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by creeds or crude prejudices of any kind. If he is tolerably well informed in the Mythology of any of the ancient Nations, with the exception of the Hebrews, what a contrast will he trace between the first Source of all existence, the Creator and absolute Disposer of the "heaven and heaven of heavens" of those writings, and the crude and monstrous fabrications of Heathen lore! A world is evolved from a previous or general confusion of the elements,* and is elaborated in the space of six diurnal revolutions, into a system of the highest order, with plants and animated beings finely formed and adapted to the several elements in which they live and move; while man, a creature adapted to take cognizance of the whole, to discern the unseen Hand, and the all comprehensive wisdom and beneficence, which plans, regulates, and secretly pervades the visible system, is placed at the head. Narration from that time forward proceeds, with a genealogical historical and chronological view of the man and his race down to the period in which the art of Writing came into general use. That account of the origin of man and of the existing orders of organised being, is confirmed by the frequent references and allusions to it throughout the Hebrew

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*The Writer has long been convinced that whoever will consider that the account of the six days work commences with v. 3 of Gen. i., "God said, Let there be light," &c., must be satisfied that it consisted of an elaboration of a previously chaotic mass into that beautiful world furnished with appropriate inhabitants, in which it has remained; with a continued succession and increase of their numbers. the species of both plants and animals retaining their characteristic distinctions, from that period onward to the present moment. The late researches of Geologists, curious and interesting as they are, so far from disproving, serve to confirm its statements; inasmuch as they have shown, that while at different periods, at remote distances of time, immense revolutions have been made on the surface of our Globe; and new orders of both plants and animals have been successively introduced, man and all the chief exist ing races at least, are of a comparatively recent origin. The beginning" v. 1, can denote no other than the time of their commencing existence; "create" is a common Hebrew term to denote the producing anything, in whatever manner; for instance the constitution of the Israelites as a peculiar people, Isaiah xlii, 1; the opening of the earth by miracle, Numb. xvi, 30; the uniting of the Jews and Gentiles in the Christian faith, Eph. ii, 10, &c. Gen. i, 2, but expresses the rude state in which the All-Potent Operator, as it were found our globe, when He saw fit to interpose with a rapidity suited to the occasion, in rendering it the glorious and beautiful world we still experience it to be. The Rev. John Burnett in the Penny Pulpit, No. I, p. 311, has thrown much light on "the connection" between "Geology and Christianity." If mankind did not begin to exist, at or about the period with which the Bible commences, we have no account whatever of their origin; whereas we have here a simple, but dignified description of the formation of man "out of the dust," and his elevation to the government of the inferior animals by Jehovah, the self-subsisting Author of all created things.

and Christian Scriptures; by the fourth commandment expressly delivered by a voice which reached the ears of six hundred thousand Israelites from the summit of a burning mount, and together with the other nine commandments, formed the great outline of sacred truth and duty, in opposition to Egyptian and Canaanitish idolatry of the grossest, most cruel and demoralizing character, for a long period. It is further confirmed by the viiith chapter of the Proverbs of Solomon, by many passages in the Psalms of David, by Nehemiah, by Christ in his discourses, by the united prayer of the Apostles and their first converts as recorded by Luke, and by the perfect consistency which runs through the Scriptures as distinguished from all other historical sources of sacred knowledge. One universal God, one Maker and absolute Disposer of the universe, is by these writings constantly brought before the human mind. He does not indeed act uniformly in the same manner; but varies his dispensations in adaptation to the varying states of human society. His Adamic, His Noahic, His Abrahamic, His Mosaic, and His Christan dispensations, are not the same. The rule of life varies, is more or less simple or complex, minute or comprehensive, in adaptation to the varying states of the human mind and human society, from its most infantine to its most advanced stages. The Old Testament views man in his progression through the successive periods of his mortal pilgimage; it but imperfectly opens to him the light of a life beyond it. The New Testament proclaims the great doctrine of a spiritual and eternal life; exemplifies it in the person of its great Leader, and accompanies it with a moral code and a doctrine and spirit of devotion entirely suited to it.

Such I apprehend is the general view which the mind sufficiently enlarged and unbiased, would be inclined to take of the collection of writings to which, as a whole, we have I think with the greatest reason, been accustomed to designate as "The Sacred Volume"; the details of which, with the exceptions of certain interpolated passages, or perverted sentences or clauses of sentences foisted in indifferent ages to serve the purposes of interested or prejudiced parties, cannot even be glanced at in this very slight sketch.



I NEED not to be told of the Infidelity which is abroad. I hear it with regret, but without fear. Infidelity has always been abroad, either in

disguise or openly. I know that some men will hurt themselves, and poison themselves, and throw away their best possessions, and scoff at the holiest feelings of their nature. But I also know that they cannot persuade their fellow men to follow their example. I also know that while there exist among men a reverence for what is high and holy, and a hope of happiness beyond the reach of accident and death, this reverence will continue to seek the instructions, and this hope to accept the promises, and rest on the proofs of the Gospel of Christ; and this will be so, notwithstanding some unfortunate persons have divested themselves of reverence and cast away hope. Go and ask the son or the daughter where the Parent is who nursed their helpless infancy, and sung to their childhood amidst its sunshine and showers, and loved, counselled, suffered and still forgave, ask them where that Parent is, now, that the face of father or mother is seen no more? They will say "IN HEAVEN!" Ask the Parents where the child is whom they sa lately held, and led by the hand, listening to its fresh wonder, cheered by its cheerfulness, and taught by its questionings and its purity? They may not be able to speak, but they will look upwards, and their hearts will answer "IN HEAVEN" There they have placed its image; there they see it smiling brightly upon them, in the labours of the day and in the silent watches of the night, and all the hundred hands of impiety and unbelief cannot tear it down. Nor can they take from the weary pilgrim the hope of his rest, from the traveller the sight of his Home, from the virtuous and the lovers of virtue the prospect of a better world. In such foundations as these the structure of our Religion is laid, and they are firm as the everlasting hills, and firmer. All this faith and hope in God, in virtue, in Christ, in Heaven; all this love of what is greatest and most worthy, is not to be exchanged, on a sudden, for what is nothing, at best. When I fear for Christianity, it will be after I have despaired of every thing spiritual, and every thing good. When I behold the beauty of the light, and the fitness of the eye to receive and rejoice in it, I no more fear that the Sun of Righteousness will set in shadows, than that the burning centre of our planetary system will fall from the skies. F. W. P. GREENWOOD.



No. I.

LET us follow Christ who with his dying breath prayed for his murderers, saying "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." By this public and solemn act of piety he declared and testified against Capital Punishment. Yes, on the cross he taught lessons of mercy and extinguished the impure spirit of vindictive retaliation, that we might have pity on the souls of malefactors, and never despair of reclaiming the greatest offenders.


But what is the practical language of those, who instead of imitating the patience of Christ, cut off evil doers from the land of the living? Is it not this? Unhappy men, you have committed a violent and horrid deed, and we must follow your base example. You have stained your hands with blood, and we therefore require your blood; you have placed a fellow-creature beyond the reach of repentance, we therefore send you where there is no repentance; you have hurried a soul into the presence of the Judge Eternal, you therefore must soon appear in the same awful presence and exchange the shadows of time for the realities of an eternal scene." But is this pardon, is this forgiveness? Is this the Charity which hopeth all things, the love which overcometh evil with good? Is this the voice from Calvary, and the mind of Christ?

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What was the conduct of God to the first murderer? Cain slew his brother. But was Cain put to death because he killed his brother? God set a mark on Cain, and his soul was haunted and worried with guilty terror, (the severest punishment of all,) and he was a fugitive and vagabond, having no settled inheritance, no comfortable home; but bad as he was, God permitted him to live, and the mark set upon him was for his protection, not destruction. Bad as he was, he did not expiate his guilt on a public scaffold, and perish, as an incorrigible offender, by the arm of violence, but "dwelt in the land."

This is expressly recorded of Cain, "He dwelt in the land"; but with his spiritual condition and final lot, Scripture has not acquainted us. Let us hope that, having been permitted to live, he lived to valuable purpose, and washed away from his conscience the crimson spots by tears of penitence, bathing his polluted soul in the fountain of mercy which flows, free and unexhausted, for the benefit of all.

Let us imitate God. If he spared the murderer, why should we seek to take away the murderers' life? Human guilt is great, but Divine grace is greater. God can soften the hardest and cleanse the foulest bosom. He can remove the heaviest burdens, and roll away the highest mountains of depravity.

"What though the cursed hand be thicker than itself with brother's blood! Is there not rain enough in the sweet heaven to wash it white as snow ?"

Why should we presume to limit the mercy of God, or suppose he cannot humble the loftiest eyes and expel the

demon of hate from the temple of the body, to make it a fit habitation for his own Spirit?

But there is another objection to Capital Punishment, arising from sources of error to which we all are liable, and the impossibility of correcting any mistake when one, having suffered death for felony, has been found innocent of the crime. Let us appeal to facts. There are cases, well authenticated, in which persons have been carried away and lost by a mighty stream of circumstantial or presumptive evidence. Innocent men have been cast into prison and sentenced to death; and with composure have they submitted to their hard fate, asserting their innocence on the scaffold; and, after some years, remorse has extorted confession from the real murderer, who, having surrendered himself up, has described with fidelity the horrible scene, to the removal of error and elucidation of truth. But, alas, the discovery was too late to benefit the parties who suffered wrongfully, or to promote, so far as they were concerned, the interests of truth and justice. If we must sometimes err, let us err on the side of mercy. God willeth not the death of a sinner, but would rather he should turn from his wickedness and live. Why then should we close the door which He hath opened, or extinguish the spark which he hath kindled ?

It is commonly alleged that the criminal is not hurried out of life, that he has time for repentance, that a Clergyman is appointed to give him spiritual help and that the fault is his own, if he do not make his peace with his Maker. But it be asked, Is not custom second nature ? And are may the evil habits of years to be subdued and broken by the moral discipline of a few days? How can the heart, oppressed with grief, and pierced with anguish in prospect of a violent and public death, be in a right state to receive the supports of piety and experience the comforts of religion?

It has been well observed that " we have no right to inflict a punishment, which if we shall hereafter find we have been in error, can be neither revoked, repaired, nor compensated."

How horrible the thought of an innocent person put to death by mistake, instead of the guilty! But this sad mistake has been made; and odious is the law which exposes men to its recurrence.

The execution of an offender is a disgrace to a Christian land. Let us shun the brutalizing scene. Man is the property of God. He breathed into his frame the breath of life; and that life is too sacred and precious to be at the disposal

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