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Letters to a Mother, upon Elucation.
On the Cultivation of the Temper.
THE next topic upon which I wish to offer to you some observations is the cultivation of the temper. You are no doubt aware that temper is a borrowed terin, being taken from the consistency of metals, and especially from the state of the edge of tools formed of metals; accordingly we speak of the temper as blunt, keen, sharp, rugged, &c.
The usual signification of the word is, the state of the disposition which is natural to it, and which it exhibits when tried by the various occurrences of human life. Every different individual has a different temper. This difference may arise from an original, native, inherent diversity in different persons. It is however certain, that although perhaps never really eradicated or substantially altered, it may be much modified, subdued, and directed to beneficial purposes. I need hardly say how much of the happiness of a human being depends upon his tenper, and that as a subject of education it requires the earliest attention.
There is no doubt but that the disposition thus defined developes itself at a very early period. It is soon easy to discover whether a child is passionate or quiescent, tenacious or docile, &c. Whatever may be the characteristic disposition of a child, it will require attention and culture. The quiescent yielding disposition tends to sluggishness, and is rarely associated with intellectual ability; while the evils attendant upon the neglect of the impetuous disposition are too well known to need enumeration. Similar remarks may be made upon every other species.
It would be undertaking too much to embrace them all in the course of these observations: I shall therefore select one of them, which is by far the most common, I mean the energetic and impetuous.
From the earliest period a child discovers a disposition to direct, to govern, and to please himself. This is the development of the principle of self-love, a native and valuable instinct with which man is endued by the Creator. In proportion, however, as this native propensity is unregulated, or improperly indulged, it becomes powerful, and at no very distant period defies restraint from others, or even that which the individual himself may exert. Have we not often seen in society the disposition which we denominate the violent, an excessive energy and determination amounting to fury, both in the looks, tones, and gestures? The solution of this phenomenon is almost invariably, that the person was what we call a spoiled child. But such a person we generally may have remarked to be unhappy, and the cause of unhappiness to others. Themselves are in a perpetual dread lest their mind should explode in vengeance and violence, or perhaps (for such persons are often kind and generous) are occupied in deeply lamenting the mischiefs they have occasioned, the friendships they have lost, and the feelings they have wounded by their own unhappy temper; while others, especially their own family, witness their lowering countenance with something of the feeling of dread with which the inhabitant of the Indies sees the gloomy clouds which portend the tornado. Not unfrequently do such persons, become habitually tyrannical, spiteful, and
All these consequences might have been prevented, had the temper been subjected at a proper time to a proper discipline, and the disposition itself have become the origin of perseverance and activity.
In the first place, it seems to be of the utmost im portance to avoid every thing that approaches in the
slightest degree to indulgence of any kind. Before you can make him understand the reasons of proper conduct, .compel him to pursue it. Never, even while he is an infant, permit obedience to be even delayed.
If you avoid this from the beginning, he will never think of such a thing. Continue the system which makes your wish your law, and which he may never dream of withstanding or questioning. Let him bear the yoke of submission while a child, and he never will be an overbearing, insolent, impatient, or oppressive man.'
Soon as he can understand you, show him the reasons why you recommend any particular action: but still expect him to adopt it. Sweetness of temper is the twin grace of docility. Accordingly he will grow up habituated to recognize every species of authority and to obey it. He will cheerfully make those concessions upon which tranquillity depends; whereas the indulgence of self-will assuredly entails upon hin a disposition which rankles whenever any thing opposes his inclination.
Obedience to these rules from the earliest period, uniformly and habitually, will never be felt grievous; whereas if you neglect them, even for a short time, you will find yourself so situated, that you must by some violent, yet vain effort, attempt to regain your authority. This is what is called in vulgar life breaking the temper of a child.
Unhappy parents, who feel themselves called upon to attempt such an undertaking! Had they watchfully and habitually directed their conduct according to the principles of good sense, duty, and propriety, such a disastrous event in the history of a family would be unknown. But it never succeeded. Parents of such a character as could possibly have such an effort to make are universally unsteady in their proceedings with their children. To-day they beat or upbraid, and to-morrow atone by exuberant acts of kindness. The child, on the other hand, may have a sore skin from bruises, and a rebellious, revengeful, and discontented heart from his punishment; but his disposition is ruined for ever. I look forward in such cases, and at the distance of a few years behold the children given to lying, concealment, and perhaps theft. I see the unhappy parents without influence over their offspring, lamenting perhaps that they ever had children, or bewailing their hard fate that their children should have been of so unfortunate a kind; and perhaps completing all this mischief by a settled determination not to care whatever their children may be guilty of, and by some other such desperate resolution endeavouring to stem their own conscience, or to alleviate their own disappointment. On the other hand, contemplate in such a scene the verification of a principle of human experience applicable to all mankind, whether parents or children "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." May your harvest be of a different nature!
Ir was the daily practice of this eminent person, as soon as he rose in the morning, which was generally very early, to retire for an hour to private meditation. He often told his friends, when they asked him how it was possible for him to go through so much fatigue, that it was this which gave him spirit and vigour in the business of the day. This he therefore recommended as the best rule he could give; for nothing, he said, could tend more to the health of the body than the tranquillity of the mind; and that he knew nothing which could so well support the various distresses of life as a well-grounded confidence in the Supreme Being.
NOTICES OF THE WALDENSES.
THE Waldenses were the first people in Europe, who, persuaded by their pastors, made regulations as a community for public instruction, and who provided, that children of every degree should be taught the elementary branches of education. In singular consistency with their claims to be considered a surviving branch of the primitive church, they alone, of all Christian societies, have honoured in uninterrupted observance the wisdom of the early Christian churches, which proclaimed it to be a bounden duty to provide by authority for the elementary instruction of youth of every class. "Not only do the rich," said Tatian, a Christian writer of the second century, "learn philosophy, but our poor also enjoy the advantages of instruction gratis." One of the MSS placed in the Cambridge University Library, by Sir Samuel Morland, in 1658, and written about the year 1100, was entitled " on the ancient discipline of youth." How valuable would it now be to the friends of education, could it be recovered! and though missing, we have no evidence that it is wholly lost. Reiner, a Roman Catholic writer, about 1230, writes, "Would you believe it, the Waldenses have schools everywhere, forty in one place, forty-two in another; they have translated the Old and New Testament into their vulgar tongue, and so teach them to their children. I myself have examined a clown who could repeat the book of Job by heart; and I have seen others who were perfectly acquainted with the whole of the New Testament !"
In a paper of secret directions given to the Dominican Inquisitors, who were to interrogate persons accused of the Waldensian heresy, towards the end of the thirteenth century, the following extraordinary testimony appears to the efficacy of the system promoted by the Waldenses: "You must not question them in matters of learning, or out of the Scriptures, for if you do, you will find them too much for you." This is given on the authority of Muratori, Dissert. 60. The impartial and honest Thuanus, though opposed to them in religious opinions, writes thus of them about 1590: "It is astonishing, that persons externally so rude and unrefined, should have had so much moral cultivation! You can scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give you an intelligible account of the faith they profess."
The same historian relates an anecdote helonging to a much earlier period-about a century before. A young student, who went among them to try to convert them to the faith of the Vatican, declared, that he had learned more of religion, by listening to the answers of the Vaudois children, while they were being catechized, than by all the learned disputations he had ever heard." He also records, that throughout the whole of Piedmont the well-instructed natives of the valleys were preferred as servants and labourers, so little was their knowledge found to make them idle or dissatisfied with their condition.
"The Noble Lesson," a sort of confesssion of faith in metre, written in 1100, still extant, informs us, that when a man systematically and conscientiously abstained from the excesses of his vicious companions, he was called in derision a Waldensian.
Assistance was sent from England in 1655 for their schools; and about that time was written the eighteenth sonnet of Milton on their sufferings. Cromwell's government interfered with good effect in their behalf; and Queen Mary and Anne afterwards sent liberal donations in aid of the education fund in the Valleys. Those who wish to know more of the history, and present state of this interesting people, will do well to consult the Tours of the Rev. W. Gilly and other Christian friends among them, and will learn with great pleasure the
exertions lately made în this country for their benefit.— Quarterly Journal of Education.
ON THE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
Avenge, O Lord! thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Who were thy sheep; and in their ancient fold
To heaven: their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow A hundredfold, who, having learn'd Thy way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
WHY PROTESTANTS REJECT THE APOCRYPHA. Reasons why the books called the Apocrypha, which in the Douay Bible are named "Tobias, Judith, Esther from the 10th chapter 4th verse, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Daniel from the 23d to the 90th verse of the 3d chapter and the 13th and 14th chapters, First and Second Maccabees," are rejected by Protestants, and not accounted inspired or canonical.
1. Because none of these books or chapters are found written in the Hebrew tongue, in which all the really inspired scriptures of the Old Testament are written.
2. Because they were never received by the Jewish church as part of the word of God. Paul tells us, that the words of God were committed to the Jews. Rom. iii, 3, and ix, 4. Now the Lord Jesus often accused the Jews of making void the word of God, by adding their own traditions to it; but He never once accused them of taking from the word; which he surely would have done, if these books which they rejected were the word of God. Josephus, a learned Jew, who lived at the same time with St. Paul, gives an account of the books which the Jews believe to be inspired, which are those which Protestants now receive.
3. Because they were not received by the primitive Christians. They are not included in the catalogue of inspired writings, made by Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the second century. Nor in the lists made by Origen, in the third century. Nor in the lists made by Athanasius, Hilary, Cyril, Epiphanius, Gregory Nazianzen, Amphilochius, Jerome, Rufinus, and others, in the fourth century; neither are they found in the list of canonical books recognized by the council of Laodicea in the same century, which council was acknowledged by the general body of Christians.
4. Some of these books plainly confess that they are not inspired writings. Thus, in 1 Mac. iv, 46, and ix, 27, it is confessed that there was then no prophet in Israel. In 2 Mac. ii, 24, we are told this book is only an Abridgment; and in xv, 39, the writer begs for pardon if he has not written the history correctly. Would an inspired
writer act so?
5. They contain many passages, which contradict the canonical inspired scriptures. Thus, Wisd. xv, 14, which it is pretended was written by Solomon, contradicts 3 Kings iv, 20-25. In Baruch 1-4, we are told that Baruch went to Babylonia; which contradicts Jeremiah xliii, 4-7, where we are told he was taken by force into Egypt. In 2 Macc. xiv, 41 to the end,
suicide is praised, in opposition to Exodus xx, 13. In Tobias vi, 19, enchantments are used, which are forbidden in Lev. xix, 26; Deut. xviii, 10, &c. Tobias xii, 8, 9, and Ecclesiasticus xxxv, 3, teach salvation by works, contrary to Rom. iii, 20, 24; Gal. ii, 16; Eph. ii, 9. In Macc. ii, 5, Jeremiah is represented as hiding the ark of the covenant, that the people might have it again when they returned from Babylon; this contradicts Jeremiah iii, 16. 6. Because these books contradict themselves. In 1 Macc. vi, 16, Antiochus is said to have died in Babylon; in 2 Macc. i, 16, he is said to die at Nanea in Persia; and in chap. ix, 28, he is again said to have died in a strange land. That is, he died three times. Tobias v, 18, contradicts xii, 15.
29. TERTULLIAN, Presbyter of Carthage, the metropolis of Africa, was brought up a pagan. His full name was QUINTUS SEPTIMIUS FLORENS TERTULLIANUS, and his father was a centurion, who served under the Proconsul of Africa. He was born about A. D. 160, at Carthage, and educated in all the learning and accomplishments which he could derive from either the Greeks or Romans. In his unregenerate state, according to his own representation, he was pre-eminent in vice, and in all respects an accomplished and notorious sinner. He was deeply implicated in the grossest sins of the age in which he lived, and devoted to the sanguinary entertainments of the Amphitheatre. His unblemished virtue in his subsequent life was equally remarkable; and this gave him peculiar advantage in assailing, as he did with irresistible force both of satire and argument, the abominations of heathenism.
We are unable to ascertain, with certainty, the period at which Tertullian embraced the gospel of Christ, nor the means and arguments which led to his conversion. It is thought to have taken place a little before the close of the second century, after a perusal of the Holy Scriptures, to which he was led by observing the triumphaut efficacy of the Christian faith over the minds and lives of its profes
Tertullian became one of the most able defenders of Christianity against the pagan priests and philosophers, at whose instigation the emperors and governors were stirred up to persecute the servants of God. He adhered to the most rigid customs observed among the Christians, practising the severest self-denial; but not without a mixture of superstition. Though not the most discriminating in his theology, Tertullian appears to have been sound in the great principles of the gospel, a man of sincere piety, and a vigorous opposer of the growing ambition of the bishops. His famous "Apology for the Christians," published about A.D. 200, contains many beautiful passages, from which we learn some particulars of the author's disposition, and of the manners of the believers in that age. He says, "We pray for the safety of the emperor to the eternal God, whom emperors themselves would desire to be propitious to them above all others who are called gods. We pray, looking up to heaven with outstretched hands, because they are harmless; with naked heads, because they are not ashamed; without a prompter, because we pray from the heart. Thus, then, let the claws of wild beasts pierce us, or their feet trample upon us, while our hands are stretched out to God-let crosses suspend us-let fires consume us-let swords pierce our breasts-a praying Christian is in a frame for enduring any thing. We are dead to all ideas of worldly honour and dignity: nothing is more foreign to us than political concerns: the world is
our republic. We are a body united in one bond of religion, discipline, and hope. We meet in our assemblies for prayer. We are compelled to have recourse to the divine oracles for caution and recollection on all occasions. We nourish our faith by the word of God. Those who preside among us are elderly persons, not distinguished for opulence, but worthiness of character. Every one pays something to the public chest once a month, or when he pleases, and according to his ability and inclination; for there is no compulsion. These gifts are, as it were, the deposits of piety. Thence we relieve and bury the needy, support orphans and decrepit persons, those who, for the word of God, are condemned to the mines or imprisonment. This very charity of ours has caused us to be noticed by some : See,' say they, how these Christians love one another!'"
Tertullian's works consist of many Tracts on Christian subjects; but they are far less interesting for pious edification, than for their historical notices. Our contracted li mits forbid us entering further into their merits. He is charged with embracing at least some of the errors of Montanus, who held several blasphemous or absurd notions: but few particulars are stated, beyond some philosophic refinements of that age, or African superstition.
Whether Tertullian was honoured with martyrdom, which it is said he desired, or not, is not ascertained: he is believed to have died about A. D. 216, or 220.
THE HONOURABLE CHARLES JAMES FOX,
ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
THE author of a Pamphlet, entitled, " Circumstantial Details of the Last Moments of Mr. Fox," among many interesting particulars, relates the following conversation with that great statesman :—“ A nobleman mentioning that he had formed a party of pleasure for Christmas, in which he had included Mr. Fox, added, 'It will be a new scene, Sir, and I think you will approve of it.' I shall indeed be in a new scene by Christmas next,' said Mr. Fox. Lord, what do you think of the state of the soul after death?' Lord (confounded by the unexpected turn
of the conversation) made no reply. Mr. Fox continued, "That it is immortal, I am convinced. The existence of the Deity is a proof that spirit exists; why not, therefore, the soul of man? And if such an essence as the soul exists, by its nature it may exist for ever. I should have believed in the immortality of the soul though Christianity had never existed; but how it acts as separated from the body, is beyond my capacity of judgment. This, however, I shall know by next Christmas.'
REFLECTIONS IN THE COLISEUM AT ROME.
BY SIR HUMPHREY DAVY.
Ir was a still and beautiful evening in May, when I first visited these striking ruins: the last sunbeams were dying away in the western sky, while their bright tints lighted up the scene, and, as it were, kindled the snows still visible on the distant Apennines. In this glow of colouring, the green of advanced spring softened the grey and yellow tints of the decaying stones, and as the light gradually became fainter, the masses appeared grander and more magnificent ; and when the twilight had entirely disappeared, the contrast of light and shade in the beams of the full moon, gave a solemnity and magnificence to the spot, which awakened the highest degree of emotion. The beauty and permas nency of the heavens, the works of an eternal and divine Architect, were finely opposed to the perishing works of man in his most active and powerful state. And so humble appeared the condition of the most exalted of human beings, so feeble their powers, so limited the space and period in which they act, that I could hardly avoid comparing the generations of man to the swarms of fire-flies which were flitting around me, and sparkling amid the gloom and darkness of the ruins, but which were no longer visible when they rose above the horizon, their feeble light being lost in the brightness of the heavens.
In such moments, and among such scenes, it is impossible not to be struck with the nothingness of human glory, and the transiency of human works. This, one of the greatest monuments on the face of the earth, in a few ages will be but as dust; and of all the testimonials of the va nity or power of man, whether raised to immortalize his name, or, as the pyramids, to contain his decaying bones without a name, none has a duration beyond the existence of a few score generations.
This train of ideas continued to flow with increased force. No new city, I thought, will rise again out of the double ruins of this. No new empire will be founded upon these colossal remains of that of the old Romans. The world, like the individual, flourishes in youth, rises to strength in manhood, falls into decay in age; and the ruins of an empire are like our own decrepit fiame, except that they have some tints of beauty which nature bestows upon thein.
Time, which purifies, and as it were sanctifies the mind, destroys and brings to decay the body, and amidst these ruins appears to be eternal in its age.
The remains of the palace of the Cæsars, and their golden halls, appear in the distance, their grey and tottering turrets and massy arches reposing as it were on the decaying vegetation; and there is nothing to mark the existence of life, but the few devotees wandering around me, kneeling before the cross, and demonstrating the triumph of a religion, which received on this very spot, in the early period of its existence, one of its most severe persecutions, and which has, nevertheless, by its sanctifying influence, preserved not only all that remains of these relics, and all that was worth preserving of arts and literature, but likewise those institutions which afford us happiness in this world, and hopes of a blessed immortality in the next. How great is the contrast between the present application of this building, connected with holy feelings and exalted hopes, to that of ancient time, when it was used to exhibit to the Roman people the destruction of men by wild beasts, or of men more savage than wild beasts by each other, to gratify a horrible depravity of inclination! And who, in the days of Titus, would have supposed, that a faith, despised for its insignificant origin, and persecuted from the obscurity of its founder and its principles, should have reared a dome to the memory of one of its humblest teachers (St. Peter), more glorious than was ever built for Jupiter or Apollo in the ancient world; and have preserved
even the ruins of the temples of the pagan deities, and have burst forth in splendour and majesty, consecrating truth among the shrines of error, employing the objects of idolatrous superstition for the most holy purposes, and rising, a bright and constant light to illumine the darkness which followed the destruction of the Roman Empire.!
TESTIMONY OF ROUSSEAU TO THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST.
THE following testimony of this philosopher to the glorious perfection of Christ's character is extremely valuable.
"The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel has its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction, and how contemptible they appear when compared with scripture! Is it possible, that a book at once so simple and sublime, should merely be the work of man? What prepossession, what blindness, must it be to compare Socrates to the Son of Mary! What an infinite disproportion is there between them! Socrates dying without pain or ignominy, easily supported his character to the last; and if his death had not crowned his life, it might have been doubted whether, with all his wisdom, he was any thing more than a vain sophist. He invented, it is said, the theory of morals; others, however, had before put them in practice, he had therefore only to reduce examples into precepts. But where could Jesus learn that pure and sublime morality, of which he only has given us both precept and example? The death of Socrates, peaceably conversing with his friends, appears the most agreeable that could be wished for; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing pains, abused, insulted, and accused by a whole nation, is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates, in receiving the cup of poison, blessed the weeping executioner who administered it; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating tortures, prayed for his merciless tormentors. Yes--if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus were those of a God!"
PRAISE TO GOD.
HAD I as many mouths as sands there are,
Ile is the true father that hath a quicker pace in meeting than the prodigal hath in returning; who would not have his embraces and caresses interrupted by his confession. The confession follows, but does not precede the father's compassion.—Charnock.
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CHURCH OF ST. PETER, AT ROME.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH at Rome is, undoubtedly, the most magnificent pile of modern architecture in the world. This noble structure stands on the site of Caligula's Circus; it was first dedicated by Constantine the Great to the Twelve Apostles. But it was entirely rebuilt during the reign of eleven succeeding popes, and finished in the sixteenth century, having cost the enormous sum of 12,000,000. sterling, which would have cost in our time and country, not less than 36,000,000l. sterling. It is 730 feet long; 520 broad; and 450 in height to the cupola, which is itself 620 feet round, and surpasses in magnitude, beauty, sublimity, and costliness, all the pagan temples of antiquity.
From our engraving, a general idea may be obtained of its plan and form. St. Paul's in London is somewhat similar, but much less than St. Peter's at Rome, without considering that this church is approached by a grand and spacious Piazza. The double colonnade on each side, extending in a semicircular sweep the stupendous obelisk of black marble, brought from Egypt, eighty feet high, standing on a pedestal of thirty more, and surmounted by a brass VOL. 1.
cross gilt the two fountains the portico and the splendid frout of the church, present such an assemblage of magnificent objects as cannot fail to impress the mind of every spectator with awe and admiration.
The church appears in the back ground, and on each side is a quadruple row of arches, resting on two hundred and eighty-four pillars, and eighty-eight pilasters; the arches support one hundred and ninety-two statues, twelve feet high. The two noble fountains throw a mass of water to the height of about nine feet, from which it falls in a very picturesque manner, and adds greatly to the beauty of the scene. In the centre the fine obelisk is placed.
At the first entrance into St. Peter's, the effect is not so striking as might be expected; but at every step it seems to improve on all sides. The proportions are so accurately observed, that the parts are seen, each to an equal advantage without distinguishing itself above the rest. Although every object in this church is admirable, the most astonishing part is the cupola. On ascending to it, the spectator is surprised to find, that the dome which he sees in the church, is not the same with the one he had examin d without doors, the latter being a kind of case to the other, and the stairs 2 E