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COMMENT ON 1 Thess. v. 18.
In every thing give thanks. « There is a tradition, that, in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being men of piety, they sought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on their difficul ties kept their minds gloomy and discontented; and, like the children of Israel, there were many disposed to return to that Egypt, which persecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in one of their assemblies to proclaim a fast, a farmer, of plain sense, rose, and remarked, that the inconveniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected ; and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened ; that the earth began to reward Heir toil, and to furnish liberally for their subsistence; that the seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and, above all, that they were in the full enjoyment of their civil and religious liberty; he, therefore, thought, that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divine Being, if, instead of a fast, they should appoint a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and, from that day to this, thầy have, in every year, observed circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish cause for a thanksgiving-day; which is, therefore, constantly ordered and religiously observed.
Dr. B. Franklin's Essays.
A minister who went to preach in a country village, ac.companied by a few friends, intended to take a number of tracts with him, but forgot it: they had, however, thrce or four, which they distributed, and found, in a short time, a great part of the congregation collected around a person who was reading one of them. This put him on thinking that if those pence which are often idly thrown away, were employed in purchasing tracts, much good might be done. He adds, as a proof how much they are needed, that, conversing with a lad, who was left in care of some cattle, he asked him, Who made the wheat ?' &c, he immediately answered, “ Farmer Philpot;” and in the same ignorant manner he replied to every question that was put to him! How much then do the poor need th.ci nstruction that may be communicated by religious tracts!
ON REPROVING SIN. Few things are more difficult than to administer reproof properly ; but, while the professed servants of God sometimes need reproof, the avowed servants of Satan need it much more frequently, and on different grounds. One day, a person being in the room of a poor aged Christian woman, and lamenting a want of firmness to reprove the abandoned when travelling, and, as an excuse, having recourse to the hackneyed passage “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine," she seriously and hastily replied, is Oh, Sir! keen and just reproofs are no pearls; were you to talk to a wicked coachman respecting the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, and the pleasures of communion with God, you would cast pearls before swine, but not in reproving sin.
I BEG the favour of you to insert the following case of conscience : -- I frequently find in Scripture that Usury is particularly condemned; and that it is represented as the character of a good man, that “ he hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase,” Ezek. xviii. 8, &c. I wish, therefore, to know how such passages are to be understood, and whether the taking of interest for money, as is universally practised among us, can be reconciled with the word and will of God?
IMMORALITY OF CHRISTIANS INJURIOUS TO TIE HEATHEN.
BARTHOLOMEW De Las Casas, after giving Charles V. a picture of the cruelties committed in the New World by the Spaniards, -"This," says he," is the reason why the Indians are so ready to make their mock at the God we worship, and persist so obstinately in their incredulity. They are persuaded that the God of the Christians is the most evil of all Gods, - because ihe Christians who worship him, are the most wicked and corrupt of all inankind.”
THE SPIRITUAL CABINET. Mr. Editor, Being obliged by your insertion of my Extract from Mr. Foster in your
last, I am emboldened to solicit a like place for the following Extract from the Character of an Atheist.
Clio. "I will imagine only one case more, on which you weud emphatically express your compassion, though for one of the most daring beings in the creation, a contemner of God, who explodes his laws by denying his existence.
If you were so unacquainted with mankind, that this character miglit be announced to you as a rare or singular phenomenon, your conjectures, till you saw and heard the man, at the nature and the extent of the discipline through which he must have advanced, would be led toward something extraordinary : and you might think that the term of that discipline must have been very long, --since a quick train of impressions, a short series of mental gradations, within the little space of a few months and years, would not seem enough to have matured such supreme and awful heroism. Surely, t'ie creature that thus lifts his voice, and defies all invisible power within the range of infinity, challenging whatever unknown being may hear him, and may appropriate that title of Almighty which is pronounced in scorn, to evince his existence, if he will, by his vengeance, was not as yesterday a little child, that would tremble and cry at the approach of a diminutive reptile.
But indeed it is heroism no longer, if he knows that there is no God. The wonder then turns on the great protess, by which a man could grow to the immense intelligence that can know there is no God. What ages and what lights are requisite for this attainment! This intelligence involves the very attributes of Divinity, while a God is denied; for unless this man is omnipresent, unless he is at this moment in every place in the universe, he cannot know but there may be in some place manifestations of a Deity by which even he would be overpowered. If he does not know absolutely every agent in the universe, the one that he does not know may be God. If he is not himself the chief agent in the universe, and does not know what is so, that which is so may be God. If he is not in absolute possession of all the propositions that constitute universal truth, the one which he wants may be, that there is a God. If he cannot with certainty assign the cause of all that he perceives to exist, that cause may be a God. ļf he does not know every thing that has been done in the inmeasurable ages that are past, some things may have been done by a God. Thus, unless he knows all things, that is, precludes another Deity, by being one himself, he cannot know that the Being, whose existence he rejects, does not exist. But he must know that he does not exist, else he deserves equal contempt and compassion for the temerity with which he firmly avows his rejection and acts accordingly. And yet a man of ordinary age and intelligence may present bimself to you with the avowal of being thus distinguished from the crowd; and if he would describe the manner in which he has attained this eminence, you would feel a melancholy interest in conteinplating that process of which the result is so portentous.
Foster's Essays, vol. i, p. 64, &c. [A Second Extract from Abp. Leighton in our next.]
M. JAMES STANGER. eldest son of the justly celebrated Sir, To the Editor.
Dry Stanger, of Harringworth, died
on the 29th of November, in the Tuat part of your Magazine 69th year of his age. During the which records the deaths of pious three last years of his life, he was Christians, is, I believe, generally confined by a paralytic stroke, which read with considerable interest. We deprived hirm of the use of nearly one nalurally feel a desire to be ac- half of his body. Though this quainted with the manner in which affliction did not seem to have our fellow-travellers pass through a materially injured his faculties, yet scene, over which clouds and dark- it had evidently weakened their ness seem to hover, and beyond vigour, and threw something of a which, rrothing but the eye of faith gloom over his otherwise cheerful can penetráte. The timid are en. mind. Respeeting this period, there couraged when the horrots of the fore, of his life, it seems necessary shadow of death are seen to vanish only to observe, that, he maintained as they are approached ; and genuine an unshaken confidence in God, and Christianity seems peculiarly to never indicated the least doubt of the triumph when its votaries are en- truth and importance of the docabled to shont victory over its last trines he had long embraced and and most formidable of enemies, maintained death and the grave. Perhaps, how in Mr. Stanger's Christian course ever, too great stress has sometimes there were many things deserving been laid on the manner of passing of honourable mention. His piety out of this life into the next. “Many was of the purest cast. It did not have died with the greatest heroisin burst forth in sudden and rapturous in the worst of causes; and others, flight, but it burned with an equal supported by truth and virtue, have and steady flame. His reverence shrunk from the conflict. The fact of God and regard for the Scriptures, is, a man's cuinposure in his last have been seldom surpassed. The moments depends, perhaps, chiefly evidently lived under the impression, on the confidence he feels as to the “Thou God seest me:” and, as for truth of what he has believed; and his word, he valued it as his best as it is possible that crror may be portion. He adopted as his own, sincerely embraced for trnth, and the language of David, “ The law of thal doubts may be felt respecting the Lord is perfect, converting the even truth itself, those who are soul; the testimony of the Lord is dcluded by error may go off in sure, making wise the simple; - the triinuph, while the sun of those statutos of the Lord are right, rewho are on the side of iruih, may joicing the heart; the commandset uuder a cloud. IIenço, however spent of the Lord is pure, enlightendesirable it may be to pass through iny the cyes.” No man ever heard the valley of ihe shadow of death, Mr. Stanger quote a passage of without fearing evil (and this will Scripture to sanction an idle remark, in general be the case with the true or give point to wilticism ; and he Christian) yet the cost satisfactory was always hurt when he saw this fiidence of a person's being on the irreverence in others. This habitual right foundation is, his Christian regard for the word of God, preJite; and, therefore, when very little vented himn from taking any liberties that is interesting can be said re in the exposition of Scripture ; and specting the departure of the true when he found ibat a doctrine could Chrisiian, it is possible that much not be faicis made out without may be recorded respecting his wresting, and torturing the obvious Christian course, whieh would afford meaning of particular passages, he uany useful lessons for holy living. dbearded it as unsound. Hence, such an example, with your per- when the pecunies of Wincbester, tuission, I will now record.
and the more dangerous sentiments Mr. James slanger, of Long of the seif-named unitarians inade Sviton, in the county of Liscoln, their way into his pcighbourhood, ja te of Tydd, St. Mary's) and tuc tliey made bat little impression on
his mind, except as they caused him Another prominent feature in Mr. deeply to deplore the mischief they Stanger's character was his high produced upon others.
sensc of propriety and consistency. There was a peculiar cheerfulness It would be difficult to find a single in Mr. Stanger's piety. Some ex- instance in which he acted unlike a cellent characters have been greatly Christian or himseif. Ile maintainobscured by gloom and an air of ed a constant watch over his own melancholy. Constitution or habit, spirit, kept a bridle upon his tongue, resulting from first impressions and and, on all occasions, conducted mistaken notions of religion, has hinself with the greatest circumspecoccasioned a degree of repulsiveness tion. His integrity was inflexible. in their manners, which seemed to In all his transactions he was 90 countenance the notion, that religion uniformiy upright, that his word was is necessarily connected with gloom considered as his Sond, and he would and sullea austerities. In Mr. Stan- have suffered any private loss or ger every thing appeared natural injury rather than deceive the per. and easy. It was always a pleasure son who had confided in him. When to be in his company: -nobody he has inet with instances of duplicould come out of his presence with city in men professing godliness, he out admiring the man,
few with. has treated incir conduct with markout being improved by him. His ed abhorrence; nor could persons cheerfulness, however, was at the of this description, however highly greatest distance fruin levity. No they might be esteemed by others, man ever saw him fighty or trifling. or whatever flamiug profession vi He never accommodated himself to religion they might make, ever gain the loose taste of those into whose a place in his friendship.
He was company he might accidentally fall, himself all of a piece, “an Israelite nor ever compromised w'al he con- indeed, in whom was no guile," and, sidered a single truth, to render him. therefore every thing whịch apself agreeable to any one.
proximaied to cunning or deception His candour was not less remark. was highly offensive to him. able than his cheerful piety. He Mr. Stanger possessed another gloried in the right of private judge excellent property, which is not ment, and was ever backward to always to be met with in good men, suspect error where none was openly inviolable secresy. Every one has avowed. Hence be has been some- had occasion to deplore the frequent times thought too favourably in. injury which has been done to inclined towards persons who appear- dividual fanilies and churches, by a ed to others to be evidently going thoughtless publication of what has off from the truth. At the com
been spoken to a few in contidence. mencernent of their career of crror The ridiculous vanity of wishing to he did pot feel justified in withdraw. be thought in possession of inforing from them ; and he probably ination of which others are ignorwas not aware, at first, of the lengths ant, has been the source of inca!to which inen,
" who are given to culable mischlef. No man had less change," usually go. He lived, how- of this vanity than Nir. Stanger, and ever, to see the exceedingly per- none could ever reproach him with nicious effects in others of lending an divulging what nobody but himself easy ear to the seducing pleas of and a few others should know. It faise teachers; and he deeply de- unnecessary to give him a plored them. He was a lover of caution to observe silence; his own peace, and, therefore, the wrang feelings and prudence dictated what' which took place among many of the sacred depository of whatever his friendls greatly distressed hiin. could affect the comfort or happiness Only his most intimate friends know of any individuai; -- from this, not how heavily these things lay on his his dearest friends Guld extort a wind. He said but littic, but he single hint to gratify curiosity. fell exquisitely, and mourned io se. Mr. Stanger's character as a neighcrec places over the breaches in Zion. bour and the head of an affectionate
lings, and debates, and schisus, was proper, and his own breast