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they been more disposed calmly to investigate truth and been less attached to the popular systems of the respective schools in which they have been educated. Had they thus, without any systematic prepossession, gone to the Bible in the character of new born babes earnestly desirous to obtain the unadulterated milk of the word, and exercised towards each other, in matters of doubt and difficulty, a spirit of candour and moderation, we might probably have had in our libraries fewer systems of speculative theology,—but we should have certainly had in the church of Christ more union of sentiment and more practical piety.
T. G. MI.
Christians are prone to think that they can do little or nothing in the cause of religion. Those who enjoy the blessings of the gospel ministry in the sanctuary, and frequent seasons of social converse for spiritual improvement and comfort, imagine that they have only to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We do well to rejoice and give thanks at the remembrance of God's goodness manifested to us in larger measure than to our fachers; still it may be said that the majority care not for these things. The dark ages, viewed in contrast with our own age, gives a kind of false glare to our circumstances, and in a great measure retards the progress of knowledge and holiness. If we turn from the darkness and superstition of the past, and cast our eyes upon the pages of inspiration, it will be apparent that a small part only of the prophetic writings has been accomplished. A time is approaching, when all that have been numbered as children of the kingdom at any period of the church, will be accounted a day of small things: when “ the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days."
To produce such an effect what mighty energies are to be employed? Moralists and philosophers can do nothing. From one age to another they have told the sad tale of their own defeat, and at last published to a world in tears their final despair. It is to the doctrines and precepts of Christianity alone, that we can look with any hope. The heralds of the cross deliver their message to men whose minds are preoccupied, whose characters are formed; and those who have been the most successful, have been constrained to take up their lamentation, “ Who hath believed our report!”—“How small a portion of those who have heard the gospel from our lips, have obeyed its precepts, and have been purified by its spirit:”--All the day long have we stretched out our hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people. VOL. II.
Thus one generation after another has passed away, and the good, the pious, and the humane have been labouring to reform a seed of evil doers, a people hardened in sin and laden with iniquity, while that ancient and divine maxim, “ Train up a child in the way he should go," seems not to have been generally regarded.
The period has, however, arrived, when “ Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Schools have been instituted on the Sabbath, for the gratuitous instruction of children in the principles of religion. The growth of the Sabbath school system has been truly delightful; the schools have increased and spread with amazing rapidity. One town has communicated the flame of holy benevolence to another, till the four quarters of the globe can now testify to their happy effects. In our own country, where knowledge is so generally diffused, and the facilities for acquiring information are so abundant, they are found to be not the less needed, or the less salutary. Professing to teach the rudiments of common learning, only that it may be made the vehicle of conviction to the conscience and regeneration to the heart, the employment is sanctified and holy.
In this work little has been done except by associations of young persons. In many places they have encountered the opposition, not only of the men of the world, but of many of the friends of religion and the followers of the Lamb. The prejudice against conducting schools upon the Sabbath has arisen, chiefly, it is presumed, from a mistake as to their ultimate object. As their design has been developed, the objections of Christians have subsided, and they are now, generally, affording the schools their warmest support.
The reports of the “Sunday and Adult School Union” have furnished interesting details of Sunday school operations. They afford the cheering prospect of a glorious harvest. Thousands are in a course of preparation for hearing the word preached, and understanding it. The church may look to these institutions as the nurseries where many of her future members are to be reared and disciplined for the labours of the day of her approaching glory.
These reports, also, exhibit the spiritual barrenness of our land. Children, in many places, are almost totally neglected in their education. This indifference about the religious instruction of the rising generation, which so extensively prevails, leaves no cause to wonder that iniquity abounds. It is not the necessary result of increased population, nor is it, as is supposed by many, for the want of more severe and appalling sanctions to our code of criminal jurisprudence. It is because conscience, that vicegerent of Almighty God in the human breast, is not
stored, in childhood and youth, with weapons to guard the heart against the insidious temptations of those already confirmed in habits of iniquity. There would be little need of foreign interference, if parents would instil into the minds of their children, their obligation to God and one another, in the man. ner prescribed in the holy scriptures, Deut. vi. 7 : “ And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.'
Sabbath schools are a happy expedient for supplying, in a measure, the delinquency of parents.
To increase the number of these institutions, a Sunday school mission has, under the direction of the Board of Managers of the “Sunday and Adult School Union,” been undertaken. In a tour which the missionary performed through New Jersey and a part of Pennsylvania, he succeeded in establishing about fifty schools, and formed several tract societies. He left Philadelphia, on the 22d December last, on a journey to be continued through the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, from whence he will return on the opening of the spring.
When it is considered that a powerful influence is exerted upon the teachers themselves—upon the children, the parents and connexions, we may rationally expect that this mission will produce a greater amount of good, than could be effected by one man in almost any other sphere of labour.
FOR THE PRESBITERIAN MAGAZINE,
BY WILLIAM B. TAPPAN
FILIAL DevotION! dear the tie,
That binds the parent to the child ;
The streams of bliss flow undefiled:
On deeds, which care, parental, prove?
With gratitude, and Filial Love?
Quick, let the guilty wretch withdraw;
Or wait the cruel tiger's law.
That with the Mother's love entwine;
How holy are the frequent prayers
The Father pours at midnight's shrine:
Emotions to the bosom dear;
Which never gave to you the tear:
With equal zeal, His guardian power,
Unaided, holds existence' hour?
Thou need'st, are given thee from above;
In these, a watchful Father's love?
The pensioner of mercy's throne,
The Source of life, and love, alone ?
For daily food, to strengthen me;
Thy quick’ning grace, to worship Thee.
HINTS TO PATRONS.
This work is designed chiefly to promote a knowledge of the doctrines, precepts and ordinances of the gospel; and thus to favour the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, by the advancement of personal and practical godliness. Our readers, of course, will not expect to find in it reports of societies, and other religious intelligence, in minute detail. We shall endea . vour, however, to give, from time to time, a condensed summary of news concerning the cause of Zion; and, for this purpose, we have taken some pains, and encountered considerable expense, in procuring the best periodical publications of Great Britain, as well as of our own country. Essays on church government, accounts of revivals of religion, and brief notices of literary, Christian and charitable institutions, with occasional reviews, will also occupy a portion of our pages. On these, and similar subjects, we shall be grateful for communications.
This Magazine, like every thing of the kind, is quite dependant on public favour. It is, honestly, intended to be useful; but whether it shall be so, to any considerable extent, will depend very much, under Providence, on the zeal and liberality
of the Presbyterian church. We have numbers and means enough, in our connexion, to support such a work, were we disposed to co-operate. We do not complain ; but our subscription list is, at present, scarcely sufficient to enable us to defray the necessary expenses of the publication. A little attention on the part of our brethren and friends, in the several states, might greatly increase the number of subscribers, and thus enable us to appropriate something, yearly, to the missionary cause. What objection can there be to a pastor's gently recommending the work to his flock, provided he judges it likely to promote Christian edification? There is, certainly, none too much reading done in any of our congregations; and, other things being equal, the more our people read and think for themselves, on the subject of religion, the brighter will be our prospects of success in winning them to Christ.
Punctuality in making remittances, though a delicate subject, is nevertheless important. Our bills of expense, in carrying forward the work, must be paid monthly; and we are wholly dependant on our subscribers, for the means of meeting these demands.
These hints are humbly and respectfully submitted. We have, now, to raise our Ebenezer, and say, “ Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” We praise God, and thank our friends, for the favour shown to this enterprise thus far. Commending it, for the future, to the blessing of Heaven, and to the kindly regard of our fellow Christians, we take leave, for the present, of our patrons and readers, by sincerely and religiously wishing them a happy New Year.
The Index to Vol. I. acco:npanies this number.
To Correspondents. “A Proposal to Christians of all Denominations,” “A Communication from their Missionary to the Female Domestic Missionary Society of Philadelphia," and “Christian Kindness," will appear in our next.
FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY ADVERTISER.
DEATH OF DR. BOUDINOT.
Departed this life, at Burlington, New Jersey, on the 24th day of October, 1821, Elias Boudisor, Esq. L.L.D. in the eighty-second year of his age.
As death has now set his seal on a character pre-eminent for talents, for piety, and for extensive usefulness, a just regard to public sentiment requires that the annunciation of such an event, should be accompanied with at least a short retrospect of the life, and of the leading traits in the character, of the illustrious deceased.