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attend to the subject; but as for them they have more urgent matters to attend to, which cannot be neglected. Unhappy men, you are placed then, it would seem, in a condition of unavoidable ignorance, and are obliged to go blindfold out of time into eternity, not knowing whether you shall open your eyes in heaven or in hell. How hard is your lot, doomed as you are, merely for the blessings of the life that now is, to risque the welfare of your souls for ever. But behold I briug you glad tidings. . A very little tuition of the heart will avail more than years of study and intellectual speculation. Do the will of God, and you shall be rescued from the danger of perdition, and know and enjoy the doctrines of the gospel. You shall come out of darkness into marwellous light, and learn the happy art of reconciling diligence in business, with servency of spirit in the service of God. 5. Those who complain that there are so many different opinions upon the subject of religion, that they know not, and cannot know what to believe, may find relief in complying with this direction of Jesus Christ. There are none who can deny that God requires you to love him. Do this then, and you shall know amid the conflicting opinions of men, the true doctrine of the bible. Your path shall be like that of the just, shining more and more, to the perfect day. Your love shall constitute a golden thread, leading you through all the labyrinths of errour, in the right way; an anchor ever holding you sure and steadfast amid winds and floods until you enter the haven where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. 6. Are there any who have read this discourse, who are in the habit of despising the obligation of maintaining correct opinions, and denying the criminality of errour; dealing out the flippant argument, “that men can no more think alike, than they can look alike?” All your positions are false. God has revealed truths to be believ
ed, as well as duties to be done; and there are damnable heresies, as well as immoralities; and though it is not possible for all men to look alike, it is possible for all who possess the bible, substantially to think alike; and it is easily accomplished. Let their hearts be united in doing the will of God, and their understanding will be harmonious, with respect to the doctrines of his word. 7. Do any read this discourse who have enjoyed the blessings of a religious education, who by the suggestions of others, or of their own hearts, have become unsettled in their religious opinions; and are you open to conviction, and sincere and honest in your inquiries after truth, and ready to say in your heart, what more can we do? And if, after all, we should err, will it not be a mistake so honest and sincere, that God will be too just to punish it 2 Take heed that ye be not deceived. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. You are judges too in your own cause, and your verdict is on the side of your acquittal from a crime, and now what authority have you for the conclusion to which you have come 2 Is it inclination that speaks, or philosophy, or the bible? Turn to the chapter and the verse of the word of God, which gives a dispensation to those who sincerely and honestly reject the fundamental doctrines of the gospel. Such a case, I apprehend, has never demanded the attention of the HighCourt of heaven, for it must bring home to the Majesty on high, the charge of imbecility in making a revelation unintelligible to honest and sincere subjects; or the charge of injustice in requiring impossibilities.— Are you sure that in the day of judgment it may not be disclosed, that an evil heart darkened your understanding and perverted its decisions — There is one way to decide whether you have been, as you suppose, sincere and honest in your inquiries after truth. If you have availed yourselves faithfully of all the means of knowledge in your power, this would carry the,appearance at least of sincerity. But if you have neglected the means of knowing the truth, which, of all others, are the most direct and simple, and which beside are absolutely infallible, how can you justify yourselves in the favourable conclusion that you have honestly and sincerely endeavoured to ascertain the truth P. How then does the matter stand 2 Have you adopted the recommendation of Christ, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God?” Have you obeyed the command, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God? Have you complied with the kind requisition, My son give me thine heart? If you have not, is not the evidence of your honesty and sincerity greatly to be distrusted P To conclude, let all who have attended to the subject of this discourse, without delay make the joyful experiment, which their Saviour has proposed, of dispelling the darkness of the understanding, by rendering to their God the cheerful homage of their hearts. If any complain that they cannot love God, let them remember, that to refuse to do it is rebellion, and that God will by no means clear the guilty.
For the Christian Spectator. MR. Editor,
If you deem the following observations, which are substantially taken from Dr. Campbell's celebrated work on the Four Gospels, worthy of a place in your Magazine, you are at liberty to insert them. L. P.
In the days of the apostles there were in Judea two kinds of public houses; one of which Busbequius calls arenodochium, and the other stabulun. The wenodochium is now rarely found. It was designed for the accommodation of strangers, who were treated with attention, and supported three days at the public expense.— They were furnished with separate
apartments, and with homely but wholesome fare. The stabulum is very large. It admits under the same roof travellers and their cattle, without any partition between them. Men and their herds share the same accommodations; only they take different sides of the house, the former being furnished with a fire-place. There is now another kind of inn, which seems to have been a modern improvement upon the stabulum. It is called a caravansary ; and is still larger than the stabulum, being lighted from the top. This also is an indiscriminate receptacle for men and cattle. The latter, however, occupy the greater portion of the building; only a wall three feet high, and four or six feet broad, adjoining the margin of the hall, being reserved for the former. This narrow elevation being furnished with fire-places at convenient distances, serves “for kitchen, parlour and bed chamber.” It is more than probable that the Greek word xalaxuma, as used Luke ii. 7, answers to the xenodochium : and wavoxslov, Luke x. 34, to the stabulum; for each of these Greek words is rendered, in the Vulgate and Syriac, by an appropriate term. It is true that Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, and other modern translators, have rendered both by the word diversorium. But they cannot establish the synonomy of those words against the authority of writers who flourished when the Greek was a living language, and when the appropriate use of these words was best understood. We have reason to doubt the propriety of the word inn, as used by our translators, Luke ii. 7, for it was never used to denote a public house, in which the guests were entertained free of expense, as surely those were who lodged in the xenodochium, or
answers more exactly to the Greek wavóoxslov, whose etymology denotes that it received every thing that could enter it. Mr. Harmer, however, supposes that the wavôoxolov must have been a very commodious place, from the circumstance that the good Samaritans entrusted the wounded man to the keeper of it, and promised to reward him for his services.— But the necessary accommodations might have been afforded a sick man, although the wavóoxstow did also receive cattle. Besides, had it been a xaloxopla, or xenodochium, no promise of payment would have been necessary, at least for three days entertainment, as all who lodged in it were entertained for that period gratis. Bethlehem was a small place, and afforded only one xolovua, and that, at the time of our Saviour's birth, was full. And unless it can be proved that Christ was born in a cave, as is asserted by Justin Martyr and Origen, there was no other public place to which Joseph and Mary could have repaired. Were this indeed proved, it would not necessarily weaken the argument; since a cave
might easily have been fitted up for a convenient stabulum. Nor were the x&la)\vua and wavôoxsiov connected under the same roof; for had that been the case, Christ would have been born in the xenodochium, which Mary could not enter, because it was full. Further, they could not have been connected, for they were two distinct and independent establishments, founded for essentially different purposes, and furnished with very different accommodations. The result from the whole is, that Christ was born in all the humiliation that could be attached to the poverty and helplessness of Mary, and in all the disgrace that could belong to the inconvenience and meanness of a stable; and also, that our translators have misapplied the word inn to the Greek xala)\vua, which signifies a house gratuitously allotted for a time to the use of strangers.
For the Christian Spectator. An Allegory.
It is recorded in a very ancient book, that a certain nobleman of great possessions being about to journey, called together his servants, delivered to them his goods, and said unto each “occupy till I come.”
Of these servants it is observed, that by birth, they were the property of their master, but having fallen into captivity they had been bought also with a price; in addition to which, every one of them said “I love my master,” and by significant tokens had engaged to serve him during life.— They would hold, they said, no separate property, or be influenced to serve by mercenary motives. Their master's interest they said, should be their own, his reputation their honour, his prosperity their reward.
Thus circumstanced, it would he
natural to expect of these servants, great “diligence in business,” great friendship among themselves, and great joy as their master's interest should prosper in their hands; and this for a season was to a great extent the fact, though not without some painful exceptions, which it falls to our lot to record. There were servants who evidently pursued interests separate from their master’s, and to his injury. The hedge about their master's vineyard was broken down, and the boar from the wilderness without molestation rooted up the vine. The door of the sheepfold too was left open, and the grievous wolf came in not sparing the flock. When such events happened however, it was common for the servants to become indignant, at the boar, and the wolf, not reflecting that had the fence of the vineyard, and the door of the sheepfold been kept, the vines and the lambs had escaped injury. It must be added, that the ground also was often so imperfectly tilled as to vield but a scanty harvest, and sometimes from year to year, no harvest at all. But in this case it was common for the servants to console themselves with the reflection, that God only could give the increase, and that as he gives or withholds according to his sovereign good pleasure, no blame could justly attach to them. There were indeed a few instances of failure, where all the means of securing a crop had apparently been faithfully applied. But it often happened that those who in this manner went forth, from year to year, weeping, bearing precious seed, came again at length rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them; and where this was not the case, it frequently happened that the seed though buried long in dust, sprang up in a joyful harvest, after the hand that sowed it, and the eye that wept over it, were at rest in the grave. It was left in charge by the nobleman to his servants, that they should keep in good repair those parts of the farm which had been reduced to cultivation, and urge on the work of subduing the wilderness until the entire farm should become one fruitful field; and so vigorous at first was the onset upon the wilderness, that it seemed as if every tree of the forest would bow, and every acre of the farm be made to feel the plough, and to wave with harvests. But so much at length did the love of these servants wax cold, and their enterprise abate, that the wilderness regained much of its lost dominion, and all hope and all duty seemed to be limited to the desence of the fruitsul fields, against the encroachments of the wilderness. When at length a small number of servants, moved by primitive affection and zeal, read their master's direction, “go ye out into all parts of the farm and subdue the wilderness, and began to make experiments, they were stared upon as madmeu. Do you believe said one, that our master
expected, or intended we should subdue the entire farm * Never. His language is hyperbolical. Another contended that the fruitful field might as well give place to the wilderness, as the wilderness to the fruitful field. He could perceive very little difference, he said, between the wild animals of the wilderness, and the tame animals of the fields. God who made them all is benevolent, and no respecter of persons, from which it must result, that they are all happy, and about equally happy; he thought it therefore a useless expense to carry the arts of husbandry to the wilderness; he could perceive but little difference between the lion and the wolf, and the ox and the lamb. All were made very good animals, each lived in his own way, and why should we disturb them. Others who thought it would be a very good thing, to subdue the wilderness were it possible, sainted at the thought of such an undertaking. There were trees, they said, somewhere in that wilderness, an hundred miles in circumference, harder than the hardest steel, and whose roots were wrapped about the centre of the earth, so that to cut them down, or pull them up, or raise crops under their shade, was alike hopeless.And then there were lions in the way of unusual strength, and fierceness, ready to slay every man who should show himself in their dominions; and there too travellers had seen the giants, in comparison with whom they were grashoppers. If it was suggested, by any servant, that the field now cultivated, was once itself a wilderness, and that what had been done, could be done again; it was answered, that the great trees which stood here were pulled up by miracles, and that the giants and lions were all killed by supernatural aid, not to be expected now. If any pointed to tracts of wilderness recently subdued without miracles, as difficult of subjugation as any that remained, a new host of objectors took up the argument; admitted the possibility of subduing the wilderness, but denied that there was either time or resources. “It was as much as could be dome, they ‘said, to maintain the cultivated field from the encroachments of the wilderness, and that charity begins at home. There were fences enough to be mended, and flocks to be gathered, and weeds to be eradicated at home, and nothing should be done abroad, until the farm at home was put in perfect order. Beside, where shall we find labourers for the whole field F And even were all the products of the cultivated part devoted to subduing the wilderness, it would be in vain : forgetsul that every newly cultivated acre poured into the treasury, thirty, sixty or an hundred fold; and that the resources increased, as the work to be done diminished. There was after all, another disficulty, which was, on which side of the wilderness they should begin ; some prefering to assail the forests immediately contiguous, while others prefered going quite the other side. This difficulty was however settled by the amicable agreement, that both sides should be assailed at once, and the assault continued until the serwants should meet and shake hands in the middle. In the ancient book already referred to, and which the nobleman deposited in the hands of his servants, there were rules which he directed them to follow implicitly in the management of the farm ; forbidding them to make a single unauthorized experiment. In this book it was provided, that persons of competent skill in husbandry, who could exhibit evidence of friendship to their master, and would make the requisite engagements, might be received into the household of the nobleman; and for a season, those who offered themselves were coresully examined, and few were received, who did not consult in some good degree, the interests of their master. But in process of time it came to pass, that srom indolence or carelessness, or false ten
derness, any person who offered himself was sure to be received, however deficient in skill, or wanting in the ordinary evidence of friendship to the nobleman. The consequence was, that many servants unskilled in husbandry, and without friendship to the master, became members of his household. These, as might be expected, were extremely liberal in their views, and charitably disposed towards all those servants, whose deportment in
better days would have ensured their
expulsion from the household. If any servants proposed a more strict examination concerning skill, or industry, or friendship to their master, with reference to the admission of servants, they were denounced as uncharitable, bigoted and cruel. Does not charity, it would be said, hope all things, and believe all things 2– Do we know the candidate for admission to be a novice P why then should we torment him by unreasonable suspicions, implied in his examination ? They could not doubt that he had devoted himself some where faithfully to the acquisition of agricultural knowledge, and that he was, or would be, as industrious, and skilful, and faithful, as themselves ; and, as to friendship to the nobleman, “Is it not well known,” they demanded, “ that he had no enemies It was unreasonable to think that he had, and if any pretended to be his enemies, or ever conducted as if they were, undoubtedly they were deceived, or from modesty merely exhibited themselves as being worse than they were. Besides, friendship and enmity are feelings of the heart, and what have we to do with each other's hearts : To our own master we stand or fall.” If at any time, attempts were made to expel from the household an idle or profligate servant, he would inquire the authority of the servants to do it, and cry persecution; when instantly, as if roused by fellow feeling, a host of sympathetic brethren would come to his aid to denounce his persecutors, and certify whom it