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Miscellaneous.

CHRISTIAN

MORALS IMPORTANT IN

RURAL LIFE.

ESSAY VII.

its morality relaxed, all good men would unite in its rejection. Infidelity has sometimes varied its

modes of attack, and strange to « Behold the hire of the labourers, who tell, it has impugned the morality have reaped down your fields, which is of of the Scriptures. It has blended you kept back by fraud, crieth”

the historical and biographical This is an alarming passage. details, with the precepts of ChrisIt brings to view, the obligations tianity; and its impartial anunder which we lie, to do justice nouncement of the failings of men, to those whom we employ. It infidelity has set down as the apappeals to every moral principle, probation of those failings. But lodged within us; and fortifies the the morals of Christianity are appeal by reminding us, of the om- most pungent still. When we see niscience of our Creator. We are rural men fertilizing their lands by aware that virtue is a word fre. oppression, we might suppose that quently used by scepticks, but justice was asleep, and that there Christian virtue are words, the use was no standard by which the of which they invariably decline. wrongs of the oppressed were to be

There can be no just grounds of remedied. But here is the remehostility to systems of inoral phi- dy. “Behold the hire of the lalosophy, intended to illustrate the bourers, which of you is kept back obligations of man to man. They by fraud, crieth, and the cries of have great influence in keeping to those which have reaped, are engether the discordant elements out tered into the ears of the Lord of of which communities are orga

Sabbaoth.” nized. Some errors may be coun

If men conform not to Christenanced in these systems. But not- tianity; to what standard will they withstanding that much which is conform? Is it the standard of commendable has been written by conscience? Alas! the cries of Paley, Reid, Beattie, and Dugald distress which daily enter the ear Stewart, still the Scriptures con

of the Creator, ought to carry tain the best system of morals the with them the conviction that world has ever seen: and though conscience cannot hold the reins it is ornamental to rural men to over the passions of men, any be instructed in philosophy, it is more than the slaughtered dragoon much more ornamental that they can guide his charger into the should instruct themselves in the battle. The people of this world, Holy Oracles. Christianity car- are contending together in the turies in its train virtues nobler by multuous sea of self-interest, and far, than any other system; its the cry of conscience for that which precepts penetrate more deeply is right, is often overwhelmed in into the heart and conscience, and the roar of the waves—is heard they affect more intimately all the no more than the shriek of the notives which prompt to action.

We might There are complaints, indeed, have the temples of justice, but about the strictness of its morals, without the Bible they would be as addressed to frail and erring profaned: we might have her mi. man; but this leads wise men the nisters in robes, but how often more to approve the system. Were might equity strip away the

sea bird in a storm.

abused investiture. If men carry There is nothing more delightnot about them a conscience so ful than the interchange of kind purified by the Scripture as to be offices between rural men of wealth accurate and invariable in its de- and their tenantry. These acts cisions, it cannot be a conscience of kindness, however, have often of which our Maker will approve. self interest for their basis. But The morality of the Scriptures there should be a surrender of this is simple and pure. To ask us to for the broad basis of Christianiadopt any other rule, in sight of ty, because the affection which one so plain, would be as incon- springs from self interest, may exgruous as to ask us on a journey pire with the circumstances that to strike into a thousand bye paths gave it birth. The peasantry of and entangling thickets, in sight our own country are possessed of a highway that leads through a of privileges, which do not fall to smiling country.

the lot of thousands, in the same We are too apt to build whited rank of life, in other countries. The sepulchres, to cover over the mo- means of subsistence with us, are ral death of our hearts. Looking comparatively easy of acquisition, over the state of the world we and proprietors of lands are accessiquickly find that men refuse to be ble to those who rent and cultivate swayed by the precepts of Chris- them. One of the greatest evils tianity. The policy of courts, the with which the peasantry of the craft of diplomatists, the vindic. old world have to contend is here tiveness of kings, the fury of war scarcely known, namely, the non riors, and the madness of an in- residence on their estates, of large flamed populace, clearly show that landed proprietors—of the evils men will not be influenced by that of an Irish peasantry some knowwhich would extinguish their am- ledge may be gleaned from the bition, or control their passions. memoirs of Edgeworth. More how

In inculcating the virtues of ever is required of rural men, Christianity on rural men, it is than the mere redress of ordinary readily admitted that there is grievances. The morals of Chrisequal necessity for inculcating tianity deal in things positive, as well them on all. But in tilling the as in things negative. There must earth, while many temptations are not only be the withholding or putescaped, there are others peculiar ting down of an oppressive arm, to this mode of life, which may which would crush their rights, but lead to a neglect of the rule to do there must be an actual advanceto others, as we would they should ment of their comforts. Intellido to us. He that is unfaithful in gence must be fostered; and even little, is unfaithful also in much. intelligence, without piety, may inHe that overreaches an humble flict an injury on the community: husbandman in a shilling, so far it may create a haughty populaas principle is concerned, might tion, who lean to their own underas well overreach him in a guinea. standing. But no such evil can There is often a temptation to result, if piety be united with inadopt means and cherish a spirit telligence; for the former will corthat is unchristian, in order to rect or prevent the poison which hand down rural domains unim- the latter, left to itself, might breed paired, and even improved and em- and nourish. The higher circles in bellished, to our descendants. But rural life may do much to impress he is not to be envied-he is a the minds of their dependants and guilty man, who employs fraud or neighbours with a feeling of the injustice to fling fine tints over his importance of piety. Their counpossessions.

sel, when given with a benignant

THE TEARS OF PARENTS.

spirit, often produces lasting ef- quit it, without a solitary cry of fects; and when they sleep in their distress having reached their ear graves, the poor man may often in vain. The Scriptures have cast upon them the first flower that been the rule by which they have blossoms in the glade. They may managed and used their possesdo much by precept, and still much sions, and by which they have been more by example. Their most led down to the dwellings of their inconsiderable actions are noticed; dependants and poorer neighbours, and a tenour of kind, and equitable, that they might refresh them with and pious conduct, can scarcely a joyous influence. fail to have the happiest influence.

It is impossible, without a personal inspection of the wants of the poor, to ascertain the number and nature of those wants.

A su

Under the above title, a series perficial glance may satisfy the of papers was commenced in the selfish, but a close and thorough Christian Observer, for January investigation is the business of the last. After an interruption of sephilanthropist. From a distance,, veral months, they were resumed, the poverty stricken hovel may and continued in the September wear the aspect of cheerfulness, and October numbers of that work; and even embellish the prospect. and a farther continuance has been But draw nigh and behold. The promised. The following extract wealthy themselves frequently from the October number, conneed the arm of help. Why then taining the account of an unhappy should not they whose prospects son of the excellent and well known have been darkened from the be- Andrew Fuller, with the writer's ginning, still oftener need assist- reflections interspersed, will, we ancer Damascus has been called are sure, interest, and we hope a city in the country, and there are edify, all our readers; and extendmany who live in the country that ed as it is, we think that none will have all the luxuries of that re- complain of its length. nowned city; from which the wants of the neighbouring poor

What affliction can be so great ought to receive relief. No man as, believing the Bible, to see a was more capable than Burns of child perish apparently beyond all expostulating with the wealthy, in hope! I will quote as an illustraa burst of indignant eloquence- tion a passage from the life of the

late Mr. Andrew Fuller, whose Oh ye, who, sunk in beds of down, Feel not a want, but what yourselves highly valuable works, recently create,

collected and published-especialThink for a moment on his wretched fate, ly his Socinian and Christian SysWhom friends and fortune quite disown, tem compared-make me grudge Ill satisfied keen nature's clam'rous call,

that he did not pray under the Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep,

same roof with us; though well While thro' the ragged roof and chinky will it be if we are permitted to

praise eternally in the same temChill o'er bis slumbers, piles the drifted ple with him. Mr. Fuller had a heap.

son of many prayers and many To the duties of Christiaity, tears. I copy the following notices then, let all attend. It is not to respecting this unhappy youth philosophy that we shall have to from his father's diary, as introgive in our last account. How duced by his biographer, doubting glowing are the prospects of those not that the incidents will be new who, when they quit the earth, to you, and that you will account

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them as affecting an exhibition of encouragement for that work, he
the tears of a Christian parent as will readily give him up.
can be found upon record. The “I felt very tenderly last night
particular point which I adduce and this morning in prayer. I
the narrative to illustrate is, the cannot say, 'God, before whom
poignancy of that grief which has my fathers Abraham and Isaac
for its object spiritual apprehen- did walk;' but I can say, God,
sions, respecting the character or who hath fed me all my life long
end of a beloved child. It is not unto this day, the Angel which
often that the secret feelings of a redeemed me from all evil, bless
religious father's heart for an irre- the lad.''
ligious child become thus fully In the short space of two months
known to the world; I will there- after writing the above-such are
fore quote somewhat largely, for often the vicissitudes of parental
the sake of the important instruc- hopes and alarms—we find Mr.
tion conveyed in the passage.

Fuller secretly recording, respectMr. Fuller writes, May 12, 1796,' ing one thus apparently hopeful, “ This day my eldest son is gone “ sober and tender in his spirit," to London upon trial, at a ware- “ praying in private,” and “exhouse belonging to Mr. B. My pressing a desire after the minisheart has been much exercised try,” the following bitter lamentaabout him. The child is sober tion: “I perceive I have great unand tender in his spirit: I find too happiness before me in my son, he prays in private, but whether whose instability is continually he be really godly I know not. appearing; he must leave London, Sometimes he has expressed a de- and what to do with him I know sire after the ministry, but I al. not. I was lately earnestly enways considered that as arising gaged in prayer for him, that he from the want of knowing himself

. might be renewed in his spirit, About a year and half ago, I felt and be the Lord's; and these words a very affecting time in pleading occurred to my mind — Hear my with God on his behalf. Nothing prayer, O Lord, that goeth not appeared to me so desirable for forth out of feigned lips;' and I him as that he might be a servant prayed them over many times.” of God. I felt my heart much Other situations were procured drawn out to devote him to the for the unhappy youth, but in none Lord, in whatever way he might of them would he remain. We employ him. Since that time, as find his father about this time exhe became of age for business, my pressing himself as follows, in a thoughts have been much engaged confidential letter to a friend. on his behalf. As to giving him opens a heart-rending chapter in any idea of his ever being engaged domestick history. in the ministry, it is what I care- My heart is almost broken. fully shun; and whether he ever Let nothing that I said grieve you; will be is altogether uncertain; I but make allowance for your afflictknow not whether he be a real ed and distressed friend. When I Christian as yet, or, if he be, lie down, a load almost insupport. whether he will possess those qua- able depresses me. Mine eyes are lifications which are requisite for kept waking, or if I get a little that work; but this I have done, I sleep it is disturbed; and as soon have mentioned the 'exercises of as I awake, my load returns upon my mind to Mr, B., who is a god- me. O Lord, I know not what to ly man, and, if at any future time do; but mine eyes are up unto within the next five or six years he thee. Keep me, my God, from should appear a proper object of sinful despondency. Thou hast

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promised that all things shall on the Lord, and some degree of work together for good to them cheerful satisfaction that things that love thee; fulfil thy promise, would end well. I know not what on which thou hast caused thy is before me; but hitherto the Lord servant to hope. O my God, this hath helped me; and still I feel rechild which thou hast given me solved to hope in his mercy.” in charge is wicked before thee, His discharge from the army and is disobedient to me, and is was obtained on the ground of his plunging himself into ruin. Have being an apprentice, but he subsemercy upon him, O Lord, and pre- quently enlisted in the marines; serve him from evil. Bring him soon after which he appeared senhome to me, and not to me only, sible of his folly. The influence but also to thyself.

of early religious education was “If I see the children of other felt. Shocked at the heathenism people it aggravates my sorrow. of his present situation, and callThose who have had no instruc- ing to remembrance the peaceful tion, no pious example, no warn- sabhaths and pious instructions ings or counsels, are often seen to of home, he addressed his father, be steady and trusty; but my child, earnestly entreating him_to use who has had all these advantages, efforts for his liberation. This apis worthy of no trust to be placed peal to the piety and affection of a in him. I am afraid he will go Christian parent was promptly

into the army, that sink of immo- responded to. His father's heart Frality; or if not, that being reduced went forth to meet him, and he to extremity he will be tempted to

more restored to the steal. And oh, if he should get bosom of his family. Notwithsuch a habit, what may not these standing the influence of his weeping eyes witness, or this mother-in-law, to whom as well broken heart be called to endure! as to every other branch of the O my God, whither will my fears family he was fondly attached, a lead me? Have mercy upon me, dislike to business, increased by a poor unhappy parent: have habits recently contracted, once mercy, upon him, a poor ungodly more induced his departure. child."

“ The sorrows of my heart," The former of these fears was says his father, “have been inrealized: in 1798 he entered into creased, at different times, to a the army; on which occasion his degree almost insupportable: yet father thus writes to Dr. Ryland:- I have hoped in God, and do still

“I have indeed had a sore trial hope that I shall see mercy for in the affair you mention: but I do him in the end. The Lord knows not recollect any trial of my life in that I have not sought great things which I had more of a spirit of for him, and that I have been more prayer, and confidence in God. concerned for the wicked course he Many parts of Scripture were was following than on account of precious, particularly the follow- the meanness of his taste. O may ing:—'O Lord, I know not what the Lord bring me out of this horto do; but'mine eyes are up unto rible pit, and put a new song in thee.-O Lord, I am oppressed, my mouth! undertake for me.-Commit thy My heart is oppressed; but way unto the Lord and he shall yet I am supported. Yesterday I bring it to pass.-Cast thy burden fasted and prayed the day through. on the Lord, and he shall sustain Many Scriptures were sweet to thee.-All things work together me; particularly Matt. xv. 25– for good,' &c. Even while I knew 'Lord help me!'-a petition in not where he was, I felt stayed which a parent was heard for a

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