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of the miracles should be lessened by examination is distinctly condemned in the words of Abraham to the rich man, who said of his surviving brethren, desiring that an additional miracle should be wrought for their conviction, “If one went unto them from the dead, they would repent;” and Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; if they hear them not, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
Nor should it be forgotten that if we refuse to examine with attention the character of an event before placing it in the rank of a miracle, if we rely solely upon appearances, we run the risk of being deceived, of regarding an ordinary circumstance as a divine prodigy, and of thus attributing to God false marvels unworthy of his nature.
If a narrative in the Scriptures contains some unusual features, the explanation of which is at first sight difficult, some points of detail, which prove how often truth is different from probability, must we basten to conclude that a miracle has been performed, and add a new marvel to the annals of religion? If Jacob endeavours, in conformity with the prejudice which has prevailed in other and subsequent ages, to multiply bis flocks more rapidly than Laban—if Sampson finds a swarm of bees in the skeleton of a lion--if Absalom, carried by his mule beneath a tree, is caught by the hair, and thus dies, ought we, because such narratives are extraordinary, to regard them as miraculous! We hesitate not to say that this absence of reflection—this blind faith-this fear of believing too little and examining too much—is an insult to religion, to the divine origin of the sacred writings, to the glory of the true miracles which they do narrate—an error which, in despoiling the Bible of its simplicity, weakens instead of confirming faith. We go still further, and we conviction that a serious study of the miracles of the Scriptures will not have the effect of decreasing their number. He must know little of the Bible who thinks the contrary. The marvels which it relates are, with few exceptions, so clear and striking-God shows himself in them so near to us, that it is vain to deny their miraculous character, and the unbelief which boldly exclaims, “it is false," is obliged to acknowledge that "if it be true, it is divine."
Let the reader review in imagination the Life of Moses and the miracles of Christ and his apostles, and ask himself on what pretence he can refuse to admit the miraculous character which they exhibit. The boldest attempts of Rationalism to explain them in a natural sense have merely confirmed the important truth, that what Revelation proclaims as divine, cannot be reduced to the simple proportions of humanity.
This last remark points to that which constitutes in our eyes an irresistible proof of the truth of the miracles of Scripture, and that
is, the impossibility of separating them, or tearing them away from the Gospel history. They do not exist in the form of detached fragments, they are not placed apart in distinct chapters, they are on the other hand so united, commingled, and engrained with the rest of the narrative, so bound up with all that accompanies them, with all that follows them, that to remove them is to discard all, as a tissue disappears when the woof is destroyed. This proof, at once religious, historic, and literary, is unquestionably the most forcible reply, perhaps the only reply that can be made to the objections of the unbeliever. Miracles are in the Gospels—they cannot be separated from themthey are bound to Revelation by an indissoluble chain, and in the narrative of Christ's mission, his cradle, his cross, his tomb, and his eternal throne, stand and fall together.
THE VOICES AT THE THRONE.
A little child
A seraph by the throne
To float, float upward from some world afar-
To the Editor of “ The Irish Unitarian Magazine and Bible Christian.” SIR, -Since you published in the first number of your new series, a few general observations, drawing public attention to the subject of “Congregational Psalmody," and some of the causes which have retarded its improvement, I have met with a music-book, published by Gall and Son, of Edinburgh, with which I think it is desirable that every congregation, and every individual who takes any interest in psalmody, should be acquainted. It is entitled “ British Psalmody;" and contains 437 tunes, in 47 varieties of metre-all harmonized for four voices—embracing the standard Psalmody of England and Scotland—and of course many of the tunes we have most been accustomed to in Ulster. This 8vo volume is neatly and accurately printed, and elegantly bound; extending to 272 pages for the very moderate price of
For convenience, in the cultivation of singing, the publisher has divided it into two parts—the “ Psalm Tune-Book," and the “Hymn Tune-Book,”-each for 2s. and has also made a farther subdivision of each of these into four parts, at from 3d. to 4d. each.
Thus, the first step to the improvement of Congregational Psalmody and popular music, is effected by the publication of cheap tune-books of standard music ; and I may not only indulge the hope, but express a certainty, that this most important subject will receive the advocacy and support which it so well merits, both from the pulpit and the press, and the musical reproach of our churches, may soon cease to be a by-word.
Before bringing the book thus into notice, I consulted others of superior musical taste and judgment, who concur generally, that there is much, both in the melodies and harmonies, to please every variety of taste, and make it a general favourite.
I cannot refrain from making a short extract from the admirably written preface, a copy of which should be in every church pew.
It is difficult to say which is the greater abuse of music—the slovenly heartless singing of an assembly of professing worshippers, uneducated in music-or the genteel silence of a fashionable audience, which deputes to some hired organist or choir, the performance of the solemn and sacred duty of worshipping God. Have not our churches been guilty of both ? We must confess that we have not given to God the best of our music or has the investigation of its simple sublimities been undertaken with a view to His glory. We must also plead guilty to the charge, that the education of the people in the art of singing, has not occupied that share of the attention of our churches to which it is entitled : the best of this gift of God has been employed in the service of the world—the worst has been reckoned good enough for Him."
Hoping that this short notice may induce many to ask themselves, how they are performing their part in the music of the sanctuary? and that it may draw forth advocates competent to do justice to the subject, -I remain, yours,
PROPOSAL FOR A NEW LIBRARY, OF
HUNDRED VOLUMES, THE
too. It is not enough for them to have access to public libraries ; they must
have libraries in their own houses. CHEAPEST COLLECTION OF WORKS Public libraries have their use, but
nothing will supply the place of pri
vate libraries. If the great and gloMy desire is to spread knowledge and rious end at which we aim is to be acrighteousness throughout the earth, complished, there must be a library in and thus promote the present and eter- every house, and every man must be nal welfare of my fellow-men. I would his own librarian. People must have have all men to understand, not only access to books at all seasons; they the great truths and duties of religion, must have a choice of books at hand; but everything else calculated to pro- they must have the opportunity of mote their comfort and their welfare. looking into this, or of reading a few I am especially desirous that the pages of that, or of going through with young should have a large stock of the other, just as their wants or incliuseful knowledge, that they may be nations may lead them. Public libraguided right, and be brought into the ries are good things for those who way of usefulness and happiness, from have got the habit of reading, but not their earlier years. I wish to see man- for those who have the habit yet to kind at large, both male and female, form. They are good for those who raised to their proper level, and form wish to consult scarce books, and they ing one vast society of wise, and good, will come in well as supplements to and happy souls.
private libraries; but they will never But if men are to have knowledge, do alone. People must have libraries they must read : and if they are to of their own, if they are to feel that read, they must have books. And interest in books and reading, and to they must have books of their own make that proficiency in knowledge,
which is so much to be desired. Many hundred volumes in four years. This have wondered that public libraries will be about a volume and a half a have been so little used by the masses week, or two volumes a fortnight. of the people: to me there seems no Any person can have this Library, by mystery, about the manner. People, subscribing one shilling a week for especially English people, must read four years. We shall begin to print and learn at home, if they are to read as soon as the requisite number of and learn at all. Let people be sup- subscribers can be got. We wish plied with libraries of their own in those who intend to subscribe, to send their own dwellings, and let them have us their names at once, or to give them the privilege of choosing at all times to any of our regular agents. Let what books they will read, and of those who wish to see the work accomchanging their book at what hours plished, get as many subscribers as they please, without the troubles and they can. The more they get, the difficulties connected with public lib- sooner will the work commence. raries, and we shall have a reading We may observe, that the Library and enlightened people without fail. will consist of the best books that we
But if people generally are to have can procure, on a great variety of libraries of their own, they must have subjects. Several of the works will books cheap. At present, books are be on religious subjects, while others so dear, that none but the rich can will be historical, scientifical
, poetical, procure any tolerable supply., Three and biographical. Our object will be, hundred volumes, at six shillings a 1, To supply a complete Library; as volume, would cost ninety, pounds. complete a library as possible, consiBut how is a poor man to raise a sum dering the number of volumes it will like this? It is impossible. But sup; include ; and 2, to make the Library pose a good-sized volume could be sold as good, as instructive, and as profifor eight-pence, instead of six shillings, table as we can. and that a library of three hundred Among the books that will be pubsuch volumes could be sold for TEN lished first, will be the following :POUNDS, or TEN POUNDS 1. A Dictionary of the Bible. EIGHT SHILLINGS, the case 2. A Common Place Book of the would be widely different. And this Bible ; or the passages of Scriptures can be done. I have made my calcu- arranged under different heads, so as lations, and I find, that with the help to enable people to see at once all that of a Steam Press, and of apparatus the Scriptures say on any particular for binding the books myself, I can, subject. if I can get persons to subscribe for 3. An Englishman's Greek Con. five thousand copies, publish such cordance of the New Testament, envolumes as my Edition of Channing, abling every one, with comparatively bound in cloth, for eight-pence each. little trouble, to judge for himself as Yes; volumes of twelve sheets, or of to the meaning of the Greek Testanearly three hundred pages, printed ment, and to test the criticisms of on good paper, with good new type, in preachers and theological writers. A a good style, and substantially bound work as useful as the one now sold for in cloth, can be sold for eight-pence six-and-thirty shillings, can be pubeach. You have seen my penny tracts, lished in two or three eightpenny perhaps. Well, I can publish a volumé volumes. containing twelve such tracts, bound 4. An English Concordance of the in cloth, for eightpence. That is, six- Bible. pence for twelve penny tracts, and 5. The Life of William Penn, and only twopence for the binding. a selection of his writings.
That is what I propose to do. I 6. The Life of John Wesley, and a propose to publish a Library of three selection of his works. hundred volumes, of the same size, 7. Reasons for not believing in the and in the same style, (only a little doctrine of the Trinity, by Andrews superior, perhaps), as my edition of Norton, of America. Channing's works, or Law's Serious 8. The Works of the Rajah RamCall. I shall begin as soon as I can mohun Roy, including his ** Precepts get subscribers for five thousand Li- of Jesus the Guide to peace and hapbraries.
piness," and his three appeals to the I propose to publish the whole three British Public.