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philosophy, equal to many who adorn the republic of letters and theological literature of our times; but for the time in which they lived, and considering the disadvantages of their situation in the new world, they were men of great learning; and, what is still more important, their labours were eminently successful.
In the following letters, I shall have occasion to point out some mistakes which were committed by the ministry and churches of New England, the mischievous effects of which are felt at the present time. The Pilgrim Fathers were not perfect men : but take them altogether, they were such men as the world has seldom seen, and they deserve to be long and respectfully remembered by every American christian.
Having made these introductory statements, I shall commence, in my next, the consideration of those mistakes which the founders of the New England Colonies and their descendants made in their ecclesiastical polity, as well as the other causes which finally led to the introduction of error in doctrine, and its diffusion to a considerable extent.
THE LAND OF HILLS.
“ Carmel by the sea.”—Jer. xlvi. 18. This interesting spot is situated upon the coast of Palestine, at the south-western angle of a semicircular bay: the north-eastern angle being occupied by the ill-fated city of Acre, the scene of a hundred battles, distant about twelve or thirteen miles. There is another Carmel mentioned in scripture, a city of Judah; and travellers, in their biblical references, frequently apply to the mountain what is spoken of the town, and the rich pastoral district around it.* This latter Carmel was in the south of Palestine, about ten miles eastward of Hebron. Here Saul erected a memorial of his victory over the Amalekites; here also Nabal fed his numerous herds; and in the neighbouring wilderness of Maon, David took refuge when persecuted by Saul.t
* John Carne, Esq., in his “ Recollections of the East," falls into this error. He speaks of the pasture ground of mount Carmel being as rich “as when Nabal fed his numerous herds upon it:"—the scene of Nabal's prosperity was near one hundred miles distant from the mountain.
+ Maon, Carmel, and Ziph," enumerated among the cities of the tribe of Judah, Josh. xv. 55. “Saul came to Carmel, and behold he set him up a place,” i Sam. xv. 12, literally, a hund, a monument of the simplest kind, pointing out the place of his victory, answering all the purposes of the triumphal arch. Absolem's pillar is called the hand of Absolem, 2 Sam. xviii. 18. “A man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; the name of the man was Nabal,” 1 Sam. xxv. 2. “David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon," 1 Sam. xxiii. 24. Maon is supposed to be the Mænois, placed by Eusebius in the neighbourhood of Gaza, and the Menæum of the Codex Theodosianus.
The word Carmel is also used by our translators as the specific name of a place, when it evidently occurs in its radical sense, denoting a rich and fruitful district. Louth hence translates, “I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice of his trees thereof; and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel."*
“ And I will cut down his tallest cedars, his choicest fir trees;
And I will penetrate into his extreme retreats, his richest forests." The marginal reading in our bibles is the forest, and his fruitful field. It is probable, therefore, that the mountain derived its name from the rich and beautiful vegetation which crowned its heights, and the city likewise from the fertility of the surrounding country.
The mountain Carmel is not a single eminence, but a range of rocky hills, to the most elevated of which, however, the name is peculiarly applied. The range extends from six to eight miles, nearly north and south, coming from the plains of Esdraelon, and ending in the promontory, which forms the bay of Acre. This cape is computed to be about fifteen hundred or two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and forms one of the boldest headlands in this part of the Mediterranean coast. On the east is the plain watered by the river Kishon; on the west is the sea; on the south-east are the hills of Ephraim; and on the south is the plain of Sharon, the commencement of a long tract of level country, stretching through the rich corn lands of Ono, with but few interruptions, to the confines of Egypt. On the summit, a delightful and extensive prospect is enjoyed, while the cooling sea-breezes refresh and invigorate the traveller, oppressed by the heats of the plain below.
The ancient fertility of Carmel is not only indicated in its name, but in the poetical parts of scripture; it is frequently introduced as an image of fruitfulness and abundance. In the punishment which Amos predicts coming upon Israel, there is an allusion to the verdure which clothed its summit:
“ The Lord will roar from Zion,
And utter his voice from Jerusalem;
And the top of Carmel shall wither.”+ While the barren rocky summits of Lebanon were covered with snow, during the greater part of the year, the top of Carmel admitted of cultivation; and however sterile its present condition, it was adorned with vegetation which seldom was known to fade. Hence, to express a great revolution of things, an entire reciprocal change respecting two subjects, the prophet represents Lebanon and Carmel exchanging their peculiar properties of barrenness and fertility :
« Shall it not be but a very short space,
Ere Lebanon become like Carmel,
And Carmel appear like a desert ?"I To depict the distress and despair of the Jews, upon the Assyrians
marching against Jerusalem, the mountain blighted in its verdure, is again introduced as an image of grief and desolation:
66 The land mourneth, it languisheth;
Libanus is put to shame, it withereth;
And Bashan and Carmel are stripped of their beauty."* The poetical genius of Isaiah could not find a more appropriate figure to represent the flourishing state of the kingdom of the Messiah, than this beautiful and fertile mountain :
“ Like the rose shall it beautifully flourish,
And the well-watered plain of Jordan shall also rejoice;
The beauty of Carmel and of Sharon.”+ It is not to be expected that Carmel should now be as it was in the palmy days of Israel, when prophecy and piety were in the land, and there were “set the thrones of the house of David." Ages of anarchy and misrule, the malediction of heaven upon a crimeburdened country, have stripped it of the glory of the olden time. Yet evidences exist, that the soil upon its sides, and in its clefts, is not ungrateful, and that the hand of industry alone is wanting to renew the “excellency of Carmel”-no longer a dream of other days. Volney speaks of it as a rocky flattened cone, where, among brambles, he found the wild vine and the olive tree, relics of former luxuriance. D’Arvieux speaks of the lesser mountains of the group, being cultivatable lands, of a good soil, deep, and extraordinarily fertile, capable of producing in an uncommon degree. There were formerly, he observes, many more vineyards than at present. The Christians only cultivate as many vines as may furnish what wine and dried grapes they want for their own consumption. They neglect the cultivation of fruit-trees, which here would reach great excellence, as may be inferred from those he gathered, though chiefly from wild stocks. They have delicious melons and water melons: we find, also, olives, but under no management. The mountains feed a large number of sheep, goats, and antelopes, all excellent in their kinds, because they here find excellent pasture and corn. I
But besides the celebrity which Carmel enjoyed on account of its beauty and produce, it stands distinguished as the scene of one of the most remarkable transaetions in sacred story. Here it was that the worship of Jehovah obtained a signal victory over that of Baal, by the instrumentality of the prophet Elijah. A drought had subsisted in the land for the space of three years and six months, which induced a horrible famine-a divine judgment caused by the idolatrous practices of Ahab and Jezebel. To terminate it, and at the same time to show to the people the vanity of their graven images, Elijah was directed to command the king to “gather all Israel unto mount Carmel.” Here, before the immense host, the solitary messenger of God appeared, and confronted the most formidable array
of idolatrous power that had ever been collected since the expulsion of the Canaanites. Here, the priests of Baal offered sacrifice to induce him to answer by fire; here, they cried aloud, leaped upon the altar, and cut themselves with knives and lancets; but when the morning and noon-day had passed, and the evening had arrived, the god had not answered. Widely different was the result, when
“ The great Thesbite, who, on fiery wheels Rode up to heaven," sacrificed: then the “ fire of the Lord fell,” proving to the assembled multitude, that “none is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods of the heathen.”
It must have been an impressive spectacle; a scene of great moral as well as natural magnificence. The declivities of the mountain echoed with the frantic cries of the sacrificing idolatrous priests; the infidel king with his chariots and armed men, and hosts of subjects were there, looking up to the bright and beautiful heaven for some sign of Baal's divinity; while Elijah stood by, in all the dignity of conscions power, waiting for the appropriate time to show forth the reality of the Deity he adored. The sun attained his meridian elevation, but there was “no voice, nor any that answered ;” and as he sunk down into the west, disappointment, along with the confiding demeanour and cutting sarcasms of the prophet, excited to madness the passions of the idol-worshippers. They leaped upon the silent unconscious altar, and lacerated themselves with deeper and with deadlier wounds. Carmel resounded with the cry-“O Baal, hear us!”—“Dost thou not see with what passion we adore thee? how we give thee most decisive proofs of our affection ? we shrink at no pain, we decline no disfigurement to demonstrate our love for thee; and yet thou answerest not! By every token of our regard, answer us! By the freely flowing blood we shed for thee, answer us!"
An old traveller, Aaron Hill, cites some Turkish love songs, which allude to the practice of self-torture, as expressive of affection.
« Could I, dear ray of heavenly light,
Who now behind a cloud dost shine,
And taste thy influence all divine;
As now I gash my veiny arm;
To draw it opward by some charm.”
See how my blood does from me fly!
Witness it, Heaven, I'd gladly die." The conduct of Elijah stands in dignified contrast to the phrenzy and desperation which characterized his opponents. From the morning, when the sun gilded the tops of the distant hills of Ephraim, unto the evening, when he descended behind the heights of Carmel, and the blue billows of the Mediterranean, he calmly
VOL. 1. N. S.
watched their unavailing efforts to draw forth a response from Baal; and then, at the voice of his prayer, the windows of heaven were opened, and the visible glory descended to consume the sacrifice, and vindicate the aspersed honour of Jehovah. There is a scene in close affinity with this in the seventh Olympic ode of Pindar. The poet describes the first sacrifice offered by the Rhodians, when they settled in the isle of Rhodes. It was offered without fire, and it was crowned with a manifestation of the presence of the god. The sacrifice of Carmel was also without fire, for Elijah, to prevent all suspicion that fire was concealed beneath the altar, poured water upon the top of it.
Καιτοι γαρ αιθουσας εχοντες
Σπερμ' ανεβαν φλογος ου:
σι μεν ξαν-
Πολυν υσε χρυσον.
Bade in th' Acropolis an altar rise ;
On them the supplicated power,
Rained from his yellow cloud a golden shower." In order to have a proper view of this wonderful occurrence, it is necessary to bear in mind what was the precise object of adoration to apostate Israel under the name of Kya Baal. The term signifies lord, or master, and hence may be variously applied. To the heroworshipper Baal was a deified prince; to the Sabaist, Baal was the sun, the master of the celestial luminaries, while the host of heaven were known by the plural form of the expression. That the Baalim of the idolatrous Hebrews, were the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars, we may conclude from the Canaanites of the time being addicted to the same superstition, and particularly from its being said of Manasseh, that when he built again the high places of Baal “ he worshipped all the host of heaven and served them.” Adoring then the great solar orb to the neglect of the God of Abraham, the scene on Carmel was a visible demonstration to Ahab and his people, of the inefficiency of the object of their confidence and trust. “At the hour of noon, when the solar rays are most intense, the vows and protestations of the worshippers appear to have been most vehement, for if success was not attained then, it was not likely to be afterwards. The faggots upon the altar, which were not ignited by the fervour of the meridian sun, they could not expect to be enkindled by his evening beams. It is particularly noted that “at noon Elijah mocked them”-their defeat was now certain the sun was undeified to their gaze, for the wood was unconsumed, and thenceforth, the strength of his rays must decline. Now let us observe the wisdom of the prophet in delaying the display of his own divine authority : however anxious he might be to vindicate the honour of his God, and his own aspersed character, it was not the part of prudence to do it at that