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WORLDLY CAREFULNESS INCOMPATIBLE
THERE is something inexpressibly sweet and delightful in the character of the advanced and spiritually minded Christian-one who has obtained on earth a foretaste of the joys of heaven, by sitting loose to the affairs of this lower world, and surrendering his affections unto God-one who "goes on his way rejoicing," whatsoever difficulties and discouragements he has, in a temporal point of view, to surmount; who is "troubled on every side, yet not distressed; who is perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." To see the man of God struggling against "a sea of troubles," and raising his head, calm and unruffled, above the raging storms of life, is to behold one of the grandest and most glorious triumphs of Gospel-grace over the world, the flesh, and the devil,-exhibiting a lovely picture of that happy temper and disposition which the apostle so repeatedly and earnestly impresses on the Philippians, as suitable to the condition of those who have embraced, with thankfulness and love, the glad tidings of salvation, and the free offer of pardon and mercy; "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." Numbers there are who can passively endure trials and afflictions; but very few are there who have attained so happy a frame of mind as to "rejoice and be exceeding glad" when "bonds and afflictions await them;" few, very few, have so "put off the old man with
VOL. VII.-NO. CLXXXV.
OF THE UNITED
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
his deeds," as to "rejoice inasmuch as they are partakers of Christ's sufferings," notwithstanding they have this blessed assurance, that "if they suffer with him, they shall be also glorified together."
Though this disposition is rare, and very difficult of attainment, it is nevertheless the fruit of that faithfruit of that faith-that living, justifying faith without which the fallen child of Adam cannot hope to be reconciled to God, nor admitted hereafter to the endless joys of Christ's glorious kingdom. The course of the Christian must be always progressivehe must grow daily in grace; for every moment of his earthly existence, which glides imperceptibly away, brings him nearer to that awful day, when he "must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that he may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." There is no resting or halting-place midway, at which he can with safety repose, or dispense for awhile with watchfulness and vigilance he must proceed, step by step, from one degree of holiness to another in regular succession-" first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear"-until, in God's good time, when he is ripe for glory, he shall be removed from this terrestrial world, to the mansions of eternity, "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."
The faithful believer, who has "a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better," will never rest satisfied with any progress he may have made in his spiritual concerns, however great; he will ardently long to be "conformed to the image of Christ," and to regain the likeness of his
[London: Robson, Levey, and Franklyn, 46 St. Martin's Lane.]
Maker, in which man was originally created. As the weary traveller longs to arrive at the end of his perilous journey; the wayworn pilgrim to finish his toilsome pilgrimage; the persecuted outcast to gain some place of refuge; and they that run in a race to reach the goal, that they may receive the reward;so does the spiritually minded Christian, rejoicing in tribulation and distress, long to enter the haven of salvation for "a crown of glory," the prize of his "high calling ;" and finally to become perfect, even (if it were possible) as his Father, which is in heaven, is perfect. It is this which is so inexpressibly lovely and delightful to behold; it is this seeking of the kingdom of heaven with all the heart and with all the soul, and "rejoicing to be counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ," which is so beautiful and glorious a sight: "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." And has not the Christian in every thing cause to rejoice? In this transitory world he may be in misery and wretchedness; nay, like the blessed Saviour, he may not have where to lay his head yet what of that? he is hastening to another and a better world, a world of everlasting happiness and joy, where God himself is the glory, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Rejoice, then, I would say, my brethren;" for all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
But how, it may be asked, is this heavenly temper to be attained? How can frail and sinful man so triumph over the weakness and infirmity of the flesh as to "rejoice in the Lord alway," and to "count it all joy when he falls into divers temptations?" I answer in the words of the Saviour, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." It is not, then, of man, but of God; it is the free and unmerited gift of our divine and heavenly Master; and is attainable only by faith, by stedfast, lively, unwavering faith, in his meritorious cross and passion, together with constant, unhesitating, and cheerful obedience to the apostolic injunction delivered to the Philippians: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God" (Philip. iv. 6).
"Be careful for nothing," is an injunction which, if observed in the true spirit of Christianity, will enable us to realise that happy dis
position and heavenly frame of mind, of which I have just been speaking; and thus, by the blessing of God, shall we "rejoice in the Lord alway." But it is necessary to premise, that there is a lawful, as well as an unlawful, carefulness; the one a duty, as regards the soul; the other a sin, as regards the body. The carefulness, however, meant by St. Paul, and which we are commanded to avoid, is an over-anxious and distracting carefulness in regard to our temporal affairs; that carefulness which draws us off from, or renders us indifferent and inattentive to, our religious duties, and the welfare of our precious souls, "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches," which "choke the word sown in our hearts, and it becometh unfruitful." Against this sinful care the apostle warns the Philippians, as being opposed to the cause of Christ, and the growth of grace in the heart. The religion of Jesus will not be satisfied with a part only, it must have the whole, of the heart,-the first-fruits, as it were, of our thoughts and affections. Nor shall any be losers, even in a temporal point of view, by thus devoting their thoughts and affections to their heavenly Master, and trusting in his providence for a daily supply of every thing that is necessary for the support and nourishment of their bodies; for when our Saviour directs us to "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," he immediately subjoins this gracious promise for our encouragement, and the exercise of our faith, "and all these things"- viz. every thing needful, comprehended in these two words "food and raiment"-" shall be added unto you."
BY THE REV. HENRY CHRISTMAS, F.S.A. Author of "Universal Mythology."
I. Introduction.-Of the chief Gods of the Sclavi. THE mythology of the north divides itself into two great branches, the Sclavonic and the Scandinavian,-the one prevailing in the east, the other in the west. The Sclavi were of Tartarian origin; and the superstitions still extant among the hordes of that people bear traces of the system which obtained credit with their ancestors. Procopius remarks that the Sclavonic nations adored one God, but had no idea of providence. This by the same author, that they deprecated the wrath of statement is sufficiently refuted by the fact mentioned the Deity by sacrifices, and prayed to him for the recovery of the sick. Tradition has, however, done more in preserving a knowledge of the Sclavonic religion than history; and though it seems impossible to speak with much certainty as to their theogony and cosmogony, there is yet sufficient information remaining about their idols, and the mode in which they were worshipped. The chief of the gods was called Peroun or Perkoun, a name which in the ancient Sclavonic
language signified also thunder. Like the Zeus of the Greeks, he held the undisputed sovereignty of the atmosphere. In his hand he wielded the thunderbolt, and the clouds formed his chariot. His statue was singularly formed: the head was of silver, with golden ears and moustaches; the legs of iron; and the rest of the body of a hard and incorruptible wood: the whole figure was adorned with rubies and carbuncles; and in the hand was placed a waving stone, which Levesque considers a thunderbolt, but which may perhaps have represented a serpent. Before this statue a fire was perpetually burning; and so great was the sanctity attached to this fire, that if any of the priests whose office it was to keep it supplied with fuel neglected his charge and allowed the sacred flame to expire, he was condemned, as an enemy to the god, to be immediately burnt to death. On the altars of Peroun, not only were flocks and herds sacrificed, but also prisoners taken in battle, and sometimes even the infant children of their own people. A homage less cruel was often rendered to this divinity; the beard and the hair were cut off by his votaries, and laid before the feet of his statue. His temples were vast forests, in which every tree was consecrated; and to lift on one of these the sacrilegious axe, was a crime only to be expiated by the death of the offender.
great god among a pastoral nation must be the protector of the flocks and herds-the Sclavi called him Veless, Voloss, or Vlaciè. They generally swore by their arms, by Peroun, and by Voloss, so long as they continued in a state of idolatry.
Of the three-faced goddess, answering to the more southern Hecate, and adored under the name Trigliva or Trigla, and of Zenovia, the goddess of hunting, we know little but the names: there seems strong reason to believe that the Sclavonic system was intrinsically the same as that of the Greeks; and the offices and attributes of the deities are accordingly in most cases the same as those ascribed to them by that lively and imaginative people. The Saxons, as we shall by and by see, mixed the Sarmatian and Scandinavian mythologies with that of the Celts: they adored the moon under the name of Triglas, and foisted into their pantheon not a few of the other Sclavonic divinities.
After the severe and inflexible Peroun comes a god of a very different stamp-the gay and joyous Koupalo, the presiding deity of fruits, and flowers, and fertility: and if the festivals of Peroun were gloomy and sanguinary, those of Koupalo were celebrated with songs and banquets. At the time of the summer solstice, the youth of both sexes assembled in the evening, gaily decorated, and crowned with flowers, to offer their homage to the god of spring. Fires were kindled in❘ the fields; the name of Koupalo was heard on every side; and dancing around the fires was only interrupted by the feast and the song. So strong a hold did this custom maintain upon the minds of the people, that even to this day the Russians continue a modification of it; and in order to avoid the scandal of idolatry, they have changed the name of Agrippinaa saint of the Greek Church, whose festival fell on the same day with that of Koupalo-to Koupalitsa. A similar custom was, till of late, prevalent in France on the day of St. John the Baptist.
Lada, the goddess of love, and her son Leliù,who, like the Eros of the Greeks, and the Cupid of the Romans, was but a personification of love,— next claim our attention. They were represented much in the same manner as Venus and Cupid among the Romans, and seldom unattended by Dide, another son of Lada, whose office was to heal the wounds which his brother Leliù had caused. Dide was the god of indifference. A third son of the same goddess was Polelia, the presiding deity of marriage, whose name, signifying after Leliù, or after love, served to point out the direction in which love should be guided, and to repress the indulgence of illicit passion. Nor was Lucina more unknown as an object of worship to the Sclavi than Venus, and Cupid, and Hymen. She was worshipped under the name Didilia. Sterility was ever esteemed a curse among the Sclavonic tribes; and offerings to that goddess, who had the power of rendering marriage fruitful, were neither few nor small. A
To return, however, to these: Dogoda was the goddess of gentle zephyrs, and Pozvid of fierce winds; Khors was the deity ruling medicine, and Kikimoro dreams; Tsar Morski was the sovereign of the sea, and Niia of the internal parts of the earth; Dajbog of riches, and Zimtzerla of flowers. The Sarmatians adored also the god of fire, Znitch; temples were built to his honour in many cities; and prisoners and spoils taken in war rendered his shrines magnificent, and his altars bloody. To him, in cases of sickness, recourse was had; and the priest, in replying to the inquiries of the people, asserted that he was himself immediately inspired by the god. It would be superfluous to do more than briefly notice the similarity between Znitch and Apollo, Lada and Aphrodite, Leliù and Eros, Dide and Anteros, Peroun and Zeus, Tsar Morski and Poseidon, the coincidence between the office of the priests of Peroun and the virgin-priestesses of Hestia; but it may be satisfactory to see the opinion of M. Levesque as to the cause of these coincidences between the Hellenic and the Sarmatian religions. "I think," says that able historian, "that this nation, having coasted the Caspian and Euxine Seas, descended into Thrace; that there it divided; that one part occupied what has been since called Greece; that another part spread into Illyria; and another penetrated as far as Italy."* This opinion was that of Heyne and Freret: the latter thought that the language of the Pelasgi was the Sclavonic; a position which M. L. undertook, and not without success, to defend. If, therefore, the Greeks and the Sclavi were but different branches of the same people, we need not wonder at the community of mythology obtaining between them; and, having enough of the latter system left to ascertain this, we need not so greatly regret the loss of the rest: we may reasonably conjecture, that we should find, if we had it handed down to us, but a coarser copy of the same picture. The gods above mentioned were worshipped by all the Sarmatians, so also was Koliada the goddess of peace; and even yet there are villages in Russia where she is considered as a Christian saint; and games and songs still preserve the remembrance of her festivals.
II. Of the inferior Divinities worshipped among the
perstitions of Greece, which we noticed in the last section, will be found to prevail also among the deities of secondary importance. The Roussalki were the nymphs, the guardians of the waters and forests. Endowed with exquisite beauty and unfading youth, they were supposed to sport in the cool waters, or wander along the shady forests; sometimes they might be seen on the floating branches of the young trees, with their light drapery fluttering in the breezes; sometimes wreathing their sea-green hair by the margin of the "far-resounding sea;" or rising from the deep recesses of some broad river to enjoy the admiration and receive the sacrifices of mortals. But, alas! these beautiful Roussalki were not the only spiritual inhabitants of the forests; there were also satyrs, but of a character far more dreadful than those of Greece; they were denominated Lechiè, a name which implies that they were gods of the forests. The upper part of their bodies resembled those of men, save the horns, the ears, and the beard, which, like their Greek brethren, they shared with the goat: here, however, the resemblance ends. Unlike the sportive but mischievous being, who was only a terror to wandering maidens, the Lechie were dangerous and cruel. When they walked on the grass, their bodies shrunk to a size so small that they did not overtop the grass; among the blades of which they therefore unperceived held their way. When they came among the tall shrubs, they expanded to an equal height; and when they reached the dark forest, then did their stature equal that of the tallest trees. When they found any unhappy man traversing the woods by night, they seized him, and bore him off amidst frightful howlings to their subterraneous caves, where, according to a most curious tenet of the Sarmatians, the unfortunate wanderer was tickled to death. We have already seen that there were consecrated forests; but it must not be forgotten that some of these forests were considered as themselves actual divinities, in which not only must no wood be cut, but no animal might be taken or killed, nor even the foot of a profane person penetrate. Death was the punishment for the slightest violation of these umbrageous deities. The waters too, as well as the woods, had their share of adoration. The Don and the Tanais received the vows and offerings of those who dwelt by their banks. Among these river-gods the chief was Bog-known to the Greeks by the name of Hypanis; and so holy was that river esteemed, that its very name became synonymous with the word god. Its waters were approached with fear and trembling; and it was forbidden to profane the sacred stream. This veneration for water seems to have been universal among the Sclavonic tribes. Most of the ancient songs commence with the word Dounai, by which they distinguished the Danube; and those who dwelt in the isle of Rugen deified the lake Sloudenets. This lake was situated in the midst of a thick forest, the gloom of which filled with awe those who came to adore the holy waters. The lake abounded with fish; but the bounty of nature was useless to the neighbouring inhabitants, for none dared to fish in the divine water, before which they prostrated themselves with reverence, and of which they only presumed to drink after prayer and sacrifices. In the spring, when the thaw
commenced, the great festival of the rivers and lakes took place; for then, having been many months hidden under a mantle of ice and snow, they deigned once more to shew themselves to their adorers. Men were plunged in the water with many ceremonies; and those who were particularly zealous sometimes drowned themselves, as Hindoos occasionally do in the Ganges, considering such a death as peculiarly pleasing to the gods. The Sclavi had also their Lares-the domestic guardians of their houses and happiness: their images were perfumed, and crowned with fresh leaves; and it would appear that even now there are parts of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania, where similar practices are not quite obsolete. The chief domestic gods were, however, "and are still (1800)," says M. Levesque, serpents; to them milk and eggs were daily offered; to molest them was strictly forbidden; and the death by violence of one of these sacred animals would have been speedily followed by that of the sacrilegious offender. They were called the protecting gods of the house, and worshipped accordingly.
We must not close this account of the minor Sarmatian gods without noticing a sort of marine monster, called Tchoudo Morskoe, which some pretend was a triton; but he seems to have been a far more formidable being, if we are to be at all guided by the saying which prevailed concerning him: “Thou, who art neither crab nor fish, marine reptile! thou art the most dreadful of mortal beings!"
PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, AND THE LORD
BY THE REV. HENRY GEORGE WATKINS, M.A. Rector of St. Swithin's, London.
No. I. CONCERNS of very great moment, matters of prosperity or adversity, the shortening or the prolongation of life, are frequently brought about through apparently the most trifling circumstances. A single sentiment of the mind, a sudden thought, shall be the cause of determining the place of our residence, the precise sort of our occupations, or the character of our connexions and friendships; and all these shall involve advantages or disadvantages, for many years to come, to ourselves and our children after us. When Bernard Gilpin was ordered up to London, from his parsonage in the north of England, to be arraigned, and probably to be burned, by the popish authorities of Queen Mary, his parishioners, when they took leave of him with tears, could little calculate that, by his leg being broken on his journey, he should be detained at the inn till the death of his persecutors, and enabled by the accession of Elizabeth to return to his pastoral charge with usefulness and peace.
In the more important concerns of the soul, an unlooked-for occurrence shall throw a person among a religious connexion, and in the way of religious instruction, that shall, by the grace of Jesus Christ, be everlastingly salutary-he or she shall be blessed and become a blessing.
Divine grace continually displays itself in the occurrence of unexpected, unlooked-for circumstances, by which an effectual and salutary application of the truths of the Gospel is made to the minds of individuals, in restraining them from gross evils, in guiding them by a way which they would not have contrived for themselves, and in preserving them in a religious progress to the end of their faith-the salvation of their souls.
All men's affections, motives, and dispositions, are under the appointing, permitting, and controlling influence of God the Holy Spirit. All good desires, holy counsels, and just works, are excited by him, either through outward and visible means and occurrences meeting us in our path, or by his immediate suggestions to the understanding and the conscience. In fact, by an inspiration of suggestion, almighty God governs in his kingdom of grace and providence; and upon a plan and system formed by his infinite wisdom, and tending to produce his eternal honour from the whole universe of reasonable beings.
The piece of Scripture-history before us fully exemplifies these observations; and its several parts will furnish subject-matter for two papers.
"The angel of the Lord spake unto Philip the evangelist, (and one of the seven deacons appointed by the apostles,) saying, Arise; go towards the south, unto the way that goeth from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert." Gaza was near to Egypt, about sixty miles from Jerusalem, and is called by Strabo, "Gaza the desert."
but only a special call to a work that was perfectly consistent with them. It is frequently self-delusion, or a disposition to deceive others, when people in these times allege some secret impulse on their minds as a warranty for their assumption of new offices or spheres of service, to which they have no outward or concurrent call. In judging of the impressions on our minds, in relation to an especial course of practice, whether they be of God, we must inquire, whether they are consistent with the duties we owe to others in our social relations, or whether they may not be wholly occasioned by our own self-will, and a desire to gratify some favourite propensity of ambition, or pride, or sloth, or covetousness. Where the mind is powerfully inclined to some new Christian duty for the good of others, and the zealous discharge of it will not oppose other obvious duties of acknowledged importance, we may consider ourselves under a divine direction, and that God is ordering our steps for the good of others; and where some personal ease or profit is willingly sacrificed to promote the object proposed for the honour of God and the benefit of others, rather than our own worldly benefit, the call to the duty seems more clear, and the blessing of God may be expected in the discharge of it.
The evangelist Philip was admonished to be on a certain road at a certain time; and some influence on the mind of the eunuch occasioned him to select that road, and to choose that time to travel on it; and thus this salutary meeting between them was occasioned. What important events have happened, and to what an extent of time have been the consequences, by the concurrence of two circumstances altogether unlooked for, and therefore, as we call it, perfectly accidental!
Philip was obedient to the heavenly vision: "He arose and went; and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an officer of high rank and authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship: he was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet" (ver. 27). This lord high-treasurer was met by Philip in the part of his journey most suited for such an interview. Of two or more roads from Jerusalem to Gaza, he was in the most retired, and was travelling onward to the country of his residence, perhaps several hundred miles further; there to resume his public official duties in the court of his queen. Candace was a name then common to the queens of Ethiopia, as that of Pharaoh was to the kings of Egypt, and of Cæsar to the emperors of Rome. He was in his chariot, a vehicle drawn by horses or carried by bearers; and he was reading. Books were only in writing at that time; and therefore they were scarce and costly. This grandee of Ethiopia had perhaps lately, at Jerusalem, purchased a copy of Isaiah's prophecies, and was reading it for his instruction. Thus was he preparing his mind, or rather the Lord of all was preparing it, for the oral teaching which he was to receive from the evangelist; and by both he became prepared to instruct his own countrymen.
The prophet Isaiah (liv. 13) declares it as a blessing to the spiritual Israel, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." God will provide sufficient teachers for those who desire to be instructed concerning their true condition before God, and concerning Jesus Christ the Redecmer; and how they may walk so as to please God. To such as endeavour to use the opportunities that present themselves for religious instruction, the teachings of the Holy Spirit will be communicated, and they will become wise to salvation. Spiritual light will increase in those who duly use the measure they enjoy.
Philip was a poor traveller on foot, sent out by the Holy Ghost to minister to an heir of salvation riding in his chariot, and improving his time by reading the words of a prophet of the Lord. Philip walked by
It would be useless to inquire whether an angel became visible to Philip in his waking hours, as one had done to Manoah (Judges, xiii.), or whether Philip was directed by the appearance of an angel in a dream or vision of the night, as St. Paul was respecting going into Macedonia (Acts, xvi. 9). We know he was under the teaching of God, under a suggesting, instructing inspiration. He felt assured that he had received a divine direction. He was obedient to the word of the Lord; and travelled in the way that he was taught. He acted by faith; and the event proved that he had not travelled in vain.
The Lord of all, as I have said, orders men's goings and doings, as it seems best to his infinite wisdom, by powerful and impelling suggestions to the mind to do this or refrain from that, to be at this place or that at one time or at another, to approve or dislike, to refuse or to accept. With persons in general, and under ordinary circumstances, these impelling motives are not often distinguishable from the results of their own reasonings. Our own deliberations are, however, mostly influenced by external circumstances, and these are also of divine appointment. Men's hearts and dispositions are thus continually under the purposing, guiding, or permitting hand of God; and thus he maketh poor, and maketh rich; he woundeth, and his hand maketh whole; he bringeth men down by sickness toward the grave, and he restoreth again.
Hence, as to our worldly affairs, but more especially as to our soul's welfare, we see the need and the efficacy of habitual and fervent prayer, that He who has the hearts of all men in his hands, "would direct, and govern, and sanctify our hearts in the works of his laws, and in the ways of his commandments." Thus David prayed, "Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth thee; for thou art my God." "Order my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps may not slide." And thus the Scriptures declare, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way" (Ps. xxxvii. 23). Let us endeavour, by the use of the holy Scriptures, to obtain an enlightened conscience on the path of duty, and then sedulously follow its guidance.
Philip attended to the heavenly vision without delay. He was obedient to his mental impressions, because he was sure they were of God. He was an evangelist by office; and his clear duty was to preach the way of salvation to sinners in general. It is observable, this direction was not to divert him from his proper calling, or suddenly to alter his station in the service of God or in society, but only was an instruction as to where, when, and how he might wisely and profitably act, on a special occasion, within the sphere already assigned him. The instruction was not contrary to any other of Philip's moral and religious and relative duties,