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world, and sending out its rivulets to many abodes of wretchedness. But still I could not but reflect how inadequate were the present means to counteract so much moral evil as existed in the world. To fall into the ranks of benevolence and resist this flood of evil, to spend my life in driving human misery from the earth by promoting the cause of Christ, seemed the only undertaking worthy the dignity of the christian or the philanthropist, and with this resolution 1arose and proceeded on iny journey.
“HAVE THEY NOT CAUSE TO WEEP."
THOUGH we have sometimes been pained to see the house of mourning transformed into the house of feasting, yet have we seldom found those who would hesitate to say, while contemplating " the end of all men,” that “ the living should lay it to heart.” Not so, however, with the day of one's birth.' This seems to be considered by most, as a proper season for rejoicing; and such indeed it would be, were we sure that the rational existence which has just begun will be a happy existence. Since, however, the uncertainty is great, it becomes us, if we rejoice, to rejoice with trembling.
But more suitable perhaps it might be, to imitate, in this respect, some of the heathen nations of antiquity. Among them, as we are informed by historians, the birth day of an infant was a day of mourning for the family. Assembling around, they compassionated the child which had had the misfortune to receive the fatal present of existence. In this, their conduct seems to have been in strict accordance with the maxims of Grecian sages. “When we reflect," said these wise men, “on the destiny which awaits men on earth, we ought to bedew his cradle with our tears.”
Such were the sentiments of heathen philosophers while contemplating the various sufferings which fall to the lot of humanity in this present state of existence, where the cup of affliction is never unmingled with mercy. Would they not then have wished that their “ eyes were a fountain of tears," had they been permitted to send a penetrating glance into that world of complete and endless wretchedness, whither shall be driven “all the nations that forget God” ? Most surely he who traces the progress of a poor heathen from the cradle to the grave, and from the grave down through the flight of everlasting ages, must be ready to exclaim, “There is cause to weep over him."
Behold that infant which opens its eyes upon the light of life, in India, China, Africa, or our own western wilderness! If the savage monsters of the river are not feasted upon its little limbs; if the vultures and jackalls riot not upon its flesh; if it be not buried alive with its deceased mother; and if it survive exposure to the cold and the tempest, and all the cruel treatment of unnatural parents, what then is before it? A childhood and youth of ignorance, suffering, and unrestrained indulgence of every evil passion : a inanhood spent
in the cruel and debasing service of an idol god : an old age, if his years are lengthened out so long, of unkind neglect from children and friends, and of gloomy and fruitless attempts to penetrate the tenfold darkness which hangs over the tomb. See him at length, when the cold dews of death begin to settle upon his brow. No pious friend is near to tell him of Him who is “ the resurrection and the life.” The numerous sins of former years rise to remembrance. He sees that he has not acted up to the knowledge which he had of the character of God, and that he is wholly “without excuse." He goes down through the dark valley of the shadow of death with no compassionate Saviour to sustain him. He awakes in eternity to the first knowledge of that only name whereby men can be saved, and with the bitterness of despair looks afar off on that happy world which might have been his inheritance, if, while on earth, the gospel of Jesus had been proclaimed in his ears.
Oh, you “ who have hope towards God,” should you, through the abounding and distinguishing grace of your Saviour be permitted to enter upon that rest which remains for his people, can you meet that look and not feel as though you might--as though you ought, to have done more for the salvation of the heathen ?
FOR THE PILGRIM.
BOOK OF NATURE.
“ The landscape has his praise, but not its Author."
The volume of nature opens to the inspection of men a tissue of beauties as multiform as the varieties of their taste, and as endless as their capacity to admire is unbounded. Whether it is presented to the eye of the untutored savage or of the fastidious naturalist, it has surface enough to delight the astonished gaze of the one, and depth enough to satisfy the inquisitive niceness of the other. The Creator, in devising the plan of his works, seems to have regarded the gratification of all his intelligent creatures. This part of the creation which man occupies, he clothed with decorations suited to every grade of his capacity; and for the entertainment of angels he built that stupendous orrery where suns are planets;-an equal match for their exalted comprehension.
But alas! men and angels are unlike spectators of the scenes of nature. Although prepared throughout by the same hand, and impressed with the same divinity, our field of observation is almost the last place where we think of its Creator, while theirs re-echoes with his praise. Strange, that an intelligent being, formed for such chaste and exquisite enjoyment as the beauties of nature inspire, should ever be so absorbed in his own gratification, as to forget the Power that made him such, or the skill that designed the sources of his happiness! And yet, amidst what exhibitions of the majesty, wisdom and benevolence of God, is the heart of man insensible of his exisecoce! The seasons pass in order before his eye; the verdant car
pet and the snowy mantle alternately clothe his prospect; he sees, and smiles to see the change, but observes not nor heeds the hand .that wrought it. By day, he extends his vision down the landscape, where grass and flowers display their rival charms, and rivulets sparkle in the sun; or along its rising slope, where forests tower, and the golden harvest waves obeisance to the passing breeze;-by night, he lifts it to the shining wonders of the firmament, in their nature vast, in their order sublime, and in their number infinite; his eye is filled with images of beauty, life and splendor, his taste delighted, his intellect employed; but from the whole panoriuna perhaps he has not gleaned one thought of God, its great first cause.
- Unconcerned who formed
He finds it such, for the Creator has not placed this source of our happiness where it would cost us years of labor to discover and possess it; nor was it made a luxury which, from its kind, can be but now and then enjoyed. But man opens his eyes upon it with the earliest light he sees, and, while he lives, it is ever in his hands and at his will. This very circumstance, however, which should naturally render the field of nature so advantageous a school for learning the character and will of God, and so eligible a temple for his praise; by reason of our perversion, has not a little influence in fixing our stupidity to every consideration beyond itself. And piety, where we should most of all expect it to be awake and active, is most asleep.
The enjoyment which we feel in pursuing the walks of nature, and in regaling the sight upon the profuseness of beauty around us is generally thought innocent, to whatever extent and in whatever way it is experienced. It is, as it robs no other of his fullest share of the same happiness, nor casts contempt upon the things which God has made. But the noblest end the Maker had in view, was to reflect glory on his own perfections. Had he been at the pains to build a universe only to afford his creatures the mere pleasure of beholding it, then it would be our best conformity to his will to be. hold that universe, and to feel that pleasure. But when He did more than this, and wrote his character and law in living lines upon his works; giving to some no other revelation of Himself, and to others none but such as was intended to explain and corroborate this; shall we be innocent, while, unmindful of His instruction and His praise, we trample down His fairest works, to revel in the pleasures of our own taste? No-we must do more than seek our own gratification, even in the possession of unforbidden things. Our rule of right is not only to refrain from doing what is, in itself, wrong, but also to fulfil all that duty which the command of God has made it right for us to do. And He has filled the ethereal space with suns and worlds, and bids us look at more than we can comprehend, and adore His infinite design. When we walk abroad, He tells us to lift our eyes upon the gilded clouds, the lofty mountains, the little hills, the vales, and streams; and praise the skill that could devise, and
the word that could call into existence, wonders that human thought can never span, and beauties that human art has been unable to copy in as many thousand years as he employed but days, in creating them. He bids us behold the air, earth, and sea, full of animals, that enjoy and sport away their little existence, while nature spontaneously provides them with their fill of every thing; and speak of his benevolence. He bids us look upon the wastes where thorns and briars spring, and think how man rebelled ;-upon the waving corn and pendent fruit, and think how God forgives. He bids us, in the changing seasons, see the “ varied God,” and in their ever due return, behold Ilim still the same.
Will a dying World ever live ?
TO THE PILGRIM.
PERMIT me to introduce myself to your notice, with that frankness and simplicity which become a professed follower of the Lord Jesus. I am informed, that, looking not so much to “ things scen and temporal,” as to those “unseen and eternal,” you are endeavouring to walk the heavenly road, and to seek“ a city which hath foundations." With christian humility, I would observe, that my object is the same. Like you, too, I feel a deep interest in the eternal welfare of “my kinsmen after the flesh," a great portion of whom are “ aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise." For their salvation I daily wrestle with God in prayer; and for their salvation I feel willing “ to spend and be spent.” * It was at the close of a very fine day in July, that I took my bat and left my room, intending to take an evening walk. The sun had just sunk beneath the hills, as I passed the confines of my native village. As I advanced, daylight fast disappeared; and, at length, the moon, as if conscious of her office, shone with peculiar splendor, Espying a beautiful elm a few yards distant, I quickened my pace, and soon seated myself beneath its widely extended branches.
I had not been long in this situation before I began to be impressed with a sense of the wisdom and goodness of the Great CREATOR. To aid my devocion, I took out my pocket-bible, turned to the eighth psalm, and read aloud the following verses : “ When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” The interrogation came home to my mind with peculiar emphasis. That the infinite Jehovah, the being who called from nought those dazzling orbs with which I was surrounded, should regard worms of the dust,—and that He should send His own Son to die for their sins, seemed to demand the warmest gratitude, the highest acts of praise. Humbled under a conviction of my unworthiness, and adoring that love by
which I hoped I had been made spiritually acquainted with my Maker, I enjoyed a peace of mind, the remembrance of which is sweet. But the consideration that there were millions of my fellow creatures who knew not the God I was worshipping, nor the way of salvation by His Son, changed my praise into a prayer,—that “He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, would shine into the hearts” of those who were “ sitting in the region and shadow of death.” Just at this moment the well known sound of the church bell echoed through the fields; reminding me of a Missionary Sermon, which it was expected would be preached that evening. Ri. sing, therefore, from my pleasant seat, I bent my course homeward, and soon came in full view of the church.
Here, again, I paused, and reflected on the state of the heathen. It was a solemn consideration, that while we were assembling to worship the true God, they were bowing down before gods of wood and stone; and that, while we were pointed to heaven, they were rushing down to hell. Having implored a blessing on the Word, I advanced with considerable rapidity, entered the church, and took my seat. The speaker was Dr. ****. His Sermon was indeed a Missionary sermon. After he had given a summary of facts with regard to the heathen, he observed, “With this view of the subject, I cannot but consider their situation as highly alarming. Many indeed tell us, that the heathen are in no danger ; but with the page of Inspiration before me, I am compelled to believe that they are sinners --are enemies of God, and exposed to eternal death. May more than one BRAINARD or NewELL go and bid them look to Jesus and live forever.!" Service being ended, I returned to my room with feelings which you can better imagine than I describe. I seated myself in my easy chair, and, what with fatigue and mental excitement, I fell into a partial drowse, and my train of thought into a kind of sentimental reverie.
I thought, that as the statement of facts in the sermon was so alarming, it was time that something should be done on my part, to save a perishing world. For this purpose I determined, first, to visit those places of the earth that were “full of the habitations of cruelty;" to ascertain their particular situation; then, to return, and pursue such a course of conduct as duty and Providence might point out. In imagination I was soon conveyed to India, and seated on the banks of the river Ganges. Looking down upon the water, I saw several persons bathing, some of whom sung; others, raising their eyes toward heaven, and clapping their hands, uttered sounds expressive of the highest pitch of enthusiasm. In a short time they came out of the water, and ascending the bank where I sat, manifested no small degree of surprise at seeing one of an appearance so dissimilar to theirs. I asked them the meaning of the service they had been performing. They replied, “We have been washing away our sins !"
I then beheld a man advancing towards us, the quickness of whose pace seemed somewhat remarkable, as I judged him to be seventy years old. When he had come so near as to be heard, I was convinced that it was his intention to drown himself in the Ganges.