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Turn now to the actual workings of the popular system of education. Are they adapted to turn out to order youthful Catholics or Calvinists? Where in the land is there a free common school, supported at the public expense, in which, were we to enter it on any day of the week, we should be reminded, by any thing either read or said, of the tenets that distinguish the exclusive sects? No wonder that zealots for ancient creeds and ordinances of human device grow restive, as they think how the rising millions of the country are taught, from year to year, in seminaries where only the Bible, without note or comment, is used as a religious manual, and, while the general principles of piety and morality are inculcated, all exercises in sectarian theology are forbidden. But that so it shall be, the people have determined ; and the decision will never be reversed. What do we see in this, but at once a proof that the advocates of false systems of religion have less of power than of desire to sway the world, and another sign that the tendency of the age is with us ?
But I have no right to be endless, even upon a subject that seems without end. It was, indeed, my wish and purpose to remark upon other topics. Happily, however, it has at length occurred to me, that there is a limit beyond which the patience of my hearers must not be wearied. Brethren, if à tithe of what has been said is true, have we not, as in the intrinsic excellence of Liberal Christianity, so in the outward facilities afforded by our age and country for its diffusion, sufficient reason for joy and gratitude and hope ? Causes enough, indeed, for humility and self-reproach we cannot but perceive, as often as we cast a retrospective look on what we have done, or rather left undone, in the noble sphere of privilege and duty to which Providence has called us, both as individuals and as a sect. Nevertheless, seeing as we do, not only that the ship we sail in is stanch, and laden with what the world more and more wants, but also that she is sped by favoring currents and propitious breezes, let us, while lamenting the poor way in which, too often, we have heretofore trimmed her sails and guided her helm, thank God, take courage, and resolve that for the future our fidelity, devotedness, activity, and zeal shall be as our trusts and as our opportunities. Greater trusts and more precious opportunities the blessed Father of all hath not bestowed on any other members of his family on earth, since he spoke by his Son to the chosen ones of Judea. If they are
neglected by us, we shall incur the penalty of self-reproach, of Heaven's frown, and of the malediction of the civilized world.
Art. III. - MILLARD'S TRAVELS.*
This work possesses a peculiar interest to us as Unitarians. It is the production of a distinguished member of the “ Christian ” Connexion, that branch of the Church with which our own relations are becoming more and more numerous and important. A generation has now passed, since a large body of believers, in different parts of the country, came out by a simultaneous impulse from various religious denominations, adopting the noble principles, – “No creed but the Bible, no master but Christ.” Since that time, they have increased in numbers, and now exist, in strong and prosperous organization, in sections where New England Unitarianism has scarcely been heard of. About twelve years since, it was our fortune to attend one of their campmeetings in the heart of Georgia, to share their warm welcome, to take part in their simple but impressive services, and to learn, by conversation with their elders, how wonderfully Providence had led them, by the path of plain common sense, to the same results which others have reached by critical examination of the original Scriptures, and profound metaphysical investigations.
We feel that in some respects the untaught, spontaneous birth and progress of this body present a more interesting spectacle than even the growth of our own denomination. We look to them, too, to discharge in our country a task not less important than our own. In every essential particular, we give them cordially the right hand of fellowship. We cannot indeed, with our present light, disclaim, as they do, the name Unitarian ; for that name is not only endeared to us by many precious memories and hallowed associations, but we feel that it expresses a truth, the great distinctive truth
A Journal of Travels in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land, dur. ing 1841 - 2. By David MILLARD, Professor of Biblical Antiquities and Sacred Geography, in the Theological School at Meadville, Pa. Third Edition. New York: H. Ludwig, 1847. 12mo. pp. 348.
which marks us out from others. That name, in our view, is not one which can be assumed or cast aside at pleasure. is the proper descriptive title of the sentiments we bear; and can be lost only by a change in our belief. The assertion from the lips of any one, " I am not a Unitarian," appears to us properly to mean, “I am not a believer in the personal unity of God.” Until, therefore, we see this matter in a different light, we cannot deny our name without feeling that we imply a denial of this great truth. We know that there are some among us who do not share this impression ; we simply give it as our own. But from our
in Christian” brethren let us pass to the work before us. The author, who is honorably known to us as the associate of Messrs. Stebbins, Huidekoper, and Hosmer, in the School at Meadville, was induced, in consequence of ill health, to visit the Holy Land and the neighbouring countries, in the years 1841 and 1842. After a brief stay in Egypt, during which he saw the cities of Alexandria and Cairo, and the pyramids, he travelled, under the guidance and protection of Bedouin Arabs, through that portion of Arabia which is most interesting to us as consecrated by the wanderings of the chosen people and the giving of the Law, visited the wonderful ruins of Petra, and, entering Palestine from the southern border, passed on through Hebron to Jerusalem. The Dead Sea, the river Jordan, Gennesaret, the Great Plain, and the hallowed scenes of Sychar and Nazareth, were successively observed, until, from Beyroot in Syria, the pilgrim set sail for his native land. The descriptions are given with much vividness, and the observations made upon the topography of the scenes in our Saviour's ministry are distinguished by a discriminating good sense, which will neither believe implicitly every monkish legend, nor reject alike the tradition which is evidently fabulous and that which may have its origin in truth.
We must except, however, to his judgment respecting the location of Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre. The only argument that Professor Millard brings against the place which uniform tradition has consecrated is, that it is within the walls of the city now, and, as he says, must have been at the time of the crucifixion. That it should be within the present walls is the necessary result of the honor which has for so many centuries been paid to the spot. At least from the time of Constantine, the place recognized as that of the Holy Sepulchre
must have been surrounded by buildings, and have constituted a part of the city of Jerusalem. But the identity of the present limits of the city with its limits at the time of the crucifixion it is by no means easy to prove.
From our author's account of his visit to the pool or fountain of Siloam we select the following, interesting to us as shedding light on a singularly obscure passage in the history of our Saviour's miracles.
“I had read in Professor Robinson's Researches of the occasional irregular flow, sudden rise, and occasional rumbling commotion seen in this fountain. I did not expect to be so fortunate as to witness it myself; but while I was standing on the lower step, looking in the water, I suddenly perceived it was rising ; and soon I was obliged to step higher to keep my feet from being wet. The water appeared in some commotion, bubbling in different places, and making a gurgling noise as it passed off. In a few minutes all was over, and the water settled back again to the usual depth. I can (not] but believe, with Professor Robinson, that this fountain is the real Pool of Bethesda. The Sheep Gate appears to have been near the Temple ; and the wall of the ancient city probably ran along this valley. May not that gate have stood near this place; and may not this fountain be the real Bethesda ?
“Of the real cause of this troubling of the waters' the natives can give no reasonable account. They say that “a great dragon lies within the fountain : when he is awake, he stops the water; when he sleeps, it flows.' - In the account of the Pool of Bethesda, situated near the Sheep Gate,' says Professor Robinson, we are told “an angel went down at a certain season and troubled the water," and then, whosoever first stepped in was made whole. John v. 2-7. There seems to have been here no special medical virtue in the water itself; but only he who first stepped in after the troubling was healed. Does not this " troubling" of the water look like the irregular flow of the fountain just described ?'”
pp. 276, 277. The accounts most pleasing to us in our author's Arabian journey are his notices of Mount Sinai and the ruins of Petra. These scenes are not now for the first time described ; but the following passages present to us so vividly the sensations which an intelligent Christian must experience in beholding them, that they impart to the reader a portion of the enthusiasm of the traveller.
“ In about thirty minutes after leaving the chapel of Elijah, we arrived at the summit of Mount Sinai. Solemn indeed were
my impressions, as I stepped upon the hallowed rock, once sig. nalized by the most awful display of Jehovah's presence, where Moses talked with God, and where the Law, written on tables of stone, was given to man as the sacred rule of righteous living. Was it a dream, that I stood on that hallowed spot ? No, all was reality! I could see the place every way suited for the awful display recorded by the sacred historian. After indulging a few moments' reflections amidst a hasty view of the scenery, one of our company read from the holy book the ten commandments. Never had I listened to the sacred Decalogue with such solemn
I heard as if here receiving them from the Deity himself. I took the Bible, and silently read them over again. Never till my latest breath shall I forget the overwhelming sensations of my mind, while standing on the bleak, lonely summit of the sacred mount of God ! “ The nearly level surface at the top of Sinai is about sixty
Its elevation above the level of the sea is about 7500 English feet. At the eastern part of the level area is a small chapel, nearly in ruins. It has stood here for many cen. turies; and here, in the early ages of Christianity, monks and hermits used to retire and sing the praises of God on the summit of Sinai. About forty feet to the northwest of this is a small Mohammedan mosque, in a ruinous state. The followers of Christ and the followers of Mohammed have here united in early fixing, as by common consent, this spot as the place where the Law was given to Moses ; and here they still unite in worshipping the true and living God.” — pp. 140, 141.
Of one of the principal edifices found among the ruins of Petra, Mr. Millard says :
“ After a night's rest in the Corinthian tomb, and an early breakfast the next morning, we set out to inspect the extensive and wonderful ruins, spread out in lonely grandeur around us. Passing west to the small rivulet that runs through the place, we turned to our left and pursued the valley of the stream, leading up about southeast. In a little less than half a mile, turning by a small point of perpendicular rock to our right, the sight of a most beautiful edifice burst upon our view. We stood near to it. It is called by the Arabs El Khasne Faraoun, or the treasury of Pharaoh.' At the first sight of this wonderful piece of archi. tecture, all three of us exclaimed, “O, the beauty !' Mr. B. could not, for some time, cease to express his admiration, declaring, that, in all his travels in Europe, he had never seen magnificence to compare with this. I had seen various engravings of this beautiful structure, and had read different descriptions, but this was one of the instances where reality far surpassed antici. pation.