Verse 40. "God having provided some better thing for us" - This is the dispensation of the Gospel, with all the privileges and advantages it confers.
"That they without us should not be made perfect." - Believers before the flood, after the flood, under the law, and since the law, make but one Church. The Gospel dispensation is the last, and the Church cannot be considered as complete till the believers under all dispensations are gathered together. As the Gospel is the last dispensation, the preceding believers cannot be consummated even in glory till the Gospel Church arrive in the heaven of heavens.
There are a great variety of meanings put on this place, but the above seems the most simple and consistent. See Revelation vi. 11. "White robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." This time, and its blessings, are now upon the wing.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE BEING OF A GOD.
DEDUCED FROM A CONSIDERATION of ver. 6: He that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek him.
I. METAPHYSICIANS and philosophers, in order to prove the existence of God, have used two modes of argumentation:-
1. A priori, proofs drawn from the necessity that such a being as God is, must exist: arguments of this kind do not produce any thing in evidence which is derived from his works.
2. A posteriori, proofs of the being and perfections of God, drawn from his own works.
PROPOSITIONS A PRIORI.
PROP I. If there be no one being in the universe but such as might possibly not have existed, it would follow that there might possibly have been no existence at all; and if that could be so, it would be also possible that the present existence might have arisen from total nonexistence, which is absurd: therefore it is not possible that there might have been no existence at all. Consequently, an impossibility of not existing must be found somewhere; there must have been a being whose nonexistence is impossible.
II. The whole nature of an unoriginated being, or aggregate of his attributes, must be unoriginated, and necessarily what it is. A being cannot produce its own attributes; for this would suppose it acted before it existed. There is nothing in the nature of this being that is contingent, or could have been otherwise than it is; for whatever is contingent, must have a cause to determine its mode of existence.
III. The attributes of an unoriginated being must be possessed by it unlimitedly; for to possess an attribute imperfectly, or only in a certain degree, must suppose some cause to have modified this being so as to make him incapable of having that attribute in any other than an imperfect degree. But no cause can be admitted in this case, because this is the First of all beings, and the Cause of all things. Farther, an imperfect attribute, or any one that is not in its highest degree, must be capable of improvement by exercise and experience; which would imply that the unoriginated being must be originally imperfect, and that he was deriving farther degrees of perfection from the exercise of his own powers, and acquaintance with his own works.
IV. The unoriginated being must exist everywhere, in the same manner he does anywhere; for if he did not, it would suppose some cause by which his presence was limited; but there can be no cause to limit that presence. See above.
V. This unoriginated being must be a simple uncompounded substance, identically the same everywhere; not consisting of parts, for these must be distinct and independent; nor of whole, for this is the aggregate of parts; nor of magnitude or quantity, for these signify a composition of parts.
This being must be as truly one and omnipresent, as the present moment of time is indivisibly one in all places at once; and can no more be limited or measured by time, than the present moment can by duration.
Hence this being cannot be matter or body, because to these belong extension, divisibility, figurability, and mobility, which imply limitation.
God and matter have essentially contrary properties.
God is not material. It has already been shown that there necessarily must exist one infinite, unoriginated, and eternal being. Now this being must be a thinking being; for it is as impossible to conceive that unthinking matter could produce a thinking intelligent being, as it is to conceive that nothing could produce matter.
Let us suppose any parcel of matter to be eternal, we shall find it, in itself, unable to produce any thing. Let us suppose its parts firmly at rest together; if there were no other being in the world, must it not eternally remain so, a dead, inactive lump? Is it possible to conceive that it can add motion to itself, or produce it in other portions of matter? Matter, therefore, by its own strength, cannot produce in itself so much as motion.
The motion it has must also be from eternity, or else added to matter by some other being more powerful than itself.
But let us suppose motion eternal too; yet matter, unthinking matter, and motion, could never produce thought. Knowledge will still be as far beyond the power of motion and matter to produce, as matter is beyond the power of nothing to produce. Divide matter into as minute parts as you will, vary the figure and motion of it as much as you please, it will operate no other ways upon other bodies of proportionate bulk than it did before this division. The minutest particles of matter strike, impel, and resist one another, just as the greater do; and that is all that they can do. So that if we will suppose nothing eternal, matter can never begin to be. If we suppose bare matter, without motion, eternal, then motion can never begin to be. If we suppose only matter and motion eternal, then thought can never begin to be. For it is impossible to conceive that matter, either with or without motion, could have originally, in and from itself, sense, perception, and knowledge, as is evident from hence, that sense, perception, and knowledge, must be properties eternally separate from matter, and every particle of it.
Since, therefore, whatsoever is the first eternal being must necessarily be a thinking being, and whatsoever is first of all things must necessarily contain in it and actually have, at least, all the perfections that can ever after exist, it necessarily follows that the first eternal being cannot be matter.
VI. This being must possess intelligence and power unlimited, and all other attributes that are in themselves absolute perfections.
Attributes are divided into natural and moral, or primary and secondary.
The first are those which essentially belong to the nature of a being considered in itself; the second in its manner of acting toward others. All the attributes of God, being uncontingent, must be unlimited; and therefore his knowledge must extend to every thing that can be known, and his power to every thing that can be done.
VII. There cannot be in the universe more than one unoriginated being; for as this being is possessed of infinite attributes, let us suppose a second unoriginated being; he must possess the same: for both these beings are eternal, and necessarily the same, every where alike present, without any possible difference or distinction, and therefore one and the same. Two such cannot subsist; and the supposition of a second such being is only a mental repetition of the being and attributes of the first.
VIII. All things owe their existence to their first cause, operating according to its own free will. Absolute power does not act of necessity, but freely: the power may exist without exertion; if it did not, then it acts by necessity; and if so, necessity is the agent, and not the free power, of the independent God. He can do what he will, but he will do only what is right, &c.
The like may be said of his omniscience. He knows himself, and what he has formed, and what he can do; but is not necessitated to know as certain what himself has made contingent. If God must continually act because he is omnipotent, and know because he is omniscient, then he must be constantly employed in doing or undoing whatever is possible to be done or undone, and knowing all that is, and all that can be, and what cannot be; which is absurd.
IX. God is a being of infinite goodness, wisdom, mercy, justice, and truth, and all other perfections which become the Framer and Governor of the universe.
GOODNESS consists in being pleased with communicating happiness to others.
WISDOM, in making a right or beneficent use of knowledge or power; for no being, howsoever intelligent or powerful, is said to act wisely, but that which makes a good or beneficent use of knowledge and power. Hence wisdom and goodness must be ever conjoined to make any act of power perfect. As he is wise, he knows what is best to be done; powerful, he can do it; good, he will do it. Justice, mercy, truth, or faithfulness, are not distinct attributes, but denominations given to his power and wisdom, in their various operations on different occasions, in reference to his creatures.
God's liberty of acting. His power and wisdom being infinite, he cannot be prevented by any outward cause; his nature being essentially good, he can have no opposition from within. His power and all his other attributes, being infinite, eternal, and consequently unlimited, can have no opposition from without. And his liberty consists in his being free to act or not act, or infinitely or limitedly to vary his operations according to his own wisdom, goodness, and truth. See also the late bishop of Ossory, Chevalier Ramsay, Dr. S. Clarke, and others, on this subject.
SKETCHES OF PROOFS A POSTERIORI.
Recapitulation of the preceding Propositions II. In the argument a priori, in order to demonstrate the being of a GOD, it was attempted to prove that there must have been a being whose nonexistence is impossible. In arguing on this subject it has been shown:-
1. That this being was unoriginated.
2. That all his attributes must also be unoriginated.
3. That these attributes must be unlimited and absolutely perfect.
4. That this being must exist everywhere in the same manner he does anywhere.
5. That he is simple and uncompounded, not consisting of parts, nor of whole, nor of magnitude, nor of quantity.
6. That he must possess intelligence and power unlimited, and all other attributes that are in themselves absolute perfections.
7. That there cannot be in the universe any more than one such unoriginated, simple, and infinite being.
8. That all things owe their existence to this first cause, operating, not according to any kind of necessity, but according to its own free will.
9. That as, in all his operations, all his attributes must concur and combine, so all the works of his hands must bear the impress of wisdom and goodness; of that wisdom which consists in making a right use of knowledge and power, i.e. using both beneficially; of that goodness which consists in being pleased with communicating happiness to others.
Hence may be deduced CREATION, the plan of which proceeded from his wisdom, the execution from his power, and the result a proof of his goodness.
From these data we might proceed to prove the being of a God, and his beneficence and moral government of the world, a posteriori, i.e. arguing from the effects to the cause.
And first, a being of infinite wisdom must be expected to form his works so as to evidence that wisdom in their multiplicity, variety, internal structure, arrangement, connections, and dependencies; and, consequently, that these works must be in many respects inscrutable to man. And this, as they are his works, must be one of their characteristics.
Whether there be any other kind of beings than spiritual and material, and such as are of a mixed nature, we cannot tell; but we have no ideas of any other kinds, nor can we conceive the possibility of the existence of any other; as we have no ideas of any figure that is not formed of straight or curved lines, or a mixture of both.
God, the uncreated Spirit, manifests himself by material substances.
Created spirits must be manifested in the same way; and though matter may exist without spirit, and spirit without matter, yet without the latter, spirit cannot become manifest. Hence matter appears to have been created for the use of spirit or intellectual beings.
Creation in general demonstrates the being of a God.
The SOLAR SYSTEM and plurality of worlds, magnitude, distances, velocity and gravity, of the celestial bodies, projectile and centripetal forces, center of gravity, ellipsis, double and treble motion, attraction, all demonstrate the wisdom, power, and goodness of God.
VEGETATION. Plants, trees, circulation of nutritious juices, composition of ligneous fibres, dissolution and regeneration of terrestrial productions.
PRESERVATION of genera and species, demonstrations of infinite skill, and of the wisest and most beneficent providence MAN. Life, nutrition, sleep, the senses, particularly vision and muscular motion; each furnishes a series of irresistible arguments.
The HEART and the circulation of the blood afford the most striking proofs; and on this point let the reader particularly fix his attention.
In a healthy state the heart makes eighty pulsations in a minute, and it is calculated that from two ounces to two ounces and a half of blood are expelled into the aorta at each pulsation; consequently at least nine thousand six hundred ounces will be thrown into the aorta in an hour, which would amount to one thousand four hundred and forty pounds in one day! At each pulsation this quantum of blood is propelled eight inches, which amounts to fifty feet in a minute! The quantity of blood in a human body is, on an average, about thirty pounds, and passes through the heart about twenty-three times in the space of one hour! A weight of fifty pounds hung to the foot, the leg laid across the opposite knee, was raised by the action of the popliteal artery. Allowing for the distance from the center of motion, this proves that the heart must possess a power of at least four hundred pounds! The blood circulates by pressure from behind, occasioned by the action of the heart, which pressure having propelled it, according to the laws of gravity to the extremities, reconducts it, contrary to those laws, back to the heart. How is this effected? It has been supposed that the ARTERIES contribute much to the circulation of the blood; were it even so, it would be comparatively useless, as they cease where such an auxiliary power is most wanting, at the extremities, where their anastomosis with the veins takes place, and the veins are not supposed to possess any such propelling power.
But that the arteries possess no such power Bichat has proved by the following experiment: he took the arm of a dead man, placed it in warm water, inserted one end of a tube in the brachial artery, and the other end in the carotid artery of a living dog; the blood circulated in the dead arm, the pulse of which beat regularly by the action of the heart of the living animal.
Is there not a wondrous and especial providence of God by which this is effected? Others have attributed the pulsation of the heart itself to the stimulating nature of the blood. Bichat has disproved this by the following experiments:-
1. Expose the heart of an animal and empty it, apply a stimulus to its muscles, and it will dilate, and contract, as if it were full.
2. Puncture all the large vessels connected with the heart, so as to empty it entirely, and the alternate contractions and dilations will continue for some time, notwithstanding the total absence of the blood.
3. Remove two hearts of equal bulk from two living animals, place the fingers in the ventricles of the one, and grasp the other in the opposite hand, and it will be found that the effort of the latter in its dilation is as forcible as the other in its contraction.
Incessant action of the heart. Its unweariedness. What exhausts all other muscles appears to increase its action and its force! Can any person conceive how it is possible that a muscle can be in incessant action for threescore, fourscore, or a hundred years, without any kind of weariness? There is nothing in nature that can well explain this. Over its motion the mind has no power. This is wisely ordered, as many, in momentary fits of caprice, despair, and passion, would suspend the circulation, and thus put an end to their lives.
Providence, or the economical government of GOD in the provision for men and animals. Never too much, never too little; the produce of the earth being ever in proportion to the consumers, and the consumers to that produce.
Redemption. 1. As all things are intimately known to God, he must know wherein their happiness consists, and may from his goodness be expected to make every provision for that happiness.
2. Every sentient creature is capable of happiness or misery.
3. No creature can choose a state of misery for itself, because no creature can desire to be unhappy.
4. If any being could choose that state for another, he must be led to it by some motive which may make it eligible or desirable; and this must spring from his envy, jealousy, fear, or a conviction that the wretchedness of the other will contribute to his own happiness. None of these can exist in God the Creator, consequently he must be supposed to have made man for happiness. His counsels never change, and therefore when man had fallen he provided him a saviour; this might be naturally expected from his infinite benevolence.
The moral changes made in sinners, proofs of the being, agency, goodness, and presence of God.
Man's existence is a proof of the being of God; he feels himself to be the effect of a cause, and that cause to be wise, powerful, and good. There is evidently no cause in nature capable of producing such an effect, for no operation of nature can produce mind or intellect; the wonderful structure of the body, and the astonishing powers of the mind, equally prove that God is our Maker, and that in him we live, move, and have our being.
III. Astronomical phenomena very difficult to be accounted for upon natural principles, which are strong evidences of the being and continual agency of God.
The motion of a planet in an elliptic orbit is truly wonderful, and incapable of a physical demonstration in all its particulars. From its aphelion, or greatest distance from the sun or body round which it revolves, to its perihelion or least distance, its motion is continually accelerated; and from its perihelion to its aphelion is constantly retarded. From what source has the planet derived that power which it opposes to the solar attraction, in such a manner that, when passing from aphelion to perihelion by a continued acceleration, it is prevented from making a nearer approach to the sun? And on the other hand, what prevents the planet, after it has passed by a continued retardation from perihelion to aphelion, from going altogether out of the solar attraction, and causes it to return again to perihelion? In Sir Isaac Newton's demonstration that this phenomenon is a necessary result of the laws of gravity and projectile forces, it is worthy of observation that, to account for a planet's moving in an elliptic orbit, little differing from a circle, and having the sun in the lower focus, the projectile force of the planet, or the power by which it would move for ever in a straight line if not acted upon from without, is assumed to be nearly sufficient to counterbalance the planet's gravitating power, or, which is the same thing, the attraction of the central body; for the demonstration, the particulars of which are too complicated to be here detailed, puts us in possession of the following facts: If a planet be projected in a direction exactly perpendicular to that of the central body, with a velocity equal to what it would acquire by falling half way to the center by attraction alone, it will describe a circle round the central body. If the velocity of projection be greater than this, but not equal to what the planet would acquire in falling to the center, it will move in an elliptical orbit more or less eccentric according to the greater or less degree of projectile force. If the velocity of projection be equal to that which the planet would acquire in falling to the central body, it will move in a parabola; if greater than this, in a hyperbola.
Now it cannot be demonstrated, upon physical principles, that a planet should have a certain projectile force and no other, or that it should have any at all; for it is a law of nature, ably demonstrated by Newton in his Principia, that all bodies have such an indifference to rest or motion that, if once at rest, they must remain eternally so, unless acted upon by some power sufficient to move them; and that a body once put in motion will proceed of itself ever after in a straight line, if not diverted out of this rectilinear course by some influence. Every planetary body has a certain projectile force, therefore some previously existing cause must have communicated it. The planets have not only a projectile force, but this power is at the same time nearly a counterbalance to its gravitation, or the attraction of the central body; so that, by virtue of these powers thus harmoniously united, the planets perform their revolutions in orbits nearly circular with the greatest regularity. It hence follows that the cause, which has communicated just so much projectile force as to produce so near an equilibrium in the centrifugal and centripetal powers, is infinitely intelligent; therefore this cause must be God.
As all the planets move in orbits more or less elliptical, when they could have been made to move in circles by a particular adjustment of the attractive and projectile forces, the Divine purpose must be best answered by the eccentric orbit. The habitable earth evidently derives very great advantage from the elliptical orbit; for, in consequence of it, the sun is seven or eight days of every year longer on the northern side of the equator than he is on the southern; i.e. from the 21st of March, when he crosses the equator north ward, to the 23d of September, when he again returns to the equator, there are 186 days; but from the 23d of September, or autumnal equinox, to the 21st of March, or vernal equinox, there are only 179 days. From this circumstance the northern hemisphere, which it has pleased God should contain by far the greatest portion of land, is considerably warmer towards the polar regions than in similar latitudes towards the south pole, where an equal degree of temperature is not needed. Circumnavigators have not yet been able, because of the great cold of the south polar regions, to proceed beyond seventy-two or seventy-three degrees of south latitude, or, which is the same thing, to approach the south pole nearer than about 1200 miles; but the northern frigid zone, possessing a greater temperature, has been explored to within about 600 miles or the pole, i.e. to nearly eighty-two degrees of north latitude.
The double motion of a primary planet, namely, its annual revolution and diurnal rotation, is one of the greatest wonders the science of astronomy presents to our view. The laws which regulate the latter of these motions are so completely hid from man, notwithstanding his present great extension of philosophic research, that the times which the planets employ in their rotations can only be determined by observation. How is it that two motions, so essentially different from each other, should be in the same body at the same time, without one interfering at all with the other? The astonishing accuracy with which celestial observations have been conducted within the last one hundred years, has enabled astronomers to demonstrate that the neighbouring planets very sensibly affect the figure of the earth's orbit, and consequently its motion in its orbit. Of this every one may be convinced who examines the calculus employed in ascertaining for any particular point of time the sun's place in the heavens; or, which is the same thing, the point of the earth's orbit which is exactly opposed to the place of the earth in this orbit. Thus the maximum that the earth is affected by Venus is nine seconds and seven-tenths of a degree; by Mars, six seconds and seven-tenths; and by Jupiter, eight seconds, two-thirds, &c. But no astronomer, since the foundation of the world, has been able to demonstrate that the earth's motion in the heavens is at all accelerated or retarded by the diurnal rotation; or, on the other hand, that the earth's motion on its axis experiences the least irregularity from the annual revolution. How wonderful is this contrivance! and what incalculable benefits result from it! The uninterrupted and equable diurnal rotation of the earth gives us day and night in their succession, and the annual revolution causes all the varied scenery of the year. If one motion interfered with the other, the return of day and night would be irregular, and the change of seasons attended with uncertainty to the husbandman.
These two motions are therefore harmoniously impressed upon the earth, that the gracious promise of the great Creator might be fulfilled: "While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease." The double motion of a secondary planet is still more singular than that of its primary; for, (taking the moon for an example,) besides its particular revolution round the earth, which is performed in twenty- seven days, seven hours, forty-three minutes, four seconds and a half; it is carried round the sun with the earth once every year. Of all the planetary motions with which we have a tolerable acquaintance, that of the moon is the most intricate: upwards of twenty equations are necessary, in the great majority of cases, to reduce her mean to her true place; yet not one of them is derivable from the circumstance that she accompanies the earth in its revolution round the sun. They depend on the different distances of the earth from the sun in its annual revolution, the position of the lunar nodes, and various other causes, and not on the annual revolution itself; a motion which of all others might be expected to cause greater irregularities in her revolution round the earth, than could be produced in that of the latter by the planetary attractions. Who can form an adequate conception of that influence of the earth which thus draws the moon with it round the sun, precisely in the same manner as if it were a part of the earth's surface, notwithstanding the intervening distance of about two hundred and forty thousand miles; and at the same time leaves undisturbed the moon's proper motion round the earth? And what beneficent purposes are subserved by this harmony! In consequence of it we have the periodical returns of new and full moon; and the ebbing and flowing of the sea, which depend on the various lunar phases with respect to the sun and earth, (as is demonstrable from each of these phases being continually contemporaneous with a particular phenomenon of the tides,) always succeed each other with a regularity necessarily equal to that of the causes which produce them.
The impression of an inconceivably rapid motion upon the earth, without disturbing in the smallest degree any thing upon its surface, or in the atmosphere which surrounds it, is another instance of the infinite wisdom of God. That with which God has endued the celestial bodies, in order to accomplish this end, is called gravity or attraction. The existence of this influence is easily demonstrable from the curious law which pervades all the bodies in the solar system, and probably every other body in the whole compass of space. This law, viz. that the squares of the periodic times of the planets are to each other as the cubes of their mean distances from the central body, was first discovered by Kepler, and afterwards demonstrated by Sir Isaac Newton. Thus, if the distance of but one planet from the sun is known, and the periodic revolutions of the whole, the distance of each from the sun is easily ascertained. The mean distance of the earth from the sun has been found, by the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769, to be about ninety-five and a half millions of English miles; and the periodic times of all the planets are known by direct observation.
Thus, to find the distance of Jupiter from the sun, nothing more is necessary than first to square the period of the earth, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 3/4 minutes; and that of Jupiter, 11 years, 315 days, 14 hours and a half; and divide the greater product by the less to find the proportion one bears to the other; then to cube the earth's mean distance from the sun, 95 1/2 millions, and multiply the cube by the proportion between the periodic times already found, and the cube root of the last product will be the distance required. By this means it was that the distances of the different planets from the sun, and of the satellites from the primaries, (for this law extends to the satellites,) have been calculated. See the Table of the Periodic Revolutions, &c., of the Planets, in the notes on the first chapter of Genesis. From this law it is evident, to every one that deeply considers this subject, that the planets revolve in orbits by an influence emanating from the sun; for the nearer a planet is to the sun, the swifter is its motion in its orbit, and vice versa. (See the Tables already referred to.) The singular phenomenon of a planet's describing equal areas in equal times results from gravitation combined with the projectile power; or, in other words, from the union of the centripetal and centrifugal forces. Thus, if a planet describe in twenty-four hours any given arc of its orbit, and the area contained between two straight lines, drawn from the extremities of this arc and meeting in the sun, be ascertained, it will be precisely equal to what the planet will describe in any other twenty-four hours, the greater or less quantity of the arc described being continually compensated by the less or greater extent of the straight lines including the respective areas. We also find that, by virtue of these laws, the motion of a planet in its orbit is not decreased in arithmetical proportion to the increase of the distance from the central body; for the hourly orbitical motion of the Georgium Sidus, for example, is only about five times slower than that of the earth, though its distance from the sun is full nineteen times greater.
Every man may convince himself of the existence of gravity, by observing the phenomena attending falling bodies. Why is it that the velocity of a falling body is continually accelerated till it arrives on the earth? We answer, that the earth continually attracts it; consequently, its velocity must be continually increasing as it falls. It is also observable, that the nature of the influence on falling bodies is precisely the same with that which retains the planets in their orbits. By numerous experiments it is found that, if the falling body descends towards the earth 16 feet in the first second, (a statement very near the truth,) it will fall through three times this space, or 48 feet, in the next second; five times this space, or 80 feet, in the third second; seven times this space, or 112 feet, in the fourth second; nine times this space, or 144 feet, in the fifth second, &c. Hence the spaces fallen through are as the squares of the times of falling, i.e. in the first second the body falls 16 feet, and in the next second, 48 feet; consequently the body falls as many feet in the two first seconds as is equal to the sum of these two numbers, viz. 64, which is 16 multiplied by 4, the square of 2, the number of seconds it took up in falling through the first 64 feet. See Exley's new theory of physics, page 469.
The above is but a very brief account of the influence of this wonderful principle, which is universally diffused through nature, and capable of attracting every particle of matter under all its possible modifications, and of imparting to each substance, from the lightest gas to the most ponderous metal, that property which constitutes one body specifically heavier or lighter than another. To detail all the benefits which result from it, would be almost to give a history of the whole material creation. But it may be asked, What is gravity? To the solution of this question natural philosophy is unable to lead us. Suffice it to say, all we know of gravity is its mode of operation and that it is, like its great Creator, an all pervading and continued energy. Therefore, that it is, and not in what it consists, is capable of demonstration.
All these things prove, not only that there is a God infinitely powerful and intelligent, but also kind and merciful, working all according to the counsel of his will, and causing all his operations to result in the benefit of his creatures. They prove, also, that God is continually present, supporting all things by his energy; and that, while his working is manifest, his ways are past finding out. Yet, as far as he may be known, we should endeavour to know him; for, he that cometh unto God must know that he is. Without this it is not likely that any man will serve him; for those alone who know him seek him, and they only who put their trust in him can testify he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek him.
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE BASTINADO, SUPPOSED TO BE REFERRED TO IN VER. 35.
IV. On the 15th of Nov. 1779, Mr. Antes, returning from a short country excursion to Grand Cairo, was seized by some of the attendants of Osman Bey, a Mamaluke chief; and after stripping him of his clothes, they demanded money, which he not having about him, they dragged him before the bey, telling him that he was a European, from whom he might get something. In order to extort money from him, the bey ordered him to be bastinadoed. They first threw him down flat on his face, and then bent up his legs, so that the soles of his feet were horizontal; they then brought a strong staff, about six feet long, with an iron chain fixed to it at both ends.
This chain they threw round both feet above the ancles, and twisted them together; and two fellows on each side, provided with what they call a corbage, held up the soles of the feet by means of the stick. When thus placed, an officer whispered in his ear, "Do not suffer yourself to be beaten; give him a thousand dollars, and he will let you go." Mr. Antes, not willing to give up the money which he had received for the goods of other merchants, refused; the two men then began to beat the soles of his feet, at first moderately; but when a second application for money was refused, and then the demand was two thousand dollars, they began to lay on more roughly, and every stroke felt like the application of a red hot poker.
Finding they could get no money, supposing he might have some choice goods, a third application was made to him by the officer; he told them he had a fine silver-mounted blunderbuss at his lodging which he would give.
The bey asked what he offered; the officer sneered, and said, bir carabina, i.e. "one blunderbuss;" on which the bey said, ettrup il kulp, "beat the dog." They then began to lay on with all their might. "At first," says Mr. Antes, "the pain was excruciating; but after some time my feeling grew numb, and it was like beating a bag of wool." Finding that nothing was to be got from him, and knowing that he had done nothing to deserve punishment, the bey ordered them to let him go. One of the attendants anointed his feet, and bound them up with some rags, put him on an ass, and conducted him to his house in Cairo, and laid him on his bed, where he was confined for six weeks before he could walk, even with crutches; and for more than three years his feet and ancles were very much swelled; and, though twenty years had elapsed when he published this account, his feet and ancles were so affected that, on any strong exertion, they were accustomed to swell.
He mentions instances of the bastinado having been applied for three days successively, and, if the person survived, the feet were rendered useless for life; but in general, he observes, when they have received between five and six hundred strokes, the blood gushes from their mouth and nose, and they die either under or soon after the operation.
How he felt his mind affected on this distressing occasion, he thus piously describes: "I at once gave up myself for lost, well knowing that my life depended on the caprice of a brute in human shape; and, having heard and seen such examples of unrelenting cruelty, I could not expect to fare better than others had done before me; I had therefore nothing left but to cast myself on the mercy of God, commending my soul to him; and indeed I must in gratitude confess, that I experienced his support most powerfully; so that all fear of death was taken from me; and if I could have bought my life for one halfpenny, I should, I believe, have hesitated to accept the offer." - Observations on the Manners, &c., of the Egyptians, by J.
ANTES, Esq. 12mo., Dublin, 1801, p. 146.
If this be the punishment to which the apostle alludes, it may justly rank with the most severe; and, all circumstances considered, this appears to be what is intended in the original word etumpanisqhsan, which we, not knowing what was meant by it, render they were tortured. These holy men needed no mercy from man; and they received no justice. The case above is a specimen of Mohammedan justice, and Mamaluke cruelty; and to rescue such wretches from the government of the French we spent torrents of British blood! It would have been a mercy to man to have left them in the hands of any power that might abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices. As to their being corrupted by French manners, that is impossible; the Mohammedans in general, and the Turks and Mamalukes of Egypt in particular, are too bad for the devil himself to corrupt. Pity, that political considerations rendered it necessary to restore that corrupt and abominable government. Reader, there is an infinite difference between the Bible and the Koran; the one is from heaven, the other from earth and hell. "Thanks be to God for his holy Gospel!"