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and antiquity of its history, the light it affords in various researches, its inimitable touches of nature, together with the sublimity and beauty so copiously poured over its pages, will be deemed subsidiary ornaments, the embellishments of the casket which contains the "pearl of great price.”
Scriptural knowledge is of inestimable value on account of its supplying an infallible rule of life. To the most untutored mind, the information it affords on this subject is far more full and precise than the highest efforts of reason could attain. In the best moral precepts issuing from human wisdom, there is an incurable defect in that want of authority which robs them of their power over the conscience; they are obligatory no farther than their reason is perceived ; a deduction of proofs is necessary, more or less intricate and uncertain, and even when clearest it is still but the language of man to man, respectable as sage advice, but wanting the force and authority of law. In a well-attested revelation it is the judge speaking from the tribunal, the Supreme Legislator promulgating and interpreting his own laws. With what force and conviction do those apostles and prophets address us, whose miraculous powers attest them to be the servants of the Most High, the immediate organs of the Deity! As the morality of the gospel is more pure and comprehensive than was ever inculcated before, so the consideration of its divine origination invests it with an energy of which every system not expressly founded upon it is entirely deroid. We turn at our peril from him who speaketh to us from heaven.
Of an accountable creature duty is the concern of every moment, since he is every moment pleasing or displeasing God. It is a universal element, mingling with every action, and qualifying every disposition and pursuit. The moral quality of conduct, as it serves both to ascertain and to form the character, has consequences in a future world so certain and infallible, that it is represented in Scripture as a seed no part of which is lost, “ for wnatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.” That rectitude which the inspired writers usually denominate holiness, is the health and beauty of the soul, capable of bestowing dignity in the absence of every other accomplishment, while the want of it leaves the possessor of the richest intellectual endowments a painted sepulchre. Hence results the indispensable necessity to every description of persons, of sound religious instruction, and of an intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures as its genuine source.
It must be confessed, from melancholy experience, that a speculative acquaintance with the rules of duty is too compatible with the violation of its dictates, and that it is possible for the convictions of conscience to be habitually overpowered by the corrupt suggestions of appetite. To see distinctly the right way, and to pursue it, are not precisely the same thing. Still nothing in the order of means promises so much success as the diligent inculcation of revealed truth. He who is acquainted with the terrors of the Lord, cannot live in the neglect of God and religion with present, any more than with future, impunity ; the path of disobedience is obstructed if not rendered impassable ; and wherever he turns his eyes he beholds the sword of divine justice stretched out to intercept his passage. Guilt will be appalled, conscience alarmed, and the fruits of unlawful gratification embittered to his taste.
It is surely desirable to place as many obstacles as possible in the path of ruin : to take care that the image of death shall meet the offender at every turn; that he shall not be able to persist without treading upon briars and scorpions, without forcing his way through obstructions more formidable than he can expect to meet with in a contrary course. If you can enlist the nobler part of his nature under the banners of virtue, set him at war with himself, and subject him to the necessity, should he persevere, of stifling and overcoming whatever is most characteristic of a reasonable creature, you have done what will probably not be unproductive of advantage. If he be at the same time reminded, by his acquaintance with the word of Gud, of a better state of mind being attainable, a better destiny reserved (provided
they are willing and obedient) for the children of men, there is room to hope that, “wearied,” to speak in the language of the prophet, “ in the greatness of his way, he will bethink himself of the true refuge, and implore the Spirit of grace to aid his weakness, and subdue his corruptions. Sound religious instruction is a perpetual counterpoise to the force of depravity. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether."
While we insist on the absolute necessity of an acquaintance with the word of God, we are equally convinced it is but an instrument, which, like every other, requires a hand to wield it; and that, important as it is in the order of means, the Spirit of Christ only can make it effectual, which ought therefore to be earnestly and incessantly implored for that purpose.“ Open mine eyes,” saith the Psalmist, “and I shall behold wonderful things out of thy law.” We trust it will be your care, who have the conduct of the school we are recommending to the patronage of this audience, to impress on these children a deep conviction of their radical corruption, and of the necessity of the agency of the Spirit to render the knowledge they acquire practical and experimental. “ In the morning sow your seed, in the evening withhold not your hand; but remember that neither he that soweth, nor be that watereth, is anything; it is God that giveth the increase." Be not satisfied with making them read a lesson, or repeat a prayer. By everything tender and solemn in religion, by a due admixture of the awful considerations drawn from the prospects of death and judgment, with others of a more pleasing nature, aim to fix serious impressions on their hearts. Aim to produce a religious concern, carefully watch its progress, and endeavour to conduct it to a prosperous issue. Lead them to the footstool of the Saviour ; teach them to rely, as guilty creatures, on his merits alone, and to commit their eternal interests entirely into his hands. Let the salvation of these children be the object to which every word of your instructions, every exertion of your authority, is directed. Despise the profane clamour which would deter you from attempting to render them serious, from an apprehension of its making them melancholy, not doubting for a moment that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that the path to true happiness lies through purity, humility, and devotion. Meditate the worth of souls ; meditate deeply the lessons the scriptures afford on their inconceivable value and eternal duration. While the philosopher wearies himself with endless speculations on their physical properties and nature, while the politician only contemplates the social arrangements of mankind and the shifting forms of policy, fix your attention on the individual importance of man as the creature of God, and a candidate for immortality. Let it be your highest ambition to train up these children for an unchanging condition of being. Spare no pains to recover them to the image of God; render familiar to their minds, in all its extent, the various branches of that "holiness" without which "none can see the Lord.” Inculcate the obligation, and endeavour to inspire the love, of that rectitude, that eternal rectitude, which was with God before time began, was embodied in the person of his Son, and in its lower communications will survive every sublunary change, emerge in the dissolution of all things, and be impressed in refulgent characters on the new heavens, and the new earth, “ in which dwelleth righteousness.” Pray often with them, and for them, and remind them of the inconceivable advantages attached to that exercise. Accustom them to a punctual and reverential attendance at the house of God : insist on the sanctification of the Sabbath by such a disposal of time as is suitable to a day of rest and devotion. Survey them with a vigilant and tender eye, checking every appearance of an evil and depraved disposition the moment it springs up, and encouraging the dawn of piety and virtue. By thus “training them up in the way they should go," you may reasonably hope that." when old they will not depart from it."
DAYS BEFORE Books. — In the old ignorant times, before women were readers, history was handed down from mother to daughter, &c., and William of Malmesbury picked up his history, from the time of Venerable Bede to his time, out of old songs, for there was no writer in England from Bede to him. So my nurse had the history from the Conquest down to Charles I. in ballad. Before printing, Old Wives' Tales were ingenious ; and since printing came in fashion, till a little before the Civil Wars, the ordinary sort of people were not taught to read. Now-a-days, books are common, and ruost of the poor people understand letters; and the many good books and variety of turns of affairs, have put all the old fables out of doors. And the divine art of printing and gunpowder have frightened away Robin Good-fellow and the fairies.—AUBREY.
A LESSON FOR PRETENDERS.—I remember when I was in the Low Countries, and lived with Sir John Ogle at Utrecht, the reply of that valiant gentleman, Colonel Elmunds, to a countryman of his newly come out of Scotland, went current ; who desiring entertainment of him, told him—My lord, his father, and such knights and gentlernen, his cousins and kinsmen, were in good health. Quoth Colonel Edmunds, Gentlemen (to his friends by), believe not one word he says; my father is but a poor baker of Edinburgh, and works hard for his living, whom this knave would make a lord, to curry favour with me, and make ye believe I am a great man born. -PEACHAM. Complete Gentleman, 1627
MR. Pitt.—On his ' Additional Force Bill,' in 1805, Mr. Pitt had a meeting of country gentlemen-militia colonels, we think-to consider the measure. One of these gentlemen objected to a clause for calling out the force, which he insisted should not be done except in case of actual invasion. Pitt replied, 'that would be too late ;' but the gentleman still insisted on the case of actual invasion. By and by, they came to another clause, to render the force more disposable ; the same gentleman objected again, and insisted very warmly that he never would consent to its being sent out of England —'eccept, I suppose, rejoined Pitt, “in case of actual incasion.'— Quarterly Review.
TENDERNESS OF CONSCIENCE.— Thomas Curson, born in Allhallows, Lombard Street, armourer, dwelt without Bishopsgate. It happened that a stage-player borrowed a rusty musket, which had lain long leger in his shop: now though his part were comical, he therewith acted an unexpected tragedy, killing one of the standers by, the gun casually going off on the stage, which he suspected not to be charged. O the difference of divers men in the tenderness of their consciences ! some are scarce touched with a wound, whilst others are wounded with a touch therein. This poor armourer was highly afflicted therewith, though done against his will, yea without his knowledge, in his absence, by another, out of mere chance. Hereupon he resolved to give all his estate to pious uses : no sooner had he gotten a round sum, but presently he posted with it in his apron to the Court of Aldermen, and was in IST QUARTER
pain till by their direction he had settled it for the relief of poor in his own and other parishes, and disposed of some hundreds of pounds accordingly, as I am credibly informed by the then church wardens of the said parish. Thus as he conceived himself casually (though at a great distance) to have occasioned the death of one, he was the immediate and direct cause of giving a comfortable living to many. ---FULLER.
TRANSLATION.—Shakespeare was godfather to one of Ben Jonson's children, and after the christening, being in a deep study, Jonson came to cheer him up, and asked him why he was so melancholy? “No, faith, Ben (says he), not I, but I have been considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my god-child, and I have resolved at last.” “I pr’ythee, what ? ” says he, “ I'faith, Ben, I'll e'en give him a dozen good Latten Spoons, and thou shalt translate them.”L'ESTRANGE. A necdotes and Traditions (a volume published by the Camden Society).
KEEP TO YOUR CALLING.-—Bishop Grosteste of Lincoln told his brother, who asked him to make him a great man- -“ Brother," said he, “if your plough is broken, I'll pay the mending of it; or if an ox is dead, I'll pay for another ; but a ploughman I found you, and a ploughman I'll leave you.”—AUBREY.
CONSCIENCE. --A stranger came recommended to a merchant's house at Lubeck. IIe was hospitably received ; but, the house being full, he was lodged at night in an apartinent handsomely furnished, but not often used. There was nothing that struck him particularly in the room when left alone, till he happened to cast his eyes on a picture which immediately arrested his attention, It was a single hcad ; but there was something so uncommon, so frightful and unearthly, in its espression, though by no means ugly, that he found himself irresistibly attracted to look at it. In fact he could not tcar himself from the fascination of this portrait, till his imagination was filled by it, and his rest broken. He retired to bed, dreamed, and awoke from time to time with the head glaring on him. In the morning his host saw by his looks that he had slept ill, and inquired the cause, which was told. The master of the house was much vexed, and said that the picture ought to have been removed, that it was an oversight, and that it always was removed when the chamber was used.
The picture, he said, was, indeed, terrible to every one; but it was so fine, and had come into the family in so curious a way, that he could not make up bis mind to part with it, or to destroy it. The story of it was this :-“My Father," said he," was at Hamburgh on business, and, whilst dining at a coffee house, he observed a young man of a remarkable appearance enter, seat himself alone in a corner, and commence a solitary meal. His countenance bespoke the extreme of mental distress, and every now and then he turned his head quickly round as if he heard something, then shudder, grow pale, and go on with his meal after an effort as before. My father saw this same man at the same place for two or three successive days, and at length became so much interested about him that he spoke to him. The address was not repulsed, and the stranger seemed to find some comfort from the tone of sympathy and kindness which my father used. He was an Italian, well informed, pour but not destitute, and living economically upon the profits of his art as a painter. Their intimacy increased ; and at length the Italian, seeing my father's involuntary emotion at his convulsive turnings and shudderings, which continued as formerly, interrupting their conversation from time to time, told him his story. He was a native of Rome, and had lived in some familiarity with, and been much patronized by, a young nobleman; but upon some slight occasion they had fallen out, and his patron, besides using many reproachful expressions, had struck him. The painter brooded over the disgrace of the blow. He could not challenge the nobleman, on account of his rank; he therefore watched for an opportunity, and assassinated him. Of course he fled from his country, and finally had reached
Hamburgh. He had not, however, passed many weeks from the night of the murder, before, one day, in the crowded street, he heard his name called by a voice familiar to him; he turned short round, and saw the face of his victim looking at him with a fixed eye. From that moment he had no peace; at all hours, in all places, and amidst all companies, however engaged he might be, he heard the voice, and could never help looking round; and, whenever he so looked round, he always encountered the same face staring close upon him. At last, in a mood of desperation, he had fixed himself face to face, and eye to eye, and deliberately drawn the phantom visage as it glared upon him ; and this was the picture so drawn. The Italian said he had struggled long, but life was a burden which he could now no longer bear ; and he was resolved, when he had made money enough to return to Romo, to surrender himself to justice, and expiate his crime on the scaffold. He gave the finished picture to my father, in return for the kindness which he had shown him.” COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
King James mounted his horse one time, who formerly used to be very sober and quiet, but then began to bound and prance. • The de'il o' my saul, sirrah,” says he,
an you be not quiet l'se send you to the five hundred kings in the lower House of Commons; they'll quickly tame you.”—L'ESTRANGE.
THE SAFEST LENDERS,—The Lord Bacon was wont to commend the advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold besoms ; a proud lazy young fellow came to him for a besom upon trust; to whom the old man said, “Friend, hast thou no money? borrow of thy back, and borrow of thy belly; they'll ne'er ask thee again, I shall be dunning thee every day.”—BACON.
MEMORY.—Memory, of all the powers of the mind, is the most delicate, and frail ; it is the first of our faculties that age invades. Seneca, the father, the rhetorician, confesseth of himself, he had a miraculous one, not only to receive, but to hold. I myself could, in my youth, have repeated all that ever I had made, and so continued till I was past forty ; since, it is much decayed in me. Yet I can repeat whole books that I have read, and poems of some selected friends, which I have liked to charge my memory with. It was wont to be faithful to me, but shaken with age now, and sloth, which weakens the strongest abilities, it may perform somewhat, but cannot promise much. By exercise it is to be made better, and serviceable. Whatsoever I pawned with it while I was young and a boy, it offers me readily, and without stops : but what I trust to it now, or have done of later years, it lays up more negligently, and oftentimes loses ; so that I receive mine own (though frequently called for) as if it were new and borrowed. Nor do I always find presently from it what I seck; but while I am doing another thing, that I laboured for will come : and what I sought with trouble, will offer itself when I am quiet. Now in some men I have found it as happy as nature, who, whatsoever they read or pen, they can say without bok presently ; as if they did then write in their mind. And it is more a wonder in such as have a swift style, for their memories are commonly slowest ; such as torture their writings, and go into council for every word, must needs fix somewhat, and make it their own at last, though but through their own vexation.—BEN JONSON. TREASON.—John Thelwall had something very good about him.
We were once sitting in a beautiful recess in the Quantocks, when I said to him, “Citizen John, this is a fine place to talk treason in !” “Nay! citizen Samuel,” replied he, “it is rather a place to make a man forget that there is any necessity for treason!” COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
DANGER.-A notorious rogue, being brought to the bar, and knowing his case to be desperate, instead of pleading, he took to himself the liberty of jesting, and thus said, “ I charge you, in the king's name, to seize and take away tlat man (meaning the judge) in the red gown, for I go in danger because of him.”-Bacon.