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And let every Christian remember, that there is no other way of entering truly into the spirit of that divine prayer, which petitions that the name of God may be “hallowed,” that “ his kingdom (of grace) may come,” and that “his will may be done on earth as it is in heaven,” than by each individual contributing according to his measure to accomplish the work for which he prays : for to pray that these great objects may be promoted, without contributing to their promotion by our exertions, our money, and our influence, is a palpable inconsistency.
pose than those who have been better taught. And that ignorance furnishes no security for integrity either in morals or politics, the late revolts in more than one country, remarkable for the ignorance of the poor, fully illustrate. It is earnestly hoped that the above facts may tend to impress ladies with the importance of superintending the instruction of the poor, and of making it an indispensable part of their charity to give them moral and religious books.
The late celebrated Henry Fielding (a man not likely to be suspected of over-strictness) assured a particular friend of the author, that during his long administration of justice in BowStreet, only six Scotchmen were brought before him. The remark did not proceed from any national partiality in the magistrate, but was produced by him in proof of the effect of a sober and religious education among the lower ranks, on their morals and conduct.
See farther the sentiments of a still more celebrated contemporary on the duty of instructing the poor. “ We have been taught that the circumstance of the Gospel's being preached to the poor was one of the surest tests of its mission. We think, therefore, that those do not believe it who do not care it should be preached to the poor.”
Burke on the French Revolution. 142
ON THE RELIGIOUS AND MORAL USE OF HISTORY
WHILE every sort of useful knowledge should be carefully imparted to young persons, it should be imparted not merely for its own sake, but also for the sake of its subserviency to higher things. All human learning should be taught, not as an end, but a means; and in this view even a lesson of history or geography may be converted into a lesson of religion. In the study of history, the instructor will accustom the pupil not merely to store her memory with facts and anecdotes, and to ascertain dates and epochs; but she will accustom her also to trace effects to their causes, to examine the secret springs of action, and accurately to observe the operation of the passions. It is only meant to notice here some few of the moral benefits which may be derived from a judicious perusal of history; and from among other points of instruction, I select the following*:
* It were to be wished that more historians resembled the excellent Rollin in the religious and moral turn given to his writings of this kind. But here may I be permitted to observe incidentally (for it is not immediately analogous to my subject), that there is one disadvantage which attends the common practice of setting young ladies to read ancient The study of history may serve to give a clearer insight into the corruption of human nature:
It may help to show the plan of Providence in the direction of events, and in the use of unworthy instruments:
It may assist in the vindication of Providence, in the common failure of virtue, and the frequent success of vice:
It may lead to a distrust of our own judgment :
It may contribute to our improvement in selfknowledge.
But to prove to the pupil the important doctrine of human corruption from the study of history, will require a truly Christian commentator in the friend with whom the work is perused. For, from the low standard of right established by the generality of historians, who erect so many persons into good characters who fall short of the true idea of Christian virtue, the unassisted reader will be liable to form very imperfect views of what is real goodness, and will conclude, as his author sometimes does, that the true idea of human nature is to be taken from the medium between his best and his worst characters; without acquiring a just notion of that prevalence of evil, which, in spite of those few brighter luminaries that here and there just serve to gild the gloom of history, tends abundantly to establish the doctrine. It will, indeed, be continually establishing itself by those who, in perusing the history of mankind, carefully mark the rise and progress of sin, from the first timid irruption of an evil thought, to the fearless accomplishment of the abhorred crime in which that thought has ended: from the indignant question, “ Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?”* to the perpetration of that very enormity of which the self-acquitting delinquent could not endure the slightest suggestion.
history and geography in French or Italian, who have not been previously well grounded in the pronunciation of classical names of persons and places in our own language. The foreign terminations of Greek and Roman names are often very different from the English, and where they are first acquired are frequently retained and adopted in their stead, so as to give an illiterate appearance to the conversation of some women who are not really ignorant. And this defective pronunciation is the more to be guarded against in the education of ladies who are not taught quantity as boys are.
In this connection may it not be observed, that young persons should be put on their guard against a too implicit belief in the flattering accounts which many voyage-writers are fond of exhibiting of the virtue, amiableness, and benignity of some of the countries newly discovered by our circumnavigators; that they should learn to suspect the superior goodness ascribed to the Hindoos, and particularly the account of the inhabitants of the Pellew islands? These last, indeed, have been represented as having almost escaped the universal taint of our common nature, and would seem by their purity to have sprung from another ancestor than Adam. We cannot forbear suspecting that these pleasing
2 Kings, viii, 13.
but somewhat overcharged portraits of man, in his natural state, are drawn, with the invidious design, by counteracting the doctrine of human corruption, to degrade the value and even destroy the necessity of the Christian sacrifice; by insinuating that uncultivated man is so disposed to rectitude as to supersede the occasion for that redemption which is professedly designed for sinners. That in countries professing Christianity, very many are not Christians will be too readily granted. Yet to say nothing of the vast superiority of goodness in the lives of those who are really governed by Christianity, is there not something even in her reflex light which guides to greater purity many of those who do not profess to walk by it? I doubt much, if numbers of the unbelievers of a Christian country, from the sounder views and better habits derived incidentally and collaterally, as it were, from the influence of a Gospel, the truth of which, however, they do not acknowledge, would not start at many of the actions which these heathen perfectionists daily commit without hesitation.
The religious reader of general history will observe the controlling hand of Providence in the direction of events; in turning the most unworthy actions and instruments to the accomplishment of his own purposes. She will mark Infinite Wisdom directing what appear to be casual occurrences to the completion of his own plan. She will point out how cause sseemingly the most unconnected, events seemingly the most unpromising, circum