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IMAGINATION. '. WAKING from a profound sleep, and finding myself enveloped with the curtain of darkness, and hearing nothing to break the dead silence of midnight, I was suddenly alarmed by beholding near my bedside a strange figure, somewhat resembling the shape and size of a large dog. Having had, immediately previous to retiring to rest, a protracted conversation with a person who was bordering upon a state of insanity ; but who was wrapt up in a fancied spirit of prophecying, and having attempted without effect to bring her to her right mind; and having had, in the days of my boyhood, my ears filled with the imaginary tales of ghosts, hobgoblins, witches and wizards, in the belief of which I was not yet entirely delivered; from these circumstances my mind was prepared to construe every strange appearance, especially in the night season, into an appearance of some one from the invisible world; accordingly on beholding the above-mentioned figure, I thought it must be a visitant from the infernal regions. Some degree of perturbation, as might be expected under such appalling circumstances, accompanied my efforts to ascertain who or what this unexpected visitor might be. At first I called to it, demanding who it was; but received no answer. I repeated my interrogatories with increased earnestness; but nothing but my own tremulous voice was heard to disturb the dead silence which reigned around me. At length my bed-fellow awoke, and saw the same sight. Being a little more resolute than myself, and determined not to be imposed upon by any illusion, but to ascertain, if possible, what sort of a being had thus presumed to disturb our midnight slumbers, he raised his fist, and with some degree of violence, and a little trembling anxiety for the result, smote the image upon its supposed head-When lo! to our utter surprize, his clenched fist came in contact with my clothes, which, on going to bed, I had laid upon a chair near the bedside. The chair not being duly balanced, had tumbled over in the night, the noise of which, I suppose, had waked me from my slumbers.
The noise occasioned by this rencontre between the fist and the redoubtable champion which my imagination had created out of a lifeless bundle of clothes, awakened the harmless, though much mistaken, woman, who immediately exclaimed-Did you think the Devil had come, or that the house was haunted!
Having satisfied her inquiries, the judgment resumed the umpire over the roving imagination, and I spon sunk to rest under the influence of
“ Tir'd nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,” undisturbed by any disagreeable dreams; the phantom was fled, and with it all apprehensions of real danger. In the morning I awoke, and found myself much refreshed by the sweet slumbers of the afterpart of the night; and immediately commenced rea, soning upon the late occurrence. My reasoning powers were, I thought, not a little improved from the late experiment, as it seemed to afford sufficient datum to build a system upon; at least I thought many system-makers, had raised superstructures uponi à less solid foundation. “ Thinks I to myself,” I will no longer be a slave to that troublesome intruder upon man's happiness, and especially upon the tranquility of his nightly repose; I mean the flights of the imagination; which, receiving an impetus from the fairy tales of ancient times, acted like some subtle fluid on material substances, was continually making war upon my reason and judgment, and striving to make them accompany her in all her wild and fantastic flights. I concluded that an embargo should be laid upon this excursive faculty of my nature, if indeed it be a faculty, and I will hereafter strive to keep it within the bounds prescribed by reason. Indeed the whole system of Bacon's philosophy, so called, opened to my view, and I resolved to admit no theory unless it was founded upon experiment, or on known and acknowledged facts. I had at least made one experiment, and with a single stroke of the fist had been banished from my room and from my imagination, a thousand ghosts and hobgoblins. I began to conclude, and the longer 1 live the more I am convinced of the soundness of the conclusion, that most of the modern stories respecting haunted castles, by visitants from the invisible world, and the distresses and wounds received from witches and wizards, have their origin in circumstances similar to the one above narrated; and that, were as thorough an experiment made on all such appearances, as was made upon the passive agent, which met the fierce blow from the fist of my fellowsleeper, the falacy would be as evidently detected.
It will naturally be inferred that I am now somewhat of a skeptic as to the existence of such sort of wizards, &c. who are represented as roaming abroad, particularly in the night seasons, to haunt the habitations of men, and to disturb the refreshing slumbers of unsuspecting mortals. The inference is just. I am apt to believe that if all the modern pretenders to the knowledge of what is called the Occult Science, and all those frightful appear ances which have been reputed as Spectres, Ghosts and Hobgoblins, were handled as roughly as were my harmless habiliments, they would soon cease to frighten mankind-they would be banished the habitations of mortals.' Then the imagination, instead of being perpetually frightened with these dreadful nonentities, would lend lier wings to aid the judgment in exploring the field of solid science; and would assist the rational powers of man in contemplating that ONE, invisible, and ineffable Spirit, who giveth understanding to man, and whose power and peaceful presence would banish from the habitations and hearts of mer every troublesome intruder. “Though we see him not,” yet we love him, because he first loved us."
GOD ETERNALLY EXISTED IN TRINITY AND UNITY.
To the Editor of the Methodist Magasine. If you esteem the following extracts from an old book, worthy a place in your Magazine or Guardian, you are at liberty to publish them.
E. WASHBURN. God the Creator eternally existed a System or Society of Deity. A plurality in unity : possessed of most perfect and consummate perfections, and attributes for general good.
The Deity did not exist in simple personality : for if he had been but a mere simple personality of existence, there could have been no possibility of any such things, as are called moral perfections of God. There can be no such thing as righteousness, where there is only a mere simple personality of existence. For righteousness is a relative term; or a term expressing the relation of rational intelligences to each other. In order for there to be any such thing as righteousness, there must be a subject and an object. So also of love, which is the foundation of all moral goodness; there must be a subject and an object: A person to love, and a person to be loved. We can have no idea of love where there is a mere simplicity of existence. So also may it be said of holiness, which consists in general, or universal benevolence. Hence it is evident to a demonstration, that God eternally existed in a plurality or diversity of persons; or could not be just, righteous, or holy: because all those attributes are relative terins; requiring a subject and an object, that we may have any idea of them.
Moreover, in all things we are acquainted with, absolute simplicity cannot multiply or increase. Which affords another very considerable argument that the Deity did not exist in simplicity. Accordingly, he very early revealed himself, existing in a plurality of persons, before he had finished the creation, Gen. i. 26. And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Again immediately after the fall of man, Gen. iii. 22. And the Lord God said, Behold the man has become as one of us; to know good and evil. And the plurality of persons in the Deity, is abundantly alluded to in various places in the Scriptures; and expressly asserted in many places. Christ very abundantly teaches this doctrine; speaking of himself, the Father; and the Comforter, the Holy Ghost : and expressly asserts the three persons in the Godhead, in his institution of Baptism; and "ordering it as the motto for that holy sign or seal. Thus it appears both by reason and scripture; that God exists a plurality in unity: a system and society of Deity. Let then Infidels, Skeptics, and Schismatics, ridicule and cavil with the words Trinity and Triune God; but since the Holy Scriptures clearly and abundantly express, all that is meant by those words, Christians will never fear nor be ashamed of words which express the pure and plain doctrine of the Bible.
Communicated for the Methodist Magasine. TWENTY-SIX OPINIONS; OR, À DIALOGUE OF THE A, B, o's. Being an epitome of the sentiments and practices of all men; with regard to their aiding and supporting the Gospel Ministry.
“ Many men of many minds.” How various are the opinions of men respecting the mode of supporting
Gospel Ministers! A, thinks that preachers of the Gospel should be qualified, inducted and supported, in a mode to be prescribed by the Statute Laws.
B, is of opinion that a preacher is not entitled to any compensation for his services, unless he is poor and shiftless, and cannot live without the alms of the people.
C, says that it takes him as long to go to meeting, and hear the preacher, as it does for the preacher to go and preach, and their obligations are therefore reciprocal.
D, believes that a rich preacher is as much entitled to a reward for his labour, as if he were poor.
E, believes a preacher should give the whole of his time to reading, meditating, preaching, praying and visiting, and therefore he ought to be liberally supported; not in the light of alms, bat in that of a Gospel debt.
F. joins with E, with this proviso, that the liberal support be averaged on all the members of the Church according to property and privilege.
G, also agrees with E, provided the liberal support be raised by a free, public contribution, without any knowledge or examination of what each individual does.
H, chooses to tax himself, and constable his own money to his preacher without consulting any oiher.
I, loves the preachers and pays them in blessings; but the sound of money drives all good feelings from his heart.
J, when he hears a man preach, that he does not believe is sent of God, feels under no obligation to give him any thing; and when he hears a preacher that gives him evidence that he is in the service of the Lord and devoted to his work, he forms the conclusion that the Lord pays the preacher well for his work, as he goes along.
K, likes preachers very well, but preaching rather better. He feels therefore best pleased when the preacher fails coming; and a gap opens for himself, for he had rather work his passage and take his turn at the helm than pay a pilot.
L, argues like a man, that the preacher ought to receive something handsome for his services, and laments that himself is in debt, and cannot communicate any thing without defrauding his creditors; at the same time he takes special care to keep always in debt for cheap farms, wild land, or some other article of an intreasing nature.
MI, is a man of a thousand, he argues that the mode of supporting ministers is left blank in the New Testament; because no one mode would be economical in all places, but that the deed is enjoined on all who are taught by an ordinance of heaven.
If therefore a contribution is recommended, M will be foremost to the box: when a subscription is judged most advisable his name will be the first on the list. If averaging is considered most equitable, he will add a little to his bill, lest others should fail; and if no mode at all is agreed upon, still M, as an individual, will contribute by himself; for he reasons if others are remiss it is neither precedent nór excuse for him. He does not give to be seen of men; but because his heart is in it, and these Gospel debts, as he calls them, he pays with as much devotion as he spreads his hands in prayer to God. The creed of his faith which seems to be written on his heart is, that although all the money in the world cannot purchase pardon of sin, or the smiles of a reconciled God; yet religion always has cost money, or worth, from Abel's Lamb to the present day, and the man who will not part with a little money for the sake of him who parted with his blood for sinners is a wicked disciple.
N, approves of the faith and profession of M, but reduces nothing to practice.
O, like his make, believes nothing, does nothing, and is as near nothing as any thing can be.
P, said he thought it to be a matter of mere charity, and as charity begins at home, he was bound to provide for his own; at any rate he thought the minister as well off as himself and many of his brethren, and therefore considered himself under no obligation.
Q, replied that it could not be a matter of charity at all, since the laws of nature and of God enjoined it, and their own call of the brother made it a matter of moral obligation.
R, alleged that he had subscribed liberally to an useful instition, and must be excused in that case.
S, said he had assisted freely in building the meeting-house, and must have time to recover it.
T, enjoined he had been building houses and mills, and had no money left for any purpose.
U, said he had a son lately married, and it had called for all he could raise..
V, stated that he had made several contracts and feared he should not be able to meet them.
W, arose and said he was very much astonished at the pleas urged, as if liberalities to other institutions, aiding to build Meeting Houses, erecting costly houses, making sumptuous marriages or contracts to amass wealth, could exonerate from a positive duty.
X, remarked he had a short crop, was poor, and though willing, was unable to do any thing.