Page images
PDF
EPUB

connected with the duty of love to him? We love him because he first loved us; and it is this love, in union with the happiness arising from keeping his commandments, that prevents the believer committing those transgressions which tarnish the character of all who, while they profess to love Christ, are led astray by the fear of man, when they ought to be guided by the fear of God. Where the love of God is sincere, it will always be accompanied by the fear of God, because it will always excite the desire to please him, and consequently to abstain from all iniquity, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.

And how is the fear of God connected with the duty of prayer to God? They that worship God, must "worship him in spirit and in truth;" that is, in a manner somewhat suited to the glorious attributes of the Being they adore. They must therefore keep a strict watch over their thoughts, impressed with deep veneration while calling upon a God of spotless purity-of almighty power-of boundless wisdom of consummate and eternal justice. Angels stand in awe before the Lord God of Hosts, when contemplating and adoring his great and glorious perfections, and, in an attitude of humility, cover their faces with their wings, crying "Holy holy-holy." Where, then, is the human being who would presume to approach this Almighty Creator without feeling, or wishing to feel, something of this angelic awe humbling yet animating his heart? "Thou, Lord, art worthy to be feared, and to be had in reverence of all them that approach thee;" and this reverential fear coustitutes a sublime and a necessary part of the worship of his creatures. Unless a man can appeal to the Searcher of hearts and say, "Lord, thou knowest" that I fear as well as "I love thee," he is not a Christian, and can perform none of the duties of a Christian acceptably.

Lastly, how does this fear operate in death? In the immediate prospect of that awful event, the believer can rest his soul secure from the assaults of the last enemy only on the promises of God in Christ Jesus. Yet, as a proof of his not being a self-deceiver, and that he really possesses that renewed character to which those promises are attached, he finds comfort in the reflection, "I have set the Lord always before me;" that is, I have feared him; not indeed perfectly or meritoriously, but at least sincerely, and am therefore included in that gracious promise: "To you that fear my name, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall."

A READER.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

I OBSERVE in a periodical publication which has recently fallen into my hands, some remarks on the Jewish kingdom in Abyssinia, as mentioned by Bruce, and before noticed by Peter Heylin, (but see also Calmet's Dictionary, and Ludolph's History of Ethiopia, printed 1681, folio,) from which I apprehend that an opinion is likely to gain ground, that the descendants of the house of David are still remaining and distinguishable, and their genealogy publicly preserved. The consequence of this being generally credited, may be, that a Pseudo Messiah may arise, declaring himself to be the Son of David, for whose sake the sceptre has been preserved to Judah, in the mounlains of Abyssinia, and thus not only many Jews, but even some Christians, may fall into the delusion. Our Lord's words, Matt. xxiv. 23, are very emphatical: “ If any man say unto you" (my professed followers), "Lo here is Christ, or there-believe it not." It is evident that the persecutions of

the Jews from Christian nations, are closed, or are closing; consequent ly a great crisis may be looked for; nor can we believe that the powers of darkness behold with indifference the endeavours now in progress for illuminating a people hitherto long "sitting in darkness and the shadow of death." We have had painful specimens of what might seem an incredible, or at least an unaccountable, credulity, in a country so favoured as England with the light of science and religion, in the reception given to the reveries of Joanna Southcote and other impostors; and I am therefore anxious that no plausible foundation should be unsuspectingly laid for the future erection of such a delusion as that to which I have referred. That a number of Jews may for ages have resided in Abyssinia under a chief of their own nation, is a fact I am not disposed to question; but that this chief is a lineal descendant from Solomon, by a son of the Queen of Sheba, I consider equally fabulous with the

Arabian Tales, and the rabbinical stories concerning that prince.

When our Lord, in his discourse to his disciples (Matt. xxiv.), gives to them the warning to beware of impostors who should presume to appropriate to themselves his name and character, does it not imply that even Christians would be exposed to such a temptation, and that it would be one of no small danger? I am aware indeed that the passage refers to the events which accompanied and followed the siege of Jerusalem, when false Christs arose, and put to hazard the faith of the early Christians, as well as deluded numbers of their Jewish countrymen; but does not the spirit of the caution still apply? And may there not even now be reason to interpose a warning, especially since the affairs of the Jews begin to attract, and justly, a degree of attention hitherto unknown since the Apostles' days, lest satan, taking advantage of circumstances, should introduce unawares "the deceivableness of unrighteousness ?” E. M. B.

MISCELLANEOUS.

REMARKS DURING A JOURNEY THROUGH NORTH AMERICA. (Continued from p. 632.) Mobile, on the Gulph of Mexico, 3d April, 1820.

IT was with much regret that I left several kind and interesting friends whom I had met with at Charleston, Our last day there was Sunday; and the diminution of carriages at the church door evinced that the fashionable society was dispersing, and that many families had already retired to their plantations after the races. The places of worship ap peared well filled; but many of the streets were noisy, and exhibited as little of a Sabbath seene as Hyde Park or Piccadilly. I was told also

that gambling was going on to a great extent, in a detached building belonging to the hotel where I was staying; but as I have sometimes heard the same rumour when staying at the York House in Bath, or an hotel in the west of London, let us hope (if we can) that it was, in both cases, a libellous report.-I was pleased to see the Slaves apparently enjoying themselves on this day in their best attire, and was astonished in observing the efforts they make to preserve as a body that self-respect which they know is not felt for them by their proprietors. They generally use Sir and Madam in addressing each other, make the most formal and particular inquiries after each other's fa

miles. They frequently adopt the names of the families in which they live. Thus, the principal male-servant in Col. F.'s family, is Col. F.; the principal female servant, Mrs. F.; while half a dozen Miss F.'s will give their names to as many chamber-maids if they have them. In the evening I visited the prison, as I have done in most towns where I had the opportunity; but the turnkey was intoxicated, and I could obtain little information as to the general plan of management. The prisoners, I understood from an assistant, have a liberal allowance of meat, bread, and broth daily; but no work, and no instruction except from occasional visits of the clergy, of whom the Black ministers are the most assiduous. I saw one earnestly engaged in prayer with the Black prisoners, one of whom was just committed for the murder of his master. The Black are separated from the White prisoners, the male from the female, the greater from the lesser criminals. I saw and conversed with the murderer of Dr. Ramsay, the historian. I was told that the crime occurred under the following circumstances. The man having shot a lawyer whom he had retained on some business, Dr. Ramsay had given evidence that he was insane; which the maniac learning, watched an opportunity and shot him also. He has been confined in prison ever since, and is a pitiable object. If you are as well acquainted with the character of Mrs. Ramsay as, from its uncommon excellence, I hope you are, you will be interested by this allusion to her husband. If you have never met with her "Memoirs," let me entreat you to forgo no longer the gratification and improvement you can hardly fail to derive from them. They exhibit a character which will not shrink from a comparison with that of the most eminent female Christians of any age or country. Her father, Colonel Laurens, was President of the Congress during the CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 251.

revolutionary war; and it is delightful to read the liberal and pacific. sentiments which his letters to his daughter breathe at the very moment when his plantations were overrun by British soldiery, and the lives of himself and his family were in imminent danger. Surely it would tend greatly to increase our detestation of war and all its outrages, if we allowed our imagination to dwell more on the friendly sentiments which the liberal and Christian part of hostile nations often feel towards each other, at the very moment when public animosity and fury rage the loudest. In 1776, Colonel Laurens writes from Charleston, to his daughter then in England

"Act your part well, my dear: love God, and all things will work together for your good. It is melancholy to see the abuse of many good houses in this town, which are now made barracks for the country militia, who strip the paper hangings, chop wood upon parlour floors, and do a thousand improper acts. The men of war at Georgia have swept Mr. Arthur Middleton's plantation, upon Savanna river, of about sixty-five Negroes. Wright's savannah is within three or four miles of it; probably some solitary escaping man may come within two or three days to inform me of like mischiefs done there, and at Altamaha, by those Sabeans and Chaldeans. Be it so, I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord. We must expect a visit from the British very soon. In these circumstances every man here holds his life by the most precarious tenure, and our friends abroad should prepare themselves for learning that we are numbered with the dead. You will in silence submit the future progress and final determination of events to the wise order of that superintending Being who holds the scales of justice in his hand. Your part will be to join with the sons and daughters of piety, and pray incessantly for peace ;

4 Y

peace to all the world, especially the country in which you reside (England), and that to which you more particularly belong; and you will lament that it is your father's unhappy lot to be engaged in war, in civil war, God's severest scourge upon mankind."

These sentiments are worthy a Christian father, when addressing his Christian child; and cold and base must be that heart which could feel hostile to an enemy who could breathe them at such a moment of suffering and irritation.

We set out from Charleston on the 28th February, and arrived at Savannah on the afternoon of the 29th, travelling all night, and completing in the mail stage 110 miles in twenty-seven hours. On mounting our sorry vehicle we found our equipage reduced to a peace estab→ lishment of two horses, and our stages were occasionally thirty miles long. We saw nothing particularly interesting in our route, except the cotton plantations, where the Negroes were hard at work under a broiling sun and a driver's lash. Experience had taught us not to trust to this deceitful climate; and we found all our sea coats insufficient to protect us against the excessive cold of the night. In passing through the swamps, we were enveloped in a thick mist, which, in summer, must be highly dangerous. Indeed our driver told us that on two stages on this road last autumn, they lost five drivers, who fell a sacrifice to fever. In the middle of the night I heard the howling of wolves; and when walking before the stage, as we approached Savannah, I started an alligator about six yards from me, which plunged off the road into some water. It was then as intensely hot as it had been cold a few nights before.

Savannah is situated on a river of the same name, and is laid out in long and very broad streets, which meet at right angles, and are lined with trees called "The Pride

of India." These trees are great favourites with the inhabitants; but they are too strongly associated in my mind with yellow fever, to be agreeable. The streets are unpaved; and except in the middle path, which is a heavy disagreeable sand, they are covered with grass. The horses, as in most of the towns in the south, are unshod.

The late fire has given the town a most desolate appearance, yet the inhabitants are most unwittingly running up wooden houses again with great rapidity. Fires are continually occurring in this country. A large one happened while I was at Savannah; another at Charleston; and we had a serious alarm at Washington. Brick houses, however, are daily becoming more common. In Charleston a person is stationed every night on the steeple of one of the churches, to watch and give the alarm in case of fire, as the inhabitants are never free from the apprehension of an insurrection of the Slaves in the confusion of a premeditated or accidental conflagration. The late fire in Savannah produced many instances of individual generosity, as well as proofs of general liberality in the other States. A letter of the Mayor, returning the New York contribution, of nearly 30007. because it was accompanied with a request that it might be impartially distributed among the Black and White sufferers, a request which implied a reflection which the southerners resented, was not generally approved. It shews, however, very strongly the sensitive state of feeling on the subject of slavery between the Northern and Southern States.

Of the society at Savannah I saw little, except of the merchants in their counting-houses; and, after spending a short time at an extensive rice plantation in the neighbourhood, I set off in the stage for Augusta on the 11th. My servant had gone forward the preceding day, when the stage was filled with gamblers returning in ill hu

mour from Savannah, where the inhabitants, in consequence of their recent calamity, had decided that there should be no races.

In proceeding from the coast to Augusta, 200 miles in the interior, we pass for forty or fifty miles along a level plain; the greater part of which is covered with lofty forests of pine, oak, elm, tulip, plane, and walnut.

About onethird of this plain consists of immense swamps, which, interlocking with each other, form part of a long chain which stretches for several hundred miles along the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas, penetrating from ten to thirty miles into the interior. In these swamps, in addition to the trees above mentioned, you meet with cypress trees of an enormous growth, beech, maple, the magnolia grandiflora, azaleas, andromedas, stalmins, and a variety of flowering shrubs, whose names I would send you if I were a botanist. Soon after leaving the plain, you reach what are called the Sandhills, 200 to 300 feet above the level of the sea, when extensive forest plains and green savannahs, and occasional ascents of more or less abrupt elevation, succeed each other, until you approach Augusta. There you find yourself surrounded by immense cotton plantations, and all " the pomp and circumstance" of commerce; carts coming in from the country with cotton, and crowding the streets, or rather avenues, of this rural town; tradesmen and agents bustling about in different directions; wharfs loaded with bales; and steam-boats darkening the air with their black exhalations. At the hotel where I lodged, there were seventy persons daily at table; but General who was there with his lady and staff, gave me a polite invitation to join his party, of which I occasionally availed myself. On the 13th, I went to visit a very extensive and opulent cotton planter, a few miles from Augusta. I found him quite alone,

having come from Charleston to superintend his plantation for two or three weeks. He was a mile or two from home when I arrived, and a little Slave was sent to help me to find him in the woods. As the little fellow walked by the side of my horse, I asked him if there was any church that the Slaves attended on Sunday. He said no, there was none near enough, and he had I asked him if he

never seen one.

knew where people went to when
they died, and was much affected
by the simple, earnest look with
which he pointed to the sky as he
"To Fader dere."
replied,

I remained with my host till the
following day, and found him very
sensible and intelligent, and full of
information with respect to the
present and former state of the
country. I enjoyed my tête-à tête
visit greatly; although the side-
saddles which I saw in the log-
stable, and the ladies' names in the
books which composed the little
library, occasionally seduced my
imagination from our disquisitions
on the expense of producing rice
and cotton, to the reading and
riding parties which were to give
interest and animation to these
as the
sylvan solitudes as soon
summer should drive the female
part of the family from the city.
The fact is, this residence is a
wooden house with a convenient
establishment, erected in one of
the healthy spots which I have de-
scribed as occasionally found in the
pine barrens; and, although there
appeared to be only just room for
the house to stand, my host was
regretting that a few trees had
been unnecessarily cut down in his
absence, and he had planted others
in their room. I observed too that
the vegetable matter under the trees
was carefully raked together, in
order to be removed; and with
these precautions my host told me
his family were able to spend the
summer months there, while others
were driven to town. He said if I
would come back in the summer,
4 Y 2

« PreviousContinue »