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overy moment on a superior Agent, and that it ia "in God we live, and move, and have our being? Were a single pin of the machinery within us, and over which we have no control, exther broken or deranged, a thousand movemenu might instantly bo interrupted! and our bodies led to crumble into the dust.
It was considerations of this kind that led the celebrated physician Galen, who was a skeptic in his youth, publicly to acknowledge that a Supreme Intelligence must have operated in ordaining the laws by which living beings are constructed. And he wrote his excellent treatise "On the uses of the parts of the human frame/' as a solemn hymn to the Creator of the world. "I first endeavour from His works," he says, "to know him myself, and afterwards, by the same means, to show him to others ; to inform them, how great is his wisdom, his goodness, his power." The late Dr. Hunter has observed, that astronomy and . anatomy are the studies which present us with the most striking view of the two most wonderful attributes of the Supreme Being. The first of these 611s the mind with the idea of his immensity, in the largeness, distances, and number of the heavenly bodies; tho last astonishes us with his intelligence and art, in the variety and delicacy of animal mechanism.
2. The study of the animal economy has a powerful tendency to excite emotions of gratitude. Man is naturally a thoughtless and ungrateful creature. These dispositions are partly owing to ignorance of the wonders of the human frame, and of the admirable economy of the visible world; and this ignorance is owing to the want of those specific instructions which ought to be communicated by parents and teachers, in connexion with religion. For, there is no rational being who is acquainted with the structure of his animal system, and reflects upon it with the least degree of attention, but must feel a sentiment of admiration and gratitude. The science which unfolds to us the economy of our bodies, shows us on what an infinity of springs and motions, and adaptations, our life and comfort depend. And when we consider, that all these movements are performed without the least care or laborious effort on our part, if we be not altogether brutish, and insensible of our dependence on a superior Power, we must be filled with emotions of gratitude towards Him "whose hands have made and fashioned us, and who giveth us life, and breath, and all things." Some of the motions to which I have adverted depend upon our will; and with what celerity do they obey its commands? Before we can rise from our chair, and walk across our apartment, a hundred muscles must be set in motion; every one of these must be relaxed or constricted, just to a certain degree, and no more; and all must act harmoniously at the same instant of time; and, at the command of the soul, all these movements
are instantaneously performed. When I *isa to lift my hand to my head, every part cf tire body requisite to produce the effect is put in • tion: the nerves are braced, the muscles aro stretehed or relaxed, the bones play in their sockets, and the whole animal machine concurs m the action, as if every nerve and muscle .had heard a sovereign and resistless call. When I wish the next moment to extend my hand to my foot, all these muscles are thrown into a different state, and a new set are Drought along with them into action: and thus we may vary, every moment, the movements of the muscular system, and the mechanical actions it produces, by * simple change in our volition. Were we not daily accustomed to such varied and voluntary movements, or could we contemplate them in any other machine, we should be lost in wonder and astonishment.
Besides these voluntary motions, there are a thousand important functions which have no dependance upon our will. Whether we think of it or not, whether we are sleeping or waking, sitting or walking—the heart is incessantly exerting its muscular power at the centre of the system, and sending off streams of blood through hundreds of pipes; the lungs are continually expanding and contracting their thousand vesicles, and imhihing the vital principle of the air; the stomach is grinding the food; the lacteals and lymphaties are extracting nourishment for the blood; the liver and kidneys drawing off their secretions; and the perspiration issuing from millions of pores. These, and many other important functions with which we are unacquainted, and over which we have no control, ought to be regarded as the immediate agency of the Deity within us, and should excite our incessant admiration and praise.
There is one peculiarity in the constitution of our animal system, which we are apt to overtook, and for which we are never sufficiently grateful, and that is, the power it possesses of self-restoration, A wound heals up of itself; a broken bone is made firm again by a callus; and a dead part is separated and thrown off. If all the wounds we have ever received were still open and bleeding afresh, to what a miserable condition should we be reduced? But by a system of internal powers, beyond all human comprehension as to the mode of their operation, such dismal effects are effectually prevented. In short, when we consider that health depends upon such a nume rous assemblage of moving organs, and that a single spring out of action might derange the whole machine, and put a stop to all its complicated movements, can we refrain from joining with the psalmist, in his pious exclamation, ana grateful resolution, " How precious are thy wonderful contrivances concerning me, 0 God ! how great is the sum of them! I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. MatrtQouf are thy works, and that my t«ul knoweth right well."
Omitting the consideration of several other 'departments of science, I shall in the mean time notice only another subject connected with religion, and that is History.
History embraces i record and description of past facts and events, in reference to all the naytions and ager of the world, in so far as they are known, and have been transmitted to our times. As natural history contains a record of the operations of the Creator in the material world, so sacred and civil history embraces a record of his transactions in the moral and intellectual world, or, in other words, a detail of the plans and operations of his providence, in relation to the inhabitants of our globe. Through the medium of Sacred History, we team the period and the manner of utan's creation—the reason of his fall from the primitive state of integrity in which he was created, and the dismal consequences which ensued: the various movements of Providence in order to his recovery, and the means by which human redemption was achieved; the manner in which the gospel was at first promulgated, the countries into which it was carried, and the important eflects it produced. Through the medium of Civil History we learn the deep and universal depravity of mankind, as exhibited in the wars, dissensions, and ravages, which have desolated our fallen race, in every period, and in every land ; we learn the desperate wickedness of the human heart, in the more private acts of ferocity, cruelty, and injustice, which, in all ages, men have perpetrated upon each other; we behold the righteousness of the Supreme Ruler of the world, and the equity of his administration, in the judgments which have been inflicted on wicked nations—and the improbability, nay, the impotsibility, of men being ever restored to moral order and happiness, without a more extensive diffusion of the blessings of the gospel of peace, and a more cordial acquiescence in the requirements of the divine laws.
Such being some of the benefits to be derived from history, it requires no additional arguments to show, that this branch of knowledge should occasionally form a subject of study to every intelligent Christian. But in order to render the study of history subservient to the interests of religion, it is not enough merely to gratify our curiosity and imagination, by following out a succession of memorable events, by tracing the progress of armies and of battles, and listening to the groans of the vanquished, and the shouts of conquerors. This would be to study history merely » skeptics, as atheists, or as writers of novels. When we contemplate the facts which 9tft historian presents to our view, we ought to
raiie our eyes to Him who is the Governor among the nations, "who doth according to Ins will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth," and who overrules the jarring interests of mortals, for promoting the prosperity of that kingdom which shall never be moved. We should view the immoral propensities and dispositions of mankind as portrayed in the page of history, as evidences of the depravity of our species, and as excitements to propagate, with uaremitting energy, the knowledge of that religion, whose sublime doctrines and pure precepts atone can counteract the stream of human corruption, and unite all nations in one harmonious society. We should view the contests of nations, and the results with which they are accompanied, as guided by that invisible Hand, which " mustereth the armies to the battle;" and should contemplate them either as the accomplishment of divine predictions, as the inflictions of retributive justice, as paving the way for the introduction of rational liberty and social happiness among men, or as ushering in that glorious period, when "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth," and tho nations shall learn war no more.
Thus I have taken a very cursory survey ol some of those sciences which stand in a near relation to the objects of religion; and which may, indeed, be considered as forming so many of its subordinate branches. Thero are many other departments of knowledge, which, at first view, do not seem to have any relation to theological science; and yet, on a closer inspection, will be found to be essentially connected with the several subjects of which I have been treating For example—some may be apt to imagine that arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and other branches of mathematics, can have no relation to the leading objects of religion. But if these sciences had never been cultivated, the most important discoveries of astronomy, geography, natural philosophy, and chymistry, would never have been made; ships could not have been navigated across the ocean; distant continents, and the numerous" isles of the sea," would have remained unexplored, and their inhabitants left to grope in the darkness of heathenism; and most of those instruments, and engines by which the condition of the human race will be gradually meliorated, and the influence of Christianity extended, would never have been invented. Such is the dependence of every branch of useful knowledge upon another, that were any one portion of science, which has a practical tendency, to be discarded, it would prevent, to a certain degree, tho improvement of every other. And, consequently, if any one science can be shown to have a connexion with religion, all the rest must likewise stand in a certain relation to it. It must, therefore, have a pernicious effect on the minds of the mass of the Christian world, when preachers, in their sermons, endeavour to undervalue scientific knowledge, by attempting to contrast it with the doctrines of revelation. It would be just as reasonable to attempt to contrast the several doctrines, duties, and facts recorded in the New Testament with each other, in order to deermine their relative importance, and to show which of them might be altogether overlooked and discarded. The series of facts and of divine revelations comprised in the bible; the moral and political events which diversify the history of nations; and the physical operations that are going on among the rolling worlds on high, and in the chymical changes of the invisible atoms of matter, are all parts of one comprehensive system, under the direction of the Eternal Mind; every portion of which must have a certain relation to the whole.
And, therefore, instead of attempting to degrade one part of the divine fabric in order to enhance another, our duty is to take an expansive view of the whole, and to consider the symmetry and proportion of its parts, and their mutual bearings and relations—in so far as our opportunities, and the limited faculties of our minds, will permit.
If the remarks which have been thrown out in this chapter, respecting the connexion of the sciences with religion, have any foundation! it will follow—that sermons, lectures, systems of divinity, and religious periodical works, should embrace occasional illustrations of such subjects, for the purpose of expanding the conceptions of professed Christians, and of enabling them to take large and comprehensive views of the per
fections of tfie providence of the Almighty, li is much to be regretted, that so many members of the Christian church are absolute strangers to such studies and contemplations; while the time and attention that might have been devoted to such exercises, have, in many cases, been usurped by the most grovelling affections, by foolish pursuits, by gossiping chit-chat, and slanderous conversation. Shall the most trifling and absurd opinions of ancient and modern heretics be judged worthy of attention, and occupy a place in religious journals, and even in discussions from the pulpit, and shall " the mighty acta of the Lord," and the visible wonders of his power and wisdom, be thrown completely into the shade 7 To survey, with an eye of intelligence, the wide-extended theatre of the divine operations—to mark the agency of the Eternal Mind in every object we behold, and in every movement within us and around us, are some of the noblest attainments of the rational soul; and, in conjunction with every other Christian study and acquirement, are calculated to make "the man of God perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto every good work." By such studies, we are. in some measure, assimilated to the angelic tribes, whose powers of intellect are for ever employed in such investigations—and are gradually prepared for bearing a part in their immortal hymn—''Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Thou art worihy to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and tor thy pleasure they are and wore created."
THE RELATION WHICH THE INVENTIONS OF HUMAN ART BEAR TO THE OBJECTS OP RELIGION.
In this chapter, I shall briefly notice a few philosophical and mechanical inventions which nave an obvious bearing on religion, and on the general propagation of Christianity among the nations.
The first, and perhaps the most important, of the inventions to which I allude, is the Art of Printing. This art appears to have been invented (at least in Europe) about the year 1430, by one Laurentius, or Lawrence Koster, a native of Haerlem, a town in Holland, As ho was walking in a wood near the city, he began to cut some letters upon the rind of a beach tree, which, for the sake of gratifying his fancy, being impressed on paper, he printed one or two lines as t specimen for his grandchildren to follow. This
having succeeded, he meditated greater things i and, first of all, invented a more glutinous writing ink; because he found the common ink sunk and spread; and thus formed whole pages of wood, with letters cut upon them.* By the gradual
•I am aware, that the honour of this invention has been claimed by other cities besides Hnerlem, particularly by Strasburg, and Ment7., a city of Germany t and by other Individuals besides La-irentlus, chiefly by one Fust, commonly called Dr. Faust us; by Schoeffer, and by Gutenberg, It appears that the art, with many of its implements, was stolen from Laurentius by one of his servants, whom he had bound, by an oath, to secrecy, who fled to Menta, and first commenced the process of printing In that city. Here the art was Improved by Fust and Schoef
fer, by their Invention of metallic. Instead of i types, which were first used. When Fust was In Paris, disposing of some bibles he had printed, at
at of this art, and its application to the diffusion of knowledge, a new era was formed in the annals of the human race, and in the progress of science, religion, and morals. To it we are chiefly indebted for our deliverance from ignorance and error, and for most of those scientific discoveries and improvements in the arts which distinguish the period in which we live. Without its aid, the Reformation from Popery could scarcely have been achieved; for, had the books of Luther, one of the first reformers, been multiplied by the slow process of handwriting and copying, they could never have been diffused to any extent; and the influence of bribery and of power might have been sufficient to have arrested their progress, or even to have erased their existence. But, being poured forth from the press in thousands at a time, they spread over the nations of Europe like an inundation, and with a rapidity which neither the authority of princes, nor the schemes of priests and cardinals, nor the bulls of popes, could counteract or suspend. To this noble invention it is owing that copies of the hible have been multiplied to the extent of many millions—that ten thousands of them are to be found in every Protestant country—and that the
the low price t.xs was then thought) of sixty crowns, the number and the uniformity of the copies he possessed created universal agitation and astonishment. Informations were given to the police against him as a magician, his lodgings wero searched, and a great number of copies being found, they were seized; the red Ink with which they were embellished was said to be his blood; It was seriously adjudged, that he was in league with the devil j and if he hid not fled from the city, most probably he would have shared the fate of those whom Ignorant and superstitious Judges, at that time, condemned for witehcraft. From this circumstance, let us learn to beware how we view the inventions of genius, and how we treat those whose ingenious contrivances may afterwards be the means of enlightening and meliorating mankind. Sec Appendix, No..VII.
Various Improvements have been made, of late years, in the art of printing. That which has lately been announced by Dr. Church of Boston, is the most remarkable; and. If found successful, will carry this art to a high degree of perfection. A prln clpal object of this Improvement Is, to print const,ntly from new types, which Is effected by simplifying the process for casting and composing. The type Is delivered perfect by machinery, and laid as it Is cast, in separate compartments, with unerring onler and exactness. The composition Is then effected by other apparatus, directed by keys like those of a piano forte, and the type may then be arranged in words and lines, as quickly as In the performance of notes In music. No error can arise except from touching the wrong key: and hence an expert hand will leave little labour for the reader. It is then found less expensive under Dr. Church's economical system of re-casting, to re-melt the types, and re cast them, than to perform the tedious operation of distribution. The melting takes place without atmospheric exposure, by which oxydation and waste of metal are avoided. It i calculated that two men can produce 75,ooo new types per hour, and tn re-composing, one man will perform as much as three or four comiwxitors. In the production of e saving Is ninety-nine parts In a hundred; composition, distribution, and reading, Is B In four. In regard to press-work, Dr. C. bas invented a machine to work with plattens, Instead of cylinders, from which he will be enabled to take M One impressions iier minute.
poorest individual who expresses 1 desire for it, may be furnished with the •* word of life" which will guide him to a blessed immortality. That divine light which is destined to illuminate every region of the globe, and to sanctify and reform men of all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, is accelerated in its movements, and directed in its course through the nations, by the invention of the art of printing; and ere long it will distrxbute among the inhahitants of every land, the "law and the testimony of the Most High," to guide their steps to the regions of eternal bliss. In short, there is not a more powerful engine in the hands of Providence, for diffusing the knowledge of the nature and the will of the Deity, and for accomplishing the grand objects of revelation, than the art of multiplying books, and of conveying intelligence through the medium of tho press. Wore no such art in existence, we cannot conceive how an extensive and universal propagation of the doctrines of revelation could be effected, unless after the lapse of an indefinite number of ages. But, with the assistance of this invention, in its present improved state, the island of Great Britain alone, within less than a hundred years, could furnish a copy of the Scriptures to every inhahitant of the world, and would defray the expense of such an undertaking, with much more ease, and with a smaller sum, than were necessary to furnish the political warfare in which we were lately engaged.
These considerations teach us, that the in* genious inventions of the human mind are under the direction and control of the Governor of the world—are intimately connected wiih the accomplishment of the plan of his providence, and have a tendency, either directly or indirectly, to promote, over every region of .the earth, the progress and extension of the kingdom of the Redeemer. They also show us, from what smalt beginnings the most magnificent operations of the divine economy may derive their origin. Who could have imagined that the simple circumstance of a person amusing himself by cutting a few letters on the bark of a tree, and impresaing*them on paper, was intimately connected with the mental illumination of mankind; and that the art which sprung from this casual process was destined to be the principal means of illuminating the nations, and of conveying to the ends of the earth, "the salvation of our God f* But, " He who rules in the armies of heaven, and among the inhahitants of the earth," and who sees "the end from the beginning," overrules the most minute movement of all his creatures, in subserviency to his ultimate designs, and shows himself, in this respect, to be " wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."
The Mariner'* Compass.—Another invention which has an intimate relation to religion, is, the art of Navigation, and the invention of the Mariner's Compass. Navigation is the art of conducting a ship through the sea, from one port to another. This art was partly known and practised in the early ages of antiquity, by the Phenicians, the Carthaginians, the Egyptians, the Romans, and other nations of Europe and Asia. But they had no guide to direct them in their voyages, except the sun in the day-time, and the stars by night. When the sky was overcast with clouds, they were thrown into alarms, and durst not venture to any great distance from the coast, lest they should be carried forward in a course opposite to that which they intended, or be driven against hidden rocks, or unknown shores. The danger and difficulty of the navigation of the ancients, on ihis account, may be learned from the deliberations, the great preparations, and the alarms of Homer's heroes, when they were about to cross the Egean sea, an extent of not more than 150 miles ; and the expedition of the Argonauts under Jason, across the sea of Marmora and the Euxine, to the island of Colchis, a distance of only four or five hundred miles, was viewed as a most wonderful exploit, at which even the gods themselves were said to be amazed. The same thing appears from the narration we have in the Acts of the Apostles, of Paul's voyage from Cesarea to Rome.— "When," says Luke, " neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempests lay on us, all hope that we should be-saved was then taken away." Being deprived of these guides, they were tossed about in the Mediterranean, not knowing whether they were carried to the north, south, east, or west. So that the voyages of antiquity consisted chiefly in creeping along the coast, and seldom venturing beyond sight of land: they could not, therefore, extend their excursions by sea to distant continents and nations; and hence, the greater portion of the terraqueous globe and its inhahitaats were to them altogether unknown. It was not before the invention of the mariner'x compass, that distant voyages could be undertaken, that extensive oceans could be traversed, and an intercourse carried on between remote continents and the islands of the ocean.
It is somewhat uncertain at what precis# period this noble discovery was made; but it appears pretty evident, that the mariner's compass was not commonly used in navigation before the year 1420, or only a few years before the invention of printing.* Tho loadstone, in all ages, was known to hare the property of attracting iron; but its tendency to point towards the north and south seems to have been unnoticed till the beginning of the twelfth century. About that
• The Invention of the cpmpass Is usually ascribed to Falvio Giola, of Amalfl, In Campania, about the year 1302; and the Italians are stienuous In sup|iortIns this claim. Others affirm, that Marcus Paulus.a Venetian, having made a journey to China, brought back the Invention with him in laso, The French also lay claim to the honour of this invention, from Ure ciicumstance, that all nations distinguish the
time some curious persons seem to have aroused themselves by making to swim, in a basin of water, a loadstone suspended on a piece of cork; and to have remarked, that, when left at liberty, one of its extremities pointed to the north. They had also remarked, ihat, when a piece of iron is rubbed against the loadstone, it acquirer also tho properly of turning towards the north, and of attracting needles and filings of iron. From one experiment to another, they proceeded to lay a needle, touched with ihe magnet, on two small hits of straw floating on the water and to observe that the needle invariably turned its point towards the north. The first use they seem to have made of these experiments, was, to impose upon simple people by the appearance of magic. For example, a hollow swan, or the figure of a mermaid, was made to swim in a basin of water, and to follow a knife with a hit of bread upon its point, which had been previously rubbed on the loadstone. The experimenter convinced them of his power, by commanding, in this way, a needle laid on the surface of the water to turn its point fiom the north to the east, or in any other direction. But some geniuses, of more sublime and reflective powers of mind, seizing upon these hints, at last applied these experiments to the v. ants of navigation, and constructed an instrument, by the help of which the mariner can now direct his course to distant lands, through the vast and pathless ocean.
In consequence of the discovery of this instrument, the coasts of almost every land on the surface of the globe have been explored, and a regular intercourse opened up between the remotest regions of the earth. Without the help of this noble invention, America, in all probahility, would never have been discovered by the eastern nations—the vast continent of New-Holland— the numerous and interesting islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans—the isles of Japan, and other immense territories inhahited by human beings, would have remained as much unknown and unexplored as if they had never existed And as the nations of Europe and the western parls of Asia were the sole depositories of the records of revelation, they could never have conveyed the blessings of salvation to remote countries and to unknown tribes of mankind, of whose existence they were entirely ignorant. Even although the whole terraqueous globe had been sketehed out before them, in all its aspects and bearings, and ramifications of islands, continents, seas, and oceans, and the moral and political state of every tribe of its inhahitants
north point of the card hy a JUur-de-hs, and, with equal reason, the English have laid claim to the same honour, from the name compats, by which most nations have agreed to distinguish it. But whoever were the Inventors, or xt whatever period thts in strument was first constructed, it does not .i|.pcaj that it was brought into general me Letoie the \-o rlod mentioned in the text.