Page images
PDF
EPUB

PART III.

The mode of instruction which we have ventured to suggest in the former parts of this little work, may, we conceive, be applied with advantage, to the consideration of outward objects, chiefly in the natural creation.

The senses are the medium of our communication with this world : during our early years, the operations of the mind through the senses, constitute the most active part of our being. Children will use their senses; their little hands, eyes, and ears, constantly exercise themselves upon surrounding objects. A Christian Parent or Instructor will desire that every object may be a means of leading the child to God, instead of drawing him from God : the child should first be directed what objects to

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

observe, and then be taught to use his observations aright.

Those persons of riper years, who are sincerely desirous of enjoying the presence of God, usually find outward objects a cause of distraction. Without entering into the reason of this, we would suggest two means by which the evil complained of may be lessened: the one, is frequently to exercise the soul in meditation and prayer; we may thus acquire a habit of withdrawing from the injurious influence of outward things, and we may even gradually be introduced into a state, in which we are strengthened to rise above objects of sense :the other method, (and the one more immediately connected with our present object) is, to seek and acknowledge God in every thing, whether in the works of creation, or in the necessary and appointed labours of man: in the former, especially, the youthful mind should be taught to behold the infinite power and wisdom of God, to feel his universal presence, to 'adore his love. *

* While we speak of training the senses, it must not be forgotten that there is a power which is independent of them : they are, as, we before remarked, the instruments by which the soul has communication with the outward world, but they have no connection (or at best but a remote one) with the The Christian Instructor should always bear in mind, that from the misuse of the senses, proceed some of the strongest temptations to sin, and that every sense may become the channel of temptation.

To have the senses much exercised in observing the habits, and manners, and occupations of men, is the certain means of becoming early contaminated by the spirit of the world. Before the little being has learned to imbibe the surrounding corruption, let images of simple and useful things be fixed in his mind; let his faculties be interested with

nan.

invisible and spiritual world; and though the right use and direction of the senses is of high importance, still we must remember that they are incapable of receiring the immediate communications of light and life from God. Such communications are made, not to the senses, but to the spirit of

In the ordinary course of things, the senses are the first powers which are brought into a state of development; the wrong direction of their development, is usually a hindrance to the operations of the spiritual power ; but it belongs to a christian education, so to train, rule, and elevate the opening faculties, that the knowledge acquired through the senses may not impede, but rather aid the spiritual being. When the man is converted, in proportion as the inward, spiritual life prevails, the reign of the senses will diminish , as the Christian advances, the senses, with their operations, will be brought habitually under his command. The communications of the divine light will so far surpass the knowledge to be acquired through the exertions of his own reason, that he will desire to be entirely guided, to harc every faculty influcoced by the Spirit of Truth.

B 2

the wonders of creation, his heart be habitually directed to God as every where present with His works. Let him imbibe such a taste for all that proceeds from God, as shall produce a distaste for the productions of error, and the delusive allurements of sin.

The examination of natural objects is a fruitful source of instruction. Whether we contemplate the feathered wing of a butterfly, or behold the majestic summit of a lofty mountain, we are at least withdrawn from the corrupting influence of the world, and may be penetrated with the sense of a beauty, or a sublimity, which art seeks to imitate in vain.The Christian views every thing as created and upheld by the Eternal Word: (Col. i. 16, 17; Heb. i. 2, 3.) he examines the insect, and while with wonder he surveys the perfection of its minute organs, he gives glory to its Creator; he joyfully confides in that Providence which sustains it in its own appropriate place, the subject of His care, as well as every individual amidst the myriad hosts of intelligent beings. He considers the structure of a leaf, the delicacy of its texture, the beautiful net-work of its veins -and gathers new instruction. He beholds the flower, and its colours and its perfume testify to hiin of the munificence of the divine love,

« PreviousContinue »