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crossing the bay the weather got very fine, and wind rather too light for making a rapid passage. After southing the latitude of the Canary Isles, I saw flocks of little fish you will wonder at my styling them flocks, but the reason is, that they fly like birds, in flocks, having large wings. Doubtless most of you have read of them ere now. Some of them in the night have made an awkward mistake in flying on board, at which we were very glad, as they are fine eating.
I will now relate to you the catching. this forenoon, of a large shark. It was all but breath calm, when the man at the helm called out that "a large shark was coming up in the wake." No sooner was the report heard than all were on the alert to get the hook baited. I looked over and saw the monster, with a pretty little fish, which sailors call a pilot fish, swimming quite close to him; there were also a number of Dolphin fish, which kept deep in the water, at a respectable distance. The water was very transparent, and I watched all the operations with lively interest. The hook having been ingeniously baited with a large piece of pork, was let out to the shark, when he came up to the bait cautiously; but somehow the little pilot-fish kept close to the side of the shark, and whether influenced by it or not I could not tell, but one thing is sure that is, that the shark seemed inclined to come nearer the fatal bait, but went off again, his eye, so to speak, appeared to be in it. The captain of the vessel, an experienced seaman, said, "So long as the pilot-fish keeps by him, he will not allow him to take the bait ;" and so added several of the crew, who had seen many sharks caught. After, he came and went several times, until thought he was too wily to be caught; at last up he came, but alone, without the pilot-fish, which, when the seamen saw, they said, as with one voice, "He is ours." And, sure enough, he gulped the bait. If you had seen the splashing, and the work he made struggling to get clear, it would surprise you; but all was of no avail, he was hauled on board, and mauled with a large iron until killed. So ended the life of this shark, which but a little before bade defiance to all of us. This circumstance led me to a train of thinking, some of which I will here try to give you.
Before, however, going further, I cannot vouch for the truth of the popular idea, that the pilot-fish influences the shark; at the same time, what I saw in this instance would incline me to believe it does. I thought of man as a sinner, placed in the world as this shark-free to take or refuse the sin (the bait) which Satan ingeniously lays out for him. Satan has not power to compel us to sin, but our own evil natures
give such a powerful bias to take the sin (the bait) and wallow in it; yet God in infinite love has given us a conscience (a pilot-fish), so that we may refuse the evil and choose the good. You will perceive, if this shark had kept off when warned, and not taken the bait, he would never be caught; but he came and wished to have the bait very much, and for a time the little faithful pilot-fish was successful in keeping him from the awful fate which awaited him, until, as we shall suppose, the little fish found his warnings fruitless, then he gave up and did not return; so the shark, being abandoned, took the fatal hook: and mark the consequence!! We cannot be too watchful and jealous of our evil hearts, for instead of being naturally afraid of sin, they have a strong inclination to it; and if we come and desire the evil, although we may go away for a time, yet having once eyed it, we are on most dangerous ground; and Satan is too cunning to present the sin too strongly, for fear we will be scared at it and flee it at once; but steals quietly in until he gets our acquiescence; and after grieving the Spirit, He will abandon us, and leave us to be filled "with our own ways and the fruit of our own devices."
You will remember the parable of the tares. Satan is there represented as stealing quietly into the field and sowing his tares, and then slipping away. Ah! his end is gained if he only can get poor souls to sin; he is sure of them if he only can get them kept there.
You will also remember how softly he came to Adam and Eve. "Ye shall not surely die." But mark the sad, sad result! Satan is very busy among the Sabbathmorning classes, trying hard to get boys and girls to put off seeking for the pearl of great price, or, it may be, to decoy into flagrant sins, all of which are included. And, my dear boys, if any of you are living in the neglect of duty, or have been, or are, sinning, I implore of you to go instantly to God, and implore Him in and through the merit of his dear Son to forgive and cleanse you from all sin. We are so corrupt and blind that we will not see our sin. Take the Psalmist's words: "Search me, O God, and try me," &c. Be assured He will hear and answer the true petition through the infinite merits of Jesus. The Apostle John says, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father." Now, if Satan can only get us by any means to put off coming to God, his end is gained. Sometimes he may try us to put off by suggesting how small the sin is, at other times how great they are. You will, I hope, see how foolish it is to yield to either. But remember the precious
invitation of the Spirit and the bride who says, "Come; and whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely." Again, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man open I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.' Is not this glorious news? Are there any of my late class to refuse it? I hope and pray not. There is such a fountain of love in Jesus' heart that nothing but staying away from Him can dry it up. How very great, then, must be the sin of staying Oh! the away and refusing Him! awful torments of the eternally lost can hardly explain it !! There is nothing which proves to me more clearly the utter depravity of my heart by nature than the very fact of the powerful bias to stay away, and "being at ease in Zion" while the way is so accessible in itself. In order that we may not be lost, God is saying (through Christ), "A new heart I will give thee, and a right spirit will I put within thee," &c. So you perceive, boys, if any of us are lost, our blood will be upon our own heads. "Ask, and YE shall receive; seek, and YE shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto YOU; for EVERYONE," &c. So you perceive there is no denial to any who ask; the only denial is to those who will NOT ask. I trust that none of you are among the latter. I do not know; but each of you knows for himself: and God knoweth all things, and takes special notice of this among the rest. Oh! then, see to it if it has been, let it be so no longer. Delay not any longer! Whosoever delays is in as great danger as Lot was in Sodom. So that with the same words God calls to "Arise, tarry not; flee for thy life."
I have now got through what little I have but poorly put together and as badly written; at the same time, I hope you will take the will for the deed, and be good and prayerful, attentive boys, and accept of the best wishes of yours affectionately,
THE MISSIONARY SHIP "JOHN
A LETTER from the Captain of the ship "John Williams," reports a visit to Erromanga. While the vessel was there, the very man who had given Williams his death-blow came on board. He is now a learner of Christianity. When asked why he had killed the missionary, his answer was, "White man had been to the island, and had slain his brother and sister. feared this white man would do likewise, and so he killed him." The island is now in a great measure reclaimed from heathenism.
A LITTLE boy asked his mother how many gods there were. A younger brother answered, "Why one to be sure.' "" "But how do you know that?" inquired the other. "Because," answered the younger, "God fills every place, so there is no room for any other."
THE HEART'S SEED FIELD. WE all, in journeying on through earth, Might thick with pleasure sow it, Plant joy in many a heart of worth
That else can never know it.
Far other seed hath man too long
In hearts long worn with weeping,
HIPPOLYTUS AND HIS AGE.*
LIGHT is beginning to shine upon the dark places of ancient history; the veil by which they have been concealed and made mysterious as eternity itself is being gradually withdrawn; the past is coming forth from the sepulchre in which for ages it has been buried, and with a new and beautiful life, proclaims the wondrous story of Divine providence, and attests the truth of the Divine Word. Does not Nineveh in her very ruins, again, as of yore, fill the eye of a wondering world, and tell her tale of sin and judgment? Does not the cry of prophetic doom arise out of the desolation of thrice-fallen Babylon? Egypt, too, with her mysterious monuments and hieroglyphics, sitting in the glorious sun-land and looking abroad upon the world with her "great eternal eyes," does not she with outstretched finger point to "the book and its story," and by her very silence beseech all peoples and tongues to believe? But these witnesses of the truth do not come out of the realms of shadow alone. Like great kings, they have a retinue of illustrious attendants. It happens that, in the land between the east and the west, the land of the Turk and the degenerate Greek, out of accumulated dust and neglect, other prophets of the past arise to augment the triumph of history, and to complete the record of events through which the Church and the world have passed to the state in which we find them
It has long been lamented that the first three centuries of our era have been the least known periods of the Church's history. Although they are the times which of all others the Christian desires to look into, yet are they a very valley of shadows. The lying spirit of Paganism, which early engrafted itself upon the Christian system, has succeeded to a ruinous extent in obscuring the pure light, as well as the true history of early Christianity. The saints who were saints indeed, whom God canonized with a baptism of blood, have been decked out in the meretricious finery of Roman idolatry. Miracles which they would have indignantly disowned have been palmed upon them, and their beautiful writings have been interpolated with the impure lies with which Antichrist has so long, and so successfully deluded a too credulous and ignorant world. But truth is mighty, and will in the end vindicate itself; and, as if with this intent, ever and anon, now here, now there,-old, worm-eaten, tattered manuscripts are being rescued from oblivion, in which lost truth is revealed and the frauds by which it has been corrupted are exposed. No more striking instance of this has occurred in our days than the resuscitation of a work against the ancient heretics, written by a certain Bishop Hippolytus, and upon which a long and learned treatise has been published by the illustrious Chevalier Bunsen, late Prussian Ambassador at the Court of England.
It appears that in the year 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, there was ushered into public notice a book from the Oxford University Press bearing the title of "The Philosophumena of Origen; or, a Refutation of all the Heresies." This book, we are told, was found at Mount
"Hippolytus and his Age; or, the Doctrine and Practice of the Church of Rome under Commodus and Alexander Severus." By Dr. Bunsen. Longman.
Athos, in Greece-a place famous for its ancient monasteries,-by a Greek, employed by the French Government to make literary researches in the Levant. The manuscript dates from the fourteenth century, and professes to have been transcribed by a monk named Michael. It is described as a MS. on cotton paper, mutilated and imperfect in many parts. At its first discovery it did not attract much notice; the title, "Against all Heresies," not promising to the scholar a very inviting study. At length, however, M. Millar, a learned Frenchman, on looking over its contents, discovered several unknown fragments of the Greek poets, of great literary value; and, on further examination, thought that he recognised in the treatise itself the continuation of a work ascribed to Origen, the first book of which, under the title of "Philosophumena," had been printed in the collected edition of his works.
Now this Origen was a celebrated Alexandrian teacher and writer, a devout and holy man, who lived between the eventful years 185 and 254, and whose writings, though in many respects excellent, yet by their allegorical tendency exerted a baneful influence on the theology of the Eastern Church. The opinion that this discovered treatise was his arose from the fact that it was so described on the MS., and that, besides, on the margin of the tenth book, there was written the words, "The doctrine of Origen." Hence it was concluded, as it appears, rashly, that these notices truly designated the author, and so with little further scrutiny our treatise was edited by M. Millar under this doubtful title, and published by the University of Oxford.
In course of time, however, the work came under the critical eye of Dr. Bunsen, who, after full examination of its contents, found no evidence whatever to warrant its ascription to Origen. On the contrary, he discovered abundant internal marks which showed that it could not be the work of Origen, but most likely was a long-lost writing of a certain St. Hippolytus, -an almost forgotten, though an illustrious martyr, and Bishop of the port or harbour of Rome, and member of the governing Presbytery of that city. This Hippolytus was, it appears, in his day a celebrated controversial writer and preacher-the first who, after the example of the Greeks, introduced sermons or homilies into the Western Church. He lived in the first half of the third century, during the troubled reigns of the Emperors Commodus and Alexander Severus. Besides his labours as a pastor of a particular congregation, Hippolytus with singular boldness combated the early heresies of the Church, and especially the heresiarchs and heresies of his own time, and zealously maintained the pure doctrines of the apostles. The grounds upon which Dr. Bunsen claims this treatise for Hippolytus are the following:
1. The writing itself attests that it was written by a bishop, which we know Origen never was. The writer says that he is "a successor of the apostles, a partaker with them of the principal priesthood, and doctorship, and reckoned amongst the guardians of the Church."
2. It was written by one who must have resided near Rome, and familiar with all its private affairs, which cannot be said of Origen, who, it is well known, resided in the east, and only once, and for a short time, visited Rome.
3. This treatise is quoted by Bishop Peter, of Alexandria, who suffered martyrdom in the year 311. It is also ascribed to Hippolytus by Eusebius, Jerome, and Photius, who lived and wrote during the fourth century.
4. And to corroborate these testimonies, it appears that in the year 1551, when some excavations were being made in the Via Tiburtina, not far from the Church of St. Lorenzo, near Rome, a marble statue of a figure sitting on a cathedra, or throne, was brought to light. The person represented was of a venerable aspect, bald-headed, with a flowing beard, and clad in the Greek pallium or bishop's robe. The two sides and back of the chair were covered with inscriptions in Greek uncial or capital letters. The sides exhibit calendars for determining the day of Easter, and the back contains a catalogue of works, composed doubtless by him whom the statue represents. And although it is doubtful whether our treatise is comprised in this list, yet the catalogue and our treatise taken together clearly identify the author of the enumerated works on the statue and the author of the work on "All the Heresies" to be one and the same person. The statue, for example, says, that the person it represents was the author of a work called "The Universe." Now, it is known that writers almost contemporaneous with Hippolytus say that he was the author of "The Universe;" and further, our newly-discovered treatise says in so many words, that its author was also the author of "The Universe." By this circle of evidence we are confirmed in our belief that the statue represents St. Hippolytus, and that Hippolytus was the author of our long-lost treatise, Against all the Heresies."
Having said this much about the authorship, we shall now take a brief glance at the contents of this highly interesting work.
Originally this treatise contained ten books, but unfortunately the first three are wanting in our MS. But from the fragments we possess, and especially a part of the first book hitherto published among the writings of Origen, we find that the first three books and the fourth-with the latter part of which our treatise begins-contained a summary of the doctrines of the ancient philosophers, especially those of Greece. Having, however, this information in a more detailed form elsewhere, we lose little of any historical importance by this defect. The work, as we have it, properly begins with the fourth book and terminates somewhat abruptly with the tenth-the conclusion being also defective. "Taken as a whole, however, these seven books which, more or less complete, fill the volume, are to us the most living and remarkable revelation of the strange anarchy and confusion of opinions that prevailed among the more learned and cultivated classes, through all which genuine Christianity was slowly working its way." The fourth book terminates what has been specially styled the "Philosophumena," and with the fifth begins the special consideration of "All the Heresies" which were heard of in the Christian Church down to about the year 225.
The object of the summary of philosophic opinions in the first four books. is evidently to show that the admixture of Oriental and Grecian philosophy with the Gospel of Christ was the prolific source of the heresies which agitated and deformed the early Church. In the course of the treatise he manifests that the Persian Sabianism, the Judean Cabalism, and the Greek philosophy in general, formed the substratum and frequently the entire system of the Ebionitic and Gnostic heresies in all their fantastic and varied forms.
Among other things, our author vigorously opposes the practice of astrology, then so prevalent, and ridicules the absurdity of calculating horoscopes. He does not even spare the celebrated Archimedes and