Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

master, and ending with just so much examination as might secure attention to the lecture, the best and most lasting effects might be produced. The boys would not only become acquainted with the historical facts, and moral maxims, but being freed for the time from the difficulties attending a foreign tongue, would readily receive the instruction, and relish the beauties, pointed out to their observation by the comment of the master. The same hour might in the higher forms be devoted to the study of the Greek Bible. And thus would they be furnished with the only sound and solid principles whereon to found their future conduct. But, alas ! what can preserve them from the dangerous poison of impure ideas, adorned with all the charms of elegance and harmony, and presented to them mixed with the noblest sentiments of honour and virtue ? No human power or wisdom-for “he that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith. And defiled they are, and defiled they must be, so long as such books are put into their hands.

6 What then is to be done? Are we to banish from our 'schools most of the Latin, and several of the Greek poets ?

If the question be, whether the morals are to be corrupted for the sake of polishing the understanding, it admits of one answer only, on Christian principles. But is this case remediless? Why cannot these authors be cleared of their impurities, and rendered safe as they are delightful ? In some instances this might easily be done, with little diminution of the bulk, and less of the beauties of their works. Of others, though more must be omitted, still the finest parts 'might be retained. And, surely, something may readily be sacrificed to so essential an object. One book, indeed, there is, which no’art of man can render fit for perusal; but which, by a strange fatality, all boys are com

pelled to read, and some to imprint deeply on their minds. i Well would it be for them, and for the world, if the whole of it were committed to the flames. I allude not merely to its obscenities, though most detestable, but to its general plan and principles ; particularly to that most dangerous of all artifices, the making virtue contemptible, by feeble sketches of correct characters, void of every brilliant quality; and vice popular, by combining it with wit and genius and painting profligate characters in lively colours, calculated to charm and captivate the youthful mind.—How then can any clergyman justify putting Terence into the hands of his pupils ?” .

Many notes are added, which enter upon very important topics connected with the studies pursued at school and college, and the effects of them in after life. Among these is one which states the writer's notions respecting the proper mode of preaching to be adopted by the clergy, in a manner so exactly his own, that the reader may almost fancy he hears him speaking. After noticing the wide spread of enthusiasm, which has been carried into barns and fields, and introduced into churches and chapels, though in a milder tone; and the opposite error of preaching dry morality and the religion of nature, he goes on with allusion to these last: ..

: “Some among us have contended for a rule of life, distinct from the knowledge of God, and of his will, and called by them, morality, ethics, natural law, &c. And is

this that Gospel, which Christ commanded his disciples to preach to all the world ? Was it to this our clergy pledged themselves at their ordination? Did they not then solemnly declare their persuasion that the Holy Scriptures contain all doctrine necessary to salvation; and their determination out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to their charge; and to teach nothing as requisite to salvațion, but what may be concluded and proved thereby? Did they not then solemnly promise to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines, and to be diligent in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same? And is it thus they fulfil their vows? And do they thus hope to counteract enthusiasm ? Or can they expect the Grace of God to render such preaching effectual to the salvation of their hearers ? If enthusiasm shall ever be conquered, it must be by those weapons, which it misapplies. Let its opponents lay before their flocks all the fundamental doctrines of ChristianityThe Creation—The State of Innocence and Covenant of Works—The Fall of Man—The Redemption and Covenant of Grace-The Wickedness of the old World, ended by the Flood—Noah and his Family preserved, and the Covenant renewed with him— The World repeopled, the Confusion of Tongues, and Dispersion of the NationsThe Call of Abraham, his Faith—Isaac the Type of Christ—The Plagues of Egypt-Moses, and the written Law- The History of the Jewish Nation under its Judges and Kings— The Rebellion of the Ten Tribes—Their Idolatry and Dispersion-The Captivity of the JewsTheir Restoration - The Prophets, and their PropheciesSt. John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Messiah Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant—His Incarnation and Birth, his Circumcision, and Submission to the ceremonial Law-His Manifestation to the Gentiles-His Temptation-His Miracles—His Prophecies-His Precepts—His Character-His Conduct—His Trials-His Sufferings-His Death, and the Atonement and Satisfaction thereby made for the Sins of the whole World His glorious Resurrection, and triumphant Ascension.

« Nor let them fail to unfold the remaining Articles of our Faith—The Descent of the Holy Ghost, and his Office, as the Sanctifier of the Church— The great Mystery of the Trinity in Unity – The one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, founded by Christ and his Apostles; its Constitution, its Officers, its Privileges; and our duty thence resulting, to become and continue faithful members thereof, and partakers of its Sacraments, instituted by Christ himself, and his appointed means of Grace and Salvation. Let them also explain the connexion and communion between that part of the Church, which is still militant on earth, and that which is already triumphant in Heaven—The Forgiveness of our Sins, procured by the Death of Christ, if we fulfil the conditions required by him; and the Rewards consequent thereon, the Resurrection of our Bodies, and eternal Happiness in Heaven-And let them fulfil the remainder of their Vow, by pointing out to their hearers, the danger and delusion of the strange and erroneous doctrines, which are now too prevalent both in our own Church, and among those numberless Sects which are the disgrace of our Holy Religion, whose characteristic is Unity.

“ In a word, let them not shun to declare all the Counsel of God; and let them declare it, like Dr. Vincent, with all their heart, and mind, and soul, with all the powers they possess, and all the knowledge they have acquired.' · 66 Few of their hearers are judges of the soundness of a

syllogism, but all of them have passions and affections; and are these able instruments of vice or error, never to be employed in the cause of true religion ; of that religion, whose first and great commandment is love, and whose second differs only in its object; whose history, and whose sanctions are calculated to melt the most obdurate heart, and make the stoutest tremble? Must the sufferings and death of the Son of God himself, for our sake, and in our stead, produce no emotion of sorrow or gratitude in our breasts ? Must the certainty of eternal happiness and glory, or of torments endless and insupportable, have no effect on our imaginations, or even on those of our children? • Far from us, and from our clergy, be such frigid philosophy.' No, let reason regulate all the faculties of our souls, and point them to their proper objects, but let no stoic apathy attempt their annihilation. Under reason's guidance they are not only harmless, but highly useful; and in nothing more so, than in promoting the interests of Christianity.”

na

It may not be improper to notice, in this place, a letter addressed many years after to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because it touches upon some points already mentioned. The principle which dictated it, and the spirit in which it was

composed, are so characteristic of the writer, that · his friends may not be sorry to see it entire.

“ Eltham, 12th Jan. 1816.. · 66 Sir,

“ Though I can scarcely claim the privilege of an acquaintance, the impression I have received of your character leaves me little doubt that my motive and the importance

« FöregåendeFortsätt »