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Christians throughout the World.
5,800,000 | 15,200,000
In Great Britain and Ireland..
Catholics .................≥124,672,000 pay to their Clergy £6,106,000
Total of Christians.. 219,728,000 pay to their Clergy £18,772,000, of which England, for 21 millions of people, pays more than onehalf.
Expenditure on the Clergy of the people of Great Britain and Ireland, who are not hearers of the Established Church of England and Ireland.
not of the Established
Total hearers.. 14,600,000 | Amount £1,024,000
Total of Expenditure.
On Religious Instruction to Classes of Young Persons. Bridport, June 20, 1826,
SIR, Ir is delightful to observe among us the indications of an increasing zeal for the religious and moral improvement of the young and the poor. Those who have been interested in the recent cominunications to the Reformer on this subject will not be unwilling to peruse a few further hints from one who is engaged heart and hand in this work.
There is, in the first volume of Dr. Priestley's Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, "An Essay on the best Method of communicating Religious Knowledge to the Members of Christian Societies," which ought to be attentively perused by all who wish for the prosperity of our churches and the amelioration of mankind. In the remarks
which I proceed to offer, it will be taken for granted that this Essay has been referred to, and that the general principles on which it proceeds are acknowledged to be just.
The class of persons for whom it is our immediate concern to provide instruction are those whom Dr. Priestley places in a middle station between children, (to whom he would teach a plain catechism,) and those who are sufficiently advanced in age and knowledge to be fitted for a course of lectures on the institutes of religion. In this middle class, he says, "I would teach the knowledge of the Scriptures only," and for this purpose recommends the use of his Scripture Catechism, which consists of questions with references to those places in the Bible where the proper answers may be found. Since the publication of Dr. Priestley's work the instructor of the young has been furnished with additional means of accomplishing the end in view. I allude to Mr. Turner's Abstract of the Bible History, which the experience of many among us can testify, is well adapted to communicate the knowledge of religious truth in the most engaging manner, to inform the learner as to the events of scripture history, and at the same time to impress the grand principles of religion on the heart. As to the benefits which may be derived from the study of this truly cheap and excellent little work, “we speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen." The writer of this letter has had opportunities of observing its utility in the instruction of a class of youths whose previous means of improvement had been very limited, some of whom were almost entirely destitute of religious ideas, and were indeed very deficient in the art of reading. The class met regularly on a Sunday evening, each member was provided with a copy of Mr. Turner's Abstract,* a portion was read either by each in succession, or by the teacher, an attempt was made to illustrate and impress the facts and principles therein contained, attention was paid to the particulars of time and place, and after a devotional exercise the class separated. At the next meeting the
This seems essential to the success of the plan, and ought to be done, even if it were needful for this purpose to supply the books gratis. It is of essential importance that the persons under instruc tion should be enabled and induced to study at home the lessons delivered to them at the place of meeting. They will otherwise be found to make little progress. What they read or hear at one meeting will seldom be retained during the space of a week.
same portion of the Abstract was made the subject of examination, and it was thus ascertained how far it had been understood and retained in the mind. This being done, and such additional remarks made as appeared to be seasonable, the class proceeded to the perusal of another portion of the work, which was treated in the same manner as before. The result has been satisfactory beyond the expectation of those who were the most sanguine at the commencement of the course. It is obvious that the prosecution of this plan may be advantageously combined with a frequent reference to the Scriptures, and with the employment of Dr. Priestley's Scripture Catechism above referred to. It ought likewise to be remarked, that an occasional recapitulation of the most important facts and dates is highly advisable. The progress thus made will be slow, and the course of instruction limited, but with young per sons, whose minds have not been previously cultivated and whose daily occupations afford them little leisure for reading, if more were attempted less would be accomplished.
Supposing the class to have completed the study of Mr. Turner's work, and to be disposed for further instruction, a few very low-priced, but very valuable pamphlets, might be gone through in the same way, and might be so arrang ed as to form something like a regular course of familiar instruction. I trust I shall not be deemed presumptuous in specifying those which appear to me best calculated to instruct and to discipline the youthful mind, and thus to prepare the learner for the profitable perusal of the controversial as well as practical publications which now abound.
1. Dr. Clarke's "Answer to the Question, Why are you a Christian?" ·
2. Wright's pamphlet on "The Necessity and Utility of adhering to First Principles." This invaluable little work is admirably adapted to qualify the inquirer for pursuing the work of investigation."
3. Dr. Carpenter's Unitarians' Appeal. This tract is too well known and appreciated to need a recommendation. It supplies a candid statement of the Unitarian doctrine with a mass of scripture proof in its support.
4. Priestley's Appeal to the Serious and Candid Professor of the Gospel.
5. Ditto's Familiar Illustrations of certain Passages of
Scripture. The first of these contains scriptural arguments in support of our views as to the use of reason in religion, the power of man to do the will of God, original sin, election and reprobation, the supremacy of the Father and the person of Christ, and on the doctrine of atonement. "The Familiar Illustrations" are intended to assist the unlearned ◄ in the interpretation of those passages on which Calvinists and Trinitarians mainly rely as proofs of their opinions on the subjects above enumerated. Any one who is fully acquainted with these two pamphlets, and is capable of applying in other instances the principles of reasoning which they exemplify, will read the Scriptures with great improvement, and will seldom be at a loss when called upon to give a reason for the hope that is in him, or to shew why he rejects the reputedly orthodox interpretations of the word of God.
I will mention only one other suitable work for this plan of instruction; its title will sufficiently explain its purport and design.
6. Dr. Carpenter's Grounds of Dissent from the Established Church. All the books now enumerated, including Turner's Abstract, may be purchased for about 4s. 6d., so that, by the payment of a penny per week for twelve months, a valuable compendium of religious knowledge may be obtained. Happy would it be for us, and for the world, if every member of every Unitarian church were in possession of them, and if their substance, their principles and spirit, were fully and practically imbibed.
I will only add further, reverting to the management of a class of young persons, that the method pursued by the ladies thus meritoriously employed at Bridport,* of selecting passages from various works, which blend instruction and interest together, ought by no means to be overlooked. It is not only allowable, but useful, thus to consult the appetite for variety which is natural to man, and especially to the youthful mind. May the blessing of Heaven attend the efforts of those who are engaged in this great and holy work; may their number be multiplied and their success be complete!
G. B. W.
* Vide Christian Reformer for May, pp. 190, 191.
The Treasures of the Deep.
[From "The Forest Sanctuary; and other Poems." By Mrs. HEMANS. 8vo. Murray, 1825.]
WHAT hid'st thou in thy treasure caves and cells?
Yet more, the depths have more! What wealth untold,
-Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main!
Yet more, the depths have more! Thy waves have roll'd
Yet more, the billows and the depths have more!
Give back the lost and lovely!-those for whom
Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrown;