« PreviousContinue »
fountain of life ; and while opening by instruction a channel to their hearts, seek to draw the living stream by prayer from heaven. Your closet should also be the scene of your anxiety for their welfare, In that scene of hallowed seclusion, when your soul makes her nearest and happiest approaches to the throne of divine grace, give her in charge their immortal interests. God loves the prayers of his people; and especially delights in the prayers of pious benevolence. Importune him therefore, to bless your
efforts. Confess to him that the work of conversion is all his own. Hang the interests of the school upon his arm, and lay them down in the light of his countenance. p. 112.
We extract one passage more, from the last chapter, where Mr. J. suggests' motives to diligence in the work.'
To communicate moral good is the noblest employment of an intelligent being. It is that very operation in which the great God takes more delight than in all the rest of his works. This was the object on which the heart of the Redeemer was set when he was made flesh and dwelt among us. For this the Holy Spirit was poured out from above. For this prophets laboured and apostles preached. In the perfect enjoyment of moral benefits will consist the consummation of heaven itself. What a distinguished honour, then, to be engaged, although in the humblest manner, in such a work. This is to be raised into a likeness of that glorious being who is good and doeth good. A time is fast arriving when it will be seen and felt, that to have been instrumental in conferring spiritual good upon one soul of man, is a brighter and more lasting glory than the most solid achievements of philosophy, or the most splendid discoveries of science." pp. 184, 185.
The object of the Author being professedly - the moral, not " the mechanical part of the institution,' he has not attempted to give directions for the regulations of Sunday Schools, and has hinted only incidentally at the modern systems of education, when very judiciously guarding his readers against the secularizing tendency on their own minds, of much of the business of Sunday School tuition. The advantage of these systems in many branches of instruction, is unquestionable, and to those branches we wish they were more universally applied ; but we
and believe, that the spirit of seriousness will continue so far to prevail over the love of system, as to exclude from our schools any application of the plan to the devotional exercises of the children. We have heard the Lord's Prayer worked off through this living machinery, to the evident amusement of those employed. And what must be the effect on the minds of the poor children? Not surely to impress them with the idea that God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth, but that praying and spelling are similar exercises.--Let us leave secular plans to secular parties.
We cordially recommend the perusal of this little book, to
every one interested in Sunday Schools; and to those who are not interested in them, we would still more earnestly recommend it.
“ The Sunday School Teacher's Monitor” can, from its size, only glance at those particulars which are treated at large in the preceding work. It contains, however, some different views of the subject : in the second part, particularly, “ the hints for self-examination,” will be found worthy the attention of Teachers : for example,
• What is the prevailing motive by which I am influenced in this business? Is it the force of example, the force of entreaty, or the force of duty merely which has operated to place me here? or is it from the love of publicity, the desire of praise, or the wish to live in the good opinion of my friends? or is it simply to employ the intervals of worship, the time of which would else hang heavily upon my hands ? or is it to enjoy the pleasant society I meet with at the school? Do I dread the return of the hour of teaching, and go to the drudgery with a heavy heart? Yet equally dreading the accusations of conscience and the censure of my friends if I should remain at home? or do I love the work so well, am I so ardently attached to it, as the work of God, and does the consideration of the value of the soul press so heavily upon me, that I long for the return of the sabbath, that I may renew my labours for their salvation with the children of my
class? In urging those who never have been teachers,' to volunteer in the good cause, Mr. Raffles endeavours to obviate objections, by remarking,
• It is not necessary that you should have the learning of an university to teach poor children their A, B, C, and to explain to their capacities the first principles of the oracles of God. Indeed, every thing beyond simplicity is ridiculous in a Sunday School ; and the attempt to sline in figures of speech and rhetorical flourishes, before a body of gaping children, is absurd.'
29. A hint, not less applicable to the Pulpit, than to the Form.
pp. 23, 24.
Art. IX. The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, in the Memoirs
of William Churchman, a Poor Cripple, who never read any Book bat the Bible, never heard a Sermon nor entered a Place of Worship. By Thomas Bingham, Minister of the Gospel at Whitchurch, &c.,"
18mo. Pp. 33. Williams and Co. 17 T is not to be expected that we should devote our pages to a
notice of publications of this description, although the salutary tendency and wide circulation of so humble a species of composition, rescues it from insignificance. It might indeed be as well if every Tract, and Religious Narrative, and Sunday School Reward Book, were submitted to a severer scrutiny than they at present undergo, previously to their being purchased by the
hundred, and indiscriminately dispersed among the young, or the lower classes. Good intention does not always succeed in communicating its appropriate character to the productions which it originates ; and it must be regretted that tracts should be in circulation, extremely injudicious and inaccurate in their exhibitions of Scripture doctrine*, or otherwise ill calculated for their genuine purpose. We know, however, of no remedy for this evil, but that individuals should conscientiously exercise their good sense in making their own selection, for were a person disposed to institute a censorship in reference to such productions, few would thank him for his trouble or respect his authority.
The present Tract has arrested our attention, because it relates to a very striking fact. That there should be an individual, or hundreds of individuals, in this country, who never heard a Sermon, or entered a place of worship of any kind, is not merely credible; it is lamentably and notoriously true: but with regard to the poor Cripple's having never read any book but the Bible, though the circumstance is very highly probable from the nature of his answers, the assertion is absolute, and should therefore have been verified. The Author of the Tract called upon the individual to whom he was previously unknown, and he pledges his veracity that the very words ascribed to Churchman, were entirely his own, being copied verbatim, from the minutes of the conversation taken on Mr. B.'s return. He states that he himself felt surprise during the conversation, at the lucid manner in which the poor Cripple replied to his interrogatives; his answers were evidently drawn simply from the information derived from the solitary and unaided perusal of the Bible. The words of the Ethiopian Eunuch are often very flippantly adduced as a proof of the insufficiency of the Bible in itself, as a means of religious instruction. It ought not to be forgotten, that though inspired prophecy required a Divine Interpreter, the New Testament is a record of facts. It was not the doctrines of Scripture that the Eunuch confessed his inability to understand, but the predictions. It was Isaiah which he was employed in reading. An unlettered man, with the New Testament in his hand, possesses an infinite advantage, in respect of means, over the most learned Jew who had only the type, the shadow, and the veiled promise to guide him. No person who has been taught to love the Bible, will be found to undervalue the aid of public instruction, or to neglect the privilege of social worship. He will feel all the means he can command in one sense insufficient; it is too true that all may prove unavailing. But to deny the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures as the instrument of Divine Grace, to make a man wise unto Salvation, is to depreciate their intrinsic value, and to contradict both historic testimony, and individual experience.
Some of the poor cripple's replies are marked by strong intelligence : it is the characteristic of genuine religious impressions to invigorate the understanding as well as to sanctify the tendencies of the heart.
«« Well,” said I, “ this is very strange, what is praying then?” He replied, “praying is telling the great God what we feel that we want of him."
It would be difficult to improve upon the strict propriety of this simple but comprehensive definition.
Mr. Bingham has thrown into the form of a note a subsequent conversation which he had with him on the subject of Church order and government, being, as he states, desirous to know whether the poor man, who had conceived himself at a remote distance from any of Christ's disciples, had obtained any distinct views of the nature of Christ's kingdom upon earth.
• I asked him, “How many churches he apprehended God might have in our world ?,
" One only," was his reply. " What church is that?'
« The general assembly and church of the first-born, which is written in heaven.”
- What then was the church of the Jews ?' “The shadow of good things to come, but the body is of Christ.” . But how are those visible to the world ?
By their fruits ye shall know them.” " Yes; as individuals, but how shall they be visible as a church?'
“ Where but two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
* That may be in many places at once, but are they not called churches? why is this?"
“Because each is like the whole church, as Paul says, In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” • How do any unite with such a church ?
“ They first gave themselves to the Lord, and to us according to the will of God." ? What officers are there in the church of Christ ?, “ Bishops and deacons." "What is the office of a bishop?'
“ To feed the flock of God, over which the Holy Ghost hath made him overseer." 6 What is the deacon's office?
To serve tables," • Were those offices appointed for enriching, or advancing the persons holding them?'
Ourselves, your servants for Jesus' sake,
Helpers of your joy.”
"Who are to act in chusing those officers ?'
“ Wherefore look ye out from among yourselves, seven men of good report, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, whom we may appoint over this business."
• But if wicked men creep into the church, how are they to be dealt with when they are discovered?' “ Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
But if they repent afterwards ?' " What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead.”
• Does the power of kings and rulers relate to our bodies, or our consciences ?
“ Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's; but unto God the things that are God's."
'I was surprised at his ideas of this subject, and could ask him no more questions. pp. 30–32.
The New Testament is evidently insufficient as a guide to true Churchmanship*.
The reader must excuse a little unnecessary finery in the style of this Tract. We are much obliged to Mr. Bingham for bringing its interesting contents before the public.
Art. X. Time's Telescope for 1817; or, A Complete Guide to the
Almanack: containing an Explanation of Saints' Days and Holi. days, with Illustrations of British History and Antiquities, Notices of Obsolete Rites and Customs, and Sketches of Comparative Chronology ; Astronomical Occurrences in every Month; com. prising Remarks on the Phenomena of the celestial Bodies; and the Naturalist's Diary, explaining the various Appearances in the Aninimal and Vegetable Kingdoms. To which is prefixed, an Introduction, containing the Principles of Zoology. Published Annually.
12mo. pp. 388. Price 9s. Sherwood and Co. 1817. WE
E noticed two former volumes of this very entertaining and
useful compendium of multifarious lore. Having copied the comprehensive title, we must therefore content ourselves with referring our readers to the commendation expressed in those articles. A popular introduction to the Principles of Zoology, forms the leading novelty of this volume, which also contains an Index to “ Time's Telescope" for the present and the preceding three years.
* This note has disappeared in the second edition. As the Tract is designed to illustrate the grand cardinal point, the sufficiency of the Bible, and its: circulation among all classes is very desirable, the Author's prudent concession is very justifiable. At the same time we cannot forbear remarking, that no exception is taken, in general, against the Episcopalianism mixed up by some good clergymen in Tracts freely círculated by Dissenters. What is viewed as only consistency in a Clergyman, is represented as party bigotry in a Dis. senter,