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unseen world, which is itself in harmony with spiritual existence, as to become really acquainted with the modes of action and eommunication, the laws, the capacities, the habitudes of that mysterious energy, that vivifying influence, that divine effluence or creation which we term spirit? Alas! he can see now but a feeble glimmering of the light of that world, compared with its full effulgence—though even this faint gleam may be brightness indeed contrasted with the darkness of that dwelling which is no less the prison, than it is the abode of man.
And the cause of his imperfect knowledge may be found in this very constitution of his nature-so that if there be things by him seen and known, it is because they are material and temporal: if there be things unseen and unknown, it is because they are spiritual and eternal.
Is it not strange that man should be most dogmatic in regard to that of which he knows the leası?
Yet he is disposed for the most part to treat in a magisterial and positive manner the subject of his spiritual relations—the deep things of religion, a science which, above all others, ought to be approached and studied with reverential humility. It is here in fact that we have more masters than disciples. But it is not so in other sciences. Even in those which are adapted to his perceptive powers, and examined by the sare methods of observation, experiment, and induction, the conclusions of the learner are cautious, modest, and unassuming. How much more so should they not be in regard to things invisible, intangible things that are higher than the heavens!
I would not, however, be understood to intimate that Religion is an oncertain or doubtful matter. Nothing can be more certain than the facts on which it rests, and nothing more just or obvious than the doetrinal and practical deductions drawn from these by the inspired writers. But whi'e it thus adapts itself, as to those points which immediately concern salvation, to the humblest understanding, it transcends the powers of the highest human intellect in its ultimate tendencies and results. Thus the mountain which shelters indeed the lowly cottage at its foot, lists itself aloft amidst the clouds of heaven until it becomes lost to view. Its general outline may be traced by the distant beholder; but when he approaches and attempts to ascend, he is confused by its magnitude; he endeavors often in vain to find his way amidst its deep recesses, or to expose to view the unknown depths in which its richest treasures are concealed. How often in unexplored realms of nature-how much oftener in religion, do men from confidence in themselves push their inquiries and researches too far, and become lost themselves, and fatal guides to others, in their eagerness to signalize themselves by new discoveries!
All sectarianism is dogmatism, bigotry-religionism, the pride of opinion, the insolence of self-esteem, and stubbornness of ignorance Think you such principles would look well in those who profess to be engaged in a warfare against it? And yet how often are men insensi. bly influenced by the same feelings which they reprobate in others! Forbearance, toleration, humility, candor; firmness in truth, openness to conviction, and freedom of opinion in things unknown, should be the grand features of a reformation from partyism, an evil which owes its very life and being to a positive and overbearing spirit. But religious is as great a novelty in the world, as is political freedom. The attempt to organize a free religious community is as much an experiment, as the attempt to form a free political government, and it is exposed equally to the same vibrations and dangerous extremes which arise equally in both cases from ignorance or ambition-from pride, selfishness, or passion.
Men are not content to preach the gospel-to scatter abroad the good seed of the kingdom and leave the result to God, but must needs quarrel with each other about the manner in which the seed is made to grow! It would have bee: happy for the world if there had never been a single controversy upon converting power;" and if all, believing as they do, that it is proper to proclaim the gospel to sinners, had co-operated thus in the accomplishment of the divine purposes, rather than wasted their time and energies in contending with each other. As well might the farmer have suspended or neglected the sowing of his fields, to occupy himself in vain contention with his neighbor about a theory of vegetation.
When, however, theories are introduced and believed and acted upon—when they are made to govern and control all action, and to interfere with human happiness and the general diffusion of the gospel, it becomes a duty to expose them. But we should not attempt to introduce other theories in their place. If one have received a bullet in the flesh, it is necessary indeed that the forceps should follow it to whatever depth it may have penetrated: but the surgeon would but illy consult the welfare of his patient, if, after extracting it, he should leave the forceps in its stead.
And now, as my sheet is almost full, permit me say, my dear E, that while I approve of many things in your remarks to your friend R, there are some which do not meet my approbation. It is not correct, in my view, to say that all who do not obey the gospel, give thereby evidence that they do not believe it. In the course of our Saviour's ministry, many, we are told, "believed on him," but would not aeknowledge him"-some "for fear of the Jews," and others because sthey loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." There is abundant evidence to prove that multitudes believe the gospel without obeying it. This I might, if I had now space, present, though indeed the above scripture declaration and case in point are sufficient to prove the proposition. Your premises, then, here being incorrect, I conceive you have entirely failed to account for the difficulty which you have attempted to explain—to wit, How it is that if faith depends wholly upon the word, but few of a large congregation, the major part of which profess to believe it, will obey it when it is fully presented to them?
For my part, I would maintain this position, that in no case is conversion effected by the word alone; or rather, I would enter upon this inquiry, Is it not necessary that a power or influence DISTINCT FROM the word should always accompany in order to conversion and salvation?Upon this I will offer you some thoughts when I can find a little leisure.
F A MIL Y CULTURE.
CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE.-No. XXVII.
LUKE III. Olympas. In the conclusion of. chapter ii. we learn that Jesus went down with his parents from Jerusalem to Nazareth, and was subject to chem. What precept of the Jews' law required this, Susan?
Susan. The fifth says, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
Olympas. He honored this precept, and was subject to them. How long was he subject to them, William?
William. During thirty years: for such is the age assigned to him when he commenced his own work.
Olympas. Then he worked for his earthly parents and honored them till he was thirty, and to his heavenly Father he exclusively devoted the remainder of his life. True, he glorified God in honoring his parents; but a portion of that time he labored for the family, as the phrase "being subject” intimates; and, therefore, the fair presumption is that he wrought at the carpenter's trade. The Jews required their children to assist them, if need required, till they were thirty, and sometimes longer. Besides, they all taught their sons a useful trade, whatever their future prospects might be. All the presumptions are in favor of the idea that our Saviour actually submitted to work with VAL VI-NS
his hands for the support of the family till he was of the appointed age of majority, or freedom from the parental yoke. What think you, Eliza, is intimated by the saying, “His mother kept all these sayings in her heart”?
Eliza. Such as the saying which he uttered when he was twelve years old, alluded to last evening—"Know you not that I should be about my Faiher's business," or "at my Father's house." Your remark on his being subject to his parents, would commend the proprie. ety of reading “Father's house" rather than “Father's business.”
Olympas. You mean, then, that the phrase "kept all these sayings" imports all such mysterious and unusual things said by him, or concerning him by others; and what, then, means her “keeping them in her heart," William?
William. Memory, I suppose; for in looking over the scriptures I see "heart" often means memory and understanding: and so our teacher in the Academy commands us to "get our lessons by heart"-meaning to memorize them.
Olympas. “To memorize” is scarcely good English. Within my memory this phrase has been gaining a new currency. It is growing into use like the words resurrect and resurrected, which are gross innovations upon our good old English language. "To memorize" je to record in writing; or, according to Shakspeare, who is of high authority with one class of lexicographers, it means “to cause others to remember.” But this new acceptation of the word is, upon the whole, an act of violence upon the legitimate province of the ancient memorize, as much as the outlandish "pesurrected” is upon the dominions of the verb to resuscitate. I would, indeed, have you to observe that oto keep a thing in the heart” in Jewish idiom, is to remember it, and to ponder upon it. Jesus, we are informed by Luke, "increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man. ." What think you of this expression, Thomas?
Thomas., It would indicate that Jesus was a child like other children-at first imperfect in wisdom and stature; and that as he increased in both, so he also grew in public favor—in favor both with God and man, because of his early and vigorous virtụes and excellencies. "The child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and a divine gracefulness was upon him,” would seem to convey the same idea.
Olympas. We shall now hear you read, William, the third chapter of Luke, so far as the 18th verse, with a special reference to the chronology of the Messiah's birih and times.
[William reads. ] Olympas. What date is fixed in this passage, Thomas?
Thomas. The commencement of John the Baptist's ministry. The word of the Lord came to John in the 15th year of Tiberias Cesar.
Olympus How many Cesars in all, reigned over Rome, William?
William. They are said to have been twelve, and arranged in some histories as follows:- Julius Cesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Caudius, Nero, Galba, Oiho, Vitellus, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian.
Olympas. But does the true line of descent continue to Domitian?
William. I think it terminated in Nero, the sixıh of that blood. Other six assumed the title of Augustos, or Cesar, of different families. In the New Testament I think you told us that 'Tiberias, Claudius, and Nero are simply addressed or spoken of under the general name of Cesar.
Olympas. "I appeal unto Cesar," says Paul; that was to Nero, then Emperor of Rome. "Render under Cesar the things that are Cesar's," says the Messiah speaking of Tiberius. When, Eliza, was the first of the twelve Cesars born?
Eliza. The tenth day of the fifth month, called Quintilis by the Romans; that is with us the tenth day of July, one hundred years before the Christian era.
Olympas. Did not the fifth month receive the name of July, and the sixth month receive the name of August from the two first of this Julian family?
William. So the Roman historians say; but after these two they resumed - the Latin names for the seventh, eighth, nin!h, and tenth months, called September, October, November, December.
Olympas. The Roman year began with March, so called from Mars the god of battles, because in this month the Romans generally commenced their military campaigns. The Jewish ecclesiastical year began in the latter half of that month called ABIB, which occupied about the last half of March and the first half of April, so far as their lunations permitted. But to return to the Cesars: How long did Julius reign as Emperor?
Thomas. Born July 10th, Ante-Christo 100 years, and being as"sassinated in the Senate House, died in the 56th year of his age, at the ides of March, being the 15th day of that month. He, Crassus, and Pompey his son-in-law, formed the first triumvirate, and by degrees, after the death of these two illustrious men, he ascended to the title of Pontifex Maximus, and Imperator, having been appointed Consul for five years, Dictator for one year, and Tribune for life; and again Diclator for ten years, Censor for life, with his statue placed in the Capitol; but he only enjoyed the sovereignty expressed by Emperor a few months. His nephew, the son of his sister Julia, called Caius