Page images
PDF
EPUB

19

Yea, it is death! for woman's heart

principles of evidence which would have found little No middle feeling owns or knows,

favour in his eyes if applied to the proof of a divine And once its tendrils torn apart,

revelation. But literary vanity was his idol. To raise No other tendril grows.

up a great name for himself-to be quoted and spoken

of in after ages, was the chief end which he proposed The livelong night that mother's prayer

to himself. Ample evidence of this can be traced Went up to Christ above,

from youthful days, through active life, down to his That as for her the cross he bare,

bed of death, where he regretted that he was about Iler cross for him she too might wear,

to be taken away just when his fame was breaking Supported by his love.

out, and new editions of his works were called for. O! how she kissed them as they slept,

His biographer, speaking of him at the age of twentyAnd sobbed that prayer each kiss between,

three, says, “that his lot should be cast among that And closer, closer to them crept

of ordinary mortals with good physical health, and When the first light was seen.'

common-place abilities, appeared to him the most awMorn came. She led them to the strand, ful calamity which fate could have in store for him." And pointed o'er the main,

Writing of the same period Hume himself says: “Here It was almost too much to stand,

lay my greatest colamity; I had no hopes of delivering And clasp in her's the little hand

my opinions with such elegance and neatness as to She ne'er might clasp again :

draw to me the attention of the world, and I would It was too much to see the face

rather live and die in obscurity than produce them That she had pillow'd on her heart,

maimed and imperfect.” Again: "I resolved to reTurned up to plead for her embrace,

gard every object as contemptible, except the improve And tell them they must part.

ment of my talents in literature.” In the earliest

work which he published, he incidentally confesses: “] One burning kiss—one wild good-bye !

feel an ambition to arise in me of contributing to the Put off-put off from shore

instruction of mankind, and of acquiring a namely In mercy to the mother fly,

my inventions and discoreries.” And what a striking And swiftly waft them from her cye,

proof did the work itself afford of literary vanity and For she can bear no more!

ambition! A young man before he is twenty-five She knelt and cried, as o’er the sea

writes " A Treatise on Human Nature," which, acFaded their forms like sunset ray,

cording to his own language, is to innovate on all the O Saviour! I do this for thee ! "

sublimest paths of philosophy; in other words, which And sobbing, turned away.

is to subvert all established belief in metaphysics,

morals, and religion! Such is his self-confidence and Lov'st thou thy Lord? Ask of thine heart

vain-glory that not one confidential adviser is admitted A sacrifice like this:

to his counsel; no eye sees it but his own. It is brougti And when thou dar'st with such to partThough scalding tears unmaster'd start,

out in London, and the youthful author waits with

astonishment, wondering and mortified that his work And wild farewell and kiss, "Till thy dear heart-strings bursting be

does not upset the world. What an exhibition of O blest art thou, if thou can't say,

vanity! But perhaps this was a jurenile dream of rain“My Saviour! I do this for thee!

glory. No; we find the same spirit to the end, upAnd turn, to tread His way.

checked by the mortification to which it was repeat

edly subjected. At the age of forty-three, referring SPENCER WALLACE CONE.

to his History, he quotes with approbation the saying of Boileau, “the misfortune of a book is not the being

ill spoke of, but the not being spoken of at all." DAVID HUME.

What is this but the sentiment of intense vanity, which NO. 11.

will rather be blamed and abused, than not enjoy

notoriety? His biographer, referring to this period, BY THE REV. JOHN G. LORIMER, GLASGOW,

confesses that he was greedy of fame, “and what

would have been to others pre-eminent success, ap3.1, Another leading feature in Hume's character, pears to have in his eyes scarcely risen above failure." more prominent than those which have been noticed, Hence he was continually inquiring of his bookseller was his vanity. A philosopher might be supposed about sales of his books, and seems never to have been to be superior to its temptations—it is often associated satisfied, though the prosperity was far beyond what with the weak and the vulgar-but it was quite a their intrinsic value or the safety of society warrantei

ruling principle with Hume, nay, it was the parent Under the moral government of God, the proper of much of his philosophy. Though the vanity con- restraint on, and punishment for, vain-glorious 22), nected with family is one of the weakest of vanities, bition, are failure in notoriety, with obscurity and against which philosophy has often powerfully direc- neglect. This, accordingly, was the discipline meted ted its shafts, yet our philosopher was far from insen- out to Hume; but he does not seem to have been sible to its charms. He defended the love of family de- aware of it--at least it did him no good. Very diffe- } scent in his own case by the example of Europe, and rent ought to have been the result. of the “Treatise had no hesitation in filling up gaps in the succession on on Human Nature," his first production, he himself

[blocks in formation]

tells us, “that never was literary attempt more un- vanity created the Infidelity. The Word of God exfortunate. It fell dead-born from the press, without pressly attributes unbelief to a desire of the praise of reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur men. Why did Hume become the Infidel, and such an

among the zealots;" in other words, the Christians. Infidel? Was it in an earnest though mistaken search ' Ten years later he published his “ Inquiry concerning for truth, and out of genuine love to man-man borne i the Human Understanding;" but he tells us that at down by superstition and error? No; the other

first it was little more successful than the former. parts of his character and conduct contradict the inHe adds, in the spirit of true vanity, “ On my return terpretation. The only explanation is furnished by from Italy I had the mortification to find all England his biographer, when speaking on another point he in a ferment on account of Dr. Middleton's ‘Free says: "His ruling object of ambition, pursued in Inquiry,' while my performance was entirely over- poverty and riches, in health and sickness, in labo

looked and neglected.” Of the first volume of his rious obscurity and in the blaze of fame, was to | History, again, published six years later, he tells us establish a permanent name, resting on the foundation

that, thinking he was the only historian who had at of literary achievements, likely to live as long as human once neglected present power, interest, and autho thought endured and mental philosophy was studied." rity, and the cry of popular prejudices, he “expected (Vol. i., p. 18.) In order to accomplish this selfish proportional applause; but miserable was my dis- object, and at the same time gratify a love of subtile appointment. I was assailed with one cry of re- speculation, Hume stood forth the sceptic, attacking proach, disapprobation, and even detestation.” After all the foundations of human belief, and labouring to referring to the various parties who opposed him, he introduce universal doubt. In no way could he more adds: “ And, after the first ebullition of their fury easily or more certainly attain for himself a perwas over, what was little more mortifying, the book manent name in the world; but what a name of seemed to sink into oblivion. Mr. Millar (the Lon- selfishness and cruelty, to sport with the faith and don bookseller) told me, that in a twelvemonth he hope of multitudes—à rich man at his ease to rob sold only forty-five copies of it.” So deeply was Hume the poor man of his only consolation amid the sorwounded, that, had it not been for circumstances, he rows of life; and all merely to gratify personal vanity, intended to have retired, he tells us, to France, to and provide that he himself should be spoken about, have changed his name, and never more to have attacked and defended to the end of time; praised returned to his native country! There was only one as a very clever man, or condemned as a very danof his works, his “ Political Discourses," which was gerous one! How serious is vanity, when it assumes successful on its first publication. The one which he such a form as this! It ceases to be ludicrous-it himself considered incomparably the best came, ac- becomes cruel. The union of Infidelity and vanity cording to his own account, "unnoticed and unob- has been noticed by various acute observers. Robert served into the world."

Hall, in his celebrated sermon on Modern Infidelity, Such righteous moral discipline should have taught expressly enumerates vanity among the leading asthe writer wisdom--should have led him to subdue pects of modern unbelief, and dilates upon its operahis vanity, and entertain more sober thoughts of him- tion with great power. And Sir Samuel Romily, self and more just thoughts of others; but philosophy who visited France during the period of the French was too weak to work any cure. He continued the Revolution, states, that nothing struck him more in vain-glorious man to the end; and, though before the the characterof general society there, than the anxiety close of life he was regaled with the incense of ap- of the young men to distinguish themselves and be plause, yet the incense never reached the standard spoken about, no matter how extravagant or wicked which his greedy appetite demanded; and, since his the proceeding which brought them into notoriety; in death, though there have been many editions of his other words, their vanity goaded on their Infidelity. different works, there has also been a withering ex- Let all, and especially the poor man, understand this posure going forward, particularly of late years, of- let him remember that Hume did not care one the most popular of their number, till the autho- farthing about him in all his sceptical writings-that

rity of Hume's History, on many interesting political he was not seeking his enlightenment or freedoml and religious questions, is reduced pretty much to the that what he was bent upon was his own selfish name standard of a romance. Such is the retribution and notoriety, and that but for this he would never which has tracked his steps.

have been a sceptic. Should any-particularly geneSome may think the vanity of Hume, like the vanity rous youth-think favourably or well of an Infidelity of many authors, too absurd and ridiculous to be treated which originates in selfishness, and which is pursued soberly. We would not only remind such persons that at the reckless sacrifice of the happiness of man, and Hume was no common author-that he not only was the happiness of those who most need consolation and the head of the Infidel school, not only the intended hope ? To the young followers of Hume we would reformer of the morals and religion of the world, but say: “Do not cast away your hope to please Hume's that there was a strict connection between his vanity vanity. If you are to be an Infidel, be one for a and Infidelity. We have little doubt that his Infi- worthy reason, and not to gratify another man's delity nursed his vanity. A man who denied an selfishness." eternal world must, to gratify the secret longings of Here, as on former heads, we may remark, that it the human soul, try and make an eternity out of time, was not possible for a man of the intense and incorby providing for himself present and posthumous rigible vanity of Hume, to appreciate the Word of fame. But there can be as little question that the God, which inculcates the denial of self, and the sup

pression of vain-glory, and which exemplifies a char- Polyglot in 1656, seems to have contemplated acter the very reverse of his own. We may ask, in a revisal of the version of 1611, under Parliathese circumstances, whether the judgment of such a mentary authority, but the intention was aban. man against the Scriptures is entitled to much weight doned, and, in the words of Mr. Anderson, or consideration? The Scriptures condemn the selfish- “ from about this period the general acquiesness which was dearest to his heart. Is it strange cence of the nation in that version of the that, in revenge, he should condemn the Scriptures? Bible, which has been read and revered ever

since, may be considered as having taken THE ANNALS OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE.

place.” From the reign of Queen Elizabeth,

the English Scriptures were printed under au(Continued from page 346.)

thority of a patent from the Crown. The effect We proceed next to give some account of of this patent was to raise very much the price our present authorized version. Soon after his of the Sacred Volume to the public, and many arrival in England, James I., hy royal pro- complaints were made of it. The patent for clamation, called “a meeting for the hearing Scotland expired in 1839, and was not renewed. and for the determining things pretended to

A board, of which the Lord Advocate is the be amiss in the Church.” This led to “The official organ, was appointed to superintend the Conference at Hampton Court,” in January 1640. printing of the Scriptures; and any respectable In that Conference Dr. John Rainolds proposed printer can, on application to this board, obtain a new translation of the Bible, and the proposal a license to print such an edition as he may met with the king's approbation. Fifty-four mention in his application. The consequence learned men were selected, but only forty-seven of this has been a great number and variety of sat down to the work. These were divided into editions of the English Scriptures from diffesix sections, to each of which a certain portion rent presses, an immense reduction of the of Scripture was intrusted. Two of these sec- prices, and a prodigious increase of circulation. tions were to sit at Westminster, two at Ox. Indeed, the cheapness of our English Bibles is ford, and two at Cambridge. Certain instruc

now such as to surprise many, and nothing but tions or rules were given to the translators, the very large circulation could enable the among which were the following: “ Every par- publishers to sell them at such prices. The ticular man of each company to take the same English patent does not expire till 1860; but chapter or chapters; and having translated or

in that country, as well as in Scotland, the amended them severally by himself where he price of the Bible has been greatly lowered. thinketh good, all to meet together, confer Thus, in the beginning of 1841, the folio Bible

, what they have done, and agree, for their part, printed in England, was reduced from £4, to what shall stand. As one company hath de £1, 10s.; and a small Bible, formerly charged spatched any one book in this manner, they Ss., was reduced to 3s. shall send it to the rest to be considered of The British and Foreign Bible Society was seriously and judiciously. If any company, on

formed in 1804.

Its object was to circulate the review of the book so sent, shall doubt or

the Word of God without note or comment. differ upon any places, to send them word From the period of its formation till 1844, it thereof, note the places, and therewithal send had printed and circulated nearly sixteen their reasons: to which, if they consent not, millions of copies of the Word of God. Of the difference to be compounded at the general these nearly ten millions were in the English meeting, which is to be of the chief persons of langnage. During the same period, above four each company at the end of the work. When millions of copies more have been printed and any place of special obscurity is doubted of, circulated in Scotland; and by general sales, letters to be directed, by authority, to send to unconnected with Bible Societies, there have any learned man in the land for his judgment been given to the public nine millions of in such a place.”

copies; making in all tirenty-tiro millious of The translators seem to have set about their copies of the English Scriptures printed and work immediately. Four years was occupied circulated since the commencement of the with the first revision of the sacred text. When present century. that was completed two men from each of the

In reference to the number of copies of the six sections, or twelve in all, met in London, English Bible, and the extent to which it is and spent nine months in a second revision of perused, we shall give some interesting extracts the whole Scriptures. The work was then put from the preface to Mr. Anderson's volumes:to press, and the printing occupied about two years more, so that the revised translation was

Notwithstanding all that has been printed and sold not published till 1611. Such is the history English Bibles and New Testaments separately, which

for more than two centuries and a-half, the number of of our present authorized version. In the Long have passed through the press within the perfect recolParliament in 1653, a bill was introduced for lection of many now living, has exceeded the number a new English translation of the Bible out

of souls in Britain! It has been more than double of the original tongues,” but nothing was done

the population in 1801. in the matter. Walton, when publishing his employed incessantly every lawful day, or 313 days in

Should we suppose the printing-presses to have been

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

man.

the year, and for ten hours daily, throughout the four spot. Noonday and midnight are not more opposite seasons of all these years; then has it been moving, than the scenes that are constantly passing before our on an average, at the rate of more than three copies of eyes. The temple of God stands beside a brothel, the Sacred Volume, whether of the Bible or New Tes- and the place of prayer is separated only by a single tament separately, every minute; or five hundred and dwelling from the “hell” of the gambler. Truth sixty thousand four hundred annually! But the speed and falsehood walk side by side through our streets, at first, or for several years, was slow, when com- and vice and virtue meet and pass every hour of the pared with that which followed. For some time past day. The hut of the starving stands in the shadow it has nearly doubled, so that, in the space of twelve of the palace of the wealthy, and the carriage of months the press has sent forth more than a million Dives every day throws the dust of its glittering of copies; or say above nineteen thousand every week, wheels over the tattered garments of Lazarus. Health above three thousand every day, three hundred every and sickness lie down in the same apartnients, joy hour, or five every minute of working time! At this and agony look out of the same window, and hope rate there has been producing equal to an entire vol- and despair dwell under the same roof. The cry of ume, and such a volume, in less than twelve seconds! the new-born infant, and the groan of the dying, rise

But if the English Bible be so distinguished for the together from the same dwelling; the funeral procesnumber of its copies, it is equally, or rather more so,

sion treads close on the heels of the bridal party; and by the extent to which it is now being read. With the tones of the lute and viol have scarcely died the exception of the most remarkable of all people, away, before the requiem for the dead comes swell

the Jews, the English-speaking population has become ing after. O, the beautiful and deformed, the pure the most widely diffused of any branch of the family of and the corrupt, joys and sorrows, ecstacies and

agonies, life and death, are strangely blent on this To many, no doubt, it might seem too bold, were restless planet of ours ! we at once to affirm that the English Bible is at pre- But the past and future presents as strange consent in the act of being perused from the rising to the trasts as the present. What different events have setting sun. The assertion might appear little else transpired on the same spot! Where the Indian's than a figure of speech, or an event to be anticipated; wigwam arose, and the stealthy tread of the wolf and and yet this is no more than the half of the truth. panther was heard over the autumn leaves at twiThe fact, the singular and unprecedented fact, de- light, the population of New York now surges along. mands deliberate reflection from every British Chris- Where once Tyre, the queen of the sea, stood, fishertian, whether at home or abroad. This Bible, at this men are spreading their nets on the desolate rocks. moment, is the only version on which the sun never and the bright waves are rolling over its marble sets. We know full well that it is actually in use on columns. In the empty apartments of Edom the fox the banks of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence, as well as makes his den, and the dust of the desert is sifted at Sydney, Port Philip, and Hobart Town ; but before over the forsaken ruins of Palmyra. The owl hoots his evening rays have left the spires of Quebec or in the ancient halls of kings, and the wind of the Montreal, his morning beams have already shone for summer night makes sad music through the rents of hours upon the shores of Australia and New Zealand. once gorgeous palaces. The Arab spurs his steed And if it be reading by so many of our language in along the street of ancient Jerusalem, or scornfully Canada, while the sun is sinking on Lake Ontario; stands on Mount Zion, and curls his lip at the pilgrim in the eastern world, where he has risen in his glory wearily journeying to the sepulchre of the Saviour. on the banks of the Ganges, to the self-same Sacred The Muezzin's voice rings over the bones of the proVolume many, who are no less our countrymen, have phets, and the desert wind heaps the dust above the already turned.

foundations of the Seven Churches of Asia. O how We have thus sketched the progress of the good and evil, light and darkness, chase each other

over the world !-J. T. Ileadley. English Bible from the manu

nuscript edition by Wickliffe, and the first printed edition by Tyndale, to the present times—from the clan

THE OLD COLLIER. destine introduction of the first copy from the Continent in 1526, to the millions of copies

A MINISTER, giving an account of a pious old collier, annually pouring from the press in the few

narrates the following circumstance:years prior to 1846—from solitary individuals

In the cause of missions he was deeply interested; stealthily reading the Sacred Volume in peril of his heart, and that he was anxious in some way

the tenor of his actions showed that it lay near being burned for so doing in the days of Henry to be instrumental in carrying forward the beneVIII., to the period when all round the world volent operations. When the anniversary meetthere exists in an unbroken series, during every ings of the district were being held in the several

day, and every hour of every day, the reading places of worship in the neighbourhood, he was of the English Bible by countless myriads of generally present at them all; allowing no trivial

matter to deprive him of the luxury of the feast he the English race, speaking the English language.

was there accustomed to enjoy. As an officiating What a progress, and in what a cause !

minister was going to one of these meetings, he over: took the old collier on the road, who put into his

hand a brown paper porcel, very securely packed, EARTH'S CONTRASTS.

and tied and sealed, with an injunction not to open

it until after the chairinan delivered the introductory What strange contrasts this earth of ours presents! speech. The meeting, as usual, commenced with It seems to be the middle spot between heaven and prayer. Next followed the chairman's speech; it hell, and to partake of the character of both. Beings was a very good speech, well adapted to the occafrom both are found moving over its surface, and sion, but to the minister it appeared very long, for scenes from both are constantly occurring upon it. he was wishing to open the brown paper parcel. The glory from one, and the midnight shades from Presently the time came, the chairman finished his the other, meet along its bosom; and the song of speech, and introduced another speaker to the meetangels, and the shriek of fiends, go up from the same ing, when the minister sitting by his side resolved to

66

satisfy his curiosity, by learning the contents of the the human view, it is not beyond the power of God; brown paper parcel. Out came the penknife--snap and the prayer engages us to obedience to the com. went the string, and lo! on opening it, the brown mands of God, while we appeal to his power and paper parcel became changed into a white paper parcel, having on it the inscription in bold letters, grace.—N. E. Puritan. * WE ARE ALL INSIDE, SIR.” All inside, thought he. And pray, who are all you inside? To work again went the penknife, prepared to make a valiant as

CHANGES OF FORTUNE. sault upon these mysterious “all insides." The reader may imagine his surprise on discovering them

A MAGNIFICENT column was commenced by Napoleon to be eight silver coins, equivalent to five dollars, upon the heights near Boulogne, to commemorate

his celebrated intended invasion (of England). The offering themselves for missionary work, accompanied with the following letter :

column is now finished, and its history should afford

a salutary lesson to the princes of the earth. As Dear Sir,—We have been in many different Bonaparte never accomplished his invasion, so he places, and in many very different companies and never finished his monument. But when the conditions, not always the most respectable. At

Bourbons came back to the throne of France, they last, one by one, we have come into the possession of resumed the prosecution of this magnificent work. our present owner, who has put us aside for a while, with a design to make it a monument of their reand now offers us to the Lord of missions, if you will storation; but before they could complete it, they accept of us for his service. We are yours faith- were driven from the kingdom; and Louis Philippe fully, from

“ An Old Collier.

has finished the column as a memorial of his elera. “N. B.-We have no objection to go abroad, as

tion to the throne from which both Napoleon and any country or climate will suit us.

the Bourbons had been banished.--1); Fist's Traceis, i In a corner of the church sat the old collier studiously observant of the countenances of the audience, to ascertain if it were probable that many others would

Fragments. be disposed to engage inside places on an embarkation to the Heathen. A day or two afterward, the last meeting in the district was held, and an appro “Faith is a hearty credit of whatever God hath priate sermon was preached from the words “ The said, be that what it may.” A cold assent, so far from end." The old collier returning home under a deep being saving faith, is criminal. The assent, so far as impression produced by the subject, said to a young it goes, is right; but the coldness of it is criminal, and friend with much emphasis and solemnity, as though even detestable. Now what constitutes the Gospel is he had a presentiment of his own approaching dis- “good news / " but whatever faith a wicked man may solution, " Who can tell ? perhaps the end may be have in it as a piece of news, he has none in the near to some of us." And so it proved. The next goodness of it; he is therefore an unbeliever in the morning as he was descending the pit, a large stone very essence of the Gospel, or in that without which fell upon his head, and the accident terminated it would not be the Gospel. Men may believe many fatally. He was numbered with the dead, and his things concerning Jesus Christ and his salvation, but happy spirit took its flight to the regions of purity they only amount to their simple existence, without and bliss, where he that soweth and he that reapeth taking in their adhering qualities. But as the Scrip rejoice together.

tures as fully reveal what they are, namely, their real excellency, as that they are at all, I conclude, they

who do not believe the one as well as the other, dis. TWO KINDS OF PRAYER.

believe a great part of the report of the Gospel, yes,

the very essentials of it. When Luther first set himself against the torrent of idolatry and corruption, in the year 15i7, assuming a task, to human view, as hopeless as for a man to set

Many sweeten an error with truth, to make mer his shoulder to a mountain to remove it, he commu

swallow it more readily. nicated his designs to a wise and prudent friend, who

If Satan fetter us, 'tis indifferent to him whether had as deep a sense of Romish corruption as he. But it be by a cable or a hair; nay, perhaps the sinallest that friend advised him to abandon his design, and sins are his greatest stratagems. retire to his cell, and pray, Lord have mercy on us ! He would pray him into a state of despair, unbelief,

The work of the ministry is truly honourable; bat, and inaction. But Luther more effectually prayed, like the post of honour in a battle, it is attended

with peculiar dangers. Lord have mercy on us / when, believing the promises of God, he put forth efforts corresponding with his prayers. The one prayed and did nothing, because by having one jewel set in it; similitudes should be

A whole discourse may be considered acceptable he believed that God could or would do nothing. sought to clothe our ideas. The other "acted" and prayed, and in faith took hold of God's strength, and the work was done. He put Sermons should be well studied; nothing but wellhis shoulder to the mountain, yea, to the seven hills beaten oil for the lamps of the Golden Candlestick. on which Antichrist had laid his throne, and, weak

We are most sure in those points we have most as he was, yet in God's strength he made the moun

doubted in. tains tremble, shook the foundations of the throne of the Beast, and gave him a deadly wound, from which he never has, and never will recover. When we pray heaven, by which the Father bore witness to Christ,

It is observable, that all the three voices fromu that prayer, Lord have mercy on us, we profess to were pronounced while he was praying, or very believe, that however desperate our case may be to quickly after it.

« PreviousContinue »