Page images
PDF
EPUB

ordinate sphere. So, also, the 'not of the body ; Is it not, theredealings of divine providence, fore, of the body? If the whole respecting worldly property, are body were an eye, where were infinitely diversified. Some are the hearing? And if they were in opulence, others in poverty ; | all one member, where were the some in health, others in sick-body ?" So, if there were not ness ; some continually pros- a different distribution of naturperous, while others are disap- al good in creating, and in dispointed and thwarted in whatever pensing to men, the natural perthey undertake. These differ- fection of the universe would be ences are not confined to indi.far less than we now behold. viduals, for we find them be. There would not be that display tween great collections of men. of infinite wisdom, which now When one nation is peaceful shines in the works of God. and great, another is rent with There could not be so many divisions and desolated by war. kinds of natural good as are now Some countries abound with enjoyed by creatures, nor would plenty, while others are destin- there be an opportunity for so ed to leanness. In all these full an exercise of moral virtue. things, we dare not deny the ef. For these reasons the sovereign ficiency of God, or impeach his wisdom of God may be justified, sovereignty. Reasons, known in his different appointment of naunto his wisdom, are the cause tural good to creatures, although, of these distinctions. Doubt it may involve the poverty of less there is greater happiness some, the frequent disappointin the world, and society is better ment of others, and a low deadjusted, than if all men were gree of intellectual powers in

treated alike in the bestowment many. : pf natural good. The great soci. Considered as the creator of

ety of intelligent minds may be all things, God could be under compared to the natural or animal no obligations, to impart to any body, which, to make it perfect, of his creatures a greater quanrequires many members for dif- tity of natural good than they ferent offices. Arguments tak- have received. While there en from the same similitude, was no existence, there could be which the Apostle used to show no right of demand. It was fit the perfection of the Church, for the Lord to exercise his own the body of Christ, may be infinite power, wisdom and applied to this subject, to show goodness, in forming and orderthe necessity of such distinct- ing every creature with such naions, for the perfection of the tural and moral good, as his natural world and the intelli-wisdom saw to be best. Creagent system. “ For the body," tion was a favor never deserv. saith the apostle “is not one ed by those who received it; member but many. If the and all powers, faculties and obfoot shall say, because I am jectsofenjoyment are the free gift not the hand, I am not of the of infinite benevolence. Creabody; Is it not, therefore, of the tures have freely received their body? If the ear shall say, be-existence and all their objects of cause I am not the eye, I am the enjoyment; they can have no

right to demand more, or think should be extended to all. In hardly of God, because he hath his distribution of spiritual bles. not dispensed alike to all. Praise, sings and moral good, the Lord contentment, and an obedient hath a right to do what he will use of the faculties they have re- with his own." ceived is the duty of all, ard There may be, and doubtless this is as true of those who have are, infinitely wise reasons, for retained their innocence, as of such a dispensation of spiritual others, who have sinned. blessings as will save some,

An objection to divine sove- while othere are left to perish reigoty is most commonly made, in their chosen way. It is not from that dispensation of divine for sinful and deceived' men to grace, by which some are say, how far it is proper God brought to eternal life, and oth should extend the benefits of ers are left to perish in their sovereign grace. If justice resins.-Let a solemn question be quired the forgiveness of all sinproposed. Might not a holy ners, doubtless, all would be God, in righteousness, have left forgiven, whether fallen angels all men to perish for ever ? Alor fallen men ; but, when forthough the scriptures do most giveness is on the ground of clearly reveal a dispensation of free grace, infinite wisdom must grace, through which sinners determine the point; and infimay be restored to the favor of nite wisdom will be determined God, yet they always ascribe by the greatest glory of God. The this to undeserved grace.-God most high Jehovah, in the distri. did not give his Son to die be-bution of his favors, acts as the cause men deserved his com- father of an immense family. passion ; neither, because they He will do that which is for could make him any adequate re- their good and his own glory, ward for his grace. This won- although, some of his delin. derful gift was designed to dis- quent children are thereby left play his glory in the infinite to eat the bitter fruits of what treasures of his grace. How they have sowed. It is not far this grace shall extend in for short sighted mortals ! It is the forgiveness of sin, must be not for the finite creatures of determined by infinite wisdom, a moment to dictate to jofinite which knoweth and is disposed wisdom what is best for his own to do what is best. The choice glory, or for the good of his cterand provision of the means of nal kingdom, in dispensing the salvation are from God himself ; favors of grace, or executing deconsequently, he may use his served punishment on the memown wisdom, in extending the bers of that great family, which benefit :- If it would have been is under his control. We are just in God to leave all men un- assured that an immense multider sin, he may do the same, in tude shall attain eternal life, thro' any particular instance, accor- the grace of God: We have ding to his good pleasure.equal assurance that some will When wisdom sees it best' to fall short of everlasting life. grant an undeserved favor to We know that men are free to some, justice doth not require it choose life or death, and that

God is sovereign in executing hath often been the instrument the counsels of his will ; still, of impressing sentiments, which means are necessary for pro- afterwards influenced the councuring an interest in his grace, sels of nations, and a pious and they will doubtless be so schoolmaster is one of the most for ever.

successful ministers, either of • The following truths are made religion or impiety. Precept certain to us by the word of and example have a great influGod.

ence on every age ; on youth He is just, so that no creature they make an impression which will ever suffer punishment be- is not worn away by years, and yond what is deserved :-He no other means can be substia hath no delight in punishment, tuted in their place. The young for its own sake, and where it is mind is made thus, impressible, inflicted, it will be to advance that it may receive such princihis own glory, which is the ples of virtue as will prove salusame thing as the good of his tary thro' life ; but as the young kingdom The redeemed will may mingle with unprincipled be saved by free grace, and in people, the same cause may exfinite wisdom is sufficient to de- pose them to fatal evils. Vice termine its extension. All the may enter at those avenues of requirements of the gospel are the mind which were designed reasonable, and such as pe- for the introduction of virtue. rish will fail of life, through The sensibility of youth may their own inexcusable impeni- prove destructive as well as satence. God is the Creator and lutary. We often hear, both we are his property. Unless from the pulpit and the press, his grace is obstinately resisted parental fidelity, in the serious we may hope for salvation. Je education of children, urged by hovah is a sovereign God, and unanswerable arguments. The hath a right“ to do what he will public teachers of religion adwith his own.”

dress our youth, as it becomes Q. faithful ministers to do. Still,

there is a danger to which nei. ther the pulpit nor press has

been sufficiently attentive; it is TO THE EDITOR OF THE CON that depravity, both of princiNECTICUT MAGAZINE. ples and morals, which is too

often imbibed at our common SIR,

schools. It is a commendable RAIN np a child in the custom in this country to send

way he should go; and children, at a very early age, to when he is old he will not de- some place of instruction suited part from it," is a maxim of the to their capacity, where they wise man, which experience may obtain the first rudiments hath always approved. The of science. Public bounty enopinions and manners of the courages the practice. Where young are formed by the influ- there is a numerous family of ence of their nurses and instruc-children, it is convenient for the tors. A pious mother or nursel parents to dispose of them, a

“TR

considerable part of the day, in the means of living; the schoa situation, in which they think lar possessed every requisite for them to be safe. No man who making a brilliant figure in the loves his country and its pros- school, and soon was the subject perity, can wish to have this pre- of particular distinctions. His vailing custom changed, or any vanity was flattered; he became of our public schools discontinu- attached to the master who deed. To encourage these insti- cided his superiority over others, tutions, and at the same time and his whole confidence passed bring them under proper regu- from his parents to his instruclation, is the object of this ad- tor. He was now prepared for dress.

every poisonous influence to take Schools may become nurse-effect, which a depraved teacher ries of vice, fountains of evil could instil into the heart of an sentiments, and a lasting scourge ambitious, unsuspecting pupil. to the neighbourhood in which the opportunity was not lost. they are instituted ; and eve. He first began by insinuations ry corrupt neighbourhood is a against the scriptures. This scourge to the public. Whether was followed by intimations that schools shall be little seminaries his parents were over scrupuof virtue or vice, depends much lous, being educated in times on the teacher. Sentiments of when there was no freedom of virtue and opinions of truth, on thought; by calling in question such subjects as children under those principles of morality by stand, which serious parents which society is sustained ; and have been impressing from the finally by the whole mass of earliest life of their children, specious argument which enmay be erased from their minds, courages impiety. All these in a short time, by an unprinci- errors the youth drank in for the pled schoolmaster. His mis. sake of being esteemed the most Chievous insinuations against the promising in the school, until truth may do more, in an hour, bad principles broke over reto corrupt the young, than every straint, and led him to great inpreceding care did to form them iquity. He was considered as to virtue.

lost to himself, to bis friends, These reflections occurred to and to the world, and would me from the testimony of a have been so, if the goodness of young man, who was brought Almighty God had not by a near to ruin from this cause. stroke laid him on a bed of pain He was the son of discreet, kind and weakness, until long reflecand serious parents, and from tion led him to discover and the time he could read a syllable confess the means, progress was carefully instructed in good and end of his seduction from manners and moral sentiments. those principles of virtue, which At the age of twelve he was were first impressed on his mind placed under an instructor, who by his parents. had the reputation of being ex This story is melancholy, for pert in his art. The master had the parents were nearly broken been long unprincipled, and rehearted, and the youth was hardstrained linself only to obtain I ly saved from destruction ; but

not more melancholy, than many How many thousands of chib other instances would appear, dren, at the most impressible could we bring into full view period of their lives, are plathe history of the young, their ced under the care of men, who first departure from good prin- have little knowledge, and still ciples, with the means and the less love of our holy religion. end of their folly.

How many teachers are there, Inbred depravity of heart, who, with respect to morals are which the grace of God only impure ;, with respect to lancan conquer, rarely appears in guage, profane ; with respect to its enormity, without the influ- religion, utterly unacquainted ence of means, which all honest with its doctrines, duties, or people ought to discard from comforts. A. profligate, who by social life. Yet such is the in- means of his vices hath failed in consideration of men, they will all other business, or a man often commit the education of who hath fled from the justice their children, to persons from of his country, may have suffiwhom nothing better can be ex- cient natural science to instruet pected, than in the instance re- children ; but for this he is not lated above. Here, at first, their entitled to our confidence. His passions are mismanaged, they science and bis address in inlearn profaneness, and by the structing may be great, while he passionate temper of the intruc- hath no claim to the esteem of ior, those tender sensibilities are parents. With shining literary erased from the heart, which a qualifications he may be dishontender and good mother, by ma est, profane, intemperate, a seduny prayers and tears, had strove cer of youth, and a disbeliever to form. Here, when the child of religion. In such a c. se we hath come nearer to maturity, should unwillingly commit our pernicious sentiments and im- property to his trust, and shall moral maxims are engrafted we commit our children, who on the natural degeneracy of the are as dear to us as our own heart. A wonderful degree of lives? God, their good creator, impiety and vice must be ex- hath entrusted them to us, mapected. Still, the parent hath king us responsible for their done all be could. Yes, all but education in a knowledge of his the one thing most necessary, to name and laws, and can we anplace his offspring under the swer before him for such a pros· care of one who serves God and titution of the trust ? Even al

keeps his commandments. If lowing the master to have a fair - his child be destroyed he ought character, ignorance of moral not to wonder.

and religious truth may disqualOn this subject I am deter- ify him for the trust. ignorance mined to express my sentiments on these subjects, at the age with freedom, whatever odium which fits a man to be an inor vengeance it may incur. The structor, is the most sure evivoice of fidelity, of love, of du- dence of his own thoughtless ty, and of God demands it, and life, so that he cannot be qualifithe blood of souls sanctifies the ed either to teach or nurture call.

« PreviousContinue »