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him from acting that part, one might very justly conclude, that when a man of his understanding embraced that faith, he was in reality convinced of the truth of it, and that, by consequence, he was not an impostor, who said what he knew to be false, with an intent to deceive.
ST. PAUL AT ATHENS.
THERE are at this present moment more than six hundred millions of the human race in the appalling situation of the men whom the apostle describes as “without Christ in the world :" and the question is, with what feelings and what purposes a Christian would survey this vast and wretched portion of the family of man. Behold St. Paul at Athens. Think of the matchless splendour which blazed upon his view, as he rolled his eye round the enchanting panorama that encircled the hill of Mars. On the one hand, as he stood upon the summit of the rock, beneath the canopy of heaven, was spread a glorious prospect of mountains, islands, seas, and skies ; on the other, quite within his view, was the plain of Marathon, where the wrecks of former generations, and the tombs of departed heroes, mingled together in silent desolation. Behind him towered the lofty Acropolis, crowned with the pride of Grecian architecture.—There, in the zenith of their splendour and the perfection of their beauty, stood those peerless temples, the very fragments of which are viewed by modern travellers with an idolatry almost equal to that which reared them. Stretched along the plain below him, and reclining her head on the slope of the neighbouring hills, was Athens, mother of the arts and sciences, with her noble oilspring sporting by her side. The Porch, the Lyceum, and the Grove, with the stations of departed sages, and the forms of their living disciples, were all presented to the apostle's eye.
What mind, possessing the slightest pretensions to classic taste, can think of his situation amid such sublime and captivating scenery, without a momentary rapture? Yet there, even there, did this accomplished scholar stand as insensible to all this grandeur, as if nothing was before him but the treeless, turfless desert. Absorbed in the holy attractions of his own mind, he saw no charms, felt no fascinations, but on the contrary, was pierced with the most poignant distress; and what was the cause ? “He saw the city. wholly given to idolatry.” To him it presented nothing but a magnificent mausoleum, decorated, it is true, with the richest productions of the sculptor and the architect, but still where the souls of men lay dead in trespasses and sins; while the dim light of philosophy that still glimmered in the schools, appeared but as the lamp of the sepulchrc, shedding its pale and sickly ray around these gorgeous chainbers of death.
What must have been his indignant grief at the dishonour done by idolatry to God; what his amazement at the weakness and folly of the human mind; what his abhorrence of human impiety; and what his compassion for human wretchedness, when such stately monuments of Pagan pomp and superstition had not the smallest possible effect in turning away his view from the guilt that raised them, or the misery which succeeded them!
Ah! how many Christian travellers and di vines, wliilst occupying the same spots, though they saw not a thousandth part of what the apostle saw, have had their whole minds so engrossed by scenes of earthly magnificence, as not to feel one sentiment of pity for the Pagans who formerly dwelt there, or the Mahometans who are the present proprietors of those venerable ruins !
PECULIAR CHARACTER OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Wuat seems the peculiar character of the scriptures is, their continual introduction of the Deity, and their incessant aim to produce, preserve, and revive the impression of him on the mind and heart of the reader. Other histories present us with views of nature and art. Wo sce in them abundant instances of human skill and human power; and if these scem insufficient to account for an event, the deficiency is supplied by the operations of chance. In the Bible alone, the divine Being possesses in full the glory of his own works, and evidently appears to govern the world. If the thunder roars, it is the voice of God. If the prudence, industry, and integrity of Joseph, procure him the favour of his Egyptian master, it is the Lord that prospers him. It the Babylonish tyrant satiates his ambition and cruelty at the expense of the surrounding nations, he is the "overflowing scourge” in the hand of Jehovah to punish the sins of these nations. If the Persian monarch displays his wisdom and generosity in restoring the Jews to their own country, the Lord stirs up his heart for that purpose. Nor is the Deity introduced as by a hea.
then poet, for the sake of ornament, or to dignify a human hero; but as a real agent, and as the prominent character. Thus the “Great Invisible" is exhibited as it were to our senses, not occasionally, but continually. We are made to feel that in “Him we live, and move, and have our being.” “He compasses us behind and before, and lays his hand upon us.”
BENEFITS OF A PARTIAL REVELATION.
It need not be thought surprising, that the same narrow horizon which limits our view in all our concernments on earth, should confine our prospect when it is directed towards heaven. If we search for the attributes of the Creator by the light which the natural world affords, we see the rays of goodness and justice emerging from his throne, though their lustre is partially obscured by clouds and darkness. In proceeding from natural religion to revelation, we find enough to assure us of its certainty, but too little to satisfy our curiosity: we see but a part of the scheme in which we are included, its final object being inveloped in mystery. But this imperfection, instead of giving birth to sceptical murmurs, may be improved to a beneficial purpose, if it has its intended effect of reminding us, that the state we are now passing through is initiatory, not finalis a trial, a warfare, a pilgrimage ; but that we must look upward to an eternal habitation for that unclouded light which may be one of the purest rewards of constant and victorious virtue.
THE CREEDS OR SYMBOLS OF BELIEF IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, EXPRESSED IN FEW WORDS.
If we observe the creeds or symbols of belief that are in the New Testament, we shall find them very short. “Lord, I believe that thou art the Son of God who was to come into the world;" —that was Martha's creed. Thou art Christ the Son of the living God;"—that was Peter's creed. “ We know and believe that thou art Christ the Son of the living God;"—that was the creed of all the apostles.
This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God; and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;''--that was the creed which our blessed Lord himself propounded. And again, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, yea, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and be lieveth in me, shall not die for ever;"—that was the catechism that Christ made for Martha, and questioned her upon the article, “Believest thou this?" and this belief was the end of the gospel, and in sufficient perfect order to eternal life. For so St. John, " These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. For this is the word of faith which we preach, namely, if you with the mouth confess Jesus to be the Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”—That is the Christian's creed. “For I have resolved to know nothing amongst you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified ; that in us ye may learn not to be wise above that which