« FöregåendeFortsätt »
of a sound, enlightened and scriptural education. Bring up your children according to the doctrine and discipline of the Bible, and you teach them how to be happy themselves and how to promote the happiness of others. You teach them to “Fear God, and honour the king; to be subject to the powers that be: to give to every man his due : custom to whom custom, and honour to whom honour. To hold the reputation and property of others sacred as their own. To look
upon all men as their neighbours—as the creatures of the same God, children of the same first parents, partakers of a common nature, capable of the same happiness, susceptible of the same misery; and as possessors of the same deathless attribute of immortality. And what Christianity teaches the child, it teaches the man; and what it inculcates upon the individual, it inculcates upon the mass ; and there only needs the full and universal operation of its influence to reduce to order, and restore to happiness, the whole world of mankind.
To speak of the many advantages which have already resulted from Biblical instruction, and the establishment of Christian Sabbathschools would be impossible. By these means much evil has been prevented, and much good secured. The Church has drawn many of her staunchest members, her most devoted ministers, and zealous missionaries from these religious seminaries. And of those who stand aloof from the church, some of the finest specimens of morality, of honesty and integrity, of uprightness and fair dealing in business and commercial transactions, are those whose minds have been early imbued with the truths of religion. And among the poor and hard working portion of the community, these truths have exercised a peaceful and restraining influence ; an influence which has made itself seen and felt, especially in seasons of national calamity and distress ; when harvests have failed, and commerce has been well nigh at a stand still ; and when, as a consequence, work has been scarce and provisions high; when gaunt famine has stood at the door and looked them in the face; and while, the ignorant and uneducated, forming themselves into banditti, have paraded the country, threatening to destroy both life and property, these have exhibited a noble and Christian endurance, and have calmly waited till the calamity has been overpast. And if riotous mobs have been less frequent, and less menacing than formerly, it is owing to the increase of Christian education, and the influence of the Sabbath-school.
We would here pay a passing tribute to “ Ragged Schools.” These institutions are designed for the neglected children of mendicants and for juvenile delinquents; a portion of the young, which could hardly be reached in any other way, or through any other agency.
These schools, though of recent date, are likely to be of immense service to the country, if it were only in the prevention of crime; but they desiderate other objects and results. But for their labours, many of those children picked up from the streets, would have been enrolled on the calendar of burglers and pickpockets, and would have become inmates of our prisons, or transports to our penal settlements. We desire for them increased efficiency and all success.
We rejoice in every effort which is being made to educate the
people. The desire to bring back, and perpetuate the reign of ignorance and superstition, can only exist where the people are kept in a state of serfdom, and are made the ready tools and slaves of the squires and landlords of the soil. Those“,
good old times” have, happily, passed away from Christian England, and the number of those who prefer ignorance to knowledge is getting “smaller by degrees and beautifully less.” The movement of the mind is onward – onward. Having once fairly got the start, you might as well attempt to stop the sun in his course through the heavens, as to arrest the progress of mind. The soul having once tasted the sweets of knowledge, must and will have it. Let the people of God be awake to this fact, and let them supply the right material. If ever there was a time when Christians were called to bestir themselves in the work of education, surely it is now. We hear much about “the signs of the times,” and certainly these are not times for seclusion, for indifference, and half-heartedness. The present is fraught with danger to the youth of our country. Error is rife and insinuating. Infidelity, chameleon-like, is ever and anon changing its aspects and its hues, to entrap the inexperienced and the unwary. Popery and Puseyism are vigorously and jesuitically employed in spreading their corruption among the highest and lowest of the people. Evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, and all the accumulated ills of the last times appear to be setting in upon us. Wherever you turn your attention -whether you look at home or abroad-whether you think of the political, commercial, or the religious interests of the country, everything is in a state of high commotion. Both in Church and State, master minds are at work ; mighty influences are in operation; important interests are agitated; momentous results are pending ; and
signs of the times” are such as to awaken in the minds of many, feelings of serious apprehension and alarm. Wickedness is fearfully rampant. Britain is called a Christian country, but she is deeply polluted by sin. Strange sights and sounds are daily seen and heard within her borders. Our practical Atheism and infidel licentiousness, our awful rebellion in high places, and the general prevalence of crime, of Sabbath-breaking, of blasphemy, and of drunkenness, expose us to the signal visitation of the Divine judgments, and portend for our country a fearful fall.
We are no alarmists, but we believe in the doctrine that the possession of greater privileges involves the possession of greater responsibilities. We do not wish to excite any unnecessary alarm; but we remember it is written, “ The nation and the kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish, yea, all those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Nor can we forget the names of Tyre, and Carthage ; of Babylon, of Nineveh, and of Rome; whose fall is blazoned on the records of history, and the wrecks of whose greatness and glory are still floating on the great ocean of time, lifting up their warning voice to all succeeding kingdoms and peoples. We have no desire to awaken needless fears, but we cannot hide from ourselves the fact, that we are now in the midst of a red-hot wara war which (unless God interfere for us) is likely to be fearfully bloody and protracted.
May heaven defend the right, and bring our unhappy contention to a peaceful and triumphant result ! We have adverted to these things, not to discourage and to paralyse, but to excite and to stimulate you to all that is good, patriotic, and Christian.
England our country must not fall, while we have the means of her defence and salvation at hand. If the storm-clouds be gathering, the door of the ark still remains open. If the plague be in the city, the healing remedy is in our possession. If the destroying angel is hovering near, let him see the Pascal blood, and he will
harmlessly by. With such resources at command, England our country must not fall!
What is it, then, that must save her? Is it statesmanship? Is it political influence? Is it parliamentary enactments? Is it diplomacy? Or is it the strength and splendour of her navy, and the force and valour of her armies ? Nay, but a power which they never knew, “Our help is in the Lord.” “ Cursed is man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” As trust in an arm of flesh would be fatal to an individual, so it would be equally fatal to a nation. “Promotion cometh not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the north, nor from the south ; but God is the Judge, he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” “ When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble ? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him, whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only ?” What is it, then, that must save us ? The enlightened education of our youth, and the earnest working piety of the people, will ever be the firmest support and best safeguard of the institutions, the freedom, and prosperity of the nation. " Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.” These will preserve the balance of power, and will protect alike the rights of the Sovereign and the liberties of the people. These will place our peace and our privileges upon a permanent and lasting foundation. Our country will be “twice blessed”; blessed in herself, and a blessing to others. She will be a Pharos to the nations—the wonder, the admiration, and the glory of the world.
Talk of freedom, of philanthropy, of patriotism, and of glory, why, sirs, the man who takes his principles from the Bible, who is earnestly inculcating those principles upon the children and people around him, and who with persevering consistency embodies those principles in a holy and blameless conduct, is the truest patriot, the greatest philanthropist, the most consistent Christian, and the best friend of his country and of his kind.
Sabbath-school teachers, yours is a noble enterprise. doing a
“great work.” Let no minor objects distract your attention. Seek as the great end of your labours—the salvation of the soul. You need no second idea. " Let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.” Go forth, then, in your holy and selfdenying toil; go, sow your seed beside all waters ; go, raise up the future members and ministers of the churches; go, and wrestle with God in earnest, believing prayer, for his blessing, and your labour :
shall not be in vain. The bread cast upon the waters shall be found after many days. “ Those that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” that winneth souls is wise." “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
“ And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”—John iii. 14, 15.
ONE passage of sacred writ throws much light upon another. If you would understand the apostles, you must be versed in the prophets; and those who would enter into the meaning of the Saviour's instructions, would do well to consult the account of Moses relative to the Jewish nation. Allusions in the New Testament derive much of their meaning from being read at the lamp of the prophets, and compared with the symbols of patriarchal times.
In the 21st chapter, for example, of the Book of Numbers, we are informed that the children of Israel murmured in the wilderness of Edom, against God, and against his servant Moses, because they had no water to drink, and no food, save light and insipid manna, to eat. It ill became those who had been supported forty years miraculously with bread from heaven, to complain against their kind Benefactor. As a punishment for their murmuring words, the hissing of serpents were heard in their camp. These noxious creatures were bright as fire, their sting was burning, and their wound was mortal. All around lay the dying and the dead, and no one could tell how soon he would be struck by their poisonous fangs-swell, corrupt, and die. Punishment at length produced penitence; murmuring under the hand of God, was at length followed by prayer; and, lo! he who had sent the plague, also, in the greatness of his compassion, appointed the cure. He enjoined that a bright serpent of brass should be elevated and suspended from a pole, in a conspicuous part of the camp, whilst all who were bitten were to direct their eyes thitherwards, and obtain relief. If they had only strength to turn themselves round in the agonies of death, and take one believing view of the brazen serpent, their pains ceased, their wounds were cured, their life was preserved. It was look and live! It was look and live!
Dear readers, there are serpents also in our camp ; we have heard them hiss, and felt their sting ; the old serpent, who beguiled Eve by his subtilty, and those scorpions John saw coming out of the bottomless pit, have filled the whole length and breadth of the land. Into our veins they have infused the poison of sin; it inflames our passions, it rankies in our conscience, it produces sickness of heart, and threatens to bring us down to the shades of death. Who can tell the havoc which Satan by his temptations has made in the world. He is not to be permitted, however, always to revel in the production of human misery. Jesus came to bruise the head of the serpent; he appointed a cure for the deadly malady which Satan occasions. Before his incarnation, heaven typified the sovereign remedy for the serpent's wound, by that very serpent of brass which Moses uplifted in the camp of Israel. Many a poor suffering Israelite that looked to the brazen serpent, and obtained a cure, speaks to us in language reaching from the deserts of Edom to the coasts of Britain, that health and life and comfort are to be derived from the cross of Jesus.
It is no vain fancy of mine, to make the brazen serpent, uplifted in the camp of Israel, project light upon the Cross planted on Calvary. No, the Saviour himself has supplied us with a striking precedent in his conversation with Nicodemus; “ As the brazen serpent, &c.," and again, in the company of two of his disciples, and some Greeks, who desired to be introduced to him, he said: “And I if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.”
A SCOTTISH PREACHER.
THE ASSOCIATION AND THE WESLEYAN REFORMERS.
EYAN THE Wesleyan Reformers having, at the Meeting of Delegates, in August 1854, appointed a Committee to confer with the several branches of the Methodist family, holding liberal views of church government, with the object of promoting general union, that Committee, it appears, has taken the initiative, by making official communications to each of them, and soliciting a conference with a deputation from each separate body. The New Connexion, we are informed, instead of complying with the request, replied, that the only condition of union on their part would be, the cordial acceptance, on the part of the Reformers, of their principles and their laws. But as these
appear, in some essential matters, to be opposed to the principles laid down by the Reformers, the latter have declined acceding to the proposal, and all hope of union in that quarter appears, therefore, to be now at an end. We hear, that the Association has cordially responded to the invitation to a meeting given by the Reformers, and that it has been arranged to hold such meeting in Nottingham, in the month of February next.
When the declaration of principles of church government, soon after their separation from the Conference Connexion, was made by the Reformers, it was evident to persons conversant with the subject, that there was in it a much nearer approximation to the essential principles which lie at the foundation of church rule in the Associatian, than with any other Methodist community extant. Indeed, upon examining the public declarations of the two bodies, on these vital questions, it will be seen that, for all practical purposes, they may be said to be one and the same. It is not necessary here to dwell upon the failure of negotiations between the Reformers and the New Connexion, but it must, from the beginning, have appeared a matter of certainty, if both sides remained true to their principles, and were indisposed to exhibit to the Christian world the abandonment of what each had declared to be absolutely necessary to carry