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of investing him with the attributes of compassion and universal philanthropy. In proof of this, we appeal to the account which Porphyry has given of Pythagoras. ' “ His soul, also conformable to the invariable temperament of his bodily appearance and constitution, bespoke always the uniformity of his manners and affections from his countenance. For neither did it receive any diffusion from pleasure, nor contraction from uneasiness; nor was he ever discovered under any agitation of joy or sorrow. No man saw him at any time either smile or weep.” Pythagoras was one of the most illustrious personages of heathen antiquity; and doubtless his eulogist chose those features in his character, for which he was most noted, and which would chiefly recommend him to the pagan world.
Fiction, in every age, bears a relation to reality. It is a union of the scattered elements of reputed excellence. If, then, the character of Jesus had been fabricated, he never would have been set forth, as weeping by the side of his friend's tomb, nor at the infatuation of his countrymen-he never would have uttered the golden law of universal love, nor established a system of universal brotherhood. Virtues he might have had-excellences there might have been in his teachings; but these virtues and excellences would, in the language of Pope, have been “ fixed as in a frost." The elements therefore, we conclude, of that religion which makes charity the perfect and universal bond, existed not either in Judaism or Heathenism. Whence, then, was it, if not of God? Here we find a cause fully equal to the effect in question, and no where else. The benign spirit of Christianity, and the benign spirit of Jesus, are in delightful harmony with the character of that Being who is emphatically designated Love. A system of universal love and universal brotherhood, is what might be expected from a common Creator and a common Father. It is a gift worthy of the only God to give-it is a gift of such excellence, of such unprecedented merits, as could proceed only from the great Fountain of mercy.
It may serve to enhance our estimate of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, if we subjoin, that the merciful and catholic spirit, of which we have spoken largely, redounds to the honour of the system. This proposition needs not proof; it will be, in the present day, admitted as soon as read. We shall content ourselves, therefore, with such illustrations of the activity and power of this spirit, as may be drawn from the religious and charitable institutions of this kingdom. We may
however remark, that there is on record a singular attestation of the excellence of the benign spirit of the Gospel, which, proceeding from an enemy, is deserving notice. The Emperor Julian, when engaged to bring back the civilized world to the profession of Paganism, being fully aware of the hold which Christianity had on the minds of the people, by reason of the acts of love and mercy to which it led, and for which its followers were much celebrated-enjoined, in the most persuasive language, yet with but small effect, the duties of benevolence. His priests he, as Sovereign Pontiff
, orders to recommend the universal practice of those virtues-promises to assist their indigence, from the public treasury—and gives directions for the building of Xenodochia, or hospitals, where the poor both of the Pagan and the Christian systems might be equally received. We add the words of Gibbon: “Julian bebeld with
the wise and humane regulations of the Church; and he very frankly confesses his intention to deprive the Christians of the applause, as well as the advantage which they had acquired, by the exclusive practice of charity and benefi
The same spirit of imitation, might dispose the Emperor to adopt several ecclesiastical institutions, the use and importance of which were approved by the success of his enemies. But if these imaginary plans of reformation had been realized, the forced and imperfect copy would have been less beneficial to Paganism, than honourable to Christianity." His designs and efforts did little more than afford an involuntary homage to the faith of his earlier days. Beneficence and Heathenism were incompatible.
We are ourselves strongly impressed with the contrast of which we have spoken, between ancient and modern days. The religion of Jesus makes a powerful appeal to our bosoms, on the ground of its adaptation to the ignorant, the sufferer, and the depraved; and the more persuasive is its voice, when it bids us turn from scenes of mercy which abound before our eyes, to the day when philosopbers, poets, patriots, statesmen, and orators flourished, whose merits have rarely been equalled, perhaps never surpassed, but who were wholly ignorant of the royal and
Christian law of love. Perfect in many other things, the age was but an infant in mercy. And in this divine virtue, these giants of ancient times are now out-done by many who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and hold on with difficulty the humble and noiseless tenor of their way. Yes, the conscientious and active teacher of a Sunday-school, however lowly bis condition, is possessed of virtues and performs actions which render him, to every well constituted mind, an object of respect, be
of those whose names and deeds are blazoned in the page of history. His tongue is apt to teach-his feet are swift to succour the needy—and though narrow may, of necessity, be the sphere of bis influence, the law of universal love is in bis heart.
(To be Concluded in our next.)
The Recollections of Jotham Anderson.
(Continued from page 268.)
The entrance on the ministry is a period of anxiety and excitement of spirit, to which no one can look back, even after the lapse of years, without a throb of emotion. To a conscientious man, who feels the weight and responsibility of the office, the exercises of that season are deep and trying. About to appear as the messenger of God's word to the souls of men—to be the herald of eternal truthsto be a fellow-labourer with Christ in the work of human salvation, and the bearer of the prayers and intercessions of men to the mercy-seat of heaven; his spirit is oppressed, and trembling, aud ready to faint--for how can he discharge 80 various and awful vocations? . But then, again, when he considers the incalculable importance of the work to which none other on earth is to be equalled; when he thinks of the honour of bearing part in it, the shame of drawing back, and the wide field for doing good-his spirits become animated, and he girds himself for the toil with alacrity and zeal. It seems as it were but yesterday, that I was passing through this alternation of hopes and fears, of exhilaration and despondency. I still see the chamber which I paced for hours, anxious and sleepless, night after night; and where I gradually gained resolution to begin the sacred work. Forty-seven years are past and gone, but it is fresh as the memory of to-day. I have, in
those years, passed through heavy vicissitudes of eartbly lot, and waves of trouble bave rolled over my heart, enough to obliterate from it every trace of that early anxiety. But it abides vividly in my memory, and the old man of seventy-two feels over again as he writes, all the solicitudes of the youth of twenty-five.
It was on the third of September, that after a ride of twenty miles, I reached the village where my father bad recommended me to make the first trial of my gifts. I bore a letter from him in my pocket to Mr. Carverdale, the infirm minister of the place, offering my service to aid bim on the sabbath. The sun was just throwing its last beams upon the spire of the meeting-house, as I came upon the little common where it stood, and cast my eyes around in search of the minister's house. This is easily known in a country village, and I immediately rode up to a neat cottage with a small yard before it, which stood just back of the meeting-house, and was almost lost amid the trees which threw their aged branches around and over it. The old gentleman was sitting in his arm-chair at the open door, looking out upon the setting sun. I alighted and approached him with the letter in my hand. While he was engaged in reading it, I had leisure to collect myself, and study the appearance of a man whom I had not seen since I was a child, and to whom I was an entire stranger. He was a tall, thin man, whose few remaining hairs were white with the hoary frost of age, and his countenance marked with years and suffering. But there was a majesty and serenity in it which struck me with awe, and would have become an apostle. I think St. John might have looked so, when he was carried into the church, as he approached his hundredth year, to repeat his customary benediction, Little children love one another.
“ You are heartily welcome,” said he, when he bad finished the perusal of the letter, " and I thank your father for his kindness in sending you. But he was always kind, and I can present no better prayer for his son than that he may be like him. I was doubting if I should be able to speak to my poor people to-morrow. I am unusually feeble, I have sensibly decayed this week. I might not be able to address them. But now they will be instructed from younger lips. It will be enough for me to break to them the holy bread. I am glad to have all my strength for that. Who knows but it may be the last time?"
I felt called upon to say something, and with the real diffidence which I felt, I said that I was very sorry
he would not have a better substitute to-morrow.
“ Young man,” said he, “ let me warn you against a trick of disparaging yourself in this way. It does not become the simplicity and sincerity of the ministerial character. You are in your Master's service, and should use such language to none but him. It may be modesty now, but it will become vanity; vanity in its most disgusting dress, the guise of humility. Think of nothing but to do your duty. Do that as well as you are able, and be not anxious to say or to hear in what manner it is done."
This advice did me great good. It taught me to guard against that sensitiveness to the opinions of others, which is so apt to disorder the motives of action; and has saved me perhaps from that painful and ridiculous habit, which I have witnessed in some, of always speaking slightingly of what they do, for the sake of bearing it praised. It becomes the dignity of a preacher of the gospel not to speak of his labours at all, except to some confidential friend, and for the sake of improvement.
“I do not mean to pain you,” continued be, "for I have no reason to doubt your sincerity; but I use an old man's privilege of plain speaking to put you on your guard. My light is almost out, and I must do good while I can. I am as low in my horizon as yonder sun now is. But while I am here I would give light to the last. It has always been my prayer, that I might sink to my bed as that glorious luminary does now, useful to the latest moment, and unshadowed by a cloud. God save me from the empty, shattered remnant of existence, which would be a weariness to myself, and a burden to others. Yet I fear that the prayer will not be granted, and it will try my patience and faith to have it denied. But his will be done! You,” continued he, “are like that sun in his rising, rejoicing in the prospect before you, of a day of light and glory, of a work of beneficence and love, in which you shall cause righteousness and piety to bud and become fruitful. It is an excellent and most blessed work! Enter it and prosper! May God be your light, and honour you abundantly in the kingdom of his dear Son."
He rose from his seat, and, leaning upon me, entered the room where the family were sitting. “ We always pray at sun-setting,” said he. The ancient family Bible