Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

all kinds of divisions, and so they are eminently the schismatics, under the weak pretence of a Catholicism, which every other church repudiates ?

The mercy of God is, we trust, overruling all this, to the building up of pure Episcopal Churches in Scotland, in real harmony with the Church of England, and with the Word of God on which our Church is built, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; and proving that episcopal views are far enough from popery, and showing to every candid Presbyterian that our Church does faithfully hold the doctrines of the Reformation. For centuries has the Episcopal Church in that country, with but few exceptions of such men as Leighton and Scougal, been presented to the Presbyterian National Church in the most unfavourable aspect. It will now be seen that the real Church of England is totally distinct from semi-popery, and its revival and growth in modern tractarianism.

The times are very stormy ; God's providence is more and more separating pure churches and true Christians, from the superstitious, the formal, and the nominal. It is a great duty to uphold the national maintenance of true religion, but it would be a great impediment to the fulfilment of that duty, if a tyrannical abuse of their high spiritual trust, under the pretext of a divine ordinance, and in a gross misuse of the divine authority, were ever sanctioned by the bishops of our Church. Fearfully responsible is the position of those now placed in authority in a nation on the edge of the conyulsions that seem manifestly at hand. May we all pray much for them, that God may so guide them, that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty. There is no safety, peace, or happiness, for any, but in a close adherence to Christ and his truth. All kinds of trimming, flattery of man, worldly policy, and expedieney, where there ought to be a frank, open confession of the truth, as revealed to us in the word of God, instead of helping men out of difficulties, will only aggravate every evil, and multiply sorrows. Let us act in the light of the coming judgment, and as those who must speedily give account of all they do to the returning Lord of all, and we shall have a peaceful conscience, a loving heart, a clear path, and be larger and larger blessings to our fellow-creatures, and finally give up our account with joy in the day of his appearing.

1. PROGRESSIVE QUESTIONING BOOK, comprising Steps

I., II., and I11., or, Questions on St. Mark, St. Mattheue, St. Luke, and The Acts of the Apostles. Intended for the use of Teachers in Sunday and oiher Schools. By the Rev, E. T. M. PhilLIPPS, M.A., Rector of Hathern, Leicestershire,; and Chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester. London:

Seeleys. 1842. 2. AN AFFECTIONATE ADDRESS TO GODFATHERS AND

GODMOTHERS, on the Nature and Duties of the Sponsors'
Office. By the Rev. E. T. M. PHILLIPPS, M.A., &c. London?

Seeleys. 1842. 3. TRACTS ON PURITY, viz. :1. HONOURABLE AND Dis

HONOURABLE MARRIAGE.-2. THE JUDGMENT OF GOD AGAINST WHOREMONGERS AND ADULTERERS.-3. ADDRESS to Youth AND YOUNG MEN ON PERSONAL CHASTITY. 4. ADDRESS To YOUNG WOMEN ON THE PRESERVATION OF A VIRTUOUS MIND AND VIRTUOUS CONDUCT.-5. HINTS ADDRESSED TO PARENTS ON THE EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN, AND SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THEIR

Purity. By the Rev. E. T. M. Phillipps, M.A., &c. !... London: Seeleys.: 1844.

[ocr errors]

WITH

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

We have here a series of interesting and valuable helps from the pen of Mr. Chancellor Phillipps. 1 The first work on our list has been for some time before the public, and must, we should think, have been well received. To those of our readers, however, who are not acquainted with “The Progressive Questioning Book," it may be important to give a general idea of its plan and design. This we shall best do in the author's own words. But let us first indulge ourselves with an extract from his judicious preface, containing a retrospective sketch which is indeed refreshing amidst the turmoil and distraction which we have lived to witness.

"Two great events," Mr. Phillipps writes," have marked the moral history of our country during the last fifty years. First, the general- I might almost say the universal-institution of Sunday schools: and secondly, largely increased circulation of the Scriptures among us. The latter has na turally, and necessarily followed the former,

" It is now (1842) about sixty years since Mr. Raikes, a printer at Gloueester, was first led to the plan of collecting young people together for reli. gious instruction on the Sabbath-day. It should seem that to this gentleman the conception and execution of a benevolent purpose was but one act. What his mind had approved as good, and believed to be practicable, was

the very moral good.

soon, by the supply of the requisite machinery, put to the test of trial. The esperiment succeeded; and what had been thus successfully commenced at Gloucester was recommended to the patronage of the friends of religion and good order throughout the kingdom. Hence the institution of Sunday schools. As a new system, it had to encounter the misapprehensions of many, and it was opposed by the zealous fears of selfish and contracted minds; but it was received by the enlightened, the candid, and the pious, as calculated to confer a very high degree of good on the community. The plan has long since triumphed over all opposition, and proved eventually a great blessing to the whole kingdom. So complete, indeed, has been its triumph, and so universal the adoption of the system, that, in England, few places (comparatively) are to be found which do not number these institutions among the means of their improvement. Probably the number of children at present receiving instruction in our Sunday schools throughout the united Kingdom is not less than two millions. The fact, indeed, that any place in England, however small, is destitute of such an institution, entails upon its inhabitants, in some distrícts, reproach and disgrace; they pass into a bye-word, as a people careless of the most simple and obvious means of promoting their religious and

** The immediate effect of the system thus introduced was an increase, in proportion to its extension, of the number of readers; and consequently an increase, though in a far less proportion, of those who had acquired a taste for reading. Such persons would naturally require books with which to gratify their newly-acquired taste; and as the Scriptures had formed the chief book of their instruction in the Sunday school the period to which most of them would turn with the happiest recollections-so it became the book which they specially desired to possess. It was assuredly, also, the book which their teachers desired to put into their hands. Hence arose an increasing demand for the word of God. And so pressing did it become that in a few years (less than twenty), the existing institutions were found incompetent to meet it, and furnish the requisite supplies,

Upon this discovery, practical men, adopting the principle already proved to be so efficient in every department of life-the subdivision of labour-combined

to establish a society, the sole object of which should be the greatest possible circulation of the Holy Scriptures. Hence arose the British and Fo. reign Bible Society-the parent of all other Bible Societies in our own and other landsi and such has been the mighty influence given by these and kindred institutions to the spread of the word of God, that whilst within the last thirty-eight years, twenty-seven millions of copies of the Scriptures, or of portions of them, have been disseminated throughout the world, not less than thirteen millions of these copies have been disposed of among the schools and population of the united kingdom. Here, then, we have two remarkable facts:

first, that religious instruction is being extended by means of Sunday sehools, in greater or less purity; and with more or less efficiency, to two millions of our entire population; and, then, that the possession of the Scripof all ranks and of press brie, in matter of fact,

brought within the rement machinery used by Bible Societies, the poor are enabled to become the purchasers of their a Bible may be

copies, by the concurrent good providence of our God, pence. Thus the best book that the world possesses, has, in His mercy, been made the cheapest that ever was printed. For both these facts we have abundant reason to be thankful. Very beneficiat will be the general influence of the means thus instituted for the good of the people ; and unquestionably

copy from the edition of 1842.' Within the last three years the number has, of cotrse

, been greatly increased. The same may be said of the distribution of the Scriptures, noticed in the next paragraph.

* Now, for a shilling, and a New Testament for five-perice.

[ocr errors]

We

the most blessed effects have been, and will be, derived from them in a multitude of instances.”—(pp. v. vi.)

Mr. Phillipps, however, expresses his opinion, that there has been and must be considerable disappointment as to the measure of good resulting from our Sunday-school and Bible institutions. In an interesting sketch he has traced the causes, specifying among others—the absence of domestic ordinances--the apathy and irreligion of parents—the partial instruction and discipline which a mere Sabbath-training affords - the secular and secularizing motives which too often accompany our Sabbath-school system ;—the fact, again, that the Scriptures are far more circulated than read that whilst our schools make readers, they do not necessarily impart a taste for reading, or where they do, that often, perhaps in most cases, the Bible is not the book selected for read. ing; or though read, not read with the supreme, reverent, and prayerful interest which it demands. All this, he thinks, and justly thinks, may well account for the comparative failure of our multiplied means and appliances. “But thus it is that men purchase to themselves disappointment. They calculate unreasonably the effects of their schemes, and then complain of their failure. In truth, as Mr. P. well observes,

“ We do not sufficiently advert to the fact, that education is an instrument which will prove beneficial, or otherwise, according to the use that is made of it. It is a two-edged sword, which will cut either way. Its naturał tezdency is unquestionably good: for who would not wish to act upon mind and intelligence, rather than the unimpressible stupidity of ignorance? At the same time, it cannot but be a fearful thing that the population of any country is very intelligent and full of information, if they are swayed by corrupt prin ciples : if the

fear of God does not govern them, and, in matter of fact, they bave become wise to do evil, but to do good have no understanding."

Hence our author, turning “ from the possible consequences" which may attend our two great institutions, to the difficulties which embarrass the working managers of one of them-Sunday schools,-proposes to consider whether something may not be done in their behalf, to render them more efficient in their work, and therefore more useful and happy in conducting it.” can do is, to give his conclusion and the plan embodied in his work, the “ Progressive Questioning Book,” which we do the rather because the sketch is interesting and useful, and may suggest some valuable hints to those who do not feel it necessary to purchase the work. The entire preface deserves a careful perusal; but as it does not accompany all the parts, which are sold sepa. rately, as well as in one volume, we think it important to give the following quotation, though a long one, that our readers may be in full possession of Mr. Phillipps's scheme.

The impression on Mr. P.'s mind is, that much may be done to increase the efficiency of Sunday-school teachers, and he therefore aims by the present publication at contributing something to the accomplishment of this object.

" It is the first part of a work designed for the improvement of teachers, and for their use in the instruction of their pupils.

" The author assumes that in every Sunday school the substantial book of instruction will be the word of God, and in that form in which He has been pleased to give it. (It is a great matter, he had before observed, when persons become men of one book, and that book the Bible. This is commonly a turningpoint in the history of their lives.) He assumes, also, that the best mode of instructing children in the understanding of the word is by drawing out its meaning in a system of questions, which shall at once secure to them the information needed, and make them in some measure their own teachers. He apprehends that in this way the children may be made good Bible scholars; and then he is persuaded that the Bible will not be so little read, or put aside for other religious books; but, when read with care and intelligence, will in after-life be continually resorted to, as the source of all profitable instruction. To aid, however, this object, and to render the school system more effectively educational, he would make his series of questions subordinate to the progressive exercise of the children's minds, on the subjects in which they are to be instructed. He hopes that, by such a system, not only will the children be made more intelligent, but that, by a gradual exercise of thought, in comparing things together, some capacity of judgment, also, shall be attained, which may subsequently ripen into habits of serious reflection and sober-mindedness.

"The volume now submitted to the public, but with much hesitation and many misgivings, comprises the first three steps of the system.

"St. Mark's gospel, as being the shortest, and containing less than forty Verses peculiar to its own history, has been selected as the subject of the initiatory questions, and to form the first step. By this selection, every part of the gospel (with the exception of the few verses already referred to becomes the subject of renewed questioning in the parallel portions of the other gospels. The examination pursued with respect to St. Mark's gospel is, for the most part, verbal and textual. The questions are generally what would be called leading questions--questions which prompt the answer to be returned: and to very many the answers required are only 'Yes'or No. Very little information beyond what the text contains is in this step offered to the child's mind: the object of the teacher being, in the commencement of his work, to render the system of questioning as simple and easy as possible to him. Hence, as in the use of the book, it is intended that the questions should be put to the children first of all with their books open and in their bands, that they may search the text for the answer to each; and then a second time with their books shut:-so the questions are often framed in such a way that the child may give his answer in the words immediately following those expressive of the question; and thus his eyes be permitted to help his understanding, in returning it,

“The second step comprises the gospel of St. Matthew. It supposes St. Mark's gospel to be well known. All the portions, therefore, common to both are questioned upon more concisely, and in a different manner, The questions are often reversed; and what was communicated in the way of information in a question, to which the reply was only 'Yes' or No,' is now required from the child in answer to the question addressed to him. Every part peculiar to St. Matthew is largely questioned upon, both textually and in the way of explanation; the information given is considerably increased; the custoins of the Jews, and their modes of worship, are in part opened ; whilst the attention of the child is continually directed to the main features 1815.

3D

« VorigeDoorgaan »