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aim of the Christian. They require that the will of God be done from the heart ; love, grateful love, for pardon gratuitously bestowed, for peace, acceptance enjoyed, for life and hope begotten, for salvation begun, for eternal life promised, is the great exciting and sti. mulating principle. From hence flows an unconstrained and unreserved obedience. Let the Christian then bear in mind, that whatever relative duties he is required to perform, he must perform them in the fear of God, and for the sake of the Lord Jesus. pp. 34, 35.
Art. VIII. The Memoirs of Miss Emma Humphries, of Frome, So
mersetshire, with a Series of Letters to Young Ladies on the In. Auence of Religion in the Formation of their Moral and Intellec.. tual Character; and to Parents on the Religious Education-and the Bereavement of their Children. By T. East. 12mo. Price 59.
Bath. 1817. WE have perused this little volume with considerable plea
sure. It is written in an easy, correct, and affectionate style; and may be recommended for its practical design and tendency. Had the Author extended his plan, and entered more fully, and in distinct treatises, into the important subjects before him, he would have pleased us, and profited bis readers still more. He might for instance, in tracing the influence of religion in the formation of the intellectual and moral character, have pursued it in its effects upon the duties of domestic and social life. This would have presented a field at once so ample and so interesting, that he might safely have addressed one volume to his young readers, and formed his letters to parents, with additional addresses to those engaged in tuition, into another. This, in our opinion, would have been more judicious, than crowding into the small compass of two hundred and eighteen pages a Memoir,' a series of · Letters to Young Ladies, and another series to · Parents. As a speciinen, however, of the instructive and pleasing manner in which the work is written, we give the following extract upon the pernicious influence of novel reading
. But our strongest objection to novels arises from the influence which they aequire over the heart ; and the positive aversion which they produce to devotional exercises. Miss
received a pious education, and bade fair to emulate the virtues of her mother. In visiting the sick, instructing the ignorant, and forming institutions for the relief of human misery, she appeared to be in her element. Her parents observed with peculiar delight the gradual development of principles, which they fondly expected would give permanerit ex. cellence to her character. But they were disappointed; the favourite authors were neglected ; a little opposition to a proposal which was designed to display her own authority, became the ostensible reason for her relinquishing all her benevolent engagements; every trifling indisposition or occurrence in the family, was urged as an excuse to justify her absence from the domestic altar, and her visible inattention to the solemnities of the sabbath, her altered mode of dress, lier general deportment towards her former associates, and the asperity of temper with which she would occasionally allude to the rigid and puritanical habits of the circle around her, were decisive evidences of some change in her sentiments and feelings. How to account for a change so sudden and surprising seemed impossible, till, on entering her room, her mamma saw a novel lying on her coilet. Bursting into tears, she exclaimed, “O my child, my child !” To assuage the grief of her distressed parent she promised never more to read such works. For some time she felt unwilling to apply to any literary pursuits. Having lived so long in the region of fiction, associating only with ideal persons, and witnessing only marvellous occurrences, she found 'no pleasure either in the solemn narrations of history, the innocent amusements of poetry, or the sublime truths of the Scriptures. In this state of mental apathy she remained a considerable time, occasionally weeping over a remembrance of the happiness she njoyed in the days of her comparative innocence. She aba herself to silent grief. Taking up, as she sat musing in her own room, one of the earlier numbers of her diary ; her eye fixed upon the following passage.
“ I have spent a happy sabbath. One of the little children in my class is evincing some signs of decided piety. I feel the influence of divine truth on my heart, when listening to the discourse this morning which was on the death of Jesus. In the closet my fellowship has been with the Father. I have just finished reading Pearce's Memoirs, and the Life of Miss Anthony. Oh religion! thy ways are ways of pleasantness, and thy paths are peace. If I forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. If I prefer not religion to my chief joy." These remarks revived her former impressions ; she wept bitterly. She reproached herself for having abused that mercy which she supposed would now be withbeld; but light springing up amidst the darkness in which she was invclved, she discovered the throne of grace-she drew near, confessed her transgressions unto the Lord, and besought him to accept her graciously, and love her freely. Her prayer went up for a memorial before God, the oppressive load of guilt was removed from her conscience, and the following admonitory language was indelibly impressed upon her heart; “ Behold thou art made whole ; sin no more lest a worse thing come unto thee." Her attachment to her earlier pursuits and habits now returned with peculiar force; the closet and the sanctuary yielded her enjoyments more refined and permanent than the delusive gratifications of the fictitions scene; bnt she still feels the pernicious effects of her folly. Her mind, which was once comparatively free from improper images, is now incessantly haunted by many, which the purity of her principles forbids her to retain, but which from long familiarity, she is incapable of dismissing. Such reading is the enchanted ground which you should cautiously avoid, for while gazing with interest on the imaginary personages and in. cidents of the plot, not only may the powers of your intellect be paralyzed, but your heart will sustain a more fatal injury, its inneçence and peace will irretrievably depart.' pp. 108-112.
Art. IX. A few Observations on Friendly Societies, and their Influence
on Public Morals. By J. W. Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow, and Domestic Chaplain to the Right Hon. Lord Northwick, London. 12mo, 1817. THIS HIS little tract, recommended by the popular name of its
Author, will be read by numbers of that class in whose hands the question he has discussed inore immediately rests, and who would not venture upon a larger or more elaborate performance.
The ohject of it is, to şliew the superiority of " Friendly - Societies," or " Benefit Clubs," over the institutions recently sanctioned and recommended by an Act of Parliament, termed Saving Banks. This superiority, Mr. Cumingliam represents as , primarily consisting in the loftier and more valuable principle on which the Friendly Societies are founderlz. inasnyuch as in the one, the generous principle of assisting our neighbour as well as ourselves is brought into operation; wliereas, in the other, respect is had to nothing but the interest of self: le contends, furtlier, that the great bulk of the population is not so likely to profit froin Saving Banks, as from Friendly Societies; that, if the labouring classes should avail themselves of the former, in preference to the latter, the public benefit would be less; and lastly, that not merely the extent, but the species of benefit conferred on the community by Saving Banks, is less valuable thaù that coulerred by Friendly Societies. We have ourselves arrived at some of Dir. Cuninglian's conclusions, but it kas been, we confess, by a different course of argument. His preference of Friendly Societies, arises chiefly from their presenting inducements of a higher order to the contributors : nurs, on the contrary, arises from their presenting the most obvious, and intelligible induced ments, and from their calling into exercise that lowest but ipost powerfal motive, self-interest. · Indeed, we feel satisfied that the most likely way to accomplish our purposes of benevolence towards the lower classes, is to begin at this point; to conduct them by the shortest and most natural inferences, to the cons clusion that industry, honesty, fore-thought, domestic attachments, and other virtues, are inseparably connected with their own temporal welfare. Having established this truth in their ipinds, and given this direction to their mioral habits by the aid of niunicipal regulations having this tendency, we may then procecd to lead them on to higher principles, and appeal to ihein on the ground of the regard they owe to their children, their relations, their friends, and fivally, their neighbours. The chief difficulty is to give this first principle its right direction. There is, however, no case in which the selfish affection necessarily terminates in itself. We think the benevolent Writer overlooks some of the most important features of human
nature, when he anticipates any dangerous increase of selfishness from the establishment of Saving Banks, and reprehends the feeling of self-interest as a detestable quality among the • poor, which will rivet upon us one of the worst curses, and as • degrading and impairing the national character far more than
any habits of economy will raise and improve it.' To whatsoever abuses the principle of self-interest may be liable, it is still an instinct implanted within us for wise purposes ; and as it is the first affection which is developed, it is, when properly directed the most powerful motive that eaa be made subservient to our improvement. Nor is it wise at any time, when establishing municipal institutions, to draw the rules froin remote and obscure sources, which are above the level of the capacities of those for whom laws are most requisite; we should arihere as closely as possible to those more obvious obligations which may be understood by the profligate as well as the good. Mr. Cunningham seems to us not to discriminate, in pursuing his argument, between the irrational selfishness that ends where it begins, and that natural self-love, which is in the case of the mass of the population the only spring of action which can be made effectively to contribute to the general good. It is the hopeless degradation of this natural impulse, which renders it pernicious to society. The worst feature of the Poor Laws, is their tendency thus to degrade the mind; by making poverty and misery the conditions on which relief is to be obtained, they counteract the most natural motives to exertion, inducing the poor to forego the advantages of an improved condition, and tempting them even to sink themselves to that degree of distress, which gives them a legal right to parochial support, without any effort on their part to rise above it.
The labouring poor will be influenced by the advantages which the Friendly Societies present, because those advantages are larger in amount, accrue sooner, and afford relief at the only periods at which an industrious labourer has to fear standing in need of it, in sickness and old age. Besides which, it will operate in their favour, that they are already established in his good-opinion, and are understood. The superior advantages of Friendly Societies over Savings Banks, are obvious on reflection. Let us suppose, for instance, that a contributor to a Savings Bank, at the age of twenty-five, puts in one shilling weekly, being the whole that his earnings will permit him to
This in a year will amount to £2. 12s.; in twenty years to £52, and with interest will have accumulated to £77. 8s. Od. Should sickness visit him, during the earlier years of his contribution, his little fund would be quickly exhausted: but, if we suppose him to need assistance for the first time, (and this is as favourable a supposition as buman infirmities will perinit), at the age of forty-five; be might then draw upon his capital six shillings a week for not quite five years, at the expiration of which he would be reduced to depend upon parish support under the most aggravated disappointment. Had he, ou the contrary, become a meinber of a Friendly Society at the same age, he would have had to advanice, perhaps, one' pound on admission, and to pay two shillings a month afterwards ; but if, during the first year of his contribution, be had fallen sick, he would have been entitled to twelve shillings a week as long as he needed it; and when arrived at an age that should incapacitate him for labour, he would receive six shillings a week during the remainder of bis life. This statement, so far as it regards the immediate interests of the married labouring poor with low wages, admits of no reply. The advantages which the Savingsbank system offers, apply in the case of accumulations for children or for purposes of trade; but these are speculations which are seldom or never contemplated by the great bulk of labourers; nor can they be, so long as the supply of labour so disproportionately exceeds the demand for it. The same objection does not, however, apply to a very valuable class of society, who are raised above pauperism, such as unmarried labourers of every description, and servants, both male and female ; persons who fill stations in which, by prudence, considerable savings may be made. From the want of the encouragement, and the secure investment which these Banks hold out, such persons have frequently found themselves, under any reverse of circumstances, unable to sustain their places in society, and bave sunk to the oommon level of the poor.
Vol. IX. N.S.
It has been objected against Friendly Societies, that many of the lower classes have probably been induced to join tbein from the conviviality of their frequent meetings, and it must be admitted that their intimate connexions with publicans and public-houses, is a very serious evil. On this Mr. Cunningham has dilated with his usual eloquence. There are, however, other objections of equal force, which deserve the consideration of philanthropists, and claim perhaps the attention of the Legislature. The chief of these is the power which most of these societies possess by their constitution, of dividing their property at any time they please ; so that it generally happens in old institutions, that when more than an ordinary number of aged members are drawing heavily upon the box, the Society is prematurely broken up, and the amount in hand divided, and all this to prevent the old contributors from receiving their just due. It cannot be controverted, that the habits and bad education of the majority of the members, totally disqualify them for deciding on the claims of the applicants. But even were the case otherwise, and there should be no ground for the charge of intentional in