Gambar halaman

social happiness and domestic peace, as well as the surest standard of our Christian Faith ; the best Charter of our Civil Rights and Liberties, as well as the safest Warrant of our Christian Hopes, is the Bible. We owe our present tranquillity to that Blessed Book. God be thanked for it!

Where shall Wisdom be found, and where is the place of Understanding? In the Word of God. But this is not all: it is necessary, as we have seen, to be instructed in God's Word, in order to learn Wisdom; but this instruction is not enough. There must be something more. Suppose you examine a number of children; you may find many among them who are very quick in answering your questions concerning ScriptureHistory, Geography, and Chronology: and perhaps they will repeat to you, very aptly and accurately, the scripture texts which you may require for the proof or illustration of the various doctrines of Christianity. And this is all very well, and very satisfactory, as far as it goes. But this proficiency by no means proves that the Gospel has struck deep root in their hearts. This exhibition may be, after all, only the exuberance and efflorescence of knowledge, which, like Jonah's gourd, springs up rapidly, and shows forth its luxuriant foliage, but has a worm at its root, and will soon wither and die. No: in order that there be true religious knowledge, there must be religious habits. Our blessed Lord Himself teaches that the root of piety is practice. If, says He, any man will do God's will, he shall know of the doctrine". If ye continue in My word, ye shall know the truth'. He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth me: and I will love him, and manifest Myself to himo. Christ not only says, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear ; but He says also, take heed how ye

heard. He that heareth and doeth not, buildeth his house upon the sand. We must add to our faith virtue". Obedience is the key to Scripture. God revealeth mysteries to the meek, and dwelleth with the man of an humble and contrite spirit . As the Wise Man saysHe that keepeth the law of the Lord getteth the understanding thereof; and the perfection of the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom". Here, then, you will perceive, is a second most important

• John vii. 17. b John viii. 31, 32. c John xiv. 21.
d Luke viii, 18. e Matthew vii. 26. r 2 Peter i, 5.
$ Isaiah lyii. 15. h Ecclus. xxi, 11.

practical lesson to all who are desirous of promoting their own growth in wisdom, and that of others, and of so preserving their beloved country from those calamities by which other nations are overwhelmed. Everything now depends, under God, not on the quantity, but on the quality of the Instruction which the rising generation among us will receive. The Word of God, and the Work of God: here is our safety. Religious knowledge, and religious habits : in their union is our strength. Keep, therefore, and do My statutes, says God to us all, for this is your wisdom in the sight of the nations, which shall say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people".

The question now arisesHow is this to be effected ?
Certainly not, we reply, by the will of man alone ?

Here is the pernicious error of many persons, distinguished by zeal, in our own times. They seem to imagine, that, by placing the Scriptures in the hands of young persons, and by inculcating upon them moral lessons of temperance, sobriety, honesty, truth, and industry, and by endeavouring to train them by precept and example in these virtues, they can accomplish the work of Education. A most strange and fatal delusion !

The will of man, be assured, can do nothing as it ought to do, unless it be prevented, aided, and guided, by Divine Grace.

Moral Precepts and Examples are of little avail, unless they are commended and enforced by the persuading, enabling, and exciting influences of the Holy Spirit. The outward teaching of the Bible profits nothing, without the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit Who wrote the Bible.

The Comforter is and ever will be the best Teacher. The Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, will teach you all things, said Christ to His Apostles. To Him the devout Christian addresses his fervent aspirations.--Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of Thy law. Take the veil from my heart. In Thy light I shall see light". Enable me to see Thy will, and to do it. On the other hand, the natural manthat is, he who relies on his own reason, cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The aid of the Spirit is indispensable, that we may a Deuteronomy iv. 6.

b Psalms cxix. 18. e Psalms xxxvi. 9.

d 1 Corinthians ii, 14.



see the things of the Spirit, and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, in every system of popular Instruction which would hope to communicate true wisdom, and to produce the pure and peaceable fruits of wisdom, there must be a distinct recognition of the paramount necessity of Divine Grace.

In so speaking, we are very far from giving any countenance to the notions of enthusiasts, who look for new revelations, or expect to soar to the heights of Wisdom on the wings of fanatical raptures.

No: God never lends His aid, to courage our ignorance, indolence, or presumption. The Holy Spirit is not given to supersede our labour, but to stimulate, direct, and assist it—not to destroy our Reason, but to elerate it; and it is not poured out in fitful gusts and wild torrents, but in the calm effusions of the regular means of Grace.

It has pleased God of His great goodness to us, to offer to convey Grace to our souls by certain channels, which are especially, Prayer, public and private, and the two Sacraments. By them He gives strength, and refreshment, and illumination, to our souls, in the same

as He communicates nourishment by food to our bodies. Therefore Prayer and the Sacraments are called means of Grace. And although God could, if He so willed it, give us Grace by any other means than these, or without any means at all, yet since He has instituted these means for the express purpose

of conveying Grace to us, we have no warrant whatever to expect Grace from Him, unless we use-use diligently and devoutly —these means, which He has thought fit to appoint for that purpose, with express command to us to employ the same.

Here then we have another warning.

We perceive, from what has been said, the futility, shallowness, and presumption, of those systems of Popular Instruction, which separate the work of teaching from Prayer and the Sacraments. Such Instruction as that is no better than drawing water in broken cisterns. It is of the earth, earthy. It is the system of the builders of Babel, and will end in a confusion of tongues. It is not the system of those whose minds have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and who labour for unity, and seek peace and ensue it. They who have received the Word, and have been baptized, continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread (that is, in the celebration of the Eucharist), and in prayer.

This is the true picture of Christian Education.

To sum up what has now been said.–First, let us not delude ourselves, nor attempt to delude others, with the vain imagination, that it is enough for a Nation to devote large sums of public money to popular Instruction ; and to stimulate the intellectual faculties of all classes of society by literary and scientific knowledge. The eye may be dazzled by specious results of mental proficiency: flattering Reports may be drawn up and circulated of the progress of Schools : a great and complex secular machinery may be organized and centralized, for the conduct of Public Instruction, as a neighbouring country has taught us by a terrible example, and yet no real permanent good may be effected; the national character may not be improved—it may not be more dignified—more humane—more Christian. On the contrary, it may have become more restless--more proud-more revolutionary—more unchristian—more anti-christian. And so National Instruction may lead to National Ruin.

Let us be sure of this, that the true greatness of a people depends, not on Popular Instruction, but on Christian EduCATION.

Let us, indeed, yield due honour to Literature and Science : but let us not expect from them what they are not able to perform. Let us not rely on them as adequate means and sufficient instruments, for informing the judgment, controlling the will, and purifying the heart—in a word, for doing the work of the Holy Spirit of God. If we do, we shall find to our cost that we have been leaning on a broken reed—nay more, the reed will pierce our hand. Not only shall we discover that they are insufficient for these purposes, but if we have trusted to them as sufficient, they will prove very pernicious. True, they give men force, but they do not place any bridle upon it; and force unchecked by reason, and unguided by Religion, will soon break forth into fury. Too often, alas ! they make men proud, presumptuous, self-willed, self-confident, self-idolizing, and restless ; and so school them for sedition, and arm them for civil war. They give men Knowledge but not Wisdom; and “ Knowledge,it is true, "is Power," but WISDOM alone is PEACE.

a Acts ii. 42.

Next, let us repudiate all systems of instruction which are not based upon the Word of God. Let all our Schools be inscribed with the words of the Apostle-To the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the Only Wise God". And let us be assured, that other foundation can no man lay, but that is laid, Jesus Christ'. Let us be satisfied, that His Word-His Word, not merely faithfully taught, but punctually obeyed, is the rock on which the fabric of our National Instruction must be built, if, in the hour of national peril, when the rains descend, and floods come, and the winds blow and beat violently upon it, it is not to be swept away by the hurricane, and involve us all in the ruin.

Next, let us not imagine that even the Word of God will profit us without the Grace of God. Let us never, therefore, concur with any who would divorce Instruction from the Public Offices of religion. Schools without Sacraments are wells without water; clouds and wind without rain". They are without the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the Author of Peace and Love. It is vain, nay, it is far worse than vain, to erect Schools, unless we provide that all who are brought up in them have habitual access to all the means of Grace in the regular Ministrations of Religion.

When Christ established His School for instructing the World, He said to His Apostles---Go ye; teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This was His Charter of Incorporation. The Baptismal Covenant is the germ of Education ; and Baptismal Grace is the early rain which makes the tender shoot put forth its first small leaves, which are afterwards to be watered with the fresh dews and latter rain of the Spirit, given in prayer, and in the reading of God's Word, and in the Apostolic rite of Confirmation, and in the Holy Eucharist, and in the other regular Ordinances of Religion.

Let us also bear in mind, that there never was a period in our own National History, in which this important subject required more careful and earnest attention than the present.

• 1 Timothy i. 17. b1 Cor. iii. 11.

• 2 Peter ii. 17.- Proverbs xxv. 14.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »