Page images
PDF
EPUB

reply to these questions simply as inter- scribed in the word of God for the rogatories, yet experienced no little administration of reproof. While, theredifficulty in combatting with what was fore, we would by no means wish the implied through them, the bearing of slanderer to escape notice, wherever he which was so irresistibly plain, that she may be found, yet we would have mincould not help seeing her heart exhi- gled with our condemnation of his sin, bited as clearly as objects reflected by that gentleness which invariably charays of light on a mirror. The proof of racterised the lessons of our Lord and this was her hastily leaving the room, Saviour Jesus Christ. and afterwards escaping as quickly as We would not, however, only caution possible from the house.

you against that most injurious chaReader, have you hitherto escaped racter, the slanderer, but also remind the tongue of the slanderer? If you you of the little less guilt attaching to have, we congratulate you, but dare not the listener. If there were no listeners, encourage you to hope that you will the former would shortly become expass through life without encountering tinct. As when a fire is no longer supthis dangerous and cruel foe. When- plied with fuel it goes out; so, in like ever the time arrives, however, that you manner, were there no listeners to feed shall come in contact, mark him well; the depraved appetite of the slanderer, seize him, not by the collar nor by the it would soon die of starvation. arm, but look at him; fix your eye on That these two classes of persons are him; and speak through that to his equally pernicious to the well-being of heart; for there are looks which melt society should always be remembered : the soul. Our Lord cast on Peter a and there is no little truth in the relook, after his denial of him; and we mark that, “the tale-bearer and the are told that “ Peter went out and wept tale-hearer should be subjected to the bitterly.” But mark you, let your look, same punishment, with only this difas nearly as possible, resemble Christ's ference

the one should be hung look-it was one of pity and tender re- up by his tongue, and the other by his proof. Treat not the culprit as does ears." the uusparing hawk the object it aims Now, though we grant that such a to capture, which wheels round and penalty would not exceed the amount round it, alternately ascending and de- of desert for criminality so great, yet scending, and then darts upon its un- we would rather advocate a milder suspecting victim. Neither maliciously spirit, and persuade by the gentleness lacerate and tear him in pieces, as the of Christian love any who may come wild beast of the forest does whatever under a like condemnation; and thus intercepts its range; nor seek to hold we shall be individually improved by the him up to the scorn and contempt of exercise of that charity which “thinketh otbers—this is not the mode that erring no evil.” From the lady and the whole man should adopt towards erring man. party, who, notwithstanding this painThe heart—and by this we mean its best ful occurrence, frequently afterwards affections—is the most sensitive, the met, we are happy in knowing that most vulnerable part of man. Attack there never again was heard a word de. this, then, with proper weapons, sharp. preciatory of friend or foe; each one of ened by justice for the injured, and with the party resolving, at the time, as we mercy for the injurer; and we believe have since learnt, to abjure the mean that both individuals will derive advan. and dastardly crime of slander, which, tage. Mortification does little towards though painted somewhat strongly in a radical improvement of character, and the following lines, is not, we think, certainly savours not of the course pre- much overdrawn :

core

" Thou deadly weapon! like the assassin's knife, Causing, alas! with thy envenonied blade, Hurld in the dark at the poor victim's life; Wounds deeper far than he has ever made. So thou, as secretly, dost oft direct

O Slander! let thy flame devouring be Thy poisonous shafts, which do unseen effect Extinguish'd in the stream of charity!" Thy wily purpose-wound the heart's deep

After such a picture, our readers, we Of those who may, than some, have virtues think, are not in much dan ver of ever

finding themselves in a like dilemma And, as the murderer who conceals his face, That none the fell demoniac may trace,

with the lady who is the more promiSo with a two-edged sword, soft words behind, nent subject of the present article. Thou strikest thy prey, with cruelty refined,

S. S. S.

more:

REFLECTIONS ON THE CENSUS OF 1851.

March 31, 1851. hope, as for peace-the strength of eduTo-day a mighty work has been ac cated masses; of commercial, trading, complished in our land — the people and manufacturing enterprise and skill; have been numbered ! Such a work of social morality, and of religious inwould, in former times, have excited no fluences. In these results our political common interest, and required immense economists, philosophic statesmen, soeffort for its performance. Yet all is cial reformers, and Christian philannow done almost as quietly and easily thropists, will find a most valuable as any of the great operations of nature storehouse of facts ready for their reitself, which proceed silently and un spective uses. From these, by comheeded, from their commencement to parison and induction, they may draw their termination, and are only known general conclusions, and form laws of to us by their grand results. Why, and universal application, in reference to how is this? Just because man, pos- the different, but related, and very imsessed in some faint degree of his portant branches of practical knowledge Maker's image, even though fallen, to which they respectively devote their manifests a few broken and scattered attention. And how is it, then, that rays of that glory in the knowledge and this great work, and its mighty results, skill with wbich he plans and executes are so easily, quickly, and silently acall his works. But even to manifest complished-done, virtually at least, all these, he requires much and long-con- in one day, without any interruption to tinued culture ; and they can only, the daily, ordinary engagements of so therefore, be looked for in a highly large, crowded, and busy a population as civilised state of society. And from the ours ? Simply by skilful pre-arrangeconception and execution of such works, ments, and a wise subdivision of labour. this is evidently the condition of our And the knowledge and capacity for country. The attempt to procure an these things are all from God: in these accurate Census of our population is things we are, in an bumble measure, but of yesterday; and yet how complete like to God. Let Christians, then, will be the returns now obtained! They learn from the men of this world, to will embrace every particular of sta use the gifts of God for God's peculiar tistical importance, respecting indivi. work; let them be as wise in the pecu. duals, families, classes, and institutions. liar fields of labour which they are They will furnish an accurate index to called upon to occupy, us the disciples our national progress in numbers and and followers of Him who went about in strength-not so much for war, we doing good, and who hath enjoined

VOL. XXIX.

T

upon all his friends to do as he hath David's enumeration (recorded in 2 Sam. done. On similar principles of pre- xxiv.), though not commanded by arrangement and subdivision, made God, was only of the military force of with wisdom, and executed with energy, the nation—" valiant men that drew the how much more successful would be the sword.” Whatever was the precise enterprises of Christian beneficence! reason for the displeasure of God with The Church has yet to learn from David for doing that which Moses was the world—we mean the true Church ; twice ordered to do, we may at least for false churches, especially that of learn from these instances, on the one Rome, have well and ably learned these hand, to be thankful that, though wars lessons.

have not yet ceased to be, our census is But, after all, the world has gained not required for warlike uses, and connot a little of what it most glories in templates much larger results and far with any good reason, from the church. nobler purposes than a military lovy; Why have we in our day, and in this and on the other, that, as nations, we country, so many well-meaning and are not under a theocratic government. active social reformers and general phi- However excellent that government was lanthropists? Unquestionably from the for the temporary purposes of the Moindirect influence of the religion of saic economy, it would now be an in. Jesus Christ on the thinking and edu- tolerable burden for us to require a cated portion of the community. This specific revelation from heaven for every may be gathered from the facts that important national transaction. And these men are only to be found in coun- if a small nation, and one so well intries where some degree of Evangelical structed respecting their duty as Israel, light has long been shining; that they so often erred through neglecting to abound in different lands in proportion abide by the revealed laws furnished for to the amount and clearness of that their guidance, or else to wait for a new light—as may be seen by reference to communication, how fearful and freFrance, Germany, and England; and quent would be the sins of negligence that, though very often not disposed to and disobedience, bringing wrath upon own it either fully or candidly, yet the the people, of nations so numerous, best views which they propound, and and, at the same time, so partially inthe arguments by which they enforce structed and so self-confident as our them, are evidently drawn from the own, or other modern nations, if placed Bible. If they are not so directly, at under a theocracy like that of ancient least they are indirectly, through the Israel! God has very mercifully left us general prevalence of Scriptural know- to the exercise of our own reason, both ledge in our times.

as individuals and nations, in all things To number the people is no new for which, as full-grown men, it is comthing in the earth. Moses twice num petent. And to guide us rightly, we bered the children of Israel : first, in have the principles of natural science the beginning of the second year after and divinely revealed truth, which it is the Exodus; and again, at the end of both our duty and privilege to follow. the forty years' wanderings in the If these are neglected, we pay the pedesert. (Num. i. and xxvi.) These cen- nalty, in this life only, of all the inconsuses were made at God's command, veniences and sufferings which such as the King of Israel, and for purposes neglect may fitly be expected to prochiefly of a warlike nature; for the Jew- duce. And such principles may, upon ish leader was to take the number “from a very little reflection, be found to autwenty years old and upward, of all that thorize and recommend such a Census. were able to go forth to war.” as that now taken. It is, therefore, as

So

much, though in a different way, re- i thy sebd as tho stars of the heaven, and quired by God, as was the numbering as the sand which is upon the sea shore." of Israel by Moseš. It would be a "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee happy thing for us if we were more good, and make thy seed as the sand of deeply impressed with our responsi- the sea, which cannot be numbered for bility to God for a due attention to his multitude.” (Gen. xiii: 16; xxii. 17; will, even when indicated only by the xxxii. 12.) Now these promises were plain deductions of natural law, or by not to be limited to the natural seed, the inferential but undoubted conclu- but refer ultimately and chiefly to the sions of sound scriptural interpretation. spiritual progeny of the great “ father of

When Israel were vumbered, they all them that believe... For the promise were required to "givo every man a was not to Abraham, or to his seed, ransom forliis soul unto the Lord,...that through the law, but through the rightthere might be no plague among them... eousness of faith.” (Rom. iv. 11; 13.) the rich should not give more, and the With this view agree the predictions of poor should not give less than half a Old Testament prophets :-“ As the host shekel...to make an atonement for their of heaven cannot be numbered, neither souls.” (Exod. xxx. 12, 15, 16.) We are the sand of the sea measured : so will I not under theocratic rule ; no such offer- multiply the seed of David my serrant, ing is required of us. Yet it may be and the Levites that minister unto me." well to remember that the souls of our “ Yet the number of the children of vast population ard all ulike forfeited to Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, God by sin, and need the great ransom- which cannot be measured nor numprice of a Sáviour's blood to deliver bered; and it shall come to pass, that them from the plague of Divine wrath. in the place where it was said unto Let the present occasion, in connexion them, Ye are not my people, there it with tliis allusion to Jewish law, excite shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons anew tlie gratitude of all who have been of the living God.” (Jer. xxxiii. 22; actually ransomed with this precious Hos. i. x.) These prophecies, especially blood; and lead them to a deep, solemn, | as the latter is applied by the Apostle and protracted consideration of the to the calling of the Gentiles, in Romans state of the vast multitudes in our ix. 24–26, manifestly teach us to exmidst who are still unransomed and pect a large increase to the spiritual unsaved. Thus may the Census of posterity of Abraham, the subjects of 1851 lead to new and more vigorous his promised seed, the great Messiah, efforts for their salvation,

when “he shall see his seed ... shall see The results of this Census will present, of the travail of his soul, and shall be it is to be expected, a very considerable satisfied.” (Isa. liii. 10, 11.) “ Then increase, notwithstanding several dimi- shall the earth yield her increase, and nishing causes have been at work during God, even our own God, shall bless us.” the last ten years. This not only re- The natural increase of our own popuminds us of the promises made to Abra- lation, and their rapid spread in these ham of a large increase of his posterity, days, along with our language, literabut is, we apprehend, somehow con- ture, arts, and religion, over every part nected with its fulfilment. These pro- of the globe, forcibly remind us of these mises were thus expressed :-"I will promises and predictions, oven by the make thy seed as the dust of the earth : power of a bare analogy. But more 80 that if a man can number the dust than this, since by these concurrent of the earth, then shall thy seed also be events another more ancient prophecy numbered.”_“ In blessing I will bless still is being fulfilled, that “God shall thee, and in multiplying I will multiply enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in

the tents of Shem" (Gen. ix. 27); and | kiel, of whom it was declared by God, since in our hands and those of our through his prophet, " they shall not be younger brethren in North America written in the writing of the house of God has placed the means and the priu- Israel, neither shall they enter into the cipal facilities for blessing the world land of Israel!" These were false prowith the knowledge of Abraham's pro- phets who did “see vanity and divine mised seed, the great Redeemer, we lies,” who seduced the people, saying, may see in all this the gradual, but ever “ Peace, and there was no peace.” certain, progress of events towards the (Ezek. xiii. 9.) What a monument of final accomplishment of the Divine pur- warning is this to all who hold the reposes of grace and mercy respecting our sponsible office of ministers of the gosguilty and unhappy race. This review pel; nay, to all the churches of Christ, and anticipation may serve to awaken for they are appointed to be the lights our gratitude, and confirm our faith in of the world, and the guides of men! God and his promises.

If, through any unfaithfulness of ours, Various other reflections are suggested we mislead and deceive the souls of to our mind by certain passages of Scrip- men, either wilfully or carelessly, are ture in connexion with the numbering we not in danger of a similar doom, even of the people. Our names are all now not to be found written in the Lamb's enrolled in the records of this great em- Book of Life, the writing of the house of pire. It is an honour to be thus counted Israel, neither to enter within the gates as born in Britain. But how much of the New Jerusalem ? And this warngreater, if “the Lord shall count, when ing needs especial consideration in this he writeth up the people,” that we were day, when so many are abroad scatterborn in Zion! We may indeed rejoice ing the seeds of error with unsparing if our names are written among the hand; or, to return to a former figure, living in Jerusalem, written in heaven, holding forth false lights to allure men in the Book of Life. (Isa. iv. 3; Luke x. into the quagmires and pitfalls of de20; Pbil. iv. 3 ; Rev. xiii. 8.) And that lusive systems, which promise peace, it

may be so, let us "give all diligence where disappointment, trouble, and ruin to make our calling and election sure." alone will be found. How opposite to God has a Book of Life, and it has two all this the spirit, and how different the pages--one turned towards himself, but end, of Moses and of Paul, who were hid from our inspection, in which is in. willing to have their names blotted out scribed, “ The Lord knoweth them that of the book—at least so far as all present are his;" the other patent to us, so that connexion with the people of God was he who runs may read—“ And let every concerned—if thereby the people, their one that nameth the name of Christ de kinsmen after the flesh, might but be part from iniquity." Let our character saved ! (Exod. xxxii. 32; Rom. ix. 3.) and conduct but correspond with this The vast changes among our people description, and our names will surely since the last Census, only ten years ago, be found at last on the other, the hidden may excite in every thoughtful mind a page. One proof of our possessing such long train of useful reflections. Since a character will certainly be this, that that period a third of a generation have " the abominations done in the midst of gone the way whence they shall not reour land, and of its vast population, will turn. Ireland has been desolated by deeply grieve our souls." And we know famine; both it and our own country that on all who mourn for such things, have been scourged by pestilential disJehovah will set the mark of his peculiar ease ; multitudes have been compelled regard. (Ezek. ix. 4; Mal. iii. 16.) There to leave their native land, and emigrate was a class in Israel, in the days of Eze- to distant regions, in order to procure

« PreviousContinue »