« НазадПродовжити »
rejoice in the establishment and in the success of the Hibernian Society.
At the date of the Report, this Society had established 347 schools; the number of scholars was 27,776. This institution was established by the protestants, but they were disposed to extend the benefits of education to the children of the catholics. In opposition to this, strong prejudices were manifested on the part of the catholic clergy. It is, however, pleasing to observe, that a considerable number of them are of a different opinion, and encourage parents to send their children to the schools established by the Society.
The following extracts from the Report will be interesting to our readers.
"The Committee are happy to state, that the regulations for the conduct of the schools are in full operation, and that the inspectors are active and circumspect. The progress of the children in learning to read, and in committing the scriptures to memory, and the interest which the catholic parents feel in having their little ones appear with credit at the inspections, are truly gratifying. The attention of the Masters, in general, to the import of the sacred word is pleasingly on the increase; and among such as have had their own understandings enlight ened and informed, there exists a spirit of emulation to have their pupils excel in giving suitable answers to questions. relating to the meaning of passages which they repeat."
"One of the scholars in B-'s school was learning his scripture task at home by the fireside. While reading aloud, his father, a catholic, was sitting by, and hearing that verse read, The Lord is rich unto all them that call upon him,' he repeated the passage two or three times, and falling on his knees, said, he blessed God that he saw in that text what he never saw before-that God is no respecter of persons, and that people of other persuasions may be saved, as well as Roman Catholics.
would send them all. that he had a Bible and Testament in his house; that he read them and compared them with the Doway Translation, and could find no great difference between them. On this the priest threatened to put him out of the church; to which he replied, 'another church will take me in."
"A poor man told his priest that he had one child in the Society's school, and if he had twenty he
"A poor man who lived in the neighbourhood of one of the schools told Mr. J. that when the priest commanded his parishioners to take their children from the schools, he waited upon him and asked him with much respect, why he wished the children to be taken from the school? The priest replied, 'it is my pleasure, sir! The poor man said, 'I know, please your reverence, that it is your pleasure, but I have taken the liberty of calling on you to know why it is your pleasure! The priest told him that he was impertinently inquisitive, and that he would give him no other answer. The poor man then presumed to expostulate with him, and exclaimed-O! dear sir, learning is a great blessing. I feel the want of it: let me have my poor children instructed in a school now happily in this neighbourhood. O, dear sir,learning is a good thing?" The priest, unmoved, made no other reply thanit was his pleasure to disperse the schools; that it should be so, and that he would punish all who dared to disobey. The poor man then very gravely asked the priest, what pur ishment he intended to inflict on the parent who continued his children at the school? The priest, with a degree of surprise, asked why he made that inquiry? to which he received this answer-BECAUSE, PLEASE YOUR REVERENCE, I THINK IT BETTER THAT I SHOULD UNDERGO THE PUNISHMENT THAN THAT MY CHILDREN SHOULD WANT EDUCATION.'
The poor man was driven from the presence of the priest, but remained firm in his resolution, and has ever since sent his children to school."
"The Committee have remarked in former Reports the existence and prevalence of this hostility to the schools of the society; and they are concerned to observe that in some places, it still continues its baneful operation.
By the power of Divine Providence, however, this hostility is to be contemplated by the supporters of the Hibernian Society, not through the gloomy medium of discomfiture and defeat but in connexion with increasing exertions and decided success. And what is yet more encouraging, the philanthropy of the Society's designs, the importance of its objects and the purity of its means, have in many instances, not only neutralized opposition but even conquered systematic resentment, and converted persecutors into friends.
"In exemplification of these observations, the committee are happy to present the following information. One of the Society's first teachers presented a Bible to a Catholic priest, which was very gratefully accepted. In conversation with him the teacher observed, that besides the common ends professed in education, the Hibernian Society wished that all the pupils should be intimately acquainted with the word of God, which alone is able to make wise unto salvation; and that there was no diminution of the Society's zeal and exertions, notwithstanding the great opposition which it had met with. On this the priest lifted up his eyes, and fervently implored a blessing on all with whom the society originated, and by whom it was supported."
At Cambridgeport, the Rev. Samuel Mead, of Amesbury.
In Salem, Dea. Joseph Ross, 76. In Andover, of a parlytic shock, Mr. Moses Griggs, aged 70.
In Barrington, R. I. Solomon Townsend, Esq. aged 70, a revolutionary officer.
At Watertown, Col. Christopher Grant, aged 74.
At Moulines, France, Jan. 2d, in the 32d year of his age, the Rev. Samuel C. Thacher, Pastor of the NewSouth Church in Boston, and one of the orginal Projectors and Proprietors of the Christian Disciple.-By this admonitory and distressing event, we are taught, that the strongest attachments of a Religious Society, the most ardent desires of relatives, and the most liberal exertions of friends, are all insufficient to insure to a minister of the Gospel, either good health, or long life. If things like these could have been availing our "Brother had not died."
We shall doubtless be furnished with some particulars of the life and character of Mr. Thacher for a future Number of this work.
BENHADAD King of Syria was dangerously sick. Alarmed by his situation he sent to Elisha the prophet to inquire whether he should recover of his disease. The person employed on this errand was Hazael. He appeared before the prophet with presents in his hand, and proceeded to inform him of the object of his visit. During the interview, the prophet fixed his eyes steadily on the countenance of Hazael. Discovering by a prophetic glance those traits in his character which would afterwards develop themselves, and percieving the cruelties he would one day practise on the inhabitants of Israel, he was unable to repress his feelings or to restrain his tears.
Ignorant of the causes which thus agitated the bosom of Elisha, unable to conjecture the reason of his distress, Hazael with surprize demanded the occasion of his sorrows. He was then explicitly informed of the malignant cruelty and violence with which he would end the career of his life. Unconscious of those seeds of dark deformity which lurked in the hidden recesses of his Vol. VI, No. 5.
life he could not have contemplated without horror. establish this assertion I need not refer to the history of Hazael. Observation will furnish melancholy proofs of its correctness; and it is generally true, that most of those instances of apostacy from virtue, which disgrace society, may be traced to ignorance of real character as their source. Every man has his darling sins, his favourite passions, which he is prone in some degree to gratify. The first compliances are considered as trifling weaknesses, natural infirmities, or little sins. Every unlawful indulgence increases the strength of corrupt desires and weakens the barriers of virtue. Guilt infuses its poison and imperceptibly taints the soul. Conscience may remonstrate, but it is quieted by being reminded of our natural weakness, the strength of temptation, the smallness of the guilt, and of our resolution not to offend in future. It is by artifices of this nature; by appealing to the common practice and sentiments of the world; by contrasting their own conduct with their neigh bours; by pleading the peculiarity of their temper, the particular dangers that result from their occupations and situation in life, that men are insensibly led from one step to another in vice. They are unconsciously allured by their favourite and predominant passions, deluded by their selfignorance and flattery, till their judgement is perverted, their consciences weakened,and they
arrive at the point of wickedness, which, if it had been foretold them at the beginning of their career, would have occasioned them in their surprise to exclaim-"Is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing!" No doubt the surprise and indignation of Hazael was unaffected. We have no reason to suppose that Peter was conscious of any hypocrisy or fraud when he assured our Divine Master that he would sacrifice his life soon. er than he would deny him. But the event showed in both cases how extremely ignorant they were of the real condition of their hearts, and of their own characters.
To avoid such humiliating and destructive consequences, we should carefully examine our natural propensities and dispositions, that we may strongly guard those points where we are most vulnerable: Examine whether we have not a secret bias to some of the numberless vices in the black catalogue-Such as intemperance, sensuality, idleness, pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, and many others. To ascertain this we need only consider what indulgences afford us the most gratificationin what company or in what circumstances we are most solicitous to place ourselves— what it is that most destroys our time our temper and our property; consider only these things and we shall be immediately furnished with a clue to our favourite vices and reigning propensities. When we have ascertained this, we
should attend to the occasion, that most usually betrays us into them; consider the spring whence they arise and the circumstances that most favour them :-Had Hazael been conscious of the spirit of ambition by which he was actuated, he would not have been so far deceived by it, as to seek its gratification by an act of violence on the life of his master. Had he known the pride and cruelty that were concealed in his heart, he might have so far shunned the occasion of exciting and indulging them as to decline the kingly office, which he must have known abounded with temptations to their indulgence.
Such is the necessity of a correct knowledge of our own hearts, in order to prevent our favourite vices from betraying us into the grossest enormities. It is impossible for us to be sufficiently guarded be fore we fully ascertain where we are most in danger. We cannot be too patient and indefatigable in discovering, nor too scrupulous in indulging our reigning propensities. They will assail us in every form, and solicit us under ev. ery pretext. We should not forget the gradual encroach ments and fatal progress of vice that one crime invariably paves the way for its successor that one criminal indulgence may be followed by a train of incalculable evils, Although, we may esteem the first as a very trifling sin, re sembling the appearance observed by the servant of Elisha-a little cloud as a man's
hand, yet it may produce such a tempest in our souls as shall obliterate every moral impression, and carry ruin and desolation in its progress. Let us not rely altogether on our own watchfulness and care, but let our daily prayer ascend to God for that which must be afforded to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy..
Second. This self-acquaintance is highly requisite to enable us to judge of the virtue of our actions. Our hearts are the most successful flatterers we have. It is a humiliating and painful employment to search out our own defects and infirmities. On this account we are very ready to admit the partial suggestions of our hearts, and it is almost universally the case, that men believe themselves governed by much better motives than they really are. But it is matter of infinite consequence for us to inquire into the secret springs of our actions, to ascertain whether our supposed virtue proceed from a principle of holiness, or whether may not result from a mere casual combination of circumstances, which we had no agency in producing, or whether our apparent piety is not a cloak, assumed to effect some sinister or selfish purpose.
Except the motives of our conduct be pure and honour. able, our religion is not an acceptable service. Virtue, unless it proceed from a pri ciple of love to God and be nevolence to men, must be an