Imatges de pàgina

as one of their Debtas, and the sun that lights it in the day as one of their principal gods ; and almost every Hindu that worships, adores him as the Supreme Being, and admires him for his power and beneficence: whilst in English astronomy, the first is considered as a planet, and the latter as a collection of light, and nothing more ; and if one does admire, he would rather admire the Creator for his power and beneficence, than the creature which has no power in itself.

In Hinduism the earth is supposed to be fixed in one place, and the sun to turn round about it ; in English astronomy vice versâ ; consequently these two cannot possibly be taught together. And the same thing will be seen, taking Mahometanism with an English education. But almost all other religions that do exist in India, have these two for their common source, and are mere corruptions or improvements of them. Therefore in a word, no other religion can be taught together with English education, but that of the same nation, which rather treats of the one living and true God, and of the way to salvation, than of the sun, moon, earth, &c. &c. My poor humble opinion is, that religion ought not to be taught with an English education to boys; as for grown-up men I say they may be taught, or even may begin an English education with religion, because then their eyes of reason are open, and however dull they may be, they will under. stand something about it; or if not, they never will. But as for young boys, their understandings are fickle, and, for aught I can see, they will now take one religion to be true, and when they are grown up they may think otherwise. And not only so, but religion is too difficult a thing for them to understand, because, why, I ask, are the young boys that begin an English education, not taught mathematics? Is it not because they cannot understand it? and how then shall they understand religion, which is much more difficult for them to understand than mathematics?

Persons may say, that when young men have known the fallacy of the religions mentioned, and no true religion is introduced to them, they shall have strange notions about virtue and vice, and shall commit sins without any restraint; but I think that some other measure may be taken which shall be of as much good to them as religion, and which like a good shield will resist all sorts of temptations, with however much force they may come, without any religion being given to them; and that is morality, (pure mora. lity without the mixture of any thing else) taken from any other book or from the Bible, as that is known to be the best. This will, like a bridle, keep them from running into the deep ditches of sin, and will lead them to pass their lives as blamelessly, at least until they find any religion for themselves, as men of religion generally do.

Moreover, prejudice has such an influencing power over young minds, that almost no reason in the world is able to shake their notions of those things in favour of which they are prejudiced. Instances of this are so very numerous that I need not mention any.

Arguments in favour of Education combined with Religion. 1. Importance of an early Religious Education.-We all know that we must give an account of our actions hereafter, and be punished or rewarded accordingly. Would it not therefore, be worth our while to think early what actions will finally bring upon us divine wrath, and which reward ? And if these things in which we are but little concerned be worth learning in the early part of our life, why should religion be neglected? What is there so inportant, or so calculated to promote our happiness that it should supercede this study, the peculiar province of which is to prepare man for the next world, and to exert great influence over his conduct here?

2. Argument from their usual effects.It must be granted by all that Education with Religion generally makes a man humble, industrious, pa

tient, sociable, civilized, and moral. On the other hand, if Education without religion may do the same, it scarcely ever does so. For instance, the Hindus do not educate their children religiously; and the fruits of this I need not mention, for they are known to all. Now here is a simple question, which I appeal to the common consent of mankind, Whether is it good to reject the more certain for the less certain ? I doubt not that the folly of this will be granted ; and if so, then Education with religion is better than Education without religion.

3. The danger of delay greater than the danger of mistake.—Some say, that it is better to study religion after education, because there are several religions, and every one pretends to be true, and boys cannot judge between the right and the wrong, and so may become followers of a false religion, which may lead them into eternal misery; whereas if they study when they are grown up, they may examine, and find the truth of any, before embracing it. But we see that persons, who have been educated in one religion, have the same right as they have to examine others, and may be converted immediately after they find the truth: whereas if a man dies, before embracing any religion, what will be his excuse before God? Will he be excused by merely saying, that he was irreligious because he knew not which religion was true, or because he was not of sufficient age?

4. Religion necessary to check the growth of evil habits. -As men are sinners, their minds are always willing enough to do evil : and as long as they are without religion, (which is the only way of directing us from doing mischief) all evils grow up, and send forth their roots in the heart, from which it will be difficult to take them out. But if they be religious from their infancy, these evils may be easily taken out: for we see, as a matter of fact, that the roots of a young plant may be taken out more easily than those of an old tree.

5. English Education presupposes a knowledge of the Bible.-An English education cannot be taught without some knowledge of the Bible, because all the best moral writers in the English language have written their works with a reference to the Bible. And as history cannot well be understood without Geography, so books of morality cannot well be understood without a knowledge of the Bible.

6. Argument from History.- Most of the illustrious persons in France received the highest education, and thereby perceived the fallacy of Ro. man Catholicism, and the tyranny of its priests. Therefore they threw from their minds every notion of God, or, in other words, became infidels. The effects of this (as traced in the character of the people) show a horri. ble picture of the degradation of human nature. But if this people had introduced true religion with an early education, how happy they might have been !

7. Argument from experience.—Many young men of this country received a higher education, which in many of their minds, overthrew the religion of their native land. These called themselves, ‘Liberals, and, for a short time, became such desperate characters, that they did every kind of wick. edness that they could think of : and so, from their conduct, most of our countrymen despised the education which they received, and imagined it to be the cause of their wickedness.

8. Conclusion.--Education without religion might be good for men, if we could be sure that death was the entire end of the human soul. But this is not the case. It is therefore our duty, and that of all men to provide means for the preservation of the soul, which Religion only can afford. Besides, if it is the will of parents to see their children, humble, gen. tle, merciful, innocent and obedient, they must educate them in the fear of the Lord, and lead them through the way which God has shown for Sal. vation,

III.-Millenarian Errors.

[Continued from p. 329.] IV.-The Resurrection of the Just and Unjust.-The Millenarians believe, that all the saints are to rise upwards of a thousand years before the wicked, and are to live and reign with Christ, during this period, upon the earth. This doctrine, they suppose to be found in Rev. xx. 4, 5, “ And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." We have already hinted at the uncertainty that must always attend all doctrines founded upon unfulfilled prophecy : but before proceeding to show the error of the Millenarians on the point now in question, the reader will

, no doubt, bear with a few remarks on these celebrated verses. Observe, 1. That it is not here said, that All the saints are to rise and reign with Christ; but those only “who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus," &c. 2. It is not said, that their bodies are to be raised; but their “souls" only were seen living and reigning with Christ. 3. From mention being made of their souls only, it is natural to infer, that the resurrection spoken of, is to be understood as merely spiritual, the same as that mentioned in Rev. xi. 3, 7, 8, 11 ; a transaction which all expositors agree in thinking has already taken place, and which must have been spiritual. And 4. If a spiritual resurrection only be meant, we should judge that we are to explain it by Mal. iv. 5, and Matt. xvii. 12, 13, “Behold, I send you Elijah the

prophet.” “ But I say unto you, that Elias has already come. Then his disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

As John the Baptist was not literally Elijah, but was similar to him in almost every respect: so there will be, during the millenial age, many found, of a kindred spirit and character with the martyrs of ages past. And if this be so—if professing Christians will, during this period, be like those holy and devoted men who laid down their lives for the Saviour, blessed and holy will he indeed be, who then lives,

In this attempt at the exposition of these singular verses, surely there is nothing forced or unnatural. Scripture is made to explain scripture, the most certain method of interpreting God's holy word

Let us, however, now proceed to the quotation of a few passages, which will prove unquestionably that the righteous are not to rise upwards of a thousand years before the wicked ; but that both are to appear almost simultaneously. John v. 28,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

29, “ Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” 1 Thess. iv. 16, “ For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 2 Thess. i. 749. ^ The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance upon them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” John vi. 40. " And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.John xii. 48, “ He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judge eth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day.The first of these passages proves, that the righteous and wicked are to rise at the same hour. The second and third taken together prove, that the tiine of the resurrection of the saints is the very time of the everlasting destruction of the wicked; for both take place at the personal appearing of the Saviour. And the fourth and fifth prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the day of the resurrection of believers, is the identical day on which the wicked are to be judged. No more, we should think, need be said on this topic*.

V.-The final judgment of the righteous and unrighteous.The doctrine of the Millenarians on this head teaches, that upwards of a thousand years are to elapse between the judgment of the saints and sinnerst. The passages quoted under the last division amount to a demonstration that this will not be the case ; for they declare in the plainest language, that both are to take place at the same hour, at the time of Christ's personal appearance, and on the same day. But in order to strengthen this view of the subject, let the following quotations be subjoined. Matt. xxv. 31, 32, 66 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the of his glory : and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them the one from the other, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." Matt. xiii. 38–43, - The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but

We fear that this is far from being satisfactory. The Millenarians hold the general resurrection; but they do not hold that the first resurrection is the day of judgment. Here, therefore, there is no necessary inconsistency.-ED.

+ As before intimated, we apprehend this is a mistake of our correspondent. We are not aware of any Millenarians who hold the opinion he here attributes to them.-ED.

and burned in the fire ;

soweth them is the devil ; the harvest is the end of the world ; and

the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire ; there shall be

so shall it be in the end of this world. wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” In the former of these passages

the righteous and the wicked are represented as being judged at the same moment of time, and not at the distance of a thousand years from each other. And in the latter, the same doctrine is as unequivocally and explicitly taught. To these also add the parables of the wise and foolish virgins, and the talents. Matt. sxv. 1-30, where the same sentiments are exhibited in the clearest manner. All are invariably represented, both good and bad, as reckoned and dealt with at one and the same period.

VI.—The Restoration of the Jews to Judea ; the Discovery of the Ten I'ribes ; and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, or of some other grand city called the New Jerusalem,- We have classed these several particulars together, and put them last, principally because we are aware that though they make a capital part of the millenarian scheme, yet they are held by others who have not embraced the sentiments already exposed. The Millenarians believe, that all the above events will take place at or about the commencement of the millenium. It is possible, nay, perhaps very probable, that amidst the political revolutions to which nations are subject, the Jews may again be put, as a distinct and independant people, in possession of the holy land: but it may gravely be questioned, whether this be a subject of prophecy, or in any way connected, more than other events of a similar kind, with the glorious era of the millenium. The New Testament does not appear even to hint at the restoration of the Jews to Judea; and the greater number of passages usually brought forward from the Old Testament to establish this point seem to have had their accomplishment in the Return from Babylon. But this, after all, is a subject that will bear to be contested.

As to the discovery of what are called the lost tribes, we fear this is as hopeless as that of the philosopher's stone. There does not appear to be the smallest evidence in the inspired record to prove that they ever were lost; but every thing to substantiate the opposite opinion. They were originally placed in Assyria and Me dia, 1 Kings xv. 29; xviii. 11, and though permitted by Cyrus and Artaxerxes, Ezra i. 3. vii. 13, to return, with the tribe of Judah, to Judea, the greater part do not appear to have availed themselves of the privilege ; for we find that, twenty years afterwards, when Haman's wicked decree went forth, they were scatter

« AnteriorContinua »