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the same plan, or one like it, with regard to
Why then should we disregard the first of
The sad consequence of such neglect is, that they are at once overwhelmed by bad example, and most probably feel the fatal effects of it for the rest of their life. A celebrated divine of the present day has truly remarked, “That many young persons are thrown upon the world, and plunged in the busy concerns of life, with no other knowledge of the claims of Christianity on their belief, than that it is by law established, as a national religion ; and with no further acquaintance with its nature, than that it forbids the practices to which they are attached, and which most of those around them follow." (Sumner's Evidences, Preface, p. v.)
* We spare no pains to prepare them for their several vocations in life. If they are to go to the universities, we direct their education accordingly. If they are destined for India, for the army or the navy, we procure for them strong recommendations to those who will be useful to them, so that they shall not be launched into the world friendless, as strangers and unknown. . And shall we, by some strange fatuity, allow them to appear at the gates of heaven in such a state of ignorance of their ultimate destination, that when they arrive there, all will be strange to them ; and admittance will be denied them, with the awful sentence which our Saviour has beforehand announced, and of which we cannot plead ignorance Depart hence, for I know you not.” (Matt. xxv. 12 ; Luke xiii. 25—27.)
May we not go still further, and say, that much of the ignorance here attributed to young persons is to be laid to the charge of their parents? Looking at religion as a mere matter of form, they think they have performed their duty, if they follow the injunctions laid down in the office of baptism; and when the child has learnt the Lord's Prayer, the Belief, the Ten Commandments, and the Church Catechism, they foolishly deceive themselves with the idea that he is a Chris tian. But much remains still to be done. Religion is not a business of the head or of the understanding. The heart is to be converted, and made to feel the holy influence of its power. Hence it is that the meanest person, the most slender capacity, can embrace its truths. We have the authority of Christ himself for asserting thus much. When He said, “I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes,”
(Matt. xi. 25,) He meant not to thank God that the wise had rejected his sayings, but to upbraid them for their unbelief, and at the same time to thank God that the simple, meek, and humble, were able to understand the truths he came to preach. The understanding may assent to the truths of the gospel, but the heart may nevertheless remain unconverted. And is there not much more hope that a child, meek and humble, who receives these truths habitually, daily and hourly, from its parents, will bring forth fruit in due time, than a person whose habits are already formed, and whose heart is perhaps vicious, and callous to all good feeling? The grace of God is to effect all in both cases, but still the parent will be answerable for neglecting the treasure committed to his charge.
Let us hope better things of the coming generation, and let us all with one mind agree with the royal and inspired author of the Proverbs, “ To train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. xxii. 6.) Let us even hope that, through God's blessing, the time may come when all social and political
principle shall be established upon the solid and immutable foundation of God's holy laws, and that instead of the disorders which we now witness in our fruitful fields, and the spirit of acrimony which prevails in our councils, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men,” will predominate in all hearts.
The following method has been adopted by the writer in giving Religious Instruction to his children. The text, with the reading of the passages in the Bible referred to, has furnished matter for a lecture, proportioned in length to the capacity of the children. The numbers in the margin of the text refer to similar ones prefixed to a set of questions which will be found at the end of the volume. As many of these questions, (the wording of which may be varied to suit the taste of the instructor) as refer to the lecture just delivered, are given in writing to the child, who returns answers to them also in writing at the subsequent lecture, when the exercise is corrected; and so on till the whole is
gone through. Where the quotations from scripture are not given at length, it will be advisable to refer to them and read the pas