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födy, they are men of exemplary conduet, and regarded by heir adversaries as rather too rigid in their morals, and sepaation from the world. Their ministers are men of zeal and diligence; and their preaching generally more doctrinal and studied, resembling the old Puritans. A large accession hatlı been made to these of late from the Calvinistic Methodists; many of whose animated teachers have been chosen to preside over their old congregations, and have infused fresia life and vigour into them; - while many new and large congregations, collected by the labours of men of Methodistical origin, have joined this denomination, and exceedingly increased the body of Independents.
The newly-formed congregations are more lax in their terms of communion, and maintain a more enlarged inter course in all their ministrations with the Calvinistic brethren of all denominations ;-can wear a gown; and sometimes join in worship, without revolting against a surplice.
Some wellsupported academies, for the instruction of ministers, where trustees select youth of approved piety, in order to give them an education to qualify them for the ministry, have of late also greatly contributed to the enlargement of their pale; as many, for several years past, have gone forth from these seminaries äble and zealous preachers of the gospel, and have drawn large congregations after them; and unless a new spirit of zeal and activity, and a deeper fund of theological knowledge and genuine piety, be infused into the youth which come from our universities, the defection from the established church, which hath already been so great, will proceed in an accumulated ratio, in proportion to the knowledge, diligence, and exemplary conduct of the one, and the deficiency, carelessness, and unedifying behaviour of the other. These views of men and things are cognizable by the lowest, as well as the highest. Common sense cannot but form just conclusions in this matter: 'By their fruits ye shall know them ;' and the result must be
correspondent. The one of these will engage neither reverence nor attention, with all the vantage ground on which they stand ; - the other will be heard, revered, and followed, These are moral consequences, as surely deducible from the premises as any truth in mathematics;- but none are blinder than those who will not see!
The Antipædo-Baptists for a long while were few; of late they have resumed great activity, and received, from the same source of Methodlism as the Independents, a great accession' to their communion. They are divided, as some others, into two societies, called General and Particular Baptists : the first embracing the Arminian, the other the Calvinistic Sys-. tein; but alike adhering to their favourite doctrine respecting Baptism. The General Baptists have dwindled into a very few congregations; and little life of spiritual religion is aino. XYU,
them. The Particular Baptists have greatly enlarged their numbers, not perhaps so much from the world, by awakenings of conscience in new converts, as from the different congregations of Dissenters and Methodists. Though many of their preachers rank rather low in the scale of literature, some, highly respectable for knowledge and scientific attainments, are found among them; and their Missionaries in India have exhibited a progress in languages, a zeal in labours for the Heathen, and a successful diligence in the translation of the Scriptures into their native tongues, which claims honourable mention.
These are the three great divisions of Dissenters. There are many others, smaller in-extent and influence, but I hope faithfully pursuing the one great object. Like an army with banners they march under different leaders, are marked by a different cut of their clothes and habiliments, and have their several ensigns; but they all look to the imperial standard,—the Cross; and follow the great Captain of their salvation --- Jesus Christ.
From these transient views of the state of religion among us, it will appear that a considerable body of true confessors, zealously contending for the faith once delivered unto the snints, is found among us. This land seems peculiarly destined to be the instrument, in the hands of the great Head of the Church, to carry his salvation unto the ends of the earth. The effort hath beer made, and the great trumpet blown to those who were ready to perish; and God the Spirit hath manifested his quickening energy, making it the power of God unto salvation, in the various regions of their Missionary labours. It is yet but the light of the morning spread upon the mountains ; may it shine more and more unto the perfect day!
[Asia in our next.]
TIIE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING SCRIPTURE.
The Bible is a book of which God himself has condescended to be the Author, and has put it in our hands, that we may make it the standard of all our actions, consult it on every occasion, and find a remedy for every evil; but, alas ! how shamefully is it neglected! Some entirely banish it, others peruse it in an irreverent, slight, and careless manner. Few are found who search the Scriptures, meditate on them, or live agreeably to them. Many, perhaps, who attentively peruse and delight to study them, do still, through want of thought, seldom endeavour to retain in their memories portions of this sacred volume.!
The practice being of'essential service, I cannot but hope, that if this should fall into the hands of any one who has never been
struck with the importance of it, a serious consideration will at least be given it. Remember, the period may arrive, when you will be incapable of reading; and then what a comfort will it be to be able to repeat part of them!
Numerous are the advantages that will accrue from it. The tempter is never so easily overcoine as when he is repulsed with. It is written.' A mind well-stored with passages of holy writ, is less liable to vain, foolish, and intruding thoughts,
- the passes through which these enemies make their way, being defended by such well-disciplined soldiers. In afflictions, your recollection will aid your patience and resignation, by bringing to view the sweet promises of God, which are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. Besides, do you not wish to' testify your love to God and your zeal for his cause? Then, what can be a greater proof of your real regard for his glory, than committing to meinory part of what he has so graciously given us ' for our reproof, correction, and instruction in rightcousness!
Further. When your principles are opposed by the enemies of the gospel, how can you better refute their arguments and plead Religion's cause, than by quotations and reasons drawn from Scripture! Many may and have sincerely lamented their ignorance of this best of books, which has often prevented their defending properly the gospel, or standing up for their Lord and Master, when their inclinations were good to do it; but who can be found who ever regretted learning the Bible ? If it be in your power, it is never too soon,
it is never too late to cominence the work ; even if but one verse be retained every day, in the course of time it will amount to a stock of spiritual knowledge that will be found useful thro’ life.
• God's poblest wonders here we view,
The souls renewd and s'ns forgiv'n;
And make thy word a guide to Heav'o!
THE SERPENT THAT BEGUILED EVE.
A LEARNED and respectable Commentator having lately intiinated his opinion, that the animal which tempted Eve was rather an ape than a serpent, and fearing that this new rendering may revive the old reproach of the Papists against the Scriptures, that they are 'a nose of wax,' and capable of being bent any way to serve a purpose, I have looked into the subject with some attention, and beg leave to offer you the result of my enquiry, as much as possible compressed.
In the first place:- That the Hebrew word Nachash (773) does not signify an ape, I alledge the want of authority; for that a similar word may, in some kindred language, siguify an ape, is a presumption so weak, that a little learned ingenuity might raise the like plea for various other animals, since the Arabic is a language confessedly very extensive, and its lexicographers are very liberal (perhaps licentious) in the variety of meanings they allow it*. All the ancient versions and critics are, however, unanimous that nachash is a serpent, either by land or water. When connected with Beriach (1773) it should, perhaps, be rendered the straight (or bar) serpent; this admirably applies to the crocodile, which has a peculiar difficulty in turning. The character of the serpent agrees also with the explanation. It probably was named from its reinarkable eye, -penetrating, - fascinating; which seem to be the two radical ideas of the original.
That the animal nachash is not an ape, but' a serpent, we have the authority of our Lord, who tells us, " Moses lifted up the serpent (surely, not an ape] in the wilderness. St. Paul tells us expressly,' the serpent (oqıs) beguiled Eve' (2 Cor. xi. 3); and St. John calls the Devil (the great agent in this affair) not an ape, but the Old Serpent,--the dragon. Rev. xii.9.
That the circumstances of the history agree better with the serpent than the ape, I have no hesitation in affirming. That the serpent was eminently subtle (though unknown to Dr. C.) is allowed by the common observation of mankind, and confirmed by our Lord himself: - Be ye wise as serpents. That the daughters of Eve have a peculiar aversion to the serpentrace also, cannot be denied. The result of the sentence agrees with the serpent; who, if used to reside in trees and live upon their fruits, must experience great humiliation in crawling upon the ground, and eating dost; but whether the
walk on four legs or two, I know not how it can be said to go upon its belly
I would only just add, that though I build little faith upon tradition only, it may deserve some credit, as confirming the popular notion of the tempter being a serpent, that it is cer tainly confirmed by the mythology both of the eastern and northern nations. Thor, the first - born of the supreme Gothic Deity, it is said, ' bruised the head of the great serpent with his mace; and Chreeshana, in the Hindoo Mythology, is seen trainpling on the head of the serpent, while the latter bites his heel
* Had Dr. C. looked a little farther into the Arabic, he might have found countenance, even there, for the common rendering. See Golius fol. 659. -“I consider,' says the learned Editor of Calmet,' bhe Arabic #ords hanush, nusher, &c. to be analogous to the Hebrew he-nahash, the surpent.'
+ ice Burder's Oriental Customs, Vol. I 1.
Much has lveen written, and much been said on the evil of Theatricat
Asuusements, but as experience and facts are the strongest proofs, I beg leave to transcribe a letter from one who was for some years a per former, and engaged in that line of life. The letter is as follows:
* My dear Brother, Boothy Hill, Cranbury, Maryland.
* In compliance with your request, I will give you an account how I came to know myself a sinner, to see my errç, and seck salvation for iny immortal soul. In the month of October we arrived (from New York) at Annapolis, in Maryland, to play there during the races. Having played there during the race-week, we purposed to play during the week following; but were prevented, some of the company having been taken ill. I had been informed by one of the performers, that the managers had designed I should do the part of Selim; and advised me to study it immediately. On the eve of, October 25, on going to bed, and finding myself in what the world calls Good Spirits, I purposed to seek for a play-book, and begin studying my part. On searching for it, among a great number of plays, I found among them M'Ewen's Essays. Rather surprized to find a religious book there, I took it with me to bed. After undressing myself, and retiring to bed, I read the part of Selim; but did not find in yself in a mood to study. I took the Essays, began reading, and was greatly surprized. I kept reading on: I found strong conşictions, particularly in asking myself, In what manner I had answered
my creation? and, Whether I had not been one of those unhappy beings, who had been presuming on the mercies of the Alinighty, and living without God in the world? It is amazing what innumerable ideas passed through my mind in a very short time. I put up a short but fervent prayer, determining I would now leave the play-house; and, if the Lord would be iny Helper, devote my future life to his service.
" I went to a young man, a Methodist :- they appeared to me to be the only people who had any religion. To make short of my narrative, I left the play-house; and the first night they played in the ensuing week, I was going to a prayera meeting, while others were going to the play-house!. My dear : brother, I had alınost, ever since I was 15 years old, been going from one degree of wickedness to another, deceived, and being deceived; and nothing, but restraining grace kept me from committing every crime that the nature of man can perpetrate! Worldly prudence kept me honest; and some regard to my health, froin every species of debauchery. Prodigality I