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Besides this, the nature of every man demands spiritual as well as natural instruction. If the mind of man is the basis of intellectual instruction, the soul of man is no less really a basis of spiritual instruction. To be satisfied simply with intellectual train. ing is to neglect the greatest and most important part of our being; and this is the point in the wise man's remark, when he says, "He that refuseth instruction despiseth bis own soul.” The soul needs instruction, just as much as the mind needs education and as the body needs food and raiment. Spiritual instruction is the food of the soul; and to refuse it is to despise the soul, to pormit it to starve and sink down to death. "Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the month of God.” If he would stand forth in the true integrity of bis being, man must not only feed and clothe the body, train and educate the mind, but also receive instruction for the soul.
And is it not true that every day's experience adds new confirmation to the fact, that mere mental training, however complete this may be in itself, does not qualify men to attend properly to the affairs of the present life. Unsanctified knowledge is only unsanctified power.
It does not change the passions. It does not create honesty and industry It does not evolve the spirit of obedi. ence; nor does it excommunicate the strong feelings of selfishness which are inherent in every heart. On the other hand, it can only bring these out, develop their strength, and give them a wider field on which to display their powers : for all these things are already in the nature of men, and natural education, as the word itself imports (educo), can only develop or expand and bring out what is in.
This is the true ground of that objection which we frequently hear urged against education and schools. It is not, as some are wont to regard it, wholly a sign of ignorance on the part of those who urge it. On the other hand, it indicates a very profound insight into facis. It carries with it a truth which no one can resist or deny. Such education alone can never meet even the ordinary demands of our natural life. At best it can only set forth our poor nature educated and prepared for greater wickedness.
But we do not censure the State for doing this work. We praise it. The mind onght and must te educated, and the State ought to do it. But the work should not stop here. The Church bas a work to do as well as the State ; and the Church ought to do it. It is hers to instruct, as it is the State's to elucate. The State draws out, but the Church puts in. These two great agencies, though they are not formally united in this country, and perhaps never ought to be, can yet never be sundered in their action, without the most serious detriment.
To the Church has been given the high commission to instruct men, and thus complete what the State has begun.
“ Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The Church, therefore, instead of finding fault with the State for the negative character of education for which it has provided, should properly lay herself out for her part of the work. If it is negative, it is so only in the absence of what the Church ought to supply. To her belongs the religious part of it. This great feature in her mission, scems, in this fast age, to be very nearly lost sight of. It was not so in better times. The day was when the school house stood side by side with the church, and when it was considered perfectly within the province of the pastor to superintend the instruction which was there imparted Now this is seldom seen. Has the change been an improvement? We think not. The solid, substantial and intelligent piety of our fathers, as compared with that which now generally prevails, is sufficient to vindicate their wisdom and to show our folly.
Spiritual instruction is the connecting of the human mind, in a positive way, with the divine mind. It is a meeting of the innate capacity which has been excited and strengthened by education, with its proper food and nourishment from without.
It is a put. ting into the mind and heart, as the word instruction, from instruo, implies, wbat was not in before, and wbich is necessary to be in, in order that the innate faculties themselves may be properly developed, and when developed, be active for the happiness of man and the glory of God. It is the putting in of the mind and will of God, of creative divine words and doctrines, and of the light and grace which always accompany these. It is a true furnishing of the human temple, without which it must remain empty and sounding with all the education it can command.
It is not only a breathing in of the divine and heavenly, but also a breathing in, in a certain regular, systematic way. Divine truth, as it lies in a fragmentary form, is taken up and analized. The different portions are arranged and put in their
appropriate places, and thus a continuous, harmonious and beautiful system of truth is produced. Thus Scripture is made to illustrate Scripture, and that wbich once seemed a contradiction, is now a beautiful har. mony—that which once seemed absurd, now appears as a great and pregnant truth—and that which once excited the jeers of the infidel, now becomes a divine power constraining his faith and homage.
It is in the spiritual just as it is in the natural field of revelation. No ordinary mind single handed and alone can go out into nature, and from wbat he sees bere and there, understand Botany, Mineralogy, Geology or Astronomy: and yet all the principles and facts which are comprehended in these sciences, are in nature before him. But he cannot understand them; they are too irregullarly scattered, too widely spread, too deep down, or too high up. But if they are brought together, by the careful research of ages, if they are properly arranged in the order of their own existence, and if the eye can range over them all at once, then he can understand them.
Those systems are the keys by which he can unlock nature and understand what before was all mystery. From this point he goes forth amid the Handiworks of the Almighty, and all is luminous and beautiful. He beholds the flower blooming at his side, and immediately he knows where it belongs; be sees the mineral, and at once he knows how to classify it; he penetrates the earth, discovers its different strata, and knows their meaning; he lifts his eye to the heavens, and what was all confusion to him before, is now the most perfect order. In a word, after having mastered these systems, he is prepared to wander amid the immensity of God's works, to understand each part, as far as they can be understood, and to see the whole moving forward stamped with the grandest perfections and pervaded with the most beautiful harmony
Just so in the department of the Bible. To send the mind into it, without some comprehensive system by which its parts are related, with a view to gather therefrom this, that and the other doctrine, is like sending it into pature that it may discover the laws of plants, the forces in crystilization, or the proper places of the stars in the great vault of night. It cannot be expected. No mind bas such mighty power. The field is too wide, and the facts are to numerous and variously diversified. It is not for any one mind originally to develop the full meaning of any portion of the Bible, much less of the whole, which yet each one should understand. This is the work of ages—let each succeeding generation link its effort with the preceding, then there will be progress. Let the grand field of revelation in liko manner be properly systematized-let the various portions akin to each other be brought into their proper places and from the whole let the great and leading doctrines which it comprehends, be clearly and distinctly made to stand forth in proper systematic form, and then let these be put into the mind and heart, connect themselves with the natural thinking and feeling of men, by an earnest process of in. struction and study, then will they be prepared to see wonderful things in God's holy law-all will appear plain, beautiful and harmonious. With such a key, they can pass from part to part, extract the true meaning, and see beauty every where.
Now this is wbat is meant by spiritual instruction. It is not a cramming the mind with fragmentary facts, wbich lead to no intelligent result, which give no definite shape to Christian character; but a breathing into it, in their own beautiful order, the great and leading doctrines of the Bible, just in such a way as the logic in every mind demands them, which then become the mould of Christian character.
And when they are thus in, they become a part of the mind itself; they weave themselves into its very texture, and no power can eradicate them. They are there as a permanent fact, operating continually upon the thought, changing the feelings and passions, creating deep longings after God, and constitute a medium through which God pours his grace upon the soul. Here is the positive element in education, which the Church of Christ only has power to impart, and without which no learning can be of permanent benefit to any man.
With this education completes itself, and man becomes prepared for the duties both of the world that now is and of that which is to come. Thus man comes not only
to the power to know right, but also to do right. With this he stands forth, not with an educated body simply, nor yet with an educated mind simply, but as an educated man, body, soul and spirit-prepared to live, prepared to die, prepared to live again in a world, which, to say the least, requires a no less highly educated state than the present.
From this we may see the truth of the wise man's remark, "He that refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul.” He sets aside the highest interest of life in time. Everything that is dear in freedom, everything that is precious in peace and harmony, and everything that is grand in truth and righteousness, he jeopardizes by depending upon mere education without the inbreathing of God's converting grace. And then he foregoes everything that is beautiful, everything that is grand, and everything that discovers harmony in the kingdom of grace : for all these things can be seen only as they are pointed out. And then besides all—and higher than all for him personally—he forgets that his soul, however famished here, shall live on forever: but not with the instructed angels, not with the instructed saints, not in the place of holiness and purity and happiness, but in its own place, away from God, and under his wrath. Truly he despises his own soul.
How important that this great truth should be properly heeded by the young! Youth is the period at which to receive the blessing which Christian instruction has to impart. Should this interesting period be allowed to pass away without improvement in this direction, the opportunity in all probability will be gone forever. Think of this ye that are still in the sunny season of youth; and may the Holy Spirit so influence your hearts, as to lead you to the fountain of wisdom, whose streams will flow forth to enrich and bless your whole subsequent life.
A CONSTANT MIRACLE.
The Bible itself is a standing and an astonishing miracle. Written fragment by fragment, throughout the course of fifteen centuries, under different states of society, and in different languages, by per. sons of the most opposite tempers, talents and conditions, learned and unlearned, prince and peasant, bond and free; cast into every form of instructive composition and good writing, history, prophecy, poetry, allegory, emblematic representation, judicious interpretation, literal statement, precept, example, proverbs, disquisition, epistle, sermon, prayer; in short, all rational shape of human discourse and treating, inoreover, on subjects not obvious, but most difficult; its authors are not to be found, like other writers, contradicting one another upon the most ordinary matters of fact and opinion, but are at harmony upon the whole of their sublime and momentous scheme.
THE CHILD'S LITTLE EVENING PRAYER.
BY THE EDITOR.
«Now I lay me down to sleep,
INTRODUCTORY. Several years ago, while on a summer recreation tour, we had the pleasure of spending a delightful day with a company of literary and intelligent Christian friends, at a lovely rural country seat some miles out from one of our principal cities. Seated in a group, under the shade of a venerable elm in the lawn, the matter of Hymns, their authors, and incidents connected with them, came up in the conversation. Each one contributed to the general fund of interesting information, which enlivened the occasion and made it mutually instructive.
Suddenly, but very naturally, the conversation turned to the little prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep.” A number of pleasant memories connected with it were called up, and many interesting incidents to which it had given rise were related. At length it was suggested, that it would be a good idea to write the history of this little prayer, einbodying an account of the many instances in which lasting impressions for good had been made by it, and publish it as a Sunday-school book.
"Good ! good !" was the response which came with true heartiness from the whole company. “Let it be done.”
It was then further agreed that the company then present should take the matter in hand. It was farther arranged, agreed, and resolved by motion duly made and put to vote, that we, which pronoun here means the editor of the Guardian" should write the little book! We very naturally protested, resigned and declined ; but no excuse was taken. It was an honor of which any one might be proud and thankfully accept, provided only he had any hope of the possibility of accomplishing such a work successfully.' We wished in our heart, that we were able to do the work thus gently laid upon as, and expressed ourselves to that effect to the company. In answer they all promised to assist, by ferreting out and furnishing all the information on the subject within their knowledge and reach. We are sorry, however, to say, that this part of the contract was not afterwards faithfully fulfilled ; at least the company, or committee "on information,” failed to report to us.
As to ourselves, we took the matter somewhat seriously, and felt bound to attempt our part of what we bad thus promised. For