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Pastors, uphold and cherish good schools in your towns! And be prevailed upon occasionally to visit the schools. That holy man, Mr. Thomas White, expressed a desire ". That able and zealous ministers would sometimes preach at the schools; because preaching is the converting ordinance; and the children will be obliged to hear with more attention in the school than in the public congregation; and the ministers might here condescend to such expressions as might work most upon them, and yet not be so fit for a public congregation." I have read the following account of one who was awakened by this advice to act accordingly: "At certain times he successively visited the schools. When he went to school he first offered a prayer for the children, as much adapted to their condition as he could make it. Then he went through the catechism, or as much of it as he thought necessary; making the several children repeat the several answers; but be divided the questions, that every article in the answers might be understood by them; expecting them to answer Yes or No to each of these divisions. He also put to them such questions as would make them see and own their duties, and often express a resolution to perform them. Then he preached a short sermon to them, exceedingly plain, on some suitable scripture, with all possible ingenuity and earnestness, in order to excite their attentive regard. After this he singled out a number of scholars, perhaps eight or ten, and bid each of them turn to a certain scripture, which he made them read to the whole school; giving them to see by his brief remarks upon it that it contained something which it particularly concerned children to take notice of. Then he concluded with a short prayer for a blessing on the school and on the tutors.
[The author's ‘Proposals for Schoolmasters,' whom Dr. Mather ranks only below ministers of the Gospel, we present without abridgment at the close of this summary.]
6. Proposals to Churches for doing good. Such as days of prayer-days for special meditation in private by Church members
special collections for certain desirable objects, such as sending Bibles and Catechisms among the poor, and missionaries to destitute places, and assisting weak congregations to build and repair their meeting-houses and support their minister.
7. Proposals to Magistrates. This is a special field for doing good. Government is the ordinance of God.
Rulers who make no other use of their superior station than to swagger over their neighbors, command their flatteries, enrich themselves with spoils, and wallow in sensual pleasures, are the basest of men. How much good can be done by the chief magistrate of a country who will make the doing of good his chief intention-witness a Constantine, a Theodosius, or a Gratian. A magistrate exemplary for piety, like the sun shining in his meridian strength, sheds the rays of heaven with a penetrating force upon the people, rejoicing under his wings.
If only good men were put into commissions, and all men of vicious character removed avowedly because of their vices, such action on the part of a chief magistrate would improve an afflicted nation more than a thousand proclamations against vice. The enactment of good laws, the upholding by example and word of mouth of faithful ministers, and the administration of justice without discrimination of rich or poor, and without the taking of a bribe, or resorting to tricks, are primal duties with all in authority.
8. Proposals to Physicians. They enjoy many opportunities of doing good. They are admitted into the homes of the rich and great—they are men of learning, and can instruct the ignorant—they can assist the poor without fees—they can carry a cheerful countenance into the chamber of the broken spirit—they can minister to minds diseased and darkened—they can look after the spiritual health of their patients.
9. Proposals to Rich Men. It is an article in my commission, 'Charge them that are rich in this world that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.' A tenth is the least portion of a man's income to be devoted to pious uses, and the blessings of Heaven are promised to those who honor the Lord in their substance, and cast their grain into the moist earth. To relieve the necessities of the poor is lending unto the Lord, to be repaid fourfold.
10. Proposals to Ladies. Your alms and your prayers should go up together. The etymology of the word by which you are known—Leafdian-Leaf a loaf of bread, and d'ian to serve-lafdy reduced to lady-one who distributes bread-indicates your mission to visit the sick, help the needy, and relieve the miserable.
11. Miscellaneous Proposals to Gentlemen. 'The hands of the poor are the treasury-box of Christ.' 'Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the Lord will preserve him.' Disperse with your alms food for the spiritual wants of your fellowmen-Bibles, catechisms, and documents of piety.
To take a poor child, especially an orphan, left in poverty, and to bestow a liberal education upon it, is an admirable charity; yea, it may draw after it a long train of good, and may interest you in all the good that shall be done by him whom you have educated.
Hence, also, what is done for schools, for colleges, and for hospitals, is done for the general good. The endowment or maintenance of these is at once to do good to many.
Bishop Sanderson says: 'Idle gentlemen and idle beggars are the pests of the commonwealth.' Find out some friend of good ability, warm affections, and excellent piety, and entreat him to suggest to you opportunities for doing good.
12. Proposals to Church, Civil and Military Officers. Under this head elders, deacons, legislators, selectmen, grand jurymen, constables, tithingmen, militia officers, commanders at sea are specified, with particular “proposals' for each.
13. Proposals to Lawyers. "Gentlemen of the law' are set apart as a class because their ability and opportunities to do good are large. An honest lawyer should not be known by his rarity. Your preparation for usefulness must be laid in your piety, and your work should be dedicated to the most high and gracious God. He cites with approbation the 'Examen Miscellaneum.'
“A lawyer who is a knave deserves death more than a man that robs on the highway; for he profanes the sanctuary of the distressed, and betrays th3 liberties of the people.” To avoid such a censure, a lawyer must sħun all those indirect ways of " making haste to be rich,” in which a man cannot w innocent; such ways as provoked the father of Sir Mathew Hale to abando the practice of the law, on account of the extremo difficulty of preserving a goori conscience in it. Sir, be prevailed upon constantly to keep a court of chancer: in your own breast; and scorn and fear to do anything but that which your conscience will pronounce consistent with and conducing to “glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will towards men.
I remember that Schusterus, a famous lawyer and counsellor who died at Heidelberg in the year 1672, has an admirable passage in his epitaph:
“Morti pir ximus vocem emisit;
Nihil se nnqnam rua-iere consilio,
Cujus jam-jam moriturum peniteret." “When at the point of death he could say, I never in the whole course of my practice gave an opinion of which I now repent.” A lawyer who can leave the world with such language as this, proves a greater blessing to the world than can be expressed.
Excessive fees must be disgorged by restitution.
In the life of Mr. John Cotton, the author relates the following concerning his father, who was a lawyer: “That worthy man was very remarkable in two most admirable practices. One was, that when any one of his neighbors wishing to sue another applied to him for advice, it was his custom in the most persuasive and affectionate manner imaginable to attempt a reconciliation between both parties; preferring the consolation of being a peace-maker to all the fees which he might have obtained by blowing up the differences. Another was, he was accustomed every night to examine himself with reflections on the transactions of the past day; and if he found that he had neither done good to others, nor got good to his own soul, he was as much grieved as Titus was when he complained in the evening, “My friends! I have lost a day.”
If you administer justice be governed by the rules of Chief Justice Hale : “That justice be administered uprightly, deliberately, resolutely. "That I rest not on my own understanding, but implore the direction of Almighty God.
“That in the execution of justice I carefully lay aside my own passions, and do not give way to them, however provoked.
“That I be wholly intent on the business I am about.
“That I suffer not myself to be prepossessed with any judgment at all till all the business and both parties are heard.”
14. Societies for the Reformation and Suppression of Vice. Their work should be to co-operate with the authorities to obtain and enforce wholesome laws, to aid the election of faithful officers, and defeat the success of such as have proved unfaithful; to erect, inspect, and support charity schools, and schools of various kinds; to disseminate books and tracts. Here follow points of consideration to be read at the meetings of the society to elicit suggestions:
1. Is there any remarkable disorder in the place which requires our endeavors for the suppression of it? and in what good, fair, likely way may we attempt it?
2. Is there any particular person whose disorderly behavior may be so scandalous that it may be proper to send him our charitable admonition? or are there any contending persons whom we should exhort to quench their contentions?
3. Is there any particular service to the interests of religion which we may conveniently request our ministers to take notice of?
4. Is there anything which we may do well to mention and recommend to the magistrates for the further promotion of good order?
5. Is there any sort of officers among us who are so unmindful of their duty that we may properly remind them of it?
6. Can any further methods be devised that ignorance and wickedness may be chased from our people in general; and that domestic piety in particular may flourish among them?
7. Is there any instance of oppression or fraudulence in the dealings of any sort of people which may call for our efforts to prevent it in future?
8. Is there any matter to be humbly recommended to the legislative power to be enacted into a law for the public benefit?
9. Do we know of any person languishing under heavy affliction, and what can we do for the succor of that afflicted neighbor?
10. Has any person a proposal to make for the further advantage, assistance, and usefulness of this society?
15. A Catalogue of Desirable Things. In this list is included the propagation of the Gospel by Protestant missionaries' after the example of the Popish idolaters, who have sent six hundred clergymen into China within a few years.' 'O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God!' when I think what pains they have taken to carry on their work, and how little is done for many parts of the British dominions.
Poor sailors and poor soldiers call for our pity. They meet with great troubles, and yet their manners seldom discover any good effects of their trials. What shall be done to make them a better set of men? Besides more books of piety distributed among them, other methods must be devised.
The Tradesman's library should be more enriched. We have seen “husbandry spiritualized;" the employment of the “shepherd spiritualized;" “navigation spiritualized;" and the "weaver,” also, furnished with agreeable meditations. To spread the nets of salvation for men in the way of their personal callings, and to convey pious thoughts in the terms and branches of their personal callings, is a real service to the interests of piety.
Universities which shall have more Collegia Pietatis in them, like those of the excellent Franckius in the Lower Saxony: O that such institutions were
numerous! Seminaries in which the scholars may have a most polite education, but not be sent forth with recommendations for the evangelical ministry, till upon a strict examination it be found that their souls are fired with the fear of God, the love of Christ, a zeal to do good, and a resolution to bear poverty, reproach, and all sorts of temptations, in the service of religion.
Let charity schools also “increase and multiply;" Charity schools which may provide subjects for the great Saviour, blessings for the next generation; Charity schools not perverted to introducing a defective Christianity.
We give below the rules which Dr. Mather laid down for his own guidance in laying out work for himself for the several days of the week:
Sabbath Morning.-What shall I do, as a pastor of a church, for the good of the flock under my charge?
Monday.-What shall I do in my family and for the good of it.
Wednesday.—What shall I do for the churches of the Lord, and the more goneral interest of religion in the world ?
Thursday.-What good may I do in the several societies to which I belong ? Friday.
What special subjects of affliction and objects of compassion may I tako under my particular care, and what shall I do for them?
Saturday.-What more have I to do for the interest of God in my own heart and life?
To the above should be added his general notice to all who interviewed him when engaged in study—'Be short.'
In his autobiography, begun when on a visit to the Bishop of St. Asaph at Tuyford in 1771, Dr. Franklin, in speaking of the books in his father's library and his passionate fondness of reading in his youth, says: “There was also a book of Defoe's called An Essay on Projects, * and another of Dr. Mather's called An Essay to Do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal events of my life.'
In a letter to Rev. Samuel Mather, the son of Dr. Cotton Mather, Dr. Franklin writes:
The last time I saw your father was the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received me in his library; and, on my taking leave, showed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, 'Stoop! stoop!' I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me: “You are young, and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.' This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
In another letter, dated Passy, Nov. 10, 1779, referring to a paper of Advice addressed to the People of the United States,' by the same son, Dr. Franklin says:
Such writings, though they may be lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be considerable.
Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy I met with a book entitled 'Essays to Do Good,' which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by its former possessor that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking as to have an influence on my conduct through life, for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good than any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
For a summary of the contents of this remarkable Essay, see Barnard's English Pedagogy-Old and New. Defoe in this Treatise anticipates some of the great sociai and educational reforms of the 19th century.
HOW SCHOOLMASTERS MAY DO GOOD. From the tribe of Levi, let us proceed with our proposals to the tribe of Simeon; from which there has been a frequent ascent to the former. The Schoolmaster has many opportunities of doing good. God make him sensible of his obligations! We read that "the little ones have their angels.” It is hard work to keep a school; but it is God's work, and it may be so managed as to be like the work of angels; the tutors of the children may be like their “tutelor angels." Melchoir Adams properly styled it “An office most laborious, yet to God most pleasing."
Tutors! will you not regard the children under your wing, as committed to you by the glorious Lord with such a charge as this? “Take them, and bring them up for Me, and I will pay you your wages!" Whenever a new scholar comes under your care, you may say, “Here my Lord sends me another object, for whom I may do something, that he may be useful in the world.” Suffer little children to come unto you, and consider what you may do instrumentally, that of such may be the kingdom of heaven.
Sirs, let it be your grand design to instil into their minds the doctrines of piety. Consider it as their chief interest, and yours also, that they may so know the Holy Scriptures as to become wise to salvation. Embrace every opportunity of dropping some honey from the rock upon them. Happy the children, and as happy the master, where they who relate the history of their conversion may say, “there was a schoolmaster who brought us to Christ.” You have been told, “certainly, it is a nobler work to make the little ones know their Saviour, than know their letters. The lessons of Jesus are nobler things than the lessons of Cato. The sanctifying transformation of their souls would be infinitely preferable to anything in Ovid's Metamorphoses."
Catechising should be a frequent, at least a weekly, exercise in the school; and it should be conducted in the most edifying, applicatory, and admonitory manner. In some places the magistrate permits no person to keep a school, unless he produces a testimonial of his ability and disposition to perform the work of religious catechising.
Dr. Reynolds, in a funeral sermon for an eminent schoolmaster, has the following passage, worthy to be written in letters of gold: “If grammar schools have holy and learned men set over them, not only the brains, but also the souls of the children might there be enriched, and the work both of learning and of grace be early commenced in them.” In order to this, let it be proposed that you not only pray with you scholars daily, but also take occasion, from the public sermons, and from remarkable occurrences in you neighborhood, frequently to inculcate the lessons of piety on the children.
Tutors in the colleges may do well to converse with each of their pupils alone, with all possible solemnity and affection, concerning their internal state, concerning repentance for sin, and faith in Jesus Christ, and to bring them to express resolutions of serious piety. You may do a thousand things to render your pupils orthodox in sentiment, regular in practice, and qualified for public service. I have read of a tutor who made it his practice in every recitation to take occasion, from something or other that occurred, to drop at least one sentence that had a tendency to promote the fear of God in their hearts. This method sometimes cost him a good deal of study, but the good effect sufficiently recompensed him for it.
I should be glad to see certain authors received into the grammar schools as classical, which are not generally admitted there, such as Castalio in the Latin tongue, and Posselius in the Greek; and I could wish, with some modern writers, that “a northwest passage” for the attainment of Latin might be discovered; that instead of a journey which might be dispatched in a few days,