Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

To obtain justice for the natives by an improved administration of law, is now the Society's principal object. But it hopes to do more than this, by its efforts to convince European settlers that they will better consult their own interests by conciliatory conduct towards the native inhabitants, than by any measures of oppression and violence.

* The plans to be adopted by the Society for the benefit of the native tribes in existing colonies, will depend upon the circumstances in which they may be found; but in the event of the formation of new settlements, every effort will be made to secure the rights of the natives. The principles of the illustrious William Penn are as wise as they are just :—for the purchase of land is a safer as well as a better title, than the acquisition thereof by fraud or force, and its maintenance by oppression and bloodshed.

The Committee cannot, however, too strongly impress upon the public mind the determination of the Society to be governed in all its measures by the fact, that the complete Civilization and the real Happiness of Man can never be secured by any thing less than the diffusion of Christian Principles.

T.F. Buxton, Esq. M.P. is the President ; Mr.Tuckett, 20, Finsbury Circus, Treasurer; and Messrs. Bannister and Higgins, Secretaries.

PRIZE ESSAY. The Committee of the “ British and Foreign Aborigines' Protection Society," have offered a Prize of £50, given by one of their members, for the best Essay on The present state of the uncivilized and defenceless Tribes; the causes which have led to the diminution of their numbers, and their debased condition; and the best means of protecting them, and of promoting their advancement.

A motto is to be attached to each Essay. A letter, enclosing the name of the author, and indorsed with the motto, must also be forwarded, and will be returned unopened to the unsuccessful Candidates.

The Essays, addressed to the Secretaries, must be delivered on or before the 31st of December next, to Mr. W. Orr, Publisher, Paternoster Row. (Signed,)

T. Fowell BUXTON, M.P. President.

ABOLITION OF CHURCH RATES. The state of this question must be known to all our readers. The opponents to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal have affected to doubt the facts on which he based his calculations. The proposed appointment of a Select Committee of Inquiry as to the mode of granting leases of lands and other ecclesiastical property is therefore a most judicious step, and, if carried, will bring to light many hidden things of darkness that will in no way be subservient to the interests of the hierarchy.

The Dissenters, we think, must ever feel grateful to his Majesty's Government, who have with so much zeal induced the House of Commons to affirm the necessity of Abolishing Church Rates; and we doubt not, that supported by the voice of the Country, they will be able in a session or two, to perfect their liberal intentions to relieve Dissenters while they uphold the ecclesiastical edifices of the land.

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS, &c. Favours have been received from the Rev. Drs. Urwick and Payne-Rev. Messrs. G. Smith-J. Whitridge-Joseph Turnbull-T. C. Hine-T. MilnerA. Pope-William Cooper - William Tarbotton-William Davies – J. Bounsall.

Also from Messrs. "Joshua Wilson-S. Blackburn-William MacnabT. Christie-T. T. Sadler.

C. C.-G. H.

The Editor regrets that he is compelled to postpone his “ Short Notices of Books” to make room for other matter of immediate interest.

G. H. is informed that most of the books noticed in our Foreign Theological Literature department may be obtained through the Foreign Booksellers of this metropolis.

THE CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.

JULY, 1837.

THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE IN PALESTINE.

The past winter, now we can happily speak of it as departed, has a claim upon our notice, on account of the striking and extraordinary phenomena which marked its course. Its length and severity have been universally observed--the whole physical world seems to have been in a state of commotion-every element has been roused and stimulated to put forth its energies-earth, air, and sea, each in its turn and place, has displayed that marvellous potentiality of agency it can wield. Early in the month of November, the first scouts of an approaching tempest were apparent—the heavens were charged with dark masses of clouds-snow fell--and the wind blew in short and angry gusts, as though skirmishing preparatory to a general irruption of its forces. On the 9th, the elemental war commenced in earnest, ravaging the coast of England, and the western shores of the continent: after a short interval of calm, on the 29th, the tempest awoke again in fearful and fatal power, sweeping up from the bosom of the Atlantic, in a north-easterly direction, as far probably as the polar regions. It is singular, that all the great hurricanes recorded in the history of Europe have occurred in the same month, viz. November. In the year 1282, on the 26th of that month, the sea was raised to an unusual height on the coast of Holland; and the Rhine was driven back by the tempest, covering the whole adjacent country with its waters, which, after the wind subsided, ran off with so furious a deflux, as to excavate and sweep away an immense tract of ground, now the bed of the Zuyder-Zee. On the 19th of November, 1321, the dykes of Holland were again broke by the sea, hurled forwards by the violence of the wind, when seventy-two villages were destroyed, and upwards of 100,000 persons perished. On the 5th of November 1430, the 22d, 1686, the 26th, 1703, the Ilth, 1775, hurricanes raged over western Europe with tremendous violence.

The year closed with the great snow storm, covering in many places to the depth of several feet, the 60,000 square miles of England, with the north of France, Spain, Holland, and Germany. The quantity with which this vast district was sheeted, must have amounted to many millions of tons; and how prodigious the force Vol. I. N. S.- Vol. XX.

3 G

that in a few hours produced the material, gave form and body to a liquid and almost intangible element, and cast it over hill and vale, city and hamlet, in a single night. The operation, sudden in its commencement, rapid in its progress, and immense in its product, evidences a power the measure of which no finite intelligence can embrace; and calls upon us to say of Him “by whom are all things," with an inspired observer of his works, “ Thou doest great things past finding out, marvellous things without number.”

The visible creation is intended to show forth to us the invisible Creator_" the earth is full of His riches”- the various products that from time to time are heaped upon its surface, come from the storehouse of his infinite mind, and array him before us in the possession of boundless power and skill. Every object around us, from the greater to the more minute, asserts his existence, and proclaims his power—the very stones cry out that He is—and all the agencies of nature are in constant operation, giving, in their respective spheres of action, their testimony to his being and attributes. “ Fire and hail, snow and vapour, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars,” are his witnesses, and “ show forth his praise." As we journey onwards through life, we have constant manifestations that God is with us; objects present themselves to our notice, and events transpire, which prove that he is “ nigh at hand”-for “ all things are of him," whether sentient beings or rude inanimate matter; whether animal, vegetable, or mineral productions; they are brought into existence, sustained in being, and made to answer their particular intention by his exerted agency. Every season of the year has a discovery of God peculiar to itself; and receives from him the varions phenomena that characterize its course. In summer, “ he causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man:" in winter, “ he giveth snow like wool, he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes, he casteth forth his ice like morsels, who can stand against his cold ?

It is our duty to regard the Divine Being in all these his works; to look about us to see what he is doing; to catch these glimpses of him which the visible world opens to our view; and to rise from admiration of the grand and beautiful around us, to the adoration of Him from whom all grandeur and beauty emanate. Whatever he condescends to do cannot be unworthy of our attention; every spot along our paths, where he is present by his special agency, we should visit with the hearing ear and the understanding heart, that every instance of divine power and wisdom, in the kingdom of nature and the economy of grace, may sacredly impress our minds, elevate our affections, strengthen piety, and prepare us for those nobler scenes which the world to come will open upon the purified spirit. They who thus walk with God by faith here, will walk with him by sight hereafter-be taken from the present world, the outer court of his vast temple, into the holiest of all, to be for ever delighted with his glory, and happy in his presence.

At the same period when a resistless chemistry was operating in our atmosphere, fabricating the pure and delicate material, which was drifted in such abundance upon our soil, an agency was at work

in another region, beneath the surface, displaying a power as intense, and producing effects the most disastrous.

On the 5th of April last, at a meeting of the Geological Society, letters were read respecting an earthquake in Syria and Palestine, addressed by Mr. Moore, his Majesty's Consul-General at Beyrout, to Viscount Palmerston, and communicated by J. Backhouse, Esq. and the Hon. W. T. H. Fox Strangways, Under Secretaries of State.

The first letter, dated Beyrout, Jan. 2, 1837, relates that an earthquake was felt in that city, at thirty-five minutes past four o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day. It was accompanied by a rumbling noise, lasted about ten seconds, and appeared to proceed from the north. No buildings were thrown down in the town, but seven or eight without the walls, and one or two lives were lost. In the neighbourhood the course of the river Ontilius was suspended, and mills built on its banks were deprived of water for some hours. When the stream returned it was turbid, and of a reddish sandy colour. During the day of the earthquake the atmosphere was close and charged with electricity. Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 66°, but five minutes after the earthquake it rose to 70°. Four or five minutes after the shock the compass was still agitated. The oldest inhabitant did not remember so severe an earthquake.

The second letter was dated Beyrout, and written partly on the 9th of January, and partly on the 23d. It contained detailed accounts of the damage which had been done to numerous towns and villages. At Damascus four minarets and several houses were thrown down; and at Acre, part of the walls and some buildings. Safet was entirely destroyed, and nearly all the population, amounting to between four and five thousand, perished.* * The ground near the city was rent into fearful chasms, and up to the last accounts shocks were felt daily. Tiberias was also entirely overthrown, except the baths;t and the lake rose and swept away many of the inhabitants. The dispatch contains a list of thirty-nine villages which had been totally destroyed, and six partially ; and Mr. Moore states, it had been ascertained, that the earthquake was felt on a line of five hundred miles in length, by ninety in breadth. It was also perceived in the island of Cyprus.

In tracing the geographical boundaries of the volcanic region, we find a chain of country traversing the whole of the southern part of the European continent, and entering Asia for a considerable distance, subject to the action of subterranean agencies. The chain commences at the Azores, and extends to the Caspian Sea, having for its northern boundaries the Tyrolean and Swiss Alps, and for its southern bounds the northern kingdoms of Africa. Between the eastern and western limits of the district, Syria and Palestine are

* Safet, written by Burckhardt Szaffad, is a few miles north of the Sea of Tiberias. It stands upon an eminence, part of the southern branch of AntiLibanus. Its name does not occur in the Bible, but is mentioned once in the apocryphal book of Tobit, according to the Vulgate.-Tobit i, 1. The earthquake of 1759 reduced it to a heap of ruins, from which it had slowly recovered and become, previous to the receni calamity, a place of considerable importance. + Situated out of the town,

embraced. The district has frequently been visited with earthquakes, some of them, as those of Calabria and Lisbon, causing the whole continent to vibrate. Etna, Vesuvius, and Stromboli, are at present the chief active vents of the eruptive forces; but anciently Vesuvius was in a state of torpor, and the island of Ischia in its neighbourhood was the scene of volcanic explosion. This small spot, about eighteen miles in circumference, now containing a population of twenty-five thousand, was frequently abandoned by its inhabitants on account of its violent convulsions. Before the Christian era, the Erythreans, the Chalcidians, and a colony established by Hiero, king of Syracuse, were successively driven from it. Ischia however sunk into repose, when, in the year 79, Vesuvius burst forth from the stillness of ages, and overwhelmed the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii with its ashes. Eruptions are mentioned as occurring from the earliest periods to which history and tradition extend : Thucydides speaks of three between the colonization of Sicily by the Greeks, and the commencement of the Peloponesian war. One of these is described by Pindar in his first Pythian ode.

“ Forth from her inmost caverns force their way,

Fountains of pure and unapproached fire,
Rivers of smoke that blot the face of day,
And from their source of lurid flame aspire.

But flashes of bright hue illume,
The horrors of nocturnal gloom,
And hurl the rocks with thundering sound,

Whelm'd in the watery gulf profound.
The restless monster from his burning seat,
Sends up to heaven the springs of direst heat,
And strikes with mute surprise their eye and ear,

Who see the wondrous fire, and sounds prodigious hear." The eastern confine of the great volcanic region to which we are referring, including Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, has been subject to earthquakes from the earliest periods, but upon a more tremendous scale in ancient than in modern times. In Asia Minor there is a territory called the Catakekaumene, or the “burned,” extending, according to Strabo, upwards of five hundred stadia, or about sixty-two miles in length, and four hundred stadia, or about fifty miles in breadth. It commenced a short distance to the east of Philadelphia, and gave rise to its numerous earthquakes, to the hot waters of Hierapolis, the nitrous lakes of Anara, and the name of Laodicea Combusta. The whole district was anciently covered with vines, brought to great perfection by the heat of the soil, and was selected by the poets as the spot where the monster Typho was overthrown by the lightning of Jupiter. The face of the country retains marks of the action of subterranean agencies, though it has long been in a state of comparative repose.

The Holy Land has frequently suffered, and been violently agitated, by the explosion of the eruptive forces collected in “the deep places of the earth :" in almost every century since the first Hebrew patriarch pitched his tent upon its soil, the “ mountains have trembled," “ the perpetual hills have bowed.” Striking evidences of

« ElőzőTovább »