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pentance. All the discoveries of the gospel bear a most intimate relation to the character and offices of the Saviour; from him they emanate, in him they centre; nor is any thing we learn from the Old and New Testament of saving tendency, further than as a part of the truth as it is "in Jesus." The neglect of considering revelation in this light is a fruitful source of infidelity. Viewing it in no higher character than a republication of the law of nature, men are first led to doubt the importance, and next the truth, of the discoveries it contains; an easy and natural transition, since the question of their importance is so complicated with that of their truth, in the Scriptures themselves, that the most refined ingenuity cannot long keep them separate. "It gives the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." While we contemplate it under this, its true character, we view it in its just dimensions, and feel no inclination to extenuate the force of those representations which are expressive of its pre-eminent dignity. There is nothing will be allowed to come into comparison with it, nothing we shall not be ready to sacrifice for a participation of its blessings, and the extension of its influence. The veneration we shall feel for the Bible, as the depository of saving knowledge, will be totally distinct, not only from what we attach to any other book, but from that admiration its other properties inspire; and the variety 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 devoid. 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 whatsoever 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 God, 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 he 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 judg
ment, 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."
We congratulate the nation on the extent of the efforts employed, and the means set on foot, for the improvement of the lower classes, and especially the children of the poor, in moral and religious knowledge, from which we hope much good will accrue, not only to the parties concerned, but to the kingdom at large. These are the likeliest or rather the only expedients that can be adopted for forming a sound and virtuous populace; and if there be any truth in the figure by which society is compared to a pyramid, it is on them its stability chiefly depends: the elaborate ornament at the top will be a wretched compensation for the want of solidity in the lower parts of the struc
[MR. GREEN is one of the most distinguished Surgeons and Anatomists of our own day. In a course of Lectures delivered by him at the Royal College of Surgeons, and published in his work entitled Vital Dynamics,' he has grappled with the difficult subject of Instinct in a manner at once original and conclusive. This passage of the Lecture is reprinted in the Appendix to Coleridge's Aids to Reflection."]
What is instinct? As I am not quite of Bonnet's opinion, "that philosophers will in vain torment themselves to define instinct until they have spent some time in the head of the animal without actually being that animal," I shall endeavour to explain the use of the term. I shall not think it necessary to controvert the opinions which have been offered on this subject-whether the ancient doctrine of Descartes, who supposed that animals were mere machines; or the modern one of Lamarck, who attributes instincts to habits impressed upon the organs of animals by the constant efflux of the nervous fluid to these organs, to which it has been determined in their efforts to per form certain actions to which their necessities have given birth. And it will be here premature to offer any refutation of the opinions of those who contend for the identity of this faculty with reason, and maintain that all the actions of animals are the result of invention and experience;—an opinion maintained with considerable plausibility by Dr. Darwin.