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visited this country, relates that when resident in London, she was one morning visited by two gentlemen, whose respective notions forcibly illustrate our remark. The first gentleman laboured hard to persuade her that to effect a reformation of society, nothing was so essential as the adoption of the doctrines of the science of phrenology, as the basis of the educational policy, and legislation of the country. Shortly after he was gone, she was visited by another person, who was equally sanguine of the superiority of a system of education, which, devoid of religion, was to create a new world of harmony and dignified virtue!
The pretensions of the former science are truly extraordinary. It is set forth as the only true theory of human nature; and it is therefore confidently asserted, that every scheme for the education, and civilization of man, which is not founded on the application of its principles, must prove a failure. Its advocates, discourse eloquently of the gradual advancement of man through the progressive stages of animal existence. They trace his history from the period when, myriads of ages ago, he lived as a mere animalcules, up to the time when he attained the dignity of the monkey! And then, during the further revelation of ages, how he slowly advanced, in physical, mental, and social development, until he arrived at his present superiority over the rest of the animal world.
It is gratifying to know that experience has amply disproved the hasty conclusions of these philosophers, respecting the natural inferiority of certain races of men, and their consequent incapability, of receiving, and enjoying the blessings of education, and religion. Those who are conversant with the recent history, and present condition of the Cape of Good Hope colony, will understand the vast improvement of the Hottentot, under their renovating influences; and there can be no reasonable doubt, that when those resuscitating blessings are brought to bear upon the benighted Australasian, Feegian, and other savages, the Christian world will witness in them a similar improvement.
Public sentiment on education has undergone an entire revolution. The progress of information is no longer regarded as the prelude to anarchy and confusion. The retrospect of the views of even the wise and learned of our ancestors excites a feeling of surprise, or a smile of ridicule. During the troubles of the seventeenth century, Sir William Berkeley, the royalist governor of Virginia, in one of his reports on the state of- that colony, devoutly thanks God that Free Schools and Printing were not likely to be established there, these five hundred years. How different the language of modern statesmen! The conduct of Prussia is a striking example of an enlightened government interesting itself in the education of its people; and what a forcible illustration of Dr. Channing's remark, does the educational legislation of this monarchy present, when contrasted with that of one of the democratic states of America, which has recently forbidden, under penalty of death, the instruction of a certain class of its population! It may be a matter of opinion, to what extent a government can go in rendering education compulsory; but there is no question, that at least to facilitate, and promote the diffusion of knowledge, is of importance to every state, inasmuch as it will be the surest guarantee for the stability and continued prosperity of its institutions.
Ignorance is the great foe of social order and domestic happiness. It is alike the bane and curse of every community. The fountain of innumerable evils, its wide spread ramifications entwine themselves around the heart, crush, in their first budding, the more generous sensibilities of our nature, and render us insensible to the voice of reason, of conscience, and of God.
It is, however, the great mistake of the irreligious to suppose that education, alone, and unassisted, can reform the morals of the world. On the contrary, the mere diffusion of knowledge cannot accomplish those objects which it is the special design of the gospel to effect. There is no necessary connexion between knowledge and morality. We see nations in the foremost rank of refined civilization, eminent for the cultivation of science, literature, and art, whose morals are utterly debased and corrupted. We see individuals of polished intellects, celebrated for their attainments in every department of human learning, who, in their intercourse with their fellow men, are regardless of the restraints of virtue and of piety. The faculties of the mind are trained to themost vigorous efficiency. Its store houses are filled with every variety of knowledge; whilst the propensities and affections of the heart are left undisciplined, and depraved. The cultivation of the dispositions of love, of mercy, of justice; those elements which constitute the moral character, obtain no place in their education.
Experience demonstrates, that knowledge unrestrained, and unsanctified by religious principles, becomes dangerous to society. The tendency of the mind is to action, and the character of its actions will flow from its morality. Superiority in knowledge, as it gives superiority in power, involves increased responsibility. And "how has this superiority been employed by those nations which we term civilized and Christian? Have they always made it the medium by which to diffuse the blessings of freedom and religion throughout the world? Alas! there is no page in history, which records so dark a tale as that which tells of the conduct of civilized nations towards barbarians. The cries of their victims are registered in heaven. The enterprise of Europe has disgorged itself on the vast continents of America,—along the shores of Africa,—in the East,—and in the far South; its concentrated energy, and unprincipled skill, have almost annihilated their aboriginal inhabitants. Like the simoom of the desert, in its withering and blasting effect, the breath of the white man has swept over, and laid prostrate, both man and beast. Where is the man, who regards man as a moral, and accountable being, whose breast does not heave with a mighty revulsion of feeling, as he reviews, in all its tremendous consequences to mankind, in time, and in eternity, the wickedness of Christian nations? That widely extended commercial intercourse, which might have been rendered eminently subservient to the spread of knowledge, and of christian truth, has rather served to extend and perpetuate vice, in its worst, and most criminal features. Those who ought to have been the messengers of peace, the harbingers of mercy, have proved the messengers of blood; the harbingers of misery, disease, and death.
From the misery of man are to be drawn the motives which ought to stimulate the Christian mind to action. Here are incentives which have kindled the flame of benevolent enterprise in the hearts of the wise and good, whose bones now slumber in the tomb. And here are the considerations, which must nerve our souls in bold contempt of danger, and of toil, in undying sympathy, and unbending effort, to give the rising generation and the world, those precious truths, which only can raise it to the enjoyment of a blissful immortality. What efforts have already been made in this cause, What sacrifices! the press,—the pulpit,—all the machinery of the Christian churches. And the results: What are they? As nothing compared with the necessities of the case. The serried ranks of our enemies still close us in on every hand. The powers of darkness, of ignorance, of prejudice, of Sin, are leagued in hostile array. Their dense phalanx must be penetrated; there must be an unconditional surrender, and submission to the authority of Jesus. We cannot compromise the interests of truth. We must conquer. Like the Red Indian of the American forest, we will seize the fire-brand of war, we will rush to the huts, to the entrenchments of our enemies,—we will kindle a blaze which shall consume the last vestige of their iniquity; but unlike that Indian, in their extremity,—we will grasp them by the hand,— drag them from amidst the burning embers,—enfold them to our bosoms, and
SAVE THEM AS IT WERE BY FIRE.
ON AN EFFICIENT ITINERANT MINISTRY.
To The Editob—Sib,
I Know of no subject more absorbing in interest, or in which the prosperity of a religious community is more deeply involved, than the character of its ministry. To us, as an Association of Christian Churches, who have a common right in the Itinerancy, and who must consequently all be affected by the moral and mental capacity of such a ministry, this question does confessedly stand out in prominence beyond that of every other of a Connexional nature, and claims our first, and undivided attention.
The writer, who for several years past, has felt the pressure of this subject upon his own mind, has, from the commencement of the Association, seen much cause of grateful acknowledgment to the Great Head of the church, for having raised up and opened the way, to the Itinerancy among us, of so many men of genuine piety who, in the faithful exercise of their ministry have diffused a savour of godliness among the people, and greatly promoted their spirituality. And indeed, such is the high estimation in which "genuine piety," that indispensable prerequisite to the success of a Christian minister, is held throughout every part of our Connexion, that one cannot help cherishing a hope, with the ardour of settled belief, that the time will not soon, if ever, arrive, when the most splendid talents, or any mere adornment, will be accepted, or even tolerated, as a substitute for sterling personal religion, in the occupants of our pulpits.
And it should not be forgotten, that if our Churches are true to themselves and to the cause of God, the accomplishment of such an object will be much less difficult, than what perhaps at first sight may appear. Our "pastors and teachers" are chosen from, and by, the respective churches, after sufficient opportunity has been afforded of judging of the purity of their lives, and their uprightness of conversation among us. In the exercise of the ministry, when called to that office, the principles of our Connexion necessarily lead them to identify themselves as brethren with the members of the church, over which "the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers;" not "lording it over God's heritage," or assuming an authority which is as incompatible with the true interests of the church, and contrary to the maxims of its infallible "Head," as it is opposed to the spread of true, and Scriptural holiness. The whole spirit and tendency of the system,— seeing that as a body we exist for religious purposes only,—it is not too much to assert, is to promote the growth and increase of spirituality among both ministers and people, mutually rejoicing in a common salvation: and thousands of hearts will I am sure respond to the fervent prayer now aspirated to "the throne of the heavenly grace," that, amidst all the mutations to which human institutions are liable, none may ever arise to the Association which shall in any wise change its essentially religious and spiritual character, either in reference to ministers or people; but that truth in doctrine, and holiness in practice, may be illustrative of its genius as a system, and of its true nature as a union of Christian Churches; and that it may be owned and blest as a fitting instrumentality, in the salvation of souls to the end of time 1
But whilst the spiritual nature of the Christian ministry must ever be insisted upon as its primary, and most essential element, it must not be concealed that other qualifications also are indispensable to the exercise of the functions of the sacred office. If the science of religion is to be taught, and the plan of salvation explained: if sinners are to be warned of their danger; transgression and guilt brought home to the conscience, and the way to the Saviour clearly pointed out: if believers are to be taught the "way of faith more perfectly, and the beauties of holiness'' so unfolded to their admiring vision as to lead them to desire their possession; and to "hunger and thirst after righteousness:'' if the devices of Satan are to be exhibited, and the dangers to which the Christian is exposed made manifest,—then indeed, ought he to be no "novice" who undertakes the discharge of such momentous duties; but should be one who is "well instructed" into the "mysteries of the kingdom."
It is no imputation upon any man, however holy, to assert, that there is no necessary connection between a heart "right in the sight of God," and the mental capacity to grasp the whole system of revealed truth; or the aptness "to teach" which fits a man to be an acceptable minister of Gods Word. But it is evident, that whilst the foundation of the character of the Christian minister must be laid in holiness of heart and life, the superstructure must also combine all that is excellent in knowledge, with every thing that is desirable in wisdom, in understanding, and a sound mind.
The spiritual and intellectual character of a Christian minister can hardly fail to be impressed upon the members of the church in which he labours; and it is fair to presume will in some measure, generally, be reflected by them. He then who would be instrumental in promoting the consolidation and purity of Christ's Church, and in building it up on its most holy faith: who desires above every earthly thing to see sinners saved, and a great ingathering of souls to Christ: who covets to be instrumental in the edification of believers and in assisting their growth "in grace, and the knowledge and love of God," must see to it that his own attainments are of such a nature as to constitute him a fitting instrument for the accomplishment of such high objects.
It would be as difficult as it would be useless, to establish an uniform standard of mental culture, and course of ministerial study; for the capacity and inclination of ministers of the Gospel differ in this respect as much, it may be, as their faces. It would not be presumptuous however to insist, that in the earlier stages of the Christian minister's career, " attention to reading," and the things which qualify for a right performance of his peculiar duties should be constant and unceasing. That, as the Scriptures are "given by inspiration of God for doctrine," as well as "instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works," it is a binding duty upon him so to study them, as to shew himself "approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." I have sometimes fancied to myself a young man, at the call of the Church, leaving his home and kindred, and entering upon the Itinerant work in some part of the Connexion, distant from the scenes of his youth. He feels the pang of parting from friends, but the vast importance of the work upon which he has entered occupies his thoughts; and knowing something of the awful responsibility of his situation, his whole soul becomes absorbed in the thrilling question of, "Who is sufficient for these things?" An individual so commencing a career of entire devotion to the ministry of the word, sufficiently impressed with the greatness of the work, and his own unfitness, would not I have thought, consider the first Ten Tears, as at all too lengthened a period to be sacredly and entirely appropriated, at all intervals of leisure from the immediate discharge of ministerial and pastoral duties, and often snatching opportunities from the hours of slumber, to a progressive preparation for his high calling. The minister who in such sort sets himself apart to his office, and through all the difficulties and hindrances which beset him, resolutely perseveres in the path of duty; who neither through the listlessness of habit, nor the inconveniences to which such a course may subject him, permits his precious moments to pass unimproved; but who "buys up" his opportunities, and conscientiously devotes them to the great object of his life, would indeed be abundantly blest in his own soul, and could hardly fail to accomplish his most enlarged desires. The mental powers of such a man would have ample opportunity for being developed; the resources of his mind previously unknown to himself, would be gradually unfolded; and he would find himself living in a different element, breathing a purer moral atmosphere, and conscious of possessing greater power to do the will of his Father which is in heaven.
No one will imagine, although I have mentioned a limited period for, so to speak, incessant application and study, for a young minister, that it can be consistent with the nature and constitution of mind, and with the character of truth, to be investigated and preached, that any minister however learned, and at whatever part of his life, should fold his arms in indolence, and rely upon past acquirements, and accumulated knowledge. Eternity alone will exhibit the full extent of man's mental capacity, however extensively cultivated his powers may be in time; and the well of truth is so deep, yet ever springing up, and its waters are so refreshing, and delicious to the taste, that the minister who should so far forget his duty as to cease during any part of his ministry, ardently to pursue knowledge, would most assuredly rob his own soul; and by neglecting to bring before the people of his charge "things new," as well as old, would impoverish them. But when in addition it happens, as it is to be feared may but too frequently be the case, that a minister of the Gospel has to look back upon the early period of his labours, not with the satisfaction which arises from conscious improvement, commensurate with his opportunities, and duty; but with regret at so much time having been turned to so little account, and the conviction resting on the mind of great imperfection; then indeed are superadded motives still more cogent, which can hardly fail to press to the end of his course, to induce him to "give all diligence" in his calling, and to "work while it is called to-day," in seeking for more and more, of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, in all things pertaining to his profession.
ON SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY.
To The Editor,—Dear Sir,
I Have read with deep interest the series of letters, which have appeared in your Magazine on the subject of the spiritual prosperity of the Association; and I am sure your excellent correspondents have not laboured in vain, in thus calling attention to this most interesting, and most important subject. Their communications have at least tended to awaken in all a spirit of enquiry; and in instances, not a few, they have, I trust, fanned the flame of holy zeal and love; and led to the adoption of those means of promoting the work of God, which they recommend; and thus have led to revivals of religion, where, but for these appeals, there might still have reigned the dreariness and gloom of spiritual winter.
After all that has been said, however, on this pleasing topic, it is not I conceive exhausted; but there is still a wide and interesting field unexplored, into which others may enter, and under the Divine blessing make new discoveries; and bring to light hid treasures which may promote the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and beautify and adorn the living temple of our God. Your correspondents have confined themselves principally, to one particular element in the spiritual prosperity of our Churches; namely, the means to be employed for the purpose of augmenting our numbers; and have