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that the doctrine of assurance without evidence is a sickly exotic, unknown to the pure faith of the Gospel; for, as has been well remarked, "the Holy Spirit bears witness; but a witness must have something to wit
ness to;" and therefore, view the matter as we may, in the end it comes to this," a tree is known by its fruits, and faith without works is dead."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
THE accompanying specimen of the simple piety of former times, I have thought may not be uninteresting or unedifying to your readers. It is a document subjoined to the Will of a pious ancestor of mine, and shews a solicitude for the spiritual welfare of his posterity, worthy of praise and imitation. I do not suppose many such Wills are to be found in Doctors' Commons; but it contains sentiments and directions most worthy of a Christian parent. I need not apologize for the simplicity or even quaintness of thought and style, which are characteristic of the age in which it was written.
"An Appendix to my last Will; or a Bequest of some Legacies spiritual, which I, James K-, the aged, bequeath to my son, James Kand to my daughter Susannah.
"Imprimis, I bequeath to them my blessing; and a parent's blessing is not to be despised; and with and upon my blessing do leave with them these few instructions, often to read, to learn, to meditate upon, and to practise.
"To set the Lord alway before you, and to live in his fear all the day long, for that is the first beginning to be wise: To put your trust in God, as a God all-sufficient in all times, cases, and conditions; for he never fails those that trust in him, and walk uprightly: To learn
the divine art of contentment, to be content with the things that you have: check discontent in the bud : To live in love, and in the constant exercise of charity. To do good and communicate forget not. Be much in prayer and praises : address yourselves in a child like frame, with humility and godliness, eyeing God as a Father of mercies, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. Above all, keep your hearts: let not vain thoughts lodge or find entertainment within you: lay not yourselves down to sleep with the allowance of any known sin. Unrepented sin is the worst companion you can have. Walk not abroad in the morning, nor engage in any worldly business till you have first conversed with God; and stir not without your breast-plate-a good conscience,which will keep you from assaults, and be as a continual feast. I have found by experience my indisposedness, for that morning, to converse with God, when I have first conversed with men on business.
"Frequently converse with your own hearts; and often ask your hearts these three or four short, serious questions:-First, am I a child of God, or a hypocrite; one of the wise or the foolish virgins? Secondly, what are the truest and strongest grounds of my being a child of God? Thirdly, with which of the godly men and women mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, can I compare? Fourthly, what is my chief and master sin; and what power hath it in my soul, or I over it?
"Matt. iii. 29. There are but two places of reception-heaven and hell; and but two sorts of persons-wise or foolish virgins, godly or wicked, goats or sheep, sincere or hypocrites.
"Let patience be your chiefest and constant companion, with a meek and quiet spirit, which, in the sight of God, is of great price. Get your hearts inflamed with love to the Lord we with ease and delight think on what we love. David said, I will go to God, my exceeding joy, and will praise him as long as I live.' Learn that divine skill of numbering your days, that you may apply your hearts unto true wisdom. To this purpose, keep a note-book or diary of all special providences: God keeps his note book, and so should we. Frequently read the Holy Scriptures, and other good books; and hear the word read and preached with delight and diligence, to increase in faith and holiness. Have for your helmet the hope of salvation, and pitch that within the veil, that, though Satan may darken or cloud your faith, yet let him never weaken or unfix your hope. Let your companionship and delight be chiefly in such as fear God. Come not within the dwelling of the wicked. If you would not be numbered among the goats at Christ's left hand, at the day of judgment, then number not yourselves among them here. Consider what a sweet word was that which the angel brought to Daniel O Daniel, thou art greatly beloved of God.' Surely we would give a thousand worlds if we had them, to receive such a message as this; but if we live soberly, righteously, and godly, the time will shortly come when Christ will say that to us, and much more. "If God bless you with children, dedicate them to him betimes, and imitate the example of Abraham, Hannah, David, Lois, and Eunice, to instruct them in the way of holiness betimes. If God bless you with long life, see that your grey
hairs be found in the way of righteousness. Live in the constant expectation of changes, alterations, losses, crosses, and afflictions, yea, and of death; and then they will be less grievous, and easier borne. Content not yourselves with the degree of grace, knowledge, and holiness attained; but go forward unto perfection, and grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: if ye do these things, and continue and abound in the practise of these, saith the holy Apostle, ye shall never fail.
"The chief end of God's putting it into my heart to commit to writing these brief bequests and memorandums, is that you may continue in well-doing, and increase therein unto the end; for, though beginnings in grace and holiness are lovely, amiable, and commendable, yet it is endings and conclusions in grace, and faith, and holiness, that crown the work; and therefore it is written, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' And also, that there may be written over the seed of the righteous, the words of King Lemuel, The prophecies which his mother taught him.' Whereas, over too many in this age may be written, not the prophecies, but the profaneness, the oaths, the lies, the scoffs, the oppression, the slandering, the uncleanness, that their parents taught them.
Lastly, I shall only add, that you may be kind, loving, and affectionate to each other. And to have a fair, free, and friendly carriage towards all persons."
Appended to this document is a memorandum by James K, the son of the above, "at the age of sixty-six, and being sensible of my approaching dissolution," recommending his grand-children to consider and practise the above rules; and to leave it in charge to their children's children to do the same. Who then can say how great a blessing to successive generations may have
been the devout wishes of one sim- I would earnestly entreat a reply to ple-hearted, pious ancestor? the following questions. H. S. C. H.
ON ADMINISTERING THE SACRAMENT TO CRIMINALS.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
CAN any of your readers inform me how long it has been the custom to administer the sacrament indiscriminately to condemned criminals? Formerly this was not the practice, as appears in the instance of the Duke of Monmouth; to whom, notwithstanding his high rank, the divines who visited him would not give the sacred elements before his execution, because he would not acknowledge the sinfulness of his conduct in his connexion with Lady Henrietta Wentworth. And if not in the case of a duke, we may conclude, not in the case of an ordinary felon, dying evidently unrepentant. When then commenced the practice, and what forbids its being abolished?
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
It is often remarked, "How unhappy would be a country destitute of a religious establishment, and where the supply of religious instruction should be left simply to the public demand! and how differ ent the condition of England, which with a population of eleven millions, is divided into eleven thousand parishes, and thus provides on an average the superintendence of a religious instructor for every thousand of its population!"
Admitting the general truth of this calculation, I still doubt whether one-half of the eleven millions of the population enjoy any sort of effective clerical superintendence. Should this appear an exaggerated remark,
1. What clerical superintendence is exercised over one thousand four hundred and nine parishes, in which it is officially stated that there are no churches?
2. To what extent is clerical superintendence exercised over the six thousand eight hundred and four parishes", of which the incumbents are non-resident?
3. What is the number of clergy. men, whether incumbents or curates, whose time is devoted to the instruction of pupils? and especially, what is the number of such clergymen having the duties of two parishes?
4. What is the number of parishes supplied merely on the Sunday by a clergyman residing, and having sufficient clerical occupation during the week, in another parish?
5. What is the number of parishes supplied by ministers who perforin the duties of two or more other parishes?
6. What is the number of country parishes served by clergymen having duty in cathedral towns, and by clerical tutors, &c. &c. in the universities?
I have made no deduction for any who may be indolent, inattentive, irreligious, or invalided; but even upon the most flattering view of the case, how many thousands, even in in this highly favoured country are almost destitute of efficient pastoral superintendence!
J. H. L.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I would respectfully suggest to our Bible and Tract Societies, whether the plan of broad-sheet tracts might. not be advantageously carried much farther than at present in use. As an illustration, I would recommend
This was the official return for 1814.
to the Bible Society to print the whole of the Book of Psalms on one side of a large sheet of paper, or two or more sheets, if necessary, to be joined together at the edges like maps. The four Evangelists might be printed in the same manner. A few such sheets stuck up, or hung on rollers, in cottages, workshops, nurseries, kitchens, and clergymen's libraries, would be invaluable for prompt reference. The eye would soon be so familiar with the sheet that any passage would be glanced at with the utmost facility, and scores of quotations might be made without the labour, distraction of mind, and loss of time of turning over a variety of pages. Let the experiment be tried, and I doubt not it would be found highly popular and useful. I should not think the whole of the four Gospels contain any thing like as much printing as appears in one of the enormous Atlas double-sheets, which have lately been published.
ON THE MORAL APPLICATION OF
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I AM not one of those who would make ridicule the test of truth, even in the matter of craniology, which has been assailed almost entirely by that weapon. There is nothing more abstractedly ridiculous in supposing that different parts of the brain may be handmaids to different affections of the soul, than that the brain, as a whole, is the handmaid to the soul; but whatever of abstract truth or error there may be in this general position, the system at all events is too indigested to admit of any thing like certainty in its application; and even were it perfected, it would still be absurd to make it a basis for moral or religious cultivation.
It was with justice, therefore, that one of your correspondents ani
madverted some time since upon an advertisement, in which the conductors of an Infant School announce their intention of educating their pupils upon the principles of craniology (to say phrenology is begging the question). But still more absurd, if possible,would it be to apply the system to theological instruction; yet such has been the case, as I find by the speech of a clergyman at the dinner given by the Phrenological Society to Dr. Spurzheim. On that occasion one of the founders of the institution, the Rev. David Welsh, stated that phrenology had afforded him "unspeakable advantages in his professional capacity." "I think it right," he added, "to declare, that I have found the greatest benefit from the science as a minister of the Gospel. I have been led to study the evidences of Christianity anew in connexion with phrenology, and I feel my confidence in the truth of our holy religion increased by this new examination. I have examined the doctrines of our church also, one by one, in connection with the truths of our new science, and I have found the most wonderful harmony subsisting between them. And in dealing with my people in the ordinary duties of my calling, the practical benefit I have derived from phrenology is inestimable."
But it is not schoolmasters only it seems, or clergymen, who are to be benefited by this "new science;" for on the above occasion Dr. Spurzheim stated, that women were better gifted than men, to become practical phrenologists; and the vice-president said he had seen, both in London and Edinburgh, "crowds of female auditors breathless listeners to truths destined, and not least in female hands, to ameliorate incalculably the condition of mankind." "Yes," he added, "the good work is begun. Mothers are managing with ease a moral engine, by the side of which all the practical fabrics of all the schools shrink into insignificance. Children are lisping at a mother's
knee the lessons of true practical
I thought the matter at first only
For the Christian Observer.
THE anomalies of the moral scenery of the enchanted islands of the Bermudas, have resembled their physical condition. As amidst the amenities of a climate, breathing almost perpetual spring, where vegetation never loses its verdure, the foliage of one year surviving till succeeded by that of the following; where there are no venomous reptiles, and where the feathered race sport and sing, unconscious of winter, there prevail the most frightful desolations of storms and hurricane; so are the moral aspects of an insulated society that might, under the guidance of true religion, be virtuous and happy, deformed and ravaged by the baleful presence of slavery,-not, indeed, in its most horrific form. But in what form is not slavery horrific? to what community has it ever worked its way without blighting all around it, degrading and brutalizing the master, while it pierced the heart of the slave?
To these lovely islands, since Sir George Somner's shipwreck upon them in 1609, and their subsequent occupation by Great Britain, several missions have been sent. We might painfully notice, under the head of Relinquished Missions, the magnificent scheme of the benevolent Berkeley, who went out in person, in 1732, to America, to establish a college in Bermuda for the conversion of the Indians, and who did not quit his enterprize of mercy, to which he had devoted unwearied zeal and energy, and all the resources which his private fortune or influence could obtain, till the breach of faith of the British government in not granting the promised assistance, rendered his A recent effort has plans abortive. been made by the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,