« FöregåendeFortsätt »
sorrow for sin which worketh repentance not to be repented of; to lead them into all Divine truth; to subdue their iniquities; and to cause them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and their neighbour as themselves.
Accordingly, our first and grand object is to set before these men the inspired Scriptures. The voice which they require to hear is the voice of God the Spirit, speaking to their consciences and hearts from his Word, convincing them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come,-causing them to feel their guilt, to apprehend its deservings in the agonies of the worm that never dies; and giving them to perceive and feel the everlasting love of God manifested in the gift of his Son, that " whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have eternal life.” The outpouring upon them of that Spirit of promise is to be sought, by believing, earnest, and persevering prayer. We must not be contented with moving on the surface. We must not be satisfied with attacking Satan's outworks. We must boldly, fearlessly; and in the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, assault the citadel. Thither must Divine truth be carried and immovably lodged by the Spirit of truth, the Lord of hosts; thence, by his almighty power, must the prince of darkness, with all that is unholy, be driven, and there must the Lord Jesus be enthroned.
Coercion, and even punishment, may, through the sinful neglect and rejection of the gospel, become ne
cessary to restrain the evil passions, and arrest the lawless and destructive career of man; but it is not by such means, or by any apparatus of man's con, struction, physical or moral, that the heart can be brought back to God, or men be qualified for fulfilling the offices of social life. When the Jews of old asked, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God ?"* the great prophet of the Church himself replied, “ This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”+ To believe on Christ is “the work of God;" not only because the faith that unites to Him is the work of the Holy Spirit, but because it is the beginning of all holy and acceptable obedience. Until we receive Jesus, we are in a state of rebellion,-dead in trespasses and sins, -living not only in habitual violation of the Divine law, but in the act of rejecting the Son of God, the only Saviour from sin and wrath, resisting the Holy Spirit, and putting away from us that perfect salvation which Jesus accomplished, and is ever, in his Word, urging upon our immediate, thankful, and cheerful reception. Without faith in Christ it is impossible to please God; and it is by faith in Christ that we become God's children, and are enabled to render to Him acceptable service. Let us, then, beware of presumptuously attempting to accomplish the sinner's reformation by other means, or in other modes, than those of Divine appointment.
* John vi. 28, 29.
The period allotted to the voyage to the penal colonies, when rightly improved, is most favourable, under the Divine blessing, to the conversion of the guilty, and their recovery to God and to happiness ; therefore the instruction and discipline of the people, according to the Scriptures, in the exercise of fervent and believing prayer, is to begin with their embarkation, and to be continued during the whole of the passage. Should the Surgeon-superintendent, as the officer entrusted by Government with the "entire management” of these men, in opposition to his instructions from the Admiralty, neglect thus to improve this opportunity, with a view to their reformation and happiness, he would prove himself unworthy of the confidence reposed in him, and inflict a great injury on souls, and therefore upon his country and the world.
State of the prisoners' education-Formation of schools–Subject-matter
of instruction—The impressive position occupied both by the prisoners and the naval officer set over them.
On the day immediately following that of their embarkation, the prisoners were assembled again on the quarter-deck to receive their second address; * and various preliminary and necessary arrangements having been made, we forthwith proceeded with our system of organization.t
The earliest opportunity was embraced to ascertain, by a close and personal examination, how the people stood as to their ability to read and write; and the following is the result:
Read and write, 53; read only, 23; read a little, 65; know their letters, 45; ignorant even of the alphabet, 78.
Therefore, in a very limited sense of the expression, there were found-educated, 76; uneducated, 188.
The prisoners were now formed into twenty - four schools; the two highest of which consisted of those who could read and write; the third, of those who could read only; six, of such as could read a little; * Part ii. chap. 10.
+ Part ii. chaps. 11, 12, 13.
five, of those who knew their alphabet; and ten, of such as did not know their letters.
The schools having been fully organised,* and teachers and inspector appointed, the whole of the prisoners were assembled on the quarter-deck; the inspector and schoolmasters were drawn up in lines, and placed before their pupils, when they were all addressed with reference to the new and interesting relations in which they now stood to each other as teachers and pupils.t
Nothing could be more deeply interesting than the appearance which our decks now presented, above and below,-all was order, life, and activity. The hum of twenty-four schools, containing 264 pupils, from seventeen to fifty-eight years of age, had an effect upon my ear far surpassing that of the finest music. Wherever a school could be conveniently assembled, there the busy group were to be seen surrounding their teacher, eagerly vieing with each other in application and zeal. There was of course great diversity of aptitude, both in communicating and receiving instruction; but almost every countenance betrayed thoughtfulness and attention, and was soon lighted up with more or less of hopeful animation. The diligence and zeal with which the prisoners in the “Earl Grey” set about the acquisition of useful knowledge, as well as the ability to read, exceeded anything of the kind I had ever witnessed. : While learning to read, they were, at the same
Exiles," chap. 4.