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tate of reason. With the heart map believeth ; and where the affections of the heart are right, these decisions when they have regard to duty, will seidom, perhaps never, be wrong. Hence the reasonableness of inaking faith the test of virtue and the medium of salvation ; and hence that truth which is the object of faith is left undemonstrable, in order to prove, by our admission or rejection of it, the predominance of a good or bad principle in the heart, and the consequent pravily or purity of the will, on the decision of which, divine justice has suspended the eternal destiny of every soul.
“ But the application of this test to truths which are in their nature undemonstrable, or rather the investigation of them in that spirit of incredulity, which a habit of philosophizing induces, has produced a species of scepticism, which, in one view, is wicked, and, in every view, inexcusable ; inasmuch as it is founded on a violation of justice. In physical enquiries, truth depends upon the immutable properties of matter; in all other cases upon testimony, induction, or the infinite combination of indefinite qualities and abstract relations. Can, then, the same test be justly applied to both these species of truth? Ought they to be sought with the same spirit to be admitted or rejected by the same rule! No: as well might you attempt to fix the evanescent hues of the chameleon,—to distinguish the gradations of colour in the rainbow,as to reduce moral truth to physical certainty.
“ Yet this the petulance of modern sophistry requires, and hence the origin of that empty and arrogant spirit of which I com
,-a spirit, which, superseding that reason of which it never ceases to boast, and acknowledging no authority but that which is deducible from demonstration, regards with equal indifference of scorn and haughtiness of contempt, the revelations of God and the dictates of experience,-a spirit, which happily proves its own futility by the perpetual vacillation of doubt, and versatility of principle to which it leads.
“ The moral and religious tendency of this spirit will be sufficiently indicated by the display of one of its ephemeral dogmas. It has assumed the principle of general expediency as the foundation of moral obligation, to the tacit exclusion of the Word and will of God; in the practical application of which, reason is made to usurp the throne of conscience, and the voice of God within us is rudely silenced. This principle under a corrupt bias, leads to erroneous conclusions and consequent wrong conduct; but the 'law of God not forming the rule, nor a regard to the will of God the motive of such conduct, conscience of guilt is by no means the necessary result of it
66 Conscience sleeps, Whilst thoughtful man is plausibly amused."« Thus does this unstable foundation of morals resolve itself înto private opinion, in the formation of which, passion and pre
jưdice judice must generally predominate; and thus are the obligations of Christianity overlooked by the pride, and its plain truths lost in the sophistry, of what is falsely termed Enlightened Reason.
“ Nor are the views of political expedience entertained by this spirit less sophistical. In the rapture of abstract speculation, it overlooks the actual state of things. Forgetting that man is made up of passions and habitudes resulting from his nature and relative condition, and that these passions and habitudes, however modified, will always form the substance of his character ; this philoso phizing spirit seems to consider him as a being purely intellectual, and would lead him to intellectual perfection, by neutralizing his character, -by destroying, under the name of prejudice, ali local and accidental attachments, than which no affections of the heart are more natural, more useful, or more reasonable ; and, in the extinction of which, the spirit and strength of a nation must perish."
Very justly does Mr. Barlow consider the encouragement given to the boafted system of the education for the poor as emanating from this spirit. " The obvious tendency of this fyftem," he observes," as it is now conducied under the moft splendid patronage, is to undermine and destroy every established form of religion, and to render Chriftianity palatable to the pride of philosophy, by taking froin it its most solemn sanctions, by depriving it of every human aid and ornament; in fact, by reducing it to a syflem of theophilanthropism.” The particular points of this new system are examined with great judgment, and the defects of them exposed in a clear and convincing manner.
On the subftitution of " compulsive shame" for “ corpo. ral punishment, and other coercive means” it is remarked
• Shame is salutary only when it is spontaneous and penitential, The shame here alluded to,--the shame which ridicule is to raise, whilst it represses the effects, may aggravate the causes of vice, A faulty disposition thus forced into concealment still exists, and often, with accessory guilt; as the thief, whom detection obliges to abscond, adds malice to dishonesty. It is the business of edy. eation, not merely to restrain and palliate vice; but to eradicate it from the heart, -not craftily to counteract, but openly to oppose it;-not to enter with it into mean competitions of artifice, but with the force of truth and the majesty of virtue, united in authority, to strike it with a salutary abashment and terror, and recal it to a sense of its own insignificance. Thus its stubbornness giving way to fear, and its pride vanishing in conscious meanness, its strength is broken, --it is driven from its strong holds !--and, in most instances, its extirpation will be the reward of persevering
vigilance vigilance, and the prompt application of suitable means. But the author of the system I am endeavouring to prove, like a faithless servant, hides the work he wants the skill to perform : like some practitioners of physic, he woulú have the suppression of symptoms to pass for a cure.
* But further, this grand engine of coercion is to be set in mo. tion by ridicule. Now the utmost benefit of ridicule, as the medium of moral influence, is the repression of folly. And even when applied to this purpose, a greater degree than is common of good nature and good sense, in the child ridiculed, is necessary to render its operation harmless. But ridicule is a weapon which ill befits the hand of him who wars in the cause of Christian vir. tue. Light is not more opposite to darkness, than the spirit of Christ to the spirit of ridicule. Those failings, which ridicule taunts with sportive insult, Christ would have rebuked with a sigh, or a tear. It betrays an insolence of heart which is inconsistent with the meekness, and a degree of ill-nature, which is incompatible with the benevolence, of a real Christian. The nature of a cause will be seen in its effecis. Ridicule, as it proceeds from, so it excites, pride and ill-nature : it suppresses good feelings, and creates and aggravates bad ones. Those amiable sympathies, wbich the approving smile of revered authority draws out and ripens into virtue, and which just punishment, properly adminis. tered, never suspended without encreasing their tenderness and force, are, by ridicule, forced back upon their source, where they stagnate, and like stagnant waters, become pestiferous and foul. He who ridicules can seldom be loved. By degrees what is taught is identified with the hated teacher, and a secret alienation from him, from learning, and from virtue, is lastened to maturity, by the more frequent or more violent application of the cause which first excited it; till the heart, closing in selfish sullenness, becomes the prison of passions, which malice makes infernal,the dark abode of the demon of vice."
The following observations on the absurdity of making education á system of amusement are admirable :
“ Another objection to this system is, that by it children are taught to do every thing for the sake of selfish pleasure, and nothing for the sake of dutyLearning is to be so associated with play,—tasks and toys, and toys and tasks are to be so agreeably blended, -variety of entertainment is so to protract and enhance the pleasure of novelty,--that children are to seek these charming means of entertainment with avidity; and to prefer the play of learning, continually varied and heightened by the ingenuity of a facetious master, to play of their own, without such variation and assistance. Under this delightful system not even the idea of labour is ever to obtrude itself upon the happy student. # Vain, effeminating system !-Is this an education for men ?
Is this a preparation for the world !--for that world in which we cannot take a step withoit meeting with dithculties and dangereg which nothing but vigorous labour and robust exertion,-nothing but patient endurance and rigorous self-denial can enable us to surmount? Is not labour, by an unalterable ordination of Providence, made the necessary medium of every real good ? Is not man born both to labour and to suffer > Should he not then learn how to do so ? Yes, whilst yet in the lap of his mother he should be taught to bend his neck to the yoke of his destiny. A system of education, which involves no trials, no hardships to the pupil, leads neither to virtue, nor to happiness. The habit of willing labour, and resolute resistance to difficulty, animated by a constant sense of duty, is of more worth than all the knowledge, which this boasted system professes to impart. Why should the labours and difficulties, inseparable from our state of trial, be gilt and sugared over to make duty palatable to children ? Should they not rather be made to see them as they are, and taught and encouraged to surmount them? Thus they would obtain the animating consciousness of merit, and learn to love virtue by tasting of her sweets sweets which must be earned, and earned by toil or by suffering, before they can be tasted.”
Having analyzed and shewn the futility of this new theory of education, Mr. Barlow exhorts his hearers to hold fast that system; the success of which they beheld so strikingly exhibited before them.
This sermon deserves the serious perusal of all who are interefted in the improvement of the rising age; and we particularly recommend it to those persons who are disposed to think favourably of an empiricism, which by the juggle of appearances, promises a short cut to knowledge without pains and labour, and an improvement in virtue without any acquaintance with the principles of religion.
On the Propriety of preaching the Calvinistic Doctrines,
and the Authorities for that Practice. A Sermon preached
11, 11, 12, 13, “The grace, of God that bringeth salvation,” &c. and it is justly said to contain "the most perfect
abstract of the Christian doctrine, that is, perhapš; to be met with in the whole course of scripture."
After a brief but clear explication of this important pafsage, the preacher applies it to the occasion in the following striking manner :
“ The minister, who makes this summary of the Gospel the groundwork and standard of his preaching, will avoid two errors of dangerous consequence to genuine Christianity. He will neither, by omitting the corner-stone upon which the building rests, convert the gospel into the baseless fabric of heathen morality nor will he, by dwelling upon dark and doubtful intimations of divine decrees, render it a speculative and unfruitful theory. On the one hand he will be well convinced, that to exert human eloquence alone, in declaiming upon the beauty and fitness of virtue and the deformity of vice; to consider the gospel rather as a mere republication of the law of nature, than as a distinct revelation, confirming, but highly exalting, that which was first given; he will be well convinced that such preaching can never be evangelical, or make men wise unto salvation. He will feel assured, that he should thus feed the sheep of his master with the meat that perisheth, not with that which endureth to everlasting life; and expose the souls committed to his care to the attacks of their grand adversary, without that whole armour of God, to which, as Christians they are entitled, and by which alone they can stand.
“ He would on the contrary lay the foundation of all his preaching in the grace of God. He would historically exhibit to his flock the fall of their first parents, and its consequences in the depravation of the human heart. He would make them experimen tally sensible of their own personal need of a Redeemer, by dwelling upon the daily or even hourly proofs of sinfulness, which even the best of us display or experience. He would then expatiate on the wonders of redeeming love, the incarnation of the Son of God, his life and doctrine, his death and resurrection ; and he would thus apply this astonishing scheme of divine benevolence to its object, by representing our conditional admission, through faith and repentance, to a share in the merits of Christ's atonement, and by shewing our ability to fulfil these conditions only by the aid of the Holy Spirit. To obtain that end, he would never omit to urge the necessity of frequent and earnest prayer, and thus prepare the instructed Christian " to add to his faith” all the qualities of evangelical holiness.
« On the other hand, he would not conceive that he *“hand. led the word of God deceitfully," that he + " shunnid to declare the whole counsel of God," and I became therefore stained with
the * 2 Cor. iv. 2. + Acts xx. 27. Acts xx. 26. VOL. XIV.
Fr Chm. Mag. Feb. 1808.