« ZurückWeiter »
Upon this last supposition an eminent physician has founded his conjecture, that the first human pair were black. Had man been created in a barbarous state this might have been true; but we have every reason to believe that the very contrary was the case. Taking the Holy Scriptures for our guide, we are assured that Adam came from his Creator's hand with the faculties and endowments of a perfectly intelligent creature. Dr. Dwight beautifully says,
« The universe was to him a mirror, in which he saw reflected in every form the beautiful excellence of Jehovah. His thoughts could rise to God and traverse through eternity." Would it not be, therefore, more rational to conclude that the darkness of the body as well as of the mind are the effects of degeneracy; and that, by the restorative influence of the gospel and civilization, its constant attendant, not only the moral but also the natural aspect of the pagan world, will, at some future period, be reversed.
My next letter shall contain the best thoughts I can find
on man's distinction from the inferior animals.” In the mean time I remain,
My dear Father,
J. C. F.
P.S. Before I began to consider the history of man in connexion with Geography, I had the common idea that heat of climate was the means of producing darkness of color; but I will state two facts which led me to relinquish this notion. The Laplander has a very dark complexion, although he inhabits one of the coldest regions of the globe. If, again, we look to the place where, according to the above theory, we expect the deepest black, we find the inhabitants of Sierra Leone not much darker than our brunetts. It is remarkable also, that the aborigines of both Americas belong to the same variety; whilst you are aware, that between Cape Horn and Baffin's Bay there is every diversity of climate.*
*We have reason to suppose that, in many cases, the influence of the climate is very considerable on the complexion, as is shewn by the black Jews, and by many descendants of Europeans in torrid climes. Ed. LESSONS TAUGHT BY THE RAPID FLIGHT OF TIME.
ANOTHER year is almost gone! This thought darted into my mind a few days since. Finding that several other ideas were connected with it, I took my pen, and beginning to write, fell into the following musings." What a fleeting thing is time! How short and transient! Day after day, week after week, month after month, glides away, and so imperceptibly that it is scarcely perceived.
“ The present moments just appear,
they're past.' Swiftly flies time, and as swiftly all things earthly are changed. Nature is changed. Spring is succeeded by summer-summer by autumn-and autumn by winter. Now the trees are covered with verdure, and now stripped of all their beauty. Now the fields are white to the harvest, and now naked and barren. To-day, we are delighted with the beautiful colors and fragrance of the flower in full bloom : and to-morrow we behold it withered and dead. In the morning the grass groweth up, and in the evening it is cut down, Man is also changing. Now he is blooming with youthful vigor ; and now bowed down with age. Now in his cradle, and then
Thrones, empires, and dominions are changingThe world is changing; and time itself is growing old. For the day is fast approaching, when the angel shall stand “ upon the sea and upon the earth ; and lifting up his hand to heaven, shall swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever, that time shall be no longer."
Is it so true, my young friends, that all things are thus rapidly changing and passing away,—then learn,
1. The folly of setting your affections on any thing earthly. For a little reflection will convince you, that there is nothing here worthy of your confidence, or that can give you real and lasting happiness. “ Vanity of vanities,
, all is vanity.” What is man? He is mortal. A few short years at most, and his race is run, His body returns to the earth from whence it was taken, and his spirit to God who gave it. Of what use is it, therefore, to put your trust in such a
in his grave.
worm? What is pleasure ? Only a momentary gratification of the passions, a thing which never satisfies the mind, causes bitter reflections in the hours of solitude, and will fill the soul with anguish in a dying hour. What are riches ? What are honors ? What are all the things that so secure the confidence, raise the ambition, and engage the affections, of worldlyminded men ? Be assured, my young friends, that they are “all vanity and vexation of spirit.”
II. Learn, the importance of putting your trust in God alone, and regarding his favor as your highest bliss. For, while all things else are changing, He remains unchanged, and unchangeable. He hath“ neither beginning of days nor end of years,”—“ from everlasting, to everlasting, he is God.” He alone will remain unaltered by the hand of time. He was, before time commenced, and will continue to be, when time shall cease. Then fly to Him and say, “ Thou art my rock, and my fortress, in Thee will I trust." Regard all earthly things as trifles and follies that will soon pass away, and seek the favor of Him who endureth for ever and ever. Seek it through Christ. He it was, who left all the glories which he had with his father before the world began, passed by angels, and came down to our world, to give his life a ransom for sinners, that he might purchase for them the favor of God. Then plead his blood at the throne of grace, ask for the pardon of your sins through Him, and you are sure of a gracious acceptance, for “ whosoever cometh to Him, in the name of Jesus, shall in no wise be cast out." And having once obtained the favor and love of God, you are safe for ever. “ For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but his loving-kindness shall not depart, nor shall his faithfulness fail.” Attend, therefore, to the admonition of the Apostle, and “ set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.”
III. You should learn also, the value of time, and the importance of improving it aright. For once gone, it is gone for ever, and however you might desire it, can never be recalled. Yet, notwithstanding this, how foolishly is it often spent, and how are the precious moments trifled away! And though there are none, even the most watchful, who can say as in the
sight of God, “ I am clear in this matter," yet, I fear, this sin is chargeable most heavily upon the young, for they have opportunities for improving time, which those in inore advanced age have not.
Then let me intreat you, my young friends, to guard against wasting this precious jewel in idleness, foolish conversation, or useless employments; but seek to be constantly employed either in doing or getting good, catching the moments as they fly, and improving them to the best advantage ; always remembering, that time is short, that it is rapidly passing away, and will soon be gone for ever.
IV. Learn also, to prepare for that eternity, to which time is bearing you.
For the stream of time flows down to the ocean of eternity. It is bearing you quickly onward, to “ that bourne, whence no traveller returns,”
“ The year rolls round, and steals away
The breath that first it gave;
We're travelling to the grave.” Then prepare for the solemn period, when time with you shall cease, and you are called to stand at the bar of God. Put your
trust in God, seek for pardon through a Saviour's blood, then, , and then only; will you be safe for eternity, and I can not only take
my leave of you with the ordinary salutation of " a happy new year to you,” but I can then say, a happy life, a happy death, and, to crown all, A HAPPY ETERNITY TO you.” B. R.
THE LOST BOY.
The following interesting fact is related by the Rev. J. H. Stewart, in his account of the Wreck of the Rothsay Castle :“ Amidst these almost overwhelming distresses, involving in one general calamity men, women, children, and even tender infants, it is a rest to the heart to turn for a moment to some special marks of divine mercy. I am sure, my very dear friend, the following incident, related to me by the father of the boy, will deeply affect you. He was near the helm with his child, grasping his hand, till the waves, rolling over the quarter-deck, and taking with them several persons who were standing near them, it was no longer safe to remain there. The father took his child in his hand, and ran towards the shrouds, but the boy could not mount with him. He cried out, therefore, “ Father ! father! do not leave me!' But finding that his son could not climb with him, and that his own life was in danger, he withdrew his hand. When the morning came, the father was conveyed on shore with some other passengers who were preserved, and as he was landing he said within himself, “ How can I see my wife, without having our boy with me?' When, however, the child's earthly parent let go his hand, his heavenly Father did not leave him. He was washed off the deck, but happily clung to a part of the wreck on which some others of the passengers were floating. With them he was almost miraculously preserved. When he was landing, not knowing of his father's safety, he said, “It is of no use to take me on shore now I have lost my father.' He was, however, carried much exhausted to the same house where his father had been sent, and actually placed in the same bed, unknown to either, till they were clasped in each other's arms. When you read this interesting fact, regarding this poor ship-boy, you will remember the words of David, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord taketh me up.'"
THE ANGEAH GRASS.
Among the natural productions of Bengal the Angeah grass may be mentioned as a curiosity; for it grows to such a length and thickness, that a single stalk of it resembles a large rope. Another very great curiosity is the moving plant of Bengal. The stem is round, smooth, and branching ; the leaves grow three together on the same leaf-stalk, and consist of two small ones, with a third of considerable size in the middle, which is long and tapering to a point; the flowers are of the same shape as those of the sweet pea, and grow in clusters at the end of the stalk. There is a constant motion kept up among the leaves of this plant. Some will move but little, while others are greatly agitated. This motion is not caused by the air, as in the aspen tree; nor by the touch, as in the sensitive plant. Repeated experiments have proved this. When the plant is in full bloor, its leaves shake the most, so that motion seems necessary to its healthful existence. Even a branch cut off, if kept in water, will continue to move in a close room for some days.