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The Christian and Civio Economy respect, involve any new or untried
of Large Towns. By THOMAS principle. The practice objected CHALMERS, D.D. Minister of io is already universal; nor is there St. John's Church, Glasgow.- any thing in the frame of the local No. VIII. On Sabbath Schools. Sunday schools which prevents the Glasgow : Chalmers and Collins. same interference and controul on 1821. price Is.
the part of the clergy which is now In our review of the earlier Num. exercised in other schools. But, bers of the papers of Dr. Chalmers, notwithstanding the sufficiency of the subject of Sunday-schools bas this answer, it may not be inexpebeen, largely discussed : and it dient to examine ihe subject more has been shewn, as we think, in- closely. It is obvious, then, that controvertibly, that the most ex- the minister of religion, be his zeal tensive benefits might be antici- and activity what they will, is not pated from the multiplication of gifted with ubiquity. His other small local schools, in which pious duties on the Sabbath will, in most individuals might become the in- instances, exclude him from any structors and visitors, each of their thing more than a transient survey owa immediate vicinage. The ex- of these, or of any other Sunday, tent to which we have already schools ; and they must necessarily drawn upon the attention of our be conducted, if ihey are to be cara readers, in the examination of this ried on at all, by individuals selecttopic, renders it unnecessary now ed from his own congregation or to return to it. But as we have vicinage. In Scotland, indeed, the reason to know that some excel principle of lay instruction is not Jent persons have been stirred up, confined to schools: there is a body through the Divine blessing on our of “elders” attached to every dishumble labours, to devote 'them- tinct church, all of whom must selves to tbe construction of these have the concurrent approbation local institutions, we are anxious of the minister. These constitute a to assist them by means of the class of ecclesiastical functionaries, reasoning in the paper before us, who have the sanction of the Church in encountering a difficulty which for their being employed in visiting has already presented itself to the the sick and affording them spiriminds of some who are embarked tual aid, and in various other works in this important enterprise. of piety and benevolence. In En
The difficulty to which we al- gland, no such order exists : on lude arises from the consideration ibe contrary, a strong dislike prethat the institution of schools such vails in the great body of churchas those to which we refer almost men to the employment of this spe. necessarily involves the employ- cies of agency. Many of our pament of lay-teachers, and these rishes, therefore, exhibit the pain. Jay-teachers, in some instances, ful spectacle of a single labourer unlettered men. Here it might be occupying a district, parts of wbich a sufficient solution of the difficulty he may never have visited, and to rewark, ibat in this circumstance with many of the inhabitants of there is nothing which is at all pe- which he may therefore be utterly culiar to the institution in question, unacquainted. But if, in addiAlmost all our existing Sunday tion to this lamentable defect of schools and week-day schools for spiritual labourers, the scruples to the education of the poor are ne- which we bave adverted, respectcessarily under the immediate di- ing the employment of lay agents rection of lay-teachers, who are in the instruction of Sundayatso unléttered men; and the pro- schools, were now for the first posed institution of local Sunday- time to be admitted, the cousesebools does not, therefore, in this quence must inevitably be, that the
Cunist. OBSERV. No. 242. P
education of the youth of the lower pleadings wherewith a schooled and ac. classes in the principles of religion complished clergy have so enriched the must be abaniloned'io the Method. theological literature of our island. isis and Dissenters, who most cer
Nor do we believe that, in the face of tainly will be embarrassed by no
public opinion, any political deference suchscruples. Waving, however, for could have long been rendered 10 the present, this ' moinentous view in her numerous conficts with the pride
Christianity, had she been overborne of the subject, let us consider ab. apd sophistry of able unbelievers. It stractedly, whellier the objection is thus that we stand indebted to the which has been advanceit 10 the learning of Christien ministers for the employment' of lay agency in the security of that great national appa. work of religious instruction be ratus of religious instruction, the utility well founded. And in coming to a of which we liave already endeavoured decision on this subject, we shall to demonstrate: and hence," thongh be materially assisted by the pow
learning does not, of itself, convert and erful reasoning of Dr. Chaliners in christianise a unman soul, it may be in. the paper before us.
strumental in spreading and strength.
ening that canopy of protection, which The author sets out with a strong is thrown, by our Establishment, over and eloquent testimony to the ne- those humbler but more effective lacessity and value of a learned cler: bourers, by 'whose parish ministrations gy. And we are anxious to allow it is that the general mass of our popahiur to state his own sentiments on lation becomes leavened with the docthe subject, lest, from any of his trines of the Gospel, and Christianity is subsequent observations, ii should carried, with light, and comfort, and be thouglat that his opinions, re
power, into the boson of cottages." specting lay unlettered teachers,
pp. 306, 307,
There is a subsequent testimony are in any degree connecied with
to the claims of the Church of Eng. a course aud irrational contempt of laud to literary distiuction, which, human learning
as issuing from the bosom of the " It is mainly to the learning of the Kirk, and as being one of the few priesthood that Christianity has kept tributes of this kind which, since her ground on the higher platform of the days of Cromwell, bave crossed cultured and well educated bumanity, the Tweed, we think it right 10 preand that she enters so largely, as a sent to the attention of our readers, bright and much esteemed ingredient, “ There are many wlio lonk with an into the body of our national literature: evil eye to the endowments of the Euglish It is true that, in this way, she may com- Church, and to the [alleged) indolence pel an homage from niany whom she of her dignitaries. But to that cburch cannot subdue urto the, obedievce of the theological literature of our nation the faith; and save herself from con- stands indebted for her best acquisi. tempt, in a thousand iustauces, where tious; and we hold it a refreshing speci she has ptterly failed in her attempts at tacle, at any time that meagre Socinian; conversion. But it is well, whenever isin poncs forth a new supply of Hippan: this degree of respect and acknowledge cies and errors, when we behold, as we ment can be obtained for her, among have orien done, an armed champion the upper classes of life, and more come forth, in full equipment, from especially in every free and enlightened some high and lettered retreat of that dation, like our own, where the reign- noble hierarchy: vor can we grudge ing authority is so much under the her the wealth of all her endowments, guidance of the higher, reason of the when we think how well, under her ve country, it is of unspeakable benefit verable auspices, the battles of ortho. that Christianity has been so nobly np. doxy have been fought,-ihat, - in this held by the talent and erudition of her holy warfare, they are her sons and her advocates. The fostering hand of the scholars who are ever. foremost iu thę legislature would soon have been withfield,--ready, at all times, 10 face the held from all our Christian institntions, threatening mischief, anil, by the might had the Christian system not been pal of their ponderous erudition, to over: pably recommended by those numerous bear it." p. 316.
No question can arise, we con- disperses them. Every day of our ceive, in the minds of reflective in- lives more and more convinces us, dividuals, as to the justice of this of the very great importance of a tribute either to theological learn- thorough and classical investigation ; ing in general, or to the merits of of the meaning of the language of our own church in particular. It Scripture. By a careful analysis, is, in our judgment, a powerful of its words and images, not only collateral argument in favour of" will the diligent student discover; a church esiablishment, ibal no new mines of moral and intellecother system would supply, to indi- tual wealth in the sacred voluine, viduals of a certain rank in life, a but be will escape the mortification sufliciently strong inducement 10 of spending the latter portion of life encounter the expenses and labours in repenting of the absurdities of of a learned education. Of such' his earlier years. And, whilst we an education it is difficult 10 esti.' thus insist on the general value of, mate the full value. Dr. Chalmers learning, let us vever forget the, touches on the advantages of gain- peculiar claims of our own church ing, through this medium, men of ele- on the gratitude of the friends of vated rank and of hiylı aitainments ibe Gospel. We may venture to : as champions of the truth; men, say, ihat we know of no error which quick-sighted in the detection of has not met in that church with its error and fanaticisin among religio- most powerful antagonist. From the : nists, and no less qualified 10 ex- moment when it erected itself in op- , pose the false pretensions of the position to Popery, and, led on by : unbeliever to philosophy or lite- Jewell aud aferwards by Chilling , rature, or the assumptions' of su- wonih, fought the bailles of Protes. perior acquaintance with Scripture laptism-brough all those momento : and theology on the part of bere. ous stages in which it encountered tics ;-men, in short, fuinished with, successively the assaulis of puritano, the means of establishing ihe au., ism, ot intidelity, and of latitudinathenticity of Scripture, on grouuds rianism, to these laller days wlien, which neither calumny, nor misre. under the coniluct of Horsley, and presentation, nor ridicule, nor all the present Bishop of Raphoe, it has · The puny, though envenomed, wea trampled in the aust all the hosts pons of intidel warfare, can suc- of Socinianism-we know of 110 cessfully assail. Tliere is another, church which has equally made advantage of learning, as connect., good its claims, as far as exterior ed with religion, and 10 which we defences of religion are concerned, refer as bearing, to a considerable to the dignilies with which it has esteni, on some of our fuiure reason- been investeil. Nor is it our intenings; we mean the lighi which it tivn, in referring only to the defence sbeds on the contents of Seriplure. of religion from outward assaulis, It is not enough to say of it, what it, 10 coniend ibal the Church has ren- , is valuable for the vesence of the dered less assistance 10 the right record. It is no less valuable for the exposition and interpretation of devolopment and the exposition of, Scripture. Her formularies are perthe meaning of that record. It is haps, after all, the best human exposurprising how many controversies sinon of Scripture ; an exposition a litile sound learning' will adjusi. which exluliis at the same time Aluíost all strange and monstrous, the strictest regard 10 truth and Theological systems, bave sprung the mosi masked spirit of motlera. from' false conceptions of the mean lion; an expollon.wuch, more iug of particular terus’or isolated: peitoapo than any other, casis de- ; expressions of Scripture; and a single, i aleable puinis m10 ihe shade, touch from the spear of sound crit and gives ihe highest prominence cism, in many instances, dissolves or to the undebated priociples of
Christianity; and consequently the heretical sophistry, on the one hand, exposition which supplies, beyond and its obscure passages may have dievery other, a common ground ou
vided the opinion of critics and transwhich opposing parties may meet
lators, on the other; this does not hin
der, that, from the Bible, and the Eng. and proceed forth, in the whole ar
lish Bible, there may be made to emamour of God, to contend with the
nate a flood of light, on the general common enemies of their faith.
mass of an English peasantry-that, to And, if there has been, as we are evolve this light, a high and artificial bound to admit, a painful abandon- scholarship is neither necessary nor ment of these formularies in the case available-that, on the understanding of of many individuals, there have not a man, unlettered in all that proceeds been wanting at any time, and es.
from halls or colleges, the word of God pecially now there are not wanting, may have made its sound, and whole.
some, and sufficient impression: and a large body of churchmen, true
that from him the impression may be to the spirit and temper of the illus- reflected back again, on the understand trious parent from whose lips they ings of many others as unlettered as draw the lessons of life, and under himself-that thus all in the book of whose banner they go forth to the God's testimony which mainly goes 80 conflict with the world, the flesh, to enlighten a man as to turn him into and the powers of darkness. But a Christian, may be made to pass from we biust return to our author.
one humble convert to his acquaintances : We have seen the merited tri. and neighbours; and, withoni the learabute which Dr. Chalmers bas ren
ing which serves to acqnire for Chris. dered to clerical learning in general, general homage of the upper classes,
tianity the dignified though vague and and to the learniug of the Church
he may, at least, be a tit agent for transof England in particular. He pro- mitting essential Christianity throughceeds, however, to state, that li. out the plebeianisin that is around him." terature, though highly valuable, is pp. 307–309. not the only, nor even the first, re
Much of what follows in this quisite in a teacher of religion. And interesting paper is dedicated to here we shall let him deliver his opi- the establishment of tlie above ponion in his own words.
silion ; and we shall endeavour, "« But, though learning must be en. partly by quotation, and parily bý listed on the side of Christianity, for abridgment, to present the subthe purpose of upholding, her in stance of it to our readers. credit and acceptance, among influen- The author begins by shewing tial men; yet it is not indispensable that the word of God is the grand for the purpose of conveying her instrument by which saving knowmoral aud spiritual lessons into the ledge is 10 be conveyed to the mind heart of a disciple. The truth is, that of a lost and miserable singer. This many of the topics about which eccle instrument he compares to a stampa siastical learuing is conversant, are ex. terior to the direct salstance of that ing machine-to a machine ibat is Bible which professes to be a written
so constructed as to be capable of communication from God to man : such conveying a deep and enduring imas the historic testimonies that may be pression to any object to which it quoted in favour of religion, and those is forcibly applied, but demanding church antiquities, to acquire the know. some exterior agency in order to ledge of which we must travel through convey that impression. This exmany a volume of ponderous erudition, terior agency, in the case of the and at least the history, if not the mal Scripture, is nothing less than the ter, of the various controversies by sacred power and influence of the which the Christian world has been agitated. We are aware that much of this Holy Spirit. ' The illustration is controversy relates to the contents of homely, but it is accurate, and the record, as well as to the credentials serves to shew' us with much pre. of the record. Yet, however its plainer cision what are the exact circumpassages may have been darkened by stances of the minister of religion, He has the instrument of impres- tion of hypocrisy or fanaticism, sion in his hand-be may exhibit it render essential services to the to his people-he may bring it in Truth. The author endeavours to contact with their minds; but it is, illustrate, by ihe example of Presi. alter all, the Spirit of God who dent Edwards's celebrated work, must apply the impelling force, and on " the Religious Affections,” the stamp the lesson, or truth, or pro- distinct offices of learning and mise upon the heart. If any ob• piety. ject agaiost this statement, ihe dan
« The American divine affords, per ger of enthusiasm, inasmuch as it
haps, the most wondrous example, in leads to a reliance on some unknown modern times, of one who stood richly and invisible power, the answer is, gifted both in natural and in spiritual That the Spirit is not upon this liya discernment: and we know not what pothesis supposed to act either with most to admire in him, whether the deep out means, or by means which are philosophy that issued from his pen, or vague, dubious, or undefined, but the humble and child-like piety that simply, and altogether, by the in- issued from his pulpit; whether, when, strumentality of the word of God. as an author, he deals forth upon die He takes the truths of “ this holy
readers the subtleties of profoundest, book," and impresses them on the argnment, or when, as a Christiau mie mind. And, under the power of the simplicities of the Gospel; whether
nister, he deals forth upou, his hearers the impression thus applied, says it is, when we witness the impression Dr. Chalmers, a man of " humble that he made, by bis writings, on the scholarship may be transformed, schools and high seats of literature, or not into an erratic and fanciful en- the impression that he made, by his aathusiast, but into a sound scrip, laboured addresses on the plain con. tural Christian, without one other sciences of a plain congregation. In: religious tenet in his understanding the former capacity, he could estimate. than what is stricily defined by the the genuineness of the Christianity thag literalities of the written record, had before been fashioned on the pers and without one other religious ter capacity, and speaking of him as an
son of a disciple; but it was in the late feeling in his heart, than what is instrument, that he fashioned it
, as it most pertinently called forth by
were, with his own bands. In the for. the moral influence of the truths mer capacity, he sat in judgment, as a wbich have thus been made known critic, on the resemblance that there to bim." p. 311.
was between the seal of God's word, The next step in the argument and the impression that had been made of Dr. Chalmers is, whilst hie points in the latter capacity; he himself took
on the fleshly tablet of a human heart; out some of the services which may be rendered to religion by the mere- touch, by which the heart is conformed
up the seal, and gave the imprinting ly, learned minister, to shew also
0010 the obedience of the faith. The what services must not be expected
former was a speculative capacity, under of him. As, without the teaching which he acted as a covnoisseur, who of the Spirit, he may read, and, pronounced on the accordancy that obgenerally speaking, understand the taiyed between the doctrine of the Bible, sacred record; he may, as it were, and the character that had been submit. koow, and be able to explain, “the ted to its influence; the latter was an impression on the seal." By his na
executive capacity, under which he teral sagacity he may be capable of acted as a practitioner, who brought carefully analysing the character the doctrines of the Bible, as to mould
about this accordancy, and 80 bandled and conduct of the professors of and subordinate thereuntó the characreligion. And, by comparing them ter of the people with whom he had to with Scripture, be may ascertain deal. In, the one, be was an overseer, whether ibese professors are, in who inspected and gave his deliverance faet, pomival or real Christians. on the quality of another's work; in the And thus he may, by, the detec.. other, be was the workman himself: