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ON CHRISTMAS AMUSEMENTS, DANCING, &c. MY DEAR FRIEND,
or only increase our guilt and agI FEEL myself called upon, both gravate our doom. by inclination and duty, imme- I am well aware, indeed, that at diately to reply to the query con- this season our young people retained in your last Letter, How turn from school; and I am far far it is lawful or expedient for you from wishing, that home should to allow your children to join in be rendered dull, gloomy, and dissome of those amusements and en- agreeable. I am ready, therefore, tertainments which are customary in my own circle, to encourage at this season of the year; and cheerful and innocent amusements, especially how far this is one of to introduce entertaining and inthose times in which dancing may structive books, to encourage phibe regarded as lawful?
losophical and scientific recreaI confess, that the longer I live tions; and thus to spend at home, the more deeply I feel, that the for the gratification of my own chiltransition from one year to another dren and those of my friends, the is a season very unsuitable for that money which too many employ in round of joyous mirth and festive countenancing and supporting the amusement which so generally pre- destructive amusements of the vails, We ought, indeed, to be theatre, &c.
But I feel it my filled with gratitude and thanks- duty to take a decided part against giving to that God, who hath so the evening parties, the large suploved the world as to send his only pers, and the late hours to which begotten Son to become man for many kind but injudicious friends us men and our salvation. We invite the youth of their acquaintought to be deeply impressed with ance, as being both unfavourable the mercy which has spared us to health, and deeply injurious to through another year, and protected religious feeling. and provided for us during the With respect to dancing, I whole period of our days; we may would remark, that no countewell « eat the fat, and drink the nance can be given to the pracsweet, and send portions to them tice as prevailing among ourfor whom nothing is prepared ;” selves, from the text alluded to in but that we should therefore sup- your Letter.
- There is,"
says pose ourselves justified in engaging the wise man, “ a time to dance;" . in amusements, and indulging in a
a time when gratitude to Almighty round of dissipation, which we God ought to be expressed by the feel not strictly correct at other most joyful and significant actions seasons of the year, seems to nie and expressions. Thus Miriam, utterly inconsistent with every and the daughter of Jephthah, and principle of Christianity. Surely the women of Israel, and the thie incarnation of the Son of God daughters of Shilo, and the holy calls for religious joy, and can David danced before the Lord ; never justify conformity to worldly but this dancing was a religious customs and maxims. It calls us act and ceremony; it was practo communion with God, to draw tised exclusively on joyous occanear to the Table of the Lord; to sions, such as national festivals or inquire how far we are interested great victories; it was performed in the great and glorious events in the day-time, in the open air, in which took place at Bethlehem, highways, fields, and groves; and and whether the coming of the was totally different from that Lord Jesus Christ into the world dancing which prevails among ourshall be effectual to our salvation, selves. No instance is recorded in
Scripture where persons of both are, in consequence, highly, exsexes united in this exercise; and cited, attentions are mutually paid, the only cases in which it appears and thus, without the smallest into have been practised as an amuse- delicacy, which I believe is most ment, are those of the irreligious strictly guarded against in all refamilies described by Job, and of spectable society, without any specertain vain fellows devoid of cific intention, or any deliberate shame, which produced increased consideration, an entanglement is impiety and ended in destruction; begun, often carried on while the and of Herodias, which ended in parties are not conscious of any the rash vow of Herod and the strong feeling themselves, being murder of John the Baptist. merely pleased with each other,
With respect to the pieas until at length it issues in matribrought forward in behalf of danc- monial engagements of a very ining as an innocent recreation, as expedient nature, and often with an elegant amusement,
most unhappy consequences. ducive to health, &c. very few hints And now, my dear friend, let may suffice. The very end of any me ask you seriously, can you recreation is to fit us for the better justify it to your own conscience to discharge of the duties of life. allow your daughters to be exposed · But all my experience has led me to dangers such as those I have to conclude, that dancing unfits hinted at? You and I know well for the duties of the family and of instances where the consequences the closet: that it occupies much to which I allude have actually time in preparation, leads to much taken place, and where the paunnecessary show and expense, rents have, to their dying day, latempts many to envious and uncha- mented having suffered their chilritable competitions and observa- dren to engage in such amusetions, and very commonly inca- ments. Highly as I respect both pacitates the parties who have en- you and your partner, and truly as gaged in it for attention to their † am convinced your children posproper businesses on the following, sess far better principles, and have or even on many successive days. been favoured with a far better exIt appears to me highly unfavour- ample, than many around, I can able to health: whether it is the
see no reason to conclude that they transition from heated room tu may safely be exposed to those à cold and damp atmosphere; dangers which have cast down so whether it is that the exercise has
others. been too violent, or too long con- Allow me in the close to remind tinued, or whatever other cause you, that, after all, the safe side is may have been assigned, I have to abstain from doubtful ground. heard and known of so many se- If you are not fully convinced, that rious and some fatal diseases pro- this, or any other amusement, is duced from engaging heartily in safe and lawful, you may rest sathis amusement, that I cannot but tisfied that is quite safe, and your regard it as most pernicious to the bounden duty; to restrain your health. It is, indeed, an elegant children from engaging in it until amusement; the young people are your mind is more fully established. set off to the best advantage; all Believe me to be
yours affection parties are desirous of pleasing ately, and being pleased; the passions
CIRCUMSTANCES PREPARATORY TO THE
BIBLE SOCIETY. The statement inserted in your the Rev. Mr. Owen's History of number for December, under the that Society; but more at large in above title, is upon the whole cor- what is appended to “ Jonah's rect, with the exception of a few Portrait :"-in perusing which, any sentenees towards the close.
person may be satisfied what were The Welsh charity schools esta- the first steps taken towards the blished by the late Rev. Griffith formation of a new Bible Society. Jones, Rector of Landowror, have In letters to my friends in Wales, 'I unquestionably been of incalcu- sketched more than one plan for lable benefit to the Principality; the establishment of a new Society and still continue to be so under to furnish the Principality with the auspices and patronage of the Bibles, and looked no farther; but present worthy Bishop of St. Da- God did, and provided for the vid's, Dr. Burgess; whose unwea- whole world. ried zeal and pious exertions have Mr. Charles, with others of
my greatly benefited that diocese, and · Welsh friends, attempted to put promoted the Christian cause ge- one of the plans I had proposed nerally. These schools, in connec- into execution ; but owing to the tion with the ministry of a few faith- poverty of that country, they ful clergymen of the Established failed. Soon after this, Mr. Church, were the chief means of Charles was serving Spatield chareviving Christian knowledge in pel, and while there, he stated the that country. The religious in- whole business to his friends in struction given to many thousands London; and it pleased God to of adults, as well as children, stir them up to undertake a work created an unusual demand for which shall bless the whole earth, Bibles: and this great demand and be had in everlasting rememsoon produced scarcity, especially brance. What Mr. Charles did in among
this business, may fairly and proMy late friend, Mr. Charles, of perly be considered as the second Bala, did what he could towards 'step. But who stands first or last supplying the poor, while any Bi- is of
consequence; the bles were to be had for money. glory belongs to God alone; and All efforts to procure any more all that dwell on the earth should had ceased, when I visited Wales join in rendering to Him the highin the year 1791. Some of the est praises and endless blessing for steps I then took are recorded in the New Bible Institution. the Rev. Mr. Dealtry's Vindica
THOMAS JONES, tion of the Bible Society, and in Creaton.
THE CHRISTIAN'S SOLILOQUY ON DEATH.
Yes, the momentous period will arrive,
M. A. L.
NEW YEAR'S MEDITATION. FROM STURM's “ MORNING COMMUNINGS WITH GOD.” The goodness of my heavenly This minute is short, but yet Father permits me again to survive long enough to display to me my the commencement of a new year; negligence, my insensibility, and yet longer on this earth shall I my unthankfulness. Beloved Fa
possess the ther, grant me a wise heart to conopportunity of preparing myself sider the value of time, and a willwith increased care and fidelity for ing heart to use it according to its his celestial kingdom. O how un-worth. If I do not prize the mifortunate should I have been, if nutes of my existence, neither with yesterday the period of my shall I regard hours and days; trial and probation for eternity had and yet on one single minute often finished ! Yet, to my soul's sal- depends the fate of all the days vation, does the Lord of my days that are before us. Thou demandprolong my life a few hours. I est as severe an account of one have still time to reflect on the mis-spent minute, as of the half days which yesterday fled for ever; century which I may have passed those days of salvation, which I to no purpose. have not always wisely and duti- Here my soul trembles. God, fully spent, or at least not con- my God, be gracious unto me. stantly employed according to the When all the days of my
existviews of God. No one of them ence rush into my memory; when returns; but the sorrowful recol- thou callest me to a reckoning conlection of them will sooner or later cerning them, and I am obliged to arrive, will represent to me my stand mute; in the last hour of my errors in lively colours, and oc- life; under thy strict decisive judgcasion me unspeakable anguish. ment, be thou gracious unto me; How many hours and days of this for Jesus' sake, be thou gracious precious season of trial have I dis- unto me! sipated and lost either in idleness, God, thou seest before-hand, or culpable enjoyment! (with how I shall employ this year of what bitter remorse shall I here. which I now hail the first morning. after, when my final hour is come, Thou foreknowest the sins which I think of this squandered time-- shall commit, the temptations to how anxiously desire to have it which I shall be exposed, and the back! But in order to avoid this sufferings which I shall have to enlast grievous torment, I will now dure. In all these various circumdevote the first morning of the stances be thou gracious to me. If early year to the retrospection of 1 transgress, chastise me not in thy my past life; I will profit by the wrath; when I am tempted, let me present hours in order to make a not be overcome; when I suffer, prudent use of the future term of have compassion upon me. God, my pilgrimage.
be thou my help, my comfort, my Yet how can I speak of future aim, and my guide. I days while the passing moments mend myself to thy good guidance.
so uncertain, and I dare Be my God in life and in death. scarcely call this immediate mi- O God, be thou also my God in nute my own property? No, this eternity. instant must be as judiciously em
V. N. ployed, as I have to wish that my whole life had been.
REVIEW OF BOOKS. Letters from an absent Brother, first sight may appear severe ani
containing some Account of a madversions. There is, however, Tour through Parts of the Ne- a more excellent way; and if mitherlands, Switzerland, Northern nisters and aged and experienced Italy, and France.2 Vols. Christians would kindly and af
Pp. 214 & 290. Wilson. 1824. fectionately communicate their senLetters from North America, writ- timents on sermons, &c. to those
ten during a Tour in the United preachers whom they occasionally States and Canada. By Adam hear, and especially if they would Hodgson. -2 Vols. Pp. xvi, accompany those communications 405 and 471, Hurst. 1824. with kind, affectionate, and enWe seldom meet with volumes couraging commendation to of travels of a nature suited to our what is really excellent, they might Publication, and are therefore the often render most essential service more gratified at receiving at once to large congregations. Whereas two works which we have perused inany pious and excellent ministers with great pleasure, and can cor- have been pained and discouraged dialiy recommen
by remarks reaching them at seThe first of these publications is cond-hand, often times distorted from the pen of the Rev. D. Wil- and exaggerated, and, generally son; who, as many of our readers speaking, devoid of all those conare aware, being worn down by ciliatory suggestions with which incessant labours, was advised, in personal communications are usuthe summer of 1823, to undertake ally accompanied. This is frea continental our for the benefit of quently the secret spring of dissahis health. On this tour these tisfaction between curates and their Letters were written without the principals. least intention of being seen beyond We have felt very considerable the family circle. On Mr. W's interest in perusing these volumes, return, he was prevailed upon to in consequence of their affording print a few copies for the gratifica- us information from the
pen tion of his personal friends; and in on whose judgment we can depend consequence the work came into as to the actual religious and moral so many hands, and such urgent state of the Continent. We have requests were made for its publica- long wished to ascertain whether, tion, that the author was at length amidst all the abominations and compelled to allow these volumes corruptions of the Romish Church, to appear.
there were not a people who It would not be just to subject a sighed and mourned over the evils work written and published under which existed; and have often such circumstances to the ordeal of feared, that on some at least of the severe criticism: though even Continental Protestant churches it this ground Mr. W. would have might be written, Ichabod," the little to fear. We could wish that glory is departed. On both these
or two remarks which may points, Mr. W. gives valuable and be painful to respectable indi- important inforination, which may viduals had not appeared; and yet well stimulate us to fervent prayer, if these individuals should in con- to continued and increasing exsequence be led to consider their ertion. own conduct in the light in which The following passages point out it appears to an unprejudiced mind, the low and debasing superstition they may eventually derive inn- in which the greater part of the portant instruction from what at Roman Catholic Church is sunk,