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faculty, it will ever be found an indispensable spiritual aid. We doubt whether any refinement of human culture can entirely supersede the necessity of such an influ
It is the perfection of the gospel records, that they contain something to excite the interest, and form the faith, of every style of mind and of every order of intelligence. They are addressed to no special class, or age,
. and hence they have no rigid uniformity of expression. They speak to the soul and to the senses, to the reason and to the imagination; now they appeal to experience, and then they soar immeasurably beyond it. Like the phenomena of Nature, whose inexhaustible variety excites the admiration of man in all lands and in all times, and tends to develop in him some appropriate quality of character, these histories afford an infinite diversity of doctrines, snggestions, allusions, images, that adapt them to the corresponding diversity everywhere seen in the structure of the human mind. It is to be expected that different minds will estimate variously the relative value of the contents of these books. That which most effectually moves any individual believer, will naturally assume the highest place in his esteem. He is not to be censured for his preference, but let him beware of the bigotry that would prompt him to deny the worth of other agencies, because they may not be fitted to his particular case. The very means which his narrow philosophy fails to appreciate, may commend itself to the experience of millions of his brethren, as the chief instrumentality of their Christian faith and life. We cannot, therefore, afford to dispense with any of the agencies provided in the records of our religion. Each has demonstrated its efficiency, in the great work of extending divine authority over human existence, and promoting the knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ. That these agencies are so numerous and so diversified, is another indication to our mind, that God ordained their collection and preservation in our sacred books. In their amplitude of suggestions and range of instruction, they correspond to that bountiful diversity of means with which God has enriched both the material and spiritual worlds. In their fitness to all the varieties of human culture and experience, they associate them
selves with that vast system of adaptation, by which God harmonizes the universe and proves His eternal wisdom.
We have thus viewed some of the indications of Providence which appear in the circumstances attending the establishment of Christianity. Perhaps, at some future period, we may continue the theme which is here sus. pended, and notice some of the prominent tokens of divine superintendence disclosed in the subsequent history of our religion.
E. W. R.
Religious Aspects of the Eastern Question.
The Eastern Question is attracting a large share of public attention and private sympathy throughout the civilized world. In this country the arrival of each European mail is watched with intense anxiety, and every body asks for the latest news from the seat of war. So closely linked together are all nations in their commercial, political, social, and religious affinities and antipathies, that a slight shock at one extremity vibrates through every nerve, and a serious disorder in one part deranges the whole system. Whatever may be our wishes or our fears, all must admit that great and vital changes must ensue, for good or ill, to mankind, and on a scale of magnificence rarely witnessed by any generation. But there are so many elements involved, so many conflicting interests at stake, so many and such strong impelling forces enlisted, that no one can foresee the issues, or begin to calculate, with any certainty, the final results upon the commercial and religious interests of Christendom. Our faith, of course, admits that no permanent evil can ensue, for the world never goes backwards. Barbarism can not succeed amid the light that now shines through the Press and the Pulpit, however successful it may, at times, seem to be in some parts of earth. Nor is right so certain of a speedy
triumph, seeing it has to contend with errors become chronic in religion and politics, and prevailing extensively among friends and foes. Still, a conflict so warmly waged, and so extensively ramified, must end finally in results favorable to the advancement of a more thorough civilization-more social and religious freedom, and more and better charity among men.
This is not merely a question of to-day about words, a squabble after thrones, a strife for national existence or aggrandizement, or an outburst of passion seeking revenge. Such royal playthings may form a part of the programme -the most important part to some of the actors in it; but the world at large views it from another stand-point. Religion is mixed up in it and forms an essential element, and gives a decided coloring to the whole affair. But it is not one religion at war with another,-Christianity against Islamism, Catholicism against Protestantism. One Christian nation has made friends with an ancient and powerful rival, whose form of religion it disowns, and both are gone in company to strike hands with the bitter and long successful enemy of all Christianity, to help sustain it against the formidable attacks of a power fighting in the name and for the sake of what it claims to be the earliest and most orthodox form of Christian faith. And thus is revived, in all its intensity, the old feud of twelve centuries between the Greek and Latin churches. They are the real and original combatants in this fearful struggle, which now threatens the peace of the world. Lateral questions and ulterior objects are involved, unquestionably; but these, however prominent in some minds, are secondary to the unsettled question of pre-eminence, so long and so resolutely pursued by these rival churches into which Christianity was divided in the seventh century. England and Turkey, and the Protestant principalities of Germany, can not be directly party to the religious pretensions of Catholic France, which fomented the present difficulties, or to the darling aspirations of Russia, which is of the Greek faith. They must be influenced by other, by ulterior motives. England does not want the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean; but she does want Egypt for a colony to grow her cotton and her sugar and afford a more direct highway to her East India
possessions; and she is resolved to weld this link in the chain of her colonies which will complete the circle of her dominion around the globe. And she will have it before the blood and treasure of this war are all paid for. She held back from the conflict and parleyed with Russia while her fleet was in Besica Bay. But Russia demanded the lion's share would have Istamboul for a southern capital, possess herself of what Napoleon called "the gate of nations ; " to which England very naturally objected, and joined with Catholic France in a treaty offensive and defensive against Nicholas, the avowed patron and protector of the Greek Church.
Prussia and the German States can have no immediate interest in this question. They are shut out from the fears and dangers of Russian aggrandizement in the Mediterranean, except so far as the possessions of the Bosphorus would enable that country to subjugate all Europe to her already vast dominion. In religion they can have no more sympathy with one sect than with the other. They are free, with few exceptions, from the domination of both. It is, therefore, with them a choice of evils. As the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire would be a check to ecclesiastical and political ambition, one would naturally infer that they would side with the Western Powers, or remain neutral. The last they will undoubtedly do as long as they can, from selfish motives as well as from political and religious considerations. The King of Prussia, however, from family affinities, must have a penchant towards the success and honor of his magnificent brother-in-law. But royal relations do not always hold fast their personal regards against national interest. The people of Prussia can feel no desire to engage with Russia to help extend the borders of her dominions, already too great for the safety of smaller nations. In religion, in politics, in social condition, in every thing but their monarchy, their tendencies are with the west of Europe.
Austria is in a doubtful and difficult position, far from enviable in any point of view. In her political tendencies she is with Russia, a military despotism to all intents and purposes. In her weakness and she is inherently and essentially weak-her only assurance of permanent aid is from the quarter where she sought and found it in her recent necessity. Politically she has no claim upon the west of Europe, least of all upon the ruling power of France, whose royalty she formerly disowned and destroyed. But in religion the unity is complete, for Austria is Catholic from top to bottom. She gave an asylum to Jesuitism when banished from the west of Europe ; even, in pretence, from the Papal States. Her whole course has been jesuitical, sly, crafty, treacherous, domineering, cruel. It is so still. Nobody understands her policy; and having no moral principle, she can not have any one policy long enough to become known. At present it is doubtful if she knows what to do. To go with Russia she dare not, for then Catholicism would rebel, and Louis Napoleon, its self-constituted godfather, would at once proclaim the freedom of her Italian provinces, and all the priests of that church would bless him for it. However much she wishes to join the West, she does it reluctantly; for she fears Nicholas would denounce the base ingratitude and sweep over Poland and Hungary, and, not long after, Moravia and Bohemia, if not all Germany. Placed between the fire and the bramble, the Northern Bear growling behind and the Church frowning before, poor Austria is in a quandary, patiently as she can awaiting some chance to extricate herself from her dilemma. Threatened and perplexed as she is, if her advisers had possessed a spark of moral principle and manliness, or foresight enough to pretend it, she might ere this, in all human probability, have turned the scales and terminated the vexed question which has already cost so many wars. But her course has been so long dishonest and vacillating, that she is involved in a bewilderment which has confused her perception and produced a state of imbecility bordering upon self-destruction. Her geographical position would enable her at once to aid or defend Russia or Turkey in a way to make short work of the pending contest. She is reaping, and will reap, the due recompense of former dishonesty and present intrigues, let her do in the future what she may.