« PreviousContinue »
THE rich possess ample means to realize any theory they may chuse to adopt in the education of their children, regardless of the cost; but it is not so with him whose subsistence is derived from industry: ignorance and incapacity often prevent his having proper
views on the important subject of education, and when he has, slender resources as often prevent their being reduced to practice. Yet, among this class of men, are found many who are not only useful members, but ornaments to society; and from the labours of these it is, that the public derive the conveniencies, and many of the comforts of life: but while they are toiling for the production of those comforts, their children are left destitute of a suitable education. Therefore, it has been acknowledged, that education, as it respects those who are unprovided with it, ought to become a national concern; and this has been so long the public opi
nion, that no doubt it would have become so, had not a mere Pharisaical, sectmaking spirit intervened to prevent it; and that in every party.
A system of education, which would not gratify this disposition in any party, is requisite, in order to obviate the difficulty; and the reader will find a something said to that purpose in perusing this tract.-When I view the desolating effects produced amongst the unprotected and unbefriended orders of society, what shall I say? Alas! my
brethren and fellow Christians of every denomination, you have been contending whose influence should be greatest in society, while a national benefit has been lost, and the poor objects of it become a prey to vice, to an extent, that all your praiseworthy, but partial benevolence, can never repair.-A national evil requires a national remedy; let not this any longer be delayed : let your minds expand, free from every narrow principle, and let the public good become jhe sole object of your united Christian efforts.
Above all things, education ought not to be subservient to the propagation of the peculiar tenets of any sect. Beyond the number of that sect, it becomes undue influence; like the strong taking advantage of the weak. Yet, a reverence for the sacred name of God and the Scriptures of Truth; a detestation of vice; a love of veracity; a due attention to duties to parents, relations, and to society: carefulness to avoid bad company; civility without flattery; and a peaceable demeanor; may be inculcated in every seminary for youth, without violating the sanctuary of private religious opinion in any mind.
When obedience to the Divine precepts keeps pace with knowledge, in the mind of any man, that man is a Christian; and when the fruits of Christianity are produced, that man is evidently a disciple of our Blessed Lord, let his profession of religion be what it may. The propagation of this knowledge, and the production of those fruits, increase the number of true Christians, which is far better than the increase of party to any extent; and, at the same time, proves beneficial to society, in the improved principles and conduct of its members; and in private life, by the steadiness and amiable disposition of parents, masters, and children, who are influenced by its mild and benignant precepts.
Impressed with these sentiments, I feel a wish, as every friend to mankind must, that names may perish, but truth prosper.
That the profession of Christianity would cultivate a spirit of unity, brotherly love, and peace; bearing one with another, in love; avoiding all differences from party spirit; and when they cannot
unite in religious opinions, let their dissent be. with Christian meekness, and respect to the opinions of others.
What a beautiful effect this would produce among those who are so unhappy as to live without religion; and how would mankind gradually be allured into that spirit of “charity, which suffereth long, and is kind; which envieth not, is not puffed up, and vaunteth not itself; doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.--Charity which never faileth.”
This spirit of charity is a spirit of love; but the sectmaking spirit of party is cruel, full of rancour and bitterness. The object of our Holy Religion is to exalt the Kingdom of Heaven; to bring into subjection every evil act of the will in man, to the will of God. In the spirit of sect and party, it is the object, though often blended with something better, to exalt a peculiar creed, to establish a name, to gain a degree of worldly honour, to set up the will and wisdom of man, and make an idol of it, and compel all to bow down and worship it. This is the harbinger of discord, the source of evil, and has often led the martyr to the stake, or unsheathed the cruel sword.Oh! that all, who really love and fear
God, in every profession, would remember, that God, and not man, is the object of our worship; and consider how to please him, and do his will, who is a God of love and of peace. Then the solicitude would not be, to make men nominal Catholics or Protestants, Churchmen or Dissenters, but to exalt, by precept and example, the beauty and excellency of our Holy Religion. The desire would not be the increase of proselytes to this name or the other, but to the only name given under heaven, whereby mankind can be saved--the name of Jesus; to which all must bow, in mercy or in judgment. The floods of wickedness which inundate the world, have their spring in the malevolent dispositions of mankind. Christianity was intended, by its Divine Author, to counteract and subdue these; to humble the most ferocious dispositions into meekness, causing the lion to lie down with the lamb; and if any man, or body of men, want to do good, this is the most noble principle on which they can act. The professors of the Christian name, are, alas ! lamentably out of the Christian spirit. The cause which they are pledged in duty to support, suffers by their divisions, like a besieged city, whose enemies are at its gates, or within its walls, and the citizens at daggers-drawing one with another; whereas, if they would all unite, and follow their Captain, they would turn the battle to the gate, and drive the enemies from their walls. I long to see men, who profess Christianity, contend not for