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this character, she is fallen from her high estate, and proved traitorous to the honor of his Divine Master. But in addition to all that Chris. tians can do in that relation, if there yet remains for them in their individual capacity any means of promoting literature, science, good government, civiliaztion, temperance, and national prosperity, by combining their energies with those who are more specifically warring against auy special vice, or advancing any special virtue, I hesitate not in affirming the conviction that they may cordially co-operate with those who have selected special departments of human improvement and redemption from prevailing vices and errors, as their appropriate work; provided only, they do not so entrammel themselves as to im. pair their ability to discharge the other duties of Christianity, which equally claim, on the score of benevolence, and by the additional motive of positive precepts, their prompt and cordial regard.
If the co-operation of Christian men with any benevolent associa. tion interferes not with the nature and design of the Christian union, by prostituting the Christian worship and the Christian ordinances; and if it neither supplant the direct influences of the Christian institution, make them void, or reflect any discredit upon them as impotent and inefficient—then, and in all such cases, the things themselves being of good report, I linow no reason why Christians should refuse their countenance or their assistance. But if, on the other hand, we must form an intimate union with the foes of one vice or of many vices, a sort of concord with Belial for the sake of exterminating a particular vice-if we must have a sort of religious community with infidels and the enemies of true piety, for the sake of carrying any one project of benevolence-a higher sense of benevolence, a more discriminating regard to the great principles of Christian philanthropy, may perhaps veto such a familiarity, and forbid any other co-operation than the force of good example and an unfaltering testimony against popular vices.
'There is political communion, as well as moral, literary, and Christian communion. I ain an advocate for placing the right label upon all sorts of goods and commodities, and of inscribing upon all institutions, projects, and efforts, their appropriate names. If, then, as I think, in many instances it is possible, to concur with moral and virtuous persons in opposing the horrible and manifold sin of intemperance, without abusing the Christian religion by unwarrantable intimacies with evil doers, and thereby inducing them to think themselves prelty good men, if not better than many Christians, because, forsooth, they happen to be reformed drunkards; or because they may never have had a taste for inebriating liquors- I am persuaded it is a duty in such instances, and on such occasions, to throw our mite of influence into the proper scale, and to strengthen the hands of those who are laboring to rid society of this intolerable nuisance.
Many of our brethren who substantially entertain the views herein sketched, think it their duty to take a strong hold of the temperance cause, and to plead on suitable occasions against the Goliath anonster; and in so doing we bid them God speed, because they feel not any of the trammels above named, and have such compeers as make it both honorable and agreeable for them to co-operate in this great reformation.
For my own part, for more than twenty years I have given my voice against the distillation of ardent spirits at all. I have both thought and said, that I knew not how a Christian man could possibly engage in it-how he could, morn and even, supplicate the divine blessing upon his labors in that department, and say with David, “The work of our hands, O Lord, establish thou it!” And how a Christian man can stand behind the counter and dose out damnation to his neighbors, at the rate of four pence a dose, is a mystery to me greater than any of the seven mysteries of Popery. I wish all the preachers, orthodox and regular in divinity, who drink morning bitters and julips, would join the Temperance Society. All persons, too, should take the vow of total abstinence who habitually, or even statedly, or at regular intervals, sip, were it ever so little of the baleful cup; and were the evidence clear that the vow of teetotalism would bankrupt all the retailers, tipplers, manufacturers, and venders of the fatal potion, and save a hundred millions a-year for the education of the ignorant and immoral youth of our couniry-then, indeed, I would recommend to all phi. lanthropists the duty of becoming instantly not only temperance, but total abstinence pleaders and practitioners.-All of which is repectsubmitted by yours, &c.
F A MIL Y CULTURE, CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE. No. XXVI.
LUKE, CHAP. II. Thomas. But for the decree of Augustus Cesar, you informed us in our morning lesson, that the Messiah had not been born at Bethlehem. We desire to have this fact more fully illustratsd.
Olympas. Neither Joseph nor Mary resided there. The both resided in Nazareth, a city of Galilee; consequently, but for some urgent reason, at that peculiar time Mary could not have consented to travel so far from home, a distance of some fifty-six miles.
William. But could not Mary have staid at home, and suffered her husband to go to Bethlehem, if indeed Bethlehem must be the place of enrolment?
Edward. Bethlehem must be the place of his nativity; for so reads the Prophet Micah: “And thou, Bethlehem, of the land of Judah, art not the least of the cities of Judah; for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel."
Olympas. There is another must be in the case: for according to the Jaws of enrolment, every man must be present in his own city; and Joseph being of the house and lineage of David, must go to the city of David. But why also must Mary be present? This is not quite so obvious to those unacquainted with the Jewish history of that day.Eli, the father of Mary, having no son to keep up his name, required of Joseph, as a condition of obtaining his eldest daughter, that he be enrolled as his son in the Family Register, a custom long established among the Jews in such cases. On such occasions the wife must always appear
with her husband in order to the legality of the transfer of lineage. This fact, growing ont of the peculiarity of Eli's family, together with the edict of Cesar, compelled the attendance of Mary at Bethlehem, and occasioned the literal accomplishment of a prediction 700 years old; which, but for these apparent contingencies, could not have been so exactly fulfilled.
Reuben. I have read of Bethlehem in Zebulun. Were there two Bethlehems?
Olympas. This is called Bethlehem, and Bethlehem of Judah, to distinguish it from the city of Zebulun, called by the same name. It is worthy of remark that king David was born in this cily a thousand years before his Son our Lord. It was the town of Jesse, and its name indicates a place of hospitality: for its name in English is "The House of Bread.” It still stands upon the same hill, the city of three thousand years.
Eliza. In what sort of place was our Saviour born?.
Olympas. The Inn was, in all probability, a Caravansary, where guests were furnished only with room gratis, and was situate on an emine Volney, in his travels through Syria, says that “Bethlehem is situated two leagues east of Jerusalem, on an eminence, in a country abounding in hills and valleys, and might be rendered very agreeable. The soil is the best in all these districts: fruits, vines, olives, and sesanum succeed here extremely well; but, as is the case every where, cultivation is wanting.”
William. I read that Jesus Christ had brothers and sisters: but I do not comprehend this. Will you please explain it?
Olympas. Eli had no son. Mary married Joseph, and her sister married Cleoplías. She had four sons and some daughters. These are called the brethren and sisters of Jesus. They were, indeed, only his cousins; but because in marrying the elder sister he renounced his own lineage and adopted that of his wife, he becomes the head of the family; and as a token of superior attachment and nearness of feeling the issue of such marriage is supposed nearer to the descendants of the sisters, and are called brethren rather than cousins.
Eliza. I am more anxious to know in what time of the year our Saviour was born, than the particular geography of the place of his nativity.
Susan. Oh! he was born at Christmas, as our school-mistress told us last Christmas.
Olympas. Your school-mistress and the Romanists, though worthy of respect on various accounts, are neither infallible nor even always accurate in some of their most common traditions. I will read you a passage from one of our Harmonies of the Four Testimonies, in which I have more faith than in all the evidence that Greeks and Romans offer for their traditions:-
“The time of the year in which our Lord Jesus was born, not being particularly mentioned, became, in the fourth century, a subject of dispute between the Greek and Latin churches; the former fixing it to the 6th January, and the latter to the 25th December. Both support: ed their hypotheses by calculations grounded on the time of the angel's appearing to Zacharias: but as the time contended for by the one and by the other, does by no means accord with the account which travellers give us of the climate, and particularly with the shepherds lying out at night to watch their flocks, nor with Herod's calling the people together at that inelement season to be enrolled: doubts have arisen whether the time contended for, by either of the parties, is right. We have seen before that the Levites who attended the service of the temple were divided into twenty-four courses; that every course attended regularly one after another, a week at a time, and that Zacharias was the head or chief of the course of Abia, which was the eighth course. Now, suppose the first course began its tour of duly at the Passover on the 15th day of the first month, that is, on the beginning of the third week of the first month of the ecclesiastic year, the eighth course, namely, the course of Abia, would enter upon duty on the first day of the Pentecost, and would continue on duty till the end of that festival. The circumstance of Zacharias being struck deaf and dumb on the occasion seems strongly to intimate that the angel appeared to him on that day. It is then said, that when the days of his ministra
tion were accomplished, he departed to his own house, and after these days his wife Elizabeth conceived: this might be about the end of the thirteenth week, or first quarter of the ecclesiastic year, and consequently, John's birth would be at the beginning of the ensuing year, or vernal equinox.
“Now with respect to Jesus, it is said, that after Elizabeth conceiva ed, she kept herself concealed five months, and in the sixth month the angel appeared to Mary, and informed her of Elizabeth's conception, and that she herself should conceive miraculously, and bear a son whose name she should call Jesus. This appears to have then taken place; for Mary, we are informed, arose in those days and went with speed to the hill country, and saluted Elizabeth; and, by Elizabeth's answer, it is evident that what was promised Mary had taken effect.This was the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. Mary stays with her about three months and returns home. John is born in the beginning of the ecclesiastic year, that is, at the vernal equinox, when Mary was three months with child; consequently Jesus is born in the beginning of the civil year, that is, at the autumnal equinox-a season remarkably typical. It was introduced with the sounding of trumpets through all the land; and, on the first day of the first monih of that year, were proclaimed the sabbatical years, the years of jubilee, a release of debt to the debtor, and liberty to those who were sold for servants. Now at this season, it is presumed, Jesus Christ was born, in whom all these types were fulfilled, and with which all the circumstances of the shepherds watching their flocks at night, in the open fields, and of Herod's assemblirg the people to be enrolled, will perfectly agree."
After the birth of our Saviour and circumcision we are informed of his dedication to the Lord, not in circumcision, but according to the tenor of another ordinance, verse 22d. What was this rite, Thomas, and where was it performed?
Thomas. The first born were consecrated to the Lord by various rites, and the ceremony was performed in Jerusalem. The Lord claimed the first born as his from the redemption of Israel out of Egypt. Hence it is written in the law, “Every male, the first born of his mother, is consecrated to the Lord.” The sacrifice enjoined in the law on this occasion was a pair of turtle doves and two young pigeons.
Olympas. Who were present at this dedication, Eliza?
Eliza. Both the parents of the child, and the good old Simeon, to whom it had been revealed by the Holy Spirit that he should see the Messiah before he died. He came in at the dedication of the infant