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and ingratitude, the disappointed parent alone can tell the poignancy of his heart-rending distress. It is truly mortifying to have an unfaithful friend; but a rebellious child must be an almost intolerable curse. It is with grateful satisfaction I can say, my son, that you have hitherto been a blessing to
when the inexperience or thoughtlessness of boyhood can no longer be pleaded in extenuation of error. You know right from wrong, and you stand fully answerable before your Maker for every step of your future progress through life. The most sanguine wish your Father feels, and the most fervent and frequent prayer he ever offers, The affection of some Parents is next to his own salvation, is that divided, and therefore, in some you may be a child of God, that measure weakened, by having a you may adorn the Christian chanumerous offspring, each claiming racter, and finally be a partaker of an equal portion of their regards. everlasting felicity. Is your own But as it seemed fit to an all-wise bosom animated with the same Providence to deprive both myself desire, my son? Are these the oband you of your dear departed jects after which your highest ammother soon after your birth, all bition soars? Youthful ardour is my earthly wishes have centred in too often excited by far different you, and a considerable portion of stimulants. Your love of literary my temporal happiness has de- pursuits, and the amiable principended upon you. I bless God ples which appear to regulate your that you have contributed vastly actions will, I have little doubt, more to my comfort than my sor- prevent you from raking after row; and your dutiful returns of pleasures in the sink of profligacy: love and reverence have well re- and I believe you possess too much munerated me for my constant pride to suffer your morals to be attention to your welfare, and have corrupted by improper company mitigated the severity of the wound or bad example. But let me repeat which your excellent mother's what I have often told you, that death has inflicted. But while I neither your talents, your virtuous thus approve your conduct, do not principles, nor your pride will complacently imagine that I cou-decide your future condition-sider you to be faultless. I hope These can neither keep you from your own judgment and self. Hell, nor carry you to Heaven. knowledge will acquit me of enter-They may make you respected by taining such an idea-for I should your acquaintances, and flattered indeed be sorry if I thought that by your relatives, but they can I knew you better than you know never make you comely in the sight yourself I am conscious that the of your God. partiality of a Father will too often blind his eyes to the error of his children; but ever keeping in miud that it is your duty as well as your interest to search out those follies and improper passions which paternal fondness or want of opportunity may have prevented me from detecting at the same time you will bear with me, nay, you will feel grateful to me, if I point out and warn you of those which I have discovered.
You are now arrived at an age
Though I have sometimes pleased myself with the idea that your consistency of deportiment must proceed from the work of grace having commenced in your heart, yet, as you have never been sufficiently ingenuous to declare even a timid hope that you are the subject of this change, I suspect that you rank amongst a class of young men by no means small in the present day. There are many who, like yourself, having had the inestimable advantage of what is called
a religious education, and having | obvious inference, how little you seen the precepts of Christianity know already. The human heart is daily put in practice by their pious naturally steeled against religious parents, are become so habituated impressions, and the pride of into a regular and virtuous course of tellect covers it with an additional life, that vice is despoiled of its coat of mail. Men of brilliant allurements, and they are moral talents cannot but be conscious of characters almost by necessity. I their superiority to the generality would not drive you into daring of their fellow-creatures. When wickedness, by presumptuously they speak, they command atten. asserting that there will be no dif- tion, when they argue, they silence ference between your future state, their opponents. But alas! their and that of the most abandoned abilities too often serve them as a and degraded slave to sin, if you shield, to blunt the arrows of truth; live and die with no other character and as a sword, to wield against the than that which I have imagined soldiers of Christ. you to possess: but I am justified in declaring that the only difference will consist in the degree of your condemnation and can you be satisfied with the reflection, that your hell may perhaps be less intolerable than that of an Infidel or a Deist? What! would it afford you an inducement to commit an offence which the laws of your country punish by transportation, because there are other crimes for which justice demands the life of the perpetrator?
Let me solicit you, at this important era of your life, to lay this subject seriously to heart; and I must request you to read with particular attention those two Sermons of Dr. Watts's, entitled, "A hopeful youth falling short of Heaven." When you have perused these admirable discourses, tell me how far you feel them to be applicable to yourself,
You are now, my dear George, just about to quit the seat of your classical attainments, to follow a profession more laborious and less interesting than that of a scholar. You will find considerable diligence and application necessary, before you can make any proficiency in this barren and forbidding study. But I hope this difficulty will be the means of correcting your most silly propensity-literary pride. When you perceive how much you have to learn, you will draw the
I am not apprehensive that will ever thus impiously oppose the energies of your mind, either to the reformation of your own heart, or the advancement of Christianity in the world-but I do fear that the high opinion you seem to indulge of your own attainments, will present a considerable obstacle to your reception of divine truth. You must form a low and a just estimate of yourself; you must look with contempt upon all that you now so fondly cherish, before you can heartily seek the only true "wisdom which cometh down from above," and which alone “is able to make you wise unto salvation.”
It is not my object to damp your literary ardour, for this would be to reflect on myself for the liberal education I have given you, and the personal attention I have bestowed upon your improvement; but I wish to divest human learning of that importance which you attach to it. Talents are valuable in proportion as they improve the moral character of man, and sub. serve the cause of religion.-They are often a useful and powerful auxiliary to genuine piety; they enable the Christian to expose the specious sophistry, and counteract the insinuating designs of deism; or to defeat the bolder attempts of infidelity.
Whilst you are culling the flowers 'which grow in the paths of science,
or digging deep for the metal | finery for solid sense, offering which lies hid in the mines of legal flowers for food, purchasing ap learning, remember, my son, that plause with mean adulation, or deunless you walk in the way of parting at all from Scripture models, the Lord," and are possessed of shall so far "become all things to the "riches of his grace," neither all men," as to unite taste with an elegant taste nor extensive simplicity, energy with clearness, knowledge will avail you any thing grandeur with truth. Even among in a dying hour. Should you re- general hearers, there is such an main carelessly indifferent 'till that advancement of intellect, that what awful season, all your sensibilities would have once passed without will then be horribly poignant, all censure, will now be almost univermy admonitions will then crowd sally considered as derogatory to upon your agonized soul, and you the ministerial office. will then believe that when I thus addressed you, I had your best interests at heart. The limits of this Letter forbid my adding more at present; I hope to resume the subject shortly, 'till then believe me to be,
As I have ever found you friendly and candid in giving place to short extracts from the writings of good men of various persuasions, I trust to your wonted liberality in giving the following just remarks further publicity-they are taken from the "Annual Report of the Rotherham Independent College," which has just come to hand. Hull, September 4, 1817.
Your obliged friend,
I. T. "CONSIDER, for a moment, the religious character of the age in which we have the happiness to live. Is it not also the æra of mental advancement,-of spirited enquiry, of critical exactness and dexterity? There was an age when (much to their honour), the lowest ranks in society, labouring under every disadvantage, made up almost the aggregate of those who dared to hear the glorious gospel. But, thanks be to God, we have now in our congregations, great numbers, whose habits, manners, and literary advantages, seem to require a ministry, which without overlooking the humblest and poorest of mankind, substituting
As we sometimes behold the spirit of free enquiry (laudable in itself) pushed to a daring extreme, inconsistent with due reverence for the book of God; we are fully sensible that such an evil can be restrained and counteracted, only by a ministry of superior qualifications. While the right of conscience, and of private judgment, are to be inflexibly maintained; a strong barrier must be set up against the ever-roving mind of man, lest it should wander into the airy regions of fancy, or be drowned in gulphs of his own making. Even truth herself is often obscured and degraded by superfluous ornament. Objections also against many parts of divine revelation, demanding some reply, are, in our day often founded on modern science, travels, and discoveries, so that no mind however strong by nature, can answer them without the aid of learning.
Your Committee are well aware, that from various denominations of Christians, books of criticism bearing more or less on the Sacred Scriptures, are constantly issuing from the press and attracting notice; rendering it highly neces sary that some persons should be particularly qualified to estimate their real character, and to decide whether they be useful auxiliaries of Christ, or the unsuspected germs of dangerous theories. We consider it highly desirable that the ends proposed in such Institutions
as the Rotherham Independent | many in Israel;" and upon them
P. S. You may possibly be disposed also to give your readers the admirable speech of the Rev. Robert Hall, A. M. at the Leices
College should be clearly defined it must depend, in a great meaand fully understood. We utterly sure, whether the temple of truth disclaim every thing that looks shall advance in glory, or the like making preachers, or forming edifice be dilapidated, and disministers out of mere literary cha- honoured. By our most fervent racters; our real aim being not to prayers, we commend them to the make them, but to teach those care of Him, who not only can whom Christ has called to the work, make them pillars in his spiritual how, by the divine blessing upon house, but also keep them from their own diligence, they may be- falling, by enabling them rightly come able ministers of the New" to behave themselves in the Testament, workmen that need not house of God, which is the church be ashamed. It is not to build re- of the living God.” ligion on the perishable basis of learning: but learning upon religion" on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-ter Bible Society Meeting, printstone;" nor do we ever profess to build at all where this is not the ground work. A minister with nothing but his learning to recommend him, though he were a living Encyclopædia, we should consider as likely to do more harm than good. Our principles are, we trust, those of disinterested zeal and benevolence. While rejoic-ness ing in the amazing efforts made to send "the bread of life" into heathen lands, we cannot but feel deeply concerned that our country, by enjoying it in greater abundance, and in unadulterated purity, may continue "chief among the nations."
ed separately, and Sold by T. Hamilton, and Button and Son, which would further oblige me.*
ILLUSTRATION OF ROM, ix, 1–5.
"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heavi
and continual sorrow in my heart. cursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God
For I could wish that myself were ac
blessed for ever. Amen."
In the most affectionate manner THE apostle being about to we would recommend to the young speak of the rejection of the Jews men, who are now enjoying its and of the calling of the Gentiles, valuable, numerous, and increas- and to answer some objections to ing privileges, a spirit of meek- the divine procedure in that matness, docility, and gravity, ofter; and aware that this was a steadiness and integrity, of unre-subject exceedingly unpalatable to mitting diligence and spirituality, his countrymen who might be apt of simplicity and love; to guard to construe what he said as arisagainst the dangerous snares pecu-ing from pique or ill-will towards liar to their stations; to remember them-he introduces the subject the awful responsibility of their with a most solemn declaration of office, and to prepare for any dif- his concern and strong affection ficulties to which, as the soldiers for them. of Christ, they may be called to in the field of their future warfare. To them we look in years to come, for the fall and rising again of
Ver. 1. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not: that is, I speak the
* This we have done in a subsequent part of this number.
fruth as a Christian, or as in the sight of Christ, who searcheth my heart, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, i. e. My own conscience also, under the influence of the Holy Spirit bearing me witness as to the truth and sincerity of what I now declare, viz.
Ver. 2. That I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart, viz. for the deplorable condition of his unbelieving countrymen. See his account of them, 1 Thess. ii. 15.
Ver. 3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, &c. The word here rendered accursed is anathema, which the apostle uses in three other places in the severest sense, see 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Gal. i. 8, 9. which has led many to understand him here as 66 wishing to be separated from the love of Christ, to be alienated from him, to fall from the glory and the salvation purchased by him." And they think it similar to Moses' prayer when Israel sinned in the matter of the golden calf. "Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written." Exod. xxxii. 32. Which book is also termed "the writing (or register) of the house of Israel." Ezek. xiii. 9. But it is not clear that Moses' request extended beyond this present life, or his being deprived of the peculiar blessings promised to the nation of Israel, which were in general of a worldly and typical nature. To suppose that Paul wished himself accursed from Christ in the sense of being for ever separated from him, and so shut out from eternal blessedness, appears to me extremely harsh, unnatural and unlawful. The love of Christ to guilty men far transcended that of Paul to his countrymen, but it did not go this length. He submitted to become a curse for them; but he
had the prospect of deliverance, and the joy set before him. They endeavour to qualify this harsh sense by saying, that Paul only wished to be accursed from Christ, "if it were proper, or could be of any avail to their salvation." But was it proper for him, even on this supposition, to form such a wish? I think not.
Again, were we to suppose, that the apostle, from his grief of heart for his countrymen, and ardent desire of their salvation, expresses himself rather rashly here, or beyond the real deliberate wish of his heart, how shall we reconcile this with his solemn declaration, ver. 1.? The utmost therefore that we can suppose the apostle to mean is this, That he was willing to endure the greatest temporal suffering and even death itself, if it could be of any avail to the salvation of his countrymen; which is similar to what he says, Philip. ii. 17. My only objection to this sense is, that I never find the sufferings of the apostles, nor even their martyrdom expressed by their being accursed from Christ; on the contrary, our Lord pronounces such blessed.
Others are of opinion, that this wish is expressive of Paul's state of mind before his conversion; that then, when he was breathing out slaughter against the church, such was his hatred of Christ, that he was wishing to be accursed or separated from him, and to have no part or interest in him; and that his experience of such a state of mind, made him commiserate his countrymen who still continued in the same aversion to Christ.But I have two objections against this gloss. 1. I cannot recollect any passage of Scripture where aversion to any object is expressed by a wish to be accursed from it. -2. I cannot see how this sense answers the apostle's purpose, which is to show his great concern and affection for his brethren, his