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like circumstances when they did move, they moved in a mass. Here, therefore, is a second instance against the system of ignorance.
The ignorant system has for ages been the principle of the Turkish government: so much so, as till within a very few years, to forbid the introduction into their dominions of the art of printing. Yet the countries subject to that government have, more than any others with which we are acquainted, been the scenes of insurrection and disturbance. This, therefore, though not properly a modern, is another and a third strong instance against the system of ignorance.
I do not compare our country with foreign nations; but if we may compare one part of the island with another, it is understood, I believe, that there is no part in which reading is so universal as in Scotland ; yet I never heard that any danger arose from thence to government, or any loss of public industry in the various branches of manufactures which are carried on in that country.
Reading also is much more general in the northern than the southern parts of the island. Has any inconvenience been from thence perceived, any disadvantage to the state, either political, moral, or commercial ?
From instances we pass on to authorities.
The government of Russia, though notoriously a despotic and jealous government, has, in the hands both of its present and late sovereign, applied itself industriously to the erecting of village schools, and to other methods of promoting (at least as far as reading) the education of the very lowest order of its subjects.
The present king of Prussia, as tenacious as his ancestors of the prerogatives of his station, has nevertheless imitated his neighbour, in supplying what he found and considered as a defect in this respect in the economical institutions of the country, and has formed various regulations and provisions for that purpose. 2. The proprietors and planters of estates in the West Indies have, by a resolution of their assembly in several of those islands, lately established a fund for the procuring of clergymen from England, for the purpose
of instructing the children of negroes.
The late General Washington, who appears to have bent his mind to the subject of public education with peculiar attention, made provision in his will both for the education of the poor children of his neighbourhood, and the neighbourhood of his estates, and also for the education of the young slaves until the period of their legal manumission should arrive.
These are all so many concessions in favour of the expediency of educating the poor, and carry with them an'answer to those who imagine that they see in it danger to the stability of government. The last two instances are particularly strong, because, if education was ' not deemed to disqualify children for slavery, it cannot be inconsistent with any, even the most servile, station which subsists in a free country.
To conclude: if there be any weight in the reasons, or in the instances, or in the authorities which have been alleged, the inference is, that the new suspicions which have been conceived of education, as it relates to the poor, are unjust, unfounded, neither supported by argument nor verified by experience.
ON PUBLIC OCCASIONS.
CAUTION RECOMMENDED IN THE USE AND
APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE LANGUAGE,
[A Sermon preached July 17, 1777, in the Cathedral Church of
Carlisle, at the Visitation of the Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Carlisle. ]
2 Pet. III. 15, 16.
Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to
the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you ; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.
It must not be dissembled that there are many real difficulties in the Christian Scriptures ; whilst, at the same time, more, I believe, and greater, may justly be imputed to certain maxims of interpretation, which have ohtained authority without reason, and are reit inquiry. One of these, as I apprehend,
I to find, in the present circumstances meaning for, o ething answering to, every appellation and expression which occurs in Scripture; or, in other words, the applying to the personal condition of Christians at this day, those titles, phrases, propositions, and arguments, which belong solely to the situation of Christianity at its first institution.
I am aware of an objection which weighs much with many serious tempers, namely, that to suppose any part of Scripture to be inapplicable to us, is to suppose a part of Scripture to be useless; which seems to detract from the perfection we attribute to these oracles of our salvation. To this I can only answer, that it would have been one of the strangest things in the world, if the writings of the New Testament had not, like all other books, been composed for the apprehension, and consequently adapted to the circumstances, of the persons they were addressed to; and that it would have been equally strange, if the great, and in many respects the inevitable alterations, which have taken place in those circumstances, did not vary the application of Scripture language.
I design in the following discourse to propose some examples of this variation, from which you will judge, as I proceed, of the truth and importance of our general observation.
First ; at the time the Scriptures were written, none were baptized but converts, and none were converted but from conviction; and conviction produced, for the most part, a corresponding reformation of life and
Hence baptism was only another name for conversion, and conversion was supposed to be sincere : in this sense was our Saviour's promise, “ He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved *;" and in the
* Mark xvi. 16.