« PreviousContinue »
dred anecdotes in the enlarged editions of his work illustrative of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, most of which would have suited this volume, but which it was deemed improper to admit.
A work of a similar kind, illustrative of the Old Testament, is in progress. Whether it shall ever be completed, must in a great measure depend on procuring sufficient materials. *. It is the prayer of the compiler that the blessing of God may accompany the perusal of this little work.
Edinburgh, September, 1830.
MATTHEW. Chap. i, ver. 20.—But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream.
Henry, Duke of Saxony, a most wicked prince, dreamed that an angel appeared to him, with an angry countenance, and uttered these words :--" The Almighty, unwilling to cut thee off in the fulness of thine iniquity, hath sent me to give thee warping." Upon this be showed him a scroll with these words AFTER Six. The Prince awoke trembling, and much alarmed. He was convinced the vision was from God, and thought it certainly predicted his end. Six days, six weeks, six months, were spent in penitence and preparation for his end; but these having elapsed, he concluded that six years must be the period intended, and, by the grace of God enabling him, be effected a thorough reformation in his life and government, and at the end of six years was elected Emperor of Gerinany.
Chap. ii, ver. 16.—Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
In 1641, Sir Phelim O'Neal, and other Papists, commenced an universal massacre of the Protestants in Ireland. “No age,” says Hume, “no-sex, no condition, was spared. The wife, weeping for her butchered husband, and embracing her helpless children, was pierced with them, and perished by the same stroke. In vain did flight save from the first assault. Destruction was every where let loose, and met the hunted victims at every turn. They were stripped of their very clothes, and turned out naked and defenceless in all the rigors of winter. The feeble age of children, the tender sex of women, soon sunk under the multiplied rigors of cold and hunger. Here the husband, bidding a final adieu to his expiring family, envied them that fate which he himself expected so soon to share! There the son, having long supported bis aged parent, with reluctance obeyed his last command, and abandoning him in his uttermost distress, reserved himself to the hopes of avenging that death which all his efforts could not prevent or delay." -40,000 persons, according to the lowest computation, perished in these massacres !
Chap. ii, ver. 18.-In Ramah was there a . voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and
great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
We learn from Le Brune's voyage to Syria, that the women go in companies, on certain days, out of the towns to the tombs of their relations, in order to weep there; and when they are arrived, they display very deep expressions of grief. “While I was at Ramab," says he, “ I saw a very great company of these weeping women, who went out of the town. I followed them, and after having observed the place they visited, adjacent to their sepulchres, in order to make their usual lamentations, I seated myself on an elevated spot. They first went and placed themselves on the sepulchres, and wept there; where, after having remained about half an hour, some of them rose up, and
formed a ring, holding each other by the hand. Quickly two of them quitted the others, and placed them. selves in the centre of the circle, where they made so much noise in screaming, and in clapping their hands, as, together with their various contortions, might have subjected themselves to the suspicion of madness.After that they returned, and seated themselves to weep again, till they gradually withdrew to their homes. Tbe dresses they wore were such as they generally used, white, or any other color; but when they rose up to form a circle together, they put on a black veil over the upper parts of their persons."
Chap. iii, ver. 7.-But when he saw many . of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, Oh generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?
An irreligious young man went to hear Mr. White. field, who took the above passage for his text: “Mr. Whitefield,” said the young man,“ described the Sadducean character; this did not touch me,- I thought myself as good a Christian as any man in England. From this he went to that of the Pharisees. He described their exterior decency, but observed that the poison of the viper rankled in their hearts. This rather shook me. At length, in the course of his sermon, he abruptly broke off, paused for a few moments, then burst into a flood of tears; lifted up his hands and eyes, and exclaimed, “Oh my hearers! the wrath to come! the wrath to come!' These words sunk deepinto my heart, like lead in the waters. I wept, and, when the sermon was ended, retired alone. For days and weeks I could think of little else. Those awful words would follow me wherever I went,. The wrath to come! the wrath to come!!” The result was, that the young man soon after made a public profession of religion, and in a short time became a very eminent preacher.
Chap. iii, ver. 8.—Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance.
“ I pay more attention,” says Mr. Booth, “ to people's lives than to their deaths. In all the visits I have paid to the sick during the course of a long ministry, I never met with one (who was not previously serious) that ever recovered from wbat he supposed the brink of death, who afterwards performed his vows, and became religious, notwithstanding the very great appearance there was in their favor when they thought they could not recover."
Chap. iv, ver. 16.— The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
Two young men being in familiar conversation respecting the natural bias of their minds, the one declared, if bis circumstances in life would adınit, be would travel over foreign countries, but particularly go to ancient Rome, and see there the ruin and desolations that war and time bave made on that once famed city. The other, with a countenance that proved he felt what he said, exclaimed, “If the circumstances that Providence bas placed me in would admit, I would visit the dark benighted villages in my own country, and contemplate the ruin that sin, ignorance, and vice, bave made on the manners of the people; and not only contemplate the horrors of ignorance, but under a divine blessing, endeavour to chase away the clouds of ignorance, and throw the sun-beams of instruction over the mind of humble poverty, by establishing Sabbath schools. That would be my pleasure and my delight." The other acknowledged the latter was far the better choice, and afterwards became an active and zealous teacher in a Sabbath school.
Chap, iv, ver. 24.–And they brought un