« FöregåendeFortsätt »
THE TELESCOPE AND MICROSCOPE.— Chalmers. When I look abroad, on the wondrous scene that is immediately before mę—and see, that in every direction, it is a scene of the most various and unwearied activityand expatiate on all the beauties of that garniture by, which it is adorned, and on all the prints of design and of benevolence which abound in it—and think, that the same God, who holds the universe, with its every system, in the hollow of his hand, pencils every flower, and gives nourishment to every blade of grass, and actuates the movements of every living thing, and is not disabled, by the weight of his other cares, from enriching the humble department of nature I occupy, with charms and accommodations of the most unbounded variety--then, surely, if a message, bearing every mark of authenticity, should profess to come to me from God, and inform me of his mighty doings for the happiness of our species, it is not for me, in the face of all this evidence, to reject it as a tale of imposture, because astronomers have told me that he has so many other worlds, and other orders of beings to attend to—and, when I think that it were a deposition of him from his supremacy over the creatures he has formed, should a single sparrow fall to the ground withs out his appointment, then let science and sophistry try to cheat me of my comfort as they may-I will not be afraid, for I am of more value than many sparrows.
It was the telescope, that, by piercing the obscurity which lies between us and distant worlds, put infidelity in possession of the argument, against which we are now contending. But, about the time of its invention, another instrument was formed, which laid open a scene no less wonderful, and rewarded the inquisitive spirit of man with a discovery, which serves to neutralize the whole of this argument. This was the microscope. The one led me to see a system in every star. The other leads
me to see a world in every atom. The one taught me, that this mighty globe, with the whole burden of its people, and of its countries, is but a grain of sand on the high field of immensity. The other teaches me that every grain of sand may harbor within it the tribes and the families of a busy population. The one told me of the insignificance of the world I tread upon. The other redeems it from all its insignificance, for it tells me that in the leaves of every forest, and in the flowers of every garden, and in the waters of every rivulet, there are worlds teeming with life, and numberless as the glories of the firmament. The one has suggested to me, that beyond and above all that is visible to man, there may lie fields of creation which sweep immeasurably along, and carry the impress of the Almighty's hand to the remotest scenes of the universe. The other suggests to me, that within and beneath all that minuteness which the aided eye of man has been able to explore, there may be a region of invisibles; and that could we draw aside the mysterious curtain which shrouds it from our senses, we might there see a theatre of as many wonders as astronomy has unfolded, a universe within the compass of a point so small as to elude all the powers of the microscope, but where the wonder-working God finds room for the exercise of all his attributes, where he can raise another mechanism of worlds, and fill and animate them all with the evidences of his glory.
LXXXVIII. ON SINCERITY.-From Abp. Tillotson. (Abridged.)
Truth and sincerity have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the show of any thing be good, I am sure the reality is better ; for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not,-but because he thinks it good to have the qualities he pretends to ? Now the best way for a man to seem to be any thing, is to be in reality what he would seem to be: besides, it is often as troublesome to support the pretence of a good quality, as to have it: and, if a man have it not, it is most likely he will be discovered to want it; and then all his labor to seem to have it, is lost. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skilful eye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.
Therefore, if any man think it convenient to seem good, let him bę so indeed ; and then his goodness will appear to every one's satisfaction. Particularly, as to the affairs of this world, integrity hath many advantages over all the artificial modes of dissimulation and deceit. It is much the plainer and easier, -much the safer, and more secure way of dealing in the world; it has less of trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it. The arts of deceit and cunning continually grow weaker, and less serviceable to those that practice them ; whereas integrity gains strength by use; and the more and longer any man practiseth it the greater service it does him; by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do, to repose the greatest confidence in him; which is an unspeakable advantage in business and the affairs of
But insincerity is very troublesome to manage. A hypocrite hath so many things to attend to, as make his life a very perplexed and intricate thing. A liar hath need of a good memory, lest he contradict at one time what he said at another; but truth is always consistent, and needs nothing to help it out; it is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips; whereas a lie is troublesome, and needs a great many more to make it good. In a word, whatsoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual; because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion ; so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth; nor trusted when, perhaps, he means honestly. When a man hath
once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, nothing will then serve his turn; neither truth nor falsehood.
Indeed, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occasion to converse more with mankind, it were then no great matter (as far as respects the affairs of this world) if he spent his reputation all at once; or ventured it at one throw. But if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of reputation whilst he is in it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but this will hold out to the end. All other arts may fail; but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.
LXXXIX. RELIGION THE ONLY BASIS OF SOCIETY.-Channing.
Religion is a social concern; for it operates powerfully on society, contributing, in various ways, to its stability and prosperity. Religion is not merely a private affair; the community is deeply interested in its diffusion; for it is the best support of the virtues and principles on which the social order rests. Pure and undefiled reli
gion is, to do good; and it follows, very plainly, that, if God be the Author and Friend of society, then the recognition of him must enforce all social duty, and enlightened piety must give its whole strength to public order. Few men suspect, perhaps no man comprehends, the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue, No man, perhaps, is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain; how powerless conscience would become, without the belief of a God; how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higher benevolence to quicken and sustain it; how suddenly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into hopeless ruin, were the ideas of a supreme Being, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased from every mind. And, let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance; that no superior intelligence concerns itself with human affairs; that all their improvements perish forever at death; that the weak have no guardian, and the injured no avenger ; that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good ; that an oath is unheard in heaven; that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is every thing to us, and death is total, everlasting extinction; once let them thoroughly abandon religion ; and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow !
We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonbly might, we believe, that, were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man is the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true? Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling ; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be a companion for brutes.
XC. WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD.-Sermon - Rev. Robert
Hall. TAE exclusion of a Supreme Being, and of a superintending providence, tends directly to the destruction of