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Or, passed within the church's door, Where poor are rich, and rich are poor, We say the prayers, and hear the word, Which there our fathers said and heard.
And surely in a world like this,
"Tis past; yet pause, till ear and heart,
Then turn we to our earthly homes,
AUSTRALIAN SUPERSTITION. THE YAHOO.The natives of Australia have, properly speaking, no idea of any supernatural being; at the same time they
believe in the imaginary existence of a class, which in the singular number they call yahoo, or, when they wish to be Anglified, devil-devil. This being they describe as resembling a man, of nearly the same height, but more slender, with long white straight hair hanging down from the head over the features, so as almost entirely to conceal them; the arms are extraordinarily long, furnished at the extremities with great talons, and the feet turned backwards, so that in flying from man the imprint of the foot appears as if the being had travelled in the opposite direction. Altogether they describe it as a hideous monster, of an unearthly and ape-like appearance. The dread of this spectre deters them from venturing abroad after sunset, unless in numbers, and having fire with them, which they conceive intimidates the fiend; and it is probable that from this circumstance arises the fact that settlers and travellers are seldom disturbed at night by even the most daring tribes. Of the many evil endowments which the natives attribute to this fanciful creature, that of carrying off children and females, no traces of whom are afterwards found, appears to be the most prominent and dreaded. They also affirm, but with less apprehension, that it occasionally attacks men single-handed and in the dark; but they do not consider it as equal to one of themselves in an encounter by day, and say that it flies from them, only gaining a victory over the enfeebled by cunning and stratagem.-Australian and New Zealand Monthly Magazine.
WESTERN INDIA.-SUPERSTITIONS.-As I proceeded toward Paithan I saw the image of Maree, a personification of the cholera, thrown away by the road-side. I suppose the people expected that the cholera would cease as soon as the idol was turned out of the town. Paithan is a famous place of pilgrimage, second only to Nassuck in this part of India. The Godavery, which I crossed in a boat, is much larger here than at Nassuck, and forms the boundary
between the British and the nizam's territories. Paithan belongs to the nizam, whose territories bear, among the natives, the name of Mengoly, Nine flights of steps lead up to the town from the river, and the flat-roofed houses give it the appearance of a succession of regular terraces. It contains about 8000 inhabitants, chiefly brahmins and Mahomedans. The ancient name of Paithan is Pratisthan. Shalizaban, the author of a new era called after his name, is said to have reigned here. At first he lived in the house of a potter, and made soldiers and horses of mud: these he threw into a well, where they, by some means, received life. Vieramaditya, the king of Ugein, grew jealous of Shalizaban, and commenced war against him; in which he himself was defeated, and driven back beyond the Nerbudda. This river still divides the two eras: the people of northern India using Vieramaditya's, and the people of the Deccan the Shalizaban era. Another cause of the religious reputation of Paithan is the assertion of the brahmins, that Brahma, after creating the world, performed his ablutions here, and received his sacerdotal or brahminical thread. Being unable to find a place in the town, I took up my quarters at some distance from it, in Ekanath's temple. There were many attendants of the idol, and pilgrims, who very unwillingly allowed me to remain among them. Ekanath was a holy brahmin: he was buried here, and is now worshipped as a god. Every evening the brahmins of Paithan worship at his shrine; and at certain seasons great numbers come from distant countries for the same purpose. Several brahmins, who called themselves sadhoos, or saints, danced before the idol throughout the night, and repeated his name times without number. I could scarcely close my eyes in consequence of their discordant noise. As I staid two days here, I had many discussions with the people them, and especially the sadhoos, who assert that who lived in the temple or resorted to it. Many of they commit no sin, and by repeating the names of their gods have obtained a vast deal of merit, were exceedingly insolent and obstinate. I do not regret their starting objections, as they afford opportunity for refuting their erroneous views, and contrasting them with Christian truths; frequently, however, so ferent things, and are so bitter and abusive, that it is many of them object at once, talk of so many difquite impossible to get a hearing. They often deny all moral obligations, contradict the plainest dictates of common sense, and assert the greatest absurdities. Some brought forward their usual doctrine of all life being the same-an emanation of the deity, and, therefore, God itself; of fate; of the worship of the five Hindoo elements; and of the impossibility and wickedness of forsaking one's own religion. In proof of Ekanath being a true god, one asserted that he had, when alive, restored a dead ass to life. Another said, that, when the emperor Aurungzebe destroyed an idol of stone, blood gushed out of it; and this, he thought, was an incontrovertible proof of all idols being true gods. I spoke to him of the attributes of the true God, man's guilt, and the Saviour's sacrifice. At other times I endeavoured to show them the folly of their assertions; the uselessness of their rites; the wickedness of their pride of caste; and the abominable character of their gods.- From Journal of rev. Mr. Warth.
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BY THE REV. J. E. JOHNSON, B.C.L.,
THE LIVELY INFLUENCE OF THE GOSPEL | espouse with ardour such sentiments as we
IT will not require to be shewn by any long and laborious process, that the difference is considerable between the natural and spiritual perceptions of mankind-between their sense of what is worldly and visible, and their appreciation of what is communicated through the testimony of divine truth, and is received, not by the bodily eye, but by the mind and understanding. The facts of nature, being visible to the eye, are more easily contemplated than the truths of revelation, which must be weighed and examined; and our worldly interests, being immediate and evident, usually affect us more than the concerns of a future and unexplored eternity. This difference is discernible in all that relates to human experience on the one hand, and to divine truth on the other. We need no incitement to fix our attention on the common and daily incidents of life, or to inspire us with an interest in what is passing within the range of our own observation. We enter readily into those affairs which are of daily occurrence, and our hopes and anxieties extend oftentimes beyond what immediately concerns ourselves: we are alive to the public welfare; we are not indifferent to the events that befal our neighbours; we feel a patriotic desire for our country's good; we are prompt too to discern all symptoms of change tending either to hurtfulness or improvement, and
But a lively interest in those subjects, which divine truth unfolds to us, is less frequently excited and less promptly felt. Such subjects are often thought to be old and established, and to admit of no addition or variation-to be unchangeable in their nature, and, when once known, to be sufficiently explored: they lie too beyond the reach of our common observations, and cannot be made available for our immediate profit or advantage; nor is the necessity of religious sanctions for the regulation of society equally discerned by all persons, nor the hurtfulness of religious negligence by all persons equally admitted. Hence it has always been needful that the ministrations of religion should be aggressive, that they should be provided for the use and benefit of the people before they are solicited, and should be forced upon their notice if, under less obtrusive means, they are insensible to their importance. The gospel has from the beginning proceeded and advanced by such aggressive means: every where at the outset it has had to contend against opposition and
VOL. XII.-NO. CCCXLIX.
the mists of prejudice, scattering them as it rose to influence and dominion, and obtaining, for the truths and doctrines which it proclaims, a place in the hearts and affections of its followers.
that we are enabled to form just conceptions
And what is the effect universally following the lively influence of the gospel in the heart? It is that our conceptions are raised of the importance of revealed truth and spiritual objects, and our esteem and appreciation of all other things is corrected and improved. We behold the things of this life with less intensity of desire when we have gazed on the immenfestation of his own glory. In it are seen sity of the bliss to be realized beyond it, and reflected the justice and holiness and purity weigh in a just and enlightened balance the sub- of God, his immense distance from every jects of divine and human knowledge when we thing that is gross or polluting, and the conhave fully determined the truth of the posi- centration in himself of whatsoever is great, tion, that "the things that are seen are tem- exalted, and holy. Then, also, it is promotive poral, but the things that are not seen, eternal." of the good of mankind by the distinction Upon many points too that are exclusively which it draws between obedience and wickedmatters of divine revelation, the gospel ele- ness, and by the guidance which it affords to vates our knowledge and conceptions, and the knowledge of our duty, and to its hearty places some subjects before us in an attractive performance. The language in which it and engaging light, which, for want of full teaches us to fulfil its precepts is like the full information, would otherwise be overlooked and summary exhortation of the apostleor lost in the multiplicity of worldly avoca- "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever tions. To draw our attention to these is the things are honest, whatsoever things are just, great purpose of religious learning and in- whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things struction, and the great design of all the are lovely, whatsoever things are of good communications which, through the medium report, think on these things"-make them and instrumentality of his written word, the the subject of your meditation, and of your Almighty has vouchsafed unto the world. continual practice and endeavour. If the Upon the subjects that relate to temporal foundation of the divine law were considered affairs only--to men's physical wants and to be laid only in the power and supremacy capacities, and to the comforts and embellish- of God, it might be thought to speak only to ments of life-we are left to human resources, our fears, and to enforce all its provisions by to the fertility of the human mind, or to the a reference to the terrors of his wrathful disresults which time and industry are capable of pleasure; but, when it is known to be based producing. But, for what lies beyond these, also on the divine wisdom and goodness, we for the knowledge that maketh wise unto sal- immediately perceive that it is to be obeyed vation, for the learning which shall acquaint in the spirit of an enlightened piety, and to us with the laws and attributes of God, and be observed, "not only for wrath, but also for the truths which are to be our guides for conscience' sake." And there is in the unto eternal felicity; we are not left to our divine law an excellency and beauty which own unaided resources, but are instructed may well gain for it a spontaneous and cheertherein by the full revelation of divine truthful performance. Its commandments are not with which the gospel supplies us. Drawing grievous; but holy, just, and good. One of from that full fountain of life and immortality, its very first requirements is that we should our conceptions of the things of God are do unto others as we would have them do raised and elevated: we are brought into unto us, that we should be proof against the nearer connexion with the Father of our influence of selfish considerations, and should spirits, and acquire a taste and a relish for respect the feelings and the rights of others. those important realities which lie beyond From a precept like this, and from that other the natural desires and perceptions of the which is akin to it-"Let love be without human heart: the difference between our dissimulation: love worketh no ill to one's estimation of things natural and spiritual is neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of decreased and lessened, and we are better the law"-the true spirit of the divine law able to appreciate the high and eternal im- may be clearly discerned, namely, that it is portance of those subjects which by the gos- not arbitrary and severe, but merciful and pel are unfolded to our view. It is by this gracious, teaching those peaceful and submeans only that our ideas of the character of stantial duties which yield a double blessing the Almighty are sufficiently elevated, and in the satisfaction which they impart to
pleasure at their ingratitude. When sufficiently tried and purified by the fire of persecution, he again gave the churches rest; and perhaps the severest punishment which ever fell upon them was when they were
allowed to sleep in a carnal security during those many ages in which the simplicity of Christ's religion was lost in ignorance and superstition. The followers
those who perform them, and the benefits | be preserved in the earth, even to the end of the which they bestow on those towards whom world; he has therefore chosen those means of keeping they are performed. I cannot but think it in existence which he knew, in his wisdom, were that the apostle St. Paul had the excellency best adapted to the creatures who had to deal with of the divine law in these respects in view his truth. After a period of prosperity, and when (beholding it as it is interpreted by the gospel) the spirits of men began to sleep upon their priviwhen he protested that all things were loss to leges, he chose the means of persecution to awaken him, in comparison of the knowledge of them, as well as at the same time to mark his disChrist (Phil. iii. 7, 8). In this most excellent of all knowledge, the apostle would doubtless include that view of the divine law which is thereby afforded; shewing it to be a law the observance of which inspires freedom and not constraint, and the performance of which lies chiefly in works of charity, equity, and mercy. As the apostle's conceptions were raised to see this to be the nature of the divine law, and to behold also the love of God to men still more abundantly displayed in the provisions of the gospel, his zealous approbation was won for a dispensation so wise and glorious, and all his faculties were enlisted in the service of the Sovereign and Saviour of the world. Such, confessedly, was the effect produced on the mind of the most illustrious of the apostles by contemplating the glory of that dispensation which he contributed to introduce; and the display therein afforded of the divine goodness and mercy is abundantly sufficient to elevate our thoughts to a like admiration of the gracious attributes of the Almighty, and of the wisdom and excellency of his law.
of Jesus, however, who alight upon the dark days of tribulation and anguish, cannot but excite the sympathy of the church in all succeeding time; and the authors of the persecution, although they be but instruments in the hand of God for accomplishing some wise purpose, are not less the objects of his divine displeasure. "It must needs be that offences come," said the Redeemer, "but woe unto that man by whom they come." We have now to contemplate church which passed through the fiery trial of persecution a church which exhibited by its constancy in afflictions, and its endurance in poverty and misery, the power of divine truth upon the human mind. The church of Smyrna is a bright example to all succeeding ages of those who, remaining faithful unto death, received the crown of everlasting life. Supported by the precious promises of him which was dead and is alive, the Christians of Smyrna were enabled, as the authentic records of history inform us, to stop the mouths of lions, to quench the violence of fire, out of weakness to be made strong, and to obtain the promises of an everlasting crown of glory.
The city of Smyrna was situated at the distance of twelve hours journey from Ephesus*; and, although we have no account of the origin of its church, there can be no doubt it was founded at the time St. Paul was dwelling in Ephesns, and when all Asia, as it is said, heard the word. Smyrna derived its origin from a colony of Ephesians, but after the new city was destroyed by the Lydians it remained through four centuries but as a miserable village. It began to flourish again under Lysimachus; and when Paul was preaching the gospel in Asia it had attained a considerable degree of splendour under the dominion of the Romans. It was chiefly situated upon the declivity of a mountain, which now bears on the summit a deserted fortress t. The river Meles, which encom
LECTURES ON THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF
ORIGINALLY DELIVERED IN THE ENGLISH CHAPEL
"And unto the angel of the church of Smyrna write I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."-REV. ii. 8, 9, 10.
The road from Ephesus to Smyrna runs first towards the magnificent rocks of Galessus, and continues underneath them, leaving the river Cayster on the right; after three hours march it turns northward round the base of the mountain on which stands Gezelhissar, or the castle of the goats. Proceeding in a northern direction, the traveller arrives near Metropolis, which Strabo places at the distance of 120 stadia from Ephesus; from Metropolis to Smyrna were reckoned 200 stadia; making the whole distance 320, or about 40 miles.
THERE is something in the languid constitution of our moral nature which requires that it should be constantly prompted or excited by powerfully acting causes to a due sense of the value of religious blessings, and it is a melancholy truth that the gospel has generally flourished in its greatest power and purity century; within its enclosure are some subterraneous vaults, when in the midst of the most frightful persecutions. It was the design of the Almighty that the religion which he taught mankind by his blessed Son should
+ The fortress was built by John Comnenus in the thirteenth
which were perhaps used for cisterns; in the midst stands a mosque, converted from a Christian church which was originally dedicated to St. Polycarp. This may intimate that the place where he suffered martyrdom was not far from the spot. The
passed a great part of the old city, is now reduced to a scanty stream by reason of the earthquakes and other physical causes which have often afflicted this fair region. The present city, so famous for its commerce, is altogether of modern date; but I shall say more of the vicissitudes through which this apocalyptic church has passed, when we take a general view of the decline of Christianity in Lesser Asia. Twenty years before St. John addressed his epistle to the Smyrnæans the destruction of Jerusalem took place, and the consequent dispersion of those Jews who survived that awful calamity. The constant communications, between the coasts of Syria and Palestine with those of Asia Minor, enabled the unfortunate exiles to go and settle in those places where they might pursue their objects of commerce, for which they have ever since that period been remarkable; and there can be no doubt that great numbers, on the occasion I now allude to, went away and settled at Smyrna. It is intimated in the epistle of the Smyrnæans to the churches, relating the martyrdom of Polycarp, that the population of the Jews was considerable; which may perhaps be accounted for by this emigration. We can hardly suppose that the Lord permitted this dispensation of his providence to remain without effect; but that when those Jews of Palestine, arriving on a foreign coast, had a better opportunity of learning the doctrines of Christianity, and that at a time when their afflictions must have softened their hearts, there were I doubt not many who embraced the gospel. Indeed we may learn, from St. John's words, that the profession of Christianity, on some account or other, had become rather advantageous than otherwise to the poorer classes of the community. The readiness with which the more wealthy Christians in those primitive ages divided their goods with their poorer brethren, and the comforts of society which in a less spiritual sense they enjoyed, were certainly inducements, in the absence of persecution, to take upon them the name of Christians. In Smyrna there were those who pretended to be Jews (that is, Jews inwardly, as the Christians were sometimes called), and yet were not, but belonged to the synagogue of Satan. I conclude from this language that these were really Jews who pretended to be Christianswho pretended to a circumcision of the heart and in the Spirit-but who only made this profession for some object of gain, whilst they were really blasphemers of Jesus in their hearts. The Spirit of God, who searcheth all things, found out and proclaimed these false brethren by the mouth of the apostle John, even when in the solitary isle of Patmos. "I know," he writes, "the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews (i. e., real Christians inwardly), and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan:" they belong to a synagogue more wicked and rebellious than that from which, by profession, they have come out to profane the Christian name.' We see here a remarkable instance of that power of discerning of spirits which was given to the apostles. It is evident from St. John's manner of speaking that the true Christians of Smyrna had not that knowledge of the
desecrated church, or mosque, is now, like the fortress, abandoned. There can be little doubt that these modern ruins occupy the site of the ancient Acropolis.
thoughts and intents of those false professors which enabled them to detect them. The angel of the church to whom St. John writes was the blessed Polycarp, a disciple of his; but even he could not say, like the apostle, through the special gift of the Spirit, "I know them which say they are Jews, and are not ;" so true is it that many gifts of the Spirit were given to the apostles which ceased with them. There is every reason to fear that in every Christian church there are those who join themselves to it who are of the synagogue of Satan, and sooner or later they will be detected by those means which Christ has left in his church. The heart-searching word of God, the alarming dispensations of his providence, the disappointment of purpose which often causes men of this description to declare themselves open ene mies; these are the things which still serve to detect the hypocrite and the covert enemies of the cross. It is no reproach to a Christian church to have such characters as these concealed within its pale. St. John does not rebuke the angel of the church of Smyrna on account of the blasphemers, as he rebuked that of Thyatira, which suffered that false prophetess to seduce God's servants; the reproach is when a church is slow to detect and reluctant to denounce the open sinner and the hypocrite. Society in general is in a bad condition when there is but little distinction made between a virtuous and an immoral character; but, if ever this spirit of culpable indifference invades a church, if ever sin is treated as light and venial by the ministers of God's word, the fate of that church is sealed; the candlestick will quickly be removed out of its place. It rather enhances than diminishes the value of the wheat that there are tares amongst it-and the final lot of both shall be decided at the time of harvest; but the end of our faith is, that the plants which our heavenly Father hath planted be not mingled with the enemy's weeds, so as to partake of their poisonous influence. Let but the church of God be faithful to itself, and in spite of those who come into it in the guise of Christians, but are of Satan's school, it shall stand a glorious church; and like those of Smyrna, if its members be faithful unto death, they shall receive a crown of life.
Having thus glanced at those characters at Smyrna who were not essentially members of the church, let us proceed to remark upon the state of the church itself; and we shall find in it many things worthy of admiration, and calculated to give us encouragement in the day of tribulation and anguish. The Christians of Smyrna for the most part, though rich in grace and all spiritual blessings, appear to have been in great poverty as it respects the things of this world: to this poverty were added trials of another description, which causes the apostle to refer to their tribulation. In all probability, like himself, they had begun to experience the evils of persecution, which as yet was partial, and often depended upon the temper of the Roman governor; St. John rather speaks of what they had still to endure than of the sufferings they might at that time (under Domitian) have undergone. Their poverty and their tribulation, however, did not draw them away from doing the works of him they loved the Spirit bears witness to the threefold example of their works, their tribulation, and their