« ForrigeFortsett »
cans in this country, and which proved one of the important vestigia to the glorious result of the abolition of the trade and the formation of the African Society. In all these cases opinion has soon been formed-and the judgement of men, which lays open to a kind of intuitive verdict, to determine right. But in this warfare, ’tis not the judgement only that is to be won, but 'Truth has to attack the passions. Here the conflict is tedious, the resistance long-inasmuch as it opposes the gratifications of sense; and the painful fact is, that man often and quickly becomes a convert to opinion, he bows his judgement to conviction: but it is not conviction alone will do; a correction of habit must accompany the conviction, when the heart is sincere, and without which, a change of judgement is of little worth. How many persons, who are the perpetual slaves of gluttony, of drunkenness, of debauchery, and every other intemperance, are convinced of the error of these courses ! But this conviction leaves them bound with the chain of their sins; nor will the liberty of the children of God be theirs, till the Son of God by his spirit makes them free: then will they be free indeed; and then will practical Truth exhibit its sceptre over them, and they prove its obedient subjects.
The progress of the British and Foreign Bible Society, with several other useful benevolent and Christian societies, all prove to us that the great cause of Truth is on the advance, as it respects the conduct as well as the opinions of men. But there is one great victory for Christian Truth yet to achieve; one very strong hold of Antichrist which remains to be attacked and conquered. I mean the horrid practice of War.
· It is awful to nature, and its effects are readily admitted by. thousands, who nevertheless suppose it so incurable an evil, that they treat every argument against it as wild enthusiasm or fanaticism, although the Scripture assures us, that Jesus Christ is the prince of peace, and that the glorious period is fast approaching when the nations of the earth shall learn war no more. The practical disbelief of this certain feature of Christ's kingdom paralyses their every effort to facilitate so blessed an event, and too often leads the Christian to join issue with the infidel on this important subject. The hold which this horrid sentiment has on men's minds is awful ; and Christians with the Bible before them, are so far in this particular yet the slaves of prejudice, that he who ventures to adopt the contrary sentiment is “ hooted for his nudities and scorn’d.” Here is a demonstration of the inefficacy of opinion while the passions are unsubdued. Opinion admits what our Redeemer has said as to our duty-" I say unto you that ye resist not evil.” But Expedience,
who obtrudes her government, says, If you understand these expressions literally, you will be accounted fools, and every one will impose on you. It is therefore lawful to war. Scripture says, Wars and fighting arise from our lusts, which war in our members. Well, says Expedience, you must not be imposed upon ; you must resist in your own defence; and you have the example of good inen under the New Testament dispensation, who have done it, and at the same time maintained great degrees of piety; and therefore you may submit to it without question. Thus Expedience with a brazen forehead attempts to stifle the cries of Justice and the voice of Truth. And men in
other respect entitled to our highest regards for their humanity, when they are called by the tocsin of War, lead on a host of their countrymen to slaughter, or to be slaughtered, at a moment when every religious sentiment and every Christian grace must be driven from the heart, to give place to the infuriated energies of Moloch. What is this but the positive dereliction of practical Truth; and the sacrifice of her best interests to' a vile old prejudice, introduced by Satan, and only supportable while he assumes to be the God of this world? O might the friends of Truth unite, and try the effects of its practical energies on the horrid apologies for war! What are men ? animals so ferocious, that in their disputes nothing can bring the contest to an issue, but a previous sacrifice, a hundred hecatombs of human beings, whose blood must flow as a libation, antecedent to the settlement? Are men so savage, and in civilized countries too, that an affront, or a supposed affront, can be settled only at the point of the sword? Could no great arbitrators be made the judges of national disputes ? Could no umpire be found ? Could no award he given, but as the dæinon of Vengeance is gorged with blood ? O thou greatest, thou latest, thou most anti-christian delusion, thou furious Satanic being-everlasting ruiu be on thee, War ! War, afflicting, sanguinary, immolating War! Soon may our eyes behold the judges of divine Truth attending thy doom, and the juries of Wisdom pronouncing it! Join, Christians, to examine its deceptious pleas! Join, ye Monarchs, to spare the lives of those silly sheep your subjects; and, bearing the Christian name, let Christ be your exemplar, and decide all your differences as his disciples ! And, ye Politicians, renounce all your expedience for the immutable and finally victorious axioms of practical Truth !
our countrymen, who avail themselves of the present situation of public affairs to visit the continent, would employ a portion of their time in inquiring after useful establishments, the means by which they are managed and supported, and the extent of the benests derived from them; if they would examine into the manner of conducting prisons and hospitals, and the state of the poor, with the provisions made for them in foreign parts, and the effect of these provisions on the population at large; they would travel to some purpose, and might return with a rich treasure for the friends of humanity at home; new ideas might be suggested, and our own establishments improved. The gentleman to whom we are obliged for the following most interesting communication, ever alive to the interests of his fellow creatures, suffers nothing to escape him which he thinks may turn to their benefit. Being lately at Amsterdam, he heard of an Association for the amelioration of the condition of the Poor throughout Holland, and became acquainted with one of the principal directors, from whom the following letter, and account of the Institution, have been received :
66 My Dear Sir,
Amsterdam, 25th of Nov. 1814. “ I avail myself of the first opportunity which I have been able to find, to send you a brief account of the origin, object, and labours of “ The Society of Public Utility,” presented in 1809 to King Louis by the Directors in chief of the said Society. I fancy you will require further details upon many points ; but this piece will at least furnish you with general notions, and put you in possession of the outline. "I ask no more than to know your intentions with respect to the development of any particular part: every explanation you can wish shall be most heartily transmitted to you. The establishment of such a society in England, modified according to local eircumstances, might produce in that country the same happy results which ours in Holland has incessantly afforded. We see with pleasure so good a work in such good hands. Our Sovereign continues to merit the love of all good Hollanders by his indefatigable assiduity in business, by his spirit of economy and order, and above all by the liberality of his views. Accept the repeated assurance of the perfect esteem with which I have the honour to be,
“ My dear Sir,
“ Your devoted servant and friend."
“ This Society owes its origin to John Nieuwenhuizen, a minister
of the sect known in this country by the name of Mennonists. This man, endowed with a very sensible but strong mind, and deeply affected with the evils which afflict human nature in general, and the poorer classes of the people in particular, conceived the plan, bold and vast in appearance, but simple in execution, of providing a remedy for these evils, and furnishing to his fellow citizens in poor circumstances, the means of softening the lot to which nature, birth, and fortune had destined them. To teach these men what were their duties, to prove to them the indispensable necessity of fulfilling these duties, to offer them enjoyments at the same time innocent and compatible with their means, to enlighten them on their true interests, and finally to teach them to walk with a firm step and serene eye towards the term of their destination, was the object of the founder of this Society. His situation perpetually furnished him with the means of ascertaining the causes of the evils of his fellow creatures; and though he was persuaded, from his own experience, that it was not practicable, or expedient, to instruct the great mass of the people in the higher branches of knowledge, which would only inultiply their wants in proportion, he also felt that, when the business is to form the heart and purify the morals, there is no longer any distinction of classes; and that the virtues which proceed from a heart directed by an understanding cultivated to a certain point, acquire thereby a new character of sublimity. Such were the views of this Philanthropist, who, by the aid of some co-operators animated with the same spirit as himself, founded on the 24th of November 1784 The Society of Public Utility, an association which in its growth has borne eminent marks of divine protection.
“This body proposes to labourunremittinglyin the advancement of piety and good morals, in conformity with the fundamental principles of Christianity. Its object is to propagate useful science and knowledge ; above all, that which is indispensably necessary for those citizens least favoured with the gifts of fortune, and which, by cultivating their understanding and heart, must necessarily direct their actions towards a moral end. This is a point de which the said Society has principally in view, in order to contribute as much as possible to the public felicity.
As to the first of these objects, the propagation of knowledge, it carefully avoids mixing in any theological or political discussion; and as to the second point, the nature of its labours is entirely different from that of other societies instituted for persons more enlightened.
“. It seeks to accomplish its object by employing all those means
which may tend to make the young people placed in the Schools
“Ist, Ordinary Members.
Every man may be admitted as a member of this Society, whatever may be the Christian sect of which he makes profession, or the rank he occupies in society. All those, whether male or female, who from the distance of their habitations, or for other reasons, are incapacitated from becoming ordinary members, are without exception admitted as subscribers, provided the annual contribution be not less than one ducat of Holland.
“Corresponding members may be chosen from persons who in- habit some very distant place, where particular reasons prevent
the establishment of a department. These persons are charged · with the admission of new members, and with all the duties required from directors of the departments. Honorary members are exempted from contributions: they may consist of such Instructors who make use of the Society's elementary and other books in their schools, and of those who have introduced into their colleges the method of instruction which it has proposed. There are besides other honorary members, who enjoy the same rights as ordinary members.
“All these members are divided into many departments, which bear the names of the places where the assemblies are held. The number of departments in the different countries of Holland is 16. The number of members amounts to more than 6,300.
“Every department is free and independent, as well in regard to the holding of assemblies, the sum of contributions, the arrangements, the useful undertakings, and the mode of admission of members, as to the discourses pronounced in the assemblies, provided that these discourses favour the views of the Society.
“ The departments which have erected Schools at their own expense enjoy the right of using the vignettes of the Society in the prizes which are distributed to the scholars. Every department