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the unutterable emotions of my soul break forth in tears. It is the image of the eternal God, and the friend and benefactor of mankind. It blesses all ranks,-it blesses them in all ways,—and it makes them abundant in communicating blessings to their fellow-men. It makes those who are rich tender-hearted and liberal,—it makes those who are high condescending and gentle,-it improves the condition of the poor on earth, and it gives them a title to a kingdom in the world to come. It regenerates men's souls, it reforms their lives,--and it improves their lot. It makes them good; it makes them useful; and it makes them happy. It has blessings for every country, for every family, and for every heart. It wages war with all institutions that are founded in error and injustice. It is opposed to everything that is opposed to the interests of mankind; and it is friendly to everything that is friendly to man's welfare. It is the illuminator, the emancipator, the regenerator of the universe. Its foundation is eternal truth; its effects are the joys of Heaven itself; and it stands alone, the fairest visitant of earth,—the loveliest offspring of the skies,the bright effulgence of eternal light the best, the mightiest, the universal, and the eternal friend of man.
THE FAST OF GOD'S CHOICE.
The British people are called upon by their Queen to spend a day in humiliation and prayer before God, on account of the calamities that have come upon us, in the carrying on of the war against Russia. A considerable diversity of opinion obtains as to the wisdom of the appointment at the present crisis. By some it is contended that it will be regarded by the continental nations as a confession of non-success, if not of defeat, that it will give some of them, that have hesitated as to the course they should pursue, an excuse for their hesitancy, that it will furnish plausible reasons for their injurious neutrality, and thus indefinitely prolong the war, which has already made such fearful havoc of treasure and life. It has been argued that, although our success may not have been equal to our first expectations, when we were ignorant to a great extent of the position of the enemy, and of the strength of the stronghold which has been attacked by the allied forces, it has been fully proportioned to our actual preparations and efforts; that no actual reverses have befallen us; that our disasters and difficulties have sprung from our own mismanagement; and that our success has been fully equal to the merit and the energy of our plans.
On the other hand, it is contended by those who are favourable to a day of fasting, that, to a great extent, we have been the authors of our own calamities, we ought to acknowledge the finger of God, and seek by intelligent supplication and prayer to avert the evils that at present threaten Europe; that just because our sins have brought these evils upon us, we ought to turn away from them.
We do not know precisely the motives of our government in appointing the 21st of March as a day of fasting; but as it has been appointed, the observance of it will be as widely different as the views entertained regarding it. Some will not observe it because the Queen has commanded it, and they deny the right of the civil magistrate in any way to interfere with, or to require the religious worship of the people. Others, wþile believing this, will observe it, not because the Queen has commandeď it, but because they think it important that as a nation we should humble ourselves before God on account of our manifold sins, and seek forgiveness. Many will take advantage of the day for feasting, and amusement, if not for rioting and drunkenness. Thousands will be obliged to work as usual. Some will go to church or chapel as a mere form; others will go in the spirit of true devotion. There are deep-thinking men, who will question whether the good resulting from the appointment of the day will preponderate over the evil. For ourselves we think it the wisest course to inquire what reasons we have to prostrate ourselves before God to confess our sins and supplicate his mercy; to inquire how, in future, we can avoid or avert the evils that have come upon us; to place ourselves in sympathy with him in the working out of his great plan for the emancipation of the race from all the horrors of despotism and war; in a word, to observe the fast which God hath chosen.
There is the utmost danger of attaching undue importance to the observance of a day; and of certain forms appointed. These in their place might be very useful; but it is never to be forgotten that God looks upon the heart, and that the fasting which stops short of turning away from sin cannot be acceptable in his sight. No day of humiliation can ever be a substitute for submission to God's will, and obedience to his laws. Sorrow for the past best shows itself by amendment for the future. It is not by a nation's spending a few hours on an appointed day in deprecating the divine displeasure that it will be averted; but by its putting itself continually in sympathy and harmony with the divine plan of the government of the universe. A general confession of sin will be of no avail; specific violations of God's laws must be noted and abandoned. There must be searching inquiry into the causes of national weakness, suffering, and disaster, and the appropriate remedies must be applied. It is vain that we spread out our hands to God, that we put on sackcloth, and bow our heads like bulrushes, if we do not forsake sin. It is not at times like the present, when the war spirit prevails to such an extent among the people, and when their minds are so much absorbed in the contemplation of the conduct of those who have been the chief causes of this war, that as a nation we are inclined to consider and confess our own sins, and it is almost certain to be a thankless task to expose and rebuke iniquity when it is not admitted, but it is a duty which faithfulness and patriotism require us to perform.
And first of all, is there not reason for deep humiliation at the course which our rulers pursued towards the late Emperor of Russia, when they well knew his designs on Turkey, and when they saw his efforts, if not to make it a province of his colossal empire, at least to make it his tool and slave? To our ambassador at St. Petersburgh he had spoken of Turkey as a.“ şick man,” had dwelt on the importance of a full understanding between England and Russia in anticipation of its dismemberment, which it was secretly resolved to hasten as much as possible. Russia had planned and achieved the partition of Poland. Austria and Prussia were bribed into consent by a share of the spoil. The action of France was paralyzed. The material interests of England were not involved in the sacrifice, and
she remained a silent spectator of a political crime, which endangered the liberties of Europe, by removing the most formidable barrier between Russia and the city of Mosques. Subsequently in Hungary, constitutional liberty had asserted her rights, but between the enemies of despotic force and diplomatlc treachery, she fell after a heroic struggle, wounded' and bleeding at every pore. "Britain in her rulers had not a mnrmur of regret, not a tear of pity for so cruel an immolation! With such precedents, and in of ,
did not count serious opposition from England in carrying out his ambitious prospects, and Egypt as her share of the spoil might quiet her scruples. "Such, doubtless, were the despot's thoughts. And he entered
secret correspondence” with our government to draw it into the plot, and to secure its inaction, if not its assistance. It wonld not commit itself, but his proposals did not meet with an “indignant refusal,” worthy the rulers of a great and free people. His policy of fraud and violence was called by gentle, diplomatic names. His word, false as it was, had to be received as the word of an "English gentleman." And the moral influence of this free country was not earnest to prevent the mischief intended.
There is further cause for humiliation in the treatment which our soldiers have received at the hands of the authorities. A deadlier foe than the Russian has assiduously plied his task in the English camp. Routine, procrostination, incompetence, and misrule have slain thousands, who would have stood in the forefront of the battle. If we must have war, we ought not to have a war of bļunders; lavish in expenditure, prodigal of life, and yet vain in its issues. If our fellow-countrymen must find out and fight a foe, the government of the richest country in the world ought surely to find them sufficient supplies, and to prevent them from perishing of cold, and of overwork. Are not the lives of those men valuable? What answer will the advocates of things as thev are give when inquisition is made for blood ? Have the wives, the mothers, the sisters of these men no reason to complain ? Has not the nation a right to demand that those who have been guilty of such wholesale homicide shall not be screened from public condemnation ? Britain has cause to mourn and fast. More have been the slain by misrule than the slain by the enemy's sword. The condition of our men in the trenches, the camp, and the hospitals bears witness against. Fearful corrnption has prevailed! Selfishness like a gangrene has been eating out the life of society. Wealth has second promotion; merit has not even earned a name. Official routine has pronounced it a crime to name the bravery of the common soldier. Although every battle that has been fought in the Crimea has been a battle of the ranks, the men have not had the consideration which beasts of burden deserve. They have been sacrificed to ignorance and indifference. Here are reasons abundant for national self-abasement. We are reaping the fruits of our own iniquity, and God is thus calling upon us to turn from it and prosper.
Nor must we forget in the condemnation of that selfish ambition and inordinate thirst for power, which led to the present war, how often England has refused to hear the cry of the oppressed, and smiled upon cruelties and crimes that have been perpetrated in her name. Are there none of the sons of India, none of the sable children of Africa, none of the subjects of
the Celestial Empire, who have felt her rapacity and violence? The beam must be out of our own eye, if we would cast it out of our brother's. We say not that the British rule is not better than any which they had known before, nor that it should be removed, but that it should be a rule of justice and equity ;-a paternal government, that seeks the welfare and the elevation of the people. The sins of the long past must not be forgotten in our present humiliation. Britain cannot righteously condemn the conduct of the Czar if she pursues a career of conquest. She must renounce all pretensions to her being the friend of liberty, if, in any part of her wide dominions, she rules over other peoples with a rod of iron.
We all, rulers and people, should think of the fast which God hath chosen, and to ponder the solemn words, which at present are so appropriate;—“Is not this the fast that I have chosen to loose the bands of wickedness, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread unto the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.” Here is work to do-humiliation work, fasting work. It will not do for us to be satisfied with less than fulfilling the will of God. All our fasting will only be an abomination to him if we do not obey his commandments. Man must be regarded as saved, as an object of God's infinite care. The oppressed must go free. The poor must be cared for. Our legislators must not sanction the destruction in the distillery of as much grain as would feed five millions of the people. There must be a deeper, wider interest in the condition of the labouring classes. It must be felt that governments are for people, and not people for governments. Justice and rightiousness must be the pillar of the state, and then we may expect prosperity and success. AN OLD DODGE TRIED OVER AGAIN.
Hyde, March 17th, 1855. Dear Sir,
As you are a Defender” of Christian truth, yon will no doubt, be willing to expose the deceit, and trickery, of its enemies, the modern Infidels. Truly, “ Truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorous ; " but, poor Infidels have to resort to them, to prop up their system, which they feel, is in a fair way for tumbling down. They go about the country, declaiming against " Pious frauds,” as though, they themselves were the most guileless, and honest of men. However we will just weigh them in the balance of truth, and honesty, and our conviction is, that they will be found wanting, very considerably. Of the honest uprightness of modern Infidels, we give the two following bright specimens! In a paper by Joseph Barker, entitled, “The overthrow of Infidel Socialism,” we have, pages 37, 38, the following extract, from a pamphlet by G. Reece :
“I will just relate a little conversation which took place between Mr. Fleming and Mr. Rigby, another missonary.-Mr. F. had returned from Oldham, and Mr. R. was going to Bolton; Mr. R. asks him how he got on at Oldham. Mr. F. answers, “Very well; there were one or two of the natives, and a Christian or two oposed me, but I soon got over them-and do you know how I worked it?” Mr. R. “No.” Mr. F. “But I will tell you, and you must just do the same at Bolton; that is, promise them that they shall have plenty of meat, and little work, and you are sure to convert them all.” Another illustration of their disregard of truth is given in the 4th page of G. Reece's pamphlet :-“I find that they have lately fallen upon a new plan in order to delude and entertain the weak-minded, which is the following :-One of their party delivers a lecture, and another takes up the part of the Christian; and, as a matter of course, after a little debate, the lecturer converts the Christian to his opinion, and he then gets as many to join him as possible. Some of you were perhaps present on the night of the 22nd of October, when they were begging for the Estates, which they reported they had bought. A person then came forward who called himself a Christian, and stated that he had given one pound ; and in his address, in order to make those who were present his dupes, that they might give their money, he tried to touch their finer feelings by appealing to their God, and their conscience, sayin,g “ Was it not for a charitable purpose ? That is the “ Old Dodge” to which we refer, and now for an account of its having been more recently tried.
Towards the close of February last, the inhabitants of Hyde, Cheshire, were honoured by a visit paid them, by that notorious braggart, J. Barker. His first lecture on Tuesday the 27th, was on the divine origin and authority of the Bible. At its close an old gentleman, who had on a white neck cloth, and had every appearance of a minister of the gospel, got up professedly to oppose Mr. Barker. His name was not given, and nobody knew where he had come from,- at least none of the Christian party. He stated that he was seventy years of age, was a minister of the gospel, only he was so obliging as not to tell us where; that he had been experimentally acquainted with Christianity for fifty years. But, he did not establish one single thing in favour of Christianity, nor did he refute one single thing that Barker had gaid; but all that he said was mere nonsensical moonshine. So you see it was quite easy for Barker to pull in pieces all he had said, and by this means to dupe the poor ignoramuses attending his lecture, into the beliefthat Christianity was untrue. For, they wouid argue, if a minister of the gospel (?) can bring forward nothing in its favour, after fifty years study, it must be false. Now does not this look very much like a "dodge?" This unknown man came, and departed with Mr. Barker, probably after having shared with him the wages of iniquity, Mr. Barker, however having the lion's share. We should be sorry, in any way to misrepresent the Infidels, but till they make known to us the name of the man and at what place he is a minister, we shall think ourselves justified in setting down the whole affair, as a mere dodge.” As I am afraid of having my paper too long, I will now conclude. I remain, yours &c.,
Our Open Page.
IN SEARCH OF A SYLLOGISM.
Hexham, Feb. 14th, 1855. SIR,
Will you have the goodness to answer me the following arguments, to which I find myself quite incompetent. I submitted the one relative to the punishment of the innocent, to a minister of the United Presbyterian Church, in this town, and received what purported to be a syllogistic answer; but which on reference to Whately's Logic, I was led to believe was not such. If you
deem it worth while, you will much oblige by presenting the answer in the next " Defender."