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to forbear, and in which every form of worldliness is as surely to be found, though, from the mist of self-security, all the more difficult to detect. Alas! more are the temptations to error within the human breast than those without it, and it needs but a little practical self-knowledge to tell us that those who most place their hopes of safety in a withdrawment from the last are precisely those most liable to succumb to the first.

With respect also to the veto against the usual run of amusements, observable in all places where society congregates, there is something to be considered. It is especially as avoiding the evils attendant thereon that the Evangelicals justify the act of separation. As far, however, as regards the excess or abuse of such amusements, the mass of general society will, we suspect, be found to go equal lengths in condemnation, though outwardly on different grounds. For who does not feel that the same intemperance of pleasure-going which unfits the mind for religious exercise is equally unfavourable to all kinds of mental improvement or domestic duty? And it is worse than idle to allege the love of Christ, or take in vain the name of God, as exclusive motives for that abstinence which, in His moral government, common prudence is found equally to enjoin-whereby the great mischief is incurred, of which this party sufficiently evidence the pernicious results, of separating two interests in the mind, namely, right sense and right doctrine, which, properly considered, have precisely the same motives and end. But it is not merely the abuse, but the use, in any degree, of such amusements, which we find interdicted in this community. It is the fact of participation, however moderate-of attendance, however rare

- which exposes such young people as Mrs. Sherwood addresses, who have given evidence of serious inclinations,' to pious fears as to their being in a state of grace, or presumptuous imputations as to a total absence of Christianity. According to their code, a ball-room is merely the arena for vanity, envyings, and heart-burnings—and a playhouse the very workshop of immorality and profligacy—from neither of which a young person can issue unpolluted in mind. Doubtless, under these circumstances, there can be no question but what these good people do perfectly right to keep away, though it is not difficult to perceive that they are as exaggerated in their estimation of the vices of such places, as Mrs. Sherwood's young ladies will doubtless be in that of their pleasures. Nor do they stop here, for every assembly of individuals not called together for the express 'glory of God' is equally stigmatised as unprofitable, and consequently as tabooed for the Christian. And here the same principle is at work, namely, the denial of all religious feeling unless human beings are engaged in some exercise distinctly


religious—which we have remarked in their writing and conversation, and with the same result. For will it not on examination be found that, wherever a number of so-called religious individuals gather together, in a social manner, for the express purpose of furthering or discussing some religious object, such a purpose will never be long retained in its original shape and purity? With the tacit agreement that the difficulty of keeping within the prescribed bounds, and the weariness resulting from the effort, frustrate the end proposed, either the most conscientious of the party will insensibly, or the less regenerate intentionally, diverge into mised subjects, till, what with the temptation of well-bred and wellinformed minds to communicate with freedom, and the opportunities which the noted hospitalities of this party amply afford, such meetings usually creep back by degrees to much the same external forms as those established in general society, where the 'glory of God, if not directly sought, is, in the opinion of sober Christians, not less directly promoted. And if the transition we have traced do not take place, it is no less inevitable, and a fact to which all religious history bears witness, that such meetings will degenerate into a style of conduct and expression which religious enthusiasm may account for, but which no religious plea can justify, and which, however they may be supposed to animate individual piety, invariably end by disturbing public order. We are not treating of things as they might be, were the heart of man differently constituted, but simply of things as they are-seen, humanly speaking, to the best advantage beneath the light of a Christian establishment, the efficacy of which has been too long proved, and too signally blessed, to be now called in question. Nor, in contending for a just estimation and moderate use of the usual modes of amusement, do we affect any blindness to the evils of which the idle and wicked have made them the occasion ; but, knowing that mankind must and will have places and periods of relaxation, it is far more worthy of the real Christian philanthropist to try to keep them sound than to get rid of them altogether, especially as it is a fact directly corroborative of this argument, and one which no Utopian theory can overthrow, that, in those towns where no public amusements have been permitted or provided, public morals have been at a lower ebb than in any

other. An objection may be here raised as to the necessity of any such amusements among the better instructed and more refined classes of society; but this objection may be as immediately answered by a reference to the habits of the Evangelical body themselves, where, as we have already hinted, the thirst for novelty and amusement, however compelled to shift its position, is equally secured in its indulgence. For while the exceeding sinfulness of




worldly pleasures is the favourite topic of Evangelical censure, their own religious dissipation, as far as regards the length of time devoted, the necessary absence from home duties, the heartburnings, envyings, and jealousies, and the yanity of seeing and being seen, is, to speak plainly, quite as efficacious aş any of those balls or plays which were attended with such fatal consequences to Mrs. Sherwood's heroines.

Nor are there wanting those who would impugn them for graver derelictions of a Christian profession, nor, we are aware, occasional grounds for so doing; but, deprecating as we do all judgment founded solely on the abuse of any system, and knowing the cause of the good and the bad equally to suffer by such a practice, we are doubly bound to observe the same consideration towards those whose faults and foibles are in no way worse than those of other Christians, except as being current in the naine of religion.

As regards the many apparent inanities of visiting, prescribed by the laws of society, which greatly infringe on the time of those who nevertheless desire the enjoyment of general intercourse with their equals, we are all more or less apt to regret them as irksome, or condemn them as useless. But, setting aside that it is a very mistaken idea, and especially in a religious sense, that the more time we have at our disposal, the better we shall employ it, is it not a fact that these troublesome trivialities may be made as conducive to the ends of charity and self-denial as greater exertions or greater trials? By women, especially, whose duties are frequently a patchwork of such numerous and insignificant pieces, as to be greatly undervalued by those who contemplate them separately—by women it should, above all, be borne in mind that it is not the great things they do in the service of religion, but the much religion they put into the least of things, which is the true object of their lives ;-that they are not to flee to religion as to a place of refuge, taking with them only such fragments of their heads and hearts as they can manage to squeeze through the grate of their sanctuary, but to invite it as their own honoured guest—to meet it with a retinue of every faculty and feeling they possess-to throw open their hearts and their homes for its sphere, to the purifying of every folly, the neutralising of every vanity, and the utilising of every triviality through which they may be appointed to pass.

In addressing herself solely to girls, this lady has shrewdly calculated upon a greater excitability of feeling, and readier habit of obedience, than she could have commanded in the other sex, well knowing that in an Evangelical family the sons generally partake as little of religion as in that of a German professor the


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daughters partake of learning. Upon the whole, the question of a religious education is the most difficult and anxious for those parents to answer who most desire its true end, and who equally know the evil of doing too much, and dread the responsibility of doing too little. The world is so full of those on whom it has utterly failed, that, though this in no way militates against the imperative duty of teaching that which no heart will seek for itself, it makes the consideration of the means of the last importance. As to those usually pursued in Evangelical houses, while their efficacy is merely negative as evidenced in that sex which is screened from temptation by the laws of that very British society which the Evangelicals presume to denounce, their inefficiency is no less positive as tested in that other sex whose temptations are such as only religion can enable them to withstand. Disdaining, however, the observance of ordinary rules in a matter of such extraordinary importance, religious teachers and parents usually forget that the same plan that would probably sicken a highspirited lad of a common pursuit or accomplishment will infallibly sicken him of religion, inasmuch as less discretion still is observed in the inculcation, and more original distaste prevails in the mind. Indeed, it would seem as if the injudicious pertinacity of precept, and the galling rigidity of life they enforce, only laid up a stock of impatience, which, upon the first emancipation, carries the youthful mind beyond all its hitherto untried powers of self-control.

Before concluding our remarks on this subject, we must return to a part of it to which we have only slightly alluded---namely, that tendency to Sectarianism implied in the indifference of this party to the interests of the Church. For though they have been made the indirect instruments in contributing to her renovation, yet this issue, it must be remembered, was in no way the object of their intention. And this fact is amply confirmed both by the contents of these volumes, and by their extensive circulation. For while the young catechumens are extravagantly warned against the snares of the Romish church, and the futility of adhering merely to the forms of any church, not a word is said against the sin of schism, or danger of dissent, nor, in spite of the ostensible object of the book, in favour of our own Establishment. Indeed, so many vulgar and illiberal imputations are levelled against such as observe its outward rules, that it would cost a young mind but a short cut to conclude that separation is the sign of sincerity, and that an appearance of conformity is the thing most to be guarded against. In truth, the very head and distinctive doctrines of this party may be said to be at war with established externals. For it naturally follows that those minds which are excited to seek the

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workings of grace in themselves, and to pronounce upon the signs of it in others, and which are led to depend only upon an invisible fellowship of the spirit for the obligation to unity, will either disregard or exceed those forms which they look upon as the badge of indifference in the many who walk in them. Again, in the importance attached to all movement of the feelings, in opposition to any action of the understanding--in the encouragement held out to an excess of self-analysis, which can only end by bewildering the judgment—and in the self-deluding interpretation given to that dissuasion or opposition which inevitably awaits the line of conduct arising from such a state of mind—we find all that incipient tendency to extremes which demands change or innovation for its sphere of action. It is very dangerous for young people to be taught, though very natural in them to believe, that the system which evinces the greatest zeal in works of charity, and energy

for the propagation of religion, for the present moment, is necessarily the one to which her interests in the long run may be the most safely intrusted. Nor is it possible for them to consider those outward Establishments otherwise than superfluous, when they are led to conclude that so much can be done without them. They are delighted at the superior height Evangelical temperature has apparently attained, but do not reflect that their thermometer stands in the sun. Further, it is not for young and ardent minds, who, however piously convinced of the sinfulness of our nature, must always commence life with a false standard of human excellence--for therein lies the secret of youth's happiness-it is not in minds like these to pause and reflect that the true and only wisdom in all legislation, whether for a political or a religious object, consists in subtracting all the bubble-stock of temporary excitement before you estimate the worth of your means in computing your funds as they will stand when enthusiasm begins to cool--and in numbering your friends as they will abide when opposition begins to relax and, above all, it is not in them, of themselves, to remember that the primary reason for an Established Church is identical with that which gave the Scriptures for our guide, and Christ for our salvation, and consists simply in the inability of human nature to do without.

But while the feelings of women in the cause of religion are thus easily excited—and God forbid it should be otherwise, even at the price of being as easily misled—their concurrence and support will always be sought and obtained for whatever system assumes the greatest amount of present devotional activity, as the highest assurance of permanent excellence. It therefore doubly imports the Christian men of the present day to guard their female


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