Page images

that people whose God is the Lord.” Psa. cxliv. 15. « And thic ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion, with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall Hee away." Isa. xxxv. 10.

In such language as this, the holy Word describes the happiness and pleasure of the truly religious man. His internal state is described as a state of peace, quietness, tranquillity. And why? Because he is no longer under the influence of infernal spirits, nor subject to self-will, lust, pride, unruly passions, envy, hatred, love of the world, &c. but all his understanding is directed by truth ; his affections influenced by love; he is humble, meek, lowly minded; he is contented and resigned; he is in association with angels of heaven; has conjunction with the Lord himself; and is no longer under the love, the power, or practice of what is evil. He feels an inward and inexpressible pleasure in obedience to divine laws; in being sober, just, faithful, charitable, and holy. These virtues bring their own reward along with them, and a consciousness of the divine approbation affords more solid satisfaction and joy than ten thousand worlds can give. And as the internal state of the religious man is a pleasurable one, so is his external. The good man is cheerful, lively, and animated; he does not hang down his head like a bulrush; nor does melancholy sit on his brow; he is neither foolishly cheerful on the one hand, nor mopish and sullen on the other; but he is placid, serene, and happy. You may read the heaven that is in his soul in his words, his looks, his deportment and conduct. You can hardly be in his company but you feel the influx of peace and pleasure from his sphere.

As a member of society, the good man diffuses happiness all around him; he is happy himself, and he longs to make others the same; he is a good citizen, ever seeking the good of his country, and a good neighbor; he laments to see any one miserable, and does all that he can to alleviate the distresses of all; he is not like the man of the world, who wishes to engross all happiness and pleasure to himself; no, his desire is to communicate bliss to others, and the more he can do that, the more exquisite is his own joy; he loves his neighbor as he loves himself, and this is the proof he gives of that love; namely, a continual endeavor to make his neighbor as happy as himself. Indeed, it is from this love, this pure charity, that heaven is what it is. There all is love, and each one is happy in contributing to the happiness of the whole.

Again, if we consider him as the head of a family, as parent or governor ; his house is a mansion of peace, the residence of pleasure and joy; quarrels, strife, confusion, and disorder are known not in his dwelling; but peace, order, and love, abide in his house; his own example, instruction, and conduct, inspire his whole family with the love of religion and virtue; and all that are around him call him blessed.

Further, consider the religious man as to his fears, his hopes, and his prospects; and how different here from the ugodly man! He fears God. But how? With the fear of a child. That is, he so fears him, as not willingly to offend. All his care is to obey and serve his God. He knows that all his happiness, peace, and pleasure, are alone from God, his father and friend; and gratitude impels him to do his will. But he neither fears death, judgment, nor eternity; these he can contemplate with composure, with pleasure, yea, with nameless rafiture. He knows he dies but to live ; shall stand in judgment, to be rewarded ; and eternity will crown all his joys. His hopes and expectations are founded upon the unalterable word and promise of the Lord his God. They support him under every conflict and trouble of life; he knows they cannot fail him, because God is true and faithful. Therefore, as the apostle says, “ Hope is an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast."

Such is the hope of the religious man; and how great must be the consolations derived from it! And as to his prospects, how noble, , how exalted are they all! In this world he neither wishes for honor, wealth nor possessions; with what Providence has given him he is contented. But in the next world, he expects “ what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; yea, what has never entered into the heart of man to conceive.” He knows that “ in the presence of God is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for ever more.There is hardly a page in the Bible but what raises his expectation, and fills him with joy; the more he contemplates the eternal state, the more is his soul elated with rapture and bliss. And could we follow the truly religious man into the eternal world; could we behold him in that celestial state just as he is; could we view his internal and external life; we should see him stand a pure, spotless form of love and charity ; all within the mind, heaven, peace, tranquillity, and joy. We should see him in the presence of his beloved Lord God and Saviour ; surrounded syith angelic forms of love, excellence and beauty; associated with

them, partaking of their felicity, uniting with them in all the infinite. ly delightful exercises of that kingdom; dwelling in a mansion erect. ed by the hand of omnipotence and wisdom; and ten thousand times ten thousand internal and external pleasures perpetually awaiting him, in continual and everlasting succession. In short, we should behold him fully and eternally delivered from all evil, pain, sorrow, and death, and everlastingly in the possession of all good, rest, joy, peace, life, and pleasure.

But here all human language fails ; no tongue can tell, no pen. cil paint, no heart conceive those joys. However, glorious, great, and infinite as they are, they are not too glorious, 100 great, or too lasting, for God to give. He hath promised them, and reserved them for every good man and woman, and he will give them to all who are such. Millions of millions are now in the possession of them; thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, constantly entering into possession; and in a very few years, or days, our readers and ourselves will possess them likewise, if we live a truly religious life.

Now, Christian reader, say what you think of religion; is not the yoke of Jesus easy, and his burden light? Love him, love your neighbor, keep the commandments of your God. There is your whole duty; this is all the yoke and burden. Is it not a light one, especially, when you consider what unspeakable pleasures attend such a life? While the man of no religion is perpetually unhappy, destitute of peace, joy, or true pleasure; living in trouble, dying in pain, and sinking in wo; the man of real religion is happy here, cheerful through life; he dies in hope, and rises to a glorious immortality.

Surely, then, we shall all take the advice of our adorable and merciful Lord. He says, “ take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meck and lowly, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” If we have not obeyed this injunction, let us do it now; and if we have, let us continue in the service of the Lord: and by scripture and experience make ourselves acquainted with the true pleasures of a religious life. We assert, with confidence, that such a life only can make us truly happy; and therefore hope to be all united, and with our heart and mind engage in it. Not forgetting that true religion makes us good citizens, good members of society, good neighbors, as well as happy in our own souls. If we abstain from that which is evil, and do that which is good, we must be uscful in life to all, according to our ability. And the more we are so, the more pleasure shall we feel in our own minds.

Let us daily labor to get free of every evil of heart and life, (for that alone is the cause of all misery) and diligently pursue the path of goodness, faita, and love; that we may be filled with the joys and happiness of heaven. And in a very ļittle time we shall find our regeneration completed; be called away into the eternal world; behold the Lord Jesus our God, whom we have loved and obeyed; mingle with the angels of heaven; enter our mansions of peace and rest; partake the nameless felicities of that blessed world; and enjoy the rewards and pleasures thereof, which our God hath promised, (and will then give) through the boundless ages of a happy and joyful eternity!

Such are the sentiments which this work is intended to inculcate; nor will we forget, while describing the pleasures of Paradise, to point out the path which conducts us to it.' Thanks be to our blessed Lord ! salvation is possible to all men: If we only co-operate with him in the work, we shall certainly attain to it. His spirit eternally acts, but it is necesssary for man to re-act; he is always operating, but we must co-operate. Salvation, on any other plan, would be destroying that very volition without which we should be utterly incapable of enjoyment, either in this life or the next.

Among the good man's pleasures in his journey through life, those arising from LITERATURE are not the least deserving: they have a right to the second place in his affections. But it is painful for him to seek those flowers in fields abounding with all the poisonous weeds of sensuality and profanity ; where he is obliged to be so very cautious in his selection, that the good and useful are often neglected through fear of plucking the noxious and hurtful. Under this impression, the present work was projected, which is intended to unite Religion with Literature, and afford at once a banquet for the Christian and the scholar.

With respect to the choice of a title, we were governed wholly by the character and temper which this Magazine is intended ta adopt and ever to wear:

" In all our strictures placid we will be,
As Halcyons brooding on a summer sea."

The rule and guide of our faith was given us by the Prince of Peace; and the promotion of peace among the professors of christianity shall be our constant aim. Contention and discord are as

much opposed to the religion of Jesus, as hell is opposed to Heaven; and we are fondly looking for those Halcyon days when they will be banished from earth and confined to their native infernal abodes.

CORRESPONDENCES. As we are now entering upon a subject to which most of our readers are probably entire strangers, an attempt shall be made to explain its nature, in terms familiar to the most common capacity. It is hoped that it will not be rejected, unexamined, merely because it is new; but that every candid Christian, who is searching after truth for truth's sake, will leave no covert unexplored where there is a shadow of a possibility of its being found. We most solemnly assure our readers that they will find this subject possesses an importance worthy their attention, and entreat them to examine it impartially, before they approve or condemn.

In the prospectus of this work,“ The wonderful Science of Correspondences" holds a conspicuous place, an explanation of which is there promised, and shall here be given. It is there called a key to the internal sense of the Sacred Scriptures, which it is intia mated were written in conformity to it. In confirmation of this, we now assert, and are prepared to prove, that this science is the only ene spiritual and infallible rule of interpreting the sacred and inspired volume in all its parts, which renders it truly worthy of a God of infinite love and wisdom to give, and of his rational and beloved offspring, man, to receive; by making it harmonious and consistent throughout the whole, superior to all human compositions whatsoever, by unfolding the mysteries of the Lord's glorification in a supreme sense, and of man's regeneration in a respec. tive sense. So far therefore from assuming to give a fanciful, conjectural, or arbitrary signification to the Holy Word, like the many discordant explications of mistaken commentators, the Science of Correspondences is the only fixed rule of Divine analogy and universal application, which only requires to be understood, in order to be cordially received, and which will have a certain tendency to make all who do receive it, united in their judgments concerning the true and genuine sense of the Word of God.

« PreviousContinue »