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that of death. Not only instruction and direction are needful, but absolute force, in adjusting men's several claims upon one another, and binding them to their duty. But with respect to the great Au*thor of their being, all is so clear and plain, so easily understood, and so little room for doubt and uncertainty, that there is no danger of mistake, even to the meanest capacity; nor any fear, lest perverse passions, and corrupt inclinations should lead any one astray. In the greatest of all concerns, how man is to discharge acceptably his duty to his Maker, he wants no guide but his all-wise reason. He wants no incitements but his pure and upright desires; and no aids but what he can draw from within himself. In points of smaller consequence, he must indeed be compelled by violence to do his duty; but in this, which is the greatest of all, he does not need even to be told what his duty is. God, who is a being of infinite perfection, and whose workmanship we are, has not told us how he will be served, but has given us reason enough to discover it of ourselves, and an inclination perfectly to obey the dictates of that reason; though in matters concerning each other, in the duties which we owe to society, we can trace no marks of such wonderful sagacity, or pliant inclination to do right. On the contrary, we every day want instruction, and every moment stand in need of the compulsion of fear, or there would be no living with one another. This is a fair statement of the case, as contended for by those who reject revelation, and insist on the sufficiency of reason. No well informed believer in revelation, claims, indeed, a right of human force, to compel any one to embrace an article of faith; but he does contend that God has made known his will in the Bible, and requires faith in his declarations, on pain of his displeasure, and consequent condemnation of all who refuse submission. This is contended for, as necessary to the very nature and state of man. Without it, he could not know his duty, nor have any sufficient motives for the discharge of what he owes to the Author of his being. If men in general either cannot, or will not do their duty to one another, without restraint, and the coercion of law, how can it be expected that they should do it towards God, without something to prompt them, more cogent than reason and inclination? However obvious this may be, still there are men who admit the being of God, as the moral governor of the world, and that we are under obligations to him, as our Creator and daily Preserver, who yet would have all men left to the guidance of their own wisdom, and to be prompted by their own inclinations, without restraint, without command, precept, and authority, to direct them in their duty. It is readily admitted that man has no right to impose commands in this case; and they contend that it hath not been done by God. If the duties, which we owe to God, had no connexion with, or could in no shape influence those which we owe to each other, there might be some more excuse for this error in theory; for we should not be so much interested in its consequences. But this is not the case ; for accountability to God is the basis of all moral obligation. Strike this away, and the whole fabric of morality falls to ruin. Consequently they who seek to destroy the influence of religion, and to divest men of that faith which rests on the authority of God, strike a fatal blow at the very foundation of society; and should they prove generally successful, peace and good order would be banished the earth; and nothing short of absolute force and the iron hand of power could controul the boisterous sea of human passions. The progress of such an evil should therefore be carefully watched, and the unwary put on their guard against the fatal mischief. To accomplish this object is the intention of the present, and will be that of such future essays as may be presented on this subject.
FOR . THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
HEATHEN MORALITY. IN many of the ancient heathen philosophers, there is an elevation of sentiment, which entitles them to attention from the Christian reader. As proofs, how far human reason has been able to go in the science of morals, when unassisted by the written word of God, and without the sublime motives of the gospel; what they have said, is a subject of curious and useful reflection. As such, the following precepts are translated from Isocrates, an Athenian, who lived between three and four hundred years before Christ; and whose business was that of instructing youth. They are addressed to a young man who appears to have been his pupil. Believing them not to be in the hands of many readers, it is proposed to dedicate a page or two, in each number of the Magazine, to the same writer.
First of all, reverence the Gods, not only by gifts upon their altars, but by a sacred regard to oaths. The former will be a proof of thy wealth, the latter of the integrity of thy heart. At all times honour the divinity, especially in the public rites ; so wilt thou sacrifice acceptably to the gods, and obey the laws of thy country.
Such as thou wouldst have thy children towards thee, such become towards thy parents.
Use such bodily exercise as may contribute not to thy strength, but to thy health; and this thou wilt do by desisting from labour whilst thy strength remains entire.
Affect not immoderate laughter, nor impertinent loquacity ; the former is a proof of folly, the latter of insanity.
Think it not decent to speak of that, which it would be shameful to do.
Accustom thyself not to a 'sour, but a serene countenance ; for the former arises from insolence, the latter from prudence.
Esteem modesty, justice, and temperance, thy greatest ornaments ; for in these consists the whole discipline of youth.
When thou dost any thing base, hope not for concealment; for if thou conceal it from others, it will be known to thyself.
Fear God, honour thy parents.
Pursue such pleasures as consist with honour; for pleasure with honour, is the greatest good; without it, the greatest evil.
Beware even of false accusations ; for the multitude distinguish not between truth and falsehood, but judge by common report.
Act always as if in the presence of all men ; for if thou conceal any thing for the present, it will afterwards come to light.
If thou desirest unsullied reputation, do nothing which in another thou wouldst condemn.
If thou lovest learning, thou wilt be learned.
What thou hast already learned, treasure up with care, and use thy utmost diligence to increase thy store of wisdom ; or not to learn something from what thou hearest well said, is as dishonourable as refusing a present from a friend.
Spend all thy leisure in listening to the words of sound doctrine ; for so thou wilt easily acquire what cost others much labour to discover.
To have heard much, account preferable to the acquisition of much wealth ; for the latter may suddenly fly away; but the former abideth ever. Wisdom is the only immortal possession.
Grudge not to travel far in quest of those who promise to teach thee any thing useful; seeing the merchant, to increase his stores of wealth, ransacks every sea. Base and cowardly is the youth, who shrinks from the fatigue of travel, to improve his understanding.
[To be continued.]
ADVICE TO A STUDENT, CONCERNING THE QUALIFICATIONS AND DUTIES OF A CLERGYMAN.,
By J. Napleton, D.D. Chaplain to the Bishop of Hereford, Eng.
YOU ask my opinion upon three points. First, you desire to know whether I approve your inclination to enter, in due time, into holy orders. Secondly, you wish me to advise you, how to prepare yourself for this profession. Thirdly, you request some instruction relative to the discharge of the duties of it, and to the further conduct of your life and studies.
I commend your early attention to these important enquiries. I wish every young person to choose his plan of life with the same deliberation, and to feel the same solicitude to execute it ably and diligently. Much private satisfaction and public good arise from this prudent and conscientious forecast; in no case more, than in the subject of your present consideration.
I can give you no determinate answer to your first question. I will lay before you the principles upon which you may resolve it yourself.
The design of this profession is to promote the happiness of man-, kind by recommending to them the knowledge and practice of religion. It has this end in common with every other calling, that it , proposes the advancement of the general welfare ; but it views this welfare in reference to more important objects, and to a longer pe.. riod. It does not content itself with endeavouring to diminish the
evils, and to increase the comforts, of this present life; to meliorate our condition in mind, body, or estate. These are indeed intermediate objects, which deserve our attention ; and the prosecution of them makes a part of our duty.
But the Pastoral Office looks forward to the ultimate purpose of our immortal being, the perfection of happiness of our nature in a future state.
The mean by which this profession pursues its end, is recommend ing the knowledge and practice of religion. Religion is a system of truths and duties delivered to us by the sovereign Author and Disposer of our being, declarative of his nature, his will, and his designs concerning us. These truths and duties are, some of them clearly, others conjecturally, others in na degree, discoverable by natural reason: all of them are made known by supernatural revelation ; in part and gradually by Moses and the Prophets ; completely and finally by our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles. The knowledge and practice of these truths and duties, is the mean appointed by God to man for the attainment of everlasting perfection and happiness. The profession, therefore, which aims to lead him to this end, must necessarily propose and recommend this mean.
As every man is obliged by his relation to God and his fellowcreatures to promote the well-being of his neighbour, his country, and all mankind; so is the Christian more than any other, in proportion* to the more enlightened sense of natural duty which his religion inspires, the express laws which it imposes, and the larger sphere of benevolence which it opens to his view. And the general obligation of every Christian is bound more strictly upon the Minister of the Gospel, by particular engagement and specific vow. Hence as Christian charity is, with respect to its degree and object, an improvement of natural philanthropy, so is the clerical profession a special recognizance and a promised cxaltation of christian charity.
You will be set apart to this Office, not by your own assumption, t nor yet by virtue of any institution merely civil, changeable therefore or terminable by human prudence or power; but by an ordinance of heavenly origin and perpetual duration. You will derive your designation from the Divine “ Author and Finisher of your faithf;" who, having received from the Father “all power in heaven and on earth,"S and being made “Head over all things to his Church," gave this commission to the chosen witnesses of his miracles and ministry : “Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them “ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy “Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have "commanded you : and lo! I am with you Pasas tas hēmeras heõe " tēs suntekeias tou aiwnos;" “I am with you, by my Spirit, pro“tecting and assisting you; not with you only, mortal men, who “shall speedily take up your cross and follow me, nor shall remain, * See Luke xii. 47, 48.
+ Heb. v. 4. Heb. xii. 2.
g Matth. xxviii. 18. || Eph. i. 22.
Alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew xxviii, 20.
6 one* excepted, even to the conclusion of this present age or Jew“ ish dispensation ; but also with your successors, so long as there “ shall be disciples and baptism," “ even unto the end of the world.” You will receive this delegation in the way prescribed by the example of the Apostles and their immediate successors, and by the primitive practice of the universal Church; and also according to “the order of the particular Church" of which you are a member, and of " the realmot of which you are a subject; under temporal constitutions, which afford you, in the discharge of your spiritual function, protection, maintenance, and honour. Upon the whole, you will be admitted, under the divine appointment and human regulation, to the office and character of a special friend of mankind, an exemplary disciple of Jesus Christ, and a delegated minister of his Gospel in the place and situation to which you shall be appointed by the laws of your country: and you will, by your own free choice, by religious vows, and by civil compact, draw more closely upon yourself the general antecedent bonds of duty to God and man.
I am persuaded that I have said enough to lead you to the an. swer, which you only can give to your first question. You will consider the high end of this profession; the sacred mean which it employs; the importance of it to mankind; its divine appointment ; the responsibility of him who undertakes it ; the necessary purity of his life and sincerity of his intentions. You will estimate the mental qualifications which it may require ; and the fair portion of industry that may be needful, first, for the attainment of these qualifi. cations, and afterwards, for the useful application of them. You will anticipate, in your future exercise of this profession, the commendation or reproach of your own heart : you will contemplate the approbation and the displeasure of Him, who “is greater than your heart, and knoweth all things."! I say nothing of public opinion and secular respect; although that is not to be slighted, without injury to inward principle as well as to external advantage; for there is some truth in the intimation of the sententious politician, “ contemptu famæ contemni virtutes :"S and the same high sense of honour, whether it arise from a quick feeling of moral obligation, or from an early imbibed habitual reverence for the opinion of mankind; whether it be virtue, or a guard of virtue--the same sentiment which would deter you from entering into any other profession or calling without the intentions and qualifications requisite, will at least equally restrain you from assuming a religious character, to which your life and manners are not likely to correspond : and from entering into new engagements with society, which you do not feel yourself capable and determined to fulfil.
Under the influence of these considerations, you will be able to decide, whether they who desire to see you good, and honoured, and happy, and wish true religion to be understood and reverenced and practised, in their own country and in all the world, ought to approve your inclination to become a Minister of the Gospel in the Church of England. * John xxi. 22, 23.
+ Ordination Services. i Jokn jii. 26
$ Tacit. An. iv. 39.