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ON DEVOTING A CHILD TO THE MINISTRY.
MY DEAR FRIEND,—-I received deavour to communicate such inforwith very great pleasure your mation as I possess, but there are kind letter, and embrace the numerous circumstances which must earliest opportunity of reply. Be- be taken into the account, of which lieve me, your inquiries need no I have no information, and concernapology, Our correspondence it is ing which you and your partner (to true, has now for some years whom present my affectionate receased, but I am fully convinced that membrance) are far more competent this cessation has not arisen from to judge than I, or indeed any other any diminution of affection on person possibly can be. either side. It frequently happens You tell me my dear friend, that that amidst the pressure of business, it has been your, and your partner's the cares of a family, and the enjoy earnest desire to devote your child ments of domestic life, time passes to the work of the ministry—that with too much rapidity to admit of this has been the subject of many lengthened epistles ; the interval conversations between yourself and between a letter and its reply is Mrs. P. and the frequent topic of gradually increased, until by a kind your prayers; but that you have of tacit consent, the correspond not discovered in him any thing ence of early friends ceases. The of that serious disposition which moment however when either party you feel, and justly feel, to be indisdiscovers that a letter may be even pensable to the ministerial character, remotely serviceable to the former that you are therefore in doubt correspondent, the pen is imme- how far you would be justified in diately resumed, and every kind conducting his education with refer. affection rekindles with all its former ence to that sacred function, and energy.
are inclined to regard it as a duty It may indeed at first sight to train him up in your own busiappear, that I have fewer impedi. Dess, or in some similar avocation; ments to correspondence than many lest peradventure you should be others; yet believe me my dear instrumental in introducing an friend, that every day brings its enemy into God's sanctuary, and occupations, and often its anxieties; contribute to the destruction, rather that in every station of life there than the salvation of souls. is much to be done, and that those I feel, my dear Sir, deeply the who desire to glorify God and pro- importance of this question. It mote the benefit of their fellow is one which perplexes and dismen, will soon find that the day is turbs the minds of many of the too short for its prescribed labours. excellent of the earth, and the conThis must be my apology for my sideration of which requires deep long silence, if apology be needful; humility, lively faith, holy patience, and yet if I mistake not the last and fervent prayer. Let us lift up communication between us, was a our hearts to our God and Father, congratulation on my part at hear beseeching him, for the sake of that ing of the birth of that child, with church which he hath purchased reference to whom you now so through the blood of his own dear anxiously ask advice. Most cheer- Son, to pour down upon us the fully do I comply with your request, enlightening and sanctifying influthough I must at the same time ences of the Holy Spirit, that our protest against this important ques. deliberations on this important subtion being left to my decision. I ject be not in vain. will with the utmost readiness en It appears to me that the desire to devote your child to the work ter of Samuel and his extensive of the ministry, is in itself a lawful usefulness, may well justify parents desire, so long as it has regard to in imitating Hannah's example. God's glory and the welfare of Much indeed, as I would deprecate immortal souls. Were you merely the thrusting forwards improper choosing the ministry for your child persons into the work of the because you had certain prospects ministry; I have sometimes felt of obtaining preferment for him, that there has been a want of faith because he would thus occupy a in some good men, as though they respectable situation in society, or forgot that in this respect also, for any other worldly motive: I God is a God that heareth and should feel your desire would de- answereth prayer. They would not serve censure, and in some way or dare to press their sons forward to other issue in disappointment. If, the work of the ministry, but they however, you and your partner are not unfrequently allow their fears impressed with the value of immor- to prevent the communication of tal souls and considering God's those instructions, and that educaministers as instruments in his tion which is ordinarily necessary hands of saving lost and perishing at once to their admission to holy sinners, are therefore desirous that orders, and their due discharge your son may be counted worthy of of those duties to which they are this calling, your desire is lawful ordained. and laudable so long as it is enter. If therefore, my dear friend, tained in submission to the will of you desire that your son should God.
be devoted to the work of the I am not sure indeed whether ministry, and if you and your you may not go farther; and partner have indeed dedicated him whether you may not offer and to God, and poured out your devote your child to God to be souls in prayer before Him with employed in the work of his reference to this point, I would say, sanctury, even at a very early age, Be not in haste to draw back. I provided that devotion is made should advise the carrying on of with a spirit of submission and his education, with reference to this accompanied with a corresponding object, until he arrive at that age education. I think the case of when it becomes indispensable that Hannah is here full to the point. his station in life should be fixed ; She might have feared and hesitated a necessity which I conceive will whether if favoured with a child, not exist in his case for some years. that child might not become like I am not indeed aware that any one of Eli's sons; and it would material alteration would be either check the inordinate desires of some necessary or expedient in the plan for children, did they contemplate of education you now propose. An the possibility of their offspring idea prevails in some quarters, being children of wrath ; but that a classical education unfits a Hannah prayed and vowed a vow, youth for commercial pursuits; and said, “O Lord of hosts, if thou this, however, appears to me incorwilt indeed look on the affliction rect. Many very valuable and of thine handmaid, and give unto respectable tradesmen have made thine handmaid a man-child, then considerable progress in classical I will give him unto the Lord all education before they were introthe days of his life.” Her prayer duced into the counting house, or was heard and answered ; her vow behind the counter; and the addiwas performed; no intimation is tional labour and exertion to which any where given of her having done they have been habituated at school, wrong; while the eminent charac. has given them a decided superiority over persons in similar stations increased as the child advances in of society, who have been confined years. The mind will thus beto writing, accounts and book- come stored with the best wiskeeping, with a little smattering dom, and He by whose inspiration of French and German. Should the scriptures are written will your son's final destination be doubtless youchsafe a blessing to similar to your own, I should pre- his own word. The daily reading fer his continuing his classical studies of the Holy Scriptures, the constant to fourteen or fifteen. It is not attendance on family worship, and classical pursuits which unfit lads on the publie preaching of the for business, but indolent habits gospel, will gradually enlighten the and unsuitable companions and understanding; and, where steadily advisers.
persevered in, in a course of years You have not indeed told me will usually be accompanied with a explicitly what proficiency your clear and solid perception and son has made, nor indeed what experience of true religion. exact system he is following. I You have not mentioned how far conclude, however, that Mr. — your son is acquainted with your pursues the plan usually adopted in views or wishes concerning him. our Grammar Schools; that he On this point there exists some carefully and thoroughly grounds difference of opinion among good his pupils in the Latin, and when men. I know instances where of suitable age, in the Greek Gram- parents have selected a particular mar; that he teaches them to child, even before he was of sufficient construe the usual books, and ac. age to determine whether he poscustoms them to write translations sessed adequate natural talent, and and exercises in prose and verse dedicated him to the work of a minisThe question of what particular ter or missionary, and spoken of Grammar he uses, is of very minor him as such. Possibly in this they importance, provided his scholars are imitate the conduct of Hannab, made perfectly master of the Gram- and act as wisely well as piously; mar he adopts-a laborious, and add yet many cannot enter into usually an irksome task, but which their views. It seems difficult to is indispensable. The more a teacher educate one child in a family, on a explains, the better ; but no ex- different system from the rest ; and planation can supersede the neces- there is some danger in this corrupt sity of very considerable labour on and sinful world, lest ihe child thus the part of the pupils. In but marked out, should consider the few of our schools is any attention selection either as a token of paid to Christian principles-I superiority, and thus be tempted to should hope that Mr. - is an pride ; or as an inferior provision, exception ; but this is a point to and thus doubt the affection wbich which you and Mrs. P. are fully determined it. competent, especially as you are I should feel disposed to carry favoured with the valuable minis- on the education of my cbildren in trations of my beloved friend and such a way as to impress their brother Mr. G. whom I should minds with the deep importance advise you to consult from time to and invariable obligation of be. time. I should wish that not only coming Christians, in any and every this son, but all your children, station of life, and should only oc. should be accustomed daily to com. casionally intimate the high esteem mit to memory a few verses of and especial regard and affection holy writ. Three or four verses for Christian ministers with the a-day may be thus learned at an joy it would occasion me to witness early age, and may gradually be in any of my sons such sentiments,
dispositions, and conduct, as might you may propose, or 'meet any justify me in encouraging them to difficulties which may occur. look forwards to so high and holy To God's mercy and blessing I a service.
commend you. May He be with, I am afraid, my dear Sir, this direct, and prosper you and yours, reply will scarcely meet your and overule your determinations on wishes; but if I can afford any more this and every other point, as may specific advice and direction, be as- be for your best and everlasting süred it will afford me very great interests, and those of all connected pleasure. I shall be happy, now with you. and at all times, to hear from you, I am, my dear Friend, and will endeavour, as clearly, as
Yours most affectionately, possible, to answer any questions
ON THE EVANGELISTS' ACCOUNT OF THE
SIR, -Although it seldom happens that either of the parties in any discussion is convinced, yet when discussion is conducted with Christian temper and moderation, it often leads to beneficial results. Allow me, therefore, to vindicate my communication from the charge of involving the Evangelists' account of the resurrection in utter confusion.
The question chiefly at issue appears to be this : Do the four Evangelists relate one and the same visit to the sepulchre ? or, do Matthew, Mark, and John give an account of one visit, whilst Luke records another? The former is that position attempted to be maintained by me, in the Guardian for last March ; and the latter is that which was taken by G. H. R. in your number for May. Now, as neither of us pretends to offer a harmony perfectly free from difficulties, if in either of our arrangements, they be not greater, than the difficulties of any other with which it may be compared, it stands on as good ground; and on better, if they be less. My object, however, is not to touch the harmony of G. H. R. which I have read with much interest and attention; but simply and briefly as possible to meet the objections which have presented themselves to his niind.
It may be well to premise a short
description of the sepulchre, and a few general observations on the gospels. The sepulcbre consisted of an inner and outer chamber. This division of the sepulchre appears to be critically marked by Matthew in the original, as Hales observes,* although not noticed in our translation. He uses the general word uinnetov, or the precise word tapos, as the facts and sense require.
If Matthew wrote his Greek Gospel A. D. 37 ; Mark somewhere from 60 to 63; Luke, about 63 or 64 ; and John, A. D. 97 ; we may naturally expect each Evangelist to record some fact, as to the Resurrection, which had been previously omitted; and that, if the first writer told the main facts with the most scrupulous care, his successors would present a more general view. Matthew's history, which was the first, is also the most complete and minute ; and he says in effect, that Mary Magdalen and the other Mary were sitting in the outer chamber of the sepulchre, and opposite the passage, when Joseph deposited the body in the tomb. (Matt. xxvii. 61.) and Mark tells us that these same women, (xv. 4.) “ beheld where He was laid ; which was, as he consistently observes, (xvi. 5.) " on the
* See Hales' Chron, i. 435,
right side.” I can now proceed to to Mary Magdalene. It must not reconcile the supposed discrepancy be forgotten that these women were between St. Luke and the other agitated by doubt, subdued by Evangelists, if their accounts be watchfulness and sorrow, and much taken as one. “And entering into influenced by fear. Taking these the Sepulchre, they saw a young Man circumstances as a guide, I would sitting on the right side, clothed in observe that the second improbaa long white garment; and they bility stated by G. H. R. is out of were affrighted.” Mark. xvi. 5. the question, because it was ad“ And it came to pass as they mitted in my first letter; and conwere much perplexed thereabout, sideration of the third improbability hehold two men stood by them in becomes unnecessary, if the objecshining garments.” Luke xxiv. 4. tion, so far as it is founded on the Thewomen were affrighted, and first, be removed. much perplexed. Here an interval We are not at issue as to the of time is implied, in which the at- fact of Mary Magdalene's separatention, and even the eyes might be tion from the other women, which withdrawn from the well known G. H. R. admits in a note; but I spot where the body had lain, and cannot agree with him as to the where the Angel sat. In the inter- time. It hardly could be on their val this Angel might rise up, the way to the city, For, if the visit other angel enter, and both be seen of the three women preceded that standing by the women when they of Joanna and others, and if Jesus looked again, and when the Angel appeared first to Mary Magdalene, whom they found in the tomb, and at the sepulchre, how can we addressed them as St. Mark states. account for the delay of the other The words of this Angel as re- Mary, and Salome, between the corded by St. Mark, connected time of their companions' separawith the omissions in it as supplied tion from them, and our Lord's in St. Luke, harmonise in the most appearance to them on the way? accurate manner. And whatever The sepulchre, as G. H.R. reminds may be the force of the term, us, was " nigh unto the city!” They “ behold" in general, it shows a were already on the way thither! remarkable precision of expression, They moved in great haste! The as thus accommodated to the facts. soldiers arrived at the city as the Nor is the perplexity of the women, two women were going there, in on the one hypothesis, less credible obedience to the Lord's personal than their allowed incredulity on command ! and an interval of some the other. But is it of necessity to length must have elapsed during refer their perplexity to the single this unaccountable delay, as Mary fact, of not finding the body? Is it Magdalene had gone to Jerusalem, not more reasonable that it be re- returned with Peter and John, and ferred to the accumulation of events stood without for some time per. in the hypothsis to which G. H. R. haps, at the sepulchre, weeping:objects? And again if he admit It is not an answer to say that that although “ Mary Magdalen Matthew's history of events at the was TWICE told by Angels that her resurrection must not be confined Lord was risen," yet she did not to the exact order of relation, believe ; why should the women's because his account has internal perplexity be thought improbable, marks which lead to the opposite when they had been but once conclusion. Nor would it be informed of that fact ?
enough to infer this delay from the The second objection of G. H. R. long duration of the fainting fit is founded on three improbabilities of the soldiers ; because they must, which are supposed to be attributed from Matthew's account have left