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the palace of Priam, the tent of Ulysses, the banquet of the T'yrian queen, the ancient ideas of beauty, glory, and fame: in addition to which, they afford us some of the finest examples of purity and simplicity of style. Now when the deep and solid basis of Christianity and scriptural knowledge is laid in the mind of a young man; when he has been made acquainted with history as referring constantly to Scripture, and has been led to consider the human race, as they are described in holy writ, as so many families under the immediate control of God; when he has been accustomed to contemplate the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of thein as the hire of sin in the hands of Satan; (Matt. iv. 8, 9.) and when he has attained such an age as may
supposed to render him capable of eschewing evil and doing good; (1 Pet. iii. 11.)-in such circumstances there will certainly be less danger in his studying the Latin classics, since we may then reasonably hope that he will be influenced to reject such parts of them as are obviously of a pernicious tendency. But when we put these books into the hands of our little children, is it not, my good Sir, somewhat like sending our lambs among wolves, or heaping thorns upon our fairest lilies ?'
Sir,' said my father, allowing these books to be so radically and thoroughly corrupt as you seem to think them, your reasonings are certainly correct, and I will grant that they ought not to be put into the hands of very young persons.
But I must confess, that I am by no means aware of this deep and inveterate corruption in our celebrated classical writers, of which you speak.'
“Sir,' replied Mr. Gisborne, ‘if your thoughts have never been turned to this subject, I can very easily conceive, from the force of habit, and from your having been, in common with other gentlemen of liberal education, accustomed to look on these writers as almost sacred, and of unquestionable merit, that it may never have occurred to you to consider their natural tendency, or to trace their relationship to those abominable idolatries which polluted the whole civilized earth before the coming of our Lord, which prepared the way for all those heresies which have since arisen in the Church, and which are still shedding their influence over the present age, in a manner not so apparent indeed in Eng
land, but so evident on the Continent, that I can hardly imagine how it has been possible for such a circumstance so long to have escaped the notice of our Christian writers. Certain it is, indeed, that the time is now past for the actual worship of Jupiter and Juno, and that the mysterious rites of Ceres and Cybele are no longer observed in Europe: but as there is a certain reflected light diffused from true Christianity, which affects thousands and tens of thousands who are not decided Christians; in like manner there is a lurid and baneful glare shed from a false religion, which may confound and mislead multitudes who are not themselves confessedly its votaries. Thus the imaginations of our young people may be polluted, and their hearts corrupted, by the writings of the heathen, although they may be persuaded that the whole of their mythology, as the word itself imports, is nothing but fable, and are continually reminded that their sentiments are not correctly just. Vain is the attempt of the careful tutor to prune and weed these writings from their most gross defects. When all that can be done in this way is completed, the spirit of heathenism still breathes in every page; the thirst for blood and the desire of human praise are continually extolled and held up to imitation; while the mind of the reader becomes gradually accustomed to the ideas of polytheism, and tutored in the blasphemous use of expressions which ought only to be applied to the immortal, invisible, and only wise God.'
“ Here Mr. Gisborne paused; and looking at my father and me as if he would make some apology for his warmth, he said, I fear, my good Sir, that you
will think me rigid, as I am undoubtedly singular in my opinion on these subjects, and especially in supposing that this rage for the heathen writers, and this love of classical imagery, so particularly prevalent in these countries, is not altogether without its tincture of idolatry. Nevertheless, my good Sir, entertaining these opinions, you will no longer blame me for having conducted the education of your little son in the manner which I have described.'
“ Here Mr. Gisborne paused, as if waiting my father's reply; but he might have waited long, for my father remained silent, with every appearance of being lost in
deep meditation. At length, Mr. Gisborne ventured to express a hope that he had not given offence by so sincere and explicit an avowal of his opinion.
"Offence, my good Sir!' said my father, rising, and giving the old gentleman his hand; far be it from me to take offence at the manner in which you have pleaded a cause of such paramount interest. Your opinions are so entirely new to me, that I cannot at once receive them; but I respect your motives of conduct, and more than suspect that you are right. And if you are right, then we are all wrong, and acting under a kind of influence which we little suspect. My daughter will commit your arguments to writing; I will take occasion to meditate upon them; and will some time hence give you the result of my meditations. In the mean time, my good Sir, go on with the blessed work whi you have begun. I commit the sole representative of my departed child to your care without reserve; only, do not leave my house; do not take my child from me; but rather allow his only remaining parent the benefit of your conversation.
You may perhaps be enabled to effect such a revolution in my mind as you now have little reason to anticipate.'
“ So saying, my father left the room; and a few moments afterwards, I observed him as he hastened out of the house, to meditate, no doubt, in solitude, on the late conference.
“ For some months after the above discussion, it appeared that both my father and Mr. Gisborne purposely avoided any renewal of this particular subject of discourse; although my father not unfrequently, when alone with me, acknowledged that he had been considerably affected by Mr. Gisborne's arguments, and that he even began to entertain strong suspicions that the cause of true religion had long been, and continued to be, greatly injured by the prevalence of heathen writings, heathen imagery, and heathen principles, not only on the Continent, but also in England itself, that blessed country, where the purest doctrines of the Gospel are maintained and disseminated by the highest earthly authorities.
“ I could say much of what passed between my father and myself at these times, but should probably be only
repeating many things which I have had occasion to put
my father's conviction of the truth was so much stronger than mine, and my own tenaciousness in favour of former prejudices so unyielding, that I did not scruple to avow to him that I was so far from being convinced by Mr. Gisborne's statements, that, on the contrary, I felt an assurance, if his plan was to be universally adopted, we should presently witness a return of Gothic barbarians, and have another edition of the dark
ages. “I have hitherto represented myself, at least, in a tolerable point of view; but the depravity of the human heart very rarely appears in its true colours, until something arises to stir up and awaken its naturally unhallowed propensities.
A river which runs in its channel without obstruction, may rush along with violent force, though this force may neither be observed nor suspected by the person who walks quietly upon banks; but when any obstruction is presented to its passage, it fails not to evidence such a magnitude of resistance as no artificial mound can effectually oppose. So was it with me, as long as my father's general habits and opinions coincided with my own :-while he presented no obstruction to my general ways of thinking and acting, I appeared all that was amiable and accommodating; but when, influenced by Mr. Gisborne, he once began to suggest the idea that we might perhaps have been mistaken in many of our former views, I failed not to feel in my own mind a considerable degree of displeasure, while I evidenced great violence of temper, and much obstinacy.
“My father had always entertained some general respect for religion, and it seems that, by the divine blessing on his late afflictions, his mind had been in some degree prepared for the reception of Mr. Gisborne's opinions. But, I who had sympathized very slightly with my father in his troubles, was by no means so prepared; and looking upon religion as a gloomy, unsocial feeling, by the adoption of which I should be debarred from all elegant enjoyment, and whose influence would have a tendency to deprive me of all my pretensions to superior wisdom, I obstinately resisted every conviction,
and endeavoured to pour contempt on all that Mr. Gisborne said in its favour. And such, after a while, became the insolence of my manner, as to cause a sudden cessation of all agreeable intercourse between my father and myself; for as his anxiety to convince me very naturally increased with the growth of his own convictions, I at length became so thoroughly exasperated, as to discover the utmost dissatisfaction both with him and with every body about me.
And now my thoughts frequently reverted to that short period of my life in which alone I had tasted what I conceived to be real pleasure, insomuch that, with other bad feelings, an emotion of resentment was excited in my heart against my father, for having cut short what I judged to have been my happiness: and these feelings were indulged so far as to produce a persuasion that, if my
father had suffered for his conduct on that occasion, it was no more than he deserved.
“ The selfishness of the unregenerate heart can hardly be painted with too great strength of colouring. If the saints of God have continual reason to deplore the power of selfishness, even when under the control of grace ; how much greater must be the force of our selfish passions when under no control whatever, and allowing of no regulation, but either from considerations of prudence, or from that calculating spirit which, considering what it conceives to be most for its own interests, never gives up the gratification of one passion but in the expectation of some higher feast for another; or from the dread of some punishment which it considers as more than equivalent to the proposed gratification !
“ With respect to myself, I was not only wholly unchanged by grace, but greatly corrupted by education; almost
every idea which I had received from infancy being false, and in many instances of a polluting tendency: and it was at this period, when youth naturally begins to throw off somewhat of parental control, and to look out of itself for satisfactions, that these corrupt principles began to produce their worst effect. When I first experienced, in any strong degree, the feeling of dissatisfaction mentioned above, (which dissatisfaction, so commonly felt by young people, is nothing more than the workings of inbred corruption,) I sought to be much