« AnteriorContinuar »
It is true, in the war alluded to, little exertion was made by either party ; yet with the knowledge we now have, the very greatest exertion would not have been too great. The French court was too busy in burning Huguenots to think of Brazil; and Coligny's generous plans being ruined by Villegagnon's treachery, the admiral could regard the colony no longer, and Portugal was almost as inattentive as France. The death of Joam was an irreparable loss; for the queen regent, and after her the Cardinal Henrique, displayed little zeal and activity,
After this victory, the governor,* according to instruction, traced out a new city, which he called St. Sebastian's, in honor of the saint under whose patronage they had taken the field, and of the king.
Mem da Sa stained the foundations of this city with innocent blood. Joam Boles was one of those who had been compelled to fly from Villegagnon's persecutions: he was a man of learning, and versed in Greek and Hebrew. Luis de Gram, a Jesuit, caused him to be apprehended with three of his comrades, one of whom feigned to be a Catholic; the others were cast into prison; and there Boles had remained eight years when he was now sent for to be martyred at Rio Janeiro or St. Sebastian's, for the sake of terrifying his countrymen,t if any should be lurking about.
The French subsequently attempted to form settlements in Pernambuco and Paraiba, but were prevented in every instance.
We have now gone orer more than half a century in the history of Brazil ; and we feel prepared to say that it is full, and embraces every thing which is worthy of notice, except what we have reserved for other sheets, respecting the aborigines of this country, which is interesting in the extreme.
It may be expected that we would give some account of our authorities in the commencement of this number; but this we prefer to reserve until the conclusion, when we shall know what is most valuable. We would however state, that we have access to the the heart, and faith fixed on God, would south and north have united in a vigorous onset to subdue the world to Christ; and the shout of the new world redeemed have ascended up to the courts of Heaven, as the victor's chariot rolled its wheels in triumph.
* He began also to fortify both sides of the bar. All the works were completed, without any expense to the state, by the Indians, under the Jesuits. In the midst of the city was assigned to the company ground for a college, and, in the king's name, endowed it for the support of fifty brethren. The alcaide mor of the new city was put in possession of his office, with the usual formalities. “The governor gave him the keys of the gates ; upon which he went in, locked them, and the two wickets also, and bolted them, the governor remaining without. Then the alcaide called out to him, asking if he wished to enter, and who he was? To which he replied, that he was commander of that city of St. Sebastian, in the king's name, and would come in. The gates were then opened in acknowledgment that he was the capitam mor of that city and fortress of the king of Portugal."
† And not because he was a Protestant, as some writers think. What a misfortune-yea, more, what a crime, that Protestants are sometimes guilty of the very thing they condemn so strongly in Roman Catholics! Every fault or sin, as the case may be, is aggravated and heightened, and the result of it is a reaction. How much better the spirit and practice of charity and love.
public library of this empire, numbering above eighty thousand volumes. In this is contained every thing which can in any way relate to Brazil, except a written Indian grammar and dictionary, which I am endeavoring to procure from the library at Bahia city.
Rio Janeiro, Oct. 8, 1838.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
O how love I thy law !-Psal. cxix, 97.
BY REV. R. W. ALLEN, OF THE NEW-ENGLAND CONFERENCE. The law of God, as contained in the holy Scriptures, demands our most serious and unwearied attention. No one will question this position, with a moment's reflection on the subject, especially if we consider how much we are indebted to this law for our present state and elevation in society. Do we enjoy the comforts of civilization? The Bible has furnished them. Do we enjoy that paternal affection, and those endearing associations and friendships of social life, peculiar to a Christian land? These are the offspring of the Bible. Do we live in an age replete with Christian institutions and enterprises for the melioration and salvation of mankind ? The Bible has taught the church her duty, and waked up her slumbering energies to feel and act for a perishing world. Have we the blessed gospel to show us how we may escape the "wrath to come,” and to light up our dark and dreary way through this “ vale of tears" to the pilgrim's rest in heaven? The Bible alone has taught the sinner his only hope, and unfolded the way to the ineffable glories of the life to come. In the heavenly effulgence of this sacred volume all the fallible and discordant notions of sages and philosophers of ancient times, with all the productions of unas. sisted reason of modern times, sink into insignificance. the psalmist, in holy exultation, exclaim,“ o how love I thy law !" May we heartily join with him in the exclamation !
In an attempt to elucidate the subject, we shall give,
I. A summary view of the history of this law.
By the law of God is meant here the word of God, as contained in the Old and New Testaments. The term law is frequently used in the Scriptures in a very comprehensive sense. The psalmist unquestionably used it in the text to signify that part of the Old Testament embracing the precepts and commands of God, then extant. By the word of God, we understand that discovery made by God to man of himself, or of his will, over and above what he has made known by the light of nature or reason.
This discovery, the most grand and important ever made to man, has been presented in the writings of divinely-inspired men. This collection of sacred writings has been denominated the Scriptures, as being the most important of all writings ;—the holy, or sacred Scriptures, because they are divinely inspired ;-the Bible, i. e. The Book, by way of eminence, being infinitely superior to every unassisted pro. duction of the human mind. To give an authentic history of such
a production would require no ordinary effort. A summary history is all we intend; yet much attention will be paid to its correctness. There are many things connected with the Bible which are not only important, but which are deeply interesting to every pious heart. Some of these things we will now notice :
1. The antiquity of the Scriptures. The first instance of a revelation committed to writing is that of the decalogue, or ten commandments, written on tables of stone, by the finger of God. (Exod. xxxi, 18.) God gave, from age to age, such portions of the sacred Scriptures to mankind as he saw they needed. The writings of the Scriptures were completed in the space of about 1900 years. The first writer was Moses; he wrote what is called the Pentateuch, which embraces the first five books in the Bible.
Moses probably commenced writing the Pentateuch about 1493 B. C., soon after the promulgation of the law on Mount Sinai. The Pentateuch begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth ; gives an account of the creation and fall of man, the history of the first inhabitants of the world, the origin of nations, the call of Abraham, the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, the remarkable events connected with the journeyings of the Israelites for forty years, and brings down the history to about eight days after the death of Moses. The last chapter of Deuteronomy, which gives an account of the death and burial of Moses, was probably detached from the book of Joshua, and should constitute the first chapter of that book. This chapter was probably written by Joshua. Moses died 1457 years before Christ. Hence the five books of Moses, if we may except the book of Job, contain the oldest writings now extant.
The book of Joshua is properly a continuation of the book of Deuteronomy, and brings down the history of the Israelites, and the wonderful dealings of God with them, to the death of Joshua, which took place 1443 years before the Christian era. The book of Job, according to Archbishop Magee, was originally written by Job, and subsequently transcribed by Moses. Whoever may have been the author, it bears a very ancient date. David was author of most of the Psalms; hence he is sometimes called the sweet singer of Israel. David died before Christ 1014. Solomon, his son and successor, was undoubtedly the author of the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon's Songs. He died B. C. 975.
The books of the prophets were unquestionably written by those whose names they bear. The first four books are called the four greater prophets, on account of the size of their books, and the extent and importance of their prophecies. The remaining twelve are called the twelve minor prophets, on account of the smallness of their respective books. All the books of the prophets were writ. ten between the years 839 and 425 B. C., during the space of about 400 years.
Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Esther, were probably compiled by Ezra out of the journals, which contained an account of events as they passed, kept by the scribes and other emi. nent men. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were written near the close of the Old Testament history. Ezra, the scribe, is allowed by the universal consent of antiquity to have restored, collected, and published the canon of the Old Testament. Scriptures, which
had before existed only in separate parcels, and had suffered much from the ignorance and carelessness of transcribers. He collected and arranged the books of the Old Testament nearly in the order we now find them. This work of collecting and arranging the Jewish Scriptures was, probably, done about 450 B. C. All the books of the New Testament were written before the year 100 of the Chris
That the history of the Bible is of far greater antiquity than any other writings appears from the fact, that it shows in many instances the origin of absurd fables and stories found in other histories of those remote times. Also the most ancient profane writers often speak of, and quote from, the sacred books. This demonstrates their greater antiquity.
Thus we have a synopsis of the antiquity of the holy Scriptures ; some of the writings of which, as before noticed, are the most ancient of any extant. As to the genuineness of the sacred books there can be no doubt. He that would doubt it may with more propriety doubt the genuineness of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Varro, and other profane authors. This point will be more fully noticed in the sequel. Who that carefully peruses these ancient records can but behold the wisdom and goodness of God in their miraculous preservation, and in handing them down through successive ages for our instruction and salvation? They are a " lamp to our path, a light to our feet.” They are pouring a stream of light on this dark and benighted world. They are destined to point millions of Adam's race, now groping in darkness, famishing with want, and increasing in wickedness, to the blood-stained cross of Christ, and to an unending rest in heaven.
2. The division of the Scriptures. Their general and proper division is as follow :
(1.) The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. This forms an important part of the sacred writings. Much of the information which it communicates could be obtained from no other source. “The works of Moses, we may justly say, have been a kind of text: book for almost every writer on geology, geography, chronology, astronomy, natural history, ethics, jurisprudence, political economy, theology, poetry, and criticism, from his time to the present day; books to which the choicest writers and philosophers in pagan antiquity have been deeply indebted, and which were the text-books to all the prophets ; books from which the flimsy writers against divine revelation have derived their natural religion, and all their moral excellence; books written in all the purity and energy of the incomparable language in which they were composed ; and, finally, books, which, for importance of matter, variety of information, dignity of sentiment, accuracy of facts, impartiality, simplicity, and sublimity of narration, tending to improve and ennoble the intellect, and meliorate the physical and moral condition of man, have never been equalled, and can only be paralleled by the Gospel of the Son of God!”
(2.) The historical books. These embrace the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2d Samuel, 1st and 2d Kings, 1st and 2d Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Acts of the Apostles. The facts and events narrated in these Vol. X.-April, 1839.
books are very important. We have here an account of the Jewish kings, their number, character, and period of their reign; of Divine Providence, at particular times, as vouchsafed in the preservation of the church; and of the judgments of God which befell the church in consequence of disobedience. The historical books of the Old Testament embrace a period of nearly one thousand years, commencing at the death of Moses, and terminating with the great national reform by Nehemiah, after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. The historical books of the New Testament give us a clear and distinct account of the genealogy, birth, labors, miracles, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. have also an account of the life and character of the apostles, and of their indefatigable labors and sufferings in preaching the gospel.
This division of the sacred writings abounds in instructive and Scriptural biography. The lives, persecutions, privations, labors, triumphs, and deaths of holy men are here narrated with unequalled impartiality, simplicity, perspicuity, and precision. “How impartial is the history that God writes! We may see from several commentators what man would have done, had he had the same facts to relate. The history given by God details as well the vices as the virtues of those who are its subjects. How widely different from that in the Bible is the biography of the present day! Virtuous actions that were never performed, voluntary privations which were never borne, piety which was never felt, and, in a word, lives which were never lived, are the principal subjects of our biographical relation. These may well be termed the lives of the saints, for to these are attributed all the virtues which can adorn the human character, with scarcely a failing or a blemish; while, on the other hand, those in general mentioned in the sacred writings stand marked with deep shades. What is the inference which a reflecting mind, acquainted with human nature, draws from a comparison of the biography of the Scriptures with that of uninspired writers? The inference is this: the Scripture history is natural, is probable, bears all the characteristics of veracity, narrates circumstances which seem to make against its own honor, yet dwells on them, and often seeks occasion to REPEAT them. It is true! infallibly true! In this conclusion common sense, reason, and criticism join. On the other hand, of biography in general, we must say, that it is often unnatural, improbable; is destitute of many of the essential characteristics of truth ; studiously avoids mentioning those circumstances which are dishonorable to its subjects; ardently endeavors, either to cast those which it cannot hide into deep shades, or sublime them into virtues. This is notorious. From these facts a reflecting mind will draw this general conclusion-an impartial history, in every respect true, can be expected only from God himself.” Such a history we unquestionably have in the holy Scriptures.
(3.) The poetical books. There are five which properly receive this appellation, viz., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. These received the title, poetical books, because they were almost wholly composed in Hebrew verse. These books contain many important maxims for the government of human life. Here the Christian can find something to meet his varied necessities