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Sketches of Human Nature; or Hints, chiefly relating to the duties and difficulties that occur in the intercourse of Christians nith one another, and with the world. By William Inuks, Minister of the Gospel. 2nd edition, considerably enlarged. Edinburgh. Oliphant and Co. and Hamilton, London, 1317. about 300 pages 12mo. 4s. 6d. boards. The former edition of this book was published eight or nine years ago, and it has been for some time out of print. Tis a pity this should ever have been the case; for a work calculated to be more extensively useful we know not where else to look for. Our opinions, indeed, upon a few points of minor importance, do not exactly quadrate with those of Mr. Innes; tut that is no reason with us why we should with-hold from his performance the commendation to which it is fairly entitled. The object of it is not to teach the doctrines of Christianity; for it addresses itself to those who are supposed to be already instructed in the first principles of the oracles of God, and who consequently are become members of a Christian church: and it sets before them the evils they should avoid, and the rule they should follow if they would promote their own edification, the glory of Christ, and the peace and prosperity of his kingdom in the world. And now let us ask, " Where is the Ghristian to be found, who can say that these things do not concern him >" The troth is, it is a practical treatise on the subject of church-fellowship—evidently the result of much painful experience in the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it eomes home to every Christian's business and bosom.
The work is divided into four Sections of which the following are the titles. Sect. I. Of the discipline of a Church, offences, &c. Sect. II. Of the pernicious effects of Tale-bearing, rash judgment, &c. Sbct. III. Respecting Pastors and Teachers. Sect. IV. Remarks on Miscellaneous 'Subjects. These four Sections are subdivided into fifty-six short Essays with a Conclusion and an Appendix. There are few persons who have.
been any length of time members m a Christian church, that have not had cause to lament the want of concord and harmony in the body, arising from a deficiency of love, the remainder of corruption in the hearts of their brethren, the imprudent conduct of some, and the imperfections of all. It is this melancholy state of things that lays a foundation for the numerous exhortations with which the New Testament abounds, to " forbear one another in love"—to have "compassion one of 'another"—to "love as brethren"—to "put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering," &c. &c. There is, certainly, very much propriety in the following remarks which we extract from the introduction to this work.
"I recollect," says Mr. Innes, "when conversing some time ago with a friend, on the, effects of mutual watchfulness, and of the observance of scriptural discipline, he remarked: 'One thing, at least, appears very obvious, that, where these are attended to in churches, Christians will find the corruption that is in human nature made much more manifest than in other situations. Now, it has been with me a question, Is this a recommendation of such churches? These occurrences, it must be allowed, in the history of individuals, which bring the evil that eiistsin their hearts to light, often form an important source of improvement, as they tend to inspire humility and watchfulness: may not this, then, be the way in which the great Head of the church designed that Christians, in their associated capacity, shonld promote the improvement of one another?"—Whatever has been the issue of this inquiry, in the case of the individual referred to, the fact on which it is founded is unquestionable. Where Christians acknowledge no authority, and have no bond of union but the word ef God, restraints of a merely external kind are in a great measure removed; and as, in the discipline which the scriptures require to be observed in a Christian church, many things sufficiently disagreeable to human nature must inevitably occur, the observance of that discipline certainly does tend to bring to light much secret depravity, which, in less trying situationi, might never have been discovered.
It is a lamentable fact, that among the great body of Dissenters throughout England, the state of things sup fwsed or implied in the preceding extract, is at least sufficiently understood, to determine them to have as little to do with discipline as possible! Members of the same church may statedly come together for years in succession to worship God without ever exchanging a word with one another—they may have causes of dissatisfaction and grounds of offence towards each other, existing for years, without a single effort being made to remove them—and if the parties themselves can be content to let matters han» over, in this state, they may live and die at enmity with each other. This is shocking to reflect upon—but it is a true picture of tlie generality of the present race of churches. The great thing with most of the pastors is, to keep peace and quietness—but the very means by which they seek to accomplish it, namely,by smothering the embers of disaffection, eventually ruins the church. Christ in his great wisdom and love, hath instituted discipline to be observed among the members, for the purpose of keeping clear the channels of brotherly love; and it is at the peril of any body of Christians, how they negl«ct it. Mr. Innes understands this subject well—few men understand it better; and his book is replete with the most excellent advice to brethren associated together in the profession of the gospel, on this important subject No member of a Christian church ought to be without it.
Were it, necessary to justify the opinion which we have given of the work before us, by quotations from it, the task would be easily executed; but our limits do not admit of it. Should what we have said, induce any of our readers to procure the volume, and to make themselves masters of the salutary counsel it contains, they will have much more reason to thank us for advising them to it, than the author will.
A Defence of the Wesleyan Methodist Missions in the West Indies: including a refutation of the cliarges in Mr. Marryat's " Thoughts on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, SfC." and in other Publications; with facts and Anecdotes illustrative of the moral state of the Slaves, and of the operation of Missions. Bv Richard Watson,
mittee for the management of the Wesleyan Methodist Missions. London. Blanshard; Butterworth and Son; and Baynes. Price 3s. 6d. 8vo.pp. 163. 1817. The abolition of the traffic in human beings, which has swept from tha ocean every ship bearing.the British flag, and set an example to every other nation of the triumph of humanity and justice over the sordid principles of gain, is an achievement which no benevolent mind can contemplate with unconcern. Until that monstrous engine of oppression and cruelty was once fairly destroyed, the concentrated energies of all the friends of truth and freedom were necessarily required to crush the hydra, and rescue our fellow creatures from his savage claws. But the victory was won; and it is in itself of sufficient consequence to reflect a lustre on the age in which we live. Africa was thereby relieved, and if her children in the West Indies, were, during the conflict, in a considerable degree forgotten, some apology might possibly be offered for the sin of omission. The principle of Christian benevolence, however, which of late years, has been so powerfully called into action, rendered it highly improbable that such a vast scene as that which the West India Islands presented to view, of human wretchedness and the want of moral cultivation, should be long overlooked. The bare reflection, that there existed considerably more than half a million of blacks and people of colour, subjects of the British empire, separated from us indeed by a little water, who are still held as slaves in the British Colonies; who live and die, not only without personal liberty and the enjoyment of many important civil rights, for which, in truth, they are not in every case prepared, but without any religious instruction, except such as is. offered by voluntary charity; without education of the lowest kind; without any attempt to civilize or moralize them; without even the forms of marriage, and of course, without domestic relations; being left to vegetate and die on the soil, without ever feeling the powers of immortal rtian, ignorant of themselves, of the God who made them, and of the end of their being—all this is surely an affecting consideration. "Such," say* dition, at this moment, of by far the greater part of the slave population of our colonies; and in this condition have lived and died the successive millions, who, from the commencement of the slave trade have passed through ttje life of toil and injury which our practice, if not our laws had assigned them, to depose before the bar of Eternal Justice, the general neglect of a Christian people towards the promoting in any efficient degree, their moral happiness."
t)ne of the Secretaries to the Com- Mr. Watson, "is, however, the cor*
"The West India islands have not, however, been wholly neglected. If no efficient legislative provision has been adopted for the Christianising of their slave population, it has been attempted by the spontaneous zeal of several Christian societies, and with a success, which, though far from rendering larger exertions unnecessary, will ever be contemplated by Christians of every religious persuasion with the highest satisfaction. The Society founded by Bishop Porteus, has two missionaries employed in this work. The Moravians commenced their labours in the Danish West India Islands in 1732: in Jamaica, in 1754; in Antigua, in 1756; and in St. Kitts, in 1775. The efforts of the Wesleyan Methodists commenced in Antigua in 1760; and from 17S6, when four missionaries visited that Island, they began to spread over the British colonies, in most of which they have raised societies, congregations, and places of worship, and now employ thirtynine missionaries. The Baptists have three missionaries in Jamaica, and the London Missionary Society have lately occupied stations in Demerara.Berbice, and Trinidad. In this work, all, who have long exerted themselves, have had to toil through great difficuliies, and to make the most painful sacrifices. The result of their united efforts, however, is, that probably more than 200,060 negroes and people of colour enjoy, either as members of religious societies, or as hearers of the preachers of different denominations, the benefits of religious instruction, For this work of patriotism and benevolence fhe rewards which th0 missionaries, have in many cases met with, have been opposition and persecution abroad, and calumny at home, I But their judgment is urith the Lord, and fhefr work with their Qod,'"
It can hardly excite surprise, however aflecting the consideration may be, that the sordid Jove pf money, should so far gain the ascendant over the principles of humanity and benevolence, as to stimulate interested individuals to raise a clamour against the persons that have undertaken the task of enlightening this dark
portion of the globe. The Wesleyat Missionaries have been singled out by the Anti-mission party as the special object of attack—and a new periodical publication under the title of "The Quarterly Colonial Journal," has been the vehicle of the grossest misrepresentation and most slanderous abuse of them. Mr. Marryat, too, in his "Thoughts on the Abolition of the Slave Trade" has powerfully aided in the same bad cause. But the Missionaries have found a most able advocate in Mr. Watson, "One of the Secretaries to the Committee for the management of the Wesleyan Methodist Missions" —a man who, whether we regard him as a preacher or a writer, is deservedly entitled to rank in the very foremost class of either. We have listened with delight to his eloquence from the pulpit, and have been not much less charmed with the pamphlet now before us. It is indeed a triumphant "Defence" of his Mis-; sionary brethren; and should any of our readers have been led to adopt prejudices against the cause which is here defended, we beseech them to read Mr. Watson's pamphlet—or if any of their acquaintance should unhappily be so circumstanced, they cannot do better than put it info their hands.
The Bible Class Book; or Scripture Readings for every day in the year '• being three hundred arid sixty foe, lessons, selected from the most instructive and improving parts of tm Sacred Scriptures. Adapted to tht use of schools and families. London. Lackington and Co.; 6s. bound. Ever since we were capable of forming a judgment on the subject, it struck us that strong objections might be urged against the practice ot making the Bible indiscriminately a school book. And yet it is past all dispute that there are portions of it, which surpass in appropriateness, all othw books in the world. Of this description are the historical parts of the Old Testament, particularly the interesting narratives of Joseph) oi Moses, and of David; the whole>oi the book of Proverbs; and the Evangelical history of our Saviour. « gave us sensible pleasure, thereto^ to meet with the work before us, »• cause it appears to us to remedy*
evil of which we have frequently complained—and supplies what has hitherto been a desideratum.
The Lessons are selected with due discrimination; and the titles are in general appropriate; beginning with The Creation—the first Sabbath—the fall of man—the death of AbelNoah's Ark—the Deluge^-the Rainbow—the confusion of tongues—the call of Abraham, &c. &c. The incomparable history of Joseph and his brethren occupies twelve lessons; the history of the Israelties, beginning with the birth of Moses, and terminating with their settlement in the promised land, makes nearly fifty. The book of Proverbs upwards of twenty. It is with propriety that the compiler has been sparing in his use of the Prophetic writings, and also of the Apostolic epistles. But he has very judiciously harmonized the life of Christ. In selecting a few
lessons from the epistles to the Corinthians, he has fallen into some inaccuracies which of course will be corrected in the next edition. The first epistle, is always mentioned "Corinthians" without the numeral; and those lessons which have been selected from the second epistle are uniformly said to be taken from the Jirst! The volume consists of 550 pages, and at the head of each lesson is prefixed a text of scripture. Upon the whole, we think the publication certainly deserves the attention of teachers in general: and at a period like the present, when unexampled efforts are making to distribute the Scriptures universally abroad—awork, such as the one before us, so well adapted for utility, cannot fail, we think, of public patronage, and in process of time, of being very generally used.
Religious an& Uitcratg XnteUigetut*
To the Editor of the New Evangelical Magazine.
It is now some months since I addressed you on the importance of universal education, and 1 am induced to request your favourable reception of a few lines again, in consequence of the great satisfaction I have experienced in reading the sixth Report of the Society for Gaelic Schools, and which I trust will be acceptable to jour readers.
The Gaelic Society, Is not opposed to the respectable Society long since established in Edinburgh, for promoting Christian knowledge in the Highlands, and Islands, but is different in its object, and its operations are principally directed to plans which have had little or no benefit from.the laudable, operation of that Society. Much commendation is undoubtedly due to the Society for promoting Christian knowledge in the Highlands, &e. but it appears from experience, and from facts, that by teaching the English language alone, tbey have made far less progress than would have been made by teaching the Gaelic. The instruction thus given conveyed no ideas—•he people only read what they did not anderstand, and felt no interest in that kind of education which conveyed so •*waeas.
In the year 1811, a respectable association was formed, for the purpose of investigating the actual state of the Highlands^and Islands, in regard to instruction, and to provide the means of teaching them in the Gaelic their native tongue. These inqulriesdemonstrated the necessity of immediate exertion in their behalf, and the Society determined to adopt a plan, which had the sanction of experience in Wales, viz. the employment of Itinerant Teachers, in what axe called ambulatory Schools. The result has fully answered the expectation of the Society, The people old and young, most eagerly assemble together to learn, and a desire is excited thereby to learn even tile English language. At a small expense and by means of teachers who remain only a few months in one place, instruction it afforded to 3557 persons, of all ages front 5 to 117, for even at this advanced age, one person appeared as a learner, and actually made some proficiency, when it pleased God to arrest his progress, by dimness of sight, and soon after to remove him from this world.
The Report states, the visitor of the School at Glencalvie found "A house crowded with 60 Scholars of all ages, from the Glencalvie veteran Ivirach, now in his 117th year to, literally speaking, the infant in the cradle; for the mother, of the infant his one of the Scholars, and such was bere desire to learn, that ike brought the child and cradle 'to school. Tills man Iverach now attending the school, in the parish wherein he was born, enlisted in the year 1715, and as it appears actually attempted to learn to read, one hundred years afterwards in 1815. The teacher says, he acquired the knowledge of letters, nay had got the length of readingsyllables or short words, when he was arrested in bis progress by an infirmity incident to far younger men. His sight failed considerably, otherwise he would have learned to read."
The fundamental principle of this Society is to teach the people to read the scripture alone without note or comment, and the plan meets the approbation of all the people, a large proportion of whom are Catholics. This is another proof among many, of the superior advantage of giving instruction, on a plan ■which includes the children of all denominations. How forcibly does it reprove the practice of exclusive measures, and how plainly does it evince the awful responsibility of those, who have kept the poor in ignorance of the Holy Scriptures under whatever pretext.
The consequence has been the same as it will always be, when the power of reading the scripture is afforded to the poor. In proof of which I shall trouble your readers with some short extracts from this valuable Report.
"In two populous townships, says the Rev. Dr. Ross, at the distance of 12 miles from the parish church, and in some measure detached from the world; when one year ago, except in the house of the principal tenant, a single Bible was not to be found, now there is not a house in which a portion of the word of God is not read, and his worship performed twice every day. The thing isscarcely credible but the hand of God is in your labours." . *' After an examination at Glencalvie, an old man thanked God in the most expressive terms, for what he had spared aim to see. 1 remember, said he, when there were only three Bibles in all Strathcarron, Glencalvie, and Strathcullanach, an extentof Strath measuring fully twenty miles in length, if taken in a straight line, and only three men in the vast population it then contained, who could read the word of God, and now every child can read it, every house contains one or more bibles, and those who cannot read themselves, have daily opportunity of Bearing it from some inmate of the family."
The improvement in morals is also manifest. The Rev. Alexander Stewart of Dingwall writes: "The instructions inculcated npon the children have through that medium, been transmitted to the parents, the parental interest and pleasure, they fell in their children's improvement drew their serious attention to the sacred scriptures, which the young ones read or
committed to memsry. Thus the wafli of the cottage were illuminated, by the taper which was lighted in the school. Prayer has been introduced to families, whereno form of devotion existed before: swearers, liars, and drunkards, have appeared to stand in a-ve of their own children, knowing how they had been taught at school, to abhor these vices as sins, which provoke the wrath of God, or drown the soul in perdition."
"Formerly not having any subject of a substantial or serious nature to engage their attention arising from their inability to peruse the oracles of truth, they spent the sabbath in frivolous and idle conversation; but now they not only continue the public reading of the scriptures in the school house, on that day, but also read them every day in their families. I have found parents listening, while their children read the scripture with great attention."
How precious are the moments which are passing away? Every hour is carrying, some individuals into an eternal state, who had they been instructed in the Holy Scripture, would have been better members of Society, and under the divine blessing on these Scriptures, might have been prepared to stand before the Judge of all. How many crimes mu6t have been prevented, only by the moral effect of teaching to read the oracles of God, and in so far as our neighbours have been permitted to grow up in ignorance, their crimes areas much imputable to the public, as to themselves. I am sometimes inclined to think there is as much lost by theft, as would pay for the education of all the poor. It is said that the part of the New Penitentiary at Milbank which is allotted to women, is full, and that of necessity female convicts, must yet be transported. Shall we continue to build places of imprisonment at an enormous expense, or shall we not rather endeavour to prevent the evil by instruction * Surely a small part of the sum so expended, might he made to go for the moralising of youth, and I have no doubt it will prove a blessing to Society.
Reading the scriptures appears to be the best foundation which can be laid for human improvement, and I trust the day is not far distant, when every person will exert his utmost endeavours to promote it.
I remain Sir,
Your obedient servant, 0.
[Concluded from page 218.]
With respect to the progress which has
already been made in fufilling the por*
poses for which this Society was fonnwi
it may be observed,—that its aflTMt"