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know that you have bewailed it as David wept over his. It will suggest that worse than failings characterise you, and seek to destroy you by innuendoes. If it cannot in these ways assault you, then it will lay at your door every deed of violence and crime which has ever been perpetrated in the name of religion, though it knows that you have openly disowned all this wickedness a hundred times. It will, with affected pity, rejoice if any ill befall you, and either attribute it to your religion, in the hope of winning you back to its own ways, or hold it up to others as a proof of your insincerity. If, however, you are well to do in its affairs, it will not, perhaps, interfere with you so positively; and provided it see only the morality of your life, if you are poor, it may even praise you; for it has doubts respecting the propriety of irreligion in “ the lower orders of society," and does, in fact,
attend public worship” chiefly for their benefit. And if, after all that it has said to hinder you, you have not heeded its words, nor turned from your purpose, then, since it has lost the use of those cogent arguments, the prison, the fine, exile, torture, death-by which it once enforced its dictates—then it will prodigiously admire you, and will assert that it did always perceive a vast difference between you and the hypocrites; for so it will promise itself the credit of loving what it sees and hates in you.'
This is what the world says. Your own observation of what has passed around you will prove it. It always has built the tombs of the prophets whom its fathers had slain. It chose Barabbas and crucified Jesus, and every day confirms that choice, and crucifies the Son of God afresh; and yet it is scandalized if it is not called • Christian.' Yes, this is what it says; and now, instead of being filled with alarm when that question is put to us, we can reply, · We know what the world would say; we have considered it carefully, and estimated its value, and we are not concerned at what it says- we will follow Christ!'
But, perhaps, you have not so fully escaped from the influence that enthralled you. There is something almost illimitable in the world;'
have some new word to speak respecting you. That is what it has said ; is it all it can say? We will endeavour to reduce this illimitable world' to its true bounds. We will answer him who asks • What would the world say?' by other questions— Whom do you mean by the world? There are not many who are acquainted with me, and very few who can know my private thoughts and life. And of these, some only will take the trouble to pass judgment upon me; and not all of them will give expression to it; and I shall hear, at most, what two or three think of my proceeding. They cannot be the world” whose verdict I am to wait for, and to receive so submissively.
• Or, do you mean that I should act so that the wisest and best of my associates and friends may approve and love me? This cannot be; for they certainly would commend me for taking Jesus as my Lord and guide, and with a tearful joy invoke upon me Heaven's prospering smile and blessing; and you would dissuade me from such a course. I begin to think that it is only a vast air-shadow of yourself, which, like the spectre of the Brocken, mimics gigantically all your move
ments, and now stretches out Titanic arms to repel me from the way of life; and which you would have me see, and tremble at, and call " the world.” Is it so?
• Or, can it be that you intend nothing less than “men in general," when you speak of “the world ?”—those who make up “civilized society," and form the “
common-sense” of the age? You would have me, by such opportunities as are afforded me, discover what is the conventional view of earnest concern for the salvation of the soul. Can this be the task you desire me to undertake?'
Thus we might reply; and if any meaning had been associated with the words of the question, and it had not been employed as irreligious cant alone, it must be acknowledged that we have expressed it, or suggested it, in our inquiries. And now you may say, 'It is not those two or three who are privileged, as old friends, to tell me, unbidden, what they think of my newly-formed resolution, whose judgment I can fear. Each one of them knows me well enough to understand me if I “ forsake all” and follow Christ. Still less can I regard with apprehension what they say, whose opinion of me I have never cared to know. And as for “conventionalism,” what is it but the colossal airshadow of the men of each age, and how should I fear that ?' And then the conviction comes, with oppressive force, that it is just because • conventionalism' is so impalpable that it is so operative a presence in every heart in each age; that it is, indeed, the very air which society in each age respires. And that over all—save those who (you well know), even as the angels of God,' rejoice over one sinner that repenteth'-over all friends and acquaintances, strangers and foes, that colossal shadow broods; all see and fear that shadow of themselves; all ask respecting their own doings, · What would the world say?' and the world' will look enmity to you through their eyes, and speak it by their voices, and act it by their hands. Every one will be ready to execute the world's sentence against its recusant.
For beside the terror inspired by the misty vagueness of the world,' and what it would say,' there is that which arises from the implied consequences of its verdict, whatever that may be. And when you have discovered what it actually says, you see lurking behind the harshly unjust sentence-behind the false accusation--behind the secret slander—the deadly purpose to inflict substantial harm upon
you have discovered what it actually is, you perceive that it can put you under the ban of the circle you have been accustomed to move in; that it can prejudice against you those upon whom depends your daily bread; that it can create foes in your own household; and that it will do all this, and more, if you refuse to obey its bidding, and choose the better part.' And from this proceeds much of the benumbing influence exerted on the soul by the question, What would the world say?"
The world will do this; but what I told you of the admiration it would affect for you, if it found that it could neither cajole nor terrify you from your purpose, is true notwithstanding. And this leads me to the practical issue of what I have said. You would know how to
gain this victory over the world—how to extort from it this confession of defeat. I know of one way by which this may be effected; and you must not be disappointed when I speak of it, nor think it an unreal dream. Have you ever noticed how faintly the most apt and faithful words depict realities, for those who have neither witnessed nor experienced them? Make trial of this way, and you shall find (perhaps after conflict the sharpest), the triumph really your own.
But tell me, do you purpose to follow Christ indeed? If you do not, I have no word for you now. You do, however, mean what is signified by following him. Upon this depends both the conflict and the victory; and this is the path in which they may be found. As far as you perceive what is implied in that purpose, so far, and fully, dare to do. Now, it may be, he appears to you as the pardoner of sin,-ah, how welcome! Cling to him. Be sure that he will forgive, even you! And whilst he yet is speaking, 'Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee!' you shall see him, as it were, transfigured before you, and in him you shall behold a means of access to the living streams, which flow from the Eternal Throne. Drink of those streams. They will never dry up. Make them the sources of your heart's dearest life. Saviour and Life-he next may show himself as Law to you. Attempt that lofty walk to which he invites. It is practicable, it is safe, it is the true way, or he would not call you to it. · Ever in your great Taskmaster's eye;' serving God; seeking his praise only, such is this mode of life. And at every step, arms invisible, but almighty, will bear you up; and a spirit, meekly courageous, ever to dare and do greater things, will possess you; and you will prove what it is to 'go in the strength of the Lord.' Onwards, and still onwards, pursue the living way ;-you will, ere long, find that all things have strangely changed their aspects to you. There is wisdom where you had been told was folly only. It is not so difficult to be alone in your thought, in your
deed. He was so. That great shadow which overawes men's souls ;-to you it matters not whether it loom there terrible, or never appear. The truth is what you long after in all your speculations, in all your aspirations and love. The right is what you would do, in small things and in great. And duty and freedom are one.
He did 80. Higher, and still higher, urge your course. Did not he deny himself, even to the cross, and its shame? You will take up your cross, and follow him!
• What would the world say?'- None of these things move me.' • Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.' *It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment !” The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.' Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of him who is good ? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience;
that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.' If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.'
* Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him.' •Be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.'
Stone Pillar-tworship in Ireland in 1851.
[The following curious account, by Sir James Emerson Tennant, of the existence at the present day of a pure pagan idolatry on the west coast of Ireland, will be read with painful interest. It seems almost impossible to realize the fact, that within five hundred miles of the metropolis, and in one of our own islands, there should exist such strange remains of the darkest and most perfect heathenism. One of the most curious circumstances, however, connected with the discovery of this worship, is the fact that until now the existence of the people does not appear to have been known. We have carefully searched the most modern Gazetteers and Cyclopædias, as well as the last Census returns, and find not the slightest reference to them; so that even the tax-gatherer has not found them out. The writer of the article inquires whether it can be ascertained if this is the last remnant of pillar-worship now remaining in Europe ? and especially, whether any further trace of it is to be found in any other portion of the British dominions? Perhaps some of our readers may be able to give information on this subject. It is but right to add, that we extract this article from an extremely valuable weekly publication, known, doubtless, to the majority of our subscribers— Notes and Queries.' -ED. CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR.] In a work recently published by the Earl of Roden, entitled Progress of the Reformation in Ireland,' there occurs a curious account of a remnant of this ancient form of fetichism still existing in Inniskea, an island off the coast of Mayo, with about 380 inhabitants ; amongst whom, he says,
• A stone carefully wrapped up in flannel is brought out at certain periods to be adored; and when a storm arises, this god is supplicated to send a wreck on their coast.'-P. 51.
A correspondent in the same volume writes to Lord Roden that,
• They all speak the Irish language, and among them is a trace of that government by chiefs, which in former times prevailed in Ireland ; the present chief or king of Inniskea is an intelligent peasant called Cain, whose authority is acknowledged, and the settlement of all disputes is referred to his decision, Though nominally Roman Catholics, these islanders have no priest resident among them ; they know nothing of the tenets of that church, and their worship consists in occasional meetings at their chief's house, with visits to a holy well called Derivia. The absence of religion is supplied by the open practice of pagan idolatry. In the south island a stone idol called in the Irish Neevougi, has been from time immemorial religiously preserved and worshipped. This god resembles in appearance a thick roll of homespun flannel, which arises from the custom of dedicating to it a dress of that material whenever its aid is sought; this is sewed on by an old woman, its priestess. Of the early history of this idol no authentic information can be procured, but its power is believed to be immense; they pray to it in time of sickness, it is invoked when a storm is desired to dash some hapless ship upon their coast, and again it is solicited to calm the waves to admit of the islanders fishing or visiting the main land.' -Ib. pp. 53, 54.
This statement, irrespective of graver reflections, is suggestive of a curious inquiry, whether this point of Ireland, on the utmost western verge of Europe, be not the last spot in Christendom in which a trace can now be found of stone-pillar worship ?-the most ancient of all forms of idolatry known to the records of the human race; and the most widely extended, since at one time or another it has prevailed in every nation of the old world, from the shores of Lapland to the confines of India ; and, I apprehend, vestiges of its former existence are to be traced on the continent of America.
Before men discovered the use of metals, or the method of cutting rocks, they worshipped unhewn stones; and if the authenticity of Sanchoniathon is to be accepted, they consecrated pillars to the fire and the wind before they had learned to hunt, to fish, or to harden bricks in the sun. (Sanchon. in Cory's . Ancient Fragments,' pp. 7,8.) From Chna, “the first Phænician' as he is called by the same remote authority, the Canaanites acquired the practice of stone-pillar worship, which prevailed amongst them long before :
• Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it; and called the name of the place Bethel, saying, this stone which I have set up for a pillar shall be God's house.'Gen. xxviii, 18, 22. The Israelites were repeatedly ordered to destroy these stone idols of the Canaanites, to overthrow their altars, and break their pillars' (Deut. vii. 5 ; xii. 3). And when the Jews themselves, in their aberrations, were tempted to imitate their customs, Moses points a sarcasm at their delusion:
• Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted ? How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their rock had sold them?'-Ib. xxxii. 30, 37.
From Jacob's consecration of his stone pillar, and the name Bethel which he conferred upon it (which, in Phænician, signified the house of God), were derived the Bætylia, Bartúlia, or Bairúloi, the black stones worshipped in Syria and Asia Minor, in Egypt, and in Greece before the time of Cecrops, under the names of Cybele and of Saturn, who is fabled to have swallowed one of them when he intended to have devoured his son Jupiter. Even in the refined period of Grecian