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art, of words and things; could attain to a mastery of all languages, and sound the depths of all arts and sciences; measure the earth and the heavens; tell the stars, and declare their order and motions; could discourse of the interests of all states, the intrigues of all courts, and give an account of the history of all ages; could speak of trees from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that groweth out of the wall; and of beasts also, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes: and yet should be destitute of the knowledge of God and of Christ, and of his duty, all this would be but an impertinent vanity, and a more glittering kind of ignorance; and such a man (like the philosopher who, while he was gazing on the stars, fell into a ditch) would but be undone with all his knowledge, and with a great deal of wisdom, go down unto hell.
THE PRATER OF WANT.
From the low prayer of want, and plaint of wo,
And friends, and native land; nor these alone:
WALK WITH GOD, OR SATAN WILL WALK WITH YOU.
You must hold intercourse with God, or your soul will die. You must walk with God, or Satan will walk with you. You must grow in grace, or you will lose it: and you cannot do this but by appropriating to this object a due portion of your time, and diligently employing suitable means.
I hold there is a general beauty in the works of God, and therefore no deformity in any kind or species of creature whatsoever; I cannot tell by what logic we call a toad, a bear, or an elephant ugly, they being created in those outward shapes and figures which best express those actions of their inward forms. And having passed that general visitation of God, who saw that all he had made was good; that is, conformable to his will, which abhors deformity, and is the rule of order and beauty; there is no deformity but in monstrosity, wherein, notwithstanding, there is a kind of beauty, nature so ingeniously contriving the irregular parts, as they become sometimes more remarkable than the principal fabric. To speak yet more narrowly, there was never anything ugly, or mis-shapen, but the chaos; wherein, notwithstanding, to speak strictly, there was no deformity because no forn, nor was it yet impregnant by the voice of God.
Sir Thomas Browne.
Mock not at those who are mis-shapen by nature. There is the same reason of the poor and the deformed -he that despiseth them, despiseth God that made them. A poor man is a picture of God's own making, but set in a plain frame, not gilded; a deformed man is also his workmanship, but not drawn with even lines and lively colours. The former, not for want of wealth, as the latter not for want of skill, but both for the pleasure of their Maker.
Their souls have been the chapels of sanctity, whose bodies have been the 'spitalls of deformity. An Emperor of Germany, coming by chance on a Sunday into a church, found there a most mis-shapen priest, insomuch that the emperor scorned and contemned him. But when he heard him read those words in the service, "For it is He that made us, and not we ourselves,” the emperor checked his own proud thoughts, and made inquiry into the quality and condition of the man; and finding him on exanıination to be most learned and devout, he made him Archbishop of Cologne, which place he did excellently discharge.
All is but lost that living we bestow'd,
There is a high department of theology, which has glided out of the minds of our feeble time; but which deserves the most solemn consideration of the true theologian. It gives the key to all the great heresies of Ecclesiastical History. Nothing can be clearer than the evidence, alike furnished by Scripture and experience, that there exists a law of the Divine government by which, when nations abuse the gift of reason, they are punished by being delivered over to Infatuation. A "strong delusion,” a real and direct urgency to error, from a source of Evil more imperious and more subtle than the miere perversity of human nature, is let loose against them. Under this influence they become rapidly incapacitated from judging of right and wrong; they act gravely on principles of palpable absurdity; they embrace habits of notorious ruin; they cling to the most startling superstitions as holiness; and they imagine rationality, wisdom, and virtue, as the very depths of folly, falsehood, and crime. To any inan who has read the history of ancient Heathenism, the most natural of all questions is, how could human beings have ever fallen into practices of such absolute repulsiveness and undisguised horror ? If the gross impurities of the worship might allure the carnal mind, how are its cruelties to be accounted for, its offerings of human victims, its burning of infants by their parents, the senseless fury and startling abominations of its altars, and the remorseless corruptions and unsparing slaughters of national life? Even in Israel, when it once fell from its divine allegiance, the Books of Kings are almost a perpetual record of domestic massacre.
St Paul gives the solution, as the principle of a divine punishment, "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. (Rom. i. 28.) We have no right to dilute this language into metaphor. The nations first fell into impiety, they were then delivered over to Heathenism, a system of retributive evil by which their understandings were imbruted, and their natural propensity to irreligion was rendered desperate. Thenceforth they were "filled with all unrighteousness.” The apostle then recapitulates the excesses of startling and horrid guilt, into which they were thus suffered to fall; excesses into which man could not have fallen but by the judicial prostration of his understanding. He ends by giving the most convincing and awful evidence of this Satanic Infatuation; that "knowing the judgment of God, and that they which commit such things are worthy of death (eternal), they not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that do them.” In other words, that they not only have gratification in their own commission of crime, but they have gratification in its existence, even where they can have no personal temptation.
The colours of dissemblance and deceit,