Very God of Very God" could have sent forth, he cried, Let there be light! No embassy of angels was needed to carry his wishes into execution. No skill of the mechanic, no counsel of the learned. Chaos yielded to the voice of its Maker-and there was light. But even when this point was gained, much remained to be done, for formless the earth still continued: and therefore were performed those various displays of power, love, mercy, and wisdom, which the first chapter of Genesis contains. It is needless for me to say more on this point. Every man must learn for himself, for the wonders of creation are open to the inspection of all. And when we view the formation of our own body, the mightiness of its mechanism, the intricacy of its contrivances, and the beauty of its shape-when we behold the world of animals, and that of insects, and of fishes, and mark how well each one answers the end of its creation-and when we cast our eyes upward, and view the innumerable worlds which roll over our heads,-we must indeed be wanting in feeling and sensibility, if we refuse to confess that Infinite Power was needed to produce them all. 1 pass on from this subject (as I shall have occasion to refer to it hereafter) to observe,
2. That the power of God is displayed in overcoming those difficulties under which human nature sinks, from the conviction that all is lost. To illustrate this 1 would say, that the DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT presents us with a striking example of its truth. Ground down to the earth by hard and relentless task-masters, and urged to immoderate labour by the rude blow of the scourge; the children of Israel in the time of their bondage presented an appearance, and filled a situation, differing widely from that in which the kindness and munificence of Joseph had placed them. Slavery, we
know, whatever may be the covering under which it is disguised, is still a bitter draught, and deeply were the oppressed Israelites obliged to drink of it. With rigour and severity all their labours were exacted of them, and the misery of being bondmen was fully appreciated by them. This was truly a deplorable situation, but this was not all. Tight as the cord had been strained around them, there was still room for increased severity; they had yet some steps higher to go, before they reached the summit of their misery. In consequence of a communication from Moses to the king of Egypt, his anger was inflamed, and he commanded that no straw should be given to the people (who were engaged in making bricks), and yet that their daily tasks should be performed. This was of course impossible. As it was, they were worked to the last extremity, they were compeiled to do as much as they could and now-deprived of means, sent to wander over the Egyptian fields to gather stubble instead of straw-was it likely they could perform their daily tasks, as when that material was plentifully furnished? Picture then to yourselves this unhappy people oppressed by tyrants from whom they could expect no mercy; ruled by the dreadful power of chastisement; without any to stand up for, or defend them; was it possible they could hope for deliverance or expect it by any human means? Must not their heart have been sick, and their spirit faint? I need not enter into a detail of the miracles wrought by the hand of Moses during the course of their deliverance from this wretched state, observing only two things. 1. That the Egyptians had no excuse for refusing to let the Israelites go, after the convincing proofs which were afforded them of His power, who professed to be their governor. 2. That the Israelites had every reason to place implicit confidence in this Almighty Being. For we find, that the prospect soon begins to wear another aspect; that the rising sun has dispersed all the dark clouds of despondency; and that, loaded with the spoil of the Egyptians, their hearts overflowing with joyfulness, the fields and the valleys of the promised land smiling (in imagination) with plenteous harvests, and every prospect looking as bright as it possibly could,-they were "brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
Let us however follow them for a little while, and we shall find, that they had scarcely escaped out of the Egyptian territories, before another and more appalling calamity impeded their progress and shook their faith. Pharaoh had no sooner suffered them to leave his land, than he repented of having done so; and hastily calling together his mighty forces, he marched forward in the determination of bringing them back again to their task-masters and slavery. And he had doubtless great probabilities of being successful what was the condition of the Israelites? Before them lay the Red Sea, a passage through which could by no human artifice be forced: beside them mighty and precipitous rocks reared their heads to the sky, and precluded all possibility of escape: and (what was still worse) behind them was a cruel and malicious enemy; one who had without provocation overwhelmed them with barbarities, and from whom therefore they could now expect no mercy, since they were looked upon as rebels and deserters. Their case was hopeless. They were not prepared to give battle to a regular army of Egyptian warriors, and therefore could reasonably look for nothing less than cruel murder, or no less cruel slavery. Of this they were convinced; and therefore (notwithstanding all the wonders which had contributed to bring about their deliverance) they despaired, and accused Moses of bringing them out into the wilderness for the purpose of destroying them. God permitted
their condition to come to such a pitch that they could not fail to feel their own weakness, and the insufficiency of an arm of flesh to effect their safety and escape; and then the hand of Moses was stretched out: at his voice the waters of the sea rolled back: wave after wave flowed over each other, until two mighty walls of water enclosed a passage for the Israelites to go through; and thus did the ransomed of the Lord go on their way rejoicing! I add nothing to this simple declaration of a true occurrence, but leave it to produce its legitimate effect on every heart.
(To be continued.)
COLLECTED BY THE LATE REV. WILLIAM BUTTON.
REV. RICHARD CONYERS, LL.D.
Rector of St. Paul's Deptford. Died on Sunday, April 23, 1786. Aged 62.
THERE are some circumstances attending his death so remarkable, that we are ready to conclude he must have had some premonition of the event. As he was walking in his garden on the Monday before he died, as well as usual, he observed his servant making the walks very neat; and said to him, "It will not be long that we shall be here. You may give over I say, I shall not be long here." On the Tuesday, as he was walking again in the garden, he said to the same person, "Come and sit by me, I shall not be long here. If I die, let me be laid, when I am dead, in the parlour;" and then he conversed most sweetly and familiarly of the things of God, with a cheerful voice. To a particular friend he said: "I shall not be long, this will be the last time I shall see you; we must be in Christ Jesus, or nothing at all." He was now as well as he had been for a long time. On the Thursday, expecting to see some near relations who lived in the neighbourhood, he felt no small disappointment at their not coming, and said, "It would have been the last time, if they had come.' During all this week he would repeatedly say, "I find my Jesus so precious to my soul, that I cannot express it. I am so happy in the things of God, I am so wrapt up in Jesus, that I am confident I shall not stay here long."
On the Saturday, he took his servant with him into the churchyard, and said, "I want to look out a spot for my grave: show me Mr. Baker's grave:" (a person who had been converted under his ministry, and died happy.) When he had fixed on the place, he drove a stick into it, and said, "If I should live till Monday, I will get the sexton to come and try whether there is sufficient depth of earth; but I do not think I shall hold out till Monday." On the next day, which was the Sabbath, he went to church as usual, and in the course of the service, the twentieth chapter of the Acts happened to be the second lesson for the morning. As he read it, he made several pathetic remarks on that part of it in which the Apostles call upon the Ephesian Elders to record, that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God, and intimates that they should see his face no more. This proved, in the issue, but too applicable to his own case. In his comment, he called upon their consciences solemnly to witness, that he was clear of their blood. In his discourse, which he preached from Matthew xxviii, 18, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth," he largely and sweetly dwelt on the Godhead and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ, adoring the grace that had enabled him to preach Him, and directing the people to re
member that Christ lived, and that all their happiness for time and eternity was treasured up in Him.
In pronouncing the blessing, his speech seemed to falter, which only those who were near him could perceive; and finding himself seized with the stroke of death, he called to his man who stood near him, and said, "I cannot get from my knees." His servant raised him up, being perfectly helpless, but sensible. His crowded audience were instantly thrown into shrieks and tears. Several of his friends assisted in bringing him from the pulpit; and as they carried him along the aisle, with tears on his cheeks and a smile on his countenance, he waved his hand to the people, bidding them a final farewell. Being taken to his house, he said, "I have no pain: God's will be done, I hope I shall soon be with Jesus." Nor was he disappointed; for at four o'clock in the afternoon, his soul took its triumphant flight to everlasting glory.
Funeral Sermon, preached by the Rev. John Newton, Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, from 1 Thess. ii, 8.
OUR LONG NEGLECTED BRITISH TARS! MANY attempts have been made to benefit poor sailors, but very, very little has yet been done for them. There are two asylums where a few get shelter for a day or one conducted by Capt. Gambier, &c., the other by Mr. Knight. The gospel is sent to the ends of the earth, by means of sailors, at a great expense ! They return, are robbed of their hard-earned wages: others are shipwrecked, and their few remaining clothes sold for bread; they die for want of care, being far away from their parish, and no one is concerned for the souls of poor sailors! What are all our evangelical clergymen waiting for? To bring about a plan that shall be permanent to evangelize our seamen, and by the blessing of Jehovah to encourage them to be missionaries. Look at the skeleton of the Sailors' Home! the wreck in Wellclose Square! The Merchant Seaman's Hospital at Lloyd's, and the Port of London Society, &c.
May the Lord incline the hearts of his faithful servants to implore Him to provide a Refuge for them, who supply our tables with the produce of foreign climes, at the hazard of their own lives!
A King's Letter for a general collection at every place of worship throughout the empire would be the means of providing them with a good harbour, where they might ride in safety all the rest of their lives, and have hope in death.-A True Friend TO SAILORS.
INSINCERE PROFESSION OF CHRISTIANITY.-Aygoland, a Moorish king, having waged war with Charlemagne, was induced, as was customary with conquered princes in those dark ages, to profess the Christian faith, in order to obtain peace on more advantageous terms. For this purpose he repaired to the French court with prodigious pomp; and observing there a great number of poor men, who were fed and clothed by the Emperor's bounty, inquired who they were. The reply was, "They are the servants of God." "What!" said the heathen prince, "are the servants of God so poor and wretched, while the servants of the Emperor are so rich and fine? I did intend to be baptized and become a Christian; but now I am resolved never to serve that God who keeps his servants no better!"
Caryl, an old commentator, who relates this anecdote, observes with much point, "What this ignorant_prince spoke out freely, many speak secretly in their hearts: they will not serve Christ upon self-denying and suf fering terms."
REMARKS ON ANCIENT LITERATURE.
A TASTE for reading is the allowed characteristic of every nation that has pretensions to civilization. The inhabitants of every newly-discovered island, after a few years' experience has remodelled their manners and customs, display this feature very strikingly. A thirst for knowledge is inherent in the human mind; and though this inclination may run riot if unrestrained and uncurbed, still the principle remains the same, and the abuse of it cannot bear down our consciousness of its high importance.
On the destruction of the old Roman Empire, the barbarous spirit of the conquerors condemned to the flames the noble libraries which the munificence of the Constantine dynasty had founded. Their zeal in this destruction being apparently actuated by the opinion, that a people deprived of the enthusiastic orations of a Demosthenes, or the heart-stirring history of their warlike forefathers, would soon become benighted in ignorance, and debased beyond the possibility of their ever recovering the high estate from which they had fallen.
This ruthless antipathy to every vestige of virtue and of heroism, effectually answered the desired purpose, and none of the ancient classic works were preserved, except in small and scattered libraries, which Providence seemed especially to protect for the enlightening of future ages.
The middle ages of the Christian era were consequently enveloped in almost impervious darkness, the people were immersed in grossness, and ignorance overspread the land. But the active principle of the mind of man was still the same, it slumbered and it slept, but it was not destroyed; there was occasionally that faint glimmering in the mental horizon, which served not only to render the darkness more awfully visible, but as a beacon to guide the wandering steps of some benighted pilgrim.
As a stream confined within narrow banks rushes on with greater impetuosity, or as the rays of the sun concentrated into one focus burn with more intense heat, so this desire for knowledge, acting on more condensed or limited materials, produced the most surprising and incredible effects.
We accordingly find it stated, that when a single book was bequeathed to a friend or relation, it was seldom done without many stipulations and conditions. If given to a monastery, it was thought that so valuable a present merited eternal salvation; and the donor with great ceremony offered it upon the altar, and the most formidable anathemas were denounced against those who should dare to alienate it.
The Prior and Convent of Rochester declared, that they would pronounce the irrevocable sentence of damnation on him who should purloin a Latin translation of a work of Aristotle, or even obliterate the title.
The inconvenience and impediments to study were so numerous from the scarcity of books, that in the reign of Henry VI, by one of the statutes of St. Mary's College, Oxford, it is ordered, "that no scholar shall occupy a book in the library above an hour at most, so that others may not be hindered from the use of the same."
In 1471, when Louis XI of France wanted to borrow the works of an Arabian physician from the Faculty at Paris, he was compelled not only to deposit by way of pledge for its return a quantity of valuable plate, but was also obliged to procure a nobleman to join with him as security in a deed, by which, under very considerable forfeiture, he bound himself to turn it.
THE CANON OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTA-
of the Christian Religion." A New Edition, with Introductory Remarks by John Morrison, D. D. 12mo. cloth, 58. pp. 418. London.
We know not in what terms, sufficiently strong, to give a worthy recommendation of this volume, with that brevity which is required in the Christian's Penny Magazine. In early life this was a subject which engaged our most anxious inquiry; and we have no doubt of the same solicitude influencing the minds of many of our inquisitive readers. The Canonical Authority, and the consequent satisfaction with the Holy Scriptures, is one of the most interesting, as it will be found one of the most edifying considerations of our young friends; and we beseech them, especially those who are connected with a circle of reading friends, to procure this unusually valuable work: in real importance, it is worth a thousand volumes of such as invite the attention under the denomination of Popular New Works.
Dr. Alexander states the question thus: "The Bible includes a large number of separate books, published in different ages, during a space of more than fifteen hundred years. Each of these books, when first published, formed a volume; or, at least, the writings of each author were, in the beginning, distinct; and if they had continued in that separate form, and had been transmitted to us in many volumes, instead of one, their authority would not, on this account, have been less, nor their usefulness diminished. Their collection into one volume, is merely a matter of convenience."
Referring to the addition of the Apocryphal books by the Roman Catholics, the author says, The inquiry, therefore, is not optional, but forces itself upon every conscientious man: for, as no one is at liberty to reject from the sacred volume one sentence, much less a whole book of the revelation of God; so, no one has a right to add any thing to the word of God; and, of consequence, no one may receive as divine, what others have without authority added to the Holy Scriptures. Every man, therefore, according to his opportunity and capacity, is under a moral obligation to use his best endeavours to ascertain what books do, really and of right, belong to the Bible. An error here, on either side, is dangerous: for on the one hand, if we reject a part of divine revelation, we dishonour God, and deprive ourselves of the benefit which might be derived from that portion of divine truth; and on the other hand, we are guilty of an equal offence, and may suffer an equal injury, by adding spurious productions to the Holy Scriptures; for thus we adulterate and poison the fountain of life, and subject our consciences to the authority of mere men."
"The two great questions most deserving the attention of all men, are- -First, Whether the Bible, and all that it contains, is from God?-Secondly, What are those truths which the Bible was intended to teach us? These two grand inquiries are sufficient to give occupation and vigorous exercise to intellectual faculties of the highest order; and they are not removed entirely out of the reach of plain, uneducated Christians.”
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CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY is the second celebrated seat of learning in the British empire. Our readers, therefore, cannot fail to be interested in a sketch of its history; especially as we gave some historic and descriptive notices of OXFORD UNIVERSITY, in the Twentyfifth Number of the Christiau's Penny Magazine.
Cambridge, or, as it is frequently called in history, Grantbridge, is eligibly situated on the river CAM, from which it takes its name, distant fifty-two miles nearly north from London. Besides the parish churches, its principal public buildings are, the SENATE HOUSE, the PUBLIC SCHOOLS, the UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, the FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM, the ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY, thirteen COLLEGES, and four HALLS which possess equal privileges, together with the CHAPELS attached to the Colleges. Of these latter, that belonging to King's College is truly magnificent. Of this splendid building we purpose giving a more particular account in some future number of the Christian's Penny Magazine.
Cambridge is "divided into fourteen parishes, each of which, with one exception, is provided with a church." Cambridge is believed to have been a fortified station of the Romans, and to have been called by them CAMBORITUM. Some suppose it to have been an VOL. II.
ancient British settlement; and they pretend to carry up the date of its literary glory to a period of nearly four centuries anterior to the Christian era!
When the University of Cambridge was founded, is, however, quite uncertain. Many conceive it was established as a public seminary for youth, soon after the introduction of Christianity among the Saxons, especially as it was found excessively expensive and dangerous to send the British youth to Rome. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, about A. D. 630, is believed to have patronized this infant academy.
Much uncertainty attaches to this statement; and if it be true, the Saxon divisions and the ferocity of the Danes, by turns, laid waste this nursery of learning. In 1010, Cambridge was plundered, and totally destroyed with fire, by the Danish soldiers, in their predatory warfare.
William, the Norman Conqueror, having established himself in England, built a castle at Cambridge, and, as some say, patronized leaning so as to entrust the education of his younger son, Henry I, to the governors of this University. But in A. D. 1110, the tenth year of that monarch, no university existed at Cambridge, according to Peter of Blois; when Joffrid, abbot of Croyland, originated or revived this seminary. Mr. Milner, in his Church History, speaking of the revival of learning at Oxford and Cambridge, gives the following
-"It revived, however, in some degree about the year 1109, when Gislebert, with three other monks, was sent by the abbot of Croyland to his manor of Cottenham, near Cambridge. These monks went every day to Cambridge, where they hired a barn as a convenient place for public lectures. One read grammar in the morning, a second read logic at one o'clock, and a third, at three in the afternoon, gave lectures on rhetoric, from Tully and Quinctilian. Gislebert himself preached on Sundays and other holidays. The barn was soon found insufficient to contain the auditors;
and therefore accommodations were provided for the labours of these men, in different parts of the town. Such is the account which Peter of Blois gives of the infant state of learning in the University of Cambridge."
Prosperity continuing to attend the labours of the lecturers at Cambridge, many pious persons and lovers of learning made provision for the subsistence of regular professors, and for the convenience of students; colleges, therefore, were begun to be built and endowed in the reigns of Edward I and II.
The following is a list of the Colleges, with the dates of their foundation, and the names of their founders.
1. PETERHOUSE. Hugh de Balsam, Bishop of Edward I. 1284
will not attempt to compute: but our intelligent readers will not fail to recognize the services of Bilney, Fryth, Rogers, Ridley, Bradford, Saunders, Glover, Latimer, Cranmer, who were educated at Cambridge, and became martyrs for the doctrines of Christ: Grindal, Walton, Bedell, Davenant, Hall, Jeremy Taylor, Beveridge, Lightfoot, Strype, Pearson, Poole, Patrick, Tillotson, Parkhurst, Paley, Milton, Bryant, and Sir Isaac Newton, are names which are held in the highest estimation by the friends of scriptural religion; and these were scholars of Cambridge.
It would be unjust not to mention the venerable Mr. Simeon, Senior Fellow of King's College, whose countenance afforded to pious young men in that University has been an incalculable blessing to the nation; and besides his zealous co-operation with most of the institutions established to promote the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom, his "Outlines of Sermons upon the whole Scriptures" have been the most valuable helps to the clergy in their preparations for the pulpit.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SABBATH, CON-
WHO can tell the importance to man, of the Divine
"July 16, 1832. J. R. Farre, M. D., called in, and examined.
Q. You have practised as a physician many years ?—— A. Yes, between thirty and forty years.
Q. Have you had occasion to observe the effect of the observance and non-observance of the seventh day of rest during that time?-A. I have. I have been in the habit, during a great many years, of considering the uses of the Sabbath, and of observing its abuses. The abuses are chiefly manifested in labour and dissipation. The use, medically speak ing, is that of a day of rest: in a Theological sense it is a holy rest, providing for the introduction of new and sublimer ideas into the mind of man, preparing him for his future state. As a day of rest, 1 view it as a day of compensation for the inadequate restorative power of the body under continued labour and excitement. A physician always has respect to the preservation of the restorative power, because, if once this be lost, his healing office is at an end. If I show you from the physiological view of the question, that there are provisions in the laws of nature which correspond with the Divine commandments, you will see from the analogy that the "Sabbath was made for as a necessary appointment. A physician is anxious to preserve the balance of circulation, as necessary to the restorative power of the body. The ordinary exertions of man run down the circulation every day of his life; and the first general law of nature, by which God (who is not only the giver, but also the preserver and sustainer of life) prevents man from destroying himself, is the alternating of day with night, that repose may succeed action. But although the night apparently equalizes the circulation well, yet it does not sufficiently restore its balance for the attainment of a long life. Hence, one day in seven, by the bounty of Providence, is thrown in as a day of compensation, to perfect by its repose the animal system. You may easily determine this question as a matter of