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by evidence stronger than even written document ; for who can fail to recognize peculiar marks of the Divine Agency in preserving the record through ages of tradition, to be eventually brought down to us in forms so various ? Let us take a short review of the causes assigned
Ancient idolatry ascribed the miracle to the vanity of the Son of a God, and the imbecility of his Father, who would rather risk the destruction of a world than withhold the reins of the chariot of the sun from his child, who was destroyed for his presumption ; whilst occasion is taken by the Chief of the Gods to indulge in his prevailing vice. The extreme folly and grossness of these expositions stamp them as the “ vain conceit" of man.
Hindooism, in attempting to assign a natural cause, asserts an evident absurdity: and you must acknowledge the fallacy of the explanation to be within the comprehension of the veriest child.
A rational exposition is found in the revealed word of God. The miracle was wrought for the only purpose, worthy of the majesty, and to show forth the glory of the great Creator: to declare the certainty of the accomplishment of his promise that his people should possess the land of Canaan, and the folly of resisting the “armies of the living God,” who “ fought for Israel.”
The theories of the Greek and Roman mythology are known only by record; their influence has long been utterly destroyed by the splendor of the Christian dispensation. Hindooism still degrades millions ; but the brightly shining light of Gospel truth must soon dissipate the mists and darkness which envelope the votaries of superstition ; although the power of its deceits continues still so ascendant, that enlightened, but designing men, from fear of each other, or from mercenary motives to enslave the weakminded, pay open adoration, against their conviction, to deities of wood and stone; whilst all are conscious of the most egregious hypocrisy each towards his neighbour, and that every man who possesses common sense is aware that the system has sprung from mutual attempts at deception too profitable to be forsaken, but too preposterous to stand the test of any reasoning at all. In candour I ask every enlightened Hindoo, who still holds to ancient rites and ceremonies, Is not this your case ? If shame cannot awaken you to consistency, let me address myself to your fears. God will not be trifled with; he reads the heart, and you cannot deceive him. He has placed you in a situation of awful responsibility to make your election: beware of rushing to your own destruction. “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” to incur the penalty of his just anger, when by your talents and example you might forward the great work of“ turning many to righteousness."
Leave then all idols; whether the work of men's hands, the desire of gain, or the pride of the heart; and as you profess to
inquire, “search the Scriptures,” to which you have such powerful direction in the record of the miracle to which I have drawn your attention. But, beware of reading the sacred word in a captious spirit, with no better purpose than to criticise and cavil. Pray for divine direction whenever you engage in the study, and recollect that the most enlightened in all ages have drawn comfort from its doctrines. If you cannot fully comprehend all, as you advance, seek advice and instruction, believing that seeming discrepancies admit of explanation, rather than that you can establish doubts where such men as Sir William Jones have found consistency and sublimity without parallel, and traced abundant evidence of a divine origin.
The Christian will perceive a still more glorious object than the manifestation of God's power to the Jews and Canaanites, when he observes the connection between Type and Antitype ; and reflects that as the revolution of the world was suspended, at a time when Joshua was leading the hosts of Israel to the conquest of the promised land, so its annihilation is predicted when Jesus Christ shall come in His Divine Majesty, to judge both the quick and dead, and his redeemed shall enter upon the “ inheritance of the saints in light.”
The Almighty Governor of the universe hath asserted his majesty by suspending the revolution of this earth, and it hath now for ages revolved as before; but the far more awful manifestation of his power is reserved for the second advent. The time cometh when * the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat*;" “the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This is no
“Told by an idiot full of sound and fury,
“ Signifying nothing”— It is the revealed word and will of Him who “ cannot lie.” “ Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away,” is the declaration of the Lord of light and glory. May the blessed influences of the Holy Scriptures, in all their brightest beamings of mercy, be widely spread over the present generation ; to dispel the darkness of infidelity, to recover from the wreck of human pride the souls of wavering though professing Christians, to awaken sincere but slumbering disciples of the Saviour to lives of extensive usefulness, and to lead all the redeemed in true faith and penitence to humble themselves, yet more and more, ascribing all power, might, majesty, and dominion to the Lord Most High.
* I recognize a remarkable elucidation of this passage in the recent discoveries of modern chemistry. It has been reserved for these latter days to produce a practical illustration of this declaration of Scripture, in the decomposition of the most refractory substances in nature, by the talismanic agency of electricity and galvanism.
A Memoir of the Rev. Al. WAUGH, D. D. with Selections
from his Epistolary Correspondence, Pulpit Recollections, &c. By the Rev.J. HAY, A.M. and the Rev. H. BELFRAGE, D.D. 8vo. pp. 620, 2nd Ed.
This is a large volume-many will wonder how 620 octavo pages should be expended in recording the history of one, of whom probably they never heard. Yet we apprehend, that no man of right feelings will commence without finishing the perusal of the book ; and none, whether Christian or unbeliever, whose heart is in its right place, will lay it down without feeling himself the better for having surveyed the features of the admirable character which it pourtrays.
The Reverend Alexander Waugh had no celebrity as an author, and compared with other lights of his age, but little as a preacher. He had no factitious dignity; he was a minister of a scattered branch of the Scotch Seceding Church; he was poor as to worldly wealth and worldly connection. Yet the simple annals of his life, treasured up, unknown to himself, by the friends of his bosom and the children of his love, are found so redolent of the most genuine philanthropy, and of the purest disinterestedness, coupled with no mean powers of intellect and action, that they must furnish to the world in general, but especially to the Christian, delightful objects of contemplation.
To us there is an infinite charm in a biography compiled as this is, dealing little in general eulogy, and not confined to the recital of the public conduct of the individual, but bringing to the light his hidden thoughts, and the whole structure of his mind, as elucidated by his every-day conduct and his common sayings. Apart altogether from importance of public station and extensive usefulness in life, it is delightful to dwell on a character such as Waugh's. Well-meaning men, even though unbelievers in the Divine authority of Jesus, must rejoice to see the perfection to which their nature has been raised. In him Christians will feel higher emotions of triumph, reflecting, that to the Gospel, and it alone, the most prominent features of excellence are to be ascribed.
But for the Memoirs of Lord Collingwood, little would have been known of the great heart that gallant sailor bore. The public knew him only as the admiral who was lucky enough to be next in command when Nelson fell. His Memoirs disclosed a character of the highest order. It was discovered, that he united to exalted bravery and consummate skill in his profession, tastes simple and elegant, domestic affections pure and ardent, and a devotion of heart to the cause of his country the most heroic.
So in the case of Waugh, we find him not only to have been, what a large circle said he was, an active parish minister, a powerful preacher, and an eminent instrument to stir up zeal for the conversion of the heathen-but also one whose heart and inmost feelings had been singularly purified and sanctified by the Gospel — who united to the zeal of a Gospel-preacher the feelings of a perfect gentleman—who hated vice, yet overflowed with the tenderest pity to all mankind—who loved his children intensely, yet refused to ask promotion for them, for fear his doing so should injure the cause of
poor widows"—who when the burden of years was heavy, and the hand of death was uplifted, struggled with his family to be allowed to face the blasts of a December night, that he might pray at the bed-side of a dying sinner.
However great the disparity between the station of Collingwood, watching the French fleet in the Mediterranean, and that of Waugh, maintaining almost unseen the struggle of pure religion against prevailing corruption, there is no difference in the motive, or in the intensity of the motive which animated each. In the service of his king and country, Collingwood held his life cheaply spent in enduring* watching. In the service of mankind and his heavenly Master, Waugh was content to struggle to the last without the assurance of any reward ; his humble hope was, that Infinite Mercy would accept his imperfect service.
Great as is the praise which the above remarks accord to Dr. Waugh, we are not apprehensive that it will not be justified by the facts detailed in the volume before us. The reader, it is true, will not find any remarkable display of intellectual power; there are no set sermons here ; but his whole life appears to have been such, that the perusal of its history is one continuous exhortation to every thing that is good. Of the volume itself, it is a principal praise that it deals in little else than facts : some of its details indeed may be considered superfluous; but of all it may be said, that they are distinguished by the same philanthropy and goodwill to all mankind that shone so conspicuously in Dr. Waugh himself.
Dr. Waugh was a native of one of the southern districts of Scotland, to which country his biographers belong : for the home and the language of his childhood he retained a passionate fond
If the latter appear an ungainly Patois to many English readers, they will at least, as sojourners in a foreign land, sympathise with him in the feelings of ever-fresh delight, which associated themselves with his recollection of his native country.
Dr. Waugh's education was eminently calculated to nourish all the better qualities of human nature. A bracing climate, by invigorating the body, does unquestionably increase the firmness and
* See Memoirs of Lord Collingwood.
the elasticity of the intellectual texture. When the face of nature is romantic and beautiful, the seeds of imagination implanted in the mind are nourished and brought into healthful play. When a man's lot is cast in neither “richness nor poverty,” indolence and meanness are both kept far away. In abundance unlaboured for, there is strong temptation to forget, in sloth or in wanton extravagance, the bountiful Giver, and the claims he has upon us to use our treasures as a trust for the good of others—and in abject poverty there is the contrary impulse, to lose sight of every thing that is not calculated to provide the food that perisheth. In all these respects, Waugh was fortunate, and the influence of those adventitious circumstances can be traced through the whole of his life. His character was strongly marked by the most careful parsimony in regard to his own enjoyments, coupled with the utmost contempt for money
when it interfered with his notions of duty, or even with his sense of what was proper and becoming. The beautiful scenery of the Tweed, which roused his boyish imagination, mingled itself with the aspirations of the advanced Christian ; and the pictures of heaven, which he drew for himself and his audience, were often enriched by his recollections of the land, of the mountain, and the flood.
Among the vivid anticipations of good for India, which the present diffusion of knowledge is calculated to excite, it is sad to think how wanting it must be for ages in the historic recollections of countries, older in freedom and intellectual greatness ; and what an important element in the education of youth, is thereby lost to it. What a stimulus it is to an aspiring young man to reflect, that whatever path of study he may select, great things have been done in it by his forefathers, men born and bred as he is : and to men in general, how great a support is afforded in every emergency of church and state, when they can reflect upon the noble conduct of ancestors ! What must be the feelings of the newly enlightened youth of India, to think that he inherits absolutely no example that is not fit to be cast into everlasting oblivion !
Melancholy as are these reflections for India, there is no doubt but that abeginning has been made, and that before many generations pass, the youth of India will be able to point to the names of some great reformers, both in religion and politics, whose fame will be their watch-word and stimulus. How cheering to reflect, that the beautiful groves on the banks of Indian rivers may one day be noted, not as the ancient abode of some dumb idol, but as the spot
where Indian Luther or John Knox commenced his labours.
There is one other remark, which we would make on the education of Dr. Waugh. In the bosom of his father's family, and the endearments of near relationship, every gentle and pious sentiment found root and flourished; while in the neighbouring public school, and at college, he could gain that knowledge of his own powers, and