Изображения страниц

Christians. They therefore, styled themselves fellow-champions with the Mohammedans for these truths. They offered their assistance to purge the Koran of certain corruptions and interpolations, which, after the death of Mohammed, had crept into his papers, of which the Koran was composed; for of Moham med they thought too highly to suppose that he could be guilty of the many repugnances which are to be found in the writings which go under his name. This work they declared themselves willing to undertake, "for the vindication of Mohammed's glory." They intimated that the corrections which they would propose would render the Koran more consistent; not with itself only, but with the Gospel of Christ, of which they say Mohammed pretended to be but a preacher.They told the ambassador, that the Unitarian Christians formed a great and considerable people. To give weight to the assertion, they enumerated the heresiarchs of all ages who have opposed the Trinity, from Paulus Sarmosatensis, down to Faustus Socinus and the leaders of the Polonian Fraternity. They celebrated the modern tribes of Arians, as asserters of the proper unity of God; and they closed the honourable list with the Mohammedans themselves. All these, they said, maintain the faith of one God: and "why should we forget to add you Mohammedans, who also consent with us in the belief of the only one supreme Deity?" Such is the substance of a letter which they presented to the ambassador, with some Latin manuscripts respecting the differences between Christianity and the Mohammedan religion, and containing an ample detail of the Unitarian tenets. They applied to the Mussulman as to a person of known discernment in spiritual and sublime matters: and they entreated him to communicate the import of their manuscripts to the consideration of the fittest persons among his countrymen.

Dr. Horsley, in whose controversial writings with Dr. Priestley this epistle had been inserted (Letter 16, p. 307, ed. 3.) by way of stamping its authenticity, has added a note, in which he says, that in consequence of Dr. Priestley's questioning the veracity of it, he examined the archbishop's library at Lambeth, from whence the copy was originally taken, where he found it in a thin folio, under the mark 673, among the codices MSS. Tenisoniani; and entered in the catalogue, under the article Socinians, by the title of "Systema Theologia Socinianæ." On the preceding leaf are the following remarks:

"These are the original papers which a cabal of Socinians in London offered to present to the ambassador of the king of Fez and Morocco, when he was taking leave of England, August 1682. The said ambassador refused to receive them, after having understood that they concerned religion. The agent of the Socinians was Monsieur Virzé. Sir Charles Cotterell, Knt., Master of the Ceremonies, then present, desired he might have them, which was granted; and he brought them and gave them to me, Thomas Tenison, then Vicar of St. Martin's-in-thefields, Middlesex."

Dr. Horsley adds, by way of further confirmation, "I do most solemnly aver, that I have this day (January 15, 1789,) compared the letter to Ameth Ben Ameth, as published by Dr. Leslie, in his Socinian Controversy discussed, with the MS. in the archbishop's library, and find that the printed copy, with the exception of some trivial typographical errors, which in no way affect the sense, and are such as any reader will discover and correct for himself, is exactly conformable to the MS. without the omission or addition of a single word."

F. S.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. To a mind imbued with reverence for the word of God, it is painful to witness an attempt to screen any sinful practice under the alleged authority of holy writ. Not only does such a proceeding compromise the honour of that blessed Being whose mind and will the Scriptures have revealed to us, but it hazards the eternal welfare both of those who adopt it and of those who are betrayed into the approval of their error. In regard to the ruinous consequences of obscuring the light of conscience, our Lord demands, with emphatic earnestness, If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" How fatal then must be the result, when the light of Heaven itself is converted into darkness! - when that Divine word, which was designed by its gracious Author to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, guiding our steps in the ways of holiness and peace, is made the occasion of confirming us in sin and iniquity!

[ocr errors]

I have been led to make these reflections from having lately heard it contended, that the free use of articles of luxury furnished at the cost of it matters not how greatcruelty and oppression may be justified on Scriptural authority. The assertors of this startling proposition remark, that the Apostle Paul, instructing the Corinthian converts on the duty of a believer in regard to abstaining from meatsoffered in sacrifice to idols, says, "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake" (I Cor. x. 25). This passage, it is argued, clearly implies, that Christians have full liberty to purchase and partake of any article of food which is publicly exposed to sale in the market, though they may be well aware that it is the produce of injustice, inhumanity, and oppression.

If the bare statement of so revolting an opinion do not suffice to convince us that it can receive no countenance from the writings of an inspired

Apostle, it may be well to reflect on the strict limitation which accompanied the permission given to the Christian convert to "eat of whatsoever was sold in the shambles, asking no question for conscience sake.' This liberty was then only allowed to the believer, when, neither by his eating of that which had made part of an idol sacrifice would he have contributed in the smallest degree to the upholding of idolatry, nor by his abstaining, would he have contributed in the smallest degree to its extinction. If any one said unto him, "This is offered in sacrifice unto idols" (1 Cor. x. 28), he was on no account to eat of it: he was scrupulously to avoid even the remote probability of either leading the heathen idolater to infer, however mistaken the inference, that Christians did not regard his idolatrous rites with insuperable abhorrence; or, of leading a weak believer to defile his conscience, by conforming to an example which he suspected to be wrong. Under these circumstances, the act which was not criminal in itself, became criminal in a high degree: so much so, that, rather than be guilty of it, the Apostle solemnly declares, for himself, "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth; lest I make my brother to offend" (1 Cor. viii. 13).— Would that all who attempt to wrest his words in the manner I have stated, were willing indeed to be followers of him, as he was of Christ.

But how stands the case in regard to the particular practice in our day, which the principle of St. Paul in the instance before us is, by some persons, conceived to justify? Do the consumers of those articles of luxury, which are the produce of the labour of slaves, contribute nothing to the upholding of the glaringly wicked system of slavery? And would they, by abstaining from the use of such produce, contribute nothing towards the extinction of that desolating scourge of humanity? On the contrary, is it not clear, that


if the West-Indian could find no vent for his commodities, so long as he persisted in raising them by the labour of slaves, he would soon, for his own sake, and as matter of pure necessity, convert his wretched thralls into freemen? how greatly to his own advantage, I stay not now to consider. If, then, it be by nothing else than the consumption of the produce of slave-labour, that the dreadful system of colonial bondage is upheld and perpetuated-if by nothing more certainly than by the abstaining from such produce, would that most unrighteous system be extinguished, how can the consumer of slave-grown luxuries screen himself under the authority of St. Paul from the charge of supporting WestIndia slavery, and of being involved with the slave-holder in the guilt of his oppression? Can any one now require to be told-"The luxury you are partaking of is the fruit of a sacrifice offered upon the altar of Mammon; -a sacrifice of the body, and, too probably, of the soul, of the unhappy victims?" Of this, no person of ordinary information can now be supposed to be ignorant, unless by his own choice; and then, what will the plea of ignorance avail him, when God shall "lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet?""If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not: doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?" (Prov. xxiv. 12.)

If it be said, that upon the principles now maintained, it should seem that we are bound to a total and rigid abstinence from every article, as well of clothing as of food, which is supplied by the labour of slaves; an abstinence which would entail on us inconveniences too many and too great for us to consent to submit to them; I would only say in reply, (if your readers will allow an allegorical illustration,) that West-India slavery is a devouring

monster, whose head is made of sugar, its neck of coffee, its body of cotton and rum, its legs and claws of spices, rice, and pepper. Now, if we can but aim a successful blow at the head, its destruction is as surely effected as though its body were cut into a thousand pieces, and its members scattered to all the winds. C. W.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

[ocr errors]

In your Number of the Christian Observer for November last, I saw a letter, signed "A Country Clergy-/ man, " on Sunday-morning Payments to Labourers." As a man of business, I beg leave to suggest the utility of paying work-people on the Friday evening; and, as a Christian, I rejoice to add, I have tried the plan with about thirty or forty workpeople nearly the last two years, and find it succeed admirably; our market-day being on a Saturday, they are enabled to lay out their money to the best advantage.

For the Christian Observer.


WITHIN the last two or three years, several little annual volumes of tales and poems, elegantly printed and adorned with well-executed engravings have been published, intended as New-Years' presents. It does not enter into our plan to re'view works of this kind; several of which, indeed, are occupied chiefly with subjects not suited to our miscellany: but we copy from one of them, "The Amulet," which professes to be devoted to pieces of a religious or moral tendency, the following specimens of poetry, which we trust will interest our readers.


CHILD, amidst the flowers at play,
While the red light fades away;
Mother, with thine earnest eye,
Ever following silently;

[ocr errors]

Called thy harvest-work to leave ;Pray! Ere yet the dark hours be, Lift the heart and bend the knee. Traveller, in the stranger's land, Far from thine own household band; Mourner, haunted by the tone Of a voice from this world gone; Captive, in whose narrow cell Sunshine hath not leave to dwell; Sailor, on the darkening sea;Lift the heart and bend the knee. Warrior, that, from battle won, Breathest now at set of sun; Woman, o'er the lowly slain, Weeping on his burial-plain; Ye that triumph, ye that sigh, Kindred by one holy tie; Heaven's first star alike ye see ;— Lift the heart and bend the knee.



" And I heard a voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people; and God himself

shall be with them, and be their God." -Rev. xxi. 3.

KING of the dead! how long shall sweep Thy wrath! how long thy outcasts weep! Two thousand agonizing years

Has Israel steeped her bread in tears; The vial on her head been pouredFlight, famine, shame, the scourge, the


In another of these publications, Ackerman's "Forget me not," there is a Dirge by the same author, which our readers will thank us for detaching from its companionship with various pieces of a less serious character.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Here the sword and sceptre rust"Earth to earth, and dust to dust!" Age on age shall roll along

O'er this pale and mighty throng; Those that wept them, those that weep, All shall with these sleepers sleep. Brothers, sisters of the worm, Summer's sun, or winter's storm, Song of peace, or battle's roar,

Ne'er shall break their slumbers more.

Death shall keep his sullen trust

Earth to earth, and dust to dust!"

'Tis done! Has breathed thy trumpet

The TRIBES at length have wept their last!
On rolls the host! From land and wave,
The earth sends up the unransomed slave!
There rides no glittering chivalry,
No banner purples in the sky;

The world within their hearts has died;
Two thousand years have slain their pride!
The look of pale remorse is there,
The lip's involuntary prayer;

The form still marked with many a stain→→
Brand of the soil, the scourge, the chain;
The serf of Afric's fiery ground;
The slave, by Indian suns embrowned;
The weary drudges of the oar,
By the swart Arab's poisoned shore,
The gatherings of earth's wildest tract-
On burst the living cataract!

What strength of man can check its speed!
They come-the nation of the Freed.
Who leads the march? Beneath His wheel
Back rolls the sea, the mountains reel;
Before their tread His trump is blown,
King of the dead! Oh not in vain
Who speaks in thunder, and 'tis done!
Oh, not in vain arose thy prayer,
Was thy long pilgrimage of pain;
When press'd the thorn thy temples bare;
Oh! not in vain the voice that cried,
To spare thy madden'd homicide!
Even for this hour thy heart's blood

They come !-the host of the redeemed!
What flames upon the distant sky?
'Tis not the lightning's quivering spire,
'Tis not the comet's sanguine dye,
'Tis not the sun's descending fire.

Earth, thy mightiest and thy last, But a day is coming fast, It shall come in fear and wonder, Heralded by trump and thunder; It shall come in strife and toil, It shall come in blood and spoil, It shall come in empires' groans, Burning temples, trampled thrones: Then, Ambition, rue thy lust !→→ "Earth to earth, and dust to dust!" Then shall come the judgment sign; In the east the King shall shine; Flashing from heaven's golden gate, Thousand thousands round his state; Spirits with the crown and plume, Tremble then, thou sullen tomb! Heaven shall open on our sight, Earth be turn'd to living light, Kingdoms of the ransom'd just"Earth to earth, and dust to dust!" Then shall gorgeous as a gem Shine thy mount, Jerusalem; Then shall in the desert rise Fruits of more than paradise; Earth by angel feet be trod; One great garden of her God; Till are dried the martyr's tears, Through a glorious thousand years. Now in hope of Him we trust

[ocr errors]

Earth to earth, and dust to dust !"

And now, as nearer speeds their march,
Expands the rainbow's mighty arch;
Though there has burst no thunder cloud,
No flash of death the soil has ploughed,
And still ascends before their gaze,
Arch upon arch, the lovely blaze;
Still as the gorgeous clouds unfold,
Rise towers and domes' immortal mould.
Scenes! that the patriarch's vision'd eye
Beheld, and then rejoiced to die ;-
That like the altar's burning coal,
Touched the pale prophet's harp with soul;
That the throned seraphs long to see,
Now given, thou slave of slaves, to thee!
Whose city this? What Potentate
Sits there, the King of time and fate?
Whom glory covers like a robe,
Whose sceptre shakes the solid globe,
Whom shapes of fire and splendour guard?
There sits the man," whose face was

To whom archangels bow the knee-
The weeper in Gethsemane.

Down in the dust, aye, Israel kneel,
For now thy withered heart can feel!
Aye, let thy wan cheek burn like flame,
There sits thy glory and thy shame!

[blocks in formation]

His look with strength doth angels fill
Tho' Him to fathom none have power;
The sumless lofty works are still
As grand as in creation's hour.

And swift, and past conceiving swift,
The earth revolves, in beauty dight;
The bloom of paradise doth shift

And change with deep and chilling night.
O'er beds of rock, deep set and strong,
The sea foams up in billows broad,
And rocks and sea are whirled along
The sphere's eternal rapid road.

And vying storms roar out amain,
From sea to land, from land to sea;
And wildly raging, form a ch ain
Around, of deepest energy.
There flames the lightning's wasting fire,
Before the thunderbolt's dread way;
Yet, Lord, thy messengers admire
The gentle progress of the day.

THE CAPTIVES' SONG. [Paraphrased from the 137th Psalm.}


We sat down by Babel's streams,
And dreamed soul-saddening memory's

And dark thoughts o'er our spirits crept
Of Sion, and we wept, we wept !
Our harps upon the willows hung,
Silent and tuneless, and unstrung;
For they who wrought our pains and


Asked us for Sion's pleasant songs.
How can we sing Jehovah's praise
To those who Baal's altars raise?

How warble Judah's free-born hymus,
How chaunt thy lays, dear father land,
With Babel's fetters on our limbs ?
Ah no! We'll bear grief's keenest sting
To strangers on a foreign strand?
But dare not Sion's anthems sing,
Place us where Sharon's roses blow;
Place us where Siloe's waters flow;
Place us ou Lebanon, that waves
Its cedars o'er our fathers' graves;
Place us upon that holy mount;
Where stands the temple, gleams the

And love and joy shall loose our tongues,
To warble Sion's pleasant songs.

If I should e'er, earth's fairest gem,
May my right hand forget its skill
Forget thee, O Jerusalem!
To wake the slumbering lyre at will!
If from my heart, e'en when most gay,
Thy memory e'er should fade away,
May my tongue rest within my head,
Mute as the voices of the dead!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »