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We would ask attention to the Apostle's answer.
“ These,' replies the Apostle, are serious considerations. The objections they imply have been fairly and forcibly proposed by you, and I will try to give, for surely they deserve, a reasonable answer.
“ The scribes and tanners, as well as their respective vocations, fall under the conditions of all human employments, as they are affected by human improvement. The fashions of this world pass away, and with them must pass away the employments that depend upon those fashions. Even the useful arts, which I shall consider first, must retire before arts that are still more useful. The parchment-makers, in whose behalf thou pleadest, have, themselves, to answer for having driven from employment the gatherers of papyrus and bark, and the makers of waxen tablets, which were used by the scribes of ancient times : and the scribes of the present day, who write with a reed on parchment, show no sympathy for their Beotian brethren, who, sitting around the fount of Helicon, wrote the poems of their Hesiod with a pointed iron upon sheets of lead. Yet the writers of those ponderous volumes have been inade to mourn over their occupation gone. As it has been, so it must be. Even those of my own nation, who, ages hence, shall be employed in preparing parchment for the oracles of God, and the scribes who live by transcribing Moses and the Prophets, shall, in their turn, have their work taken out of their hands by the skill and invention of coming times, — when the dark mines shall have given out their treasures, and fires shall have molten. them, and science, truly so called, shall have combined them, and the winds and the waters shall drive them, till, as it were “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” a copy of “the law” shall be thrown off, for the instruction of the humblest and the poorest, and "the 'world shall scarcely contain the books that shall be written.” Where then shall be the scribe, to whose labors we are now indebted for copies of God's word ? He will have followed the long train of those, who, in days already gone, have withdrawn before the pressure of the on-moving hosts of improvement and of light. And thus must it ever be, while the good work of advancement is going on in the world. All who are connected, at any tiine, with the existing order of things, when that order gives place to a better, must give place to those who bring in the better; or they must themselves take hold of that which is better, and, by making themselves parties in the improvement, become partakers of its blessings : they must leap into the car with the reformers,
“Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale ;”
1834.] Mr. Pierpont's Sermon, on Acts xix. 19, 20. 101 or, if they will lie back, they must be content to be abandoned.
". But, if this is the condition into which those are thrown, by the eternal and irresistible current of events, who are engaged in good labors, — good, because conducive to enjoyment, and productive of it, what better terms can they ask, or hope, whose vocations, like yours, are necessarily, - not accidentally, and by some perversion from their natural tendencies and real design, but necessarily, naturally, and for ever productive of evil? Shall such employments be spared, or those who still pursue them, while those are not spared, who can plead in their own behalf the many benefits that they confer? If the native forest tree, that spreads its grateful shade for the refreshment of the laborer, but yields him no fruit, is cut down, to make room for corn and olive trees, shall the bramble-bush and the thorn boast themselves against the husbandman? Does even heathen philosophy urge a plea for mercy in such cases ? or does heathen power regard it? Behold, even now, the Roman Cæsars have thrust the arm of their power into the gloomy groves that darken the islands of the Hyperborean seas, to drag forth to light and to liberty, the victims of Druidical supersti. tion, and to quench the fires, that, for ages, have burned there to consume the innocent or the self-doomed martyr! Will even Roman righteousness consider the claim of the Druid minister, to be let alone in his business, priest though he be, and clad in his long white robe, and standing with his golden knife by the altar of his gods? Or, shall the humbler minister, in those horrid rites, be respected in his employment, who weaves the osier hurdles, into which the human sacrifice is thrust, that he may be thrown into the fire ?'" — pp. 11 – 13.
Another illustration is drawn from the abolition of slavery, and the convert is asked whether that reformn is to stop, because, if it should prevail, the braiders of the slavedriver's thong, and the forgers of manacles for slaves, must lose their occupation thereby. The argument of the Apostle is thus glowingly concluded.
"And now, ye silversmiths and sorcerers, when ye come round me and ask, “ When we have burnt our books and melted down our shrines, where shall we get our bread ?” my answer to you all is one. When the gods fail you whose service is pollution, and shame, and wrong, and sin, and whose wages is bondage, - though the chain that holds you to their service is of gold, — whose wages is bondage, and degradation, and death, enter as laborers into the fields of Him who is Lord of all the harvests of the earth, “whose service is perfect freedom," who will never suffer the righteous to be forsaken, or his seed to be begging bread. Doubt not the assurance of him who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. " Every one that hath forsaken houses or lands, for my sake and the gospel's, shall receive a hundred fold now in this world, and in the world to come, eternal life.” He may not always give “large money” to his servants, as they who crucified his Son gave to the soldiers that guarded his tomb, - and gave it to corrupt them, and to reward them for a lie; but he will give that which money cannot buy, and which, when gained, “neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.” Gold, though a good, is not the greatest good. Was it not in righteous wrath, that your fabled gods granted, to the letter, the prayer of the miserly Phrygian, that whatever he should touch might be turned to gold? The blushing pomegranate, that swung on its bough above him, promising him its cooling acid, he touched, to pluck it, and it was gold! The fountain, that bubbled by his way-side, he stooped to drink from, and, at his touch, 't was gold! Would he not have given all his gold, for permission to dip the tip of his finger in WATER, and cool his tongue ? Believe me, my Ephesian friends, the riches of righteousness are the only enduring riches. Think not that “gain is always godliness”: doubt not that “godliness is great gain.” Can you believe that He who made you that you might serve him, and serve him by doing his work, will reward you more liberally for undoing his work, than for doing it? If you have not confidence to enlist under the banners of the Almighty King, who showers his largesses upon each one who joins his hosts; and, holding out the cross of his Son from the heavens, writes under it in sunbeams, “In this thou shalt conquer," — is it safe, do ye think, to take up arms against him, and look to his great adversary to give you, day by day, your daily bread ? Believe me, my friends, the loss of the books which I counsel you to cast into the fire, will be your incalculable gain. "Throw off the garment of unrighteousness. It is the tunic of a centaur, that has been struck through and poisoned by the arrow of a god. Tear it off, ere its venom reach your vitals. Exchange it, exchange it, I entreat you, for a robe of " fine linen, clean and white, — the fine linen that is the righteousness of the saints.” In the spirit of a wise thrift, cast away the wages of your present work, and take the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Nor shall eternal life in the world to come be your only reward. So long as virtue and a good name are bound together in this world, so long as there is “any virtue or any praise,” your sacrifice shall not be forgotten. It shall be wrought into sacred story. It shall be published in every language and through every land. Yea, wherever the gospel shall be preached, in the whole world, there shall also this, which ye shall do, be told for a memorial of you : and, when the name of your tutelary goddess shall be a by-word and a scorn; when the moon, whose silver garments she impiously affects to wear, shall no more walk in her brightness over the temple that now reposes in her beams, and not one broken column of that temple shall remain, to tell the traveller where it stood, - a voice shall come forth from the heart of Christian Europe, that shall be heard throughout the world, saying, “Behold these early Christians, who nobly sacrificed their private gain upon the altar of the public good!”?»*— pp. 14-16.
We should not have made extracts thus long from a single sermon, had not its subject been one of especial interest to our community, occupying much of the public attention, and pressing immediately on the occupations of many of our citizens, worthy citizens too. Nor would the interest of the subject alone, have induced us to draw thus copiously from the pages of this Sermon, had it not been for the novel and happy manner in wbich the subject is treated, or rather by allusion and inference presented.
[For the Christian Examiner.] ART. VIII. — Life and Character of the Rev. Nathan
Parker, D. D. When one who was destitute of Christian principle has departed from the world, he is wholly lost to it. He leaves do precious remembrances, no cherished image behind him. But the Christian, whether in public or private lise, leaves connected with his name the image of his Master, — of him who is the same yesterday, 10-day, and for ever. And surviving friends can take pleasure and find profit in the melancholy task of collecting and combining the lineaments of that image.
“* En, ergo, hosce Christianos, publicum commodum suo ipsorum lucro anteponentes ! — Test. Kopp. in loc."
There are two advantages resulting from the contemplation of living or recent exa'nples of virtue and piety, wbich are wanting even in the example of Christ himself. The one is the vivid impression made upon us by the beauty of holiness as exemplified in the every-day life of one with whom we have walked, and conversed, and sympathized. The other is the impulse given to our virtuous efforts by the idea, that what we have seen others do, we may do; what we have seen others become, we may become.
It is usually safer and better to follow the examples of the dead than of the living. A good man's character is seldom properly understood and appreciated until his death. While he is alive, h's faults sometimes outweigh and obscure the lustre of his virtues; and sometimes gain to themselves credit and currency by their connexion with splendid virtues. Thus we often see a man's enemies unwilling to take pattern by his virtues, while his friends are unwittingly adopting his faults. But when his eyes are closed in death, and his character becomes the treasure of memory alone, and the subject of cool and calm reflection, his faults and excellencies appear in their true colors, and his example becomes truly valuable.
There are, indeed, some men who have so far conquered sin as to show to the world no evil propensities or habits. But the very faultlessness of such men subjects them, while living, to envy, detraction, and slander. There are some people in the community, who cannot bear to hear such and such men always called righteous, and who will therefore cast doubts upon their sincerity and integrity, and impute their good deeds to wrong motives. But death seals the lips of the slanderer, and refutes bis calumnies. And then the righteous inan stands forth in the peerless beauty of holiness; and his well-riisposed survivors look back upon what he was, to learn what they ought to be.
Again, the example of the dead is better than that of the living on account of its completeness. The living have not, the dead have to the full, tested the strength of their principles and the rectitude of their purposes. The righteous dead have passed through all the necessary vicissitudes of life, and have reflected upon all of them the light of a holy example. Now there may be habits of life which will make a fair show in the world, and gain a man friends and admirers,