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ruined them? Are they not cursing him in their hearts? This is to be condemned by the law of man; but far, far more miserable is it to be condemned by the law of God. Yes! ye who neglect the great salvation, it is more miserable far, if you but knew it. But you are bold and senseless, and you hug the chains that bind you down in the condemned cell of your original and acquired estate. It is more miserable still, just because you know it not! Ah! if you knew it, you would ask pardon of God, and you would obtain it. How awful, to see a man wallowing in wretchedness, and turning everywhere for relief but in the right direction-everywhere in rain! to see a man ready to perish amidst a raging flood, and recklessly turning away from the hand that is stretched out for his deliverance ! And such is the state of misery in which those are " already" sunk who are under spiritual condemnation-slaves of the world-slaves of their own passions-slaves of Satan, and they know it not !—who, while they join with their fellow-criminals in brutal mirth and folly, hate and avoid those who would open their eyes and bring them deliverance!
There are many points of resemblance between him who is condemned by an earthly, and him who is condemned by a heavenly judge. If banishment be the lot of the one, banishment is also the lot of the other. The man who is condemned by human laws was happy once. So was Adam in a state of innocence. Paradise was his home-his Creator was his friend-within and around him all was beauty, and sunshine, and joy. But he rebelled-he was condemned he was banished! Then what a change took place !-a change in the dire effects of which all his posterity are involved! Every impenitent sinner is to be regarded as banished from the presence of God, his best, his only friend-banished from the beauties and delights of Eden-banished to the barren wilderness, where all is blighted with a curse where his food is unblest-where hatred rages-where wickedness abounds-where the heart is dark, the faculties enslaved, and he himself" sold under sin." He labours, but it is "in the fire," and in chains, without any profit, any enjoyment, any hope. If he looks back to a state of innocence, it is but to increase despair. The way is guarded by a fiery sword. Paradise, if he could regain it, would be no garden of bliss to him; for his whole moral and spiritual nature has undergone a change, and consequently its enjoyments would to him be weariness and pain. His affections are of the
earth, earthy—all blighted, low and grovelling, as the very place of his banishment itself.
But instead of exile, the sentence of condemnation may be death. And is there not here, too, a resemblance to the condemnation under which the soul by nature lies. The sentence pronounced on our first parents was: "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Under this sentence all their children lie." Over every man death temporal asserts its right to reign. The moment we are born we are on a journey to the grave. We are mortal ourselves, and all are mortal around us. Mortal are the objects we cherish-mortal the friends we love. Decay and death are written on everything that lives. The flowers bloom only to die. The trees spread their branches only to fall beneath the tempest. The birds fail from the air, the beasts from the forest; and man, the lord of them all, "cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down." Nay, "there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and the tender branch thereof will not cease;" but man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep." But what is temporal compared with eternal death? Under this condemnation also man labours. His soul survives his body; but it is only to suffer a second and far more terrible death-a death that lives, that" abideth" like the curse. He is cut off for ever from heaven-from the society of the just made perfect, of the holy angels, of God the Father, Christ the Saviour, and the Holy Spirit the sanctifier. He is sentenced to a miserable existence among condemned spirits, "where their worm dieth not, and their fire never shall be quenched." While they remain on earth, then, the condemned only await their final and appalling doom. They exist, indeed, but they exist in a prison-house. Their sen-, tence hath gone forth. Every day, every hour, is bringing them nearer and more near to final judgment. Then how awful shall be the voice of Him who sitteth on the great white throne:
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Ah! brethren, will not the misery of that sentence be aggravated by the recollection of means neglected and grace abused? You might have obtained heaven, but you have preferred earth. The Father has called you-the Son has died for the very chief of sinners-the Holy Spirit has offered you his aid-the ministers of the everlasting Gospel have been commissioned to invite you" without money and without price;" but all
RUSSIA AND THE GREEK CHURCH.
perhaps in vain! To be condemned! O my beloved friends, think of it—lay it seriously to heart! To live under the frown of the Holy One! to lie down and rise up and labour all the day long with out the Father's blessing!-to have the heart always pressed down under the intolerable weight of the curse of God, so that fulness of bread cannot satisfy you, so that ease cannot give you rest, so that the pursuit of enjoyment cannot give you security or peace! Compared with your case, how blessed was that of Daniel when the mouth of the lions' den closed upon him!-how blessed that of Paul and Silas when the wounds of their stripes were festering, and their feet fast in the stocks!-how blessed that of the martyr Stephen while the stones fell in showers around him, bruising and breaking every limb of his body! Daniel trusted in God-Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God-Stephen saw the heavens opened, and he was enabled to lift up the prayer: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." But what can you do? You have cast away your only hope of reconciliation. Ah! why have you rejected the Fountain of living waters?
How sad your condition if you are just so far awakened that the very name of a seared conscience should alarm you, and that to bid you pray seems as if it were to mock you! How sad, if you know just enough of your condemnation to make you fear to approach God-just enough, and no more, to make you wish to forget him-to induce you to deny him, to rebel against him in your hearts, and to call him a hard master! This is misery! there is a greater misery still. When you have succeeded in all your wishes-when you have hardened your hearts and shut your eyes against the truth-when you can live in God's world and be insensible to his presence-when you can go down to destruction without an effort to save your souls. This is the misery of miseries-this is to be condemned! And why, dear brethren, why is this the greatest of miseries? I reply, Because it is hopeless. As long as you know and feel that you are under condemnation, there is hope for you. Conscience is the voice of God speaking in the soul. While you hear, while you listen to that voice, though it be unwillingly, hope has not altogether ceased to shed its radiance on your path. You are still within the reach of the appointed means. But O! if you have suc ceeded in stifling the voice of conscience, how near are you to everlasting perdition! Yet who may limit the mercy of Him who sent his
Son to die upon the cross? It may be that sove
RUSSIA AND THE GREEK CHURCH. BY THE REV. ANDREW THOMSON., A.B., EDINBURGH. I HAVE been induced to select Russia and its religion as the subject of some statements and reflections, partly because I feel it to be a comparatively untrodden field, and partly from a conviction, which subsequent investigation has only served to deepen, that the degree of interest in the religious condition and prospects of Russia generally existing in this country, is very strangely disproportioned to the overwhelming magnitude of the subject.
In more than one respect, however, I place myself, by this selection, at serious disadvan-¦¦ tage. The information supplied by either native or foreign writers regarding the ecclesiastical condition of Russia is scanty, and what has been supplied is, in many cases, seriously deformed by silly legend and superstitious fable. Moreover, the Russian Church displays no splendid roll of martyrs-no death-struggles between truth and tyranny-no voice of devoted and inextinguishable energy stirring up its multitudinous tribes and tongues to life, and proving itself too mighty and awful for the fiat of despotism to crush it. It is different with Western Europe: its states and kingdoms look back upon a Reformation rich in glorious remembrances, in noble characters, in faithful testimonies, in heroic martyrdoms, in blessed and undying fruits; indeed, the most splendid and profoundly interesting page in the history of every kingdom in the West, is that which records its Reformation-struggles. But the Russian Luthers and Calvins have yet to arisethe revival and purification of the Eastern
The above was the last sermon preached by the venerable and lamented author, of whose life and labours we expect to be able shortly to present a sketch to our readers. He was summoned to depart from the scene of forty seven years of faithful labour, without discoursing on the other part of the text, as he had intended.
Churches have yet to be enacted and recorded. The natural consequence is, that there can be little history where there have been few great events; and very imperfect development of character where there have been no overwhelming impulses, or great crises to draw it forth. There is magnitude in the Russian annals, but seldom sublimity; there is colouring, but not pictorial effect. In short, my subject must draw its chief interest rather from its intrinsic importance, than from outward attractions-from its prospects, than from its history. But looking at it in this light, its interest is truly overwhelming. To prove this, let me call the attention of the reader, in the present article, to a few introductory details respecting the territorial extent, the population, and social relations of the Russian Empire.
About the fifth century, a horde of those tribes called Slavi or Slavonians, having advanced eastward from the banks of the Danube, established themselves in those regions which stretch along the borders of the Dnieper, where they built the city of Kief, and formed it into their capital. These laid the foundations of
the Russian monarchy.
It is believed that another tribe of the same people had, about the same period, settled still farther to the east, in the province of Novgorod, where they founded the city still known by that name, as their metropolis. Nor is it improbable that other tribes, following their example, formed themselves into other principalities; at all events, we find various Slavonic princes uniting their arms, and carrying their conquests, and extending their territories northward to the shores of the Baltic.
This extension of territory, however, proved in their case, as in that of mightier nations, the means of their subjection. Along the coasts of the Baltic there lived a piratical people called the Varages or Varagians-supposed to form a part of those Scandinavian tribes who, under the name of Danes and Saxons, successively made themselves masters of England. Having been employed by the Novgorodians as mercenary auxiliaries to repel the encroachments of neighbouring states, they succeeded; and pushing the advantage which their bravery and energy had thus gained them, they reduced the Slavonians themselves to subjection, settled in the country around Novgorod, and reducing the various principalities or tribes under one government, proclaimed Ruric, their leader, king. This event took place about the year 860, and from this period the Russian monarchy dates its birth.
It does not consist with our object to trace the farther history of this kingdom from its cradle on the banks of the Dnieper to its present colossal magnitude, when, through vast accessions of territory, by war, intrigue, and diplomacy, it has in three centuries multiplied its extent more than twenty fold, and now casts
its dark shadow over nearly half the world. Nor is it for us to do more than remind our reader of what every thoughtful observer of events must have discovered for himself, that Russia, ever retaining with iron tenacity what she has already acquired, only waits the convenient hour for absorbing Turkey within herself, while she advances with steady and stealthy step upon our own Indian territories, not content to sway the regions beneath the frigid, but aiming also at the most splendid dominions under the torrid zone.
Suffice it to mention, that even at the present moment the empire of Russia extends, in one connected territory, from the frontiers of Germany and Prussia and the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia, eastward to the sea which separates Asia from America. She thus embraces nearly one-half of Europe, while all the north of Asia is her own. The islands which border on the arctic circle own her sway; while, passing beyond Behring's Straits, we trace her sceptre over considerable regions of the north-western territory of America. Losing herself towards the north in the impenetrable polar regions, where nothing but eternal winter disputes her empire, Russia extends her sway southward to those sunny climes where the vine is owned and cultured as a native of the soil. How vast an empire! Even to this hour we speak of China with a sort of vague and mysterious sense of magnitude, but the whole of China does not equal two-thirds of Russia; while the Roman Empire, even when it had reached the culminating point of its greatness, did not embrace more than one-fourth of the territory that now owns the awful authority of those ukases which pass from the winter-palace of the Czar.
"And on his sledge
The Laplander, that nightly marks the bear Circling the pole; and those who see the flames Of Hecla burn the drifted snow; the Russ Long whiskered, and equestrian Pole,"and all these increasing at a rate that equals that of any other country in Europe. Even to the eye of a mere politician or statist, what an overwhelming interest thus encircles Russia! but who that looks at man with the intelligence and interest of a Christian-as an apostle, as an angel, as Jesus Christ looked at him-in other words, who that invests him at once with the grandeur of immortality, and the peril of impious revolt from God, does not anxiously inquire, What are the religious condition and prospects of this vast empire? Is Russia leavened with the Gospel in its renovating, elevating, ennobling, life-giving power? Do her
PICTURE OF THE FLOOD.
people walk in the liberty of truth and holiness? or do they bow down under a superstition to which little more than the name of Christianity belongs? We shall endeavour to reply to some of these questions in our next paper.
PICTURE OF THE FLOOD.
(From "Sacred Mountains," by Rev. J. T. Headley.) NOAH, whose head was whitened by the frosts of six centuries, laid the foundation of his huge vessel on a pleasant day, when all was serene and tranquil. The fields were smiling in verdure before his eyes; the perfumed breezes floated by, and the music of birds and sounds of busy life were about him, when he, by faith alone, laid the first beam of that structure that was to sail over a buried planet. When men, on inquiring the design of that huge edifice, were told its purpose, they could hardly credit their senses; and Noah, though accounted by all a very upright and respectable man, became a jest for children. As the farmer returned at evening from the fields, and the gay citizen of the town drove past, they christened it "Noah's Folly." Those more aged and sober shook their heads wisely, saying, "The old man is mad." Even the workmen engaged upon it laughed as they drove the nails and hewed the planks, yet declared they cared not, as long as the foolish old man was able to pay. Still the ark went up, and the day's wonder ceased to be talked about. When it was finished, and curiosity satisfied, it was dismissed from the mind as a passing folly.
Yet I have sometimes wondered what people thought when they saw the beasts of the field and the forest, and fowls of the air, even the venomous serpent and the strong-limbed lion, coming in pairs to that ark. This must have staggered them amazingly, and made the ark for a while a fresh topic of conversation. At length, the patriarch with his family entered-the door was shut in the face of the world, and he sat down, on the strength of a single promise, to await the issue. That night the sun went down over the green hills beautiful as ever, and the stars came out in the blue sky, and nature breathed long and peacefully. In the morning the sun rose in undimmed splendour and mounted the heavens. Deep within the huge structure, Noah could hear the muffled sound of life without. The lowing of herds came on his car, and the song of the husbandman going to his toil, and the rapid roll of carriage wheels as they hurried past, and perhaps the ribald shout and laugh of those without, as they expended their wit on him and his ark together. To say nothing of the improbability of the event, the idea was preposterous that such a helmless, helpless affair could outride a wrecked world. Thus day after day passed on until a week had gone by, but still the faith of that old man never shook. At length the sky became overcast, and the gentle rain descended to Noah the beginning of the flood-to the world a welcome shower. The farmer, as he housed his cattle, rejoiced in the refreshing moisture, while the city never checked its gaiety or the man of wealth his plans. But as the rain continued day after day, and fell faster and fiercer on the drenched earth, and the swollen streams went surging by, men cursed the storm that seemed determined never to break up. The lowlands were deluged; the streams broke over their banks, bearing houses and cattle away on their maddened bosoms. Wealth was destroyed and lives lost, till men talked of ruined fortunes, famine, and general desolation; but still it rained on. Week after week it came pouring from the clouds till it was like
one falling sheet of water, and the inhabitants could
But at length another sound was heard that sent paleness to every cheek, and chained every tongue in mute terror. It was a far-distant roar, but faint and fearful, yet sounding more distinct and ominous every moment, till it filled the air. The earth trembled and groaned under it, as if an earthquake was on its march, and ever and anon came a crash as if the "ribs of nature" were breaking. Nearer, and louder, and more terrible it grew, till men, forgetting alike their pleasure and their anger, rushed out in the storm, whispering "The flood! the flood!"-and lo, a new sea, the like of which no man had ever seen before, came rolling over the crouching earth. Stretching from horizon to horizon as far as the eye could reach, losing itself, like a limitless wall, in the clouds above, it came pouring its green and massive waters onward, while the continual and rapid crash of falling forests, and crushed cities, and uptorn mountains, that fell one after another in its passage, and the successive shrieks that pierced the heavens, rising even above the deafening roar of the on-rushing ocean, as city after city, and kingdom after kingdom disappeared, made a scene of terror aud horror inconceivable-indescribable. "The fountains of the great deep were broken up.”
But the last cry of human agony was at length hushed-ocean met ocean in its flow, and the waves swept on without a shore. Oh, what a wreck was there! the wreck of two thousand years, with its cities, its cultivated fields and mighty population. Not shivered masts and broken timbers, the wreck of some gallant vessel, were seen on that turbulent surface, but the fragments of a crushed and broken world. It was a noble wreck-splendid cities and towers, gorgeous palaces, gay apparel, the accumulated wealth and luxuries of twenty centuries strewing the bosom of the deluge, like autumn leaves
the surface of some forest stream.
But amid the sudden midnight that had wrapped the earth, and the frenzy of the elements, and utter overthrow and chaos of all things, there was one heart that beat as calmly as in sleep-one brow over which no breath of passion or of fear passed; for in the solitary ark that lifted to the heaving billows, the aged patriarch knelt in prayer. Amid the surging of that fierce ocean his voice may not have been heard by mortal ear, but the light of faith shone round his aged form, ani the moving lip spoke a repose as tranquil as childhood's on the bosom of maternal love.
The patriarch's God ruled that wild scene, and Noah felt his frail vessel quiver in every timber, without one tremor himself. Upborne on the flood, the Heavenprotected ark rose over the buried cities and mountains, and floated away on a shoreless deep. Like a single drop of dew this round sphere of ours hung and trembled-a globe of water in mid-heaven. I have often wondered what the conversations were during the long days and nights that lonely ark was riding on the deep. As it rose and fell on the longprotracted swell, massive ruins would go thundering by, whole forests sink and rise with the billows, while ever and anon an uptorn hill, as, borne along by the resistless tide, it struck a buried mountain, would loom for a moment like some black monster over the waves, then plunge again to the fathomless bottom. Amid this wreck and these sights, the ark sailed on in safety. How often in imagination have I pictured it in the deluge at midnight! To a spectator, what an object of interest it would have been. Round the wide earth the light from its solitary window was the only indication of life that remained. One moment it would be seen far up on the crest of the billow, a mere speck of flame amid the limitless darkness that environed it, and then disappear in the gulfs below, as if extinguished for ever. Thus that gentle light would sink and rise on the breast of the deluge, the last, the only hope of the human race. Helmless, and apparently guideless, its wreck seemed inevitable; but the sea never rolled that could extinguish that star-like beam that told where the ark still floated. Not even the strong wind that the Almighty sent over the water to dry it up, driving it into billows that stormed the heavens, could sink it. Though it shook like a reed in their strong grasp, and floundered through the deep gulfs, it passed unerringly on to the summit of that mountain on which it was to rest; and at length struck ground and ceased its turbulent motion. Noah waited a week, and then sent forth a raven to explore the deep. Though the waters still swept from mountain to mountain, the myriad carcasses that floated on the surface furnished both food and resting-place, and he returned no more. then sent forth a dove. It darted away from the place of its long confinement, and sped on rapid wing over the flood, now turning this way and now that, looking in vain with its gentle eye for the green earth, and at last turned back towards the ark of rest. The tap of its snowy wing was heard on the window, and the patriarch reached forth his hand and took it in. The fierce pantings of its mottled breast, and its drooping pinions, told too well that the earth gave no place of repose. But the second time it was sent abroad it returned with an olive leaf in its mouth, showing that the earth had risen from its burial, and was sprouting again in verdure. Then the patriarch went forth with his family, and stood on Mount Ararat, and, lo! the earth was at his feet, but how changed! Cut into gorges, which showed where the strong currents swept, and piled into ridges, it bore in every part marks of the power that had ravaged it. Noah and his family were alone in the world; and he built an altar there on the top of the solitary mountain, and lifted his voice in prayer, and the Almighty talked with him as "friend talketh with friend,” bidding him go forth and occupy the earth. And as the flame of the sacrifice rose from the mountain top, bearing the patriarch's prayer heavenward, the promise was given that the earth should never again be swept by a deluge, and, lo! God's signet-ring appeared in the clouds, arching the man of God, and shown as a warrant that the covenant should never be broken.
Baptized by the flood, consecrated by the altar, illumined by the fine fresh rainbow, Mount Ararat stood a sacred mountain on the earth.
WHY SHOULD I WISH TO DIE?
"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."PHIL. i. 23.
WHY should I wish to die?
'Tis true, the heav'nward way is roughThorns round my footsteps lie
But is not Christ's imparted strength enough? And shall I grudge the tear Wrung forth by sorrows here,
When soon, how soon! His hand shall wipe it off?
Why should I wish to die?
Is there no work for me to do? Swiftly the hours pass by
For the great task my moments seem too few; Then shall I wish them o'er,
Since I can ne'er restore
One parted day, and bid it dawn again? Why should I wish to die?
This is my only time to prove
Lifting the cross to show him how I love;
When I repose beneath his smile above.
Why should I wish to die?
Would I so soon from conflict flee? My thrice repeated cry
Still meets the word: "Is not my grace for thee?
"Tis all to bring thee low
To prove thee-make thee know
Thou art undone, unworthy but for Me."
Why should I wish to die?
True, death's a calm untroubled thing; But long I thus may lie
Ere life revisit me as dew of springEre resurrection-light
Break lustrous on my sight,
And Jesus bid my dust "awake and sing." Oh! it is not to shun
The thorns that hedge the heav'nward way— No wish my task were done,
That makes me long dove-like to flee away!— No sickly sigh for rest
On earth's soft, dreamless breast
That makes me watch the closing of the day; But my heart-love is gone
To Him whom yet I have not seen;
Whose glory I have known
On whose meek breast e'en now I fondly lean; And I would see his face,
And, sinless, taste his grace,
Where flesh and weakness come no more between.
His smile makes earth look dim-