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give it to the individuals he may choose, In supporting religion and literature, but cannot attach it to the creeds he may from age to age, the money of the living, choose. His descendants are not to be his and not the money of the dead, is to be stewards, but God's stewards. The whole employed; and it is strange how any one wealth of the world is to be managed ac- should ever presume to think that he, cording to the will of the living, and not after his death, could have any 6 will” in according to the will of the dead. Neither the management of this world's affairs; the blessed in heaven nor the lost in hell and it is passing strange how the living can have the least portion of the things of could ever consent to be fettered in the this world, nor should they have any “will” management of their most important afat all in the management of the least fairs by the “ wills” of the dead; for if portion of its riches. A citizen of America, one of the dead had a power thus to fetter it is true, may have property in Europe; the living, all the dead must have had the but an inhabitant of eternity can have no same power; and if they had a power to property in this world. An individual attach a portion of their riches to their from Paris may have a steward in Lon- own principles, they could have appropridon; but a saint in glory can have no ated all their riches in the same way; steward on earth. The patriarchs of the and if they had the power of making antediluvian ages once had worldly wealth, their testamentary orders binding upon one but now they have none. Solomon and age, they could have made them binding Nebuchadnezzar did once enjoy immense upon all ages, and consequently, accordpossessions, but now they have none. Xer- ing to this principle, the whole wealth of xes and Cræsus could once boast of their the world might have been now chained boundless riches, but now they have to the creeds and traditions of the fathers, none; nor can they, or any other dead and we, as well as future generations, men, have any will or authority in the might be forced to act in direct violation use or management of a single farthing's of the rights of conscience; to act, fetworth of the riches they once possessed. tered by the testamentary orders of past The fulness of Britain once belonged to generations; to act, clogged by the unthe Druids, but does not now belong to meaning ceremonies of the remotest anthem—their wealth has passed to other tiquity; to act in accordance with the hands—their stewardship is at an end; clashing creeds of acknowledged heretics; and a power to bind their descendants, as to act according to the exploded dogmas their trustees, they never had; a power to of the most pernicious errors; to act upon obligate us to manage the wealth of Britain plans and principles never to be explained according to their “ wills” they never pos- or reconciled; to act in humble submissessed. The present generation are not sion to the cruel mandates of the darkest the stewards of a past generation. The superstition; to act in compliance with present age can be under no obligation to the oppressive canons of the grossest spimanage the wealth and to support the ritual tyranny; to act in obedience to the principles of past ages. The whole wealth wildest dictates of the blindest enthusiof the world belongs to those who live in asm:-in a word, to act in direct opposithe world, and not to those who have been tion to both reason and revelation, and thus removed to another world. The religion effect the eternal ruin of souls immortal. and literature of this age are to be sup- II. Their tendency is bad. ported by this age, and not by past ages. 1. They tend to suppress in the bosom Education, in the time of William the of the testator every disposition to be libeFourth, is not to be promoted by the ral; for, while he dreams of an opportunity wealth of William the Norman. Genius, to display his liberality after his death, it in our day, is to be cherished by the riches is not likely he will do much good in his of our day, and not by the riches of Alfred life. Some like a liberal “will” better and his contemporaries. The religious than a liberal hand; but God likes a libeand charitable institutions of the present ral hand better than a liberal will: and time are not to be supported by the riches were men once convinced that they can do of men or women who have been dead for no good after they die, perhaps they would five thousand years, or for five thousand mo- strive to do more good while they live. ments; and to pay any sum of money to- 2. They tend to cherish in the mind of wards any such institutions, in the name the testator a feeling—perhaps a dying of a dead individual, is a direct violation feeling—not quite evangelical. The tremof the rights of the living, and a reproach- bling anxiety of an individual to display ful stigma on the memory of the dead. his charity in the hour of death is tantamount to a dying confession of his having streams of spurious liberality which are been too neglectful of his duty during his pressed by the agonizing terrors of death life; but a dying moment is a most un- from the stagnant swellings of a covetous timely season to shake off a covetous dis heart, and which are wrung by the power position. A liberal bequest makes but a of law from the grasping bosom of an poor atonement for an uncharitable life; heir, according to the testamentary order and to attempt such an atonement, at the of the dead ;—these baneful streams, after expense of others, is not only a mock con- being slowly, and laboriously, and expenssecration of an offering that costeth no- ively, and unwillingly rolled along their thing, but is absolutely a consecration of antique and leaky channels, and after poirobbery on the high altars of heaven. soning, by their constant evaporation, the Jehovah, however, will not accept from whole moral atmosphere around,--these the dead the talent hidden by him through must inevitably convert fertility into barlife. A liberal testament on earth is but renness, and felicity into woe, wherever a poor plea at the bar of heaven. A their influence can reach or extend. death-bed charity obtains but a sorry re- 6. They tend to destroy every mutual compense there. A boast of having estates good feeling in the minds of the parties in trust on earth, must sound strangely in intended to receive benefit from them, the hearing of angels. Good done by Were a hundred pounds a year willed to proxy, while the body moulders in the an individual for serving in a neighbourdust, will neither deliver a soul from pur hood as a teacher or a physician, could gatory, nor exalt a soul in glory.
this tend to promote any mutual good 3. They betray the high notions which feeling between the parties concerned ? the testator entertains of his own wisdom Would not the one party coldly say, “Had and piety, and manifest at the same time it not been for the endowment, we should the mean views he has of the wisdom and not have had your assistance?”_and would piety of his descendants. His will, it not the other naturally retort, “I am unseems, must live from age to age, to order der no obligations to you for the remunethe wealth and to support the creed, lest ration I receive ?” In a neighbourhood religion and learning should decay and where there is no will to support religion die in the hands of his posterity.
and learning, but the "will" of the dead, 4. They evince a want of trust and they will soon die with the dead. confidence in the faithfulness or power of 7. They constantly subject trustees to the God of Providence; for truth and the most painful anxiety, and frequently piety need support from neither tithes nor plunge them into inextricable difficulties. endowments.
Were a person to bequeath ten thousands 5. They tend to suppress in the bosoms a year to support some plan of education, of the testator's friends and kindred every or some system of theology, or some form rising disposition to liberality; for, by of worship which he may have adopted ; obligating youth to support religion ac- and were his trustees, shortly after his de cording to the wills of their ancestors, mise, to detect some imperfections in his their minds are prejudiced against a fair plan, some deficiencies in his system, or examination of its excellencies, and their some errors in his creed,—what shall they hands are fettered in the earliest exercise do? They are in a great strait: they of their own benevolence; and a parent, must violate either the rights of conscience by thus drying up the fountain of charity or the orders of the dead. Were a Jew in the bosom of his first-born, may stop or to bequeath his ten thousands a year to derange its free course in his family for the support of Judaism, and were his ages and for ever. Let parents, therefore, trustee, shortly after his death, to become be liberal themselves, and let them cherish a Christian convert,-how, I ask, is the the same disposition in their children; trustee to act in such a case? Were a and then they need study no “ Forms of Trinitarian, or a Unitarian, or a ProtestReligious Bequests,” but may calmly die ant, or a Papist, or a Quaker, or a Moraunder the sweet influence of a sure and vian, or a Calvinist, or an Arminian, to blissful hope that the streams of their be- bequeath his ten thousands a year to the nevolence will, after the time of their dis- support of his creed; and were his trussolution, divide, and swell, and flow in tee, soon after his death, to adopt an opcrystal currents, continuing to fertilize posite creed, what must he do? How the world, until the joyful moment of must he act? And were an individual to their happy resurrection from the dust of bequeath his ten thousands a year, unthe tomb. But as to the unhealthful shackled by any theological belief, to be discretionally divided between the most religious and charitable bequests as benecessitous poor of a town or a neighbour- ing radically wrong; and that I look upon hood, who, even in that case, would ever the history of its application as furnishing wish to be burdened with the painful re- us with the most incontrovertible evidence sponsibilities and anxieties of a trust so of its having greatly injured the cause of important?
liberality and love, -of its having awfully 8. They frequently occasion immense retarded the progress of learning, truth, and trouble to courts of equity. The Bible piety,—and of its having created diffi. Society is perhaps the most perfect insti- culties innumerable, and almost insurtution ever established in the world; but mountable, in the way of removing acif its trustees had divided on either of knowledged abuses. the questions lately discussed at its meet- Aug. 28, 1832. S. R. BRYNMAIR. ings, even that most excellent society (N.B. We do not pledge ourselves by might have been, at this time, a captive any means to the statements of this paper; in Chancery.
but, from the respectability and piety of Instead of further lengthening these the writer, and from the inportance of observations, I must, in conclusion, beg
the subject, willingly give it a place in to repeat, that I view the principle of all
While in the multitude of dreams there are, as the Wise Man saith, divers vanities,—and while they are sadly abused in the folly and presumption of vulgar superstition,-a reflecting mind will be able to trace in some of them, at least, salutary admonitions. They show us how the mind can act independently of the body and its senses, what are the ruling principles and passions of our nature, and where our strictest watch should be kept. In them we may trace the goodness of our Creator, in that the imagination much more frequently forms dreams soft and pleasing, than those of a gloomy and terrific cast. We mark in them, also, how God can bless or punish men in the separate state; and how, even here, when external circumstances are all fair and exhilarating, he can present to the wicked fancies which wring the heart, while no hand nor voice of flattery is nigh to soften them; and how, in the darkest depression of calamity and peril, le can bring to the view the sweetest scenes of peace and gladness. In ancient times, God sometimes employed dreams for communicating the knowledge of his will, and intimations of future events; and though, enjoying as we do the more sure word of prophecy in its perfect state, we look not for such revelations or premonitions, yet the study of these ancient monitions of Heaven may strengthen our gratitude for the day-spring from on high, and increase our acquaintance with the ways of God.
The two dreams of Joseph are rich in lessons of holy utility, and will well reward the enquirer who considers them piously and wisely.
Both of the dreams of Joseph were intimations of the superior power and glory to which he was to be raised; and their time, their structure, the doubling of the vision, and the impression they made on his father, joined with the fact that similar premonitions had been given to Jacob and to Abraham, before the most remarkable and trying incidents of their lives, suggest that they were the result of a divine influence on his mind. His first dream,—that his sheaf arose and stood upright while they were binding sheaves in the field, and that the sheaves of his brethren stood round about and made obeisance to it, was strikingly realized in his advancement to be the dispenser of the means of subsistence to the Egyptians, and in the humble application which his brethren made to him for support to themselves and to their households.
The second dream was more splendid than the first, and indicated more directly his supreme rank and influence. In the pastoral regions of the East the heavenly bodies are objects of peculiar attention, and from them are drawn the images of their poetry, the symbols of their power, and the signs of their destiny. This dream was realized, in its general import, when Jacob sent presents to him as Governor of Egypt, availed himself of his
influence with Poaraoh, and was guided do the young, even in their waking hours, by his directions, and when Joseph's bre build a gorgeous palace in the air, adorn thren became suppliants for his favour it with the fairest ornaments, and fill it and mercy. The remark of Jacob on the with forms of kindness and scenes of joy; dream, to show that it could not be an but never think of the tempests by which intimation of his superior rank, might be it must be shaken to pieces! Poets, in all intended to calm the envy and the wrath ages, have celebrated the charms of hope, of his brethren, which he saw rising, and and from its energy the noblest enterprises which he feared might produce unhappy of life have proceeded; but the enthusiresults to his favourite son. It is plain asm of youth-romantic, eager, self-suffithat Jacob did not consider it as any cer cient, and impetuous—is the most perilous tain proof that the dream was an idle impulse under which it can act. Let imfancy. There are minute circumstances provement in goodness be the object to in the dreams and parables of scripture, which it points, trust in God be the encouwhich are to be viewed as the mere dra ragement it seeks, caution its guide, and pery of the picture, for which no verifica prayer and diligence the instruments tion is to be sought, for this is only to be which it employs, and it shall not make looked for in its great lines.
those ashamed in whom it works, but These dreams were intended to encou shall find its brightest anticipations more rage the mind of Joseph in the humilia than fulfilled. tion, peril, and sorrow, through which he Joseph's dreams led to a sad display of was soon to pass. Who can tell what the evil tempers of his brethren. We are hope of better days they might awaken in ready to think that the amiableness of his his mind, while a slave and a prisoner? manners would have made him their deIn recalling them to his recollection, he light, and that the innocence, simplicity, might be led to think that, depressed as and confiding affection, so evident in his his condition was, Providence would raise manner of telling his dreams, would have him out of it; and that this discipline of made them listen to him kindly; but so fear, and grief, and abasement, might be far was this from being the case, that they intended to prepare him for the proper were filled with envy and hatred. The discharge of the duties of a more elevated father's partiality had irritated their condition, and to render the engagements minds; and, understanding the dreams as of it more pleasing. Amidst all the hor- an indication from heaven of his destined rors of his lot, he could not but remember superiority over them, they were still more who were the instruments of placing him infuriated, and thus added impiety to their in it; and the bitter feelings attendant on malice. These passions rage in scenes such recollections might be softened by which we suppose to be devoted to very the thought that they would, in contrition different feelings. Thus in families, where and shame, acknowledge the baseness of we should expect love to be the spirit, and their conduct; and, if they did not, he at kindness the order of the house, envying least could exhibit a superiority the no and strife have raged; and, in churches, blest of all others—even that superiority dissensions and quarrels have prevailed, which lies in forgiving the greatest inju where grace is the doctrine, peace should ries, and in doing good to those who had be the bond, and mercy the impulse, the abused and persecuted him.
course, and the hope of all. We cannot It has been remarked, that these dreams doubt but that this principle produced of Joseph are a striking representation of much discontent and misery in the minds the romantic visions of youth. Joseph of these men, and we see that it rendered saw only the honour and influence before them capable of the most atrocious crimes. him, and had no glimpse of the dismal Let those who are tempted to indulge scenes through which he had to pass to envy mark its influence in this narrative, them. Any direct suggestion, as to these, and they must feel that a regard to their would have led to such courses as would own virtue and happiness, as well as those bave prevented their accomplishment. The of others, call upon them to put away all imaginations of the young form bright malice, and envy, and evil-speaking. And anticipations of success in the business let us cultivate that wise, pure, and divine and enjoyment of the varied scenes of benevolence, which exults in the rise and life; but they think not of the toils they delights in the success of others. must undergo, the opposition which they But Joseph's dreams led also to conduct, must encounter, the disappointments which on the part of his father, which gives us will attend their plans, and the sorrows a very useful view of his character. Afraid which will wound their hearts. How often lest the mind of Joseph should be liste
up by dreams so striking, and which to have sensible proof of its sufficiency, seemed to presage such distinction, and and, because they cannot obtain that, live eager to check the envy which the detail in dread of a second deluge.” Such were of them was exciting in his brethren, he the words by which Luther tried to enrebuked him, and that in such a way as courage the hearts of the faithful amidst might teach him to think soberly. His the conflicts and troubles which attended conduct shows how careful parents should the Reformation; and most honouring to be to inculcate on their children the les- God is that confidence, which can look to sons of humility. Roused by the flatteries him in hope in the hour of darkness; and of their own hearts, or the praises of others, it is most happy to ourselves, in the tranor by prosperous events, they are in dan- quillity which it produces, and in the ger of being lifted up with pride. Parents complacency which God testifies in it. should remind them that pride was not Thus the Lord Jesus said unto Thomas, made for man,—that humility is the love “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast liest ornament,—that he who exalteth him- believed : blessed that is, peculiarly self shall be abased, but that he who blessed) are they that have not seen, and humbleth himself shall be exalted. The yet have believed." voice of flattery is sweet to the youthful L astly, How beautifully do not these ears, while that of admonition is painful; dreams exhibit the exaltation of Christ! but it is in many cases most needful and To the first we may make an allusion in salutary. Flattery encourages the presump- our Lord's words, “ The hour is come that tion that despises control, and deems no- the Son of Man should be glorified. Vething too arduous for its effort, too great rily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn for its deserts; but admonition leads to of wheat fall into the ground and die, it vigilance, to self-denial, to prayer, to de- abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth pendence on God; and this is the course forth much fruit." And how striking are of wisdom and safety.
his words to the Jews: “Moses gave you But we are told that Jacob pondered not that bread from heaven ; but my Fathese dreams in his mind. He might ther giveth you the true bread from heaconsider them as indications of the future ven. Your fathers did eat manna in the distinction of his son; and none can tell wilderness and are dead: this is the bread what solace they might afford to him in which cometh down from heaven, that a his dark musings on his untimely fate. man may eat thereof and not die." It might strengthen him, like his great Let us think how the star guided the ancestor, against hope to believe in hope. wise men to the place of his birth; how, Faith trusts in the promise and grace of at his crucifixion, the sun was darkened; God, however unfavourable outward ap- and how the bright full moon gilded the pearances may be. “I looked out at my sepulchre where the Lord lay, and thus window, and saw two prodigies: I beheld precludes the idea that the body was carthe glittering stars and all the glorious ried off in the secresy of darkness. Let vault of heaven. I looked around for the us think how, in his exalted state, this pillars by which it was upheld; but I dream was realized, when “the Lord said could discover none-yet it remained firm to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, and secure: the same unseen hand which till I make thine enemies thy footstool;" had formed it sustained it still: yet num- and when the church appears as a woman bers search on all sides for its supports. clothed with the sun, having the moon unCould they feel them with their hands, der her feet, and on her head a crown of they might then be at ease; but, as this twelve stars. Let us remember the call is impossible, they live in constant dis given to the church on earth : “ Go forth, quiet. I beheld again, and lo! thick O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King sheets of water like a mighty ocean, which Solomon with the crown wherewith his I saw nothing to contain, nothing to hold mother crowned him in the day of his up, rolled above our heads; yet they de- espousals, and in the day of the gladness scended not on us; but often, presenting of his heart!” And what was the homage a threatening aspect for a little time, they' which John saw and heard presented to passed away, and a brilliant rainbow suc- him, after the songs of the angels and of ceeded them. This was our protection; the redeemed: “And every creature which yet it appeared frail and evanescent; and is in heaven, and on the earth, and under though it has ever hitherto proved avail. the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ing, still numbers think more of the thick all that are therein, heard I saying, Blessand dark mass of waters, than of the ing, honour, glory, and power, be unto him slender, fleeting arch of light. They want that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the