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true. If there is a servant of Christ bemoaning his poverty, let him lift up his head, and grasp the title-deeds that are his rightful heritage, and when he ponders them, he shall find that he can say, “ As having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
II. Let us look for a few minutes at the second clause, AND YET POSSESSING ALL THINGS," and let us see how it comes to
pass that a good man does own all things. First: By holding a true relation to things, he possesses all things. (1.) He who holds a true relation to things, is instructed by them. Who can own aught in such great reality? Because a man has paid for a lot of works of art, and has them arranged in his splendid gallery, does it follow that he is the truest owner of them? If he goes in and out amongst them uninfluenced, &c., I call the man that but once has gazed upon them, but in that moment has felt their uplifting power, &c., their owner in a far truer sense. And now take a man whose book shelves are filled with books, whose pages are to him unread and unreadable, do you call him their truest owner? Not if there is another that has access to them, and has the golden key to unlock their mighty secrets, &c. And so though a man owns not an acre of ground, and not a house in all the world, yet if he holds a true relation to things, there is nothing but in this sense becomes his. For the world becomes to him a school, a book, a museum, a gallery, &c. There is no star on high but has some light for him; no lily in the valley but has some teaching, &c. (2.) He who holds a true relation to things, gets enjoyment from them. And what more can any owner do? No man could hold so false a relation to things as he who looks upon them with no longing but to have or to feel that he has. But he who sees in things the monuments of the divine power and wisdom, and goodness, and forbearance, and love, holds a true relation to them, and he gets the joy they can give and were made to give. What is it bat the hope of getting enjoyment from possessions that prompts
most men to toil, &c., for them ? ' But it does not follow that they get the satisfaction they hope for. There are men that sit in their lordly mansions that might as well be immured in a dungeon, for aught of joy they get from the blaze of splendour that surrounds them. There are men who gave thousands for their majestic parks in the hope that at last they would get enjoyment, but who have never walked in the shadow of the noble trees, and along the side of the silver stream where the deer sport, save with an aching heart, and never will. Men who fret for what they have not, own not what they have. But the man that sees in all beauty and bounty the heart of his Father-God, loves and adores and praises ; and the mounts, and the rocks, and the valleys, and the sun,
and moon, and stars, that he calls upon to join him in his praise, lend themselves unto him and leave him, " having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (3.) He who. holds a true relation to things, gets growth in the midst of them. If a man's nature is ripened, enriched by things, what can make him in such a great sense their owner?
Secondly: By holding a true relation to Christ, he becomes possessor of all things. (Rom. viii, 17; Rev. iii. 21.)
Thinkings by a Broad-Bibleman.
(No. IV.) SUBJECT : Spurious Scriptures. is much to be regretted that those philosophical deists
who sprung up so plentifully during the last century should have been so late to take the field in denying the necessity of a written revelation of God's Will. For, most unfortunately for their argument, the World had long prejudged the question, having in all ages had its Bible, as well as the Church. The religious element, as powerful among the old philosophers as in our own day, had from the earliest times
prompted them to supply their own cravings in this direction, and to invent a Bible of their own. Just as the Jews grafted their Talmuds and Targums on the pure word of revelation, and, mingling with it their own traditions, turned the truth of God into a lie, so the old heathen, catching up the fragments of primitive religion and sacred history, revealed to the patriarchs, and interweaving them with the great truths taught by the “things that are made" the evidences of the Eternal Power and Godhead, deduced from the Creation, shaped for themselves a system of theology, which eventually reduced to writing, forned the groundwork of their so-called sacred books.
We look, therefore, on the existence of such books as an inevitable necessity of the human mind. Our quarrel is only with their assumed antiquity and value, and the position assigned to them with reference to the genuine Scriptures. The sceptic, of course, wishes us to accept them as older than the oldest of our Old Testament books, and thus insinuates that the inspired writers are indebted to these spurious scriptures for many of their facts, their doctrines, and their institutions, philosophical, civil, ceremonial and dietetic. On this ground we have little to say to those who make no secret of their enmity to revelation; but are greatly grieved and astonished to find those who ought to know better, and have a real re
a gard for the Scriptures, falling in with the stream, and virtually admitting that what we are accustomed to regard as of divine origin
is but an adaptation of the uninspired ideas of heathen nations; whilst in reality it is the grand original from which they have borrowed everything worth having, and, like those minds compared by Coleridge to a sponge, are, through the medium of these so-called sacred books, return. ing a little dirtier than when they imbibed them.
But what are these Sacred Books ? Many nations lay claim to them-India, China, Chaldæa, Egypt, Phænicia, Iran; but those, perhaps, which have excited most attontion are the Vedas, the Pouranas, the Shastres of the Hindoos, and the much-be-praised Institutes of Menu, reputed to be the oldest and most important of all.
There is, as we have already hinted, but one of their many claims to notice, that we are careful to discuss—their relative antiquity. How do we know them to be old! They look so; and they are written in the mysterious Sanscrit--the language and characters of the Brahmins! We honestly believe
that this is nearly all to be said in their favour, for the weight of evidence, both external and internal, is altogether against this theory of their great age.
In the first place, we believe the Sanscrit to be of far lower antiquity than is generally supposed. Sir William Jones, great in matters of philology, did not consider it to have been the primeval language of India, but to have been introduced by conquerors from other kingdoms. Bayer supposed it to be no more than six hundred years old in his day, and Professor Wilson, who has not long since favoured us with a translation of the Rig-veda Sanhita, though he thinks it older, craves a margin of many centuries, and confesses, after all, that he knows nothing about it approaching to certainty. It does not seem at all likely, indeed, that a language written, unlike most ancient tongues, from left to right, “ more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either,” should have sprung up in India in the very infancy of letters. Long, very long, before we knew anything of it, the Greeks themselves had overrun that country, and, as the Sanscrit is said to bear “a stronger affinity to their language than could possibly have been produced by accident,” it is only natural to conclude that they might have leavened the primeval language with the graces and excellences of their own.
So much, therefore, for the internal evidence deduced from the language itself in which these sacred books are written. But weightier and more conclusive arguments may be urged from the tenor of their contents. The Institutes of Menua code of laws and ethical maxims which have been exalted into competition with the writings of Moses-are by common consent allowed to be older than the Vedas. It seems quite clear, indeed, that they are so, as they were written before the rite of cremation obtained in India, although this rite is recognised, and sometimes commended, in the Vedas. These Institutes of Menu, amongst other things, regulate the legal interest of money, and the limited rate of it in different cases, with an exception in regard to adventures at sea ! Adventures at sea ? Were such things known, even among the enterprising Phoenicians and Carthaginians, two thousand years ago ? But, more especially, were they known among the old Hindoos, who, like the Egyptians, thought it a high crime and misdemeanour to leave their native land? We are not, indeed, left in doubt upon this subject. Arrian, in
describing the departure of Alexander's fleet from his new conquests on the Hydaspes, tells us that the master of the world was determined to attempt "something surprisingly great and uncommon," when he conceived the idea of sailing “all through the sea from India to the Gulf of Persia-, passage of a few days' duration, and along-shore for the entire distance! But this is not all. The poor Hindoos were so terrified at the proposal, that he could get none of them to go with him, and was compelled to man his fleet with Phænicians, Cyprians, and other foreigners. The whole country, far and near, was in a ferment; and the very men so great in “adventures at sea” could only look on, awe. stricken and bewildered, seriously expecting that all would go to the bottom together. It is not easy, indeed, to see from which of her castes-priests, soldiers, tradesmen, or shepherds-India could have drafted her mercantile marine !
If, therefore, we admit that these “ Institutes" are older than the Vedas, the latter could have had no claim to the remote antiquity assigned to them, had we no other proof that they cannot date earlier than the commencement of the Christian era, which we think we have. Diodorus, Strabo, and Arrian, all of them writing about eighteen hundred years ago, enumerate seven castes, or classes, as existing among the Hindoos in their day. At present there are but four, and this is the number recognised in the Vedas - not casually or incidentally, but as fundamentally interwoven with the religious system of that people--the Brahmins, claiming descent from the head of Brahma; the Ketteri, rajahs, or soldiers, from his arms; the Bice, or tradesmen, from his body; and the Suder, or shepherds, from his feet. We could scarcely wish for a more conclusive proof than this.
Yet, in order to exhaust the subject, we believe it can be shown that the Hindoos had no written language at all at the period referred to. Both Herodotus and Arrian lead us to infer this, and Strabo distinctly affirms it, so that we should not at all wonder if the “writynges and letanies" of old Sir John Mandeville— by which, no doubt, their sacred books were meant-belong to a period but little more remote than the days of that redoubted traveller, as nothing known of their contents in this country even a century ago. So much for the putative antiquity of these spurious scriptures!
The Chinese admit that Buddha, their accredited lawgiver, himself came from India, and was only born about a thou