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vious to his uttering the sacred petition. This, and going to church when he was old enough to stammer through the prayers, and sleep through the sermon, with the church catechism on a Sunday, was probably all the religious knowledge that was put into him before he reached the age of ten or twelve years; and this much could not work him into a religious youth, unless he used very extraordinary endeavours of his own, to search, of his own accord, the scriptures for eternal life.
Let us then fairly take the question to pieces, and see of what it is composed. If the mere teaching the child to repeat, without any semblance of devotion, a form of words, long and short, be not sufficient to make him a religious child, and a good christian in after-age, let us see what will be more likely to do so. It is a question, let us remember, that we cannot lightly handle, for its subject is religion. Great God, of what import is any other business of life, compared to this! It is the beginning and the end; the first of all concerns and the last. It opens upon a prospect upon which every eye must, soon or late, be fixed : Eternity. It is all our hope, all our stay, all our consolation, and all our dependance. Come what will, happen what may, we all must die ; all must tread the bridge of life, and all must leave it, towards the beginning, the middle, or the end. Yes; when we have toiled across, and escaped danger and temptation, even to the last, then must we disappear, and quit all that we love, all that we admire, all that we prize. But religion has illumined the way, and we contemplate, at a distance, joys inexpressible, balms for every woe, compensations for every loss. And when to these are added, the certainty of happily meeting elsewhere those we have sorrowfully parted from here, who can repine? What parent but must desire to meet, in a better state, the children of whom she was bereft, in age or youth? What mother, would one think, that is convinced her beloved children must, at some time, take their passage to another world, would be so hard-hearted as to refuse them a safe passport from this?
And what then, is such a passport ? Religion. Religion in heart; and religion in practice; or, faith and works ; and here we are brought home, once more, to the question.
" THROUGH FAITH WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORLDS WERE
FRAMED BY THE WORD OF GOD, SO THAT THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN WERE NOT MADE OF THINGS WHICH DO APPEAR”
* As a perfect system of christianity is the blending of morality with revealed religion in belief and action, so its principal features meet in three grand theological divisions, in which all excellence may be summed up, and all belief and practice necessary for salvation included. This manner of considering the subject is here, perhaps, more advantageous than any other form could be, and perhaps, will also be found an easier one to mould again into a body of christianity, and give back in still easier language to the young.,
* It may seem presumptuous in the author to endeavour at an explanation of the religion of our church to well educated mothers ; nevertheless, it must be remembered, that the whole work is to be applied to children ; secondly, however impertinent a discourse upon ordinary subjects, which have been discussed before, may seem, religion is one, and the only one, of which we may be interested in taking a view, from the hand of the learned
The first, therefore, of theological divisions is Faith, or a strong and powerful belief in the truths of revealed religion ; which belief, operating with intensity on the mind, produces results in a regular series of worship and corresponding actions, that we feel to be pleasing to the Divinity.
This Divinity, as we are taught, consists of three persons, which are united in one. The great and glorious Almighty, our Maker, and, as he is graciously pleased to allow us the term, our Father.
Next, the only son of Almighty God, himself God. Promised to man, from the beginning of the world, as the Redeemer from sin and death ; and born in after-ages unto us; crucified and taken again into heaven, whence he shall return with majesty, to judge the living and the dead.
Third, the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father and the Son, and which is sent down upon the earnest
commentator, and bishop, down to that of the plain theorist.-A Reviewer of the first Edition of this work chooses to suppose that by the term “ applied to children" is meant “ read by children.” In reply, I would ask, what child of eight, ten, or even twelve years of age, could be expected to understand any part of a work addressed solely to grown people, and beads of families ?
petitions of man, to enlighten, comfort and cheer him on his way, to draw him from evil paths to the good.
We are taught by the sacred word that these three form one God. This awful mystery is difficult to be apprehended by confined, narrow capacities like ours; but let us for a moment consider, whether the union of even our own humble body and soul, two distinct substances forming in us one person, can be explained by man? How the Saviour is son, and yet supreme as God, we know not: nor is it material for us to know; but certain we are, that Christ Jesus is also God; for if he were not God, he must have been created, and all created beings, even the highest angels, are as much below Almighty as the smallest reptile is below us. But, further, is the Saviour God, because we are commanded to worship him. “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” “ The first and the last, Alpha and Omega, which was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty.” If the Saviour had been a creature, or one created, how could all things have been made by and through him, as Scripture informs us they were ? Has a creature power to create ? And when the Almighty declares, “ Thou shalt have no other God but me," how does this accord with the injunction of the Prophet, and of the Apostles, that every knee in heaven and earth should bow at the very name of Jesus, but by supposing, what is actually the case, that Christ is God ?*
* Ten years since, this argument might have seemed superfluous, and the attempt to prove what nobody could calmly deny, un
The Almighty, then, and Christ are God; and the Holy Spirit completes the Trinity: upon this Godhead all our hopes are founded, and our dependance firmly fixed. This is the Divinity we worship. Of the nature, the essence, the union of the divine persons, we poor worms can know nothing. All, however, that is essential to our well being we can fully understand, if we so please; and, abiding by this knowledge, we have only to do our duty in this world, to be assured that God will bless us hereafter. Then may we hope to see our Maker face to face, and contemplate where now we only behold him as through a glass, darkly.
This is the broad basis of our holy religion ; and by faith the belief of it is so intimately wrought into our being, that we are as steadfastly sure of the everlasting truth of the Holy Scriptures, whence all our religious knowledge is derived, as we are that we ourselves exist whilst we are conscious we breathe.
But we can, by putting the hand to the mouth, feel warmth, and moist air ; we can perceive with the naked eye this air, called breath, on a cold day. Breath, then, being necessary to life, as we know from actual experience, we believe we live, when we are conscious we breathe. This belief is a certainty, which faith (to apply the word on an ordinary occasion) has given us; and it is so strong, that if a thousand books were to be written by the most subtle
necessary. But we cannot now guard our sacred religion too vigorously, or strengthen ourselves within its fortress too closely rom the attacks of wicked men.