Imágenes de páginas

It was nothing more. What has all this pomp, and glitter, and worldly grandeur to do with the simplicity of the Gospel and the spirituality of that worship which should be rendered to the Divine Being? Christianity is not a religion of pompous rites and ceremonies. These things are not signs of spiritual advancement, but of retrogression. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." It is said the Pope was so affected that for several minutes he stood as if transfixed. Quite possible. We do not dispute it. We dare say his heart would be full; superstition and folly have plenty of victims, and he is chief among them. The celebration was not allowed to pass without an Allocution, and that Allocution, which in other respects much resembled most other Allocutions, contained the important announcement that an Ecumenical Council will be convoked in 1868, to take into consideration the state of Roman Catholic Christendom, and promote the welfare of the Church. We stated in our last month's article that the celebration of the eighteenth centenary of the martyrdom of St. Peter was but the ostensible reason of the extraordinary gathering of bishops, &c., at Rome; and we were right. What the council of next year will do remains to be seen. It is thought by many that the dogma of the personal infallibility of the Pope will be proclaimed to the Council. At all events, the Pope seems resolved to keep up an excitement on Romish affairs, and this is politic, perhaps, on his part. We cannot help thinking, however, that underneath all this display, and these tremendous efforts, there is a trembling apprehension that there is something serious, as affecting the interests of the Papacy, looming in the future, and

that these efforts are put forth in order to avert, if possible—or if they cannot avert, to delay as long as may be the impending catastrophe. Notwithstanding the splendid gifts made to the Pope, he is, as a temporal prince, notoriously poor, and he cannot but feel how insecure is the tenure of his temporal power. Whilst, however, these prodigious efforts are made by the friends of Rome, and whilst they are working with a zeal worthy of a better cause-a zeal that is rewarded by an increase in the number of the adherents to Popery in our own and other lands-it surely behoves all true Protestants to keep awake, and with an earnestness and a zeal not less decided, to oppose error, and to labour to diffuse the pure and simple truth of the Gospel. These are no times for either slumbering or trimming. With infidelity, Popery, and Puseyism, the friends of evangelical truth will have to do battle. We cannot doubt on which side the victory will eventually be. But the struggle may be severe. The signs of the times indicate very clearly that grave events are not distant. May Jehovah help us to act faithfully our part!

GOOD WORK DOING IN PARIS.A most delightful work is going on in connection with the Great Paris Exhibition. We have referred to this matter before, and feel constrained to return to the subject. Mr. John Macgregor, in a letter to the Record, under the signature of "Rob Roy," thus describes this blessed work:-"The Gospel is preached in the very grounds of the Exhibition to myriads of people. The voice of God is heard calling on men loudly in the midst of 'Vanity Fair.' The extraordinary freedom allowed to the distributors of Bibles and tracts is only equalled by the amazing interest shown in


the matter on the part of the crowds who come to get these little messengers. Here is Mr. Bewley's stall-a six-sided, window-walled house in the gardens, and, with three others, I take my stand to give French, German, Italian, Russian, and English tracts. Here I have seen a sight that almost incapacitates one from perfectly enacting the part undertaken in it. One continuous stream, for ten hours, of men, women, and children, of all nations and all ranks, all eager to accept the papers, and often offering to buy them. Sunday I was giving tracts for eight hours, and only one person refused, and even in that case his wife took one. Many of the employés in the Exhibition come regularly each morning for their tract. Soldiers pour in by squads, and all take them -priests and nuns, and Jews and Turks, each in their various garbs, all in the same courteous tone of request, and of thanks when gratified. Much as I have seen and known of this work before, the tract distribution in Paris is utterly beyond anything else, and ought to make us sing praises to God that so glorious an opportunity has been given, and has been so well employed.. Let those who have contributed their money in England to establish the several distributions of good reading in France be assured that a glorious work has been set on foot, and who can say what God may turn it to?" The Rev. New. man Hall also writes:-"Just within the principal entrance from the Pont de Jena, which crosses the Seine, and at the right hand, is what may be termed the Evangelical village, erected by special sanction of the Emperor. First, there is the Missionary Museum, where the missions of Great Britain, America, Paris, &c., exhibit the gods of the heathen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and other objects connected with Christian labours in idolatrous lands. Near this the Religious Tract Society have a building. Then you come to the Bible Society's house, always occupied by visitors. Mr. Hawke's Gospel stand is a circular building, with a number of open porches, in which are twelve persons, who speak fifteen languages, and distribute gratuitously separate Gospels in French, German, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Russian, Polish, English, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish. It is generally surrounded by eager groups, who thankfully receive the precious volume proffered. From April 1st until June 26th, more than 800,000 copies of separate books of the New Testament have been distributed. On Whit-Monday alone 34,000 Gospels were given away. Six hundred soldiers are daily marched into the Exhibition. These all receive a Gospel, and thus 25,000 soldiers and officers have already received the Word of God. Persons are daily seen sitting in the boulevards and riding in the omnibuses reading the little books. . . . Such an opportunity of evangelizing France and Europe at so little cost of money and labour was never yet afforded; for, instead of colporteurs going through Europe, Europe comes together in one place to receive the Word of God." This is most gladdening, and will inspire the heart of every Christian who reads it with gratitude and joy. Who can calculate what glorious results will follow?

PROGRESS OF THE TRUTH IN HEATHEN LANDS.-The Gospel is manifesting its power to enlighten and save in many heathen countries. Thus we read of God's Word being willingly and eagerly listened to in Central Asia; of an encouraging

[blocks in formation]



"September's morn and eve are chill, Reminding us that time rolls on; And winter, though delaying still,

His withered features, woe-begone, ' On day's decreasing length encroaching, Gives token of his sure approaching." THUS wrote the Quaker poet, Bernard Barton, of the month on which we have now entered. At this season of the year, by the bounty of an all-wise Providence, the earth enriches mankind with its golden sheaves, and thus provision is made for the steady advance of winter, now rapidly approaching. There is now a perceptible difference in the length of day, yet for the diminution of sunlight the student of the starry firmament is amply compensated by the sight of some of the stars usually seen in winter, now dawning in the east at midnight. On the 23rd of this month at noon, the sun enters the sign Libra, and henceforward appears to journey below the equator. From this time the sun will set each day earlier till the lowest maximum limit is reached on the 21st of December. Owing to the annual movement of our globe in its orbit, the sun now appears to spectators on the earth in the opposite portion of the heavens to that occupied by it in March. Hence, both at the present time and in March, we have equal day and night. But this is not the only circumstance calculated to excite wonder, for we have that remarkable phenomenon, the harvestmoon, to attract our notice. A few words on this subject are at the

present season peculiarly appropriate.

The term "harvest moon" is usually applied to that full moon which happens nearest to the entrance of the sun into the sign Libra in September, and from its rising nearly every night at the same time for several days, and affording more light after the close of day, at the time when its friendly influence is so essential for reaping and securing the fruits of the earth, it has justly been termed the "harvest moon." This is particularly the case in northern latitudes. To explain the reason of this phenomenon, it must be borne in mind that the moon is always opposite to the sun when full. At the time of harvest this full moon takes place when she is in the signs Pisces and Aries, the sun at the same time being in the opposite signs Virgo and Libra. It so happens that those parts of the ecliptic (or that part of the heavens where the sub, moon, and planets move), from their relative position to the horizon in these northern latitudes, rise through equal spaces in shorter intervals of time than any other points. The moon's path does not deviate much from that of the sun, and therefore she rises with less difference of time in September than when she is full in other parts of her orbit. But why does this phenomenon take place in autumn? The reason is, that in winter the signs Pisces and Aries rise about noon, and as the sun is considerably nearer to them than in autumn, the moon must be in her first quarter, and this singular circumstance is not noticed. In spring, Pisces and Aries rise with the sun, because it is then the time of vernal equinox; and if the moon is in those signs at that time, she will be in conjunction with the sun, and conse quently have her dark side turned to the earth, and therefore invisible. During summer these zodiacal signs rise about midnight, and when the moon is in them she must be in ber third quarter; and rising so late, and giving but little light, the peculiarity of her rising is unobserved. But in autumn, those signs being opposite

to the sun, they rise when he sets, and the moon being then full, this peculiarity in her rising attracts notice. Thus the moon gives the greatest quantity of light, not only at the most proper time of the night, but at the most important season of the year, and enables the husbandman to gather in the produce of the field.

The moon's daily motion is about 13 degrees from west to east, and if her path in the heavens corresponded to that described by the sun she would rise 50 minutes later every evening, because her orbit would make the same angle with the horizon at all seasons of the year. But as the moon's path makes an angle with that of the sun of 5 degrees, and intersects it only at two places called the nodes, her time of rising, when in Pisces and Aries, is subject to variation. At some harvest periods there will not be more than 1 hour 40 minutes, in the space of seven days, in the time of the moon's rising, while at other times this difference amounts to 8 hours. The relative orbits of the sun and moon are continually changing, and accomplish a complete revolution in 18 years 228 days, usually called in almanacks the lunar cycle. Thus in about nineteen years the times of new and full moon are nearly the same, but every one knows this is not the case at other times; for if on the 1st of January in any particular year there occur a new or full moon, on the 1st of January of the following eighteen years the times of the changes of the moon will vary considerably. Hence the use of almanacks to show these variations. The best explanation of the phenomenon of the "harvest-moon" was given by the peasant-astronomer Ferguson, who lived in Scotland in the last century. He furnished a list of those years in which the full moons at harvest are more or less beneficial to the husbandman. The present year corresponds to 1848, and is one in which these effects are not so conspicuous. The whole subject is full of interest to the thoughtful observer, and the entire cause must be referred to the All-wise Contriver of

that miracle of wonder-the solar system.

"The expanded spheres, amazing to the sight,

Magnificent with stars and globes of light;

The glorious orbs which heaven's bright host compose;

Th' imprisoned sea that restless ebbs and flows;

The fluctuating fields of liquid air, With all the curious meteors hovering there;

And the wile regions of the landproclaim

The power Divine that raised the mighty frame."

During the present month Jupiter is the most conspicious celestial object in the south. The dark shades-or "belts," as they are usually termed -on this planet's surface can now be distinctly perceived. Looking towards the east about midnight, the naked eye detects that cluster of stars called the Pleiades. This group is situated in Taurus, a constellation in which as many as 141 stars have been reckoned. Not far from the Pleiades may be seen the ruddy star Aldebaran, and at its right are a small group of stars called the Hyades. Just before dawn Orion is visible in the south-east, which fact suggests the near approach of winter. Turning to the north, the Great Bear is at its lowest position, and the two stars Dubhe and Merak now point upwards to the Pole Star. This season is best fitted for observations on the moon, which, rising in the west early in the evening, is at a considerable elevation at midnight, when in her last quarter. The rugged mountainous surface of our satellite is now an object of interest in an ordinary telescope.

The configuration of Jupiter's satellites and their eclipses is an object of endless amusement to those who possess telescopes. As most of our readers may not be in possession of this useful instrument, a few remarks are appropriate. It has been sometimes stated that there is no observation extant in which these four moons have been invisible; but this is an error. Were not our space limited, three or four instances might be cited in which no satellites have been seen. Το

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

world," the life of men. The wind blows, an emblem of that Spirit, which, though he comes low and soft as befits a "Comforter," can rise and wax into a tempest against all "the lofty and lifted up." The water speaks of the stream of life and the drink for thirsty souls; and the fire of his purity and his wrath.

All objects are consecrated to him. The trees of the field, in a thousand places, speak of "the root of David," and the vine of which we are all branches. The everlasting mountains are his "righteousness;" the mighty deep his "judgments." All the processes of nature have been laid hold of by him. The gentle dew drops a promise, and the lashing rain forbodes another storm, when many a sand-built house shall be swept away. Every spring is a prophecy of the resurrection of the dead; every harvest is a promise of the coming of his kingdom, and the blessed issues of all service for him. All living things, in like manner, testify of him. In that sense, as in others, he is Lord over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the beasts of the field. The eagle "stirring up its nest," and the "hen gathering her chickens under her wings," speak of him, his functions and his relations to us. The "Lion of the tribe of Judah," and the "Lamb of God," were his names. All occupations of men, in like manner, are consecrated to reveal him. He laid his hand upon the sower and the vinedresser, upon the ploughman and the shepherd, upon the merchant and the warrior; upon the king, and the prophet, and the judge; upon the teacher and the lawgiver, as being emblems of himself. All relations between men testify of him. Father and mother, brother and friend, husband, parent and children, they are all consecrated for this purpose. In a word, every act of our life sets forth some aspect of our Lord, and our relation to him, from the moment when we open our eyes in the morning-as those do who, having slept the sleep of sin, awake to righteousness-all through the busy day, when our work may speak to us of him that worketh

« AnteriorContinuar »