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professor of religion, that what the scriptures chiefly intend by good works, are the works of mercy, and the exercise of liberality to the poor and afflicted. Much has also been said to distinguish a living from a dead jo ith, by the exercises of the mind; but it is very manifest that the apostle James distinguishes a true from a dead faith, by the good works of mercy to the naked, or hungry brother or sister, and considers every pretension to faith without this as nugatory and vain. James ii. 14—17. Multitudes profess great love to God, and judge of it by their pathetic feelings and the warmth of their devotion; but the apostle John says, *' Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need,and shuttethup his bowels of compassion from liim,how dwelleththe love of God in him?" 1 John iii. 17. The apostle writing to the Hebrews, mentions some very high attainments, such as being enlightened,' tasting of the heavenly gift, partaking of the Holy Spirit, tasting of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; yet, after all, he supposes that such may fall away, and therefore he mentions their work of faith and labour of love to the name of Christ, in ministering to the saints,! as a more solid evidence of their | Christianity, than all those splendid attainments, Heb. vi.4,9,10. These things abundantly evince liow important this duty of considering the poor is, in the christian life. So pretensions to faith, love, or high attainments in Christian experience are, by the inspired writers, sustained as genuine without it.
Our Lord, in the days of his public ministry, forcibly inculcated this important duty of liberality in almsgiving to the poor. He terms it laying up for ourselves, treasures in heaven." Matt. vi. 20. "Making to ourselves friends of
the mammon of unrighteousness," Luke xvi. 0. and " being rich towards God," ch. xii. 2J. Paul says, that those who do good, and are rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, are laying up in store for themselves, a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Tim. Vi. 18. 19. There are many different religions in the world, and many distinct denominations of the Christian religion; but the apostle James assures us, that " pure religion, and undcfUed before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world," Jam. i. 27. "To do good and to communicate," says Paul, "forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased," Heb.xiu. 16.
We come now, in the last place, to consider the happiness connected with the performance of flu's duty. The person who considereth the poor is declared to \» blessed; even as the apostle, quoting the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, says, " It is more blessed to give than to receive," Acts xx. 35. The truth of this will appear, if we consider, that,
1. There is a blessedness in obeying the commandments of God from a proper principle; for, it will always be found to hold time, that "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and ali her paths are peace." The man who is possessed of true benevolence and humanity, must always be gratified in relieving objects of distress. There is a noble pleasure in it, which the sordid mind of the avaricious and selfish is a stranger to, because the hearts of such are not formed for that enjoyment. But "he who is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, that man is blessed in his deed," Jam. i. 25.
2. When this duty is done
cheerfully, and from pure motives, it is attended with the approbation of a man's conscience, which cannot fail to be a source of happiness to him. Even the great apostle of the Gentiles, was not above the consideration of the testimony of his own mind; "Our rejoicing," said he, "is this; the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we liave had our conversation (or behaviour) in the worki." 2 Cor. i. 12. See also Gal. vi. 2—4.
3. It is a solid proof of the sincerity of Out faith and love. 2 Cor. v'm. 8. It is expressly termed—
"the work of faith and labour of love," as being the genuine fruits of both, 1 Thess. i. 3, 4. It is not by shutting up our bowels of coinpassion from the needy, or merely loving in word and tongue, but by abounding in the substantial fruits of mercy, that we come to know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before God, Uohniii. 17—20. This furnishes a more decisive evidence of our having the Spirit of Christ, than any transient frames and feelings, Heb. vi. 9, 10. And whatever increases the evidences of our having passed from death unto life, must proportionally increase our happiness. It is only in the way of abounding in the work and labour of love," that any Christian can attain to the full assurance of hope. Heb. vi. 11.
4. The Lord frequently repays itt kind, the works of mercy and liberality to the indigent. "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth—the liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself," Prov. xi. 24, 25. "He that giveth to the poor shall not want," eh. xxviii. 29. See also 2 Cor. ix. 6—11.
5. And to crown the whole, He who performs the works of mercy and liberalitv from christian principles, will undoubtedly be recompensed at the resurrection of
the iust. Luke xiv. 14. A cup of cold water giveu to a disciple, because they belong to Christ, shall not go without its reward in that day. God is not unrighteous to forget such works, lleb. vi. 10. And Christ ha'h faithfully promised to recompense them wheu he comes again in his glory togather his saints, and put them in possession of the kingdom that is prepared for them. Matt. xxv. 34—37.
To the Editor of the JVew Evangelical •Magazine.
Having, in my former letters, endeavoured to draw the at. tention of your readers to the vast, importance of Education, and stated the great advantages of the British System of instruct ion, which I feel the fullest confidence in, as providing the means of education for the poor, on a plan the most expeditious and economical, ever presented to mankind; I would now beg permission to glance at the rapid success of the National Institution for educating the poor. Although 1 never can be brought to approve of that part of its plan, which excludes the children of such parents as disapprove of the church catechism, or their not worshipping God in the established church, from the benefits of education; yet I must and will rejoice in perceiving a great number of children, daily taught to read and write, and supposing them the children of churchmen, I even rejoice in their religious instruction. However sectarian the principle of exclusion may be, on which that respectable Society acts, it must be admitted that they are rendering a most important benefit to Society, in rescuing so great a number of children from ignorance, and its dangerous consequences. From tb« Reports of the Society it appears that lpO.OOO children are reaping the benefits of the Madras system, in schools patronised by, or which have voluntarily adopted that mode of instruction. The schools in London receive about 5000; and the number of schools in immediate connection with the Society are represented at upwards of 860.
We are informed that several of the schools have been built for 1000 children, which is greatly to be regretted, as these large schools are never filled, and the expense of the building is greatly enhanced. I am led to this (remark from the account of the National School in Westminster, which appears, from the reports, to have cost no less than 4636/. a sum which might have built nine schools, for 350 children each, and were they judiciously placed, might embrace a great proportion of the poor children in the neighbourhood. Both societies have erred in this point of view. Joseph Lancaster, when he proposed his plan, recommended large schools on the principle of making one master teach 1000 children, and reducing the expense of teaching thereby to 3s. or 3s. 6rf. per head. But, sir, this project has never been realized, nor has so great a number of children ever been brought into one school. The Westminster National School is considered as full with 350 boys and 320 girls, so that any additional children who apply must wait for admission; and if the interest of the money sunk in building, was paid, in addition to the other expences of the school, the average charge would be about 10s. per head. This great expence is chiefly to be regretted because it can only be by acting on the strictest economy that education among the poor can ever be universal.
National Schools have been successfully established in the
army and navy, and in the Isles of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey. In Ireland, also, a few schools have been formed, but it is evident that in so far as they are Church of England Schools exclusively, they cannot answer in that country, or in other parts of the world where there are various different religions. For universal adoption, it must be evident, that the British and Foreign plan, which requires only the reading of the Scriptures, is the only method which can be accepted universally. The report of the Society contains the pleasing information, that National Schools are formed in the Cape of Good Hope, Nova Scotia, Ceylon, Gibraltar, &c. And it may afford great pleasure to every philanthropist, that the National Society has engaged in the arduous task of enquiring into the state of the kingdom at large, with regard to education, which, when accomplished, will prove that we, as Englishmen, are verily guilty as to our brethren, in having so long withheld the greatest blessing which man can possibly bestow on his neighbour.
If we look back to the first humble efforts of Joseph Lancaster in a small room, scarcely affording accommodation for one hundred children, and barely sheltered from the weather; if we consider with what difficulty he raised the means, as his school increased, to add a miserably built shed from time to time, till it was sufficiently enlarged to receive about 700 boys and 200 girls, under a cover scarcely sufficient, at this time, to keep out the weather: That the youth training under his care, were frequently so short of provisions, as only to know the taste of meat occasionally, when a handsome subscription or donation was received: That the patronage of our beloved sovereign was afforded at a moment when, otherwise, his plan, as well as himself, must have sank for ever: Moreover, when it is duly considered, that under difficulties of every kind, the cause has been supported till it engaged the attention of men of every rank and station, in church and state: That it has produced what, in all human probability, never otherwise would ltave been produced, the NaTional Society : How are we struck with admiration of the wisdom and goodness of God, in directing all these occurrences for the extension of knowledge. We may -wtAl enquire, "What hath God wrought?"
The mechanism of the two societies, varies considerably. In reading by the Madras plan, a very distinct articulation is acquired, and the unpleasant tone so frequent even in respectable schools, is altogether avoided. It is therefore but justice to Dr. Bell to acknowledge the excellency of his method in regard to reading. In writing and arithmetic the British and Foreign Society have the advantage, which will evidently appear to the attentive observer. Indeed it can scarcely be expected that children can write so well on slates held in their left-hand, and standing, as on desks fitted for the purpose. And as to reading on the British plan, it will be found, that children read quite as correctly, if not so distinctly, and in less time.
It will afford matter of curious speculation to the enquiring mind, to observe how excellently the children exhibit their progress in reading the scriptures at the National Schools; and compare the exhibition of their improvement in reading and reciting portions of that sacred book, which is "able to make them wise unto salvation," with the high-flown declamation of those reverend gentlemen who, in their zeal to oppose Joseph Lancaster, affirmed, that to teach children to read the
scriptures alone, would tend to produce indilli rcnce as to religion, Socinianisin, and even infidelity. In the National Schools, the visitor will be delighted with this part of the children's instruction, and that which was condemned iu the British system, is become their own most prominent and interesting feature.
The same reasoning in favour of the distribution of the scriptures alone, will apply to the instruction of children in the scriptures alone, and no other plan can be devised, which will include the children of every denomination, without offering violence to their conscientious principles. To those who still press the necessity of religious instruction in a catechetical form, we would recommend the perusal of Freame's Scripture Lessons, (the lessons used by the British and Foreign School Society) and let them venture, if they dare, to affirm that catechisms of hitman devising are essentially better. I believe, sir, on this subject, many out of the church have never taken due pains to ascertain, hownearly theirobjections are allied to those which are made to the use of the scriptures without note or comment. In short, whatever be the form in which such objections are brought forward, it appears to me that man is venturing to set up his own wisdom in opposition to' the wisdom of God.
I remain, sir,
THE IMMATERIALITY OF THE SOUL INFERRED FROM THE ACT OF SUICIDE.
AIT ORIGINAL FRAGMENT.
"Optimum est aliena frui iiuania."
Continued alterations appear on the face of nature. A counteracting or preventive principle, in a passive resistance to alteration, is equally conspicuous: and these observations, connectedly considered, imply—
In the First place, The necessity of an existing power to produce any change whatever: and,'
Secondly, That the productive power in every alteration must have been proportionably superior to any previous power of resistance in the altered subject; for, independent of such an existing difference, it would have still con-tinued in its first condition.
Partial effects, indeed, -may be produced by inferior powers: poisons limited to a certain degree, may incommode, although animation prove victorious; yet, as far as any alteration, however minute, has taken place in the straggle, the resisting power must have been less than that by which it has been overcome; for one subject can never prevail against another but on-the ground of superiority.
Simple as these principles must needs appear, the resolution of in. numerable protilems, and the establishment of important theories, are wholly dependant on them; and, instead of being slighted for the artless perspicuity of their evidences, additional weight should rather be attached to their inferences, for Simplicity is the test of Truth.
From these very plain and selfevident propositions, then, we learn, that to effect any alteration in our nature, the degree of power required in the agent must be, necessarily, superior to that upon which the present situation of the sufferer depends: and that the subsisting relation between the subject of action and the subject of resistance, is naturally of an external or foreign nature; or that, in the nature of things, one individual cannot be the subject of both at the same time; for, admitting, as before, an,indispensable exertion of a superior :power in the agent, to have produced any
alteration in the sufferer; and, likewise, that nothing can exercise a greater degree of power than itself possesses, the superiority which produced the change must be attributed, of course, to the power of another subject, and altogether distinct from, and foreign to, that in which the change had been produced.
A little attention to these principles, will naturally lead us to the following simple and decisive conclusions; viz.
That the various and successive differences exhibited in the appearances of nature, and in which every species of decay and destruction are evidently included, cannot he rationally imputed to any active power whatever in the subjects of alteration; but are necessarily the the fruits of a foreign agency.
Again: That the power so exerted must have been superior, hi degree, to that of any resistance in the subject which has been thereby overcome; and from which it •naturally follows—That concerning the species of alteration which takes place on the destruction of any being, that being itself could never have been its efficient cause; and which, therefore, must be ascribed to another agent, distinct in its existence, and superior in power to the subject so altered or destroyed.
To apply- these simple remarks as concisely as may be to the subject of Suicide; it will readily be admitted,
In the First place, That the abandoned wretch, who has laid violent hands on himself, or, in other words, has deprived his body of its animal existence, by having destroyed the functions, or powers, upon which its animation depended, must necessarily have exerted an adequate degree of power for that purpose.
Secondly, That such a sufficiency of power must needs have been superior to that which the subject