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While we were felicitating ourselves that our own country was happily exempt from such tremendous crimes, the result of those principles of irreligion and anarchy which have deluged France with blood, a conspiracy, wicked beyond all precedent of wickedness, was most providentially discovered in London. On Wednesday last, the 23 inst., a communication was made to the Earl of Harrowby, one of kis Majesty's ministers, that a gang of ruffians, headed by Arthur Thistlewood, who has become notorious by his seditious harangues and writings, were preparing to murder the whole of the Cabinet Ministers, who were to have dined that evening at his Lordship's house. Information was accordingly given to the Police; a party of military were empowered to assist; and the dinner of the Cabinet was deferred.
A warrant against Arthur Thistlewood, and twelve others, whose names were not particularised, for felony, was then made out, and delivered to Mr. Birnie, a magistrate, who was to see it properly executed. This gentleman lost no time in making his arrangements: he collected twelve officers, and with these he repaired to the spot where the conspirators were-assembled. The scene of this wicked assembly was a loft and stable in Cato-street, near the Edgware. road. The communication which had been made to Government was thus horribly realized. Upon the entrance of the police officers to the loft, one of them was immediately murdered by the leader of the gang. A desperate conflict ensued, in which others were wounded. The military arriving after some delay, niné prisoners were secured;the remainder of the conspirators escaped. Thistlewood, who stabbed the police officer, has since been taken. A Coroner's inquest bas found a verdict of Wilful Murder, against the whole of these wretched associates.
The more this horrible business is developed the more it appears to have been part of an extensive conspiracy, for commencing the career of anarchy with one of the foulest crimes that was ever coa. templated. By the blessing of God this atrocious object has been defeated. The character of this conspiracy must furnish a seasonable lesson to the people of Great Britain. It will manifest, what some have attempted to dispute, that there are men amongst us capable of entertaining the most diabolical projects for the subversion of our civil institutions; and it will shew that the laws which have recently been passed against the diffusion of such principles, are wise and not unnecessary regulations. The justice which is impending over these guilty men will we trust produce a salutary example to all those who are not yet hardened in crimes of a treasonable complexion. May it teach all of us to shun the beginnings of evil, when we see to what horrible excesses they lead. We should tremTle for our country, if we were not convinced that crimes like these are abhorrent to the general character of our countrymen.
Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? JOHN v. 39, 46, 47.
THE five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, are placed at the head of the Scriptures as the most ancient of the Sacred Writings. These, together, formed the book of the Law, as it was called by the Jews.
Genesis (so named from its containing an account of the families) opens with a simple description of the Creation. All eminent writers and scholars have agreed in declaring the noble simplicity of this History to be unequalled by any modern composition. The formation of the first man and woman, and of all living creatures; and the institution of the first Sabbath, or day of rest, when God had completed his great work, are first related. We next learn that the
Devil (who had been cast out of Heaven, with other disobedient angels) was permitted by God to take the form of a Serpent, and try the obedience of Adam and Eve, by offering them the fruit of a tree, the only one in the Garden of Paradise which they were forbidden to taste. 1
This was to be the trial of their perfect submission to the Divine will, and of their faith in God's word; and though now it may appear to some perhaps a slight offence to pluck an apple from a tree, we must remember the early state of the world, and that this simple trial of faith and obedience was as sufficient as any other to prove how far our first parents were disposed to obey their Creator.* The Devil persuaded them to discredit the declaration of the Almighty.
*This discredit of God's declaration, under the persuasion of the Tempter, was then the great offence; as want of faith has ever since been the source of all our sin. VOL. I.
Both of them fatally transgressed; and from the moment they had eaten of the forbidden fruit, they received into their hearts a corrupt taint of sin, which from thenceforward has been the cause of all the misery in the world.
Still the Tempter, as the greatest offender, was to be made the severest example; and though man was condemned to suffer for his crime, even then Adam received a promise that from his children should spring the future Redeemer of mankind; who would finally overcome death, and beat down Satan under his feet.
The corruption of nature which our first parents had undergone through sin soon shewed itself among their children, as they began to multiply upon the earth. The whole human race, receiving this corruption from their parents, became sinful and depraved. God perceiving their universal wickedness, at length resolved utterly to destroy them. Noah, who alone had obtained favour by his piety, together with his family, (in all, eight persons,) was preserved in the Ark, a huge vessel constructed by him, with the aid of the Almighty, into which two or more of every sort of living creatures were collected by supernatural power, and which bore them in safety upon the face of the waters, when a dreadful flood overwhelmed all that drew the breath of life.
When the waters had gone down, which spread over the face of the earth a whole year, a new people began to inhabit the earth. God blessed Noah and his family with increase, and through his Divine providence soon repeopled the world from the stock thus saved in the Ark. But the sad corruption of man's nature led him soon again into disobedience, notwithstanding the dreadful example, before him. The human race became as abandoned as before; they forsook the service of the true God, devoting themselves to the worship of images, and all kinds of wickedness. They mocked at the authority of God. In their presumption, they even undertook to build a tower, by which they might reach up to Heaven; but the Almighty, to confound their impious purpose, miraculously caused them to speak in languages not understood by one another; so that they were forced to give up their design, and to disperse from the place where they had assembled. Thus forming themselves into separate tribes, they removed into distant parts of the world; becoming the founders of those distinct nations which now inhabit the earth who, though descended from a single pair, have in the long course of ages gradually become wonderfully diversified in complexion and features, under the influence of climate, character, and modes of life, as we find other animals affected in like manner from similar
As the Almighty was unwilling to destroy the human race a second time, he adopted a gentler means of correcting their wickedness, by choosing out a single nation from among them; who, being bred up under his immediate instructions, should preserve the knowledge of the one only God, until the appointed time arrived when the long-promised Saviour of mankind was to descend from Heaven,
to make a full atonement for their sins, and to obtain for them pardon and happiness in a state of eternal existence.
Accordingly, 400 years after the flood, God was pleased to confer upon the patriarch Abraham, the distinguished honour of being the founder of the Jewish nation. The Almighty proved his piety and his obedience in the most exemplary manner, and was graciously pleased to promise that his descendants should possess the land of Canaan, and become a great nation; amongst whom, at a future time, the heavenly Saviour should be born.
It was made known to him that he should not himself possess the promised land; that his immediate descendants should suffer slavery 400 years in the land of Egypt; that they should be miraculously delivered from their oppressors, and conducted by Moses towards the promised country, through amazing dangers and difficulties; under which they would be supported by the power of God. The history recorded in Genesis comprehends a period of 2369 years.
In the book of Exodus (a word signifying the going out from, alluding to the departure of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt) Moses relates the circumstances of his own story, and the astonishing miracles wrought in favour of the people whom God had appointed him to lead. He describes their release from Egyptian slavery; the destruction of their enemies; and the distresses they met with in the wilderness, or great desart, through which they wandered for forty years, as a punishment for their disobedience. He records the awful manner in which God Almighty was pleased to deliver his Laws to the whole people from Mount Sinai, when the Supreme Being shewed forth his glory to them in proof of his heavenly power, and delivered to Moses the Ten great Commandments; which comprise an abstract of our duty towards God and man; engraven on tablets of stone by the finger of God himself. The whole period recounted in this book is about 145 years.
The Book of Leviticus (so called from the tribe of Levi, appointed to keep charge of the Sacred Writings) contains the religious rites and ceremonies, and the whole of the regulations established for the conduct of the Israelites by Moses, under the direct command of God.
The Book of Numbers begins with a history of the numbering of the Israelites, from which it takes its name, and continues the account of their national regulations; carrying forward their history for about thirty-eight years, in their progress towards the land of Canaan. In the 24th chapter Balaam (who was not a true believer, and the determined enemy of the Israelites) is recorded to have delivered, against his own consent, a very clear and remarkable prophecy of the coming of Christ, describing the peculiar signs by which his birth should be made known.
Deuteronomy, which signifies the renewal of the Law, was drawn up by Moses towards the close of his life, for the information of those of the Israelites who were not born when first the Law was
delivered from Mount Sinai, in the wilderness, or who were in their childhood at that period.
Having conducted them to the banks of the river Jordan, which bounded the countries God had promised to them, Moses assembled all the people in his presence, and solemnly reminded them of all the wonderful mercies they had received from God. Agreeably to the Divine command, having carefully recorded all the commandments of God, together with the history of past events, in a book; on this public occasion he delivered these venerable memorials into the care of the Levites, requiring that from time to time they should be read to the whole nation. He taught the people a sublime song of praise, that they might keep for ever in their remembrance the mercies of God; but at the saine time prophecied, that through their obstinacy and disobedience they would at last forfeit the Divine favour; foretelling with the most astonishing exactness, in the 28th chapter, the particulars of those misfortunes which would befal them in consequence of their rejecting the Saviour of mankind. Being now arrived on the borders of the promised land, he remembered the saying of God, that he should not enter the country which he then saw from the top of a lofty mountain, and accordingly gave up his command to Joshua, the chosen servant of God, who had been appointed to lead the people.
An account of the death of Moses, which took place soon after, is added at the conclusion of the Book of Deuteronomy, probably written by the hand of Joshua; all that goes before being certainly written by Moses himself.
I have dwelt thus long upon the five books of Moses, as containing the most ancient and extensive part of the Sacred History. These venerable accounts convey to us the only memorials of the first age of the world, and furnish the only rational means of accounting for many things at this day, which would be otherwise unintelligible.
The effects of the deluge are to be seen in every quarter of the globe, and present such prodigious appearances as can only be explained by that remarkable event. Mountains and seas are found
to have changed their situations. Shells, and other productions of the sea, are continually discovered on the tops of the highest mountains ; and are every day dug up in mines, and from the very bowels of the
The miraculous change of tongues at the Tower of Babel (an ancient word, which signifies confusion) can alone account for the variety of languages now spoken in the world ;-and the old accounts still preserved among the Eastern countries, from whence the human race first began to wander into more distant quarters of the world, have given scholars well skilled in those languages, the most surprizing proofs of the correctness of the Bible History; and promise, as the examination of their ancient records proceeds, to furnish still further explanations of the Sacred Writings.
The Book of Joshua informs us of the progress of the Israelites