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long-suffering do we discover! What unwillingness to afflict! What mercy marks all his chastisements! How clearly remedial are his dispensations! How obviously they aim at the happiness of the universe! His justice is merciful; his mercy just. Love pervades the whole of his procedure; and in the history of Calvary, we have a concentrated display of all the glorious moral perfections of his nature, and of the holy and immutable principles on which his universal empire is governed. Alas! how unwilling are we to receive lessons from the Word and the providence of God. Let us learn from him the true value of man; let us treat our brethren as his Word, and his treatment of us, warrant; so shall his blessing attend our efforts and prosper them, to the advancement of his glory and our present and eternal good.
The instruction of the people-Sound principles of action, and acceptable
obedience— Various subjects with which prisoners require to be familiarly acquainted-Necessity of entire renovation of heart.
Our afternoon lectures on geography, astronomy, and on various subjects connected with natural history and natural philosophy, are listened to with apparent interest, which is increased by occasional examinations. These lectures are of the most simple description, and are couched in the most familiar language. To carry my hearers beyond their depth, and bewilder their minds with what they cannot understand, would be to waste our time, and defeat the object we have in view. They have such views of the earth we inhabit—of the sun, moon, and planets—as may enable them to form some conception of the solar system, illustrate the glorious perfections of the great CREATOR, and the allusions made in the Bible to the sublimities and economy of the creation. In natural philosophy, we limit ourselves to those points with which the people are most familiar, and which seem best fitted to shew the wisdom and goodness of God. Enough for their use will be found in Dr Dick's “ Christian Philosopher;" Mrs
Marcet's “Conversations on Natural Philosophy; and similar popular works. A popular view is also given to the prisoners of the structure of their own bodies, as illustrative of design, wisdom, and benevolence; and of the nature and capabilities of the immortal spirits which tenant those admirably constructed tabernacles.
Our simple discourses on all these subjects certainly appear to answer important ends: they tend at once to inform and elevate the mind; afford subjects of rational and improving conversation, which may supersede that which is corrupting and debasing; and, in connexion with the sacred truths of revelation, are calculated to influence and improve the heart.
Our main business, however, is with the Bible ; its evidences, external and internal, its momentous doctrines and holy precepts, its appalling, yet righteous and even merciful threatenings, and its exceeding great and precious promises. Besides the course of instruction contained in the lessons appointed for the service on the Lord's day, the Scriptures are read in regular order at our daily worship; a chapter being read, with practical application, from the Old Testament in the morning, and from the New in the evening, accompanied with prayer and praise. The catechetical mode of instruction on these and other occasions, is found in the highest degree advantage
The men are called on in rotation, by my list, and when unable to reply, an appeal is made to the
next on the list. This plan, besides securing the attention of all the people, makes the instructor acquainted with the state of their minds, and amount of their knowledge, or rather, in the first instance at least, of their ignorance, and so directs him in their instruction. As there is not time to read through the whole Bible, the most important chapters are selected, in regular course, and the summary only is given of the intermediate ones, which the men are directed to read in private, and in the schools. Beginning with the books of Moses, we proceed through the most remarkable passages in the history of the Jews; the Psalms and Proverbs follow; portions of Job; the most doctrinal chapters of Isaiah, those especially, which refer prophetically to the Messiah and his kingdom; a few chapters of Jeremiah, as xvii. and xxxi.; and Ezekiel, ix., xviii., xxxiii., xxxiv., xxxvi., and xxxvii.; a considerable part of Daniel; and select portions of the minor prophets. Of the New Testament, we read the whole of the Gospels by St Matthew and St John, portions of those by St Luke and St Mark, the whole of the Acts, and several of the Epistles; those to the Romans and Hebrews are particularly dwelt upon and applied.
The attention of the people is directed to the nature and perfections of God, especially to the great and fundamental doctrines of the Godhead—the personality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in connexion with the unity of Jehovah; to the
Divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit; the authenticity, genuineness, credibility, integrity, and inspiration of the sixty-sjx books of Holy Scripture; to the creation of the world,-man's primitive character, his moral relation to God and to the universe, -his apostasy by disobedience,- in a word, to the inspired records of the garden of Eden. After considering the history of man's fall, we proceed to give the people a broad, impressive view of our guilt, depravity, and helplessness, as set forth in the sacred pages as well as those of uninspired history, and confirmed by daily observation, especially by the experience of our own hearts; and having thus absolute need of Divine deliverance, we turn to the provision of that better covenant, of which the Lord Jesus Christ, the second Adam,—the Lord from heaven, is the ever-blessed and immutable Head. Beginning with Genesis iii. 15, and passing onwards, we observe the recorded faith, confession, and hope of the patriarchs and prophets; and consider many of the predictions concerning the MESSIAH, his Divine and human natures united in the
of Emmanuel,-his character, offices, work, and reign, and the nature and extent of his kingdom, as revealed in the Old Testament writings, particularly in the Mosaic ritual, and other types and figures. Our daily perusal of the New Testament leads us at the same time to the consideration of his incarnation and birth; his doctrines and precepts; his miracles and prophecies, and manner of teaching; his omniscience, for