Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

creatures. The humble and imperfect dignity of created beings is entirely dependent for existence on stability of character. Infinite dignity cannot belong to a character which is not literally unchangeable. Created dignity is completely destroyed by fickleness: the least mutability would destroy that which is uncreated. The least possible change will be a change from perfection to imperfection ; a change infinite in itself, and infinitely for the worse. God, if changed at all, would cease to be God, and sink down from his infinite exaltation of being and character toward the humble level of imperfect creatures. How differently, in this case, would his nature, his laws, his designs, and his government appear to us! Were the least change to commence, who can divine its consequences, or foresee their progress and their end? Who can conjecture what would be its influence on his character, his designs, or his conduct ? Who can foretell the effects which it would produce on the empire which he has created, and on the innumerable beings by which it is inhabited ? Who does not see, at a glance, that God could no longer be regarded with that voluntary and supreme veneration, now so confessedly his due, because he had descended from his own infinite dignity, and was no longer decked with majesty and excellency, nor arrayed in glory and beauty ? Who does not feel, that a serious apprehension of such a change would diffuse an alarm through all virtuous beings, and carry terror and amazement to the most distant regions of the universe ?

By his Immutability, God is qualified to form, and to pursue, one great plan of Creation and Providence; one harmonious scheme of boundless good; and to carry on a perfect system, in a perfect manner, without variableness or shadow of turning. An Immutable God, only, can be expected to do that, and nothing but that, which is supremely right and desirable ; to make every part of his great work exactly what it ought to be ; and to constitute of all the parts a perfect whole. In this immense work one character is thus everywhere displayed; one God; one Ruler ; one Son of Righteousness, enlightening, warming, and quickening the innumerable beings, of which it is composed. Diversities, indeed, endless diversities, of his agency exist throughout the different parts of this work; but they are mere changes of the same light; the varying colors and splendors of the same glorious Sun.

Without this uniformity, this oneness of character, supreme dignity could not exist in the great Agent. Without this consistency, safety could not be found; reliance could not be exercised, by his creatures. God is the ultimate object of appeal to intelligent beings; the ultimate object of confidence and hope. However injured, deceived, or destroyed, by his fellow-creatures, every rational being still finds a refuge in his Creator. To him, ultimately, he refers all his wants, distresses, and interests. Whoever else may be deaf to his complaints, he is still assured that God will hear. Whoever else withholds the necessary relief of his sufferings, or the necessary supplies of his wants, still he knows that God will give. This consideration, which supports the soul in every extremity, is its last resort, its final refuge. Could God change, this asylum would be finally shut; Confidence would expire ; and Hope would be buried in the grave. Nay, the immortal Mind, itself, unless prevented by an impossibility, inherent in its nature, would languish away its existence, and return to its original Nothing.-- Theology Explained and Defended.

THE BEACH OF TRURO AND PROVINCE TOWN.

From Truro to Province Town our road lay chiefly on the margin of a beach, which unites it with Truro. The form of this township, exclusively of Long Point, is not unlike that of a chemical retort: the town lying in the inferior arch of the bulb, and Race Point on the exterior, and the beach being the stem. Immediately before the town is the harbor, commonly styled Cape Cod Harbor ; the waters of which extend round the north end of Truro a considerable distance into the last mentioned township. Between this marsh and the waters of Province Town harbor on one side and the Atlantic on the other, runs the beach. From observing it in various places along the road from Eastham I was induced to believe that it borders the ocean from Race Point to the Elbow, and perhaps reaches still farther.

This remarkable object is an enormous mass of sand, such as has been already described ; fine, light, of a yellowish hue, and the sport of every wind. It is blown into plains, valleys, and hills. The hills are of every height, from ten to two hundred feet. Frequently they are naked, round, and extremely elegant, and often rough, pointed, wild, and fantastical, with all the varied forms, which are seen at times in drifts of snow. Some of them are covered with beach-grass : some fringed with wortleberry-bushes; and some tufted with a small and singular growth of oaks. The variety and wildness of the forms, the desolate aspect of the surface, the height of the loftier elevations, the immense length of the range, and the tempestuous tossing of the clouds of sand, formed a group of objects, novel, sublime, and more interesting than can be imagined. It was a barrier against the ambition and fretfulness of the ocean, restlessly and always employed in assailing its strength, and wearing away its mass. To my own fancy it appeared as the eternal boundary of a region, wild, dreary, and inhospitable, where no human being could dwell, and into which every human foot was forbidden to enter. The parts of this barrier which have been covered with wortleberry-bushes, and with oaks, have been either not at all, or very little blown. The oaks, particularly, appear to be the continuation of the forests originally formed on this spot. Their appearance was new and singular. Few, if any of them, rose above the middle stature of man ; yet they were not shrubs, but trees of a regular stem and structure. They wore all the marks of extreme age; were in some instances already decayed, and in others decaying ; were hoary with moss, and were deformed by branches, broken and wasted, not by violence but by time. The whole appearance of one of these trees strongly reminded me of a little withered old man. Indeed a Liliputian of three score years and ten, compared with a veteran of Brobdingnag, would very naturally illustrate the resemblance, or rather the contrast between one of these dwarfs, and a full-grown tenant of our forests.— Travels in New England and New York.

THE BURNING OF FAIRFIELD, CONN.

a

On the 7th of July, 1779, Governor Tryon sailed from New Haven to Fairfield and the next morning disembarked upon the beach. A few militia assembled to oppose him, and in a desultory scattered manner fought with great intrepidity through most of the day. They killed some, took several prisoners and wounded more. But the expedition was so sudden and unexpected that the efforts made in this manner were necessarily fruitless. The town was plundered ; a great part of the houses, together with the two churches, the court-house, jail and school-houses, were burnt. The barns had just been filled with wheat and other produce. While the town was in flames, a thunder-storm overspread the heavens, just as night came on. The conflagration of two hundred houses illumined the earth, the clouds, and the waves of the Sound with a union of gloom and grandeur at once inexpressibly awful and magnificent. The sky speedily was hung with the deepest darkness wherever the clouds were not tinged by the melancholy lustre of the flames. At intervals, the lightning blazed with a livid and terrible splendor. The thunder rolled above. Beneath, the roaring of the fires filled up the intervals, while a deep and hollow sound, which seemed to be the protracted murmur of the thunder, reverberated from one end of heaven to the other. Add to this convulsion of the elements and these dreadful effects of vindictive and wanton devastation, the trembling of the earth, the sharp sounds of muskets occasionally discharged, the groans here and there of the wounded and dying, and the shouts of triumph ; then place before your eyes the crowds of miserable sufferers, mingled with bodies of the militia, and from the neighboring hills taking a farewell prospect of their property and their dwellings, their happiness and their hopes, and you will form a just but imperfect picture of the burning of Fairfield. It needed no great effort of imagination to believe that the final day had arrived ; and that, amid this funereal darkness, the morning would speedily dawn, to which no night would ever succeed.-New England Travels.

DWIGHT, TIMOTHY, D.D., LL.D., American minister and educator, born at Norwich, Conn., November 16, 1828, grandson of Professor Timothy Dwight of Yale College (1752-1817). He graduated at Yale, 1849; was tutor in the college, 185155, meanwhile studying in Yale Divinity School, 1851-53.

He was licensed as a Congregational preacher, 1855 ; studied divinity at Bonn and Ber. lin, 1856-58 ; was appointed to the chair of sacred literature and New Testament Greek in Yale Divinity School, 1858; and was elected to succeed Dr. Noah Porter as President of Yale University, 1886. He was an associate editor of the New Englander, and was an active member of the American committee for revising the English version of the Bible, 1872-85. He published The True Ideal of an American University (1872); and extensive revisions and notes, in translation from German commentaries on various books of the New Testament.

PRESIDENT PORTER.

The friend in whose honor we are met together this afternoon has passed beyond our sight and our fellowship into the other life. As I think of the passing and the new beginning, in these earliest days of the separation that has taken place, this little part of the picturing of the heavenly city comes impressively to my mind. The man whom we knew, how many sided he was in

« ForrigeFortsett »