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and thereby increase the strength and vigor of the moral principle, and also on its constant exercise; for how can one be expected to walk in a path which his imperfect vision or perverse and vicious habits render him incapable of discovering? Not only must the moral perception be improved and strengthened by proper training and exercise, so that its native energies may be fully developed; but the moral taste, which is naturally both gross and dreadfully perverted, must be corrected and chastened, before it can discern between good and evil, and appreciate "the things which are excellent." Without this there will be no relish for "whatsoever things are pure, lovely, and of good report;" when they are seen by such a mind they present no "beauty, that it should desire them." Moreover, without the requisite moral training, how does the imagination revel in scenes of folly and madness! or it soars away from adequate and abiding realities to worlds of fiction and delusion, in pursuit of satisfactory and substantial good. Yea, it does more; it becomes a snare to the soul, placing before it such deceptive though specious images of pleasure as divert it from the true and only source of real enjoyment.
But lest we should be misunderstood, it may be proper here to remark, that when we speak of the native energies of the moral principle, we do not mean to exclude the idea of the constant influence of the Holy Spirit, "which is given to every man to profit withal;" and which, in a Scriptural and evangelical sense, is the only true source of moral discernment and of moral feeling in matters of duty and accountability. And while it "is the true light which lighteth every man coming into the world," it is by its rays shining upon our hearts that our moral taste acquires that sensibility aud correctness by which the deformity of immoral actions, and the evil principles from which such actions flow, and the moral beauty and grandeur of those principles and actions which are of an opposite character, are clearly discovered. Hence both the perception of moral good and evil, and a refined taste which can relish the former, and which feels a fixed aversion to the latter, depend on the "preventing" and accompanying influence of the Holy Spirit. And it is the province and design of moral education to cooperate with this divine agency in overcoming the obstacles which the native propensities of our natures and the deceitfulness of our hearts set up in the way of our salvation.
In moral education the "Holy Scriptures" must be made the text-book; they contain the only conclusive answer to the great question, "What is truth?" The Bible alone explains the true origin of both natural and moral evil. It does not leave the inquirer to float at large on the boisterous ocean of uncertainty, or without pilot, helm, compass, or pole star to guide him to the land of truth, to sink beneath its waves into the fathomless depths of doubt and error; nor without anchor and safe moorings, where he can repose in the satisfactory assurance of the truth of what God has revealed in his word on this dark and unfathomable subject. To the greatest sages and profoundest philosophers of antiquity this subject has been shrouded with a veil of inscrutable mystery and difficulty. This is demonstrated by the various and conflicting hypotheses which they adopted in their different schools of philosophy and religion, in attempting to resolve this intricate question. Thus, the
Platonics attributed the existence of evil to the native stubbornness of matter; this inherent quality resisting the wisdom and power of the great Artificer himself! The Stoics ascribed it to fate or necessity, to which, in their opinion, even the gods are subject. Endeavoring to escape the difficulties of this abstruse and mysterious subject, the Epicureans denied that any God exists at all as governor of the world: the supreme Deity, in their conceptions, placidly sits far above the regions which are inhabited by created beings and the universe of matter; being too far removed, or too happy in himself, or too highly exalted, to condescend to concern himself with the trifling affairs of this lower world. Their reasoning would, therefore, result in this conclusion, that as this world is under no reigning providence, it is a natural consequence that evil and disorder attend it through all its departments and through every period of its history. But discarding all these solutions of this great moral problem, the Manichees resorted to the dual system, maintaining that there is a good and an evil deity, mutually hostile to each other in their natures, works, and designs, the authors of good and evil in man and in the world. Not dwelling on the glaring inconsistencies of these incompatible theories and hypotheses, being not only totally irreconcilable to each other, but contradictory and absurd in themselves, they leave the inquirer altogether unrelieved of his difficulties, or actually plunged into those which are still deeper, and from which extrication is still more hopeless. Nor can it be urged that they were ignorant and barbarous, without literature and mental culture; or that they were equally confused and erroneous with regard to philosophy, natural or mental; politics, zoology, or physiology. The wisdom and research of later ages have confirmed their correctness on many subjects related to these branches of science. And their attainments in the science, and their skill in the practice of rhetoric, have been alike the model and the admiration of every subsequent age down to the present time; and will continue to be to the latest periods of the world. But while there are some things in their systems of morals worthy to be esteemed and even admired, yet with how much are they mingled that is confused, dark, perverted, and erroneous. How can this be accounted for, but on the principle that whatever else they had they had not the BIBLE; and whatever advantages and inducements the peculiarity of their times afforded for making proficiency in some of the arts and sciences, they were under a dark dispensation, without the illuminating rays of divine revelation. Without the Scriptures for their oracle and guide, they have demonstrated the total insuffi*ciency of unassisted human reason, however well cultivated, to direct us on these grand questions, and to bring us to a safe and correct conclusion. They built up their systems of morals without a solid foundation, and they laid those on which they built them in the sand. Pure morality is inseparable from true religion; i. e., the religion of the Bible.
But while it is true that good and evil, suffering and enjoyment, mercy and judgment, exemplary punishment and exemption from condign punishment or judicial justice, seem to be interwoven with the present state of things, the "lively oracles" not only shed their light upon every thing mysterious and inexplicable in this matter, but reconcile every seeming incongruity. The abuse of goodness
is shown to be the origin of both natural and moral evil. And the Bible refers us to the evils and sufferings of the present state, both as the consequences and effects of the "first transgression," and as evidence that man had originally forfeited his Maker's favor and fallen under his displeasure; and the numerous mercies and blessings which attend us in this life, though fallen, are manifest indications that the divine compassions have not been altogether withheld from our guilty world. And when condign punishment or judicial justice overtakes the wrong-doer, we are taught that a righteous providence holds the reins of moral government in the world, giving unequivocal evidence of his aversion to sin, and of his determination to punish the guilty, and to protect and rescue the innocent. But if this is not done, ostensibly, in this life, the language of Scripture is, that "the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." The principle which manifestly predominates in the present state of things evidently appears to be, that of a mixed administration, exactly adapted to our probationary state, which we now enjoy through the "redemption obtained for us" by our Lord Jesus Christ; and that by a right improvement of this state of trial, "through the Holy Ghost given unto us," we may recover the forfeited favor and image of God in which we were created, and thus be made heirs of eternal life. It is thus that the "Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ," according to our text. And the importance of introducing every child to an early and mature acquaintance with them, and of fixing their pure and lofty doctrines and precepts permanently in their minds, must commend itself to every man's conscience, to his understanding, and to his heart, "in the sight of God." No branch of education can sustain an authorized claim to as high consideration as moral education, in which the Scriptures are the only proper basis of the system. It is, therefore, important next to inquire, in what manner its moral lessons should be taught.
3. In general education little progress would be made by the pupil in any branch of science by merely storing his memory with words and the names of things. This might be done in the most perfect manner possible, and still he would only have a knowledge of the words and terms employed in describing the science in question; remaining as ignorant as before of the peculiar and distinctive principles which belong to the science under consideration. Precisely the same result will follow in moral education, where the principal object is to fill the memory of the youth with the words of Scripture, without fixing the principles of divine truth permanently in their minds. And it is true this cannot be done without cultivating and exercising the understanding, at least in some degree, though this should not be the exclusive object; it is equally and even more important to correct and regulate the heart; its desires must be drawn into the proper channel, and made to go out after and to grasp the proper objects; its affections must be taught to centre in those things which are intrinsically worthy to possess them. The will must be taught subordination to the divine will in all things, and to make the will of God, as revealed in his word, the only rule of moral action. But in all this work of moral culture and training, no single point is of so much importance to be gained,
or so essentially constitutes the very basis of the whole moral edifice, as the proper development of the conscience. It must be enlightened and settled on the proper authority; it must be corrected and strengthened; and rendered quite unbending to every influence and temptation from the association of company, passion, or interest. It must be placed on the imperial throne, enrobed with supreme authority, swaying an unresisted sceptre over the empire of the affections and desires of the heart, the imagination, the reasonings of the understanding, and the pursuits and conduct of life. This is the grand object and scope of moral education. To direct our efforts to the culture and improvement of the understanding or of the heart alone, would be entirely to misapply them, and to fail of attaining the desired object; but by giving the conscience the proper mould and form, settling it on the proper authority, furnishing it with a proper rule or criterion by which it shall make its decisions, and exercise its control and authority over all our moral actions, we secure the improvement and right direction of both at the same time. And in the accomplishment of this work we must, from necessity, lay hold of those constitutional principles which already exist in children, in order to develop such as we wish to have wrought up into prominent and distinctive features in their moral characters. Children, with special propriety, may be denominated "creatures of imitation." And on this instinctive faculty more depends in the formation of their moral character and habits throughout the whole course of life, than on almost any other; and why, therefore, may it not be successfully put under contribution to their moral culture and improvement? The mere inculcation of naked precept, unsupported by example or illustration, will never make one practical in any science whatever; but moral attainments are valueless just in proportion as they are not practical. Therefore every truth, precept, virtue, and duty, as far as they are practical, should be imbodied in an example. Of these, the Scriptures furnish us with an ample variety. There is not a filial virtue, not one Christian grace, nor one exalted moral principle, which it ought to be our delight to emulate in order to "please God," which cannot be exemplified by an appropriate example, if we only possess the requisite wisdom and skill to select and present them to the child's mind in a striking and interesting manner. Here is all the difficulty. For instance: let obedience to parents be illustrated by the example of Isaac, who submitted to be bound on the altar as a sacrifice by his father Abraham, and this, too, when he must have been between twenty-five and thirty-six years of age. The same virtue is exemplified by our Saviour, who 66 was subject" to his parents. Joseph may be presented as an example of firmness and constancy in adhering to the religion of his fathers, under the most trying circumstances, and when he was a youth of about seventeen years of age. Moses and Daniel are examples of integrity; Job, of patience; Abraham, of faith; Micaiah, of moral courage; Paul, of zeal and invincible energy of character. Were this method generally adopted by parents and others in communicating moral instruction to the youth, there can be no reasonable doubt that the impressions made on their minds would be much more deep and permanent than that which is made by the instruction which rarely goes beyond the mere inculcation of duty
and precept. But impressed with the vast importance of moral training to every child in community, let us consider how much depends on woman for its accomplishment.
4. This view of the subject may be not only novel, but open to some objections; yet let us not reject any doctrine without hearing the arguments which may be urged in its support. In a work of so much importance, responsibility should rest on those to whom it properly belongs. The example of Timothy, whose childhood is referred to in the text, is a case exactly in point in support of the principle in question. By turning to the xvith chapter of Acts, we learn that "his father was a Greek," or Gentile, but his mother was a Jewess; and her religious character is referred to in the first chapter of this epistle, where her piety and "faith" are spoken of in terms of the highest commendation, and not only associated with that of her son, but also with that of her own mother, Lois. Two important considerations evidently seem to us to be more than intimated here in support of the position just laid down: that the "faith" and piety of Timothy's grandmother had a controlling influence in forming the religious character of his own mother, and that hers gave a governing feature to her son's, resulting in his obtaining an early "knowledge of the Holy Scriptures," and in his becoming an apostle and eminent bishop in the primitive church. All the circumstances of the case not only seem clearly to justify this conclusion, but forbid the adoption of any other. For had the paternal influence predominated, Timothy's religious views and character would have received the same mold and features with his father's; but the contrary was the fact. It is true, the total silence of Scripture is all the data by which we can arrive at a correct conclusion with regard to the religious character of this man. But that very silence militates against the conclusion that he was distinguished for his piety indeed, it hardly authorizes the belief-much less does it establish the certainty-that he even became a convert to Christianity through the instrumentality of Paul. Be this as it may, we never can reason from the mere silence of Scripture, to a conclusion directly opposite to what is plainly asserted; which, in this case, is, that "from a child" Timothy "had known the Holy Scriptures" of course the Jewish Scriptures, since at that time they' were the only extant-and that his mother, being a Jewess, and her mother are commended for their "unfeigned faith," which was manifestly held up to him as an example "whose faith" he was to "follow." This example receives additional confirmation from the fact, that, among the Jews, the care and education of children were exclusively intrusted to the mother until they were five or six years of age. Nor is it extravagant to suppose that Samuel, who was one of the most eminent judges in Israel, owed much of his early piety and subsequent usefulness to the same cause. And who knows how much Moses, Joseph, and Daniel-all distinguished examples of early piety-were indebted for this, to the same instrumentality. The Wesley family furnishes a striking modern example in support of the same principle. And though it must be acknowledged with equal truth and justice, that Mrs. Wesley was a woman of extraordinary talent as well as piety, yet, as maternal