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kept in a state of requisite purity. This is in all cases | nor while the plant is kept in the dark. That the effected by bringing it at intervals into contiguity carbon resulting from this decomposition of carbonic either with atmospheric air alone, or with water con- acid is retained by the plant, has been most satisfactaining this air diffused through it; when such is the torily proved by the experiments of Saussure, who mutual action of the blood and the air upon each found that this process is attended with a sensible inother, that the former is purified, and passes in general crease in the quantity of carbon which the plant had from a dingy purple to a bright scarlet colour, while previously contained. . Thus the great object to be the latter is in the same degree rendered impure, and answered by this vegetable aëration,' says Dr Roget, after a time becomes inadequate to support either re- speaking at considerable length of this undeniable spiration or combustion. Now whether the aërating evidence of design to which we have thus shortly alorgans be lungs or gills, it appears to be the object Juded, “is exactly the converse of that which we see of nature in their construction to expose a large sur-effected by the respiration of animals; in the former, face to the contact of air. This object is accomplished it is adding carbon to the vegetable organisation ; in by their division into numerous cells or leaf-like pro- the latter, it is that of discharging the superfluous cesses, or by their extension on the walls of cavities, quantity of carbon from the animal system. On the or the surface of pectinated ridges. The blood brought whole, therefore, the atmosphere is continually receivto these organs is there distributed by their termi-ing from the vegetable kingdom a large accession of nating branches. Although still retained in vessels, oxygen, and is at the same time freed from an equal it can nevertheless be easily acted upon by the air portion of carbonic acid gas, both of which effects tend on the exterior. Priestley found the colour of blood to its purification, and to its remaining adapted to the changed by the air when enclosed in a moistened respiration of animals.' bladder, and the same effect was observed by Hunter We have not much space to devote to the contemwhen it was covered with goldbeaters' skin. It is plation of vegetables, but we are unwilling to leave the scarcely possible to determine by direct observation subject without alluding to some other evidences of what is the exact nature of the changes that the blood design which we find displayed in them. Among these, undergoes in its passage through the lungs : the most nothing more beautifully demonstrates that nature, or obvious is its change of colour; and the chemical diffe- rather the Almighty Creator of nature, proceeds on a rences between the dark purple blood in the veins before uniformity of plan and design, than the fact that plants, it has reached the lungs, and the bright vermilion as well as animals, are possessed of the means of reprocolour it exhibits in the arteries after it has circulated ducing and continuing their species. The pistil which through the lungs, and been exposed to the influence occupies the centre of the flower is destined to produce of the air, may be collected from the changes made in the seeds, while the stamens of the plant contain the the air itself. Atmospheric air is known to consist of dust necessary for fertilising them, and without which certain principles in definite proportions; when it has the seeds would not produce young plants. Nature has acted upon the blood, and is returned from the lungs, guarded with nice care this precious dust, for on its it is found that a certain proportion of oxygen which preservation depends the continuance of the species. it contained has disappeared, and that the place of this The apparatus by which in many flowers it is defended oxygen is almost wholly supplied by an addition of from injury, is very curious; nor are the means that carbonic acid gas and watery vapour. The exact quan- are provided by which it comes in contact with the tity of oxygen which is lost in natural respiration stigma of the pistil less demonstrative of a great, a wise, varies in different animals, and even in different condi- and a beneficent Providence. In some plants where the tions of the same animal. Birds, for instance, consume organs are in the same flower, the stamens are placed larger quantities of oxygen by their respiration, and above the stigma, upon which the dust, or pollen, falls hence require, for the maintenance of lite, a purer air by its own gravity; in others, we find the contrary is than other vertebrated animals. Vauquelin, however, the case, the pistil being the longest ; but here the found that many species of insects and worms possess flower is generally drooping. To assist the emission of the power of abstracting oxygen from the atmosphere the pollen, and its contact with the stigma, in many in a much greater degree than the larger animals; plants the stamens possess a very apparent moving thus snails are capable of living for a long time in power. When ripe, the ten stamens of the rue are seen the vitiated air in which a bird had perished. Some alternately to bend down upon the stigma, deposit their insects which conceal themselves in holes, or burrow portion of pollen, and return to their former position. under ground, have been known to deprive the air of The stalks or filaments of the pellitory of the wall are every appreciable portion of its oxygen. It is observed possessed of a remarkable elasticity, and thus forcibly by Spallanzani, that those animals whose modes of life scatter the pollen. This is very apparent if touched by oblige then to remain for a great length of time in the point of a needle; immediately it acts with a jerk, these confined situations, possess this power in a which dashes the pollen with some force on the stigma. greater degree than others which enjoy more liberty of The same arrangement is met with in the barberry moving in the open air ; so admirably have the coristi- bush, in which the six stamens remain sheltered under tutions of animals been in every instance accommo- the concave tips of the flower-leaves or petals, till some dated to their respective wants.
extraneous body, as an insect in search of honey, touches Now bearing in mind that the air coming in contact the filament, which instantly contracts, and also dashes with the blood of animals parts with its oxygen, and re- the pollen against the stigma. But all plants have not ceives in its place carbonic acid gas, let us consider the their stamens and pistils sheltered under the same veil; function of respiration, or, more properly, aëration, as it in many they are in different flowers, and in others even occurs in vegetables. It was necessary that some means placed on different plants. Here, again, we have to should be appointed by which this great quantity of admire the wise measures nature has taken for the carbon given out into the air by animals, and so inju- accomplishment of her designs. In many, the scattering rious to animal life, should be renioved from it. We of the pollen is effected by the winds; to favour the have said that this principle was necessary to vegetable access of which we find in some, as the hazel, the leaves life; and here we find the means not only by which, in are not evolved until after the seed has been perfected; & very considerable degree, it is procured, but also by or, if the plants be evergreens, the leaves are needlewhich it is removed from the atmosphere. The leaves shaped, so as to present very little obstacle to the pasof plants are analogous to the lungs of animals, and sage the pollen, which is secreted in much larger it is in them principally that the decomposition of the quantity than usual. Various species of insects, and carbonic acid absorbed from the air is effected. When especially the bee, are selected by nature for this purexposed to the action of the sun, they decompose that pose. In the pink we observe numerous small insects gas, retain its carbon, and disengage its oxygen. Solar creeping to and fro, and thus depositing the pollen on light is an essential agent in effecting this chemical the stigina. In flowers where the stamens and pistils change; for it is never found to take place at night, are on different plants, often at a considerable distance from each other, bees, and other flying insects, are four to five thousand different species of indigenous peculiarly accessory to the great end of nature. These plants. Now observe how admirably this distribution of insects, it is true, do not visit the flower for the purpose plants corresponds with the wants and necessities of man. of scattering the pollen; they only seek for the sweet| A vegetable diet is most suitable both to the tastes and juice which exudes from its nectary. Their hairy body, the actual needs of the inhabitants of warm climates, which nature did not bestow without design, is seen and there we find that kind of food most abundant, covered with pollen, often in such quantities as to im- It is impossible for a reflecting individual to walks pede the progress of the animal; this, whenever they beside a field of growing barley without being impressed visit another flower, is rubbed against the stigma; and with the conviction that, in the economy of this descripit is a fact, no less wonderful than calculated to fill us tion of grain, the design of a Creator has been wonderwith admiration at the wise provision of nature, that fully manifested. An ear of barley differs from one of many insects are peculiarly attached to one flower, and wheat or oats. Each of the grains is furnished with a that others, as the bee, will only visit one species in long slender bristle or beard, which is prickly to the each journey from its hive.
touch, and seems to serve as a protection to the ear. The various methods which nature employs to dis. These bristles form a roof, if we may so call it, to carry perse the different varieties of seeds over the earth off the rain from the ear, and yet, by their elegant disare truly wonderful. Many plants, when the seed is position, do not prevent the heat of the sun and the fully ripe, discharge it from its covering with a jerk or light from influencing the grain. And why should such elastic spring. The common oat is thrown out in this be the case with barley, when the ears of wheat, oats, way; and the loud crackling of the pods of the broom &c. do not possess any such protective process! Because in a dry nshiny day, or, as Drummond has it, burst- barley is a grain injured by wet, which, if not ing seed-balls crackling in the sun,' is caused by their carried off, would cause the ear to sprout even while on bursting and scattering about the contained seeds, and the stalk, and consequently be entirely useless to man. must have been frequently noticed. Who has not In speaking of the economy of vegetable life, it should listened,' again asks Sir James Edward Smith, 'in a not pass unnoticed that there is a remarkable instance calm and sunny day, to the crackling of the furze bushes, of Creative Wisdom in the means which have been caused by the explosion of their elastic little pods; or arranged for the growth of plants from putrescent watched the down of innumerable seeds floating on a matter. All kinds of vegetable and animal substances, summer breeze till they are overtaken by a shower, when deprived of life, as well as excrementitious matter, which, moistening their wings, stops their farther flight, have a tendency to decomposition—that is, to resolve and at the same time accomplishes its final purpose, themselves into those elementary gases of which they by immediately promoting the germination of each seed | have been chiefly composed. This process of dissoluin the moist earth! How little are children aware, tion, as every one knows, produces a most disagreeable when they blow away the seeds of the dandelion, or odour, which is often inimical to animal life. But this stick burs in sport upon each other's clothes, that they is not an evil; it displays a bountiful provision in nature; are fulfilling one of the great ends of nature !' These for it tells us, in a way not to be misunderstood, that downy appendages to which Sir J. E. Smith alludes, the substance undergoing, or about to undergo, the buoy up the lighter seeds, as the thistles, and carry putrefactive process, should be buried underground; them floating through the air to great distances. Then and being there deposited, it immediately proceeds to there are the currents of rivers which bear the seeds supply its no longer useful gases to the infant plants from one part of the country to another; and even seas and crops of grain which flourish on the surface. Thus and oceans, whose tides and currents float along the do we see another striking evidence of the harmonious germs of vegetation to the various regions of the globe. design which everywhere prevails between the animal Birds, too, by feeding on particular seeds, carry them and the vegetable creation. to great distances, where, being often voided entire, It has been said that a vegetable diet is preferred they vegetate. There is evident design in all this. It by the inhabitants of warm countries : to them 80could not have been by mere chance that in flowers briety is an easy virtue, and a happy consequence of which stand erect, the pistil is shorter than the stamens, the climate. The people of northern regions, on the permitting the pollen as it falls to descend upon the contrary, are voracious from instinct and necessity. stigma; and when the flower is drooping, that the con- They swallow enormous quantities of food, and prefer trary arrangement is effected.
those substances which in digestion produce the most It is not here out of place to remark, that there is heat. Obliged to struggle incessantly against the action scarcely a vegetable production on which some species of cold, their life is but a continual act of resistance of animal does not subsist; and, generally speaking, to external influences. Let us not reproach them with wherever that peculiar production is to be found, there voracity, and their avidity for ardent spirits and feralso is the animal to which it furnishes wholesome food. mented liquors. Those nations which inhabit the con. With some striking examples of this kind the most fines of the habitable world, in which man is scarcely uneducated man is acquainted: he knows that the par- able to withstand the severity of the climate, the inhatridge is on the plain, the woodcock in the forests, the bitants of Kamtchatka, the Samoiedes, &c. live on grouse on the moors, and the ptarmigan on the loftiest fish that, in the heaps in which they are piled up, have peaks of the mountains. He knows, too, that other already undergone a certain degree of putrefactive ferspecies migrate from country to country, seeking their mentation. In them there is a necessity for this inward food in distant regions, over trackless oceans, when it excitement, which in our climate would be inevitably fails in their native haunts; and, among the animal attended with disease, and probably death. The abuse kingdom, so universal is this, as to form an example of of spirituous liquors is fatal to the European transported the wonderful adaptations which exist between it and to the burning climate of the West Indies. The Rusthe vegetable world. Vegetables, like animals, are sian drinks spirituous liquors with impunity, and lives adapted to varieties of climate and temperature; and on to an advanced age, amidst excesses under which an when we consider their distribution over the globe, we inhabitant of the south of Europe would sink. shall find that those which are most essential to the The influence of climate not only affects alike the maintenance of man, bear a variety of climate better regimen of man in health, but of man in sickness; and than most others. This is the case with greens, carrots, it has been justly observed of medicine, that it ought potatoes, and many kinds of grain. Warm climates to vary according to the places in which it is practised. are much more favourable to vegetation than cold. In A few substances, for the most part obtained from the Spitzbergen, the whole number of plants with conspi- vegetable kingdom, sufficed to Hippocrates in the trentcuous flowers, natives of the country, is found by bota- ment of diseases; and physicians who practise in a clinists scarcely to exceed thirty species; while in the mate such as Greece, may imitate the simplicity of the warmer regions of the West Indies, in Madagascar and father of medicine. Opium, bark, wine, spirits, aromathe coast of Coromandel, Willdenow enumerates from tics, and the most powerful cordials, are, on the other
hand, the medicines suited to the inhabitants of province of a new Creator, or under the direction of a morthern latitudes; and thus they are enabled to use different will. In truth, the same order of things attends freely those medicines which elsewhere would be at- us wherever we go. There is everywhere a perfect unitended with the utmost danger.
formity in the laws which regulate the phenomena of We are now prepared to understand the beautiful nature. And this very fact, while forcibly illustrating and wonderful harmony that exists between the distri- the unity of that Power by whose instrumentality all bution of man and plants over the globe; and no one, that we see was ordered and originated, demonstrates we think, can deny their meed of praise and admira- most strikingly at the same time the surpassing wistion for the care and beneficence which this universal domn of the same creative Being. What agency, but aulaptation exhibits. The frigid zone contains but few one endowed with omniscience, could have educed respecies of plants, and the verdure of those countries sults so mighty from a few simple and uniform laws ? which lie within the polar circle is confined chiefly ---could have instituted and set in action these laws at to the hills having a southern aspect, and the trees the first, assured that, without change, or shadow of are of very diminutive growth. Besides mosses and change, they would fulfil to the last all the great oblichens, there exist ferns, creeping plants, and some jects connected with the progressive development of the shrubs yielding berries of an agreeable flavour. The scheme of the universe? Thus all that we behold arctic regions of Europe are peculiarly favoured ; for around us, all that we can learn of nature, impresses in certain parts of Lapland there are fine forests, us with a sense at once of the unity, omniscience, and even rye and leguminous plants are produced. power, and goodness of the creative Being. In the high latitudes of the northern temperate zone are the pine and the fir, which show their adaptation
ETIIICS. to a cold climate by retaining their verdure in the midst of the regions of winter. To these, as advancing south- A knowledge of the great truth which we have atwarı, succeed the oak, the elm, the beech, the lime, tempted to demonstrate, fornis the foundation of Ethics, and other forest-trees. Several fruit-trees, among which or Moral Philosophy, which may be defined to be the are the apple, the pear, the cherry, and the plum, grow science which treats of our obligations and duties as better in the northern half of this zone; while to its moral and responsible agents. These duties it has more southern parts, especially, belong the more deli. been customary to comprehend under three divisionscate fruits, such as the olive, the lennon, the orange, the duties which we owe to God, to our fellow-creatures, and the fig; and among trees, the cedar, the cypress, and to ourselves. It must not be supposed, however, and the cork. The spa ce comprised between the 30th that these several departments of duty, although and the 50th parallels of latitude may be considered arranged under different heads, are in the slightest as the country of the vine and the mulberry. Wheat degree opposed to one another. The very reverse extends as far north as the 60th degree; oats and barley is the case. They all harmonise together; and he, a few degrees farther. In the southern parts of this for example, who acts towards other men
as he zone, maize and rice are more commonly cultivated. would wish them to act towards himself, affords the The vegetation of the torrid zone is characterised by a surest guarantee that he cherishes a due love and richness, a variety, and a magnificence which are no- veneration for the Supreme Being, and that he enterwhere to be found in the regions of the globe. Under tains enlightened views regarding his own best interests; the beams of a tropical sun, the most juicy fruits arrive whereas of him who neglects the duties of justice, beneat perfection; and innumerable productions supply the volence, and mercy, it may be truly said that he is wants
, and administer to the luxuries of man. There destitute of those feelings which he ought to cherish the grounds yield the sugar-cane, the coffee-tree, the towards the great Author of his being, and that he palm, the pine-apple, the cotton-tree, the bread-tree, neglects the means by which his own happiness may the pisang, the immense baobab, the date, the cocoa, be most effectually secured. the vanilla, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the pepper, the Considerable difference of opinion has existed regardcamphor, and numerous other fruits and aromatics. ing what has been termed 'the moral sense'--the gene
rality of moralists contending that it is a principle CONCLUSION.
implanted in us by the hand of nature, while others But we must hasten to conclude our interesting sub- maintain that it is merely the result of cultivation ject. Illustrations of design might be produced from and experience. There can be very little doubt, we the works of nature without end; every link in the apprehend, that the generally received opinion upon chain of creation teems with proofs of it; in none can this subject is the correct one ; for we cannot very any one affirm with truth that it is wanting. Cursory easily conceive how, by any amount of cultivation, as our remarks have been, they still must lead to the an important principle could be evolved out of a general conclusion that not only design, but unity of nonentity, or how it could be generated by the design, and identity of operation, pervade the works of most varied experience, had not the germ of it prenature, in as far as relates to organised existences; and viously existed in the human constitution. The advoeren among those portions of creation which are not cates of the opposite opinion, however (among whom organic, there do we find the same evident desire and must be reckoned a distinguished ornament of ethical design to render them subservient to the wants and science, the soundness of whose moral principles at necessities of those which are. To several of these we least has never been called in question), have appahave alluded, though it did not accord with our plan to rently too much ground for the conclusion which allude to all; and we need only further draw attention they have arrived at. We see many atrocious criminals to the remarkable uniformity in the plan of creation. who seem to have cast off all moral restraint, and who The universe itself is a system; cach part depending act in such a manner as if they were totally unconupon other parts, or being connected with other parts scious of any distinction between right and wrong; and by some common law of motion, or by the presence of there are whole tribes of the human family to be found somne common substance. One principle of gravitation who appear to be immersed in such gross barbarism as causes a stone to drop towards the earth, and the moon to be utterly incapable of comprehending any such disto wheel round it. One law of attraction carries all tinction. But we must not infer that in either of these the different planets round the sun. New countries cases the moral principle is altogether wanting. In are continually discovered, but the old laws of nature neither, it is true, is it properly developed : but in the are always found in them - new plants perhaps, or one case it is blunted and overborne by habits of lawanimals, but always in company with plants and ani- less depravity; and in the other it has never been able mals which we already know, and always possessing to spring up into maturity, in consequence of the want many of the same general properties. We never get of some friendly hand to pluck up the weeds, and to amongst such original or totally different modes of root out the briers which choke and impede its growth. existence, as to indicate that we are come into the In neither case is it dead: it only sleepeth; and by
the application of the proper remedy the reckless cri- | highly-cultivated theist will actually be disposed to minal may be made an exemplary nieluber of society, cherish towards the Deity deeper feelings of veneration, and the ignorant and untutored savage may become gratitude, and love, than the rude illiterate barbarian; acquainted with the blessings of civilisation, No: but we have no hesitation in asserting, that from his there is no human being, however immersed in igno- acquaintance with external nature, and its nice adaptarance, however degraded by crime, who is entirely tions to the peculiar constitution of man, the former will devoid of this principle. Circumstances may indeed be rendered more capable of entertaining such feelings obscure it for a time, but it can never be altogether than the latter; and that the farther this acquaintance extinguished. Even the rudest barbarian knows that is extended, the more will this capability be increased. there is a Being infinitely superior to himself, to whom The same acquaintance with external nature, and he owes homage and allegiance, however imperfect with its adaptation to his own state and circumstances, may be his conceptions of the character of that Being, by which man acquires a knowledge of the duties which or of the nature of the allegiance which is due to Him. he owes to God, teaches him also those duties which he This is sufficiently attested by the fact, that in those owes to himself and his fellow-creatures, and if he is countries where no rational system of religion exists, a anxious to promote his own happiness, he will feel the multitude of superstitious ceremonies and observances necessity of acting in conformity with the system which have been substituted in its place.
God has appointed. The Deity could have had no other But how does even civilised man arrive at the know. end in view, in the formation of any of His creatures, ledge of moral relations? The mere circumstance of than the benevolent one of rendering them happy; and his believing in the existence of an almighty, wise, Ile has instituted certain laws, by an adherence to and beneficent Being, who at first created, and still which this important purpose will be most effectually continues to uphold, the world, does not necessarily accomplished.” Whenever, therefore, man acts in acimply that he deems it his duty to worship and to serve cordance with the appointment of the Supreme Ruler that Being. Before he can be made aware of this ne- of the universe, he fulfils the great end and object of cessity, the moral sense must be aroused; and this can his being, and consequently will enjoy that happiness be effectually done only by the cultivation and enlarge- of which his nature is susceptible; but when be acts ment of his intellectual faculties. Before an individual in opposition to that appointment, he will necessarily can rationally worship God, he must be conscious of experience suffering and misery--for no institution of the relation in which he stands to Him; he must feel the Deity can be violated with impunity. that God is bis creator and preserver. By observing the But man is not an isolated being: he is a member traces of design discernible in the material universe, he of a great community of creatures of a nature similar is necessarily led to conclude that it is the work of a to his own; and he feels that between them and himdesigning mind; and when he discovers the admirable self there exists a mutual relation. Hence arises the adaptation of external nature to his own constitution, conception of that order of duties which he owes to his physical, intellectual, and moral, the inference is una fellow-creatures. It is a part of the Divine plan that avoidable, that the same Being who created the one all the members of the human race should live in haralso formed the other. After he has been enabled to mony together; and in accordance with this plan, it is arrive at this conclusion, the moral sense comes imme- necessary that each should do everything in his power diately into exercise; and he will then feel it to be his to promote the welfare of others, and that all should duty to love and obey the great Author of his exist- practise those virtues which are essential to the very ence, who has made such bountiful provision for the existence of civil society. Now were each individual supply of his wants and for the gratification of his de- of the human family to be actuated solely by selfish sires. And the more he discovers of these wonderful motives, and were all to neglect or violate, without adaptations, the more will his sense of the obligations scruple, the virtues and duties of social life, then it is he is under to the Deity be increased, and consequently evident that the order of society would be deranged, the greater will be his ability to love and serve Him. the Divine plan for the happiness of the human race We could feel no affection for a Being on account of would be defeated, and universal suffering to indivihis having bestowed existence upon us, if mere exist- duals and communities would be the inevitable result. ence had been the only circumstance for which we were By the faithful discharge of these duties, on the other indebted to Him. He might have created us for the hand, the barmony and prosperity of mankind would express purpose of rendering us miserable; and then, be promoted, individual happiness would be secured, according to the present constitution of our nature, and the most acceptable homage would be rendered to instead of being disposed to love and venerate a Being the Deity; who, having instituted certain laws for the 80 malignant, we must unavoidably have regarded Him guidance and regulation of His creatures, is gratified with horror and detestation. The sense of benefits con- or displeased with them in proportion as they observe ferred is an essential pre-requisite to the feeling of or violate His wise and beneficent appointments. gratitude; and it is therefore evident that the untu- Thus we see that all the departments of man's duty tored savage cannot entertain such a lively degree of are inseparably connected together, and that the faiththis feeling towards the Almighty, as the man of culti- ful discharge of one class of these duties naturally leads vated intellect, who can penetrate into the secrets of to the performance of all the rest. And as a kuowledge nature, and trace out its adaptations to the necessities of these duties, in as far as it is attainable by the unof his own complicated existence. The former may aided light of reason, is to be learned from a diligent indeed feel an emotion of gratitude to the Great observation of the laws of nature, and of man's relation Spirit' for his success in war or in the chase, or for to them, it is the duty of every human being carefully those spontaneous productions of the earth which sup- to study these laws, and to use his utmost endeavours ply his bodily wants and contribute to his animal gra- to bring his conduct into conformity with them. Were tification; but the man of cultivated taste can expe- such conduct to become universal, all strife and ani. rience an exquisite enjoyment in contemplating the mosity would be brought to an end; the whole membeauties of creation, and can appreciate the Divine good- bers of the human family would be knit together in ness in furnishing him with the means of such enjoy- one common bond of brotherhood; and that peace, prosment. And those phenomena of nature which terrify perity, and happiness which are only to be found in the savage, and cause him to have recourse to the most the fabled descriptions of the Golden Age, would over, unmeaning ceremonies to avert the wrath of an angry spread and gladden the earth. Beyond this, Natural and avenging Spirit, are regarded by the philosopher as Theology and Ethics, even in their highest and purest the procedure of a wise and beneficent Being, who makes conceptions, cannot lead: the causes which retard such the elements the ministers of his pleasure, and sends a consummation, the Divine scheme for their removal, forth the tempest and whirlwind for the purpose of and a knowledge of man's future destiny, belong to clearing away those noxious exhalations which engender religion as revealed in the Bible--the history of disease and death. We do not mean to affirm that the which forms the subject of our following number,
HISTORY OF THE BIBLE-CHRISTIANITY.
The Bible is the most remarkable work now in exist- | are proved by predictions delivered by the Jewish proence. In the libraries of the learned there are fre- phets, pointing out the fate of nations and of empires, quently seen books of an extraordinary antiquity, and specifying distinctly the cause of their rise, the duracurious and interesting from the nature of their con- tion of their power, and the reason of their decline; tents; but none approach the Bible, taken in its thus demonstrating that one God ruled among the nacomplete sense, in point of age ; while certainly no tions, and made them the unconscious instruments of production whatever has any pretension to rival it in promoting the purposes of His will. the dignity of composition, or the important nature of The writers, generally speaking, do not reason, but the subjects treated of in its pages. The word Bible is exhort and remonstrate; they do not attempt to fetter of Greek origin, and in signifying simply the Book, is the judgment by the subtleties of argument, but to expressive of its superiority over all other literary pro- rouse the feelings by an appeal to palpable facts. But ductions. The origin and nature of this in everyway though there is no regular treatise in the Scriptures on singular work-how it was preserved during the most any one branch of religious doctrine, yet all the materemote ages, and how it became known to the modern rials of a regular system are there. The Word of God world in its present shape—form a highly-interesting contains the doctrines of religion in the same way as chapter of literary history.
the system of nature contains the elements of physical science. In both cases the doctrines are deduced from
facts, which are not presented to us in any regular The Bible comprehends the foundation of the re-order, and which must be separated and classified ligious belief of the Jews and Christians, and is divided before we can arrive at first principles, or attain to the into two distinct portions, entitled the Old and New certainty of knowledge; and in both cases a consistent Testament, the former being that which is esteemed system can only be made out by induction and invesby the Jewish nation, but both being essential in tigation. The very circumstance of no detailed system forming the faith of the Christian. The Old Testament being given, renders it necessary to form one ; for is the largest department of the work, and appears a although a portion of religious and physical knowledge, collection of detached histories, moral essays, and pious sufficient for the common purposes of life, may be obpoetical compositions, all placed together in the order tained by traditional information, and men may work of time, or as they may serve for the purpose of mutual conveniently enough by rules without possessing much illustration. On taking a glance at the contents, the general knowledge, yet they who would teach with principal subject of narration seeins to be the history of profit, must generalise, and they who would explain the Jews, commencing with an account of the creation | the ways of God, must arrange the materials which are of the world, and tracing their history, genealogically, so amply furnished, but which are presented appathrough a series of striking vicissitudes and changes of rently without order or plan.' situation. But when we examine the narratives mi- The periods when the act of writing all or greater nutely, it is found that there is another meaning than part of the Scriptures took place, as well as most of the that of mere historical elucidation. It is perceived names of those who were instrumental in forming the that the whole train of events recorded, and the whole work, have been ascertained with considerable accuracy, of those lofty impassioned strains of poetry which dis- both from written evidence in the narratives themtinguish the volume, are precursory and prophetic of a selves, and from the well-preserved traditions of the great change which, at à future period, was to be Jews. Generally speaking, it cannot be said that the wrought on the moral character and fate of mankind, books of the Old Testament are of a less antiquity by the coming to the earth of a Messiah.
than from two thousand three hundred to four thouThe authorship of the Old Testament has been uni- sand years -- an antiquity considerably greater than versally ascribed, by both Jews and Christians, to pious that of any profane history. At whatever time, howmen, who were inspired or influenced by God to com- ever, the different books were written, they were not municate to the world a correct knowledge of the found collected from the sacred depositories of the Jews, dations of religious belief and moral obligation. The where they had been carefully placed, till long after Bible is hence called the Revealed Word of God, or the their immediate authors were deceased; and their preSacred Scriptures.
We are to look to the Word of sent arrangement, as we shall afterwards explain, is of God, then,' says the writer of the article Theology in comparatively modern date. the 'Edinburgh Encyclopædia,' • as contained in the Froin an early period it was the custom of the Jews Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, for the only to divide the books of the Old Testament into three sure rule of faith and practice. But there is this singu- classes, which they respectively designated the Law, larity in the Sacred Scriptures, that we do not find in the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, or Holy Writings, them a set treatise on any one of the interesting sub- which last division includes more particularly the jects which engage our attention as moral and religious poetical parts; and some are of opinion that Jesus beings
. No attempt is made to prove the existence of a Christ alludes to this division of the Scriptures, when God: such an attempt would have been entirely useless, he says that · All things must be fulfilled that were because the fact is universally admitted. The error of written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and men consisted not in denying a God, but in admitting in the Psalms, concerning him. For by the book of too many; and one great object of Scripture is to de- Psalms they understand all the books of the third class. monstrate that there is but one. No metaphysical The Law comprehends the Pentateuch-that is, Genesis, arguments, however, are employed for this purpose. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy--such The proof rests on facts recorded in the history of the including both a historical narrative, and
the injuncJews, from which it appears that they were always vic- tions forming the legal code of the Jews. The prophetorious and prosperous so long as they served Jehovah, tical books are eight--namely, 1. Joshua; 2. Judges
, with the name by which the Almighty made himself known Ruth; 3. Samuel; 4. Kings; 5. Isaiah; 6. Jeremiah ; 7. to them; and uniformly unsuccessful when they re- Ezekiel ; and 8. The Twelve Lesser Prophets. The first volted from him to serve other gods. What argument four books of this division are called the Pormer Procould be so effectual to convince them that there was phets, and the last four the Latter Prophets. The no God in all the earth but the God of Israel? The sove- Hagiographa, or Holy Writings, are nine - namely, reignty and universal providence of the Lord Jehovah 1. job; 2. The Psalms; 3. The Proverbs ; 4. Ecclesiastes ; No. 75.