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of life was shortened, to the present time, reckoning only three generations for each century, the number will be 114; and including the former, it will appear that since the creation, the earth has buried at least 124 successive generations of its inhabitants.
“ No dignity of office, no eminence of character, can arrest the progress of time and death. Neither the wealth of Croesus, the power of Alexander, the wisdom of Solomon, nor the piety of David, could exempt them from the common lot of humanity, or prolong their years beyond their appointed term. During the few years which have elapsed since the commencement of the present century, how many great statesmen, how many illustrious warriors, how many eminently pious and useful individuals, have ceased to exist, with respect to our world. And, what multitudes have been removed from the earth by the usual progress of death, by the devastations of war, and other calamities.” p. 84, 85.
The uses of human mortality. “ The rapid succession of the different generations of men who dwell upon the earth, affords an opportunity for a much greater number of rational beings to partake of its enjoyments, and become candidates for heaven, than if the same individuals were permitted to continue for centuries; and thus the sum of happiness in the creation is greatly enlarged. Thus a succession of persons is continually rising up to profit by the knowledge and experience, and improve upon the discoveries of their ancestors. Thus the arts and sciences are continually extending; and religious truths become more purified from error, better understood, and more beneficial in their influence.” p. 88, 89. Salutary meditation upon the former generations of
History introduces us to a very extensive acquaintance with our predecessors, and of others we have particular memoirs. Some, though dead, yet speak to us by their instructive writings; and we can still trace the former existence, and read the excellent characters and useful lives of others in their works which follow them; in the monuments, the effects and consequences of their piety, wbich still remain; in the venerable structures which they erected for the worship of the Deity; in the schools and other charitable institutions which they founded and endowed; and above all, in the useful lives of their descendants, whom they formed by their instructions and
examples to eminent piety and usefulness. If we do not profit by this acquaintance with those who have gone before us, and by the various sources of information we have concerning them, it is our own fault.” p. 91.
The nature of true religion. “ Let it be considered, that genuine religion is not the devotion of a moment, the impression of an hour, or the resolution of a day; that it is not a transient and fluctuating principle, but steady, abiding, and persevering. And though the affections will sometimes vary in strength and fervour, and ebb and flow with life's unquiet sea, yet the good man will always cherish the same humble earnest solicitude to serve and to please God. His zeal and piety continue in a great measure unabated by the influence of prosperity, by the discouragements of adversity, by the opposition of the world, and the vicissitudes of time.” p. 99. Reasoning and evidence in behalf of a life
' to come. “Let us for a few moments imagine ourselves in the situation of those persons who are totally unacquainted with divine revelation, and who have never heard, in a single instance, of a resurrection from the dead. Suppose a little clan of Indians, assembled for friendly intercourse at the approach of evening, and that, in a more serious hour, one of the
propose this question to the consideration of the rest— If a man die, shall be live again?' After a long pause of meditation, one of the most intelligent would perhaps say, We are conscious of a thinking principle in our own breasts, by which we are rendered much superior to the various tribes of beings we discern around us; this principle may be independent of the body, and continue to exist when that shall be dissolved.' Another, attempting to solve this difficulty, might say, • The great Spirit, whom we and our ancestors bave worshipped under those palm-trees, is good, and loves to make his creatures happy; he will therefore continue them in existence in some happier region, beyond those distant mountains, or above that azure sky. Another might observe, We possess a capacity for continual improvement in wisdom and goodness, and we cannot suppose that the Father of all, would suffer death to put a final period to our growing attainments. Another might rejoin, · Notwithstanding all that has been advanced, there is one fact perpetually occurring, which leaves a very different impression upon my mind-the appearance which death presents to our view. When the body dies, the whole man appears to die. That which thought, conversed, and acted, is no more. You behold nothing but the inanimate dust, much altered from what it once was, and the dark silent grave.' This last observation casts a sudden gloom over the countenances and hearts which began to glow with rapture at the pleasing hope of immortality; and though they still maintain some faint hope of a future state, they devoutly wish that God would deign to afford them some manifestation and satisfactory assurance of this important truth.
“If we turn from the unlettered Indian to the learned and polite Athenian, and ask Socrates, in whose mind reason was matured to the highest degree of cultivation, to favour us with the results of bis inquiries and reflections upon the subject; the following observation, which he made to his surrounding friends just before his death, sufficiently shows the perplexed state of bis mind: • I am going to die, but you continue in life; and which of us shall be in a better state, is known only to God.' Hence, then, we perceive, that unassisted reason does not afford any satisfactory information upon this important subject.
“ I now address the question to you as Christians If a man die, sball he live again?'Yes,' says the disciple of Jesus, full of hope, confidence, and joy; heavenly light has visited our benighted world; one commissioned from God bas clearly revealed eternal life and happiness, and pointed out the means by which we ourselves may become partakers of these amazing privileges and blessings." p. 107, 108, 109.
(To be Continued.)
The First Indian Church of America.
[We gratefully acknowledge baving received from the Rev. Alexander Young, Minister of the Church on Church Green, Boston, U. S. a discourse delivered by him in February last, at the ordination of the Rev. J.W. Thompson, as Pastor of the South Congregational Society in NATICK. The subject of the sermon is, “ Christianity designed and adapted to be a universal religion.” We bave derived much pleasure from its perusal. It is the production of an enlightened mind and a benevolent heart. Especially have we been interested in the reference to, and the history of, John Eliot, the Apostle to the American Indians. His labours exhibit another proof of what may be effected by energy and perseverance. We gladly invite the attention of our readers to the following passages from the Sermon and Appendix. They will cheerfully unite with us in returning thanks to Mr. Young, for so acceptable a piece of biography.-Edit.]
Mr. Young thus concludes his discourse:-“We stand, my hearers, on holy ground on the spot consecrated by the labours and the prayers of the first Protestant minister who preached the glad tidings of salvation to the savage tribes of this western wilderness. Yes, it was here that the venerable Eliot, by his disinterestedness and zeal in this humble but arduous vocation, merited and acquired the honourable title of the Apostle to the Indians. The very spot on which we stand witnessed his toils, and was watered by his tears. It was here that he preached; it was here that he often reposed after his fatiguing and perilous wanderings; the same roof covering the sanctuary of God and the lowly couch of this holy man.
It was on this ground that the first Indian church in America was gathered. Carry your thoughts back through a space of an hundred and seventy years, and, in imagination, you may behold the sons of the forest assembled here around the venerable Evangelist, and may bear the simple prayer of the untutored Indian offered up to the Great Spirit, in the name of Jesus.
The teacher and his converts have all passed away. The race of the red men bas dwindled, and at last disappeared. The forests through which they once pursued their sports and bunted their game, have bowed before the axe of the settler, and are succeeded by cultivated fields and pleasant farms. Yet though no living fruits of his labours remain, the name and the character of Eliot shall long be held sacred among us.
It shall be perpetuated, we trust, by a regular ministry, which, after a long interval, is this day restored to this hallowed spot. It shall be perpetuated by this beautiful edifice that occupies the ancient site of his rude temple. Peace be within these walls! For my brethren and companions' sake, I will now say, Peace be with you, and with the Pastor whom you have chosen!"
From the Appendix, we copy the following:"JOHN
Eliot, commonly called the Apostle to the Indians, exhibited more lively traits of an extraordinary character than we find in most ages of the Church, or in most Christian countries. He, who could prefer the American wilderness to the pleasant fields of Europe, was ready to wander through this wilderness for the sake of doing good. To be active was the delight of his soul; and he went to the hovels which could not keep out the wind and rain, where he laboured incessantly among the Aborigines of America, though his popular talents gave him a distinction among the first divines of Massachusetts, at a time that the magistrates and all the people held the clergy in peculiar honour.
“He was born in England, in 1604, and was educated at the University of Cambridge. • He came to NewEngland,' says Cotton Mather, in the month of November, 1631, among those blessed old planters, who laid the foundations of a remarkable country, devoted unto the exercise of the Protestant religion, in its purest and highest reformation. He listed himself among those valiant soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who cheerfully encountered first the perils of the Atlantic Ocean, and then the fatigues of the New-English wilderness, that they might have an undisturbed communion with him in his appointments here.' He was settled as Teacher of the church in Roxbury, Nov. 5, 1632.
“ His labours, however, were not confined to his own people. Having imbibed the true spirit of the gospel, his heart was touched with the wretched condition of the Indians, and he became eagerly desirous of making them acquainted with the glad tidings of salvation. When he began his mission, there were about seventeen or twenty tribes within the limits of the English planters. But these tribes were not large, and hardly to be distinguished;
for their manners, language, and religion were the same. The first thing he did, was to learn the Massachusetts language, so as to be able to preach to the natives without the medium of an interpreter. For this purpose an Indian, who could speak English, was taken into his family, and by conversing freely with him, he learned to speak it.
“ Behold,' says Cotton Mather, new difficulties to be surmounted by our indefatigable Eliot! He bires a native to teach him this exotic language, and with a laborious care and skill, reduces it into a grammar, which