« PreviousContinue »
5. Your fifth objection is removed by our allowing the importance of training up some for the service you mention. But we would fit men for another service, where great acquire ments are not needed.
ed with ungratified ambition, when viewing the eminence of their brethren; men so devoted to the work of winning souls to Christ, as to commend themselves to the acceptance of the people.
Now, Sir, is it not, "on the whole, desirable to have the new settlements supplied in this manner?" If any are otherwise minded, we entreat them at least not to "consider us as espousing a cause, inconsistent with the design of the Theological Seminary at Andover, and hostile to the interests of literature in general;" both of which we desire rather to promote.
When I call to mind the worth of lost souls; when I suitably value the Scriptures and the preaching of the Gospel; when I see the vanity of all attainments, which are not consecrat
6. You say, "there is little reason to expect that our students will be favorably received by the public." Let fact reply. Numbers have been received in new settlements, and in older towns, who were never graduated at any College; and some who had enjoyed much smaller advantages than we propose to offer. In almost every settlement some inhabitants are found, who have not lost their regard for the institutions of religion which they enjoyed in their youth, and are very desirous of a preached Gospel. In most places appear a few real Christians, who are hungry for the bread of life. These live ined to God; when I think of the the midst of sectarians. They distressing state of those thousknow they cannot give the sup- ands who are even now suffering port which men of nine years ali the horrors of a famine of study expect. Many parishes the word of God; I can do any must be assisted several of the thing, consent to any thing, but first years, in paying even a small what is wrong, to send the Gossalary. In this situation they pel to the destitute. will joyfully hail the heralds of posed plan presents advantages salvation, though they should be for that purpose. I cannot find less learned than others. They it is wrong. I cordially enter will deem those their best bene- into it. I hope and pray it may factors, who help them to such not prove abortive. men. They will not emulate older and richer towns. Their possessions and modes of living are inferior; and they are contented. We hope, that God will raise up men of a spirit so humble, that they can go forth without repining at their humbler lot; accounting it so great an honor to be employed in any part of our Lord's vineyard, to bear his messages of grace, that they will not sicken, nor be consum
And now, Sir, I am persuaded I shall have your leave to solicit the candor, the forbearance, and even the prayers, and the assistance of the Christian public; and to ask such of the wealthy as may read these remarks, and are desirous of promoting the order and welfare of the community, or the cause of religion, whether this Seminary will not have a claim on their beneficence?
Yours in the Lord, ALPHA.*
For the Panoplist.
ON THE DUTY OF EDUCATING
It should be premised, that while nearly or quite all writers on the Prophecies agree in the
CHILDREN FOR THE ARDUOUS opinion, that the millennium is
DUTIES OF THE PRESENT
I WAS lately struck with an expression which occurs, if I mistake not, in Dr. Dwight's sermons, preached on the last national fast, to this effect; 'that now is the harvest-time of the world. If this brief description of the present day is correct, (and I verily believe it is,) many important duties press upon Christians with increasing weight; duties which ought to be clearly explained, powerfully urged, and vigorously performed. Among these duties, the following hold an eminent rank; viz. the support of a learned, laborious, and evangelical ministry; new and extraordinary attempts to educate pious young men to become preachers of the Gospel at home and abroad; a revival of church discipline; more enlarged endeavors to plant, cherish, and extend missions to the heathen, and to distribute the word of God in every language, and in every part of the world; the general support of schools and literary institutions, of the highest and lowest orders, and under such auspices, as that they may all be nurseries of piety and virtue; and the education of children with a peculiar regard to the wants, the dangers, and the encouragements of the present times. On the last topic I propose to offer a few plain remarks; though I could wish that some abler pen than mine were employed on this and each of the ther above-mentioned subjects. VOL. IX.
not far distant, there is yet a considerable diversity of opinion on this question; Whether the Church is to suffer a short but. severe depression, or the dawn, which is now hailed with rapture, is gradually to brighten till it shall be lost in the full splendor of the millennial day? In whatever way this question may be answered, the subject under consideration is equally worthy of attention. On either supposition, our children ought to be fitted for trials; for, in the most favorable case which can be reasonably stated, there must be a violent struggle before the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world, will be dispossessed of his dominion. When we contemplate the many millions of our race enveloped in the gross darkness of idolatry, superstition, and infidelity, and the few thousands who can be justly numbered as on the Lord's side, we must admit, that if the world is ever converted by human means without the aid of miracles, so great a conquest cannot be achieved but by a spirited and arduous warfare.
It should be observed also, as claiming our particular consideration, that the advances towards the day of decision have been very rapid of late. Great events now succeed each other with astonishing quickness. The scheme of Providence is rapidly unfolding. In former times, men were born, lived in one still unvaried course, and died, without perceiving any great alteration in the state of the world around them. But we
of the present age, who have lived thirty years, have seen greater changes within our own time, than could have been seen, at other periods of the world, in several centuries. And these changes are more wonderful as they affect the prospects of Christianity, than in any other point of view. Let every Christian parent, therefore, consider well the obligation which lies upon him to educate his offspring for the service of Christ, at this eventful day; and let his attention be specially directed to the following particulars.
1. The grand requisite, in order to usefulness in the Church, is piety. Every religious parent will of course desire that his children may be pious; but how few, alas, are there, who labor, as well as desire, that their children may be converted to God. I know it is not within the power of man to confer a spiritual grace; but I also know, that the providence of God affords the most ample encouragement to parental exertions for the conversion and salvation of children. The value of a single soul, and that the soul of his child, must appear inestimable to a man of reflection, especially to a Christian. At the present time, when multiplied exertions are making in the cause of Christianity, and many more are yet to be made, it seems peculiarly desirable that the number of laborers in the good work should be increased. The Romans considered every father as a benefactor to the republic, because he had contributed to its power. How much more earnestly should the pious father and mother aim after the happiness of training up for the
Church a family of truly religious children. Parents should agonize in prayer for the spiritual renovation of their dear offspring; they should give precept upon precept; they should earnestly exhort their children while young and tender, laying before them the great inducements to a life of distinguished piety, which the present state of the world affords; they should consider the dangers, which, at the present day, threaten such as do not become early religious, and the aggravated condemnation of those whe shall finally perish, in this time of God's peculiar manifestation of his power and grace. If all religious parents would assiduously, continually, and fervently pursue the course here recommended, is there not much reason to hope, that God would mercifully bless their efforts, and give a new heart.
2. Children should be educated in a course of self-denial. Under this head I shall not be understood to countenance voluntary austerities and mortifications, suffered for the sake of promoting self-righteousness and pride, but to insist upon a habit of surrendering personał enjoyments and gratifications, whenever an enlightened conscience pronounces the surrender to be necessary. Every thing which would retard the pilgrim in his journey to the heavenly rest, or limit the extent of his labors for his Savior, should be cheerfully relinquished. Too many professed Christians have deceived themselves, rather than others, by a mere profession. They have made the sum of religion to consist in a round of formal duties, while
they remained under the entire dominion of selfishness worldly passions. Possibly they have made long prayers, and have been able to converse tolerably well on religion, while deaf to the calls of charity, and regardless of the great interests of truth and godliness. Where there is no self-denial, there can be no real virtue. The whole of a child's education should impress upon him this fundamental truth; and he should be accustomed from his earliest years to make personal sacrifices for the good of others. He should feel that he lives not for himself, but for mankind. If disposed to pervert this maxim, and to neglect the small things within his reach, under pretence of doing good on a larger scale, he can be called back from his reverie by the reflection, that it requires no self denial to do good on a large scale, in imagination only; while to discharge with fidelity the every-day duties of life requires great steadiness of principle, and may prove the existence of great love to God and man. It is thus that the Christian, though placed in a humble sphere, can do great things. By a life of prayer and self-deniai; by a laborious and patient performance of the ordinary duties of his station, the plainest and most obscure Christian may benefit many by his example, and more by his interest at the throne of grace. Such characters are especially needed now. God has employment for them, in accomplishing the great work of reforming the world. He has begun to build the walls of the spiritual city, and great must be the multitude of workmen while the grand design is
carrying into executiva. Every person can do something; every person can do much. Let every one then engage with alacrity, and prosecute the labor allotted to him, till the great Architect shall release him from his present toils and dangers, and reward his perseverance by admitting him into heaven. But I am insensibly wandering from my subject. If self-denial is essential to virtue, I trust no reasoning is necessary to prove that children should be early accustomed to deny themselves, and to yield every possession however dear, when the cause of Christ requires it.
3. Children should be educated in a course of habitual beneficence. Self-denial is preparatory to beneficence. The one furnishes the means of doing good; the other applies them. The great characteristic of our Savior while on earth was, that he went about doing good. should be deeply impressed on the minds of the young, that this is the great thing for which intelligent beings were made; that by doing good a resemblance of the glorious Creator is stamped upon the character; and that all other desirable possessions without this will ultimately prove of no value.
A life of beneficence will be distinguished by two prominent traits, charity and activity. It may be useful to consider these traits separately.
Charity should be taught sys tematically, both by precept and example. It should be considered as an indispensable part of instruction and of practice; just as really so, as truth, justice or industry. It is as often command
ed in the Scriptures, as any other duty whatever; it is not less necessary to the Christian than any other duty; it is most amiable in its aspect, most cheering in its tendency, most blessed in its effects. Charity, by which I here mean the gratuitous application of property and time to the relief of the temporal and spiritual wants of others, is a duty which truth obliges me to say has not been sufficiently understood or practised by any part of the Christian world. Many are now awakening to a perception of their duty; but the greater part, even of professors of religion, continue to sleep on. Yet God has taken abundant pains to instruct men in the nature and extent of charitable claims. If the Levitical law had been given on purpose to designate and enforce claims of this kind, it could not have been more express and particular than it is. The whole New Testament supports, in regard to all mankind, the great principles of beneficence which the law of Moses had urged upon the Israelites, throughout the code of their national polity. If a nation were to act unanimously on these principles, it would exhibit the highest degree of worldly prosperity, an universal freedom from poverty and want, and an universal practice of industry and economy on the one hand, with a constant and humble dependence on God and a perfect freedom from excess and intemperance on the other. Such an exhibition will yet be made by all the nations of the earth, in the happy period which is visibly approaching. That each religious parent inay do all in his power to hasten the period al
luded to, let him instruct his children that charity is to be performed with as much regularity, promptness, and cheerfulness, as any other duty of life. They should set apart a weekly or monthly portion from their savings, or earnings, (as soon as they are able to save or earn any thing) for this purpose; and they should, if possible, be furnished with the opportunity of saving and earning, at an early age. They should see, in the cheerful countenances of their parents, the joy experienced in relieving want, and mitigating distress. They should be taught to dwell with pleasure on the many invi tations to charity, which are presented to the benevolent. truly good object should they be allowed to consider as an intruder, though their means should not permit them to give aid except to a very few. The portion claimed for benevolent purposes they should see to be a valuable and important portion; not a mere trifle, utterly insig nificant when compared with their father's income. They should be taught to value money principally as a mean of communicating happiness; and for this purpose they should be encouraged to acquire, preserve, and expend it. The young may ea sily be taught to practise charity, both by giving their money and spending their time for benevolent objects. It is not difficult to make them understand with what temper, and from a regard to whose authority, these duties are to be performed. The man, who habituates his child to take pleasure in doing good, especially if God confers at the same time a truly benevolent disposi