Page images
PDF
EPUB

the mere communication of knowledge, but which comprehends the whole course of moral training requisite to form the human mind and character, especially in youth. In this part of his work, he has introduced some remarks bearing on the state of the Factory Children; whose painful, and, in some cases, appalling condition, as to physical comfort, has been lately brought before the public; and whose destitution of the means of grace, and of any adequate provision for their moral and religious instruction, is, in too many instances, truly deplorable.

On the subject of Cruelty to Animals, the Writer has hazarded some suggestions, respecting which he can scarcely be so bold as to hope, that they will meet with general approbation. The task imposed upon him was a difficult one; and he felt his inability to do justice to it: but if, in the present prevailing inattention (though with some bright exceptions) to an important subject, this attempt should, by its very novelty, have the effect of calling forth some one able to unfold the case more fully and satisfactorily, he will feel that his labour has not been altogether in vain, and cheerfully resign his place to a more competent guide.

The third Section displays some of the horrors of Intemperance; and suggests the needful remedy, in the restriction of the Sale of Ardent Spirits, and other Intoxicating Liquors, and the public encouragement of those valuable Institutions, called Temperance Societies. Here, the Writer trusts he shall meet with candour, from those who are not disposed to go with him to the extreme

point of his argument; for, while he cordially concedes to them the merit of having first drawn the public attention to this enormous evil, he cannot but consider, that they have left the work imperfect; and that the arguments used to discountenance the use of ardent spirits, may be legitimately applied to the common use of wine, ale, and all intoxicating liquors. He has endeavoured, on this, as on all other points, to follow the guidance of the word of God, and of sound reason; and will be especially thankful, if he has succeeded in bringing out any views, which, by the Divine blessing, may have the happy result of increasing the number of consistent supporters of the Temperance cause, and of strengthening the national protest against the practice and causes of Intemperance.

The last Section contains a review of the whole subject. After a full enquiry into the nature of Christianity, as the only revealed remedy, both for a nation's troubles, and for the miseries of human life in general, its beneficial effects are contrasted with the unquestionable evils, which have resulted from neglect of its precepts, and disobedience to its authority. Humanity, Temperance, and Charity, are shewn to be its legitimate fruits; in the rich production of which, God is honoured, and mankind are invariably blessed. A subject of great importance, to which attention has been specially directed throughout the work, is the sinfulness of undue anxiety about worldly gain, leading to excessive Competition, and “haste to be rich;" which is shewn to have been attended by results most deeply to be deplored. The testimony of Scripture, on this subject, is

peculiarly deserving of attention, at the present time. It was the warning of the wisest of men, who was also an inspired Prophet of the Most High, "An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed:" (Prov. xx. 21.) and again, "He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" (or unpunished,' margin :)" he hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him." (Prov. xxviii. 20, 22.)*

[ocr errors]

Another point, to which the Writer has repeatedly alluded, as connected intimately with the preceding, and deeply involved in occasioning the demoralized condition of the lower orders, is the profanation of the Lord's day. On this subject, he has repeatedly referred to the weighty testimony of that excellent man, and able divine, Dr. Chalmers; to whose works he is bound to confess himself deeply indebted.

In conclusion, he would repeat the caution, which he has endeavoured to keep in sight throughout the work, that Education, separate from true Religion, is too often a curse, rather than a blessing;—not only inefficacious to reform mankind, but absolutely prejudicial, in many cases, to the best interests of virtue and morality. Nor must he omit another important remark, that, after all, the Divine blessing, earnestly implored by believing prayer, is indispensable to the success of any endeavour of this kind; and that, without it, our labour will be in vain.

* See also Prov. xxiii. 4.-Hab. ii. 6, 7.-1 Tim. vi. 9.

Before taking leave of this hasty production, the Author is bound to apologize briefly for its defects. He is not conscious of any material errors; but, the short time in which he was compelled to compose and finish this Essay-little more than six weeks in all-and that, too, with the first return of strength after a long and dangerous illness, which had for many months laid him aside from public labours, and to which it is owing that he is not now in a foreign land, engaged as a Missionary among the Heathen,-will, he trusts, form some excuse for the want of care and correction, which must (he fears) be observable to a critical eye. Still, he would not leave it open to suspicion, that the subject has been taken up in haste. The principal points had long been upon his mind; although he little looked for so early an opportunity of laying them before the public. Candour, he hopes to receive; but he does not desire commendation. Whatever errors are really contained in his work, he would not screen them from exposure. The subject is of such a character, and the remarks he has felt compelled to make, however guardedly expressed, will probably appear so severe, in the opinion of those most concerned, that it would be folly to expect their praise; and emolument is out of the question, from the nature and terms of the publication. Having, therefore, little to hope or fear for himself, his chief concern is for the cause of his God and Saviour; a cause in which he is free to confess the deepest interest. He now commends his humble offering to the Divine blessing and care. Fearless of the waves

which rise around him, he launches his little bark upon the ocean of public opinion; grateful for this opportunity of serving God, and doing good to his fellow-creatures, in however humble a manner; and in joyful anticipation of the time, when the views, now so unpopular with many, shall generally prevail,-when true religion shall be considered the only safe foundation of a nation's strength,— and when it shall be thought as degrading to employ a labourer or beast, unnecessarily, on the Lord's day, or to encourage a Gin Palace, a Beer Shop, or a Theatre, as it is now to be engaged in the Slave Trade, or to advocate Slavery. The words of Solomon are his comfort and support, against every objection of this class-" He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them." "He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue." (Prov. xxiv. 24, 25-xxviii. 23.)

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »