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ADDRESS TO THE CHILDREN OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL,
· BY THE REV. P. ROE. We have received, from our high- nature and unsatisfying in its enly esteemed and valuable corre- joyments. Is it then a matter of spondent, the Rev. Mr. Roe, an ad- wonder, that I should feel an indress to the children of St. Mary's creased anxiety about your spiritual Sunday school, Kilkenny, with a welfare ? Is it not rather my duty, letter, of which the following is an contemplating as I now do the lifeextract. .
less remains of a beloved child, who ." I send you an address as it ap
was all that the fondest parent
could desire peared in our newspaper here.
to give you another I had a mournful pleasure in writing
word of exhortation, and to endeait, and it has occurred to me that it
vour, under the Divine blessing, to might be useful to some of your
make the season of my sorrow, the juvenile readers; and should you
season of your profit? My dear deem it right to insert it, I shall
child has been taken from the privipray that it may be blessed to them.
leges which you have risen this day I may, possibly, at some future day
to partake of; but she once enjoysend you an account of my beloved
ed similar ones, and greatly did she child, who was, I believe, as great
prize them. The Sabbath was to a blessing 'as ever God conferred
her a day of rest : she expected its
arrival with delight-she spent it in upon a parent."
meditation, prayer, and praise. The We shall be highly obliged by Bible was the book which she loved the communication of such ac, above all others : it was her concount, and are convinced it will stant study; and in the knowledge prove interesting and edifying to she received from it, we have anoour numerous readers. The follow ther proof, if we wanted it, that ing address was read at the Sunday whilst the things of God are “hidschool, Kilkenny, on the Lord's- den from the wise and prudent, day after the death of Mr. Roe's be. from those who are proud and selfloved daughter.
righteous, they are revealed unto
babes.” The Sunday school was to MY DEAR CHILDREN,I have her a Sabbath recreation, and greatoften spoken to you upon the truths ly did she regret its loss, when illa , in which you are instructed every ness confined her to the house, and Sabbath, out of the holy Scriptures; separated her from her class. But and God is my record that it has the benefit she derived from the been in the sincerity of iny heart, Sabbath, from the Bible, and from and with the most earnest desire the Sunday school was not small that you might remember your or fleeting. No it was substantial Creator in the days of your youth and durable, and she felt it to be convinced, that the sooner you be- so in that most trying hour of death, gin to live under the influence of when flesh and heart faint; in that true religion, the sooner will you hour she had no trust but in the know what true happiness is ; for blood of her Redeemer, and she " Wisdom's ways are ways of plea. had no fear. Now, she does not santness, and all her paths are want outward means—but you do. peace.”
She has left her sorrows and temptaI now address you from the tions behind her : you are either chamber of death with eternity full surrounded by or may look forward in view, and from a heartfelt con- to them. It is then your bounden viction that the world is vain, de duty to examine whether you are ceitful, and wicked, transitory in its turning them to good account, and JUNE 1825.
whether you are deriving benefit abused; but woe to the individual from God's blessings. You have who searches the Bible merely to this day another proof that the gratify curiosity, or to encourage stroke of death is not warded off by him in any thought, word, or deed youth; and it is time for the young, which is evil. If any of you are est of you to know, that you may disposed to shew in this way the dein an unexpected moment be called pravity of your hearts, it would be into eternity, and there learn, if you better for you at once to close your never did before, that God is holy Bibles and to study them no more, and just that while he gathers the lest in the very perusal of them God wheat (the righteous) into his gar- might strike you dead for the insult ner (heaven), he will burn up the thus offered to him. But I rejoice chaff (the ungodly) with unquench- to think that there are many of you able fire. You have been taught the who search the Scriptures, that you duty of keeping holy the Sabbath. may find, or grow in the knowledge day, and of devoting it to the pur- of, true wisdom and true happiness. poses for which our heavenly Father Go on in your humble inquiry; let appointed it; and you may have ob- no laugh, or sneer, or opposition served, that it is sanctified by those stop you in it. The older you grow whose minds are really influenced the more will you be convinced, by Divine truth, whilst it is disre- that it is only in its sacred pages garded and profaned by all who you can see the sure and steady know not that truth. Great will be light that will lead you through your condemnation if you do not multiplied cares, disappointments, learn and begin to hallow it in your and sorrows, to the land of eternal early days; for “to him that know- rest. May the Holy Spirit be your eth to do good and doeth it not, to teacher, and may he so apply to him it is sin.” And there are few your hearts the truths and promises children now alive, who have had of the Bible, that you may never more pains taken with them, or who want counsel or comfort. have received more instruction than In general, you attend the Sunday you. Do you then love and welcome school with regularity; but are you the return of the Sabbath-day? profiting by it? This question can Do you upon that day abstain from be best answered by yourselves. the occupations which are lawful Your teachers feel solicitous for upon other days? Do you exhibit. your improvement, but unless you the solemnity of mind and deport- second their efforts by your own ment which is so suitable to it? diligence, attention, submissiveness
The Bible is put into your bands to order and to advice; and, above because it is God's book, and there. all, by prayer for grace to know that fore the best book. The way of those who teach you from the salvation, through the merits of the Scriptures are your best friends; Lord Jesus Christ, is more plainly you cannot expect to derive benefit. stated there, and can be more read. Often refresh your memory by recit. ily learned by the humble mind, ing the portions of the word which made willing to be taught by the you have already learned, and Holy Spirit, than from any other. ask your own consciences what In that book are profitable lessons influence they have' upon you ? for the young as well as for the old; Read diligently and carefully belessons which both equally need fore-hand the chapter in which you lessons which it: is the interest of are to be examined each Sunday, both to study closely. The evil and let it appear to your parents mind of man may, and does often, and masters, that the hour spent in turn a - blessing into a curse, and the Sunday school is not lost time. even God's own book has been thus Do not, by your misconduct, give
any person reason to say that there may do so, and that many of you is no use in a Sunday school. On may have reason to praise God for this night fortnight I addressed you, ever, that you heard of the happy my dear children, upon the death of death of my beloved child. This Anna Cronyn, who found exceeding would indeed cast a beam of light great comfort in the Scriptures dur- on the cloud which hangs over me ing her illness, and while she passed this would encourage me to say through the valley of the shadow of with increased conviction, “ The death. I then little thought that Lord does all things well.” my heart would so soon be rent by And now, my dear children, for the removal of my darling child, the present, farewell; may the God and that I should be constrained to of all mercy be evermore your guide ask my valued friend, Mr. Shaw, to and guard and having cleansed you preach upon that event this evening. from sin in the blood of his dear I hope you will all hear him and Son, bring you at last 'to eternalprofit by his sermon. - My feeble glory! This is the prayer of your afprayer shall be offered up that you fectionate pastor and afflicted friend,
- THE BIBLE THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS.”. SIR,—That the Bible is the re- sions from, the Scriptures, &c. &c. ligion of Protestants, is what every In searching the Scriptures, theredenomination of Protestants, I be- fore, for simple truth, we should lieve, professes. But whether we desire to be cool and impartial; and do not, one and all, deviate occa- allow ourselves time for meditation sionally from our profession, is a and reflection ; for some persons do question of serious importance. I not take time enough to investigate beg leave, therefore, to make a few any thing adequately. The truest observations on this head, and to re- mirror of heavenly light, is the cool, quest the serious thoughts of your serene, reflecting fountain. I would correspondents upon the subject. add, that, of the two extremes, it
First, then, I would observe, that were perhaps wiser to suppose, in if the Bible really be our religion, searching the Scriptures, that we we ought to enter upon the study had hitherto erred in all our views of it, not with a desire to find our of its meaning, than that we had own preconceived opinions confirm- discovered the truth in its more proed, but rather to learn the truth, found and arduous parts. without prejudice and without par. How commonly, indeed, do' we tiality. For our part is not to judge find persons, who have made up the law, but to allow the law to their minds ori high controverted judge us, “in doctrine, in reproof, in questions, close their mouths to all correction, in instruction in righte- impartial and free discussion ; and ousness.” 2 Tim. ii. 16.
when pressed by a text which makes We all have our prejudices; ori- against their particular views, senginating, some of them, in educa. tentiously terminate the discussion tion; some of them in our form in some such manner as follows: of religion ; some of them in the “ I understand the passage in this society in which we have conversed; way: your interpretation may be some of them in the confident as- more agreeable to human reasoning; sertions which we have heard ; some but when you have obtained more of them in the opinions we have light you will see the meaning as I adopted, and committed ourselves have stated it.” . . in maintaining; and some in partial To myself, such'a mode of proacquaintance with, and first imprese ceeding appears equally unchristian'
and unreasonable; because we ought of them, also, do, in effect, boldly tobe “ready always to give a reason assert, that “where mystery begins, of the hope that is in us, with religion ends." The only question, meekness.” (1 Peter iii. 15.) And it say they, which they wish to see should also be considered, that, if resolved, and the answer to which, there be a pride in reasoning, there they feel assured, is written with a is also a pride in not reasoning: sun-beam in the Gospel, is, “What accordingly Aristotle asserts, that must I do to be saved ?" The anthe sententious man, who would swer, they argue, is so clear, that have his assertions without proof “he that runneth may read it," and admitted, is far more arrogant than "the way-faring man cannot err he that desires to establish them by therein;" for if the Gospel, they argument. And, in truth, to rest add, be addressed to every creature Christian doctrines on assertion, is to under heaven, it is level to the calevel their evidence to that of Tran- pacity of the lowest of those créasubstantiation and Mohammedanism, tures. Such persons make no dis
How much preferable the im- tinction between the knowledge partiality and research with which which is required universally and Joseph Mede commenced his study indispensably of all, and that which of the Apocalypse; Mr. Locke, of is required particularly of some, acthe Epistles ; and Bishop Burnet, cording to the gifts and talents of the Scriptures, relating to the committed to each; but that meaSeventeenth Article of the Church! sure of information which they judge How excellent is Dr. Doddridge's that the lowest capacity can readvice to the composer of a sermon; ceive, they believe to be all that is and how superior his Family Ex- worth knowing to the highest. Such positor to most other works of the persons should beware, lest in their kind, simply because he impartially flight from the popish excess of endeavours to ascertain for us the mystery, they fall into the opposite sense before he impresses it upon us! excess of " speaking evil of the
Secondly; Admitting that we things which they understand not.” ought not to seek our own sense, (Jude .10.) Say what they will, · but the sense of the Scripture, in " great is the mystery" of the faith;
investigating it, I would next ob- and it is the duty of every Christian, serve, that, while we profess the according to his abilities and opporBible to be our religion, we are tunities, to advance in scriptural too often less acquainted with it knowledge. (1 Tim. iii. 16; iv. than with books on religion written 14–16.) by man. Some will be found, who Others again there are, who neghave never examined the Scriptures lect the appointed means for un. at all in order to discover truth; derstanding the holy Scriptures, but who have taken their views because they have assumed that from man, and from human writings, the Holy Spirit may be expected, without bringing them to the law in the present day, to become to and to the testimony for confirma- them the interpreter of any and tion or refutation. Some also there every part of Scripture, while they are of this description, who, through neglect the ordinary means and neglect of exercising their judgment method of attaining to Divine knowon Scripture, either cannot or will ledge. But the same St. Paul who not enter upon any discussion simply assures us, that without the light of on Scripture grounds, but fly off the Spirit we cannot understand from the point in question to any the book of the Spirit, instructs us other topic: yet are they not the also, that we must compare “spiless dogmatical and severe towards ritual things with spiritual” in others who differ from them. Some order to understand them. (1 Cor. ii. 7, L13.) See Bishop Lowth's inscrutable mysteries. But we must preface to Isaiah, the last page, and beware of mixing prejudice, reasonH. Horne, on comparing the author ing, and imagination, with this simwith himself. The abovementioned ple method. Let any one try it seem to be some of the causes upon a chapter of the Bible, and which occasion, that, while we pro- he will then prove whether what I fess the Bible to be our religion in have asserted be true or not. Let word, in deed we deny our assertion, him take, if he pleases, the first and feel unwilling to bring our sen- chapter of Genesis and let the timents impartially to the test which question be, whether, besides a liwe acknowledge. .
teral meaning, it has a spiritual one Thirdly; There are many persons also. Let every passage spiritual. to whom these charges do not ap. ized in any part of the Bible, have ply, but who, nevertheless, do not, the words in which it is spiritualized according to my judgment,know how written at length under the verse in to bring their deductions from Scrip. Genesis. After this, let every word ture to the test of Scripture ; nor, in be looked out in a concordance; and reality, to prove any thing, in which if it has a spiritual meaning, let there is any difficulty, from Scripture that spiritual meaning be subjoined St.Paul, as has been before observed, to the word. Then, and not till states the true method; namely, THE then, let the judgment be formed. COMPARING OF THINGS SPIRITUAL The same method may also be tried WITH SPIRITUAL: But where shall upon the first three chapters of the we find the modern interpreter of Apocalypse; concerning which the Scripture, who at the same time greatest commentators are divided makes the most of this method, upon the question, whether they are without additions or subtraction, by to be understood only literally, or means of human reasoning and ima- literally and also figuratively, as gination ? Indeed, I know of no describing seven states of the true author, except Joseph Mede, who Gentile church until the conversion ever attempted any thing of the of the Jews. kind. The account of his method I. will only add, that I have is contained in Bishop Hurd's Lec- seldom met with an interpreter of tures on the Prophecies; a work Scripture who paid sufficient deferwhich, perhaps, comes next in prox. ence or attention even to the conimity to St. Paul's method. The text.-My limits do not allow me ancient fathers understood, indeed, at present to add more. I have the use that might be made of this spoken freely, but, I trust, not immethod, when they asserted, that properly. I feel that the Bible is the Scripture expresses nothing every day less studied and appealed darkly but the same thing is else to by the generality of religious where stated clearly, and usually persons, while they believe it to be at no great distance from the dark the ground of all their doctrines. passage. But, more particularly, in A great step has been gained by using this means, after we have the distinction given to the pure ascertained the genuineness of the word of God by the Bible Society. text, and the exact literal meaning, May it lead to really and truly we must make the most of the con- bringing all our various views of text, the particular book, all the religion to the Bible,--the whole books of the same author, and of all Bible, and nothing but the Bible, Scripture ; and, I believe, we shall as interpreted exclusively, and to the seldom find occasion to inquire far- utmost, by COMPARING THINGS SPIther into the meaning of such con- RITUAL WITH SPIRITUAL THINGS ! troverted texts as do not relate to