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memory is the first faculty which opens in the minds of children. Of how much consequence, then, must it be, to impress it with the great truths of Christianity before it is preoccupied with less interesting subjects! There is also a peculiar aptitude in the minds of children for religious knowledge. I have constantly found them, in the first six or seven years of their lives, more inquisitive upon religious subjects than upon any others; and an ingenious instructor of youth has informed me that he has found young children more capable of receiving just ideas upon the most difficult tenets of religion than upon the most simple branches of human knowledge.
There is a wonderful property in the memory which enables it, in old age, to recover the knowledge it had acquired in early life, after it had been apparently forgotten for forty or fifty years. Of how much consequence, then, must it be, to fill the mind with that species of knowledge, in childhood and youth, which, when recalled in the decline of life, will support the soul under the infirmities of age, and smooth the avenues of approaching death! The Bible is the only book which is capable of affording this support to old age; and it is for this reason that we find it resorted to with so much diligence and pleasure by such old people as have read it in early life. I can recollect many instances of this kind,
persons who discovered no attachment to the Bible in the meridian of their lives, who have, notwithstanding, spent the evening of them in reading no other book.
My second argument in favor of the use of the Bible in schools, is founded upon an implied command of God, and upon the practice of several of the wisest nations of the world. In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, we find the following words, which are directly to my purpose :" And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."'* * * I have heard it proposed that a portion of the Bible should be
every day by the master, as a means of instructing children in it. But this is a poor substitute for obliging children to read
school-book; for, by this means, we insensibly engrave, as it were, its contents upon their minds ;' and it has been remarked that children, instructed in this way in the Scriptures, seldom forget any part of them. They have the same advantage over persons
who have only heard the Scriptures read by a master, that a man who has worked with the tools of a mechanical employment for several years, has over the man who has only
it as a
stood a few hours in the workshop, and seen the same business carried on by other people.
I think I am not too sanguine in believing that education, conducted in this manner, would, in the course of two generations, eradicate infidelity from among us, and render civil government scarcely necessary in our country.
In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constitute the soul of republicanism.
LINDLEY MURRAY, 1745—1826.
No work which treats of American literature should fail to notice him whose works on English philology have been the standard educational books on both sides of the Atlantic for half a century. Lindley Murray was born at Swatara, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1745. He was quite young when his father, an enterprising trader and miller, removed to New York, and there established himself as a merchant. Lindley had, very early, a great ardor in the pursuit of knowledge; and, after being a few years in his father's counting-room, he determined to enter the legal profession, for which he had long felt an inclination; and his father gave him permission to prepare himself for it. He entered the office of his father's counsellor, Benjamin Kissam, Esq., and was for some time a fellowstudent of the illustrious John Jay.
After remaining four years in Mr. Kissam's office, Mr. Murray was admitted to the bar, and entered upon the practice of his profession; and the next year he formed a happy matrimonial connection; but soon his father, whose health was feeble, went to England on business, and in a year sent for his son to join him. He did so, and the united families remained some time in that country. In 1771, however, our author returned to New York, and resumed the profession of law, which he practised on the principles of the strictest Christian benevolence, always urging a peaceable settlement of difficulties in every case where it was at all practicable. At the commencement of the Revolutionary struggle, being in poor health, he removed to Long Island; and, after residing there four years, having much improved, he returned to New York, and entered into mercantilo pursuits. He was very successful, and had acquired sufficient to make him independent of business, when he was attacked by a disease that completely debilitated his wholo muscular system. His physicians believed that the climate of England would be more favorable to his health, and accordingly he and his wife embarked for that country in 1784. He selected as his residence the village of Holdgate, within a mile of York. His health seemed to improve for a short time, and he was enabled to walk a little in his garden; but finally he had to give that up and take exercise in his carriage. At length he was compelled to relinquish this also, and from 1809 till his decease--sixteen years—he was wholly confined to the house. But his bodily sufferings were the means of chastening his spirit and strengthening those feelings of piety and devotion which he had long cherished. An American who visited him in 1819 remarks, “ Though so weak as scarcely able to bear his own weight, he has been enabled, by the power of a strong and well-balanced mind, and by the exercise of the Christian virtues, to yain a complete ascendency over himself, and to exhibit an instance of meekness, patience, and humility which affords, I way truly say, one of the most edifying examples I have ever bebeld.” On the 16th of February, 1826, this eminently good man closed bis earthly career.
Few authors have so wide-spread a fame as Lindley Murray, and few have had 80 many readers. His first publication was The Poicer of Religion on the Mind,-a treatise of great excellence, which was very favorably received, and passed through numerous editions. His next work was his English Grammar, which was soon followed by his English Reader; and it is doubtless the fact that no other school-books have ever enjoyed so wide a circulation. He afterwards published an Introduction and a Sequel to the Reader, an octavo edition of his Grammar, and several other minor works on the English language.
The following prose extracts are from a series of letters of an autobiographical character.
MODERATION IN ONE'S DESIRES. My views and wishes, with regard to property, were, in every period of life, contained within a very moderate compass. I was early persuaded that, though “a competence is vital to content,” I ought not to annex to that term the idea of much property. And I determined that when I should acquire enough to enable me to maintain and provide for my family, in a respectable and moderate manner, and this according to real and rational, not imaginary and fantastic wants, and a little to spare for the necessities of others, I would decline the pursuits of property, and devote a great part of my time, in some way or other, to the benefit of my fellow-creatures, within the sphere of my abilities to serve them. I perceived that the desire of great possessions generally expands with the gradual acquisition and the full attainment of them; and I imagined that charity and a generous application do not sufficiently correspond with the increase of property. I thought, too, that procuring great wealth has a tendency to produce an elated independence of mind, little connected with that humility which is the ground of all our virtues; that a busy and anxious pursuit of it often excludes views and reflections of infinite importance,
! Prof. Griscom.
and leaves but little time to acquire that treasure which would make us rich indeed. I was inclined to think that a wish for personal distinction, a desire of providing too abundantly for their children, and a powerful habit of accumulation, are the motives which commonly actuate men in the acquisition of great wealth. The strenuous endeavors of many persons to vindicate this pursuit, on the ground that the idea of a competency is indefinite, and that the more we gain, the more good we may do with it, did not make much impression upon me.
I fancied that, in general, experience did not correspond with this plausible reasoning; and I was persuaded that a truly sincere mind could be at no loss to discern the just limits between a safe and competent portion and a dangerous profusion of the good things of life. These views of the subject I reduced to practice; and terminated my mercantile concerns when I had acquired a moderate competency.
EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIAL TO HEALTII.
In the course of my literary labors, I found that the mental exercise which accompanied them was not a little beneficial to my health. The motives which excited me to write, and the objects which I hoped to accomplish, were of a nature calculated to cheer the mind, and to give the animal spirits a salutary impulse. I am persuaded that, if I had suffered my time to pass away, with little or no employment, my health would have been still more impaired, my spirits depressed, and, perhaps, my life considerably shortened. I have, therefore, reason to deem it a happiness, and a source of gratitude to Divine Providence, that I was enabled, under my bodily weakness and confinement, to turn my attention to the subjects which have for so many years afforded me abundant occupation.
I think it is incumbent upon us, whatever may be our privations, to cast our eyes around, and endeavor to discover whether there are not some means yet left us of doing good to ourselves and to others; that our lights may, in some degree, shine in every situation, and, if possible, be extinguished only with our lives. The quantum of good which, under such circumstances, we do, ought not to disturb or affect us. If we perform what we are able to perform, how little soever it may be, it is enough; it will be acceptable in the sight of Him who knows how to estimate exactly all our actions, by comparing them with our disposition and ability.
THE BLESSINGS OF AFFLICTION.
I consider myself as under deep obligations to God for the trials and afflictions with which he has been pleased to visit me,
as well as for the prosperous events of my life. They have been the corrections and restraints of a wise and merciful Father; and may justly be ranked among the number of my choicest blessings. I am firmly persuaded that cross occurrences and adverse situations may be improved by us to the happiest purposes. The spirit of resignation to the will of Heaven, which they inculcate, and the virtuous exertions to which they prompt us, in order to make the best of our condition, not only often greatly amend it, but confer on the mind a strength and elevation which dispose it to survey with less attachment the transient things of time, and to desire more earnestly the eternal happiness of another world.
DAVID RAMSEY, 1749–1815.
David RAMSEY, the historian of the Revolution, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on the 2d of April, 1749. His father, James Ramsey, was a respectable farmer, who had emigrated from Ireland, and by the diligent cultivation of his farm was enabled to educate a numerous family. A Protestant Christian, he early sowed the seeds of religion in the minds of his children, and lived to see the happy fruits of his care and labor. Our author when a youth showed great quickness of intellect, and, after going through the usual preparatory studies, entered Princeton College, where he graduated in 1765, being only sixteen years of age. After teaching for two years, he commenced the study of medicine in Philadelphia, under Dr. Rush, and in 1772 entered upon its practice in Maryland. The next year he removed to Charleston, S.C., and rose rapidly to eminence in his profession and in the respect of the community." His talents, business habits, and industry eminently qualified him for an active part in public affairs, and from the time of the Declaration of Independence to the close of the war he was a member of the Legislature of South Carolina. In February, 1782, he was elected a member of the Continental Congress, and again in 1785. The next year he returned to Charleston, and again entered the walks of private life.
From the beginning to the close of the war, Dr. Ramsey had been carefully collecting materials for its history, and in 1785 published his History of the Rerolution in South Carolina. Five years after, in 1790, when he had studied the subject more thoroughly, and had gained much valuable information from many distinguished actors in its scenes, he published his History of the American Revolution, which was received with universal approbation. In 1801, he published his
1 On his going to Charleston, Dr. Rush wrote a commendatory letter, to aid him in his profession, in wbich he says, “It is saying but little of him to tell you that he is far superior to any person we ever graduated at our college; his abilities are not only good, but great; his talents and knowledge universal. * * * Joined to all these, be is sound in his principles, strict, nay more, severe in his morals. Ho writes, talks, and-what is more-lives well.”