Imágenes de páginas

about equally of the best of both : since, for example, with all its crossness and ill humours, we may expect in the child such properties as these, v.g. as meekness, pleasure, tenderness, with a simple joy and confidence in its benefactors; no guile, no boisterous resentment, no daring independence : while in man we have all the last mentioned of these two sorts chiefly, combined also frequently with some not mentioned of the noblest quality, which the woman enjoys likewise in her degree more moderately; i. e. for the most part, or in the main as I said before, and accounts for their characteristic inequality. Woman at her best is a well modified compound of the man and the child; where opposite qualities from the two combine to form a third character; as softness with resolution, fondness with magnanimity, gentleness with impetuosity, diffidence with courage, repose with activity. She is not a mixture, a shade, nor an intermediate degree, but a rich compound or combination of the manly and the infantile character; in which sometimes one will predominate, sometimes the other. And a man who shall treat his wise with this consideration, shewing her accordingly as it may be required-all the tenderness and allowance due to childhood, with all the esteem and confidence due to manhood in every high respect, will find that he has the art to make her happy, and himself with her,-if there be nothing in their private intercourse to deserve reprobation.

It may be, that the ruling passion of the sex is a passion for ruling: and have they not somewhat to rule? It may be well for our stubborn bones sometimes, that we have them, and not our fathers, to rule them before they be well knit. Beyond that sphere, and the female household, women rule most effectually where it is done by them most unintentionally, and to the ruled - most imperceptibly, being done by the gentle sway of esteem and affection. The dominion of such a woman, though unseen, is felt both far and wide, through all the sphere of her acquaintance, and does more by its charming

[ocr errors]

influence on our minds and manners, than all the power of princes with their formidable authority, as it may be, over our lives and fortunes.

“Oye men," (says one of the interlocutors in an imaginary contest that I suppose I may venture to quote now, as I am not writing sermons,)“this was Zorobabel;"_"O ye men, (said he to the umpires,) it is not the great king, nor the multitude of men, neither is it wine that excelleth (as asserted by his competitors ;) who is it then that ruleth them, or hath the lordship over them? Are they not women ? Women have borne the king, and all the people that bear rule by sea and land. Even of them came they ; and they nourished them up that planted the vineyards, from whence the wine cometh. These also make garments for men: these bring glory unto men: and without women cannot men be. Yea, and if men have gathered together gold and silver, or any other goodly thing, do they not love a woman which is comely in favour and beauty? And letting all those things go, do they not gape, and even with open mouth fix their eyes

fast on her ? and have not all men more desire unto her than unto silver or gold, or any goodly thing whatsoever ? A man leaveth his own father that brought him up, and his own country, and cleaveth unto his wife. He sticketh not to spend his life with his wife; and remembereth neither father, nor mother, nor country.” (Esdras I. iv. 13, &c.) “ Tarpis ráp εστι πάσ' έν αν πραττη τις εύ”-says the poet. .

The common inequality of education between the two sexes in a circle higher than common would seem more striking, and to have a more disadvantageous effect for the weaker, than any inequality of natural constitution and endowments : it being the misfortune of their education, to begin generally where the other ends, that is, with polishing; which must needs abridge the sphere of their utility. But that is a disadvantage that does not extend to the sphere of which I am writing, the commonest sphere in the church or in Christendom. So that, reasoning á

priori by which such objections are confounded, and from precedent by which it appears that women were admitted to baptism originally as well as children and men, I infer that they may be lawfully baptized, and ought to be considered as a part and parcel of the church both now and for ever; equal with men here, as necessary helpmates, and no less so hereafter," as being heirs together of the grace of life." (Pet. I. iii. 7.)

Such is the liberal fruit of a true profession; it neither encourages nor allows of any invidious distinctions. And when our Saviour says, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned,” (Mark xvi. 16,) both sexes are clearly comprehended in either liability, as it often happens, under the designation of one. So all-men, women, and children, are equally called, no doubt, by the Lord of all to this common form of highest fealty and grand ceremonial of salvation. It was his intention to die for all, and could not be his intention at the same time to exclude any from “the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil. iii. 10.) who were willing and prepared with suitable dispositions to come to him thereby; as he says, “ All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John vi. 37.)

Consider we 3-Whether there be any thing farther or beyond Baptism required for Discipline of the common sort, or the common sort of Discipline ; and What?

Baptism being, as I have shown, only a portal or entrance to discipline, will belong to the same without making any part of it, as a door belongs to an house; and consequently will be nothing alone, but must be attended with something, to make it, or for it to make any thing. For will baptism make a good charioteer or gladiator? Because, if it will, it may make a good man also for other purposes. But I have never understood yet, that baptism would ever make or do any thing; though it may require or what is more engage, or even procure-something to

be made or done: and farther than that, it also engages a gift of the power to do. For receiving Christ or his institution, in baptism sincerely is more than merely receiving a name: it may be hoped, that we then receive also the power as well as the name of Christ; that receiving him we receive also the "

power to become the sons of God;" (John i. 12;) which is receiving him—“ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (Cor. I. i. 24.)

2. Hence it may appear what baptism should be when it is the beginning that it ought to be—the beginning of a Christian life, of a life in Christ, or a life regulated by Christian discipline. And therefore having advanced so far as the portal, and considered the entrance to this sacred edifice, let us proceed to view its interior; having considered the solemn rite of baptism as an indispensable foundation or beginning of the discipline, let us proceed to consider the Substance or Process to which it is

preparatory, including the highest affairs both in church and state, as well as the commonest which form the

proper subject of this epistle. We have considered baptism as a rite of the church answering to the inlistment of recruits in a secular army; likewise, who are the proper objects or candidates for that high privilege, being men, women and children,-let us now consider the Discipline itself in like manner, 1, at School; 2, in After-schooling. Only to make sure still that we are not mis-spending our time on a subject of no consequence or reality, it will first be convenient to ask another question respecting the same; as

e. g.

4-Whether there be any thing practical and real in this common circle of Discipline, or whether it consists only in mere Forms and Professions ?

And to explain the drift or meaning of this question, allow me to ask again, if something like this would do for a sample of Christian discipline in the common or widest sphere? Fancy therefore, if you can, a group of young disciples whose schooling has hardly commenced enjoying

themselves somewhere, as it may be on a half-holiday. Behold, and see: they are as blythe as very birds! and what might all their little chatter be about? List and hear

Caroline-You mean Christmas plays, Lucy ?

Lucy-Well: this is a Christmas play that I am going to have. Here, George; you shall play the parson, because you have got on your black trousers and your white pinafore. This pinafore shall be your surplice.

George-No: I'll take off my pinafore.

LucyYou sha'n't. You cannot be a parson without a surplice.

Caroline-But how'll you play Christians ?

Lucy-Why, AS THEY DO AT CHURCH. George shall be the parson, with his nice white pinafore and black trousers; and Tommy shall be the clerk, because he can say Amen. You can say Amen; can't you, Tommy?

All (with great glee)—A-ane !-A-ane !-Amen!

Now this is life in miniature : children aping men, as men ape children! And this is all that the Son of God came into the world, “as at this time," to teach-is it? to teach Christmas plays ? And it is something, is it not, “ for such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death :" (Ps. cvii. 10:) who are damned already, but sought to be saved, (Luke xix. 10.) to get up and go a playing Christians, be orthodox, and say Amen to any thing? Such a part as that may not indeed require much schooling: it is what some take to naturally. But I cannot help thinking myself that the Son both of God and man came into the world and was manifested to a very different end. He came to save that which was lost;” (Matt. xviii. 11;) he“ was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil;” (John I. iii. 8 ;) beginning with mere formality; and all by the simple means of restoring sound discipline, both in general and particular.


« AnteriorContinuar »