« PreviousContinue »
bishop describes? What if their children should abhor, mock and ridicule the particular modes of religion which their parents practise; if they should ridicule and curse their parents for fanatics and presbyterians? And at the same time, if these young creatures, should be in danger also of growing up to practise sedition and rebellion against our excellent king and his posterity in years to come. I heartily join with his lordship to hope better things, and wish his zeal for a reformation may have great success.
Yet I think I ought to add a word in this place also, in favour of the poor of the church of England, who love and value the present government, and the protestant succession : What a grief would it be to them, if they should find their own children when grown up, to become enemies to the illustrious house of Hanover, and to be deeply tinctured with such principles as are contrary to the interest of Great Britain, and to the civil and religious liberty of men and christians?
On this occasion therefore, I think it may not be amiss to request every subscriber for the support of any charity-school, to make due and strict enquiry, Whether the teachers and governors of it, are hearty and zealous friends of the present government? That they may not lay out their money to propagate sedition instead of virtue, and to nourish the seeds of rebellion in the rising age, and lay a foundation for our future slavery and ruin.
Wheresoever therefore there is the least danger of this kind, surely every true Briton must consent to say, "Let charityschools among protestant dissenters go on to clothe the naked, and to furnish the poor with trades, and to breed them up in all the forms of useful knowledge and industry, lest their needy parents should be tempted to venture them into dangerous nurseries, and lest their children should grow up to become the factious disturbers of our protestant government, as well as the persecutors and tormentors of their parents." If some persons are still of opinion, that the clothing of poor children may be attended with some inconvenience; I think it is but a small one, and it ought to be endured rather than the danger of a far greater evil should be incurred.
Upon the whole, I conclude, That those who are dissatisfied with the clothing of children in these schools of charity among the dissenters, are desired to contribute something towards their being taught to read, and write, and cast accompts; that they may be disposed of to some of the lowest businesses of life: Those that are displeased with their using the pen, or their learning to make figures, let them contribute something towards their learning to read the bible: Or if there are any persons that can suppose that this is too much knowledge for them; yet
even then they may give something towards the forming their rude and ignorant minds, and correcting their brutal manners, towards their being taught in a school something of religion and a catechism that they may learn to worship God, and know their duties to men.
If you have any desire that the poor of the nation should not be left to grow up in all manner of vice and iniquity, and become a burden and nuisance to the kingdom, if you have any value for the preservation of property, for the propagation of virtue or religion and the transmission of them to the next age, if you have any tenderness for the immortal souls of mankind, and any zeal for the honour of God in the growing generation, bestow a mite toward the support of this most useful and generous charity: Give something towards the instruction and education of a company of wretched young creatures, that they may be taken from the street, that they may be rescued from the vile company of those that curse and swear, rob and steal, that they may be kept from fatal temptations to drunkenness, lewdness and vile intemperance, and be preserved from sin and ruin.
If by the good effects of this slender education which you bestow upon them they should ever hereafter grow up to become useful members of civil society, and a blessing to the world, the following age shall thankfully acknowledge your hand in it, and the children themselves shall call you blessed : And above all, if they are by this means trained up to the fear of God, to the faith of Christ, and the practice of sincere piety, there will be so many precious souls rescued from the gates of hell, and so many blessed inhabitants added to the heavenly regions. What a grateful and surprising pleasure will it be to you to see such a glorious harvest sprung up there from your grains of charity scattered here on earth? What an unspeakable joy to reflect that you have been made the happy instruments of this salvation: And your labour of love shall not be forgotten in the great and solemn day of recompence.
A short Account of the signal and surprising Appearances of God in his Providence for the erecting and support of a Charity-School, among the Pietists, or Puritans, in Germany.
IT is now about thirty years ago, that some masters of art, in the university at Leipsick, in Saxony, set up a private conference among themselves for the better understanding of scripture, and for the regulating their studies and their conversation - accordingly: The first part of that exercise was critical, to find out the literal meaning of the text, and the other part consisted in the deducing of propositions and practical uses from it. This was kept up with good success for some time in a private chamber after evening service was over on Sundays. One of the persons concerned in this affair was Mr. Augustus Hermannus Frank. Many of the young students were powerfully wrought on by this plain and practical way of reading the bible, and excited to an ardent love for the study of the holy scriptures, rather minding now the hearty reformation of their souls and conversion from darkness to light than unnecessary strifes and disputes. They always begun and ended with prayer.
When this thing began to have a wider spread and influence, the other students who had no mind to enter upon a new course of life, in derision called them Pietists, as our fathers in England were called Puritans, and much on the same account. The clamours against them grew fierce and violent, the pulpits rung with this new name of reproach, ecclesiastical courts bestirred themselves, and the first instruments of pietism were banished from Leipsick: Mr. Frank was persecuted from place to place, till at last, by the providence of God, he was chosen professor of the oriental languages at the university of Hall, and pastor of Glaucha, in the suburbs of that city.
This good man when he was settled at Glaucha, being grieved at the gross ignorance of the poor and at their wicked lives, appointed them to come every Thursday, to his house in order to make some charitable distributions amongst them, and to instruct them in the things of God. This was about the year 1694. The next year he fixed an alms-box in his parlour, and in a little time a certain person put into it at once about the value of eighteen shillings and sixpence. He took this in his hands and said in full assurance off th, "This is now a considerable
fund, worthy to be laid out in some important undertaking; wherefore, I will even take this for the foundation of a charityschool." The same day he bought as many books as cost eight shillings, and then got a student to teach the poor children two hours in a day. He fitted up a place before his study for a charity-school, and fixed a box on one of the walls. At the top thereof, he set down these words: "For defraying the charges of putting to school poor children and providing books and other necessaries;" Anno MDCXCV. And at the bottom? Prov. xix. 17. He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord, and, that which he hath given, will he pay him again.
"We had, saith he, many poor children brought together before we had built a house to receive them: In the mean time the Lord inclined the heart of a person of quality to lay out the sum of a thousand crowns for the use of the poor: And two other persons supplied us with four hundred crowns to encourage the design on foot.
Much of this money was spent in feeding and clothing and instructing the orphans before they begun to build a hospital: and, as the author expresses it; "The Lord knows we had not so much as would answer the cost of a small cottage, much less a building as might hold two hundred people: But the Lord strengthened my faith, and on July 13, 1698, the foundation of a hospital was laid in the name of God, and as for the building itself itself I was to wait upon God, and from week to week receive at his hand what he would be graciously pleased to furnish me with for carrying on the same.'
The pious author goes on and informs us how successfully the building proceeded in opposition to all the froward censures of ill-meaning people, by the most unforeseen and amazing in-. stances of the liberality of persons known and unknown, which brought in daily, weekly, and sometimes hourly supplies both for the support of the orphans and the building of the house; till it has at last arisen to such a fair extent and to the support and instruction of so many hundreds of the poor as to become the glory of the German churches, the wonder of the nations, and the most miraculous instance of the effect of faith and prayer that was ever known of this kind, not only since the days of the apostles, but perhaps since the creation.
It is hardly possible to read the account without a sacred astonishment. There we find to what an extreme necessity they were at several times reduced in the building, and yet before night their supplies were as suitable, sufficient and surprizing, as if an angel had been appointed to oversee the work, and to take care that the workmen were paid.
God has not only manifested his divine approbation of
charity-schools by such a perpetual series of testimonies, as it were, from heaven promoting this building and supplying their wants, but the success of this work in the conversion of a multitude of souls here, and in spreading vital religion through many adjacent countries gives a further demonstration how pleasing it has been to God.
Out of these schools under the care of this great and pious man hath proceeded a great number of pious and learned tutors, for gentlemen's children, school-masters and divines who have done much towards the spreading a new and lively savour of christianity through many of the provinces of Germany; and besides this, they have educated multitudes of honest and pious. christians who were taken in here as orphans, and who have been placed out to various trades, artifices and labours in life, whereby there is a considerable reformation in those parts of the world and a glorious change from a cold formal lifeless profession of religion to the practice of solid piety and goodness.
The late reverend and pious doctor Josiah Woodward, the present right reverend doctor Kennet bishop of Peterborough, and other divines of the church of England have given their public enconiumns of this strange and surprizing work of liberality several years ago. It was a most heavy and painful stroke which this glorious scene of piety and charity sustained last year by the death of the most excellent founder professor Frank, but the work is still carried on by his worthy successors, and may the same happy success still attend it through a rich supply of the Spirit of Christ among them.
The larger account of these things is contained in several narratives written by professor Frank himself, and by the late pious Mr. William Anthony Boehm, chaplain to the late prince George of Denmark, these are all put together and prefaced by doctor Woodward; printed by Mr. Downing in BartholomewClose And are well worth the perusal of the present age, to let them see there is a divine providence in the world, and a dis vine approbation of sincere works of charity.