« EdellinenJatka »
or that the whole interior is a cavity filled with water – a votion which was excusable a century ago, but which from the amplest evidence we now know to be an impossiblity.
“But we are especially called to take notice of the terms used in the sacred narrative, which appear to exclude the idea of a violent and sudden eruption; and to present that of an elevation, and afterwards a subsidence, comparatively gentle, so that the ark was listed, floated, and borne over the awful flood in a manner which we might call calm and quiet, if compared with an inburst of the sea by the immediate breaking of a barrier. The words are, 'The waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly lipon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.' In relating the subsidence, the words used are such as remarkably suit the conception of a large body of water undergoing a process of evaporation from the surface, and of a gradual drawing off by outlets beneath: God made a wind to pass over the earth' (any expression which definitely conveys the idea of a local field of operation; extensive it might be, but totally inapplicable to the surface of the whole globe), and the waters assuaged. The fountaios also of the deep, and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; and the waters returned from off the earth continually (literally, going and returning): and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
“If we suppose the mass of waters to have been such as would cover all the land of the globe, we present to ourselves an increase of the equatorial diameter by some eleven or twelve miles. Two new elements would hence accrue to the actions of gravity upon our planet. The absolute weight would be absolutely increased, and the causes of the mutation of the axis would be varied.
“ I am not competent to the calculation of the changes in the motions of the earth which would thus be produced, and which would propagate their effects through the whole solar system ; aud indeed to the entire extent of the material creation : out they would certainly be very great. To save the physical system from derangements, probably ruinous to the well-being of innumerable sentient Datures, would require a series of stupendous and immensely multiplied miracles.
“Again, pursuing the supposition, the ark would not remain stationary: ‘it went upon the face of the waters. Its form was adapted to secure slowness of motion, so that it should float as little a distance as possible from the place of human habitation. But, by the action of the sun upon the atmosphere, currents would be produced, by which the ark would be borne away, in a southerly, and then a westerly direction. To bring it back into such a situation as would correspond to its grounding in Armenia, or any part of Asia, it must first circumnavigate the globe. But this was impossible in the time, even if it had possessed the rate of going of a good sailing vessel. It might, perhaps, advance as far as the middle of North Africa, or the more westerly part; and there it would ground, at the end of the three bundred days.
“Upon the suppositiou that the words of the narrative require to be understood in the sense of a strict and proper universality, another difficulty arises with respect to the preservation of animals. Ingenious calculations have been made of the capacity of the ark, as compared with the room requisite for the pairs of some animals, and the septuples of others; and it is remarkable, that the well-intentioned calculators have formed their estimate upon a number of animals below the truth, to a degree which might appear incredible. They have usually satisfied themselves with a provision for three or four hundred species at most, as in general they show the most astonishing ignorance of every branch of natural history. Of the existing mammalia (animals which nourish their young by breasts,) considerably more than one thousand species are known; of birds, fully five thousand; vf reptiles, very few kinds of which can live in water, two thousand; and the researches of travel. lers and naturalists are making frequent and most interesting additions to the number of these, and all other classes; of insects (using the word in its popular sense), the number of species is immense, to say one hundred thousand would be moderate: each has its appropriate habitation and food, and these are necessary to its life, and the larger number could not live in water; also the innumerable millions upon millions of animalcules must be provided for; for they have all their appropriate and diversified places and circumstances of existence. But all land animals have their geographical regions, to which their constitutional natures are congenial, and many could not live in any other situation. We cannot represent to ourselves the idea of their being brought into one small spot, from the polar regions, the torrid zone, and all the other climates of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, Australia, and the thousands of Islands; their preservation and provision, and the final disposal of them; without bringing up the idea of miracles more stupendous than any that are recorded in Scripture, even what appear appalling in comparison. The great decisive miracle of Christianity, the RESURRECTION of the LORD Jesus, sinks down before it.
"I cannot doubt but that some alarm and anxiety may be produced in the minds of many, by the hearing of these statements. They will be thought to be in direct contradiction to the sacred narrative; and we cannot justify to ourselves any twisting and wresting of that narrative in order to bring it into a comparative accordance with the doctrines of human philosophy. But let my friends dismiss their fears: the author of nature and the author of revelation is the same, he cannot be at variance with himself. The books of his works, and the book of his word, cannot be contradictory. On the one hand, we find certain appearances in the kingdoms of nature, which stand upon various and independent grounds of sensible proof; and, on the other hand, are declarations of Scripture which seem to be irreconcileable with those appearances, which are indeed ascertained facts. But we are sure that truth is immutable, and that one truth can never contradict another. Different parts of its vast empire may and do lie far asunder, and the intermediate portions may be covered with more or less of obscurity; but they are under the same sceptre, and it is of itself and antecedently certain that the facts of nature, and the laws that govern them, are in perfect unison with every other part of the will of him that made them. There are declarations of Scripture which seem thus to oppose facts, of which we have the same kind of sensible evidence that we have of the letters and words of the sacred volume; and which we understand by the same intellectual faculties by which we apprehend the sense of that volume. Now these appearances,-facts I must call them,-have been scrutinized with the utmost jealousy and rigour; and they stand impregnable—their evidence is made brighter by every assault. We must then turn to the other side of our research; we must admit the probability that we have not righly interpreted those portions of scripture. We must retrace our steps. Let us resort to this renewed examination in the great instance before us.
“The expressions of universality, with regard to the extent of the deluge, are these. The waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.'
" To those who have studied the phraseology of Scripture, there is no rule of interpretation more certain than this, -that universal terms are often used to signify only a very large amount in number or quantity. The following passages, taken chiefly from the writings of Moses, will serve some instances. . And the famine was upon all the face of the earth; and all the earth came to Egypt, to buy from Joseph, for the famine was extreme in all the earth;' yet it is self-evident that only those countries are meant which lay within a practicable distance from Egypt, for the transport of so bulky an article as corn, carried, it is highly probable, on the backs of asses and camels. All the cattle of Egypt died;' yet the connexion shews that this referred to some only, though no doubt very many, for, in subsequent parts of the same chapter, the catile of the king and people of Egypt are mentioned, in a way which shews that there were still remaining sufficient to constitute a considerable part of the nation's property. “The hail smole every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field;' but, a few days after, we find the devastation of the locusts thus described, • They did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees, which the bail had left.'"- Dr. Smith's Lectures, pages 98, 120.
Many other important arguments are brought forward by the above learned and pious divine, to prove the deluge was not geographically universal, but extended only as far as mankind. Such being the case, it leaves no room for the query of Simplex.
JUBILEE SERVICES AT DERBY.
Several interesting services were held at Derby, in August last, to commemorate the formation of the Baptist Church, Brook Street, -just fifty years ago.
Saturday, August 21st, was the fiftieth anniversary since the nine persons were baptized and united in christian fellowship, who formed the nucleus of both of the present General Baptist Churches in Derby, as well as of all our other Churches north of Derby, in the county. This baptism was the first that had taken place in Derby, we believe, from time immemorial.
On the above evening, therefore, a public prayer-meeting was held in the Brookstreet Chapel, and an address delivered by the pastor, with special reference to the Lord's goodness to the Church through all those series of years. Early in the following morning a number of friends again met to address the throne of grace, and supplicate the Divine blessing on the services yet to ensue. Next followed the public morning worship, on which occasion six persons owned their Lord in baptism. In the afternoon the Lord's-supper was administered. The members of both the other Baptist Churches in the town, having been specially invited to unite with the Brook-street friends in that service, the chapel was nearly filled, below and above, with the disciples of Jesus, celebrating his dying love. Mr. Pike, and Mr. Ayrton jointly conducted the service, and many felt it good to be there. In the evening, Mr. Pike preached a serious and affectionate sermon to those who had not joined the Church of Christ, from Jeremiah 1. 5.
On the Monday afternoon, upwards of 750 look tea together in the grounds connected with the mansion in St. Mary's-gate, purchased by the Brook-street friends for a chapel.*
A concluding service was held the same evening at Brook-street, when the chapel was crowded to excess. Mr. Lewitt, (missionary student) prayed, and addresses were delivered by Mr. Ayrton, Mr. Josiah Pike, and the pastor of the Church, who gave an historical sketch of the Baptists generally, and some interesting information respecting the rise and progress of the cause at Brook-street. Upwards of 1000, it appears, have been baptized since the formation of the Church; more than 400 are now in fellowship; some bave, from time to time, removed to other Churches, and many have fallen asleep in Jesus. To some of these last, affectionate reference was made, and it was no unpleasing exercise of the imagination to suppose, that their disembodied spirits bovered over the place, and, (if blest spirits are susceptible of an augmentation of their joys) felt their joys increased at witnessing such a scene. One circumstance connected with the concluding service afforded to many peculiar satisfaction. It is well known that the cause at Sacbeveral-street rose out, of what Mr. Ingham of Belper would call," a woful rupture and rent” in the sides of the Brook-street Church. This wound, it is trusted, bas long been healed, but had it been otherwise, it is impossible to conceive that any heart could continue to rankle after the reciprocation of expressiops of fraternal regard which passed between the two pastors on this occasion. The recognition of brotherhood expressed by them was evidently felt by their respective people: a flame of christian love was enkindled, and the sentiments of the psalmist were realized, when he says, “ Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
* The Editor of the Repository will understand us when we say, that these grounds, though in the centre of a large town, yet nearly surrounded as they are with tall trees and covered with umbrageous shrubs, did, perhaps, remind some of us of the “groves of Academus," dreaming, alas! as some of us were, that there, possibly, might shortly be the school of the prophets."
The history of the Brook-street Church is well calculated to encourage weak small Churches. The nine individuals who formed its foundation were, generally, if not without exception, poor and obscure persons; and of their efforts, no doubt the Tobiah's of the day would say, “That which they build, if a fox go up he shall even break down their stone wall.” It was impossible that any could foretel, and probably few, even of the most sanguine, expected that results so important and extensive as have been already realized, would transpire from the influence and labours of this handful of despised christians. And for several years it appeared exceedingly doubtful whether or not the infant society could live. It was mainly supported by two or three of the Churches in the Midland district (chiefly, we helicve, Castle Donington and Melbourne) and some of our aged friends in those Churches well remember its being a matter of grave and repeated consideration at their quarterly Conference, whether it ought not to be altogether abandoned. A friend of the writer's, lately gone to his rest, and who had been connected with the Church during by far the greater part of its existence, once told him, that when he first became acquainted with the members they appeared so poor and depressed that bis sympathy was excited for them, and that to encourage and help them was at first bis ruling motive in attending their meetings, rather than any regard for his own spiritual interests. This friend was at the time only a journeyman printer, earning, perhaps, fifteeu shillings per week; but the good, and incorruptible seed was still sown, and the unsophisticated truths of the
Gospel were, by unsopbisticated men, proclaimed from Sabbath to Sabbath, and from year to year. Encouraged by the promises of the Bible our friends persevered, till those who had "sown in tears ” legan to “reap in joy." From a small and inconvenient room they removed to a chapel, which they had been encouraged to erect, and which, with the exception of several subsequent additions, was the present Brook-street Chapel.
Rather more than thirty years ago Mr. Pike settled among them: he came, as did Paul to Corinth, “Not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power;" and every one knows that he has ever continued to preach the Gospel with exemplary fidelity, plainness, and pathos, and that remarkable success has attended his ministry. “As stated above, the present number of members is upwards of four hundred; and when the new place of worship is finished, they will have chapel accomodation in Derby, for nearly, if not quite, iwo thousand persons. Truly it may be said “What hath God wrought!" Derby.
REPENTANCE. Mr. Editor.— If your correspondent Peto, will turn to “Webster's English Dictionary,” he will find that the verb repent, is derived from the French, repentir, and that from the Latin, re and poeniteo, which last is derived from poena, pain; in Greek, poine.
The noun repentance is thus defined :
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said: the pain, or grief, which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret, or affliction, which a person feels on account of bis past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow, proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment
3 Real penitence, sorrow, or deep contrition for sin, as an offence and dishonour to God a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a being of infinte benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and it is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
Repentance, is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.-Hammond.
Repentance, is the relinquishment of any practice, from the conviction that it has offended God.-- Johnson.
Allow me just to add, that in the Greek Testament two terms are employed to denote repentance:
1. Metamelomai, wbich signifies primarily, to change one's care, &c.; hence, to change one's mind or purpose, after having done anything, to repent, feel sorrow,
This is used Matt. xxvii. 3., of Judas. 2. Metanoeo, signifying primarily, to perceive afterwards, to have an afterview, and hence, to change one's views, mind, purpose. In N. T., to change one's mind, to repent, implying the feeling of regret, sorrow. This is the term most commonly used. It implies pious sorrow for unbelief and sin, and the turning from them unto God and the Gospel of Christ. - See Dr. Robinson's Greek Lexicon. E.
REPENTANCE. Dear Sir,- Impressed with the conviction that thousands in our highly favoured land are living and dying without giving any evidence of their being the subjects of true repentance, and many, it is to be feared, not even having clear scripiural views as to the nature of this fundamental principle of religion, allow me to present to your notice a few remarks in reply to a query requesting the etymology and definition of the term repentance.
There appear to be several words used by the sacred writers to express this term ; the two following of wbich, are almost, if not quite, exclusively used by Christ and his apostles, metamelia, and metanoia. The former of these evidently means, in a literal point of view, a mere after concern, and is used, not to express that scriptural repentance necessary to salvation, but more commonly to express mere remorse and sorrow of mind. Hence we read in Matt. xxvii. 3, “Then Judas, which had betrayed his master, when he saw that he was condemned, (metamelethies) repented himself:” not that we are to understand that he became the subject of that true repentance which needeth not to be repented of; but that he experienced mere agitation, mere sorrow of mind. But something more than this is required to constitute that repentance necessary for the salvation of the soul. Hence our Lord says, “Except ye (metanoete) repent;" that is, except you think again of your wickedness, and except your hearts are really changed, " ye shall all likewise perish.” So that in giving a definition of the term repentance, we may say that it means that thorough conviction of the mind, which not only excites sorrow for sin, but a sincere change of heart. Perhaps before the individual repented he was a Sabbath-breaker, or a murderer, or a Saul of Tarsus. But O how changed ! He has been the subject of repentance, and by this the disposition of the most ferocious lion is changed into that of the gentlest lamb.
How beautifully is the nature of true penitence of soul described in the parable of the prodigal son, when he says, “I will arise, and go to my father.” His heart is entirely changed; he perceives bis miserable condition; and then comes the true repentance, when he makes the resolution in his own mind, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” This, and this alone, is the genuine repentance; and whatever individuals may say in reference to their ungodly friends and relations becoming the subjects of repentance on their dying beds, it is much to be feared that by far the greater part who defer this all-important work to that period, never really attend to it at all. They may experience sorrow of mind, but of what kind ? Is it from a love to the Saviour? No. Are their hearts changed ? No. They feel mere sorrow and distress on the awful prospect that awaits them. But if this is synonymous with true repentance, why should the apostle say, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation; but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
Bu from the remarks now made, it may strike some reader that they are very similar to a definition of conversion, and probably there is in reality but little